Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Francis Effect

When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
(Mt 8:1-4)
We don't do this very much. Not because we fear the scorn of Richard Dawkins that the sick are not healed, but because we lack compassion and kindness.

We judge by appearances. O, we can watch John Hurt slobber about as the Elephant Man and shed a sympathetic tear, but we wouldn't invite him to dinner. Well, we might now, but only because he's become a celebrity and there's cachet in the association.  

Visiting St Peter's Square, most of us would shun this poor wretch because of his Elephant Man-like appearance. We would certainly decline to share a communion chalice with him, for fear of some unknown contagion. But, like his namesake St Francis of Assisi, this Pope abjures his royal palace, lives in a guest house with his brothers, and prays deeply – quite movingly – for a modern-day leper. Indeed, the Pope kissed the carbuncles upon this poor man's deformed forehead.

Humility and holiness in action.

It is Christ-like.

Some will say it is prophetic – a sign of profound faith in a superficial world of beautiful people and bright young things. But it is simply what we all ought to be doing – manifesting the self-emptying love of Christ and transcending the narrow confines of the world.

Love does not solve life's problems: it helps us to cope with them. It brings perspective and confers order. Faith working through love is creative and redemptive. Pope Francis acts for that poor distorted being because he has an appreciation of that being. Such love is the fruit of God's presence within us.

111 Comments:

Blogger Happy Jack said...

Archbishop Cranmer, Happy Jack says a very big hello to you and thanks you for letting him visit you here on your pages and say his little bit.

This picture made Happy Jack feel all funny inside and reading your words made him shed a tear. What a poor, poor man, just imagine his life, and what a loving cuddle from Francis. Happy Jack says thank you again, because this is what him and old Blowers have been talking about.

7 November 2013 09:03  
Blogger David B said...

I don't know that most people would shun him as not know what to do. And might view such a display of compassion as intrusive at best, kinky at worst.

A Pope or an Archbishop is in a different position from most of us, not least because he can give someone afflicted a hug without being suspected of the sort of kink another Catholic who gave afflicted people hugs turned out to have.

Someone who was much praised back in the day for his humanity and compassion - I refer of course to James Saville.


"Pope Francis acts for that poor distorted being because he has an appreciation of that being. Such love is the fruit of God's presence within us."

And an atheist Doctor or Nurse working for Médecins Sans Frontières? Dealing with people horrendously maimed, sick, starving?

Compassion is - along with less noble human attributes - more economically understood as an evolved attribute of complex social species than it is explained by invoking the supernatural.

There was recently a quite good piece published here, in which Bro Ivo mentioned the damage to the social structure of elephants that can be inflicted by the less noble attributes of men.

Googling 'compassion in elephants' and considering what is found seems to me to add evidence for compassion being something that emerges within social species rather than being the result of humans and only humans being 'ensouled'.

David

7 November 2013 09:25  
Blogger IanCad said...

Theology: Go Hang!

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

7 November 2013 09:28  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

"manifesting the self-emptying love of Christ and transcending the narrow confines of the world"

Perfectly put Cranmer.

DavidB

Only you (well, almost only you) would equate such an obvious expression of love and kindness with the 'kinky' depravity of Saville, repeating that tried and tested falsehood that any Catholic who is affectionate must be disguising a hidden motive. I suspect you are talking about yourself.

Compassion, however it may be defined, is not necessarily only a quality of human beings, though what we see as compassionate behaviour in other animals is often more a result of anthropomorphism than anything else. Shared traits are hardly surprising, seeing as we are as mammals evolved from the same stock. Human beings are distinct, though, from other species (BSC), so it is legitimate to describe ourselves as distinct in the way we respond to the world. As for compassion expressed by an atheist doctor – why is that a problem or in itself evidence of anything?

7 November 2013 10:10  
Blogger bluedog said...

David B @ 09.25, nowhere in your post disparaging this kindly act of Pope Francis do you mention the word 'Love'. Read through His Grace's post and it is Love that conquers all. Your rationalisation of compassion, but not love, descends to an inadequate dismissal of compassion as an evolutionary attribute. One is left wondering why you seem so reluctant to use the word 'Love'. What went wrong?

7 November 2013 10:30  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Jack thinks some people are distorted and scarred inside as well as on the outside and some cannot see love or feel love inside them or around them or see it in other people.

Jack believes when we help others on the inside as well as the outside it is like helping Jesus on his way to his cross and when he was taken down all bleeding and wounded and dead. It is also like being Jesus here and now and doing his work too with him and for him.

Jack is off now for a long walk to clear his head as what David B said has darkened Jack's mood and he wants to think about good things.

7 November 2013 11:09  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Have a nice walk Jack, but be sure not to bump into DavidB on his way to watch Philomena for the tenth time.

7 November 2013 11:20  
Blogger David B said...

Ars - actually, if you read my comment with any comprehension, rather than, I suppose, with anger, you will have noticed that there is nothing in my post which equates what the Pope did with Saville.

I did point out - somewhat clumsily, having ommited a word or so from what I meant to say - that such a display of compassion coming from a man in the street could be easily misconstrued. And indeed, Saville's much praised work with the disabled having been exposed for what it really was, misconstrued in a way that would be rather nasty.

You conjured that equation up out of your own mind, showing, incidentally, no love or compassion for an atheist, and a lack of intellectual honesty.

" I suspect you are talking about yourself."

And that is uncalled for, unwarranted, and evidence that Christianity does not mitigate your own nastiness.

Now having got that aside, yes, humans are distinct from other species, bu the so are elephants.There is often a lot of anthropomorphism in people's views of animal behaviour, but it does not follow from that that no other animals can feel and show compassion.

I mentioned the compassion shown by, say, an atheist doctor, to show that either the compassion shown by the Pope does not have to be a gift of a hypothetical God, as His Grace seemed to assume.

Further, I suppose a theist could say that the compassion aroused in an atheist doctor was inspired by God without the doctor's knowledge or consent, but that would have implications for freewill, as concept so often used as a way of attempting a way out of the problem of evil.

@ Bluedog - I did not use love because it is a word that is to my mind often used in a variety of ways and hence can often be misleading. I presume that in this context 'Love' meant what I have often seen Christians call 'Agape'.

But that is a word I don't feel comfortable with.

You say 'inadequate dismissal of compassion as an evolutionary attribute', but, hey, what do you expect in a sentence?

It is true that I see no reason to invoke the supernatural in order to account for compassion, empathy, and indeed, in a number of contexts, for love.

I have yet to see any good reason to ascribe these attributes of human (and in some degree to other social species) to the supernatural.

I would be quite happy to talk any reasons you can come up with through with you, though.

David

7 November 2013 11:27  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

"if you read my comment with any comprehension, rather than, I suppose, with anger"

Hilarious that on this blog if a theist questions an atheist then they are immediately accused of stupidity and anger.

"you will have noticed that there is nothing in my post which equates what the Pope did with Saville"

By juxtaposing the Pope's embrace of this man with the 'kinky' antics of Saville you are conflating both events.

"You conjured that equation up out of your own mind, showing, incidentally, no love or compassion for an atheist, and a lack of intellectual honesty."

This sentence is literally senseless.

"Christianity does not mitigate your own nastiness."

Again a version of the idiotic assertion that a Christian should present little more than a punch bag to the pretentious twaddle of atheists such as yourself. Have you ever actually been in a fight?

"yes, humans are distinct from other species, but the so are elephants"

Well, we can agree on that.

"Further, I suppose a theist could say that the compassion aroused in an atheist doctor was inspired by God without the doctor's knowledge or consent, but that would have implications for freewill"

The capacity for compassion is inbuilt – from a theist's perspective God-given – it exists irrespective of the beliefs of the individual. Free will is a red herring here – a theist would also say that God also gave you legs, though whether or not you choose to use them is up to you.

7 November 2013 11:39  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

All credit the Pope as a genuinely compassionate human being - I doubt I could bring myself to act similarly, without a deep and overriding sense of recoil.

What troubles me about this scenario, is that I am left wondering what variety of lame excuses and distorted reasoning will be forthcoming from theists for this 'act of God'?

And if I was this poor unfortunate? I too would probably be a fervent believer, looking for a miracle cure or at least a reprieve for what some would have me accept is my loving God testing me, if not punishing me in divine retribution for some transgression in a previous life.

If the man was able to take God to a consumer complaints tribunal I'm sure he would have every right to a positive hearing. He would no doubt receive with full entitlement, a massive compensation pay out for a failure to be delivered of his benefits due, under the 'Intelligent Design' or 'made in God's image' programmes.

But the cynic within me suspects it is more of a Vatican engineered photo opportunity; a publicity stunt, to reset the image of the Church from the self inflicted damage it has been sustaining in recent years.

7 November 2013 11:56  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I really doubt it, Dreadnaught. If you read about Cardinal Bergoglio and his work in the slums of Buenos Aires long before he was Pope, this is probably the thousandth time he's done something similar. It's just that now he's Pope, someone can be guaranteed to point a camera.

7 November 2013 12:10  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

And given the Vatican are bewailing their inability to actually set up Francis to do anything they want him to do...

7 November 2013 12:11  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Dreadnaught, welcome to the party.

"What troubles me about this scenario, is that I am left wondering what variety of lame excuses and distorted reasoning will be forthcoming from theists for this 'act of God'?"

It is one human being showing compassion to another – that is all. As such it is not a specific and separate 'act of God' requiring a 'lame excuse'. It also serves as an example to others. I remember Mother Teresa embracing an AIDS sufferer being derided in a similar way (back when people were not sure how contagious a disease it was). She didn't do it for effect or to prove a theological point. She did it because her faith taught her that to turn her back on a suffering person is sinful.

"a reprieve for what some would have me accept is my loving God testing me, if not punishing me in divine retribution for some transgression in a previous life."

Read the Book of Job – whether you agree with it or not it should help you understand the Christian explanation for suffering. You might also find that Jesus had something to say on the subject. ("Transgressions in a previous life" – wrong religion old salt.)

"He would no doubt receive with full entitlement, a massive compensation pay out for a failure to be delivered of his benefits due, under the 'Intelligent Design' or 'made in God's image' programmes."

Again, you might find something in the life of Christ to help you understand the meaning of suffering. There is no promise that life will be easy or disease-free (quite the contrary), so not a violation of any implied 'consumer rights' then.

"But the cynic within me suspects it is more of a Vatican engineered photo opportunity"

That's right Dreadnaught, it's all a publicity stunt to make the church look better. It is really good at doing that

7 November 2013 12:11  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

And to David B.

"Pope Francis acts for that poor distorted being because he has an appreciation of that being. Such love is the fruit of God's presence within us."

And an atheist Doctor or Nurse working for Médecins Sans Frontières? Dealing with people horrendously maimed, sick, starving?

Yes. They are also vessels of the love of God, and Pope Francis has already said that it is in the acts of love and compassion that we all meet - by whatever name we call God, or if we doubt He's even there.

Or as my old parish priest used to say. "If you live in love, act in love, God is there. Whether you believe in Him or not, He believes in you."

7 November 2013 12:14  
Blogger IanCad said...

Sister Tibs wrote:

"If you live in love, act in love, God is there. Whether you believe in Him or not, He believes in you."

How beautifully put.

7 November 2013 12:48  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

And an atheist Doctor or Nurse working for Médecins Sans Frontières? Dealing with people horrendously maimed, sick, starving?

Cranmer concluded his sermon with these words: Pope Francis acts for that poor distorted being because he has an appreciation of that being. Such love is the fruit of God's presence within us. I don’t know whether His Grace would agree with me, but I see no reason to doubt God’s presence within an atheist doctor or nurse working for Médecins sans Frontières. Ecclesiasticus, aka Jesus ben Sirach, dwells at some length on the God-given skills of the physician and the apothecary, without ever suggesting that God withholds such gifts from physicians and apothecaries who are unbelievers.

Ecclesiasticus 38, 1-8:

1 Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him.
2 For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king.
3 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.
4 The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.
5 Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known?
6 And he hath given men skill, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works.
7 With such doth he heal men, and taketh away their pains.
8 Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth.

7 November 2013 12:52  
Blogger Preacher said...

There is much that I disagree with in the various denominations & only the Pope knows his reasons & motives for his actions. They are between him & the Almighty & no one else.

It's to easy to only see people as objects. You mention The 'Elephant man' but who can forget the cry of "I am a Man!" ringing out from him in the film of the same name? - he was a man, a person with parents, emotions & feelings.
Made in the image of God. A God whose form & visage was once so badly marred that men turned away from Him (Isaiah 52:14). Inside of that battered flesh, lived the same Jesus that loved, fed, healed the sick & raised the dead. He knows & shares All mankind's suffering.
Perhaps the Pope recognised glimpse of the Divine in this poor soul?.

7 November 2013 12:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

A truly moving post Your Grace, so thank you for that.

Mere words are inadequate to say much more about the situation. Francis is a tonic for all Christians as he is so genuine, and the opposite of pompous, but also individualistic in a sense, being conformed not to this world but the world to come. It is impossible not to respect and love that man, Francis.

David B. Comparing Saville to Francis shows at best a terrible lack of judgement. I am not upset, having a very dogged slow burning Anglo-Saxon fuse. But even by the most secular standards your comments stand out as faulty. Without straying into the "does God exist thing", your reactions strike me as exceptionally wanting, at least by the standards of mature adults. Perhaps your sole mission on this site is to upset believers and it's all an act, but if your comments genuinely reflect your feelings, then you need, how should I put this, in secular terms, emotional recalibrating, I believe. A rational, respectfully disagreeing, discussion is impossible I fear. I wish you well for your future.

7 November 2013 12:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

David B

You cannot explain the existence of consciousness in evolutionary terms let alone the moral exercise of consciousness that is conscience. So it goes without saying that you cannot explain the act of compassion that proceeds from conscience. You have not the ability even to separate a kiss on the forehead from a bullet through the brain. Either may be defined as compassion for the actor is by definition his own standard. Any act may be defined as compassionate according to this understanding.

All you have done is assert materialist dogma. "Man is the product of immanent process. Therefore Compassion is the product of immanent process.". And yet you cannot even so much as separate life from covalence bonding. In your understanding a man is nothing more than the sum total of chemical reactions that comprise his mortal existence. He has no significance beyond his own self assertions. What then is compassion but some manifestation of chemistry? What moral credit may be found in an exchange of electrons?

You can't explain these things by appealing to evolution because evolution cannot explain these things. You merely have faith that it happened this way. Because it must have happened this way. Because you have excluded the alternatives a priori.

carl

carl

7 November 2013 12:54  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 November 2013 13:08  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
We would all appear un to God as this man, as a result of our sins if it were not for Gods amazing compassion and his cleansing of our souls.
I have been privileged to see many people physically healed through prayer in my life time and it is truly remarkable. I suspect that there is in many of us a lack of expectation. We know God can, but will he. So, our amazement is more the greater when he does.


7 November 2013 13:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

By the way.

Happy 96th Anniversary of the Great October Revolution - a fine example of the exercise of compassion in the Materialist universe. With everything that follows therefrom.

carl

7 November 2013 13:22  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack is back now and feeling better after his walk.

Jack sees a lot of people have told off David B. What Jack found wrong with his comments was the scoffing. This reminded Happy Jack of the two thieves who died next to Jesus. One laughed and made fun of him and the other comforted Jesus. One had compassion and the other did not. It was the same with the soldiers who killed Jesus. All of them made fun of him except one. It is not a good thing to scoff and make fun of other people. It could land you in the soup.

Dreadnaught made Happy Jack chuckle. Jack thought he asked some good questions too. Just imagine God having a complaints procedure! Besides God has already given a full written reply to all complaints. He will listen to appeals when he meets us face to face.

There. Happy Jack feels much, much better now and is going to have a nice afternoon snooze.

7 November 2013 14:21  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

As I said Sister Tibs, I have a great deal of respect for the person and humanity of Francis as a man.

Would he have been any less compassionate I wonder if not engaged within the clergy - I doubt it. There is good in all of us with or without religion.

My cynicism is reserved for the lever pullers of the religion business.

7 November 2013 14:30  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

David Hussell

" emotional recalibrating," I think the word about that term is 'PRICELESS'*Chuckles Joyfully*


and

carl jacobs said...

David B @7 November 2013 12:54.

Most excellent comment but it's logic is wasted on the rascal. The fellow appears not to quite have the intellectual grasp of things in matters of atheism, unlike the dreaded Dreadnaught. He appears more like the great unwashed of vigourous atheism. The passion is there but the two brain cells are not functioning as needed.

One has gone AWOL whilst the other is out looking for it. Loneliness is a terrible;e thing?

Blowers, Chaps.

7 November 2013 15:06  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Dreadnaught

"My cynicism is reserved for the lever pullers of the religion business."

There, I have to say, you and I are in full agreement :)

7 November 2013 15:17  
Blogger rallentanda said...

A compassionate and truly Christian post recognising the presence of God
in a person regardless of religious denomination.

7 November 2013 15:33  
Blogger Waywalker said...

A wonderful post Your Grace..

And a very interesting response by David B at 09.25 that I have had to wait until I got home from work to respond to

The image of Pope Frances and the man are very emotive and we of course look at them and read into
it with own assumptions and prejudices. I ‘choose?’ to see a beautify and humble act of love and compassion. I am not a Catholic but from what I know of The Pope he is a good humble and Christ like man and I can see no reason to add in any other motive than love and compassion. Now the photographer and His Grace now he has posted it have add move complexity to scene as it is captured and shared and other motivations now effect out perceptions of the scene depending on our views of the place we see and what we think that purpose is. Again for myself I see nothing more than His Grace sharing with us a beautiful act and insight into an assumption of the character of Pope France that I share.
Now David’s comment while a trifle harsh against such a gentle post a very interesting and I have indeed spent a while as suggested looking on Google about compassion in elephants and was then thinking too of loyalty and selfless acts that dogs for instance have demonstrated. So is it an argument that selfless acts, compassion and love come from accident and evolution rather than represent the holy nature of a divine creator. We can easily find on internet I am sure a terrible act of hate being carried out by person which doubtless can be found in the animal kingdom too. SO where does that leave us. I would suggest the difference is that in Pope Frances case and those that call similarly seek to follow Christ in that they have been called or transformed to respond to act beyond their nature by the inspiration of Christ’s example and the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the knowledge of Gods Love that calls them to try and be better than they are. I think that is where the difference between man and animals are in that ability to respond to the Spiritual.

Sorry I am not an expert and I am trying to avoid getting drawn into a specific theological explanation that will cause argument and tangents and digression and there are many here will be better able to expound that I. I am trying to offer a simple explanation from my own understand and experience to what I think was a very good but rather abrasive point.

7 November 2013 16:44  
Blogger David B said...

David H

If I have any regrets it is that I did not make my points in a more clear fashion.

I in no way intended to imply that I thought that Francis was doing anything other than exhibit a genuine compassion, and my mention of Saville was in part as a contrast, but also to point out that if a man in the street were to go over and hug some poor unfortunate out of compassion then his motives would be suspect, and indeed that after Saville it would not be surprising for people to suspect the motives.

I do think Francis is vulnerable to attack on some matters, notably his relations with the Argentinian military regime, but not on this issue.

I could and should have expressed myself less clumsily.

David

7 November 2013 17:11  
Blogger Recusant said...

David B

"I do think Francis is vulnerable to attack on some matters, notably his relations with the Argentinian military regime, but not on this issue."

Oh, good try!

Really, it seems to me you are searching for any stick with which to beat the man. That is the line the Guardian took after his election, and then had to promptly retract after the written statements of the two priests Francis had supposedly shopped to the dictatorship completely exonerated him.

It's a lie and has been exposed as such. Not that that seems to bother those who would seek to spread dirt.

7 November 2013 18:04  
Blogger David B said...

@Carl Part 1

A thoughtful post and one that does illustrate a lot of the differences in our viewpoints, and so I shall look at in detail, and attempt to show that what you might think that what you at the moment think a weakness in my view is in fact a strength.

Your text copy/pasted in quotes, my responses interpolated.

"You cannot explain the existence of consciousness in evolutionary terms let alone the moral exercise of consciousness that is conscience."

Consciousness is difficult to explain, and invoking a God not only does not explain it, but leads to further problems in explaining the origin and/or eternal existence of a God or Gods, explaining their nature, as well as explaining how a God can get either consciousness or conscience from living meat.

However, the fact that material things like blows to the head, deprivation of oxygen, bullets etc appear to have a deleterious effect on both consciousness and conscience gives a lot of support to the hypothesis that they are material in nature.

"So it goes without saying that you cannot explain the act of compassion that proceeds from conscience."

I can point out that as far as we know consciousness (as yet - artificial intelligence is a technology not even in its infancy)only appears to exist, to a greater or lesser degree, in living things made out of stuff.

"You have not the ability even to separate a kiss on the forehead from a bullet through the brain. "

Actually, I think I can tell the difference between a kiss and a bullet. As can you, but it does not require the supernatural to do so as far as I can tell.

"Either may be defined as compassion for the actor is by definition his own standard. Any act may be defined as compassionate according to this understanding."

I think I follow you there, though I am not sure. In fact I do think that in some extreme contexts delivering a bullet to the brain can be an act of compassion. There are stories, for instance, of allied troops in the last war shooting their colleagues, even friends, trapped in burning tanks with no hope of escape.

"All you have done is assert materialist dogma. "Man is the product of immanent process. Therefore Compassion is the product of immanent process."

Good word, 'process'. I have remarked before that viewing such concepts as ethics as processes rather than things seems to me a fruitful way to gain understanding of them.

"And yet you cannot even so much as separate life from covalence bonding."

Is that not rather like saying that I cannot separate a car from a pile of components? 'Structure' is a good word, 'dynamic structure' a good couple of words.

" In your understanding a man is nothing more than the sum total of chemical reactions that comprise his mortal existence."

A process involving a dynamic structures within dynamic structures within dynamic structures, with more or less well tuned feedback mechanisms between them.

" He has no significance beyond his own self assertions."

It is a mistake to think that because we do not know everything that we do not know anything, a mistake to think that because ethics have no absolute foundation that ethics is meaningless, a mistake to think that because there is no absolute purpose that purpose is a meaningless concept, and a mistake to think that because there is no absolute significance that significance is a meaningless concept.

" What then is compassion but some manifestation of chemistry?"

One can experience something very much akin to the numinous by contemplating the development of compassion and consciousness from the play of the forces of physics, chemistry and biology.

7 November 2013 18:04  
Blogger OldJim said...

David B,

I accept your explanation, in fact, I consider it likely. What I would like to examine instead is this:

"Compassion is - along with less noble human attributes - more economically understood as an evolved attribute of complex social species than it is explained by invoking the supernatural...Googling 'compassion in elephants' and considering what is found seems to me to add evidence for compassion being something that emerges within social species rather than being the result of humans and only humans being 'ensouled'."

Sure. It's quite possible and indeed economical that instances of compassion in humans can be explained solely by reference to instinct. The reasoning goes:

elephants exhibit something like human compassion

elephants' behaviour can be explained without reference to anything other than a set of efficient causes

humans exhibit human compassion

Therefore, humans could most economically have this behaviour explained by a set of efficient causes


We can see the gaps in the reasoning though.

First, that the likenesses in the two "compassions" are sufficient to admit of identification one with the other.

Second, that elephants can be explained purely by efficient causality.

Third, that the granting of those two postulates is sufficient to wholly explain human compassion.

I shall explain what I mean by the third by granting the first and second.

Very well, you have explained how it comes about that people have an instinct to act compassionately.

But if someone were to see you lying in a ditch and were to spit in your eye, and someone else were to come along, pull you out and wipe you down and show you care, you have not explained either:

first, why one act would be more praiseworthy than the other

second, how you could regard one act as being more praiseworthy than the other

You can let those go if you want, but I put it to you that if you do not at minimum want to retain the latter of the two, you're no longer recognisably human.

For the first to be really the case, it is required that the instincts be subjugated to the will, that can choose between them

For the second to be the case, it is required that the instincts be subjugated to reason, which can judge their worth

To do either of those things, you must be rid of the idea that people are determined by efficient causes, or at least those efficient causes you have highlighted. If these actions are determined by instinct, then men cannot be responsible for their actions in any really meaningful sense. But if determination by efficient causes goes away, you have admitted that humans are amphibious creatures, half one thing and half the other. You might still be an atheist, but you cannot critique religious points of view from the same frame of reference that atheists of the modern world habitually do.

The reason that this picture has been so widely spread, and that a picture of the pontiff hugging some adorable little girl has not had equal internet oxygen, is that in this instance, unlike my hypothetical one, people are conscious in themselves of two instincts: to feel compassion and to care for the man, and to recoil from the ugliness he carries. The whole point of the picture is that it illustrates a man who has chosen between two equal and rival instincts. It is a modern illustration and allegory of the reality of moral choice.

But of course, I suspect that you sensed and feared something of the kind, which is why all of the nonsense about elephants came out.

7 November 2013 18:05  
Blogger David B said...

@Carl part 2


" What moral credit may be found in an exchange of electrons?"

One needs to look at moral credit at a different level of reduction from the exchange of electrons. At the level of reduction of atomic physics there are no chairs, tables, or people to sit on them. There is an irony in that materialists are often accused of reductionism ,but it is as nothing compared to the hyper-reductionism if its critics.

One looks at moral credit at a level more like the interplay of members of evolved social species than the level of reductionism of chairs and tables, leave alone atoms and electrons.

"You can't explain these things by appealing to evolution because evolution cannot explain these things."

You can't explain these things by looking at them at an inappropriate level of reduction.

"You merely have faith that it happened this way. Because it must have happened this way."

There is a lot to suggest that everything that happens must be consistent with physics, consistent with chemistry, consistent with biology. But one must look for explanations at the appropriate level of explanations to find them. We don't look for meaning in Shakespeare by appealing to quantum physics.

" Because you have excluded the alternatives a priori.!

Not really, since I spent years of my life seeking alternatives, some of them in a monastic setting.

I do tend to exclude the alternatives a postieri, and in part the basis of induction, which is short of proof. Everywhere I have looked for the supernatural I have found mistakes, deliberate frauds, and at best insufficient evidence to take it on board.

I can't disprove the supernatural, but then I can't disprove solipsism or Last Thursdayism, and neither can you.

But everything points to the wondrous conclusion that, rather as a termite mound can emerge from the blind algorithms of termite behaviour, to a much greater degree, that consciousness and conscience, both have arisen from the blind algorithms of evolution at one level, consistent with physics at another, and so on.

And it is this that is wondrous, this that can inspire awe, much more than a God, especially one who can have a discussion with a hypothetical enemy which leads to both messing around with the lives of the innocent and undeserving victims - Job and his family.

The God of the OT - the most unpleasant character in fiction, as I think it was Dawkins who remarked.

"carl"

David

7 November 2013 18:07  
Blogger OldJim said...

Or, we can try:

"Reason is - along with less noble human attributes - more economically understood as an evolved attribute of complex social species than it is explained by invoking the supernatural...Googling 'reason in elephants' and considering what is found seems to me to add evidence for reason being something that emerges within social species rather than being the result of humans and only humans being 'ensouled'."

Perhaps this will explain what is wrong with the thing. If reasoning is purely the outcome of a series of efficient causes, and two people ask themselves the question "53 multiplied by 74 is...?" and one comes to the conclusion "3762" and the other "3922" then how is one to apply an external standard to evaluate between them? They, like the elephants' compassion, are merely emergent processes of efficient causes - there's nothing external to them that they can be compelled to measure up to. You can say that there will be pressure for reason to better conform to the real world, because the greater the accuracy of representation, the greater the chances of making correct decisions.

But you are making a highly dubious assumption. It is likely that at least on some points it is precisely inaccuracy and mental illusions that will best aid survival.

In any case, even if evolution were pushing towards reasonable creatures, there is no more evidence for our being the final outcome than an elephant being. Therefore, we are likely not reasonable creatures. Therefore, the outcomes of our reasonings are not necessarily true. Therefore, evolutionary theory is not necessarily true.

As soon as you assert that we are fully and properly reasonable, you are asserting something qualitative and not something quantitative about us. Elephants may have aspects of reasonableness, but if we are to trust our reason, we cannot have some quantitative amount of reasonableness, we must be qualitatively reasonable

Once you admit that, then all of the stuff about evolution follows. But if you use evolutionary theory to erode that, then you erode the very reasonableness of human thought on which the acceptance of evolutionary theory rests.

Again, if you accept that human beings are qualitatively different in having Reason, rather than being quantitatively different in having greater reason, you have let go of a system of pure efficient causality.

Your modern atheist viewpoint must then disappear, but you would at least start from firm premises.

The problem is exactly analogous to the compassion one above. If human nature is not the measure of compassion and reason, by which we can say that elephants show some quantitative signs of reason and compassion, then reason and compassion do not exist as real entities, and it is useless your evaluating the compassion of an elephant or the reasonableness of a theory. You must have compassion and reason to do that, and compassion and reason cannot come by halves or by dribs and drabs. They are qualitative and not quantitative things.

7 November 2013 18:25  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack agrees with all of the above. Just Jack's little joke as it is all getting complicated.

Happy Jack cannot understand people who do not believe in a creator God. Where do they think everything came from in the first place? From nowhere?

7 November 2013 18:47  
Blogger OldJim said...

To put the thing in another light, and a little more pithily:

How can we prove that our senses are accurate?

Scientists can spend hours observing the way our senses line up with each other, or observing how the eye developed in various species until we eventually get to human beings.

But these observations are worth nothing, because our observations are meaningless unless we have already assumed that our senses are accurate

Only once we have asserted that our senses are accurate can we observe to what extent other animals share them.

Likewise with reason. We can spend forever theorising about the great evolutionary chain of quantitative additions to reason until we get to us, but it means nothing unless our theories are really accurate. For our theories to be accurate, we already need to be fully and qualitatively reasonable. Otherwise, we are mad animals muttering nonsenses as the darkness closes in.

That is, the closer we come by evolutionary theory to demonstrating that human beings are not unique in their level of reasonableness, or that reason is only a gradient, the closer we come to denying the only premises by which evolutionary theory can justify itself.

So, to do any reasoning at all we must start with the assertion that people are qualitatively reasonable.

If that is the case, then people are qualitatively different from other animals.

David B can then go on endlessly about the economy of making compassion merely quantitative, but it's wholly unnecessary if he already has to concede that people are qualitatively different.

In that case, we might see compassion as another instance of qualitative difference because it explains more.

a naturalistic explanation might explain how we are compassionate, but it cannot explain why we should be compassionate or why a person should view compassion as a good thing.

That requires assertions about the freedom of the human will and the monarchy of the human reason. Qualitative claims.

I do not see how David B can avoid making these claims in the domain of reason, I see no reason why he should avoid making these claims in the domain of morality.

The problem for David B is that such claims are not consistent with thorough methodological naturalism. Out of methodological naturalism and knowledge of mankind's qualitative reason and morality, I know which I should choose. Especially considering that the former is more or less meaningless without the latter.

7 November 2013 19:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Good evening fellows.

An excellent post and also a most pleasing display of reasoning after it, including David B. There, that surprised the blighter !

But he still plays out that religion is standing in the way of the beauty humanity could achieve if it was unfettered by it. So it’s rather poignant that we have an image of humanity which is not at all beautiful. You could say his bubble-wrap skin is standing in the way of humanity’s beauty. So there wouldn’t be any place for him in this brave new godless world, sadly. Rather the like the inconvenient foetus, then. Well, there is a place for them all in God’s creation. Disfigured and unwanted, all...

7 November 2013 19:21  
Blogger David B said...

@Happy Jack who said -

"Happy Jack cannot understand people who do not believe in a creator God. Where do they think everything came from in the first place? From nowhere?"

The problem is that invoking a creator God to explain origins does not solve more problems than it leads to, concerning the origins or eternalness, and attributes of the putative God, and how such a putative God could create and/or design a universe, and be active in such a universe without being obvious to physics.

If you are interested in what modern cosmologists think about origins, I suggest watching a few lectures on Youtube, for you to consider. Even if you cannot accept what they say, at least it would give you some insight into what they say.

Lawrence Krauss and Sean Carroll are two names I would suggest searching for on YouTube.

David

7 November 2013 20:04  
Blogger David B said...

Blimey old Jim, those are two posts which really require very complicated and measured answers, and I'm just about done for the day after my long post to carl.

I do prefer the message board to the blog format, since message board threads can last for weeks, and give time for measured and detailed responses and counter responses, while in a blog format the threads seem to have a half life of about a day.

Still, let me see if I can come up with a couple of broad brush responses to your posts which will at least explain my views a bit further.

Starting with -

"You can say that there will be pressure for reason to better conform to the real world, because the greater the accuracy of representation, the greater the chances of making correct decisions."

"But you are making a highly dubious assumption. It is likely that at least on some points it is precisely inaccuracy and mental illusions that will best aid survival."

Generally I think the first point holds, but not universally, as you say.

For instance, there seems to be a lot of survival value for a human infant to be firm wired, if not hard wired, to believe its parents - 'don't go near the water hole/road without me because you might get eaten by a crocodile/run over by a car'.

But such firm wiring gives a handy explanation for how loads and loads of false creation myths, or beliefs like believing that people from distant tribes are subhuman beings fit only for slavery or death. Both common in human history.

In time the good survival rule of thumb 'believe your parents' can be refined and made more appropriate - and indeed we know far more about origins than did those who made up the creation myths regarding the universe, the earth, life and people. And we know that all people are cousins.

I believe we are reasonable creatures on the whole, but not absolutely so, some people more or less than others, and individual people more reasonable at sometimes than others - most people I think have an inverse correlation between temper and reasonableness.A short conclusion - I take the view that making value judgements is part of the extended human phenotype, so one makes moral judgements because one must - for good or ill.

I further believe that as moral discourse continues, and belief in ancient absolute values decays, things get better, but the nature of 'betterness' will have to wait for another day.

David




7 November 2013 20:29  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

@Happy Jack who said -

"Happy Jack cannot understand people who do not believe in a creator God. Where do they think everything came from in the first place? From nowhere?"

Was going to answer David B's hypotheses but because the second law of thermodynamics says that everything is getting worse: not a striving toward evolutionary perfection, but an unwinding into utter collapse, there appears little certainty that stating laws that hinder evolutionary theories would have any effect.

He then writes "But everything points to the wondrous conclusion that, rather as a termite mound can emerge from the blind algorithms of termite behaviour, to a much greater degree, that consciousness and conscience, both have arisen from the blind algorithms of evolution at one level, consistent with physics at another, and so on.(Illusory correlation in operation!)".

Lets just leave Carl to answer David's deep questions as he seems to use scientific terms of reference but clothed in emotional rhetoric that leads to 'Post hoc ergo propter hoc' ...But everything points to...

(A occurred, then B occurred.
Therefore, A caused B!!! On the basis that termites evolved prior to man, 'Naturellement' as Basil Fawlty would say. ).

Blofeld

7 November 2013 21:17  
Blogger Len said...

I must admit I find the image of Pope Francis disturbing and challenging and was uncertain as how to respond to this. Pope Francis certainly seems to be doing 'the christian thing' showing love and compassion to the oucasts of society.
But the thought remains at the back of my mind"Is it possible to do the right thing " for the wrong motive?.(I know this will sound uncharitable and cynical)
Jesus warns us that in the last days deception will be rife and 'many'(not a few) will be deceived.

Satan(who can appear as 'an angel of light' and has done so on more than one occasion)challenged even the Lord Jesus Christ who relied not on His own perception but on the Word of God.This example given by the Lord is a lesson we all who call themselves 'Christian' should follow.

So in these challenging times we must not rely on our own senses our own 'wisdom 'our own perception of 'good and evil'but cling to the Word of God as never before!.The Word of God is sharper than a two edged sword and will cleave between truth and error.

8 November 2013 07:52  
Blogger David B said...

@Len, who said -

"But the thought remains at the back of my mind"Is it possible to do the right thing " for the wrong motive?."

Yes, of course it is - it is possible, for instance, for a politician to vote for the right thing out of political expediency regarding his or her re-election.

It is also possible to do the wrong thing for the right motive, for example mistakenly doing the wrong thing in the conviction that it is right, at cost to oneself.

Giving money to a fraudulent Televangelist fits the bill nicely there.

"So in these challenging times we must not rely on our own senses our own 'wisdom 'our own perception of 'good and evil'but cling to the Word of God as never before!."

A Mullah or a Mormon could say the same thing, and believe it.

Don't go around killing any witches, Len.

David



8 November 2013 08:14  
Blogger David B said...

@ Blofeld & Tiddles re thermodynamics.

In the end all things must pass.

I wonder of you have ever come across Poe's Law? If not you might look it up on Wiki, from which I quote

"The statement called Poe's law was formulated in 2005 by Nathan Poe on the website christianforums.com in a debate about creationism. The original sentence read:
Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a Creationist in such a way that someone won't mistake for the genuine article."

The term has been extended, and now someone attempting such a satire, or the satire itself, may be termed a Poe.

I mention this because something which is now generally thought in my atheist circles to be a Poe, though when it first did the rounds many thought it a genuine post from a creationist, and it is in any case relevant to your mention of thermodynamics.

As I say, I don't like to post links, but if you google 'Creationist almost discovers the sun' you will find the quote below.

"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it."

David

8 November 2013 08:29  
Blogger David B said...

Regarding my belief that generally things are getting morally better, I refer you all in particular to a TED talk by Steven Pinker entitled "The Surprising Decline in Violence".

David

8 November 2013 08:46  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David B

Your debunking of creationist arguments that fail to take into account local decreasing entropy is amusing, but rather misses the point.

Why don't you Google "Heat Death"? Then you will see why the sun is not a long term solution for reversing entropy in our local system - or any other system.

Indeed, Carl's reduction of (your) consciousness to mere quantum interactions is entirely apposite, for that is the evolutionary end-point to which we all are heading - assuming one follows atheist/materialist theory.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

8 November 2013 10:16  
Blogger David Anderson said...

Can someone explain how a brief gesture in a context that will get massive publicity and praise across the world media demonstrates humility?

Humility would be if the Pope admitted that large swathes of his church's doctrine have their basis in human philosophy (e.g. the philosophical distinctions made to justify transubstantiation, or the distinction between dulia and latria to escape the charge of idolatry) rather than in the Word of God.

8 November 2013 10:34  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

David B

"I wonder of you have ever come across Poe's Law? If not you might look it up on Wiki, from which I quote"

Why, it appears no more authoritative than Sod's Law (Sod's law is a name for the axiom of "bad fortune will be tailored to the individual" and "anything that can go wrong, will". "Toast will always land butter side down" is often given as an example of Sod's law in action. )!

Blofeld, my boy,

8 November 2013 11:22  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ps

Hence when Ernst sees those likkle diagrams of poor creatures caught between one species and t'other , Sod's Law springs most readily to mind. The poor unfortunate little blighters, eh and empirically invisible and lost from sight too..Now that would be Lucan's Law.

Blofeld

8 November 2013 11:28  
Blogger David B said...

@ William Lewis

You might have noticed that I started my piece with 'all things must pass' - I am well aware that in the very long term the future for life in the universe is unpromising.

I don't see any reason not to strive for a better understanding of the universe because the very long term prospects are unappetising, any more than I want to give up on my personal life because it will end in the much nearer future than life in the universe, or indeed any reason not to enjoy my soon to be made lunch because I will have eaten it before the hour is up.

David

8 November 2013 12:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says that one man's compassion in holding and kissing a poor deformed man causes a row. Jack thinks this is a strange thing and asks why people don't just respect the loving act rather than picking it apart?

8 November 2013 12:12  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Blowers, I love your posts and the muscular way you defend your position, but I'm not too sure that you are up speed on the latest thinking in evolutionary science.

The 'likkle' diagrams you refer to are drawn from the fossil record and, yes, transitional species are constantly being observed.

The theory is a good one - could I suggest you (and everyone else on this blog with an interest in the subject) read 'Why evolution is true' by Jerry A. Coyne. It is a respectfully written, readable and enjoyable book setting out the thinking behind and the evidence for evolution.

8 November 2013 12:14  
Blogger David B said...

@ David Anderson

Quite a nice post, I thought, though I suggest that it could be improved by the words 'a hypothetical' or 'a putative' between the words 'of' and 'God'.

David

8 November 2013 12:15  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Ars, my fellow

"Blowers, I love your posts and the muscular way you defend your position, but I'm not too sure that you are up speed on the latest thinking in evolutionary science." THINKING, dear man. is simply that. Now where are the transitional evidences of inter species evolution (empirical) amongst the plethora of fossil records in the ground? NONE!.

"The 'likkle' diagrams you refer to are drawn (IMAGINED!) from the fossil record and, yes, transitional species are constantly being observed ( WHERE??). "Strange how there are not trumpeting announcements then of these half creatures on show. Tis merely in the heads of those non god types, my fellow, for the gullible to swallow.

Ernst demands empirical evidence not psychological inference for Ernst to agree with the Emperors clothes!

'Why evolution is true' by Jerry A. Coyne. It is a respectfully written, readable and enjoyable book setting out the thinking behind and the evidence for evolution.

I then produce..Going Deeper With The Holy Spirit by Benny Hinn (Why Charismatic Nonsense is true!). It is a respectfully written, readable and enjoyable book in thinking and teaching about the Holy Spirit and sharing the profound effect this dearest of all relationships on Earth has had on HIS life and why you should believe everything he says about his dealings, especially in public healings, with the third person of the Trinity, and the evidence for his relationship being true because of his empirical financial blessing from others.

8 November 2013 12:37  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David B

You "reasonably" stated:

"I don't see any reason not to ..."

But you could just as "reasonably" have started that comment with:

"I see every reason not to ..."

and no atheist/materialist could have contradicted your reasoning.

Further to that, both you and your reasoning are a product of a random, pointless process that is progressing towards oblivion. Perhaps we should ignore your comments on this blog on the grounds that they have emanated from a pointless product of a pointless process? Or have I not followed the consequences of your theories to their natural conclusion?

8 November 2013 13:21  
Blogger Claudio said...

@ David Anderson
ehrm....humility would be also to admit that you can read the Word of God (a.k.a the Bible) courtesy of...the Church, the same Church you blame of distorting the 'Word of God'. You read the Bible, you implicitly admit that at least the Early Church had some sort of authority to decide which books were divinely inspired and which ones were not, am I right?
So, you recognize the authority of the Church and the authority of the Tradition, as the Canon itself is part of what Catholics calls 'Tradition, which also include the 'distorting doctrines' you talk about. At the same time you do not recognize the authority of the Tradition (the 'distorted philosophical doctrines the Holy Father should humbly correct and-or abandon). so how does it work? Is Tradition reliable? is it not?Is it reliable...well, sometimes, when you decide so?
However, sorry for the occasional typos and-or convoluted expressions (I am italian) and thanks to H.G. for this post

8 November 2013 13:41  
Blogger The Explorer said...

Ars/Blowers

One-off observation.

My inexpert impression of Coyne's book is that it is like an atheist equivalent of Aquinas' proofs: it will convince those already convinced, but leave sceptics where they were before.

One thing that troubled me about Coyne was his description of William Lane Craig as a Baptist preacher. Craig is/was, as I understand it, a Methodist research professor.

8 November 2013 14:07  
Blogger Frater minor said...

Explorer:

Yes it has often seemed to me that St Thomas' proofs are very convincing indeed if you are already committed to a belief in the existance of God.

And in exactly the same way, theories of materialist evolution are very convincing indeed if you are already committed to a materialist world-view.

In the end, it seems that belief or unbelief in God is not primarily an intellectual act, it is a moral act. Those who wish to glorify God and follow him will think accordingly, while those who wish to deny God will find that they become futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts will be darkened.



Frater minor

8 November 2013 14:15  
Blogger David B said...

@ William Lewis

There is an instructive Jesus and Mo
cartoon entitled 'soul' which I commend to you regarding your post of 13.21.

I suggest googling it.

David

8 November 2013 14:26  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Carl spent yesterday collecting his daughter from the airport. Couldn't respond to David B by phone. Must get home first.

On the bright side, Carl has a pocket full of German chocolate.

carl

8 November 2013 14:44  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David B

I googled and found a straw Jesus lying in tatters on the floor.

Instructive indeed.

It is your theory of your pointless provenance rather than your immanent extinction that renders you pointless, I think.

8 November 2013 15:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well done to Francis for giving the person a hug. Not sure I would have done so, unless I knew what his disease is. We have good reason to recoil from manifestations of disease as the article suggests, and it's not a lack of compassion.

8 November 2013 16:42  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Claudio said...

@ David Anderson (Claudio, mio ragazzo, you appear not to have addressed any of Mr Anderson? Perche?..Aaah. Non e possible per lei)
ehrm....humility would be also to admit that you can read the Word of God (a.k.a the Bible) courtesy of...the Church (Romans (appears to have been completely ignored by Rome since sent!) Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians and Thessalonians.), the same Church you blame of distorting the 'Word of God'(Ahem..Rome is all the others named, is it?). You read the Bible, you implicitly admit that at least the Early Church(ES) had some sort of authority to decide which books were divinely inspired and which ones were not, am I right (Correct ...ooohhh but you think that Rome means EVERY church, don't you!)?
So, you recognize the authority of the Church and the authority of the Tradition(Ooh dearie me..Following you leading question very nicely, mio bambino), as the Canon itself is part of what Catholics calls 'Tradition (RC Nonsense!), which also include the 'distorting doctrines' you talk about(You misleading rascal..Tu sei un rompiscatole). At the same time you do not recognize the authority of the Tradition (RC myth, fable and hearsay...Hmmm.YEP) )(the 'distorted philosophical doctrines the Holy Father should humbly correct and-or abandon). so how does it work(You are the one with the leading questions, ragazzo, do tell?))? Is Tradition reliable? (non lo so, ci dicono?) is it not?(non lo so, ci dicono?) Is it reliable (non lo so, ci dicono?) ...well, sometimes, when you decide so (ALLORA!!)?
However, sorry for the occasional typos and-or convoluted expressions (I am italian)..(okay. Ti perdoniamo) and thanks to H.G. for this post" ANZI, il mio bel ragazzo. Addio.

Blowers 'l'esperto uno'

8 November 2013 16:45  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Dearest Claudio and others.

What a boon old Ernst has discovered in his attic.

A never filmed script by the Marx Brothers based on The Reformation called: Vaticanus Interruptus; Normal service will be resumed shortly!

Just spent 20 minutes reading through it with Chico as Pope Leo X, Groucho as an emissary from the Vatican to the United Kingdom and Harpo as apprentice Pope, Alessandro Farnese, later to be Pope Paul III. Wonderful stuff about how it all started etc with the idea's of the counter reformation taking shape during the plot.

Will type out later for RC's benefit as script is based on real conversations with the main characters from the manuscripts set down by shorthand TraYpPIST monks. Boy, did those three have a sense of humour or what? No, NOT marx brothers..The Papacy. Brilliant! Presume it never got done due to WW2 and them being Jewish..Why wind up Pope Pius XII unnecessarily, hmmm?

Off for tea, will report later.

Blowers, over and out..

8 November 2013 17:48  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Goodness.

Just heard that Ms Shamista Chakrabhati And Mr Al Sheebab have decide to form a new law firm to support Muslim Extremists that want to claim many squids in damages from ill treatment by the UK Government.

Injurylawyers4allahU

8 November 2013 17:59  
Blogger Claudio said...

@ Extra etc:
1)Let's be formal then, Spettabile Signor Blofeld.My apologies to il (Reverendo?Pastore? Signor?)Anderson.
2) But the Church(es) were one Church when the Canon was fixed. and the doctrinary differences between the 'pre-reformation' churches, with valid apostolic succession etc, are minimal.
3) Tradition= Church Teachings
4) so, an almost undivided Church had the authority to fix the Canon, and we have the Bible. Both me and il Signor (Pastore?Reverendo?) Anderson consider the Bible divinely inspired,thus we both, implicitly or explicitly, recognize the 'teaching authority of that very Church which gave us the Bible. I still think that the Church has a teaching authority and that Tradition/ Church Teachings are authoritative, hence is easy for me to accept the Scriptures as the Word of God (the Church told me so and I trust the Church and I recognize her teaching authority). I was just wondering how can someone take the Bible as the Word of God and at the same time consider the Church as a bunch of fraudolent storytellers with no teachig authority (even if the Canon we both accept is based on that very teaching authority.).The curiosity of a simple minded italian papist, you know... Grazie per il perdono, that's very kind of you. Arrivederci.

8 November 2013 19:16  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Claudio,

"2) But the Church(es) were one Church (NO. La sua non è vero) when the Canon was fixed. and the doctrinary differences between the 'pre-reformation' churches, with valid apostolic succession (NO. La sua non è vero) etc, are minimal.

3) Tradition= Church Teachings (Tradition = Apostolic tradition NOT church hearsay. Apostolic tradition is always verifiable by the Epistles and never contradicts it. Questo è vero)"

4) so, an almost (Hai detto 'è stato uno', correggere??) undivided Church had the authority to fix the Canon, and we have the Bible. Both me and il Signor (Pastore?Reverendo?) Anderson consider the Bible divinely inspired,thus we both, implicitly or explicitly, recognize the 'teaching authority of that very Church which gave us the Bib( You assume too much when you do this linking of your different statement with Professore Anderson thereby rying to make an ASS of U and ME..

I still think that the Church has a teaching authority and that Tradition/ Church Teachings are authoritative, hence is easy for me to accept the Scriptures as the Word of God (the Church told me so and I trust the Church and I recognize her teaching authority)(I can say with some confidence that God the Father, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit and all the authors of the Holy Bible are grateful for that humbling statement from you!!!.

I was just wondering how can someone take the Bible as the Word of God and at the same time consider the Church as a bunch of fraudolent storytellers with no teachig authority (even if the Canon we both accept is based on that very teaching authority.).(Completely mystifying, is it not, me young Italian papa-ista) The curiosity of a simple minded italian papist, you know (Oooh, don't be so self effacing , mio all'oscuro amico... Grazie per il perdono, that's very kind of you. Arrivederci. No prego. Sono grato che potrei aiutare!

Arriverderci Roma..Don't stray too far from home now.

8 November 2013 23:12  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack thinks its time to watch Inspector Montalbano on BBCi Player. Two episodes to go. At least that has sub-titles so he can follow what's being said.

Night, night, Blowers and behave yourself.

8 November 2013 23:53  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Happy Jack thinks its time to watch Inspector Montalbano on BBCi Player. Two episodes to go. At least that has sub-titles so he can follow what's being said.

Night, night, Blowers and behave yourself."

Ernst has only just tonight got himself up to date on his favourite series..Homeland, The Mentalist, Person of Interest and Elementary...Now for some mischief. *Chuckles from corner of mouth *

Nighty night my young erudite and don't let Peter Mandelson bite.

9 November 2013 00:55  
Blogger Claudio said...

2) If you say so, but I'ld love to know why I am wrong.
3) Well, It's a start:)
4) am I?
5) 'You assume too much when you do this linking of your different statement with Professore Anderson thereby rying to make an ASS of U and ME'.
can u expand on this score? and btw i am not trying to make an ass of anyone; I just want to know how the 'evangelical mind' works. so grazie dell'aiuto.


"Arriverderci Roma..Don't stray too far from home now."
Home...I'm an expat, the uk is my home(ish). Hence my interest in this blog, it's useful to cast (at least some) light on what's goin on here. So arrivederci e a presto, caro il mio cattofobico!
Buonanotte e/o buongiorno.
Claudio
Ps Happy Jack, i love reading your comments. When you're done with Ispettore Montalbano, you should give 'Romanzo Criminale-La serie' a try if you've not already done so.
Cheers

9 November 2013 05:00  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says a big hello and welcome to Mr Claudio. Jack thanks him for his kind words.

Happy Jack can only watch Inspector Montalbano when he is on BBCi player. The Young Montalbano was on a little while ago too. His favourite is police officer Catarella who keeps getting names and addresses wrong. He is a funny man and makes Jack laugh and giggle when he slips on Inspector Montalbano's door and blames the door. Jack admires the Inspector most for refusing to agree with his bosses to leave the Mafia alone.

Can you tell Happy Jack what a
"cattofobico" is? He asked Jeeves but he does not seem to know? Jack hopes it is a nice word.

9 November 2013 15:23  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Happy Jack

I think I can answer your question, Jack, though I haven't actually seen the word before. "Catto" as in "cattolico" and "fobico" is self-explanatory. Our friend Claudio is pointing out that certain very nice, friendly, Christian people, including one or two whose comments from time to time may be found gracing His Grace's threads, nevertheless have a blind spot where the Church of Rome is concerned. But don't let's hold it against them.

9 November 2013 16:06  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack thanks Uncle Brian for explaining this to him but he still had to look up "fobico". Jack has learned many people have blind spots and we should always try to understand anothers way of seeing things. Mr Blowers could just call Mr Claudio a "prodofobico" back and that gets no one anywhere. Jack hopes Mr Claudio was just making fun and teasing old Blowers.

9 November 2013 16:52  
Blogger Claudio said...

Thanks Mr Happy Jack and yep, I was just teasing Mr Blowers, I hope he will not get THAT upset about it. Fobico means...phobic, and cattofobia is a neologism, recently used (and sometimes abused) to refer to people who blame the Catholic Church (I don't like the term...Roman. what about the Eastern Catholic Churches?) for almost every problem of humanity in general and of Italy in particular.
I used to be a hardcore cattofobico myself, then...I've moved to the UK. distance helps to put things in perspective, I guess.
Ciao

9 November 2013 20:01  
Blogger Len said...

One should never have' a blind spot' where Rome is concerned.Rome quite plainly preaches 'another Gospel'and those who follow it will be enveloped in spiritual darkness.
What is needed is the Light of the Truth of the Word of God to break into the Church of Rome to dispel all the heresies and the myths Rome has invented to enable it to gather millions of souls through its portals and imprison them in a web of deception.



9 November 2013 21:25  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Len

One should never have' a blind spot' where Rome is concerned.

I agree wholeheartedly, Len. In fact I would go further, and say that even better would be to have no blind spots at all.

9 November 2013 23:19  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Claudio, there's no need to call Happy Jack "Mr" now we have said hello. Jack doesn't think Blowers will be upset at all so don't worry. Jack says sometimes to understand a situation one needs to step away for a while. He hopes you find this "perspective" soon.

Hello Len. Happy Jack says if Rome is telling lies then you needn't worry about souls because God is stronger. Jack has noticed in life if you just push someone hard they hold ground and only push back.

Uncle Brian, that was an erudite answer!

10 November 2013 01:31  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Uncle Brian said...

Len

One should never have' a blind spot' where Rome is concerned.

I agree wholeheartedly, Len. In fact I would go further, and say that even better would be to have no blind spots at all."


360° Christianity™, it comes with 20/20 Hindsight™..Now would'nt that be smashing?

" Happy Jack said...

Claudio, there's no need to call Happy Jack "Mr" now we have said hello. Jack doesn't think Blowers will be upset at all so don't worry (Spot on Lad...and as a sign of good faith to Claudio I offer this in repentance for any offense Ernst caused the poor sensitive RC...

Francis of Assisi as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which naturally produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet.

He also ate very little and when he did he mixed cold water and ash into his food so as to ruin its flavor., which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath.

This made him what?

attendere che si...attendere che si

A super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis... if you think too long on it you'll want to be blind stocious...A super calloused fragile mystic plagued with halitosis... um diddle diddle diddle dum diddle I-tie um diddle diddle diddle dum diddle I-tie !!!!!)
*[Blowers exits blog Ship-shape and Bristol fashion, whistling "A Spoonful of Zucchero"]*

10 November 2013 03:31  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Jack Lad

Ernst was walking along Brighton beach was deep in prayer. All of a sudden Ernst felt the urge to say out loud, "Lord grant me one wish". Suddenly the sky clouded above Ernst's head and in a booming voice the Lord said, "Ernst, because you have been faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish" Ernst said, "Build a bridge to France, so I can drive over anytime I want to for me duty free tabs, please".

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic, old Bean. Think of the logistics of that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the channel! The concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things like this and I am more than a little disappointed. Take a little more time dear fellow and think of another wish, a wish you think would honor and glorify me."

Ernst thought about it for a long time as he strolled along the each, cornetto in hand . Finally he said, "Lord, I have been married and divorced four times. My current wife says that I am an uncaring and insensitive Oaf.

I wish that I could understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry, what they mean when they say "Whatever." or "Oh, nothing." or "I'll be 5 minutes." or "Can we cuddle? " or "I think we should get a pet. " or " I'm sorry." and how I can make a woman truly happy".

After a few minutes God said, " Ernsty, come now, my fine chap.. How many lanes did you say you wanted on that bridge?"

Blowers

10 November 2013 03:48  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

ESB

...

GONNNNNNGGGGGG!

carl

10 November 2013 04:01  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Political Truisms.

1.Bureaucrats do not change the course of the ship of state. They merely adjust the compass.

2.When Ernst was a boy he was told that anybody could become Prime Minister... I'm beginning to flipping believe it!!.

3. There ought to be one bloom'n day - just one - every 5 years, when there is an open season culling on Westminster politicians by Royal Assent for the public. Come on, Your Majesty, you know it makes sense, we are all in this together!!!

Blowers...Nighty night y'all. You too Carl.

10 November 2013 04:07  
Blogger Len said...

'Brighton beach' ernst?..I know it well.

'Blind spots'...the World is covered by' gross darkness'and it is only the Light given by the Word of God which acts as a Lamp to guide us.
Some prefer their 'wisdom' to guide them handed to them and this wisdom is given to them by the wizards of the' magic stair room' which is leading many around in circles aimlessly.Some prefer their' wisdom' from the altar of their high priest' Dawkins 'the grand master' of the religion of the ever shifting theory.
Never before was the Word of God needed to guide us in the [rapidly] increasing spiritual darkness sweeping like the tide.

10 November 2013 10:19  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Len and
Blofeld

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

10 November 2013 11:12  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Len said...

'Brighton beach' ernst?..I know it well.'

A lovely view and walk ruined for bare feet by the painful pebbles and shingle found along its shoreline. OUCH..OUCH!!

Ernsty

10 November 2013 11:19  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Ernst, aren't all the South Coast beaches like that? It's been many years, but Hastings, Eastbourne, Folkestone, Worthing ... pebbles all the way, as I recall. No? Not sure about the Isle of Wight.

10 November 2013 13:00  
Blogger IanCad said...

Uncle Brian,

"Lead Kindly Light"

A wnderful and beautiful hymn by Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Sometimes, as I have said, doctrine can take a back seat.

10 November 2013 14:07  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Claudio, bienvenuto, ciao bene and hello! Sono la miglia di vescoco di Barchester and friend of la Signora Neroni.

10 November 2013 19:41  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Dear dear Happy Jack, one feels ignored...oh my goodness

10 November 2013 19:43  
Blogger Claudio said...

Sorry for my late reply Signora Proudie, e grazie per il benvenuto! Please give my regards al Signor Vescovo e alla Signora Neroni.

10 November 2013 21:20  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Starbucks manages to arrange a meeting with the Pope Francis at the Vatican.

After receiving the papal blessing, the Starbucks official whispers, “Your Eminence, we have an offer for you. Starbucks is prepared to donate 100m euros.to the church if you change the Lord’s Prayer from ‘give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘give us this day our daily coffee.’”

The Pope responds, “That is impossible. The prayer is the word of the Lord. It must not be changed.”

“Well,” says the Starbucks man, “we anticipated your reluctance. For this reason we will increase our offer to 300m euros..”

“My son, it is impossible. For the prayer is the word of the Lord, and it must not be changed.”

The Starbucks guy says, “Your Holiness, we at Starbucks greatly respect your adherence to the faith, but we do have one final offer… We will donate 500m euros.– that’s half a billion euros – to the great Roman Catholic Church if you would only change the Lord’s Prayer from ‘give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘give us this day our daily coffee.’ Please consider it.”

And he leaves.

The next day the Pope convenes the College of Cardinals.

“There is some good news,” he announces, “and some bad news.”

“The good news is that the Church will come into 500m euros.”

“And the bad news, your Holiness?” asks a Cardinal.

“We’re losing the Warburtons account.”

11 November 2013 02:30  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Tens of Centuries ago, God came down, went to the Germans and said,
"I have Commandments that will help you live better lives."
The Germans ask, "What are Commandments?"
And the Lord says, "Rules for living."
"Can you give us an example?"
God says, "Thou shalt not kill."
"Not kill? We're not interested."

So God went to the Italians and said,
"I have Commandments..."
The Italians wanted an example and the Lord said, "Thou shalt not steal."
"Not steal? We're not interested."

Next the Lord went to the French saying, "I have Commandments..."
The French wanted an example and the Lord said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife."
And the French were not interested.

God then went to the Jews and said, "I have Commandments..."

"Commandments," said the Jews,"How much are they?"

God said "They're free."

"We'll take 10 then."

11 November 2013 02:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Several churches in South Croydon decided to hold ecumenical services. The leader was a Roman Catholic and proud of his church.
"How many Catholics are here?" he asked on the first night of the joint services?
All except one little old bloke raised their hands.
"Sir, what are you?" asked the leader.
"I'm Evangelical," meekly replied the fellow.
"Why are you an Evangelical?" queried the leader?
"Well," replied the little old codger, "my grandfather was Evangelical, my mother was Evangelical, and my late wife was an Evangelical."
"Well," retorted the leader, "just supposing all your relatives had been morons, what would that have made you?"
"Oh, I see. A Roman Catholic, I suppose," the old fellow replied meekly. *chortling ecumenically*

11 November 2013 02:58  
Blogger Claudio said...

Ernts,with your wit and good writing style you could have been an amazing Chesterton. still, you've chosen otherwise, and you blame me for praying the Rosary while one day tomorrow you'll have a woman 'Bishop' celebrating a gay 'wedding', and still you'll think that is not that bad as long as you're not under Rome...you've traded 'Tradition' with public opinion polls and still you're convinced you're doing God's will to the extent you can take a piss of me for I am a lobotomyzed papist while you are an enlightened protestant, along with other 25000 different protestant denominations, all convinced they are the true Church of God....

"Preghiamo per gli eretici e gli scismatici: che il Signore Nostro Dio sia lieto di salvarli da tutti i loro errori; e li richiami alla nostra Santa Madre Chiesa Cattolica e Apostolica.”
Trad:
"Let's pray for the heretics and the schismatics;may Our Lord save them from all their errors and call them back to our Holy Mother Catholic and Apostolic Church".
Ciao

11 November 2013 04:47  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

""Let's pray for the heretics and the schismatics;may Our Lord save them from all their errors and call them back to our Holy Mother Catholic and Apostolic Church". ""Let's pray for the heretics and the schismatics;may Our Lord save them from all their historic errors and call them back to into the Body of Christ and therefore the one true Apostolic Church""
"DITTO, my boy."

"Ciao"??..Fino a quando ci incontreremo di nuovo, seems more appropriate! *Heretical Guffaws*

11 November 2013 12:51  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack thinks B-B-Blowers is being very b-b-b-b-bad making f-f-fun of ca-ca-cat-Catholics!

Jack thought the Warburton joke was funny and the one about the 10 commandments. Here's some that Happy Jack knows.

Why was Noah the best businessman in the Bible?
Because he floated his stock while everybody else was liquidated.

Why can't Anglicans play chess?
Because they can't tell a Bishop from a Queen.

A Catholic boy and a Protestant boy were talking and the Catholic boy said, "My priest knows more than your minister."
The Protestant boy said, "Of course he does, you tell him everything."

"That's all Folks!"

11 November 2013 17:03  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack thinks B-B-Blowers is being very b-b-b-b-bad making f-f-fun of ca-ca-cat-Catholics!
(In the immortal words of Ernst Biggerhorn Blowerhorn, "That's a joke, ah say, that's a joke, son. DOO-Dah! DOO-Dah!"

Now just what was it that our Claudio was asking for me to do to him .."Claudio, lad. Did you want Ernst to roast you Original Recipe style or Extra Crispy?"


Here's some that Happy Jack knows...." Liked the Noah one!

Ernst 'Gone with the Windbag' Blowers

11 November 2013 18:19  
Blogger Claudio said...

@ Happy Jack

Why can't Anglicans play chess?
Because they can't tell a Bishop from a Queen.

Nice one, shame it can't be translated in italian (despite their theological issues, I'm pretty sure Anglicans can tell the difference between an alfiere e una Regina)

Ernest (if I may), can I ask you which one of the "true Church(es) of God' is yours? You know, for good or bad Catholicism=a precise set of beliefs&practises, while 'protestantism'= a quite dishomogenic&conflicting group of Churches unable to agree even on basic problems such as 'What time is it?'...
It would be fair of you to tell me who am I speaking with, so I can at least calibrate my counter-jokes.
Not that this will matter THAT much anyway...have you read H.G. last post? Very soon we might continue this theological battle in jail, charged of 'hate speech' for reading Romans. well, I guess we will not get bored doing time at least.
Ciao (appropriate to end up a friendly , at least on my side, conversation).

11 November 2013 19:26  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Ernest (if I may) {Do continue, lad}, can I ask you which one of the "true Church(es) of God' is yours." Not YOURS lad!

You know, for good or bad Catholicism=a precise set of beliefs&practises (So has Witchcraft/Satanism..Your point being?), while 'protestantism'= a quite dishomogenic&conflicting group of Churches unable to agree even on basic problems such as 'What time is it?'(You have built up such a house of cards of lies and nonsense for 1700 years, that to admit its wrong and correct it would surely show your church to be the charlatans of history they are. There is Liberty in Christ my boy, Shocking though this maye to RC sensitivities, even to mess up and not be stretched on a rack or burnt to a crisp at the stake for doing so. CAPICE. We try to REASON together rather than look to find a local inquisitor in the 'Torquemada Directories' under Clerical Cleaning And Funeral Services)...

Ernst favourite saying from RC's about why they are the true church..It's an outstanding piece of nonsense that Ernst is sure you'll love and so shares it with you....http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/if-jesus-was-a-jew-why-are-we-catholic

"Unfortunately, over the course of time some Christians ( WHO might these mysterious heretical people be, be precise now? ) broke away from the Church that Jesus founded, and so a name was needed to distinguish this Church from the ones that broke off from it ( WHO might these mysterious heretical people be. Be precise now? ? ) . Because all the breakaways were particular, local groups,( Ooooh..As Rome was hardly local to Israel, Asia minor etc on what basis do you make this outrageous sweeping claim..Lets have it historically and geographically then or is it because Rome grabs an imaginary ball, it makes the game yours alone, to the eclusiuon of others with a ball in theirs?)

it was decided to call the Church Jesus founded the "universal" ( Jesus never said THIS so by WHOM other? It is never called this throughout the whole of the NT. FACT..It is called the Church of God 11 times, never your use of your term ) (Greek, kataholos = "according to the whole") Church, and thus the name Catholic was applied to it.

Acts 9:31 Youngs Literal Translation from the GREEK

Then, indeed, the assemblies ( ekklēsia) throughout (kata) all (holos) Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, had peace, being built up, and, going on in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

11 November 2013 22:58  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

From Ernst's reading of this, "holos" is not being used to describe "Ekklesia" , but rather refers to the "WHOLE" of Judea and Galilee and Samaria ..it is not the "whole" Churches/Assemblies , but the "whole" of the stated "AREAS" that is being written about..It is a very simple statement of the church existing throughout the [as then] evangelised region (geographical area.) as known during the time of Acts... Roman Catholicism is trying to turn "holos" into a proper noun. It's not.!!!!!!!!

RC's are very sloppy and tend to stop reading the exact passage to its natural conclusion for its reader...like charismatics, when it suits!! *Wink Wink*

www.catholic.com continues. "That is why Jesus was a Jew and we are Catholics: Jesus came to complete the Jewish religion by creating a Church that would serve as its fulfillment (The Church/Body is NOT a fulfillment, HE IS. The OT states nothing about this and St Paul calls it 'MYSTERION' {a secret , which would remain such but for revelation} in the Koine) and be open to people of all races, not just ethnic Jews (It was 'convert on pain of death' to romish practice for Jews, was it NOT..some fulfillment that was!). As Catholics, we are those who have accepted the fulfillment of the Jewish faith by joining the Church that Jesus founded (You follow a litany of myths, lies, deception and heretical blasphemies forbidden or unknown in the Jewish faith regarding the Almighty and His salvation and therefore unknown to Jesus Christ HIMSELF!!!)."

Yes, the clergy of the RC denomination will point to the teaching of the RC denomination and the teaching therefore of RC denomination will appeal to the traditions held by it's clergy of the RC denomination ...IE the age of the rock strata is determined by the fossil record and the fossil records age is determined by the rock strata it occupies... Called circular reasoning, my young RC)
You exchange the Biblical truth for the purpose sole for the power that the RCC claims for itself and itself alone.

When it comes to the church, there is the church invisible, comprised by all those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and none other. And there is the visible church, comprised of those who gather together physically in a specific place in time and space.

Not all members of the visible church belong to the body of Christ as stated in Scripture, and not all who belong to the body of Christ gather physically in a church...lots gather in house groups in dangerous places to believe!

Glory to God for all things! and Ernst trust this helps clarify, my young RC.

Blofeld

Ps

Ernst is always friendly but he once was a super villain so carries these unfortunate traits with him, like a ball and chain but bit by bit...

11 November 2013 23:10  
Blogger OldJim said...

Ernst

"WHO might these mysterious heretical people be. Be precise now?"

Well, there were:

The Marcionites, who denied the identity of the God of the Old Testament with that of Jesus Christ, characterising the God of the Old Testament as horrible tyrant dreamed up by the Jews. This strain of Christianity continues through to the "Positive Christianity" of Nazi Germany.

The Ebionites and the Arians, who denied at different times and in different ways that Jesus was Fully God.

The Appolinarians, Docetists, Eutychians who taught at different times and in different ways that Jesus was not Fully Man.

The Pneumatomachs, who denied the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, and thereby the Doctrine of the Trinity.

The Patripassians, who denied the distinct personhood of God the Father and God the Son, and thereby the Doctrine of the Trinity. See also: the Sabellians.

There were tens of groups of Antinomians, from some early gnostic groups to the Ranters of the Reformation

The Montanists, who believed that prophecy continued after the canonisation of the New Testament, and who ordained women.

The Pelagians, who held that man could be sufficiently good to get to heaven without Grace; the Semipelagians who held that a man could take hold of Faith without grace, but only needed grace to strengthen him.

Various gnostic and manichean groups who dressed themselves up in Christianity; for a late example from the Medieval world, see Catharism. They held that the world was so evil that nothing good could happen in it. The only people who would go to heaven were the "perfecti" who were ordained by a special sacrament and who after receiving this sacrament could not have sex, and lived like monks. The perfecti would ordain other perfecti who had lived "sinful" (read: ordinary) lives on their deathbeds to save them from hell. If a Perfecti committed a sin, that was it. They were hellbound, no reprieve.

More recently, there have been the jehovah's witnesses and the Latter Day saints, who deny the trinity and claim to reassert the ancient doctrine of the Church.

Now Ernst, who combated and denied these false doctrines? Name them, and tell me what they taught in contrast to these heretics?

Can you demonstrate to me that they are not the very same people who would have fought and whose successors did fight the teachings of Hus, Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and their ilk?

Of course you can't. Instead, you have to largely ignore history and tell me that in that case things were different. Or that Rome only started teaching what it presently teaches sometime in the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Or that when the Church Fathers refer to bishops or to the transformation of the host into the Body of Christ or to free will or to the primacy of the bishop of Rome or to saints, or to icons, and so endlessly on, they meant something else.

Or you have to say that until the sixteenth century, the story of these heresies is the story of heretical RCs arguing for the true doctrine against all the other heretics who come and go, until Luther gloriously set the "real" Church free. In which case, the gates of Hell prevailed for a time, and all that was left was
error fighting error.

None of that makes sense.

12 November 2013 00:57  
Blogger OldJim said...

The questions aren't wholly polemical, by the way, I'm quite interested in the answer.

See, I understand the High Church Anglican answer. I can wrap my head around it. Bishops, Sacraments, Icons, the Mass, all fine. But there is a case for full Papal Supremacy being a late development, as also some of the developments in Mariology. So I follow that. I disagree, but I follow how it could be argued.

Likewise, and even more strongly, I can follow the Eastern Orthodox case.

But to be wholly a Protestant... the mind reels. Do you have to believe that none of the Church Fathers, in combating what we both recognise as heresies, were arguing for doctrines more recognisably Catholic than Reformed? I don't see that it can be done. Their works considered in sum total stink to high heaven of Catholicism.

Or do you accept that, but teach that most of that stuff was OK for the most part, but the real meat is that the Catholic Church didn't define its teaching on predestination and monergism until Trent, and that that was when it apostatised? In which case, the problem is the clear overwhelming consensus in favour of synergy from the time of the Early Church onwards, with the exceptions (perhaps, under one controversial reading,) of Paul, Augustine, Gottschalk of Orbais, and maybe a handful of others?

Or do you teach that those fighting heresy until the sixteenth century were themselves Catholic heretics, when the Early Church was restored? In which case, the gates of Hell prevailed, surely?

Or do you teach that secretly throughout the "Dark Ages" and the Medieval period, there were secret bands of "Real Christians (tm)" from whom we have no historical record, but who preserved it until Martin Luther came along and argued for it? And why would you argue that, unless you felt yourself bound to? It's prima facie wholly unlikely and silly to argue the case for "secret Christians" who we have not the slightest evidence existed?

Or do you identify with selected bands of heretics, and call them the "true Church"? Sure, maybe you pick the Waldensians and Wycliffe, perhaps the philosophy of Ockham, there's some case for an overlap of teaching there. But all that you've demonstrated then is that protestantism has its roots in Medieval theology, no earlier.

If you want to go earlier, and you're a Pentecostalist, say, you might choose the Montanists as "true Christian" spritual forbears. But why the Montanists and not the Marcionites? Who is to say that us torturing, evil RCs preserved the canon of Scripture correctly?

Why pick Montanists and not Sabellians? Who is to say that us "tradition of men" RCs were correct in the unscriptural dogma of the Trinity, when we were wrong on so many other counts?

In the end, I don't see how you can offer a satisfactory answer to these sorts of questions. And that is part of the reason that I am a Catholic.

12 November 2013 01:40  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

OldJim said...

Ernst

"WHO might these mysterious heretical people be. Be precise now?"

This is a flimsy answer towards a non catholic position as you can clearly see that Ernst is being flippant with Romish deflections of the truth of why it trys to establish itself as THE CHURCH rather than as a regional one amongst many.It is in serious error..the only reason you do this is to try and undermine the case against the RCC without actually having to engage with the stated problems associated with holding it.

The term Universal/Catholic does not hold water as Ernst has shown from the Greek in the NT that Christ and non of his apostles mention the term..It is not even translated as such in your Latin Vulgate considering the term was supposedly well known during the 2nd century from catholic documents . It is a coined phrase for a specific purpose in self justification!

The Scriptures mention no denominations..Roman Catholicism is a denomination, despite what those think that are shocked and say NO.

Definition of DENOMINATION from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: -a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices, this is also under law for tax exemption purposes.

Ernst strongly believes that people really need to start using the dictionary instead of their theological "twaddle" as an authority for how the English Language determines the meaning of a word like "denomination or where it occurs as being valid.
Misusing the the English Language just because it challenges a poorly thought theological theory about itself is being intellectually dishonest but it seems par for the course!

Remember that we as non Catholics teach things BECAUSE they are in the Bible rather than Romes summing up the Catholic church's teaching of God's Word this way... Anything, at any time, that the church says is God's Word or Teaching, whether written or oral, is God's Word. After the Church has proclaimed it as such, it can never repeal its claims without exposing itself as being in error -- so never shall. Does that sound about right?

The best assaults on Biblical Christianity will always come from within, and in the name of Christianity, as these require the most discernment to detect. The best lies always contain a whole lot of truth "Now Ernst, who combated and denied these false doctrines? Name them, and tell me what they taught in contrast to these heretics? or "Who is to say that us "tradition of men" RCs were correct in the unscriptural dogma of the Trinity, when we were wrong on so many other counts?"
"(As you have shown, pointing out things stated by others but actually hold onto worse heresies yourself as a church because of what is stated above...as being in error -- so never shall!).

"Do you have to believe that none of the Church Fathers, in combating what we both recognise as heresies, were arguing for doctrines more recognisably Catholic than Reformed (They went astray, my fellow, down paths totally at odds with scripture, building error upon error til they were worse hypocrites than those they chastened !!)? I don't see that it can be done. Their works considered in sum total stink to high heaven of Catholicism.(Uugh. Hopefully the Almighty has got all the windows open to air the place out then, in anticipation of those He has promised a prepared place for up there)"

Watering down the truth can never promote Biblical unity (the type Jesus' prayed for in John chapter 17) -- unity must be based on the Bible (John 17:17). For the sake of Truth, and the salvation of our Roman Catholic friends and neighbors, Ernst trys to wake people up and start them asking the hard questions...a rick wall springs to mind.

"I don't see how you can offer a satisfactory answer to these sorts of questions. And that is part of the reason that I am a Catholic." I have and it is why Ernst is NOT!!

We are either in Christ...or not; there are NO denominations that save us...

12 November 2013 02:34  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Who is to say that us torturing, evil RCs preserved the canon of Scripture correctly?" You didn't!!

The New Testament canon consists of 27 books. The early Christians put these books together and NOT the Church.

It is quite well accepted that the first collection of books of the New Testament was that of some of the letters of Paul. Some of the Christians who traveled throughout the Empire were likely familiar with the fact that these letters were in the possession of the various churches, for Paul himself had suggested that the Colossians share their letter with the church at Laodicea.

This exchanging and sharing of letters resulted in some churches knowing of the existence of other letters besides what they themselves possessed.

There seems to be evidence that toward the end of the first century someone conceived the idea of collecting the letters of Paul, having copies made, and circulating them among the churches.

The next evidence of the collection of books of the New Testament is that of the four Gospels. Justin martyr, who wrote in Rome about A.D. 150, refers to the Gospels as the memoirs of the Apostle. His use of the four Gospels in his writings had led scholars to believe they were circulated together at that time. Since John’s Gospel was not written until near the close of the first century, obviously a collection of the four Gospels was not made until early in the second century.”

There are evidences that immediately after the books of the New Testament were written, they were copied, circulated throughout the Christendom, and collected. There are evidences that towards the end of the first century there was a movement of collecting the New Testament books.

The early church fathers of the second century, such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, and Justin Martyr, were well acquainted with the 27 books, witnessing to the New Testament canon of 27 books in their writings.

It has sometimes been assumed that the fixing of the number of books in our canon was the work of the church councils. This is incorrect.

The fact is that they did not select the books, for the contents of the New Testament were well defined before the various councils took any action with regard to it.

A general church council to determine the 'exact limits' of the New Testament has never been called; and no such council has ever acted for or against such a canon.

Councils representing certain areas, and district synods, did from time to time pronounce their approval on certain lists, and when they did it was simply giving official approval to what had already come to be ACCEPTED by the believing churches under the guidance of the Spirit of God.

So even after the early Church apostatised, as Paul and Peter and others said they would do, once they had died and were no longer in governance of the fledgling churches, the sacred books were still held intact for our benefit.

It is all Rome's,(Ernst trying to be 'kind' here..Wishful Thinking!!

12 November 2013 02:47  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"Or that when the Church Fathers refer to bishops or to the transformation of the host into the Body of Christ or to free will or to the primacy of the bishop of Rome or to saints, or to icons, and so endlessly on, they meant something else."

Classic illusory misdirection. They said no such definitive things at all. Bishops are mentioned by Paul as a subset and inferior below Apostles and Prophets..Are popes supposedly from St Peter apostles now as Peter was only EVER referred to as an Apostle NOT a Bishop...Demoted was he??? Hardly.

12 November 2013 03:03  
Blogger Len said...

The Church that Jesus founded is non denominational but it exists within the denominations and also outside of the denominations.This Church that Jesus founded is known as 'the Body of Christ'.No one can join the Body of Christ you have to be born (or should I say re-born) into it.If you are not reborn into the Body of Christ you do not belong to Christ but you belong to your denomination!.No man can claim ownership or sole (or should that be soul) rights to be the 'substitute Christ 'or the 'stand in head' of this Church which belongs to God alone and Christ is
the 'only' Head of this Church.
So belonging to the 'right denomination' is immaterial belonging to Christ is essential!.
However IF you truly belong to Christ and are being guided by the Holy Spirit false teaching will become glaringly apparent.

12 November 2013 08:58  
Blogger Claudio said...

Ernst,
I obviously agree with Old Jim on pretty much everything, rationale of the Orthodox and anglican Schisms vs the oddities of Sola Scriptura included. Just a couple of things:
on the catholic issue, you should have a look here :
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03449a.htm

definitely more authoritative than 'catholics.com

On the primacy of the church of Rome
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12260a.htm

I personally find this part of the article particularly convincing:

"The first witness is St. Clement, a disciple of the Apostles, who, after Linus and Anacletus, succeeded St. Peter as the fourth in the list of popes. In his "Epistle to the Corinthians", written in 95 or 96, he bids them receive back the bishops whom a turbulent faction among them had expelled. "If any man", he says, "should be disobedient unto the words spoken by God through us, let them understand that they will entangle themselves in no slight transgression and danger" (Ep. 59). Moreover, he bids them "render obedience unto the things written by us through the Holy Spirit". The tone of authority which inspires the latter appears so clearly that Lightfoot did not hesitate to speak of it as "the first step towards papal domination" (Clement 1:70). Thus, at the very commencement of church history, before the last survivor of the Apostles had passed away, we find a Bishop of Rome, himself a disciple of St. Peter, intervening in the affairs of another Church and claiming to settle the matter by a decision spoken under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Such a fact admits of one explanation alone. It is that in the days when the Apostolic teaching was yet fresh in men's minds the universal Church recognized in the Bishop of Rome the office of supreme head".

what do you make of this?

On the 'God is not denominational' issue, I wholehearteddly agree with you and Len (even if you seem to assume that God is not Catholic but Satan certainly is; and if so, I beg to differ:)and you should have a look at these documents too:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.html

http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

and last but not least:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html


Fables, heresies, hearsay....can I ask you something ernst? have you ever actually studied some Catholic theology ?Give ' fundamentals of Catholic Dogma' by Ludwig Ott a try for a start if you have not already done so.
Ciao ( you know I am not familiar with all these UK cultural references such as Blofeld and Mrs Proudie of Barchester...I was actually convinced that Barchester was a real place and I wanted to ask from which part of Italy signora Neroni was from....:)

12 November 2013 15:23  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack has read the tussles between Claudio and Old Jim and Blowers. He says to Blowers, with a chuckle, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten yourself into!"

Claudio, of course Mrs Proudie and Barchester is real!

12 November 2013 19:22  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Sweet Jack lad.

"Happy Jack has read the tussles between Claudio and Old Jim and Blowers. He says to Blowers, with a chuckle, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten yourself into!"

Hardly, dear Boy...It appears you are confusing Ernst with Uncle Brian's avatar.. Ernst, reformed and reformed further still, does not get into 'messes' with others he debates , he drops them in their own smelly!!

Bond villainy was demanding work, what with an evil genius scouring the Blogosphere and with a lust for world domination being crucial, but future Blofelds of the world, please take note now, a way with words — steeped in wit and curare, or whatever neurotoxin the cool kids are using these days — is ESSENTIAL. One of the few ways a Bond villain is able to distinguish himself, Jack, from the other villains in life is by always delivering some of the most memorable lines of wit.

It's tough being this good and involves having no sleep (Grumpiness)...Walking with a limp and chronic back pain (feels threatened) and surrounding yourself with unlearned half wits (found most lovingly here) to enlighten.

Not just anyone can be a Blofeld, you know, you need a 'Tiddles' too?

Ernst the reformed tries this in real life but always with a glint and a twinkle.

Sometimes it's the little victories that count, Jack lad.

So be aware, Jack my Boy, it's no coincidence that Mr Bond’s most long-lived adversary is also quite the wordsmith. With me little verbal bon bon, Ernst always nicely captures the mixture of specific traits that makes Blofeld one of the literature's and silver screen's best villains and a match for anyone, now I am a changed man. Messes are for other people!

"Blofeld's icily matter-of-fact response to the about-to-be-lasered RC apologists Claudio and Old Jim's sneering inquiry whilst looking at the mound of Encyclicals, Bulls and other paraphernalia of Romish origin, “Do you expect us to talk and agree with you, Blofeld?”, they whinge.

Ernst puts down a Bottle of HP Fruity ketchup, Salt and Pepper and several 3 ltr Evians on the table near the literature and starts tearing off a few pages and stuffs in their mouths and says
'No , I expect you to DInE!!"...

Blofeld: Stirred, Never shaken! Jack"

12 November 2013 23:07  
Blogger Happy Jack said...


Blowers, as you said:

"As La Rochefoucauld observed, "humility is the worst form of conceit." I do hold the winning hand."

12 November 2013 23:29  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Blowers, Happy Jack's hero when he was young was Torchy the Battery Boy. Jack liked Mr Bumbledrop and his dog Pom Pom. Topsy Turvy land was a cool place.

12 November 2013 23:54  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

" Happy Jack said...

Blowers, Happy Jack's hero when he was young was Torchy the Battery Boy. Jack liked Mr Bumbledrop and his dog Pom Pom. Topsy Turvy land was a cool place."
Ernst was partial to the banana splits on a saturday morning in 60-70s ...with action and cartoons, (danger island and Arabian nights).

"Uh-oh, Chongo!", " Rosan Kobar" and "The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)"

Remember the Mr. Piper show with the tenor dressed as the Pied Piper?

Ernst fave show as a young un was Paulus the wood gnome...Used to scare the C*^p out of me (at 12 and even now)..watched from behind the settee and mother used to do a brilliant impression of Eucalypta the witch's cackling voice just to see the fear on Ernsty's likkle face!! It was a cross between Trumpton and Nightmare on Elm Street for kids! *Chuckling but now looking over me shoulder nervously* Wonder if the reason Cherie Blair scare the bejesus out of Ernst is cos she looks like Eucalypta and her gob?

Paulus had a strange vocal resemblance to Eccles, did he not?

Strange thing is nobody I know remembers it..Mrs B and all other s Ernst knows thought Ernst was making it up...Then how come I can remember the theme tune and words ?

"Let's take a holiday, there's a little wood where we can stay
Paulus, the little wood gnome welcomes you to his home
There's Crackers and Salomo are there, Oehoeboeroe and the bears
Snatch, Bristles and Gregorius too
They're waiting all for you
Something's brewing, that's quite plain
The witches cauldron's boiling again
Paulus, you'd better take care
She's out to get you
She's up to get you
She's out to get you, beware!"

Wonder if HG remembers this also??

Off to try to get some sleep ..Wish I hadn't mentioned it now *Shudders*

13 November 2013 03:40  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

So, the deformed man is being used as a ploy?

22 November 2013 09:24  

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