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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Science and the Middle Ages

Tim O'Neill explains why the false view of science coming to a halt during the Middle Ages is not merely incorrect, but is the result of anti-Christian Enlightenment propaganda.
The standard view of the Middle Ages as a scientific wasteland has persisted for so long and is so entrenched in the popular mind largely because it has deep cultural and sectarian roots, but not because it has any real basis in fact.  It is partly based on anti-Catholic prejudices in the Protestant tradition, that saw the Middle Ages purely as a benighted period of Church oppression.  It was also promulgated by Enlightenment scholars like Voltaire and Condorcet who had an axe to grind with Christianity in their own time and projected this onto the past in their polemical anti-clerical writings. By the later Nineteenth Century the "fact" that the Church suppressed science in the Middle Ages was generally unquestioned even though it had never been properly and objectively examined.

It was the early historian of science, the French physicist and mathematician Pierre Duhem, who first began to debunk this polemically-driven view of history.  While researching the history of statics and classical mechanics in physics, Duhem looked at the work of the scientists of the Scientific Revolution, such as Newton, Bernoulli and Galileo.  But in reading their work he was surprised to find some references to earlier scholars, ones working in the supposedly science-free zone of the Middle Ages.  When he did what no historian before him had done before and actually read the work of Medieval physicists like Roger Bacon (1214-1294), Jean Buridan (c. 1300- c. 1358), and Nicholas Oresme (c. 1320-1382) he was amazed at their sophistication and he began a systematic study of the until then ignored Medieval scientific flowering of the Twelfth to Fifteenth Centuries.

What he and later modern historians of early science found is that the Enlightenment myths of the Middle Ages as a scientific dark age suppressed by the dead hand of an oppressive Church were nonsense.  Duhem was a meticulous historical researcher and fluent in Latin, meaning he could read Medieval scientific works that had been ignored for centuries.  And as one of the most renowned physicists of his day, he was also in a unique position to assess the sophistication of the works he was rediscovering and of recognising that these Medieval scholars had actually discovered elements in physics and mechanics that had long been attributed to much later scientists like Galileo and Newton.  This did not sit well with anti-clerical elements in the intellectual elite of his time and his publishers were pressured not to publish the later volumes of his Systeme de Monde: Histoire des Doctrines cosmologiques de Platon à Copernic - the establishment of the time was not comfortable with the idea of the Middle Ages as a scientific dark age being overturned. 
One thing I learned in writing The Irrational Atheist was to never trust "what everybody knows" about history. It's more than MPAI, it's more than a general ignorance about history; the fact is that most people who consider themselves to be educated with regards to history are, in demonstrable fact, maleducated. They've been given a false narrative that is belied by the actual documentary evidence.

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309 Comments:

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Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus February 04, 2015 8:26 AM  

Good to see a little justice at last, regarding the scientific progress made by Christians in the Middle Ages.

Anonymous Re-Revisionist February 04, 2015 8:27 AM  

And thus, the actual documentary evidence has to be called "conspiracy theory" or some such psychologically weaponized language.

Blogger Northern Hamlet February 04, 2015 8:31 AM  

VD,

Now apply this possibility of propaganda to the Christian narrative that other cultures were equally scientific wastelands throughout history.

Anonymous Mike M. February 04, 2015 8:36 AM  

The Middle Ages were generally more sophisticated than we give them credit for, in all sorts of ways. Idiots don't build cathedrals, invent gunpowder, or do the host of other things medieval people did.

It's very easy to underestimate how hard it is to invent something.

Anonymous Starbuck February 04, 2015 8:36 AM  

Off-topic, but did you see that Silva and Diaz both failed their drug tests??

Who?

never trust "what everybody knows" about history

I agree. Because of that kind of thing I knew no where nearly as I thought I did. Pity... I was pretty smart until I found out how uneducated I was in these areas..

Anonymous Starbuck February 04, 2015 8:38 AM  

The Middle Ages were generally more sophisticated than we give them credit for, in all sorts of ways. Idiots don't build cathedrals, invent gunpowder, or do the host of other things medieval people did.

But all those things are evil and meant to supress the people by forcing them into a religion that is false, after all there is no God, right?

And gunpowder... What an evil awful blight upon mankind.... No gun powder no guns... gotta get rid of the guns.. your guns to be exact.

Anonymous VD February 04, 2015 8:38 AM  

Now apply this possibility of propaganda to the Christian narrative that other cultures were equally scientific wastelands throughout history.

I'm an East Asian Studies major who still speaks some Japanese. Did you even stop to think for one second to whom you are addressing that statement?

Blogger JP February 04, 2015 8:41 AM  

Now apply this possibility of propaganda to the Christian narrative that other cultures were equally scientific wastelands throughout history.

Examples?

OpenID cailcorishev February 04, 2015 8:49 AM  

It's more than MPAI, it's more than a general ignorance about history; the fact is that most people who consider themselves to be educated with regards to history are, in demonstrable fact, maleducated.

Now that I'm teaching homeschoolers and learning the basic Greek and Roman history that used to be standard, it's obvious why it was eliminated from the schools. It's not because it was too hard; it's because it was too inconvenient. Students might have learned things about the weaknesses of democracy, the dangers of empire, and so on. Can't have that.

Blogger Northern Hamlet February 04, 2015 8:53 AM  

I'm an East Asian Studies major who still speaks some Japanese. Did you even stop to think for one second to whom you are addressing that statement?

I did. No disrespect is intended. Yet, that does not rule out the issue. Athiests minimalize the achievements of pre-Enlightment thinkers and redefine science to cherry-pick from the existing data; they simplify the issue down to religion. Many intellectual Christians today, and I believe you have done this in blog posts previously, do the same while cherry-picking geographics (Western rising) to fit the same type of simplified narrative. There is also often a conflation of invention with science in these types of discussion.

Do you accept that other cultures cultivated scientific knowledge and innovative skill?

Blogger Chris Mallory February 04, 2015 8:59 AM  

Being "Anti Catholic" is being "Anti Pagan", not "Anti Christian".

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 9:00 AM  

Starbuck February 04, 2015 8:36 AM
Who?



http://espn.go.com/mma/story/_/id/12275934/anderson-silva-nick-diaz-test-positive-drugs


Silva is a surprise, he's so much more svelte than you would expect for a juicer.

otoh, he's pretty old to be coming back from the type of injury he did ... especially as fast as he did.

Diaz smoking the maryjane? you don't SAY.


VD February 04, 2015 8:38 AM
the fact is that most people who consider themselves to be educated with regards to history are, in demonstrable fact, maleducated. They've been given a false narrative that is belied by the actual documentary evidence.



considering the things that are considered 'true' but which are demonstrably flagrant and obvious lies ( Freudian psych, Marxist and Keynsian econ, AGW, etc ), i'm not surprised that the rot extends even further back.

OpenID simplytimothy February 04, 2015 9:01 AM  

...he did what no historian before him had done before and actually read the work

cool.


Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 9:01 AM  

Newton himself claimed to stand on the shoulders of giants: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

Blogger Vox February 04, 2015 9:03 AM  

I did. No disrespect is intended. Yet, that does not rule out the issue.

Not correctly. Fair enough. Yes, it absolutely does.

Anonymous Nemo Maximus February 04, 2015 9:06 AM  

An excellent book on this topic is God's Philosphers by James Hannam subtitled "How the Medieval World Laid the Foundation of Modern Science". It's a book I keep coming back to over and over.

Anonymous Heh February 04, 2015 9:09 AM  

I came across this gem of historical wisdom yesterday:

"It was government coercion that enabled Christianity to become the dominant religion of the Western world.

Christianity has always seen it as the state's obligation to take care of the unfortunate."

Anonymous Giuseppe February 04, 2015 9:12 AM  

And once again I am left with a new sensation. Where before I would simply have attributed this to general MPAI too, now, like a doubtful detective, I wonder if it is yet again one more subtle clue of the eternal psychopath.

Blogger Cataline Sergius February 04, 2015 9:12 AM  

From my perspective, the anti-medieval propaganda seems to have started during the renaissance.

Mostly as way for the renaissance men to differentiate themselves from their disapproving grandfathers.

It isn't too hard to make the argument that science did better during the bad old days of medievalism, than it did during the reformation. .

Blogger BCM February 04, 2015 9:12 AM  

MPAI?

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 9:26 AM  

M ost
P eople
A re
I diots

OpenID cailcorishev February 04, 2015 9:27 AM  

Now apply this possibility of propaganda to the Christian narrative that other cultures were equally scientific wastelands throughout history.

Huh. Most of what I've heard from Christians in my lifetime is how awesome other cultures (and religions) are and how much we should learn from them. Also that pretty much everything cool was invented by the Chinese, Arabs, American Indians, or Africans long before European Christians stole/bought it from them.

Anonymous Trimegistus February 04, 2015 9:28 AM  

Actually, Hamlet, the reverse is true: for a variety of reasons I think Westerners tend to _over_ estimate the scientific prowess of other civilizations.

For instance: mch of what we call "Arabic" science is nothing of the kind. The Arabs retained some classical Greek and Roman learning, and later re-transmitted that to Christendom. They also served as the conduit for Persian and Indian knowledge (like the "Arabic" numbers invented in India) to the West. This gave them a rather inflated reputation as fonts of scientific wisdom. While Islam did produce some important scholars -- not really surprising for a culture stretching from Morocco to Malaysia -- what's sad is how little science the Arabs actually did. They had some decent mathematicians and geographers, some good anatomists and physicians, but because of the theological doctrine that all happens as God wills it, they never had the tradition of inquiry by reason which O'Neill refers to , and thus had a tremendous lack of curiosity about the natural world.

Chinese civilization also gets an inflated reputation. You still hear pop-cultural echoes of the old idea of "eastern wisdom" ("ancient Chinese secret!"). But again, China had some excellent technologists but no real tradition of scientific inquiry. The best and brightest in China became bureaucrats, and a strongly cyclical nature of history and society meant that the whole idea of discovery was not a large part of intellectual life. Instead they focused on re-discovery and the increasingly fruitless re-examination of classic texts. Again, sure, China had some accomplishments. The biggest and oldest civilization in the world is bound to produce some. But compared with the West, they were astonishingly unproductive.

The only non-Western culture with genuine scientific accomplishments which was genuinely undervalued were the Mesoamericans. They really did have startlingly good astronomy, mathematics, and a strong interest in natural history. They were handicapped by near-constant political chaos and material scarcity, but managed to do a huge amount in a fairly short time. And the Spanish conquerors really did disregard it, so that it wasn't until the 19th and 20th centuries that Mesoamerican science was recognized.

See, the trouble with your narrative is that a scientifically curious culture (like the West) won't usually ignore other people's science because they're genuinely interested in finding stuff out. It's like the English language adopting words.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 9:29 AM  

I wonder if it is yet again one more subtle clue of the eternal psychopath.

Keep going down that path and you'll soon be wondering about secret cabals directing events on earth from a secret moon base. Oh, wait...

By the way, I really enjoyed your short story in RTRH. Good work.

Blogger W.LindsayWheeler February 04, 2015 9:40 AM  

Well, I am reading Mathew Stewart's Nature's God, The Heretical Foundation of the American Republic and all sorts of new information comes out. George Washington never knelt at prayer. He was a suspected deist--not a Christian. Ethan Allen wrote a 414 page book. And one of the real FFofA was a Thomas Young who I never heard before. He was a raging Deist. 3/4 of the Intellectuals of the founding of America were Deists.

The author writes that "Christian nationalists" seek to make America a Christian country and they purposely overlook stuff. Deists like Thomas Young were pilloried and attacked and so he was dropped from history books. Making George Washington kneel was a piece of propaganda; if America was a godly nation, then it had to have godly founders.

In the writing of history, propaganda enters in; things get twisted. Just like America is supposed to be a "republic". People in the Renaissance changed its meaning. Most dictionaries, MPAI, think a "republic" is "any government without a king". But it is not so much MPAI, is that people with agendas, like the Enlightenment sophists wanted to portray anything Catholic as dark and stupid.

Anonymous Alexander February 04, 2015 9:42 AM  

That seems observably false.

The Orient was obviously viewed as a place of vast wealth and marvels. It's absurd to think that Christians in the Middle Ages considered China or India to be a 'wasteland'.

And if sub-Saharan Africans (not of Anglo or Germanic descent) did produce something of value at some point in the last thousand years, they've done a really, really great job of hiding it.

So before we even get into the idea that we are incorrect about viewing other cultures as such, I submit that your base assumption is very flawed. European discrimination against other cultures is not a one-size-fits-all.

Kinda like how the Boers didn't view the Japanese in quite the same way they viewed the Zulu, ya know?

Anonymous Alexander February 04, 2015 9:45 AM  

As to more recent times, cail hits it on the head. Everything of value was produced by foreigners: a black man is responsible for white southerners being able to make a living out the soil, Arabs gave Europe's heritage back to it and so we owe Muslims everything, forever, and we need to be more like China in every way*.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 9:45 AM  

3/4 of the Intellectuals of the founding of America were Deists.

This statement is highly dependent on how the author defines those three terms. Very open to cherry picking.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 04, 2015 9:51 AM  

Keep going down that path and you'll soon be wondering about secret cabals directing events on earth from a secret moon base. Oh, wait...

Hehe, genuinely loled. Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous Starbuck February 04, 2015 9:55 AM  

Well, I am reading Mathew Stewart's Nature's God, The Heretical Foundation of the American Republic and all sorts of new information comes out. George Washington never knelt at prayer. He was a suspected deist--not a Christian. Ethan Allen wrote a 414 page book. And one of the real FFofA was a Thomas Young who I never heard before. He was a raging Deist. 3/4 of the Intellectuals of the founding of America were Deists.

You know, it is real difficult to know what is in a mans heart today, much less 200+ years ago. Do you have proof of what you are saying? You are not the only person who has made this assertion. Can you prove these words you wrote?

Most dictionaries, MPAI, think a "republic" is "any government without a king".


This is what I found for a definition:

republic
/rɪˈpʌblɪk/
noun
1.
a form of government in which the people or their elected representatives possess the supreme power
2.
a political or national unit possessing such a form of government
3.
a constitutional form in which the head of state is an elected or nominated president
4.
any community or group that resembles a political republic in that its members or elements exhibit a general equality, shared interests, etc: the republic of letters



And as for making the Catholics out to being dark and stupid... well, Protestants didn't have really work at it. Catholics to this day work very hard at being dark and stupid. I know, my in laws are Catholics and they are dark and stupid.

Blogger Vox February 04, 2015 9:57 AM  

He was a raging Deist. 3/4 of the Intellectuals of the founding of America were Deists.

Stop playing fast and loose with the facts, Wheeler. I'm calling you out. List every single individual you identify as "Intellectuals of the founding of America" and tell us which ones were Deists.

My prediction is you're going to leave out a number of significant Christians and you're going to falsely identify a few non-Deists as Deists.

Assuming you don't run away again after being called out.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 10:05 AM  

My prediction is you're going to leave out a number of significant Christians and you're going to falsely identify a few non-Deists as Deists.

But see most of those Christians weren't really "intellectuals"...

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus February 04, 2015 10:09 AM  

you're going to falsely identify a few non-Deists as Deists.

Deist - n. A theist who doesn't handle snakes, and who was intellectual, so they *obviously* can't have been a Christian.

/sarc

Blogger Matt Robison February 04, 2015 10:11 AM  

Read the work of Rodney Stark. Enlightening work that debunks a lot of the fictitious nonsense about history that our post-modern world takes for granted. See especially The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 10:18 AM  

" I know, my in laws are Catholics and they are dark and stupid."

You know, a loathsome worm who mocks his kin in public is probably not the best mind available for making an assessment of who is enlightened and who is not.

The reason why I joined the Catholic Church after my conversion was because, and only because, their intellectual tradition, reaching all the way back to the classical world, was firmly and clearly on the side of reason, rationality, and precision in thought. Protestantism, whatever its other virtues, began as an enthusiastic movement: emotional, personal, even esoteric.

Blogger Northern Hamlet February 04, 2015 10:24 AM  

For those asking about the Christian narrative I mentioned, Matt Robison above draws attention to just such a Christian book.

Starks work, unfortunately, is an exercise in cherry-picking and vagueness, much in the same way Athiests attempt to do so with Medieval science and innovation.

Anonymous Brother Thomas February 04, 2015 10:25 AM  

"It is partly based on anti-Catholic prejudices in the Protestant tradition, that saw the Middle Ages purely as a benighted period of Church oppression."


So true. As a former Protestant raised in a thoroughly Protestant/secular culture, I can honestly write that my views on Roman Catholicism, and historical Christianity, were completed distorted. Thankfully, and despite my arrogant pride, my inquisitiveness overcame my ignorance.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:28 AM  

"emotional, personal, even esoteric. "

Luther was both passionate and rational.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 10:28 AM  

:"Being "Anti Catholic" is being "Anti Pagan", not "Anti Christian". "

It is the sheer ingratitude of the heretics that astonishes me. They would not even know Christ existed at all, much less what He taught and said, were it not for the saints and martyrs of the Church who preserved and spread the good news. And for their sacrifice, all the Catholics from Saint Peter onward are dismissed as pagans.

Historical ignorance is insufficient to explain such an attitude. When I was examining which denomination to join, I noticed this odd lack of symmetry: each Catholic I met could describe accurately the beliefs and practices of the Protestants, but no Protestant could describe the beliefs and practices of the Catholics, and usually told me the exact opposite of the truth -- and usually it was a belief or practice you could look up in less than a minute online, in some official publication of the Church, such as the Boston Catechism.

Part of that can be chocked up to Catholics being a minority in America: Protestantism is the default here, and it only makes sense that the few would know the beliefs of the many more than visa versa.

Part of it can be explained by the absolute success of Protestant propaganda during the Reformation and Enlightenment entering the public consciousness without question, such as the laughable myth of a backward Middle Ages. Merely a list of the thinkers and inventions of that time makes an absurdity of the notion, starting with the stirrup, the wheelbarrow, the pointed arch, eyeglasses, the jib sail, the fuller's mill, clockworks and clocktowers ... and this is not to mention the invention of the university system.

But part of it cannot be explained without recourse to farfetched theories about human psychology, or a theory of diabolical interference in human thought.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 10:28 AM  

Protestantism, whatever its other virtues, began as an enthusiastic movement: emotional, personal, even esoteric.

I'm not sure that's an accurate way of categorizing Luther's 95 Theses.

Anonymous Stickwick February 04, 2015 10:30 AM  

I was pleasantly surprised to see some scholarly work on this topic appear in Nature last year. A physicist and some collaborators in the sciences and humanities have uncovered some astonishing facts about Robert Grosseteste, a 13th century English scientist and theologian who, among other things, anticipated the big bang and the multiverse:

Earlier this year we submitted an unusual paper to a scientific journal. What is unusual about it is not the topic — computations of how interactions between light and matter in the primordial Universe affected large-scale cosmic structures — but what inspired it. The paper draws on ideas in a medieval manuscript by the thirteenth-century English scholar Robert Grosseteste.

De Luce (On Light), written in 1225 in Latin and dense with mathematical thinking, explores the nature of matter and the cosmos. Four centuries before Isaac Newton proposed gravity and seven centuries before the Big Bang theory, Grosseteste describes the birth of the Universe in an explosion and the crystallization of matter to form stars and planets in a set of nested spheres around Earth.

To our knowledge, De Luce is the first attempt to describe the heavens and Earth using a single set of physical laws. Implying, probably unrealized by its author, a family of ordered universes in an ocean of disordered ones, the physics resembles the modern 'multiverse' concept.

Grosseteste's treatise was translated and interpreted by us as part of an interdisciplinary project led by Durham University, UK, that includes Latinists, philologists, medieval historians, physicists and cosmologists (see ordered-universe.com). Our experience shows how science and humanities scholars working together can gain fresh perspectives in both fields. And Grosseteste's thesis demonstrates how advanced natural philosophy was in the thirteenth century — it was no dark age.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:31 AM  

'You know, a loathsome worm who mocks his kin in public is probably not the best mind available for making an assessment of who is enlightened and who is not. "

I suppose its because I have spent so much time in the Methodist Church that I find all of this so bizarre. Yes.. it is protestant... but it is by no means anti-catholic. In fact we have priests visit our churches and give sermons on many occasions.

I had several catholic kids that regularly visited our youth group and we were tight as an organization with the local catholic church. That church leaned on us heavily when their priest committed suicide. You can imagine there were confused and upset kids and they came to us looking for help and answers and we were proud to help... and we did so in a way to help them be catholics not turn them into methodists.

Blogger JartStar February 04, 2015 10:33 AM  

Protestantism, whatever its other virtues, began as an enthusiastic movement: emotional, personal, even esoteric.

Can you cite some examples from prominent early Reformers in which the thrust of their arguments against the RCC were clearly based upon emotion and not theology or history? Not that they wrote passionately, or had emotional outbursts, but rather they eschewed reason and based their position predominantly on emotions.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 10:34 AM  

"Do you accept that other cultures cultivated scientific knowledge and innovative skill? "

No. Science is not a word that means any invention or progress. It means a particular mental discipline of observation and empirical evidence for the investigation of the material universe and a review by one's peers of the material, peers defined by their ability to perform the experiments, describe, and think critically about the results.

Like musical notation, or like geometrically-correct perspective drawing, science is an unique product of Christendom. There was no science properly so called outside Christendom until Christian ideas invaded or were imported.

A 'sage' or wise man, or a cunning artificer, is not the same as a scholar or a bachelor of the art.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:36 AM  

specfically.. I met with a couple old methodist ministers.. my own methodist minister.. and the Catholic Bishop... they all gave the same answer. The priest was diagnosed with a real mental disorder. He battled it his whole life and his suicide was a direct result of that disorder therefore under Catholic dogma he was no condemned to Hell.

That's what the Bishop said. So when the catholic kids came to me... that's the answer I gave them as well.

To do otherwise would've been... unseemly.

Blogger Geoff February 04, 2015 10:38 AM  

"the fact is that most people who consider themselves to be educated with regards to history are, in demonstrable fact, maleducated"

The same applies to people who consider themselves to be educated in economics.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 10:40 AM  

@Josh
I'm not sure that's an accurate way of categorizing Luther's 95 Theses.

Agreed. If Mr. Wright was trying to refer to The Great Awakening and Revivalism, I could see his point, but those are not the beginnings of Protestantism.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 10:42 AM  

Speaking of revisionism in history, do not forget anti-Protestant prejudices as you ponder the anti-Catholic prejudices that were already mentioned in the topic.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 10:45 AM  

each Catholic I met could describe accurately the beliefs and practices of the Protestants, but no Protestant could describe the beliefs and practices of the Catholics, and usually told me the exact opposite of the truth

Well, since we're trotting out personal anecdotes here, I'll say that my experience has been the converse.

Given the apparent inability of the current Pope to articulate a proper response to the question of why there is evil in the world, I'm not expecting a lot of progress from the Roman laity.

Another thing I've noticed is the increasing proclivity of Catholics to attack Protestants in this country that can be correlated to the significant increase in their numbers here as a result of the invasion of tens of millions of their quasi-animist co-religionists from south of the border. An invasion that has been aided and abetted by their priests and bishops.

Give them Maryland and they'll try to take the whole country.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 10:46 AM  

What was so rational about indulgences?

What is so "esoteric" and "emotional" about protesting them?

Why should anyone take John Wright seriously anymore regarding this issue?

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:46 AM  

I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

Blogger Matt Robison February 04, 2015 10:47 AM  

@Northern Hamlet

Stark has a thesis and he backs it up admirably, I would say. It's a more popular work, for sure, and so is limited in scope, and one that is needed as a quick primer against the arrogance of modernity and post-modernity. Its a contention that needed to happen, the opposite not so much.

But we has written more extensively elsewhere, in more rigorous works like One True God, and For the Glory of God.

It's not like he's a Christian apologist either. He writes many things that many Christians would find very uncomfortable.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 10:49 AM  

"Given the apparent inability of the current Pope to articulate a proper response to the question of why there is evil in the world..."

That appearance is a lie created by the newspapers. Investigate and compare sources, and you will find that he is not saying what the newspapers report him as saying.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 10:49 AM  

I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

Both sides: "They started it!"

Anonymous Starbuck February 04, 2015 10:51 AM  

You know, a loathsome worm who mocks his kin in public is probably not the best mind available for making an assessment of who is enlightened and who is not.

First off, they aren't my "kin". They never accepted me. Have done everything they could to get the dirt on me, but failed. They are petty and will stab you in the back along with ruin you in public. You chiding me for posting about them is interesting. Not sure why, just is.

The reason why I joined the Catholic Church after my conversion was because, and only because, their intellectual tradition, reaching all the way back to the classical world, was firmly and clearly on the side of reason, rationality, and precision in thought.

While I agree, their history reaches pretty far back. They have huge amounts of history and information from many European countries. Their wealth of knowledge is huge to the fact a person could never learn all of it. I do disagree with their traditions and their precision of thought. But this is a disagreement on my part and should in no way be a judgement upon Catholics. After all I could be wrong about how they deal with their knowledge. But with all of Catholics dogma, Mary is NOT divine. She was a sinner and needed salvation just like everyone else. Also... just so you know, she had sex. She was married, she had other children besides Jesus.

Protestantism, whatever its other virtues, began as an enthusiastic movement: emotional, personal, even esoteric.

Now see, you are doing the same thing I am doing. Protestant movement was started because someone actually read the Bible and can see that the Catholic Church is misrepresenting the Bible in many ways. The Roman Catholic Church mixed some of the old roman religions into Christianity which resulted in the Catholic dogmas of the past and present.

I have also met Catholic people that were honorable, just and hospitable. Then turn around and talk about purgatory... All I can do is sigh.

I won't speak of this any further because I am side tracking the discussion. I know, I am committing a VP sin and breaking a rule. I wouldn't be surprised if VD strongly reminds me I am off topic, which I am. But I couldn't let it go. But I will not change my thoughts on this just because a writer decided I wasn't worth 2 bits on the mind scale. I am worth up to a dollar after all....

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 10:51 AM  

I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

As best I can tell it is about secular power.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 10:52 AM  

Well, since we're trotting out personal anecdotes here, I'll say that my experience has been the converse.

As has mine.

One must merely go back to the last comment thread wherein the last iteration of the reformation wars took place.

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 February 04, 2015 10:54 AM  

@Nate

Wow. This Catholic is glad to hear about your church's offering of help to those who need it.

Anonymous Brother Thomas February 04, 2015 10:55 AM  

Anyone have any thoughts on how much of the rise and success of Protestantism is related to, and due to, the rise of nationalism (the rise, or reemergence, of the nation-state)?

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 10:55 AM  

"What was so rational about indulgences? What is so "esoteric" and "emotional" about protesting them?"

For that matter, what is so rational about a strawman argument, where you pretend I said something I did not say, and change the subject, and launch a personal attack and a slander.

Why, you talk like a Leftist. These are their tactics. Why should anyone take your remarks seriously hereafter, sir?

Do you know what an indulgence is? What the real definition is?

No, I thought not. This is an example of the phenomenon I mentioned above: Protestants have heard only a distorted version of Catholic teachings, or outright lies.

These lies, in my case, were counterproductive. My suspicions were provoked, because a man does not shoot blanks who has ammo.

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:57 AM  

"That appearance is a lie created by the newspapers. Investigate and compare sources, and you will find that he is not saying what the newspapers report him as saying. "

Sir, your faith in the dim-witted little communist does you credit. Misplaced as it is.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 10:57 AM  

I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

Me neither.

If religion has so politicized you that you are unable to see the very human faults and sins of your own forebears, then you have allowed religion to pervert your God-given rational mind.

Catholics, protestants....there's plenty on both sides laugh at, and to heap scorn upon. These are humans we are talking about, after all. Pedestalize them at your own peril.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 10:58 AM  

"An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin."

temporal punishment of sin? another catholic invention.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:00 AM  

Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

Luther

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 11:02 AM  

That appearance is a lie created by the newspapers. Investigate and compare sources, and you will find that he is not saying what the newspapers report him as saying.

I did that yesterday in response to you making this assertion. I'll repost the results of my investigation here for your convenience and ask again "What am I missing?" If you have another source on this particular issue, I'm happy to examine it.

from yesterday:

1)
Actually, what the Holy Father said was "“The nucleus of your question … almost doesn’t have a reply.”

Well, that's only part of it. First he said it was a question for which there is no answer:

“She is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer and she wasn’t even able to express it in words but in tears,” he told the crowd. “The nucleus of your question … almost doesn’t have a reply.”

Now, while Francis' response may be worthy of a Jesuit, I don't think it was worthy of the girl asking the question. Good Lord, the man had a near-perfect opportunity to deliver a direct, straightforward answer to a child... and he deliberately avoided doing so in favor of obscurities and platitudes.

Almost. The answer is Christ.

Yep, but that isn't the answer Francis gave. Here's a fuller text from Breitbart:

"Today I have heard the only question that has no answer,” the Pope said, switching to his native Spanish. “At the core of your question there is no answer: only when we are able to weep over the things you said can we get closer to finding the answer to that question.”

“This is a big question,” Francis said. “Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? Only when the heart is crying can we respond. A worldly compassion is of no use here, moving us at most to give something out of our wallet.”

“If Christ had that kind of compassion, he would have just passed by, greeted a few people, given them something and moved on,” he said.

“Dear young friends, in today’s world there is an inability to cry,” he said. “Certain necessities of life can only be seen through eyes filled with tears.”...“If you do not learn to cry, you’re not good Christians.”
...
“Women have much to say in today’s society.. Women are able to ask questions that men are not even capable of understanding. "

Now, maybe there's a more complete or more accurate translation of his response, but this just reads like a politician, instead of answering the question posed, saying "That's a good question. Let me tell you how my five-year plan is going to advance my agenda."

What am I missing here?

2)
after a while a stopped looking into it

Understandable.

Now, you are doing the opposite. You are not looking into it, and assuming the worst. You believe known liars who have a strong reason for lying about this man.

Well, I quoted both the Japan Press and Breitbart (quoting Francis). If you have another source that you consider more reliable, I'm happy to take a look at it. The National Catholic Reporter has the same quote. The Catholic News, the same. Globalnation.inquirer.net the same and adds this "When they posed this question to us, why children suffer, why this or that tragedy occurs in life – our response must be either silence or a word that is born of our tears. Be courageous, don’t be afraid to cry."

What does the official Vatican account say? Only this: "He then proceeded to the sports field, able to hold thirty thousand people, where he gave an off-the-cuff address in Spanish, answering various questions such as “Why do children suffer?”, “How does one live true love?”, “How can one contribute professionally to compassion and mercy without falling prey to materialism?”. No text of his off-the-cuff address is provided. Instead, the Vatican published the speech he planned to give.

Again, I ask, what am I missing?

Blogger Rantor February 04, 2015 11:03 AM  

I met a scholar at Mount Vernon who set out to prove Washington a Deist. From reviewing his personal letters and writings, she concluded otherwise, that he was Christian.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 04, 2015 11:05 AM  

John Wright,

Science is not a word that means any invention or progress.

And I separated them as such. We are in agreeance.

It means a particular mental discipline of observation and empirical evidence for the investigation of the material universe and a review by one's peers of the material, peers defined by their ability to perform the experiments, describe, and think critically about the results.

Here we part. I'm not convinced the demarcation problem will ever be solved. You offer a good set of guidelines; however, they're flawed. Even my daily crossword puzzle meets your criteria. Why the need to justify science as a special discipline?

Like musical notation,

Incorrect. See Ancient Greece.

or like geometrically-correct perspective drawing,

Incorrect. See... Ancient Greece.

science is an unique product of Christendom. There was no science properly so called outside Christendom until Christian ideas invaded or were imported.

Incorrect. Like "Art," many people create the definition with the cherry-picked examples already in mind. Furthermore, the "import" problem smuggles in concepts of authenticity that are taken for granted in theories like this and Stark's. One Christian taking science from another Christian? Perfect! One Muslim taking science from One Christian? Not perfect!

Anonymous realmatt February 04, 2015 11:05 AM  

Vox, why E. Asian studies? For the babezz?

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:05 AM  

'Again, I ask, what am I missing?'

You're missing the bit where it is poor form to mock the dim little commie in the funny hat.

Blogger automatthew February 04, 2015 11:05 AM  

Nate: "I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all."

but …

Nate: "another catholic invention"

Pace Stilicho, I don't think it's about secular power anymore. The conflict is now driven by the protestant belief that the Roman church invented most of what makes it itself, and the response of the Roman church to being given the lie over cherished traditions.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 04, 2015 11:06 AM  

As an ex-catholic, I recommend to Mr. Wright to reexamine the Catholic doctrines before he zealously defend them.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:08 AM  

You're missing the bit where it is poor form to mock the dim little commie in the funny hat.

But it really is a funny hat...

I still like Pope Francis because he stopped his procession in front of St Peter's to kiss the face of a man covered in tumors.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:10 AM  

'Nate: "another catholic invention" '

The fact that I acknowledge faults in the Catholic Church doesn't mean I condemn it or even think it worse than the protestant variety.

Lord knows I can go on for days about the faults of the idiot baptists or God help them... the Lutherans and Presbys and yes.. even the Methodists.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:11 AM  

"I still like Pope Francis because he stopped his procession in front of St Peter's to kiss the face of a man covered in tumors."

Its ok that he's a commie! Because he's a really nice guy!

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:13 AM  

Its ok that he's a commie! Because he's a really nice guy!

I think that it is more important for a pastor to be compassionate, especially to the very least of us, than to be correct on economics.

Blogger wrf3 February 04, 2015 11:14 AM  

Nate wrote: I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

How about the Arminian / Calvinism conflict?

If you can understand one, you can understand both.

Blogger Aquila Aquilonis February 04, 2015 11:14 AM  

Lord knows I can go on for days about the faults of the idiot baptists or God help them... the Lutherans and Presbys and yes.. even the Methodists.

But it's really your own faults that would entertain us the most.

Anonymous Toby Temple February 04, 2015 11:15 AM  

Nate. Why is Pope Francis a commie?

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 February 04, 2015 11:16 AM  

And with regard to the near-constant Catholic/Protestant battles that afflict this site now, all I can say is:

We. Are. On. The. Same. Team.

Yes, there are several key theological disagreements between the two. While I agree with Mr. Wright's assertion that the two pillars of the Church are Faith and Reason, I can also understand why the Protestant Reformation occurred. And, frankly, I have learned a lot in my discussions with Protestant friends. None have ever attacked me for my beliefs and I've always tried to be respectful of theirs.

Do we disagree about the role of Mary and the Saints, and transubstantiation? Yes.

But, holy cow people, we all accept Christ as our Savior, and recognize our humility before the Almighty. We all choose to serve Him by loving our neighbor and performing acts of charity. Nate's story about his church helping Catholic kids after the suicide of their priest is a perfect example. It doesn't matter that those kids believe in the power of Mary's intercession; they needed help, and Nate's church showed them the love of Christ.

Again: We're on the same freaking team!

Arguing about who is going to Hell for not believing exactly the right thing while Christians are being slaughtered in the Holy Land, secularists are muzzling the teachings of Christ in America, and religious observance is dying in Europe is completely insane. We should be putting aside our (admittedly important) disagreements and making common cause against those who choose to ally themselves against their Creator.

/end rant

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:16 AM  

"But it's really your own faults that would entertain us the most."

You should see me try to type with a smartphone....

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:16 AM  

Nate. Why is Pope Francis a commie?

Because the pope does a bad job of communicating Catholic social teaching.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 11:16 AM  

"Can you cite some examples from prominent early Reformers in which the thrust of their arguments against the RCC were clearly based upon emotion and not theology or history? "

The thrust of their arguments, of course, were based on theological reasoning, because they were theological arguments. Your question is unrelated to my statement.

I admit I am taken by surprise. I thought that the Protestants would be delighted to be described as enthusiasts, that they discarded the intellectual and coldly rational superstructure which was interfering with a personal reading of the scripture and a personal experience of the Holy Ghost and a personal ability to be forgiven of sin without the sacramental interference of priests.

Several comments here seem to be taking my remark as a criticism, when I thought you would take it either as a compliment, or as a neutral description. I was raised Lutheran: in my church, at least, the worship was not regarded as a corporate act, but personal.

However, since I was asked for a cite, allow me to answer as best I might despite being taken unawares. Will you accept the authority of the historian Thomas M. Lindsay, M.A., D.D. of The United Free Church College, Glasgow? He wrote the definitive history of the Reformation in 1906, and is pretty clearly no apologist for Rome.

From page 98: "... it will be found that almost every insurrectionary movement was impregnated by some sentiment of enthusiastic religion, with which was blended some confused dream that the kingdom of God might be set up on earth, if only the priests were driven out of the land. This religious element drew some of its strength from the Lollard movement in England and from the Taborite in Bohemia, but after 1476 it had a distinctly German character."

And, no, I was not referring to the Great Awakening. Modern revivalist movements are pale and milky things compared to the great mutinies, heresies, and odd cults which were burgeoning during this period, under the influence of Lollard, Wycliffe, and such.

If the comment is regarded as controversial, I would prefer to withdraw it with an apology, and lay my hand over my mouth, than give any scandal to my fellow brothers in Christ.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 11:17 AM  

I think that it is more important for a pastor to be compassionate, especially to the very least of us, than to be correct on economics.

And when he preaches economics disguised as compassion?

Blogger Aquila Aquilonis February 04, 2015 11:17 AM  

It could be part the the 1911 out of the box torture test video.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:17 AM  

@John Wright
For that matter, what is so rational about a strawman argument, where you pretend I said something I did not say, and change the subject, and launch a personal attack and a slander.

How in the world was that a strawman argument and a changing of subjects?

Your own words: "Protestantism, whatever its other virtues, began as an enthusiastic movement: emotional, personal, even esoteric."

To which was the response: "How was the 95 Theses irrational and based in emotion?"

If you need help connecting "the beginning of Protestantism" with "the 95 Theses", and "the 95 Theses" with "the sale of indulgences", let us know.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:17 AM  

We. Are. On. The. Same. Team.

This is clearly a call for protestants and Catholics to unite and wipe out those devious orthodox, isn't it?

Blogger Feather Blade February 04, 2015 11:19 AM  

And if sub-Saharan Africans (not of Anglo or Germanic descent) did produce something of value at some point in the last thousand years, they've done a really, really great job of hiding it.

There was the great Stone City, so named because it was apparently the only one built on the entire continent. (Locals call it Zimbabwe.)

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:19 AM  

And when he preaches economics disguised as compassion?

He's not an economist in chief. You look at it like you look at every pastor who's bad on economics, which is probably most of them.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 11:22 AM  

Arguing about who is going to Hell for not believing exactly the right thing while Christians are being slaughtered in the Holy Land, secularists are muzzling the teachings of Christ in America, and religious observance is dying in Europe is completely insane. We should be putting aside our (admittedly important) disagreements and making common cause against those who choose to ally themselves against their Creator.

Amen.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:22 AM  

a personal ability to be forgiven of sin without the sacramental interference of priests.

The temple veil was torn.

"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:23 AM  

/end rant


#fistbump

Preach brother.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 11:23 AM  

John Wright February 04, 2015 10:49 AM
That appearance is a lie created by the newspapers.



that is unworthy of you, John.

we have quoted the stories presented by the Catholic News Service and the Catholic News Agency. they say nothing substantively different than was presented in the secular media.

now, i understand well that he wasn't speaking English when he made these statements. so there is clearly a possibility of poor translation.

but it is then incumbent on the official ( ? ) news organs of the RCC to present ACCURATE translations. which they seem to have failed to do.

i will also note that it seems odd that they haven't talked about Francis' obvious theological failure, both to the child and to the audience, even though what they are presenting as his 'quotes' are clearly theologically inadequate.

or are you going to argue that the CNA and CNS are deep cover front orgs whose purpose is to discredit the RCC?

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:25 AM  

"This is clearly a call for protestants and Catholics to unite and wipe out those devious orthodox, isn't it?"

Now I have to cut you...

Blogger Feather Blade February 04, 2015 11:25 AM  

temporal punishment of sin? another catholic invention.

Is the "temporal punishment of sin" the same thing as the "natural consequences of sin" (which can include a) the predictable physical effects and b) judicial intervention if the sin is also a crime)?

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:26 AM  

"that is unworthy of you, John."

False.

It is admirable for a Catholic to stand by his pope.

Even if his pope is a dim witted commie.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 11:26 AM  

He's not an economist in chief. You look at it like you look at every pastor who's bad on economics, which is probably most of them.

So I should tell him to stfu and stick to preaching the Word? My problem is when they try to preach economics as if it is the Word. Savvy?

Anonymous John Regan February 04, 2015 11:26 AM  

To be fair, the Catholic and most protestant religions are very, very different animals.

The Catholic religion is fundamentally sacramental and apostolic, before it is anything else. A lot of protestant religions are Bible-based, which is pretty much an alien idea to Catholicism, which might be better described as traditional Christianity.

By way of contrast, the orthodox religions share the same basic idea of Christianity as the Catholic religion, having a priesthood, bishops, apostolic succession, the mass, sacraments. And so they are not thought of as "protestants".

All that sacramental, ritual type stuff is regarded as superstitious nonsense, and worse, by "bible believing" protestants and most mainstream protestant denominations. High Anglicans might be an exception, but then they might not be protestants in the true sense.

The true disagreements between protestantism and Catholicism could be more interesting than rancorous.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:26 AM  

"He's not an economist in chief. You look at it like you look at every pastor who's bad on economics, which is probably most of them."

Commies aren't really commies. they are just bad at economics and really like poor people!

Anonymous Jill February 04, 2015 11:26 AM  

@John Wright: "but no Protestant could describe the beliefs and practices of the Catholics, and usually told me the exact opposite of the truth -- and usually it was a belief or practice you could look up in less than a minute online, in some official publication of the Church, such as the Boston Catechism." This was my experience w/ Lutheran pastors (went to a Lutheran church for seven years). Of course, they have a vested interest in maintaining their position on the Catholic church. I discovered that no amount of verification from official publications of the church made any difference. One pastor told me we'd have to "agree to disagree" about the content of the Catholic catechism I was studying.

Most people are maleducated concerning history. I used to believe the rot that the Enlightenment period of history was owing to having broken the shackles of the Catholic church--until I started really studying Enlightenment history, which meant studying what came before it. Studying one part of history to the exclusion of all else is like a doctor who becomes an expert on the bladder and can't see that its health is dependent on an entire system. Before I began studying history on my own, that was how history was presented to me--as parts and pieces ripped from any context or flow, and in modern days, filtered through various criticisms: Marxist, feminist, etc. Nobody is entirely unbiased, but it certainly helps to study source texts without intentionally biasing the reading.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:28 AM  

So I should tell him to stfu and stick to preaching the Word? My problem is when they try to preach economics as if it is the Word. Savvy?

Yes

OpenID dalrock February 04, 2015 11:28 AM  

One thing I learned in writing The Irrational Atheist was to never trust "what everybody knows" about history.

Another example of this is Malthus' ostensibly warning that runaway population was going to outstrip the food supply. When you look at the actual essay, he was in fact arguing the opposite. Malthus was arguing that social institutions were operating as a check to keep population at a level that resources could sustain.

This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind.

He proved this by contrasting population growth during normal periods vs periods after mass deaths or when Europeans settled new lands. When the resource constraint was lifted, population grew exponentially until the resource limits were once again encountered.

But everyone knows Malthus was predicting the sort of catastrophe we now identify with his name. He wasn't. He was pointing out how foolish it would be to abolish the family, as anarchists in his day were proposing.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 11:29 AM  

Oh come on. You dont know propaganda when you see it? Why change popes at all? You think its a coincidence leftists like him?

And why put on a show? Why kiss a tumor faced man in front ok f cameras?

Its all a show and theyre no better than the frauds praying in the street for everyone to see.

How anyone can defend a group that protects its gay child molesting members it knew were committing these acts is incredible to me.

The word is spread. If you feel so indebted, write a check and send a thank you note. No man deserves to be upheld because all men are shit. You need the book and the book only.

If you wish to show gratitude for the organizing and spread of the book, again I say: CHECK, AND A THANK YOU NOTE.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:29 AM  

@John Wright and Jill
ELCA or LCMS?

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:30 AM  

It is admirable for a Catholic to stand by his pope.

Even if his pope is a dim witted commie.


Any Catholic who does not stand by his pope is a protestant at heart.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 11:32 AM  

For that matter, what is so rational about a strawman argument, where you pretend I said something I did not say, and change the subject, and launch a personal attack and a slander.

You said protestantism was founded upon the "emotional, personal, even esoteric". You contrasted this against Catholic "reason, rationality, and precision in thought."

Now I ask you again....what is so rational and precise about indulgences (the thing which Luther generally was protesting about)?

The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

Again....rational? Put a coin in the coffer and release a dead person from some contra-scriptural cosmic holding cell? Please. There is not an ounce of reason behind this.


Do you know what an indulgence is? What the real definition is?

Of course I do. And if you had ever bothered to read Luther's theses you would know that he knew the definition as well. And his criticism of said indulgences was completely rational.

Why, you talk like a Leftist. These are their tactics.

You know what's leftist, John? Your Pope.



Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:33 AM  

"All that sacramental, ritual type stuff is regarded as superstitious nonsense, and worse, by "bible believing" protestants and most mainstream protestant denominations."

and this is amusing to me.. since there are so many hard core bible believing protestants that also have bizarre superstitions. For example.. I have been told by countless Baptists that when I have a problem I should close my eyes and open my bible to a random page and pick a random verse.. and it will be God's answer to my problem.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:33 AM  

@MATT
You're chasing after him on a subject that is already bordering off-topic, as well as taking the position of a moral superior.

I have no power to back this up, but I am politely asking you to stop it.

Anonymous Randy M February 04, 2015 11:34 AM  

"Is the "temporal punishment of sin" the same thing as the "natural consequences of sin" (which can include a) the predictable physical effects and b) judicial intervention if the sin is also a crime)?"

That was my reading until he mentioned that they could be purchased for the deceased, which renders that illogical, and so it must be buying away some time in purgatory or such.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:35 AM  

@MATT
To explain further, you're trying to expand the discussion on an already bordering off-topic discussion. It would be better for everyone if you calm yourself and air your grievances some other time when it's more germane to the topic on hand.

Blogger njartist February 04, 2015 11:36 AM  

@ Stilicho February 04, 2015 11:02 AM

Pope Simon Pater can not answer the child correctly for he does not acknowledge that when man fell sin, suffering, and death entered the world: the natural world was also altered; furthermore, the dominion of world was given over by man to Lucifer the father of murders and liars; therefore, all humans suffer and cause suffering. That is both the reason why Francis couldn't answer the child's question and the answer to the child's question.

OpenID cailcorishev February 04, 2015 11:39 AM  

The reason why I joined the Catholic Church after my conversion was because, and only because, their intellectual tradition, reaching all the way back to the classical world, was firmly and clearly on the side of reason, rationality, and precision in thought.

Yes, whether or not you like or agree with Catholicism, the sheer amount and quality of intellectual inquiry it has produced over the centuries is astonishing -- even more so if you were raised (as many Catholics today are) to think of pre-Vatican II Catholics as a bunch of illiterate, bead-rubbing peasants.

Anonymous Alexander February 04, 2015 11:40 AM  

REG: Right. You're in. Listen. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah...

JUDITH: Splitters.

P.F.J.: Splitters...

FRANCIS: And the Judean Popular People's Front.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

LORETTA: And the People's Front of Judea.

P.F.J.: Yeah. Splitters. Splitters...

REG: What?

LORETTA: The People's Front of Judea. Splitters.

REG: We're the People's Front of Judea!

LORETTA: Oh. I thought we were the Popular Front.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 11:40 AM  

I changed my mind. Suck it.

Anonymous Jill February 04, 2015 11:43 AM  

@student in blue: I attended an LCMS church, if that's what you were asking.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 11:44 AM  

Who cares if they did good centuries ago? To support them now is absurd. Would you support a scoundrel because his great great great great grandfather invented bleach?? Ridiculous.

The only reason to stand by any organization today is if they're actively fighting Islamic expansion.

OpenID simplytimothy February 04, 2015 11:44 AM  

Why should anyone take John Wright seriously anymore regarding this issue?

Let's see.

1. An admirable virtue of precision of thought that serves as an example to emulate.
2. Moral courage
3. A reputation for fair dealing and honest debate.
4. Simple politeness

Those are a few that come to my mind.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:45 AM  

How anyone can defend a group that protects its gay child molesting members it knew were committing these acts is incredible to me.


Yeah, that's me, the great defender of the Catholic faith...

You must be new here.

Anonymous Daniel February 04, 2015 11:45 AM  

Any Catholic who does not stand by his pope is a protestant at heart.

Without doubt, and often not even that.

Hope by your Pope...

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 11:45 AM  

Anyone who appeals to reason as a pillar go the church is treading on dangerous ground.

For God's sake, it's a faith built upon virgin birth, raising of the dead, instant healings, walking on water, demons in pigs, angels popping up all over the place, tongues of fire, and Jesus flying into the sky like a freaking human bottle rocket.

Rationality is great and all, but it barely gets you to square one as far as the gospel goes.

Blogger stats February 04, 2015 11:46 AM  

Even if his pope is a dim witted commie.

I'm a Catholic and I stand by the Church. As far as popes go, we've had some bad ones, no doubt. And even though your are right, Francis is a dim witted commie, the Church is still right and Christ will protect the Church from this dim witted commie. Said dim witted commie tried to change church's teaching on divorce and remarrage. He was stymied in his efforts.
As Catholics have said many times before, the Pope isn't indefectable. The promise of Christ protects the Church from officially teaching error. When not making official teachings (which in truth is rare) Popes can and have said many stupid things.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:46 AM  

"Who cares if they did good centuries ago? "

So... what good they did a century ago is not relevant... but what evil they did a decade ago is.

Gotcha.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 11:48 AM  

...pillar of the church....

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:49 AM  

@Jill
It's what I was asking, yes. I'm wondering if John had his experience in an LCMS church or an ELCA church as well. For my own curiosity mostly, as I have a lot of family very involved with the LCMS church, and they all came across as very smart, and very educated about what other denominations believed.

Blogger njartist February 04, 2015 11:50 AM  

@Nate February 04, 2015 11:33 AM
I have been told by countless Baptists that when I have a problem I should close my eyes and open my bible to a random page and pick a random verse.. and it will be God's answer to my problem.

Nate, are you denying that the Holy Spirit can lead a believer, whom He indwells, to correct responses to the believer's inquiries.

The real issue is: is the believer asking God to lead him to the answer and to shield him from demonic influence before opening the bible?

But to you, Nate, such questions of demons, Lucifer, and the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life are mere superstitions. You are also saying that God has no power to answer a believer's dilemma.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 11:51 AM  

Yes Nate. Unless these men are Highlanders or vampires, I cant imagine the ones covering up abuse 10 years ago are the ones responsible for spreading Christianity to Poland.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:53 AM  

"Nate, are you denying that the Holy Spirit can lead a believer, whom He indwells, to correct responses to the believer's inquiries."

I am saying I don't believe in bible bingo voodoo.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 11:55 AM  

"Yeah, that's me, the great defender of the Catholic faith...

You must be new here."

I dont know who you are or what the hell your talking about.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:55 AM  

Protestants have nothing to fear here just as they did not at the time of the Reformation.

Just as long as I don't have to eat a diet of worms...

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:56 AM  

"But to you, Nate, such questions of demons, Lucifer, and the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer's life are mere superstitions. You are also saying that God has no power to answer a believer's dilemma."

No.

Those are unfounded flatulent assertions you just pushed out of your own rectum. I believe nothing of the sort.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 11:56 AM  

Nate February 04, 2015 11:26 AM
False.
It is admirable for a Catholic to stand by his pope.



standing by his pope isn't the problem.

it's that he's accusing Francis' critics ( Catholic and non-Catholic ALIKE ) of using false narratives provided by the secular media to impugn the church because we're too damn lazy to do any research AND we're eager to lie about Catholics.

if he wants to impeach the CNA and CNS as Satanist front groups, that's fine.

but if i'm quoting CATHOLIC SOURCES ( CNS was established in 1920 and is an arm of the US Conf of Catholic Bishops, according to wiki ), i'm going to need a clear statement from him that he doesn't consider them valid.

and, if not valid, he needs to provide a countervailing 'official' source for us to reference.

also, Ann Barnhardt stands by her church ... but still offers prayers that Francis be removed as pope.


Josh February 04, 2015 11:30 AM
Any Catholic who does not stand by his pope is a protestant at heart.



see, that's the kind of talk that makes Ann all crazy-eyed.

she considers Francis to be an affliction given to the RCC as punishment by God for their failures and lack of faith ...

while she's going to confession, taking communion and praying the stations of the cross.


Porky February 04, 2015 11:32 AM
There is not an ounce of reason behind this.




says the princess with a very tenuous grasp of reason himself.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reason?s=t

the fact that much of the reasoning behind indulgences is extra-biblical does NOT make it reasonless.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 11:57 AM  

I dont know who you are or what the hell your talking about.

Perhaps work on your reading comprehension, buddy?

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:58 AM  

"I dont know who you are or what the hell your talking about."

So... the answer is yes... you are in fact new here.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 04, 2015 11:58 AM  

Nate,
"even the Methodists."
Exactly. Errare humanum Est.
By the way, any opinion on the writings of Leslie Weatherhead? I am enjoying his book The Christian Agnostic.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 11:58 AM  

@Porky
Anyone who appeals to reason as a pillar [of] the church is treading on dangerous ground[...]

There is a difference between reason and rationalism. Anyone who appeals to rationality as a pillar of the church is treading on dangerous grounds for precisely the same reasons you listed. Rationalism demands a materialistic explanation for everything, and does not share space with the Christian faith.

Reason, however, is related to truth, and God is Truth. What he speaks is true and has never failed, even to the extent of creation. When we use reason, we seek the truth, and as God is the Truth we will always find God if we use reason properly.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 11:59 AM  

"she considers Francis to be an affliction given to the RCC as punishment by God for their failures and lack of faith ..."

That is the best thing ever.

Anonymous Native Baltimoron February 04, 2015 12:00 PM  

Maryland is already a sanctuary state for illegal aliens, but I expect Stilicho was instead referring to its status as a Catholic colony. I have nothing against Catholics, and I respect the vital role that monastic orders played in both preserving a vast quantity of knowledge, and encouraging the curious to expand that corpus. Nonetheless, I have severe misgivings about the state of the Church today. Both Catholics and Protestants seem, at least in America, content to reach a modus vivendi with our ongoing descent into depravity.

Post-classical Europe and North Africa did indeed undergo an apparent collapse in standard of living as evidenced by comparative paucity of material culture, but that is not so very surprising considering the great sociopolitical upheaval which occurred circa 400-800AD. Which, in turn, can be laid at the feet of a decadent and decaying empire. Unless you assert, ludicrously, that Constantine's deathbed conversion to Christianity, rather than a desire to deter other generals from a run at the purple, made him hobble the Roman army.

Semi-OT: There are a few historians who link the Hunnic and various Germanic migrations to climate change.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 12:00 PM  

I must confess, the appeal of Ann Barnhart confounds me.

OpenID cailcorishev February 04, 2015 12:01 PM  

I still like Pope Francis because he stopped his procession in front of St Peter's to kiss the face of a man covered in tumors.

He could be a real inspiration if he would stick to that kind of thing, and realize that the microphone is his enemy -- in more ways than one. Not every pope has to be an intellectual with a deep grasp of all Church doctrines and the ability to answer questions about them mistake-free on demand. Thank God. There are other ways to lead.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 12:01 PM  

I'm curious, what problem have you had that was solved by a random verse? Why not just read the whole thing regularly? It should be as fresh in your mind as possible.

Anonymous Stilicho February 04, 2015 12:01 PM  

Any Catholic who does not stand by his pope is a protestant at heart.


see, that's the kind of talk that makes Ann all crazy-eyed.


Is the Pope Catholic?

Blogger JDC February 04, 2015 12:01 PM  

I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

I agree. I have been / am friends with a number of Catholic / Episcopal / Orthodox priests, as well as Baptist/Pentecostal/Presbyterian/Methodist...having participated in a number of clergy associations. Remove the liberal element from the equation and we are pretty like minded. We love Christ, we desire to love our neighbor, and we agree to disagree on the nature and meaning of the sacraments. We also understand that it is important for a congregation to be unified.

If we can't agree on the notion of fides qua (the faith that believes, saving faith, invisible, extending across denominations, ethnicities and geography), and fides quae (the faith practiced, believed, what faith clings to), then we completely throw out Lewis' notion of a "big room." So Catholics believe non-Catholics will burn in hell, Baptists believe Catholics will burn in hell, Pentacostals believe everyone, including themselves will burn in hell, and the ELCA/UCC's don't believe in hell...and if you do you are going to burn in hell.

And...Luther wasn't completely irrational - he loved beer, he loved music, and regularly prayed for the devil to eat sh**.

Anonymous Micah February 04, 2015 12:02 PM  

Amen, Jartstar, amen

Anonymous Wormwood February 04, 2015 12:02 PM  

"I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all."

It is all part of my lord's plan to keep you twits at each others throats.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 12:02 PM  

Semi-OT: There are a few historians who link the Hunnic and various Germanic migrations to climate change.

This was why Rome eventually stopped production of the Centurion SUV and the Gladiator truck...

OpenID simplytimothy February 04, 2015 12:02 PM  

The reason why I joined the Catholic Church after my conversion was because, and only because, their intellectual tradition, reaching all the way back to the classical world, was firmly and clearly on the side of reason, rationality, and precision in thought

I admire this in them.


I don't get this Catholic / Protestant conflict at all.

Me either, but that only attests to my historical ignorance.

Per C.S. Lewis, both traditions are "Mere Christianity" at their core--man's sinful nature, the convicting power of The Law, the perfect sacrifice by God in the person of His Son on our behalf via His crucification (the Atonement), the resurrection of Christ defeating Sin and then His Ascension--where we are today.

So few hours in the day! but I think it is time to " (do) what no historian before him had done before and actually read the work of ...

On the Calvinist side, Doug Wilson's St. Andrews is translating the early Protestant works from Latin and doing his part to revivify the early Protestant tradition. As J.C. Wright wrote, the Catholics have been tending to their intellectual abc's since day 1.














Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 12:04 PM  

"So... the answer is yes... you are in fact new here."

Whether or not Im7 new here is irrelevant. I didnt see anything he wrote in this thread and addressed nothi g he wrote. He may as well have written "bbbeeeellllch". Because thats what his comment was .
And 10 years is neww? Ok then.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 12:06 PM  

'I'm curious, what problem have you had that was solved by a random verse? Why not just read the whole thing regularly? It should be as fresh in your mind as possible."

None. The very notion is christian voodoo applied to wood pulp.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 12:07 PM  

"...the reasoning behind indulgences"

I'll grant you that, Bobby. "The Pope needed money" is an entirely rational explanation for indulgences.

Blogger Josh February 04, 2015 12:08 PM  

I didnt see anything he wrote in this thread and addressed nothi g he wrote.

Dude, your freaking comment I quoted was a reply to a comment of mine.

Now, you might have actually pressed the wrong button and not meant to leave a nested reply.

Blogger Matamoros February 04, 2015 12:08 PM  

Starbuck I know, my in laws are Catholics and they are dark and stupid.

So what does that prove beyond the fact that you were [fill in the blank] enough to marry into a dark and stupid family?

Anonymous Noah B. February 04, 2015 12:08 PM  

Speaking of things that will change your view of history -- here is an amazing short video of what an archer can do who has trained extensively and used techniques that were practically lost.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 12:09 PM  

'And 10 years is neww? Ok then. "

Mate...if you've been here for 10 years and you don't know who Josh is... then you're not very bright.

And if you don't realize that the first part of your statement was "I don't know who you are..." then you're also not very bright.

Blogger Matamoros February 04, 2015 12:10 PM  

For those interested in real history. Dr. Rodney Stark is the go to person for this:

God's Battalions - The Case for the Crusades
How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity
Etc.

One might also read Thomas Woods' "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization."

Anonymous cheddarman February 04, 2015 12:10 PM  

"I must confess, the appeal of Ann Barnhart confounds me."

What is there NOT to like about Ann Barnhart?

She is crazy, but in a Christian radical traditionalist sort of way. If i had my current understanding of game ten years ago, when i was living in her neck of the woods, i would have shown up at her place and did my best cover of "Dig that crazy chick" and then told her she is going to the gun range and then church with me.

A man can dream, can he not?


OpenID simplytimothy February 04, 2015 12:12 PM  

I must confess, the appeal of Ann Barnhart confounds me.

Its a medieval thing; you either get it or you don't.

But seriously, she is a brave Christian woman who sees the times for what they are and speaks and acts accordingly; for this, she is admired and loved by many.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 12:12 PM  

@Noah B.

I saw that video a while ago and when I shared it with a friend, he mentioned that it was originally a couple of years old.

It's not *entirely* breaking new, but it's fascinating and this version apparently has new tricks he's added to it. But it's not exactly brand new, people have just only now been seeing it.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 12:14 PM  

"By the way, any opinion on the writings of Leslie Weatherhead? I am enjoying his book The Christian Agnostic."

Its a human tragedy that Weatherhead has been so forgotten. He was one of the more popular christian authors of the 20th century.. and now virtually no one knows his name.

At a time when countless non-denominational churches are exploding by saying the exact same things he said... 70 years ago.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 12:19 PM  

Josh February 04, 2015 12:00 PM
I must confess, the appeal of Ann Barnhart confounds me.


take it up with Vox. he's the only reason i know about her.

of course, Vox is also the only reason i know about RequiresHate ...

Anonymous Stingray February 04, 2015 12:20 PM  

I must confess, the appeal of Ann Barnhart confounds me.

Because she is more manly in her teachings than most men in the Church.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 12:23 PM  

Stingray... I love you.

Blogger MATT February 04, 2015 12:25 PM  

Ah..I see what I did there.

Anonymous Anubis February 04, 2015 12:34 PM  

VD- I think Northern Hamlet is asking if you agree with Al Sharpton that blacks had airplanes & electricity thousands of years ago when white people lived in caves, only for the white cave people to steal it so thorough that literacy was removed as well.
"Do you accept that other cultures cultivated scientific knowledge and innovative skill? "

"While Islam did produce some important scholars "
Name an important scholar that was not a sword point conversion.

"I still like Pope Francis because he stopped his procession in front of St Peter's to kiss the face of a man covered in tumors."
Maybe he is gay and that's his boyfriend.

"Even if his pope is a dim witted commie."

If I was catholic I would seek out an accurate translation of what he said. One of the problems with getting your middle east news from Jews is they neglect to mention Iran has one of only 4 Jewish hospitals in the world in its capital when they translate Iran's statements against Israeli politics as wiping out all da joosss. I must confess I have played jokes on people with purposely inaccurate translations including explaining how to ask for directions to a location where the world for brothel was swapped for the location.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 12:36 PM  

Porky February 04, 2015 12:07 PM
I'll grant you that, Bobby. "The Pope needed money" is an entirely rational explanation for indulgences.



count on Miss Piggy to go for the most childish argument.

the meta reason ( give the Pope ALL THE GOLD ) was not the 'reasoning' presented by the RCC.

that i don't agree with the premises and logic presented by the RCC doesn't mean that the premises and logic don't exist.

Blogger Krul February 04, 2015 12:37 PM  

Stickwick - I was pleasantly surprised to see some scholarly work on this topic appear in Nature last year. A physicist and some collaborators in the sciences and humanities have uncovered some astonishing facts about Robert Grosseteste, a 13th century English scientist and theologian who, among other things, anticipated the big bang and the multiverse

That's very interesting. It's amazing how a scientist who's been dead for so many centuries can still contribute to scientific progress.

Robert Grosseteste's name is familiar to me because I read some time ago that he was the one who introduced the idea of the controlled experiment, thus laying the groundwork for the scientific method.

Related, not only are the Middle Ages underrated in terms of their scientific advancement, but according to Professor James Franklin, the Rennaissance is overrated:

The main elements of the Renaissance myth are familiar enough: the sudden dawning of a new outlook on the world after a thousand years of darkness, the rediscovery of ancient learning, the spread of new ideas of intellectual inquiry and freedom, investigation of the real world replacing the sterile disputes of the scholastics, the widening of the world through the discovery of America and the advance of science, the reform of religion. Apart from a few quibbles about the supposed suddenness of the change, and that more on the grounds of a general belief in the gradualness of historical change than because of any evidence, this paradigm seems to be as firmly in place now as it ever was.

In fact there is no truth in any of this. On the contrary, as we will see, the "Renaissance" was a period when thought declined significantly, bringing to an end a period of advance in the late Middle Ages.

Blogger Corvinus February 04, 2015 12:38 PM  

so, AS REPORTED BY A CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE, you have a Pope who is asserting a lie.

"the only one who posed a question for which there is no answer"

Job was written to address this very subject. there IS an answer, and Francis refused to state it, preferring instead to go the full Bill Clinton route and Feel Her Pain.

i note also that Francis has gone the full Female Supremacy route as well, asserting that the girl can bring forth, not merely a different point of view ( true ), but a POV *beyond the comprehension of all the men present*.


@bob k. mando
"Pope" Francis, SJW entryist... Q.E.D.

Perfect opportunity to let Women Ruin Everything some more. After all, women must know what they're doing because we men are just too stupid to see it.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 12:40 PM  

@Student in Blue

I reject your premise that rationalism entails materialism.

If it were true then we'd never have geometry.

Blogger Matamoros February 04, 2015 12:41 PM  

From "Confessions" by Heinrich Heine -

“I know too well my own intellectual caliber not to be aware that, with my most furious onslaughts, I could inflict but little injury on such a Colossus as the Church of St. Peter. Many a new recruit will break his head against its walls. As a thinker, a metaphysician, I was always forced to pay the homage of my admiration to the logical consistency of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.”

As to the foundation of the Protestant revolt:

“As Prescott remarked, ‘The Protestants of that time constituted a sort of federative republic, or rather a great secret association, extending through the different parts of Europe, but so closely linked together that a blow struck in one quarter instantly vibrated to every other.’ In the next century the descendants of many of the leading Protestant conspirators would be found in the ranks of Freemasonry.” (Walsh, Characters of the Inquisition, p. 262)

Solange Hertz in her excellent book Utopia — “Nowhere” - Now Here exclaims:

“After centuries of underground preparation, the first beast did literally rise from the sea, sending out its first surreptitious tentacles from England, that unfortunate island kingdom once known as ‘Our Lady’s Bower,’ but which was the first to fall to the Reformation. If we are to credit the internal testimony of The New Atlantis, from that point on the revolution was disseminated in Europe largely by Sephardic Jews acting through secret societies organized along the lines described by (Francis) Bacon.”

In The Keys of This Blood, Malachi Martin, Simon & Schuster, New York. 1990. p. 523 also notes:

“As we now know, some of the chief architects of the Reformation -- Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Johannes Reuchlin, Jan Amos Komensky -- belonged to occult societies. And both Fausto and Lelio Sozzini, the anti-Trinitarian theologians, found patronage, funds and a supporting network outside their native Italy. Socianianism, which takes it name from the two Sozzinis, was in fact well received among the brothers of the occult up north in Switzerland, Poland and Germany.”

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 12:42 PM  

the 'reasoning' presented by the RCC.

You mean rationalizing. Big difference.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet February 04, 2015 12:47 PM  

Anubis,

VD- I think Northern Hamlet is asking

You know I can hear you right? Oh, that was your intention. With all that thinking on VD's behalf about what I may have been asking, you were prevented from leveling a direct criticism. Or are we merely going to snark back and forth for a bit instead?

Anonymous JoeyWheels February 04, 2015 12:52 PM  

" Nemo Maximus February 04, 2015 9:06 AM
An excellent book on this topic is God's Philosphers by James Hannam subtitled "How the Medieval World Laid the Foundation of Modern Science". It's a book I keep coming back to over and over"

Thanks Nemo. I now have a new non-fiction to pour over!

Blogger Kentucky Packrat February 04, 2015 12:52 PM  

George Washington never knelt at prayer. He was a suspected deist--not a Christian.

Given his regular attendance of multiple church services when residing in towns (sometimes 3-4 in a Sunday), this one can't be true. He would have bowed in prayer at Mass, if nothing else.

Now, Washington was also notorious for not taking Communion when attending Episcopalian Communion services, to the point where he just quit attending them those weeks. This wasn't especially uncommon for the time. Perhaps he had a phobia about drinking after others, or perhaps his dentures were a bother. We can't draw theological conclusions from this.

A lot of the Founding Fathers had nominally-heretical religious views, but still considered themselves Christians. Not too much different than the Ilk, come to think of it.

Anonymous Anonymous February 04, 2015 1:01 PM  

Mr. Noah B.:

Great video. Thanks for posting.

God bless

Richard W Comerford

Blogger J Curtis February 04, 2015 1:07 PM  

"The origins of modern science, from about 1300 onward, were overwhelmingly religious. Isaac Newton regarded the universe “as a cryptogram set by the Almighty,” in John Maynard Keynes’s phrase. Scientists from Copernicus to Kepler, Boyle, Linnaeus, Faraday, Kelvin and Rutherford all sought to understand God through His creation. Because nature was the product of a mind acting freely, it made sense to them to try to understand that mind through its actions.Link

OpenID cailcorishev February 04, 2015 1:15 PM  

I think that it is more important for a pastor to be compassionate, especially to the very least of us, than to be correct on economics.

It's even fine for him to be completely ignorant of economics, as long as he doesn't try to teach it.

One of the advantages of being Catholic is supposed to be that we can count on Tradition -- the body of teachings that have been passed down from before. Pope Francis has no need to say word one on economics, because so much already has been by his predecessors. If a reporter asks him what seems like a leading question about socialism, he can simply say, "Ask Leo XIII."

Blogger Quadko February 04, 2015 1:22 PM  

A quick plug for Dr. Rodney Stark's "How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity" (Amazon link). I'm in the middle of it, it's a good introduction on this topic in context of what matters to us, and a fun read like most of his other books.

My favorite point so far is that historians love empires ("Charlemagne almost saved Europe, but it sadly fell back into chaos!") but it's the free chaos that allows for the forward progress we love, and any kind of centralization or empire from China to Rome, ancient or modern, separates decision makers from those on the edge of need capable of invention. The "dark times" where historians can't drool over court politics and fawn over power are exactly the times and places where explosive invention happens. I think that explains the uselessness of most modern universities, and why it's young entrepreneurs actually pushing most useful frontiers.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 04, 2015 1:24 PM  

Nate,
"same things he said... 70 years ago."

Indeed. I have not read the whole thing yet, but I skimmed ahead a bit on his take on evil... I will go through the whole book in detail, but in the meantime, from your previous comments, do I understand correctly that you seem to not put much stock in evil being a thing? I get from that that you assume the satanic to not exist? Or maybe to have only passing influence? The observable reality around me makes the existence of Evil entities one of the strongest arguments for Christianity in my view up to now. And I don't mean sad puppies and the ELoE. What's your take?

Also:
"Stingray... I love you"

I nearly typed "Fag." before looking up who Stingray is. I really hate it when some infectious remnant of SJWankery almost makes me screw up. Check the facts first before having an opinion, dammit! (slaps self on the back of the head).

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 1:29 PM  

"I will go through the whole book in detail, but in the meantime, from your previous comments, do I understand correctly that you seem to not put much stock in evil being a thing? I get from that that you assume the satanic to not exist? Or maybe to have only passing influence? The observable reality around me makes the existence of Evil entities one of the strongest arguments for Christianity in my view up to now. And I don't mean sad puppies and the ELoE. What's your take?"

Darkness is not a thing... but darkness exists. Does it not? I absolutely believe in the power of evil creatures... Satan... demons... and yes people. It is a logical leap to far to go from Evil is the Absence of God... to Evil doesn't exist.

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 1:35 PM  

@Porky
I reject your premise that rationalism entails materialism.

If it were true then we'd never have geometry.


In retrospect, I think my premise (and the reasoning behind it) may have been based on a narrow definition of rationalism.

Merriam-Webster definition:

Rationalism: philosophy : the belief that reason and experience and not emotions or religious beliefs should be the basis for your actions, opinions, etc.

This is close to what I was working with, except from personal experience, that reason and experience were used only to try and work towards a goal in mind (the non-existence of God) instead of wherever the evidence lead.

(And when people try rationalizing away the supernatural, you're left with naught but materialism.)

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 1:35 PM  

My working theory... and it is only a theory... not a belief... is that there are powers and principalities that are given domain over the earth. I take the regional worship of these gods as evidence of this. Those regional powers.. being prideful.. wish to market themselves as the Real Creator God and do so. Rather than running things the way God would have them run... they muck things up by pretending to be something they are not... or by simply being sadists...

I see the job of the small c catholic church to fight these powers and principalities and take back the earth.

As such I do not see Christianity as a monotheistic religion. I see it as polytheistic with many gods but only one Creator God worthy of worship.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 1:36 PM  

"Merriam-Webster definition:"

Yankee.

***spits***

Blogger Student in Blue February 04, 2015 1:46 PM  

Yankee.

***spits***


Now, see, that's the problem with the Southron dictionary. It was hard to get at an actual definition inbetween all the bellyaching and the spitting.

Anonymous Giuseppe February 04, 2015 1:47 PM  

Nate,
Thank you for clearing that up so neatly. Essentially we think the same then, because I see it very much as you do. Maybe there is something to my Trojan roots and preference for Rednecks than damn "civilised" Northern Aggressors.

Anonymous Stingray February 04, 2015 2:00 PM  

Thank you, Nate.

Blogger pate357 February 04, 2015 2:05 PM  

Who are some of the great scientists of the Early and High Middle Ages?

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 2:08 PM  

@pate357

RTFA

Anonymous Big Bill February 04, 2015 2:13 PM  

Read Augustin Thierry, one of (if not the) first historian to go back to original source material rather than regurgitating the popular pap. He was a father of the New History (i.e. original sources) over 150 years ago. The Introduction to his History of the Conquest of England by the Normans spells out how historians cobble stuff together to support their current day political ideologies.

His History, written at age 25 or so, blows the doors off the old ideologies and traces the race wars behind English and French history. It is very well written (ca. 1850) and eminently readable. All of a sudden the long buried wars between Persians and Arabs, Sunni and Shia make sense. The same brutal and often quite sudden ethnic resurgence happened time after time in England and France. I recommend it highly.

Blogger pate357 February 04, 2015 2:24 PM  

Porky

Fair enough:
Exactly how intellectually poor the Latin west was is illustrated by an exchange of letters between two early Eleventh Century scholars, Ragimbold of Cologne and Radolf of Liege, about some mathematical problems that would not bother a high school student today. Here were two clearly intelligent men who were seen as leading scholars of their day (the letters were copied and widely circulated) competing to solve some basic geometry problems...

Blogger Aquila Aquilonis February 04, 2015 2:30 PM  

I see the job of the small c catholic church to fight these powers and principalities and take back the earth.

Do the churches ever win or are they doomed to failure until Christ's return?

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus February 04, 2015 2:44 PM  

Big Bill February 04, 2015 2:13 PM, thanks for the tip.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 2:48 PM  

'Do the churches ever win or are they doomed to failure until Christ's return?'

of course they win. They win all over the world. The victory will not be complete however until Chris returns.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 3:02 PM  

"Who are some of the great scientists of the Early and High Middle Ages?"

Here is a list in reverse chronological order. I am not sure what you consider the cutoff date for 'early' to be.

The older writers were scientists in the sense that they dealt with astronomy, geography, or medicine, as physics was not a separate discipline at the time.

Nicholas of Cusa (1401- August 1464)
Jean Buridan (1300 – 1358)
Nicholas Oresme (1320–1325)
John Dumbleton (1310 – 1349)
Richard Swineshead (1340 – 1354)
William Heytesbury (1313 – 1372)
Richard of Wallingford (1292–1336)
Walter Burley (1275–1344)
Thomas Bradwardine (1290-1349)
William of Ockham (1287 – 1347)
Duns Scotus (1265–1308)
John Peckham (1230-1292)
Roger Bacon (1220-1292)
Robert Grosseteste (1170-1253)
St. Albert the Great (1200-1280)
Simon of Antioch
Geber (721 – c. 815)
Vergilius of Salzburg (700- 784)

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 3:10 PM  

"George Washington never knelt at prayer. He was a suspected deist--not a Christian."

Don't try to sell your snake oil to a Virginian, Yankee.

I have been the church, the actual building, where George Washington attended services. It is the Pohick Church in Lorton, Va: http://www.pohick.org/history.html

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 3:14 PM  

"the only one who posed a question for which there is no answer"

That was not the quote given. It said ""the only one who posed a question for which there is almost no answer"

Please grow up, sir. I do not make jeering, simpleminded fun of your father in public, or tell outrageous lies about him. You could return me the same courtesy.

Or you could do your f*cking homework before you shoot your mouth off, and read the sources.

Either being polite or being accurate would do.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 3:33 PM  

Porky February 04, 2015 12:42 PM
You mean rationalizing. Big difference.



as per usual, you are linguistically incompetent.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rationalizing?s=t
3. to make rational or conformable to reason.

Blogger John Wright February 04, 2015 3:36 PM  

"But with all of Catholics dogma, Mary is NOT divine."

This is the kind of thing I mean. Back when I was an Christian, but was affixed to no denomination, I came across one too many statements like this. On the internet, in less than five minutes, one can find the official teaching on Mary -- she was a human -- and in ten, one can find the history of the teachings, the writings of the Early Church Fathers on the topic, and so on.

Again, why shoot blanks if you have ammo?

Why mock the headgear of the Pope, especially if one is of a day and age not exactly known for its splendor and beauty of its garments?

When I joined the Church, I expected to see at least some anti-Catholic bigotry here in America, given history, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find none or almost none.

Except here. The number of vituperative expressions of purest and most irrational hate directed against me and mine -- particularly from a dude angry at his inlaws who decided to blame Francis and Gregory the Great for his woes (quite a leap of logic there) -- frankly exceeds everything I have encountered before today.

And we are on the same team. The differences, while real, are minor. No one is getting kicked out of heaven for failing to believe in the perpetual Virginity of Mary. While it is a wrong belief, it is not what Saint Peter at the pearly gates is going to ask you about. He is more likely to ask you if you fed the poor, clothed the naked, visited the imprisoned. Whatever you do for the least of His, you do to Him.

The last prayer Christ uttered on Earth was a prayer for the unity of His followers.

We. Are. On. The. Same. Team.

Anonymous Porky February 04, 2015 4:17 PM  

3. to make rational or conformable to reason.

Way to cherry pick, Booby. Not the definition I had in mind...but you already knew that, right Booby?

Look, Booby, if you want to make the case that the Catholic Church acting contra the very Bible that they had already canonized is somehow a rational act... then now would be the time for you to do so.

Otherwise, shut up and go upstairs because your mom just made you some Frito Pie - with the marshmallows just the way you like it!

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 4:20 PM  

"Don't try to sell your snake oil to a Virginian, Yankee. "

You could've called him a carpetbagger too.

Blogger Nate February 04, 2015 4:23 PM  

"Why mock the headgear of the Pope, especially if one is of a day and age not exactly known for its splendor and beauty of its garments? "

Hey!

When I say its a funny hat its because it is a funny hat. Its not mockery to say it funny. Many funny things beloved. For example... The Fez. The Fez is a gloriously funny hat. Am I saying I hate the fez when I say its funny? No. And those cue tip things the limey red coats wear. Those are funny hats.

I'm not mocking the headgear of the office of the Pope.

I do however often mock the dim witting commie that is wearing it.

Anonymous Bobbala February 04, 2015 4:25 PM  

What made the "Dark Ages" was the suppression of the Bible, not science.

Blogger bob k. mando February 04, 2015 4:25 PM  

"But with all of Catholics dogma, Mary is NOT divine."


John Wright February 04, 2015 3:36 PM
This is the kind of thing I mean.



can you enumerate for us the number of times you've seen Catholics accused of worshipping Mary or of thinking she is divine on this board?

i know i've seen it so stated, but i think that predated your time here.

and we ( that is to say, NON-Catholics ) corrected him.



Starbuck February 04, 2015 10:51 AM
Also... just so you know, she had sex. She was married, she had other children besides Jesus.



that, odd as it may sound, actually is a problem for many Orthodox / Catholic.

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2015/01/a-sermon-by-cardinal-burke-on-marriage.html#.VNKMb6hwpzk
In other words, Saint Joseph had married Mary with the intention to honor, throughout their marriage, her consecrated virginity.
...
in accord with Joseph’s agreement to a virginal marriage (non-consummated)


Rabbi B? you got your ears on?

do you agree that 'virginal marriages' were practiced among the Jews ~2000 years ago? are such practices maintained today?

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