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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The testimony of John C. Wright

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to make the professional acquaintance of John C. Wright, whom I firmly believe to be the greatest living SF writer. But Mr. Wright is more more than a mere teller of tales like AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND and THE GOLDEN AGE, he is also a formidable fidei defensor. Six years ago today, he was baptized into the Church in the name of Jesus Christ. This is his testimony, as it was recounted on Free Republic and then Strange Notions. It seems appropriate to post it here today.

My conversion was in two parts: a natural part and a supernatural part. Here is the natural part: first, over a period of two years my hatred toward Christianity eroded due to my philosophical inquiries.

Rest assured, I take the logical process of philosophy very seriously, and I am impatient with anyone who is not a rigorous and trained thinker. Reason is the tool men use to determine if their statements about reality are valid: there is no other. Those who do not or cannot reason are little better than slaves, because their lives are controlled by the ideas of other men, ideas they have not examined.

To my surprise and alarm, I found that, step by step, logic drove me to conclusions no modern philosophy shared, but only this ancient and (as I saw it then) corrupt and superstitious foolery called the Church. Each time I followed the argument fearlessly where it lead, it kept leading me, one remorseless rational step at a time, to a position the Church had been maintaining for more than a thousand years. That haunted me.

Second, I began to notice how shallow, either simply optimistic or simply pessimistic, other philosophies and views of life were.

The public conduct of my fellow atheists was so lacking in sobriety and gravity that I began to wonder why, if we atheists had a hammerlock on truth, so much of what we said was pointless or naive. I remember listening to a fellow atheist telling me how wonderful the world would be once religion was swept into the dustbin of history, and I realized the chap knew nothing about history. If atheism solved all human woe, then the Soviet Union would have been an empire of joy and dancing bunnies, instead of the land of corpses.

I would listen to my fellow atheists, and they would sound as innocent of any notion of what real human life was like as the Man from Mars who has never met human beings or even heard clear rumors of them. Then I would read something written by Christian men of letters, Tolkien, Lewis, or G.K. Chesterton, and see a solid understanding of the joys and woes of human life. They were mature men.

I would look at the rigorous logic of St. Thomas Aquinas, the complexity and thoroughness of his reasoning, and compare that to the scattered and mentally incoherent sentimentality of some poseur like Nietzsche or Sartre. I can tell the difference between a rigorous argument and shrill psychological flatulence. I can see the difference between a dwarf and a giant.
My wife is a Christian and is extraordinary patient, logical, and philosophical. For years I would challenge and condemn her beliefs, battering the structure of her conclusions with every argument, analogy, and evidence I could bring to bear. I am a very argumentative man, and I am as fell and subtle as a serpent in debate. All my arts failed against her. At last I was forced to conclude that, like non-Euclidian geometry, her world-view logically followed from its axioms (although the axioms were radically mystical, and I rejected them with contempt). Her persistence compared favorably to the behavior of my fellow atheists, most of whom cannot utter any argument more mentally alert than a silly ad Hominem attack. Once again, I saw that I was confronting a mature and serious world-view, not merely a tissue of fables and superstitions.
Third, a friend of mine asked me what evidence, if any, would be sufficient to convince me that the supernatural existed. This question stumped me. My philosophy at the time excluded the contemplation of the supernatural axiomatically: by definition (my definition) even the word "super-natural" was a contradiction in terms. Logic then said that, if my conclusions were definitional, they were circular. I was assuming the conclusion of the subject matter in dispute.

Now, my philosophy at the time was as rigorous and exact as 35 years of study could make it (I started philosophy when I was seven). This meant there was no point for reasonable doubt in the foundational structure of my axioms, definitions, and common notions. This meant that, logically, even if God existed, and manifested Himself to me, my philosophy would force me to reject the evidence of my senses, and dismiss any manifestations as a coincidence, hallucination, or dream. Under this hypothetical, my philosophy would force me to an exactly wrong conclusion due to structural errors of assumption.

A philosopher (and I mean a serious and manly philosopher, not a sophomoric boy) does not use philosophy to flinch away from truth or hide from it. A philosophy composed of structural false-to-facts assumptions is insupportable.

A philosopher goes where the truth leads, and has no patience with mere emotion.

But it was impossible, logically impossible, that I should ever believe in such nonsense as to believe in the supernatural. It would be a miracle to get me to believe in miracles.

So I prayed. "Dear God, I know (because I can prove it with the certainty that a geometer can prove opposite angles are equal) that you do not exist. Nonetheless, as a scholar, I am forced to entertain the hypothetical possibility that I am mistaken. So just in case I am mistaken, please reveal yourself to me in some fashion that will prove your case. If you do not answer, I can safely assume that either you do not care whether I believe in you, or that you have no power to produce evidence to persuade me. The former argues you not beneficent, the latter not omnipotent: in either case unworthy of worship. If you do not exist, this prayer is merely words in the air, and I lose nothing but a bit of my dignity. Thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation in this matter, John Wright."

I had a heart attack two days later. God obviously has a sense of humor as well as a sense of timing.

Now for the supernatural part.

My wife called someone from her Church, which is a denomination that practices healing through prayer. My wife read a passage from their writings, and the pain vanished. If this was a coincidence, then, by God, I could use more coincidences like that in my life.

Feeling fit, I nonetheless went to the hospital, so find out what had happened to me. The diagnosis was grave, and a quintuple bypass heart surgery was ordered. So I was in the hospital for a few days.

Those were the happiest days of my life. A sense of peace and confidence, a peace that passes all understanding, like a field of energy entered my body. I grew aware of a spiritual dimension of reality of which I had hitherto been unaware. It was like a man born blind suddenly receiving sight.

The Truth to which my lifetime as a philosopher had been devoted turned out to be a living thing. It turned and looked at me. Something from beyond the reach of time and space, more fundamental than reality, reached across the universe and broke into my soul and changed me. This was not a case of defense and prosecution laying out evidence for my reason to pick through: I was altered down to the root of my being.

It was like falling in love. If you have not been in love, I cannot explain it. If you have, you will raise a glass with me in toast.

Naturally, I was overjoyed. First, I discovered that the death sentence under which all life suffers no longer applied to me. The governor, so to speak, had phoned. Second, imagine how puffed up with pride you'd be to find out you were the son of Caesar, and all the empire would be yours. How much more, then, to find out you were the child of God?

I was also able to perform, for the first time in my life, the act which I had studied philosophy all my life to perform, which is, to put aside all fear of death. The Roman Stoics, whom I so admire, speak volumes about this philosophical fortitude. But their lessons could not teach me this virtue. The blessing of the Holy Spirit could and did impart it to me, as a gift. So the thing I've been seeking my whole life was now mine.

Then, just to make sure I was flooded with evidence, I received three visions like Scrooge being visited by three ghosts. I was not drugged or semiconscious, I was perfectly alert and in my right wits.

It was not a dream. I have had dreams every night of my life. I know what a dream is. It was not a hallucination. I know someone who suffers from hallucinations, and I know the signs. Those signs were not present here.

Then, just to make even more sure that I was flooded with overwhelming evidence, I had a religious experience. This is separate from the visions, and took place several days after my release from the hospital, when my health was moderately well. I was not taking any pain-killers, by the way, because I found that prayer could banish pain in moments.

During this experience, I became aware of the origin of all thought, the underlying oneness of the universe, the nature of time: the paradox of determinism and free will was resolved for me. I saw and experienced part of the workings of a mind infinitely superior to mine, a mind able to count every atom in the universe, filled with paternal love and jovial good humor. The cosmos created by the thought of this mind was as intricate as a symphony, with themes and reflections repeating themselves forward and backward through time: prophecy is the awareness that a current theme is the foreshadowing of the same theme destined to emerge with greater clarity later. A prophet is one who is in tune, so to speak, with the music of the cosmos.

The illusionary nature of pain, and the logical impossibility of death, were part of the things I was shown.

Now, as far as these experiences go, they are not unique. They are not even unusual. More people have had religious experiences than have seen the far side of the moon. Dogmas disagree, but mystics are strangely (I am tempted to say mystically) in agreement.

The things I was shown have echoes both in pagan and Christian tradition, both Eastern and Western (although, with apologies to my pagan friends, I see that Christianity is the clearest expression of these themes, and also has a logical and ethical character other religions expressions lack).

Further, the world view implied by taking this vision seriously (1) gives supernatural sanction to conclusions only painfully reached by logic (2) supports and justifies a mature rather than simplistic world-view (3) fits in with the majority traditions not merely of the West, but also, in a limited way, with the East.

As a side issue, the solution of various philosophical conundrums, like the problem of the one and the many, mind-body duality, determinism and indeterminism, and so on, is an added benefit. If you are familiar with such things, I follow the panentheist idealism of Bishop Berkeley; and, no, Mr. Johnson does not refute him merely by kicking a stone.

From that time to this, I have had prayers answered and seen miracles: each individually could be explained away as a coincidence by a skeptic, but not taken as a whole. From that time to this, I continue to be aware of the Holy Spirit within me, like feeling a heartbeat. It is a primary impression coming not through the medium of the senses: an intuitive axiom, like the knowledge of one's own self-being.

This, then, is the final answer to your question: it would not be rational for me to doubt something of which I am aware on a primary and fundamental level.

Occam's razor cuts out hallucination or dream as a likely explanation for my experiences. In order to fit these experiences into an atheist framework, I would have to resort to endless ad hoc explanations: this lacks the elegance of geometers and parsimony of philosophers.

I would also have to assume all the great thinkers of history were fools. While I was perfectly content to support this belief back in my atheist days, this is a flattering conceit difficult to maintain seriously.

On a pragmatic level, I am somewhat more useful to my fellow man than before, and certainly more charitable. If it is a daydream, why wake me up? My neighbors will not thank you if I stop believing in the mystical brotherhood of man.

Besides, the atheist non-god is not going to send me to non-hell for my lapse of non-faith if it should turn out that I am mistaken.

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120 Comments:

Anonymous Lulabelle April 20, 2014 9:17 AM  

"Reason is the tool men use to determine if their statements about reality are valid: there is no other. Those who do not or cannot reason are little better than slaves, because their lives are controlled by the ideas of other men, ideas they have not examined."
Excellent.

Blogger Tank April 20, 2014 9:19 AM  

Thanks for posting this, and Happy Easter.

Blogger Chiva April 20, 2014 9:29 AM  

Happy Easter. Our God does have an excellent and joyous sense of humor.

Thank you very much for sharing.

Anonymous willneverpostagain April 20, 2014 9:37 AM  

Outstanding...God be praised. There is no King but Jesus!

Blogger tz April 20, 2014 9:56 AM  

Reason is the perception of.truth. That is why Sophists are the worst evil. And why our Lord said the devil was.a liar and murderer from the beginning. His first believed lie brought death.

The truth has set us free.from sin and.death, and even death is swallowed in victory.

Anonymous Michael April 20, 2014 10:05 AM  

I read John C. Wright's testimony over at atheism-analyzed. It's a wonderful conversion story. God works in mysterious ways.

We must pray for more conversions. The rosary is an excellent means to this end. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, is closer to Jesus than anyone else, so we should ask for her intercession. Also, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is recommended.

Blogger Random April 20, 2014 10:07 AM  

Well said Michael.

Anonymous Non-Roman Christian April 20, 2014 10:12 AM  

I accept Wright's testimony. He's made it clear he won't accept mine.

Anonymous Non-Roman Christian April 20, 2014 10:13 AM  

He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't.

Anonymous Sensei April 20, 2014 10:18 AM  

"The Truth to which my lifetime as a philosopher had been devoted turned out to be a living thing. It turned and looked at me."

Hallelujah. We shared the Easter story with many students today over on this side of the Pacific, may they soon know the Lord who draws paupers and philosophers alike to Himself. It's going to be an amazing eternity when we're finally gathered together from all of history.

Anonymous Ashamed April 20, 2014 10:21 AM  

"I take the logical process of philosophy very seriously, and I am impatient with anyone who is not a rigorous and trained thinker."

I've been reading Vox for years and have recently added both Wright and Eco. This is one thing I see in all of them and admire. It's also something I lack.

My questions are simple. How do you develop a reasoned mind? Where do I begin? What should I read?

Anonymous H April 20, 2014 10:31 AM  

Food for thought: Two articles from a self-avowed atheist that support Jesus' existence.

Also, I see Google didn't change their logo today.

Anonymous Legatus April 20, 2014 10:33 AM  

"But miracles are impossible!"

The argument goes like this, including the always present unstated assumptions included in parenthesis.

(We know that there is no God.)
(Therefore we know that miracles are impossible.)
Since miracles are impossible, we know that they did not happen.
Since they did not happen, there is no God.

The problem with the argument, besides it's being circular, is that, if there is a God, miracles are possible.
The way, therefore, of reason, to tell if there is a God, is to see if the miracles DID happen.
So do it. http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=922C0MNU
(Or any of these if that does not work https://www.google.com/search?q=focus+on+the+family+%22breaking+the+silence%22&hl=en&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs= )

But, you say, I don't believe in God, the bible, creationism (which kind?), evolution, intelligent design, Satan, atheism, etc etc et cetera.
So, what you are saying is, if YOU don't believe it, it must not be true?
So, whatever YOU believe is true, is true, and whatever you disbelieve is false, is false, simply because you believe it?
And that means, if you believe something, it becomes true simply because you believe it?
You have the power of creation!
But wait, you told me that God does not exist.
So, I don't have to believe you, because you just told me that you don't exist.

I will, however, believe you if you can prove to me that you have the power of creation.
So, like, create something out of nothing.
I'm waaaaaaiiiiiiiting!
No, I don't mean dream something up in your head, I can't see that.
You live in your own little world.

BTW, I Kant believe in God. I mean, that fellow Kant told me so. He also told me that time is merely an artificial construct of humans for their convenience. OK, so they did send a satellite around the world, and it's atomic clock read different than one on the ground, due to their relative speeds. And yes, that does mean that time is a physical property of this universe, bound up with matter and gravity and suchlike, a real, tangible, measurable thing. And that does mean that one of Kant’s' basic premises has been scientifically falsified. But I just Kant believe, I tell you, I just Kant!

Blogger JartStar April 20, 2014 10:36 AM  

Ashamed,

First start with How to Read a Book This work is foundational to being a good reader.

Then I'd start with anything else by Adler which sounds interesting like Amazon.com: Aristotle for Everybody eBook: Mortimer J. Adler After one or two of his you'll be on your way and know what to read next.

If you are a Christian I'd recommend Amazon.com: Handbook of Christian Apologetics: Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions eBook: Peter Kreeft, Ronald K. Tacelli: Kindle Store As not only is it an apologetic work it also helps one understand the other viewpoints.

Anonymous Starbuck April 20, 2014 11:12 AM  

I find it interesting that an intellectual at the caliber of Mr. Weight comes to the same conclusion that a dumbass like me came to at a much later stage in life.

I had many such experiences as this fellow who fought against all his life. When I was young and to this day doors have opened. Doors that no human opened nor could open. I have a good job that requires a bachelors degree to even have. I have a high school diploma. Getting these jobs the HR people always waved the requirement. For no good explanation. I have skills I can't explain. I didn't learn it. They were put in me. When layoffs came, they always avoided me.

This guy talks of a peace and joy that I have felt since I was a teenager. I am in no way as smart as Mr. Wright. But he merely asked God if he was real and God spook to him in a very powerful and gentle way. Atheist would be smart and talk to this man. He has a very powerful testimony.

One thing I did get out of this, just because you are considered very smart by human standards - your level isn't very much higher then an idiot like myself comparing God into the equation. I used to consider myself as being pretty smart. But over the last 10 years on this website I have discovered I am not all that. I am one of the MPAI's that Mr Day goes on about. But I am smart enough to get along in life.

Anonymous Cranberry April 20, 2014 11:14 AM  

This is a wonderful story. Happy Easter, everyone.

For me, I am a Cradle Catholic Revert...lost in atheism for a time, believing it more logical and true. When a young cousin died suddenly and tragically in a car accident, and I attended her funeral, I felt God touch me, somehow. My heart was lifted even amid the sadness and grief of the day. I felt light, even under the weight of many years of sin, and knew if I'd just went home I'd be OK.

So I went home, and was unsure and uncertain for many months. Now I'm pretty well lodged back in for good, and it's such a joy to be there.

Anonymous Anonymous April 20, 2014 11:23 AM  

Something from beyond the reach of time and space, more fundamental than reality, reached across the universe and broke into my soul and changed me.

This.


Anonymous hausfrau April 20, 2014 11:26 AM  

Beautiful story. I have an atheist friend. I have been praying for her. She is in her 60's and by her own word is the third generation of irreligious people in her family. She fits the stereotype of the aspy atheist as described here. No father. No children. Socially a very difficult person to get a long with though well meaning. She not long ago, while talking about historical re-enactors at a Lewis and Clarke festival, told me how she remembered playing some pretend game when she was very little when it suddenly dawned on her how stupid and pointless pretending was. She stopped right then and walked away. Fervent atheism seems very much to be a defect in the ability to feel and imagine. I continue to pray for her that her mind opens up to the possibility that she could be wrong. I love these atheist to Christ conversion stories. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous Ostar April 20, 2014 11:38 AM  

Non-Roman Christian
He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't.

Cite the source, or this is just your biased belief, not his.
Nothing I've read from him leads me to this conclusion.

Anonymous SirHamster April 20, 2014 11:42 AM  

My questions are simple. How do you develop a reasoned mind? Where do I begin? What should I read?

As far as I can claim to have a reasoned mind, I submit it is because of the following:

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom"

Read the Bible. I wonder if some of it comes by the exposure to well reasoned minds like Paul - but I think you will find it fruitful regardless of the actual means.

Blogger Joshua_D April 20, 2014 11:44 AM  

Jesus is risen!

Blogger tweell April 20, 2014 11:49 AM  

Blessings be on you all, on the anniversary of Christ's rising from the grave. Happy Easter!

Anonymous Frank Brady April 20, 2014 11:52 AM  

Thank you Vox. Amen.

Anonymous Anonymous April 20, 2014 12:27 PM  

John C Wright (with a name like See-Right he had to come clear sooner or later) puts his finger eloquently on the major blind spot in materialism: the materialists are constantly in confusion over which is their axiom and which is their conclusion.

If science has materialism as its axiom, then materialism is all you can possibly get out of it. You cannot then use it to prove that materialism is even valid, let alone true. (Let alone True.)

In order for science to have materialism as an axiom, scientists have to admit that, logically, other axioms are both possible and valid. By definition, an axiom is something that cannot be proved (just as we assume each other to be real but we cannot prove it to the radical skeptic) but is simply accepted. No, not accepted "on faith", but simply accepted as a working proposition.

And if our arguments keep throwing up logical absurdities, and reality keeps blindsiding us - as is constantly happening to the materialists - then we ought to be willing to go back and re-examine our axioms. At least to entertain the possibility that we might not have chosen wisely.

Kudos to Mr Wright for being honest enough to do that.

And it gets worse. In order for science to have materialism as its conclusion, it must entertain other conclusions as logically valid possibilities (as Mr Wright points out). It cannot "settle the science" by claiming that no other conclusion is even potentially valid, before all the evidence is in. That is NOT scientific, that is not science. It is, in fact, a religion. A particularly hostile, exclusory, and crusading, even persecuting, religion.

Thanks, Vox, for publishing this today. Thanks, Mr Wright, for having the humility to follow the truth wherever it leads. I know how challenging that is.

Anonymous jack April 20, 2014 12:28 PM  

A very power filled testimony. I will be archiving this one. Not that I expected anything less from Mr. Wright.

Anonymous realmatt April 20, 2014 12:33 PM  

Lol the pope haha.

Blogger wrf3 April 20, 2014 12:41 PM  

He is Real.
He is Risen.
He is Lord.

So say we all.

Blogger Dos Voltz April 20, 2014 12:57 PM  

Ashamed -
I took a bunch of philosophy and religion classes back in college (30 years ago) because I had always been interested in the meaning of life. I grew up very poor, my family went hungry often, we had lots of medical issues to deal with. We were what most would call poor white trash.
So much of college level philosophy was just gobbled-gook and very confusing. Professors enjoyed promoting the confusion I think. Few really were interested in helping you sort out the truth, unless it was Marx or Kant's version.
I did find that I enjoyed Aristotle from among them all. But I had to find Aristotle on my own (lucky me) because he wasn't as popular as Hegel, Kant and Marx. For some odd reason modern academia really pushes the German rationalists...(sarc)
Someone then advised me that if I liked Aristotle, I might like Ayn Rand. So I picked up Atlas Shrugged.
The story is very good and heavily philosophical without being overbearing. You learn without knowing you are learning. I liked the fact that she loved America and its promise.
This was the first time that philosophy and critical thinking became exciting for me, and the story was inspirational.
I was hooked.
Sure there are problems with her view, she was not perfect, but I read everything she ever wrote and though she was an atheist, at least she helped me with clarity of thought. I finally felt like my mind had a rudder and I could at least navigate my way through life.
Then I returned to Aristotle and subsequently Aquinas.
I am a committed Christian, but I must give credit where credit is due, and Rand's Objectivism is where my appreciation and love for reason got its start.
Get inspired first. Get a rudder so you're not just drifting. The nuts-and-bolts of philosophy and critical thinking are easier to work out afterward.
I'm still an amateur, I'm no John Wright, but I'm better for my independent readings of Rand, Aristotle, and Aquinas. College nearly ruined philosophy for me.

Blogger Dos Voltz April 20, 2014 12:59 PM  

Thank you very much Vox, and Mr. Wright for this beautiful post on this Easter.
It helps.

Anonymous Porky April 20, 2014 1:08 PM  

"Dear God, I know that you do not exist."

That is stupendous! That moment of humility that opens the door to eternity.

Anonymous peppermint April 20, 2014 1:17 PM  

Mind and body? The question is of consciousness, and we all know what it means for an animal to be knocked unconscious.

Free will? Your choices are determined by external factors and are also conscious choices.

Understanding death is not a problem for people who work with animals that live for a day or a year or trees that live for a decade or several centuries or computers that get corrupted by time and are discarded instead of repaired.

So I'm left with the argument that God exists because He has revealed Himself to a number of people.

"What ineffable twaddle!" says John Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Well, if your Method of Deduction has made you a better person, good for you.

God had Jesus wait until He was 33 to begin His ministry. It would be rash of me to complain that the Creator hasn't singled me out for religious experience yet, especially considering how sinful I am. But until He somehow shows that He is part of the Universe, and I suppose He has a more subtle and intricate plan than that, I will do what I think He would want from me according to the my nature as a reasonable person, and disbelieve.

Anonymous Bobby Trosclair April 20, 2014 1:18 PM  

Always interesting to read John C. Wright.

"He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't."

From reading his blog, I'm pretty sure you're wrong. As his conversion story above notes, his wife is a non-Catholic Christian and I doubt he considers her a non-Christian. The belief you refer to (that only baptized Catholics who follow the Pope are Christians) is a heresy known as Feeneyism within the Catholic Church. It has been rebuked by the Church.

A joyous Easter to all.

Blogger wrf3 April 20, 2014 1:35 PM  

peppermint wrote: I will do what I think He would want from me according to the my nature as a reasonable person, and disbelieve.

If He hasn't revealed Himself to you, then how can you possibly claim to know what He would want from you? How is that anything other than grossly presumptuous?

Furthermore, your presumptions are completely opposite from what He has said to those to whom He has revealed himself. He doesn't want you to act from your nature -- He wants you to act from His nature. He doesn't want you to disbelieve -- "from faith to faith the just shall live by faith."

Anonymous Patrick April 20, 2014 2:10 PM  

He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't.

Reason and humility leads to Christ and also, if you follow it all the way down, to the RCC.

Reason is the tool men use to determine if their statements about reality are valid: there is no other. Those who do not or cannot reason are little better than slaves, because their lives are controlled by the ideas of other men, ideas they have not examined.




Anonymous automatthew April 20, 2014 2:10 PM  

He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't.

A dishonest man spreads strife,
and a whisperer separates close friends.

Anonymous Patrick April 20, 2014 2:31 PM  

I will do what I think He would want from me according to the my nature as a reasonable person, and disbelieve.

That's not reasonable. That's more like crossing your arms and pouting because God and reality won't conform to your opinion of how things ought to be.

Anonymous zen0 April 20, 2014 2:39 PM  

China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years

By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.

Blogger dienw April 20, 2014 2:42 PM  

Michael April 20, 2014 10:05 AM

The rosary is an excellent means to this end. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, is closer to Jesus than anyone else, so we should ask for her intercession. Also, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy is recommended.

Idolatrous, Babylonian dung.

We who are in Christ have direct access to Jesus Christ and to the Father.

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 20, 2014 2:45 PM  

"Dogmas disagree, but mystics are strangely (I am tempted to say mystically) in agreement."

Welcome aboard, matey! Proper mysticism does not abandon or deny logic and reason; it uses them as the ladder they are, and climbs further.

A minor quibble about the uses of the word "supernatural": personally I'd argue that there is no such category -- everything in the universe, and in the worlds above and below, is natural, and just because our puny minds can't comprehend something, we have no grounds to claim it isn't natural. We've only been playing this game for 6,000 years or so, what makes us think we're experts? God, being the author of Nature, is perfectly natural; and so miracles are as natural as a pear tree.

Sometimes I ask myself: let's posit for a moment the Big Bang as the device which God used to call the universe into being. And let's posit that, due to the law of entropy, the universe as we know it must some day perish. I wonder: how many times has God played this "universe" game before? And how many more times might He do it again?

Happy Easter to everyone. Even Tom Kratman.

Blogger Random April 20, 2014 2:50 PM  

"We who are in Christ have direct access to Jesus Christ and to the Father."

So you never ask a fellow believer to pray for you then?

How small and limiting this God you've created for yourself is.

Blogger dienw April 20, 2014 2:57 PM  

Random April 20, 2014 2:50 PM
So you never ask a fellow believer to pray for you then?

Not the same thing. Praying for one another is one thing and is in agreement with the bible; replacing Christ as our Mediator with the "Queen of Heaven" is another and is idolatry.

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 20, 2014 3:05 PM  

"Praying for one another is one thing and is in agreement with the bible; replacing Christ as our Mediator with the "Queen of Heaven" is another and is idolatry."

Or, you could say it is a species of humility. I liken it to the parable of the man who stood up in the synagogue and loudly prayed, "Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men!" while another, humbler man stayed in the back and prayed "Have mercy on me, a poor sinner."

Anonymous B Lewis April 20, 2014 3:14 PM  

Pope njartist has spoken. The matter is closed.

Two thousand years of the greatest minds in history agree that Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven. Njartist says they're all wrong, and that he and he alone is infallible in questions of faith and morals.

Augustine, Aquinas, even Luther vs. Some Guy On The Internet. Whose opinion should I trust more? Hmmm...

Anonymous Porphyry April 20, 2014 3:24 PM  

"Augustine, Aquinas, even Luther vs. Some Guy On The Internet. Whose opinion should I trust more? Hmmm…" This is the problem with the modern church. They will only trust consensus authority, making them blind to the holy spirit, because they have already convinced themselves that no new revelation is possible. Even Aquinas would have agreed that the flesh must submit to the conscious of course that still doesn't leave room for the Holy Spirit, but it's better than what this commenter is implying.

Anonymous Porphyry April 20, 2014 3:31 PM  

Isn't it written about these times and those soon to come, that the Lord's witnesses lay in the streets of the holy city for three days, and no one lifted a finger to bury them?

Blogger Dos Voltz April 20, 2014 3:32 PM  

"Dear God, I know that you do not exist."

That is stupendous! That moment of humility that opens the door to eternity.

Five stars to you both!

Anonymous B Lewis April 20, 2014 3:44 PM  

The learned Cardinal Porphyry graces us with his infallible teaching on authority and the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous LES April 20, 2014 3:54 PM  

When in my 20's I went through a period of doubt and unanswered questions that rocked my world. I realized that believing was a choice and I chose to believe and
search and wait for answers. I studied the books of Francis Schaeffer who also experienced a crisis of faith. It took some time and was difficult. Along the way I had some unexpected and unsought-after spiritual experiences. He is risen.

Anonymous Desiderius April 20, 2014 4:06 PM  

"Two thousand years of the greatest minds in history agree that Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven."

The greatest minds now all agree on climate change, gay marriage, Obama for prez, yadda, yadda, yadda. The greatest minds are still human minds. He came in a manger, not upon an earthen throne or ivory tower...

Anonymous automatthew April 20, 2014 4:08 PM  

I've read that, in Dante, heretics were those who insisted on dividing the body of Christ, and not simply those who varied in the content of their belief.

Anonymous automatthew April 20, 2014 4:09 PM  

Is Jesus Lord? Is he risen? Do you fight on his side?

Then you are a member of the body of the Christ.

Blogger dienw April 20, 2014 4:11 PM  

@ B Lewis April 20, 2014 3:14 PM
As for Luther: Lutheran Marian theology is derived from Martin Luther's views of Jesus' mother, Mary. It was developed out of the deep Christian Marian devotion on which he was reared, and it was subsequently clarified as part of his mature Christocentric theology and piety.[1] Lutherans hold Mary in high esteem. Luther dogmatically asserted what he considered firmly established biblical doctrines like the divine motherhood of Mary while adhering to pious opinions of her perpetual virginity and immaculate conception along with the caveat that all doctrine and piety should exalt and not diminish the person and work of Jesus Christ. The emphasis was always placed on Mary as merely a receiver of God's love and favor.[2] His opposition to regarding Mary as a mediatrix of intercession or redemption was part of his greater and more extensive opposition to the belief that the merits of the saints could be added to those of Jesus Christ to save humanity.[3]

Blogger Markku April 20, 2014 5:10 PM  

It was a nice post, but it was as if it was still kind of lacking something. A cherry on top, so to speak. So I thought and thought what it was, and then it hit me.

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting. So, thanks a bunch.

Anonymous Porphyry April 20, 2014 5:37 PM  

Surprising to find anyone else who has felt these things in this desert. But I would disagree with John C Wright on his conception of the humors, or the four living creatures. As much as he understands, it is the tradition of the east, the doctrine of the west, the life of the South and the worship of the North that is reflected in Christianity. If this seems doubtful, consider the rhythms of the sun or the resonance of blood to the moon. Or even try keeping the sabbath on it's proper day.(Small wonder then that the NorthEast of the West, i.e. New York, flourishes in this age of semi doctrinal pharisaism). Also if you are about to respond to this concept out of pure skepticism take a moment to consider whether you actually have felt any of these things.

Blogger Beau April 20, 2014 5:50 PM  

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting.

Jockeying for position is a tradition as old as the apostles. Jesus didn't care much for it either.

Blogger James Dixon April 20, 2014 6:01 PM  

> But until He somehow shows that He is part of the Universe,

Have you asked him to? But by definition, he isn't part of the universe. The universe is part of him. He made it.

Anonymous Porphyry April 20, 2014 6:18 PM  

@peppermint I assume by reason, you mean some sort of Humean doctrine that excludes metaphysics incoherently. And in that case no, most certainly God does not want you to be merely reasonable. Even if you were to include in reason all valid workings of the mind, I doubt that God's will for you is to follow pure reason. The law dealt with the flesh. And Christ dealt with the spirit. Given that you have no guidelines, following reason untempered by wisdom would probably be akin to climbing a cliff made entirely of razorblades, at night.

Anonymous kh123 April 20, 2014 6:29 PM  

"I have had prayers answered and seen miracles: each individually could be explained away as a coincidence by a skeptic, but not taken as a whole."

Besides the comment about how childish or shallow he found most skeptics to be, this was one of those things that got me as well: If every instance of something we can't explain has to be ad hoc'd, then it's approaching the territory of faith, both in terms of either drawing one closer to the truth by crushing the framework of skepticism under the weight of evidence, or by the realization that skepticism is in effect a faith position beyond a certain point.

I always figured: If one is a materialist, and sans fraud on either side of the aisle every instance of the purported supernatural can all be explained away as coincidence or misidentification, one should then be able to draw a schematic up of how each instance is either numerically a roll of the dice, or of how the specific neurons firing in such-and-so a manner are causing it all, from miraculous healings to the witnessing of Roman soldiers walking through tunnel walls underneath York Minster.

The closest anyone's claimed - and all we have really - are Persinger and (IIRC) Blackwell harping on the same song and dance for the past 3 decades, how it really is all mental, whether sensing a presence in the room or having a near-death experience. Which, in reality, and if they were honest, would have to be translated as: We can stimulate the brain, and we think under controlled conditions we can simulate/stimulate certain religious or paranormal sensations, and we think this is what's going on in the brain while it happens. In our little corner of campus.

Of course, as with paleontology, it's hypothesis turned fact by virtue of the habit turned labcoat, in service of materialism. A blindman can turn the knob and tune the radio, maybe catching a station; therefore the conclusion is that the transmitter doesn't exist.

Anonymous automatthew April 20, 2014 6:31 PM  

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting. So, thanks a bunch.

It's the shortest distance between two points, and therefore to be expected.

Anonymous Starbuck April 20, 2014 6:33 PM  

Reason and humility leads to Christ and also, if you follow it all the way down, to the RCC.


Says who? Catholics? I have argued with catholic followers and catholic priests. They do not read the bible. I always provide proof from the Bible and they do not. Just like Jehovah witnesses
they will just wave me off and tell me "That isn't what it says."


So Patrick, please tell me where the Roman Catholic Church is the end of all. The first Church was NOT catholic however it was JEWISH.

Anonymous patrick kelly April 20, 2014 6:34 PM  

"Non-Roman Christian
He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't."

This sounds like ignorant bigotry to me. I am not Roman Catholic, but I think you have an over simplified, non-informed understanding of what they believe and practice concerning their Pope.

Anonymous automatthew April 20, 2014 6:45 PM  

This sounds like ignorant bigotry to me. I am not Roman Catholic, but I think you have an over simplified, non-informed understanding of what they believe and practice concerning their Pope.

Just take a quick look at Mr. Wright's blog. Today he posted a link to an Easter song sung by Mormons.

Today's ankle biters may be identified as a member of this sort:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iS-0Az7dgRY

Anonymous Anonymous April 20, 2014 7:10 PM  

Starbuck:
I used to consider myself as being pretty smart. But over the last 10 years on this website I have discovered I am not all that. I am one of the MPAI's that Mr Day goes on about.

This describes me as well (not career accomplishment, but misperception of myself). I'm grateful reading here has delivered a dose of long-overdue humility. With the veneer of pride shattered, I'm able to properly appreciate the people in my life, namely my husband.

John C. Wright:
The Truth to which my lifetime as a philosopher had been devoted turned out to be a living thing. It turned and looked at me. Something from beyond the reach of time and space, more fundamental than reality, reached across the universe and broke into my soul and changed me.

Praise God! This describes my own conversion experience, as well, though I never put it in such apt, eloquent words (as if I could). Thank you for your beautiful testimony, Mr. Wright.

Anonymous Marellus April 20, 2014 8:08 PM  

It's always good to hear stories like that of Mr Wright - it gives one hope.

I wish my spiritual life had a similar trajectory, but sadly, it hasn't ... nor will it methinks.

But that is not for me decide; it's in His hands.

For me the greatest mystery of Christianity is the Second Commandment: No graven images of Me, nor do you bow down and serve them.

It makes no sense - all the major religions have seen the power they can amass by resorting to a kind of idolatry, but Christianity forbids this.

Why ? The whole Old Testament seems to be a catalog of Israel's love affair with idols, despite the many wonders God had wrought ... almost as if they preferred idols over miracles. Why ?

And when Israel finally said goodbye to their idols, and embraced sound doctrine, they missed out on The Messiah. They knew their Law, but could not, or rather, would not recognize their God.

And it all starts with the injunction against graven images.

Why ?

My theory is that there is a kind of energy in our thoughts. This energy can be focussed and concentrated by images, and ultimately be used by something which we cannot see.

And God does not need us in this way.

It's a mystery.

Blogger Nate April 20, 2014 8:23 PM  

"So Patrick, please tell me where the Roman Catholic Church is the end of all. The first Church was NOT catholic however it was JEWISH."

and the second, third, and fourth were Greek Orthodox.

Blogger Sherwood family April 20, 2014 9:05 PM  

Thanks for sharing Mr. Wright's conversion. As Christ said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." I am grateful for the abundance of life that comes from following Him and I am happy to hear Mr. Wright's experience with such blessings in his own life.

Anonymous Anonymous April 20, 2014 10:01 PM  

Marellus: My theory is that there is a kind of energy in our thoughts. This energy can be focussed and concentrated by images, and ultimately be used by something which we cannot see.

Interesting. Think we women may be particularly prone to idolizing "passion" or "romance," (which may, in fact, be idolatry of self), that only Jesus can fulfill, as celebrated/detailed in Song of Solomon - and seeking it through the flesh. Any thoughts?

Anonymous Sensei April 20, 2014 10:09 PM  

"So Patrick, please tell me where the Roman Catholic Church is the end of all. The first Church was NOT catholic however it was JEWISH."

and the second, third, and fourth were Greek Orthodox.


"Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all." (Col 3:11)

Anonymous Adsignatos D. April 20, 2014 10:14 PM  

Amen. Hallelujah. Praise the LORD! I've been lurking, very rarely posting on this blog, but it's been great reading all these great food for thought. So I stand with among my Redeemed Brotherhood and raise my sword: Christ is risen! 'Tis better to be a sheep in the Divine fold then a rabbit in the miserable warren!

Also, semi-OT, but if anyone is interested in increasing their biblical literacy, check out this article by Michael Marlowe. I also recommend reading through the other articles on that site; I've found it to be a treasure trove.

Happy Easter Vox and Ilk.

Anonymous Don April 20, 2014 11:17 PM  

Praise God and I wish all my Christian brothers and sisters Happy Easter.

Anonymous CLK April 20, 2014 11:26 PM  

"Non-Roman Christian ...He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't."

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)"

Anonymous peppermint April 20, 2014 11:32 PM  

He doesn't want you to act from your nature -- He wants you to act from His nature.

Oh, hey, what's natural law? Moral principles derived from human nature. Scripture never mentions contraception or abortion; atheists should be able to understand the natural law reasons for avoiding those.

See, there's the Book of Nature, and the Book of Scripture, and the Book of Scripture is supposed to complete the Book of Nature because not everything can be seen in the Book of Nature since the Fall.

The fact that the Church employed two thousand years of the finest minds of Europe doesn't mean that God exists, but it does mean that the Church's positions are well thought out.

Anonymous CLK April 20, 2014 11:51 PM  

"Says who? Catholics? I have argued with catholic followers and catholic priests. They do not read the bible. I always provide proof from the Bible and they do not. Just like Jehovah witnesses they will just wave me off and tell me "That isn't what it says."

..

First to say that they don't read the bible is plain stupidity... they were reading the bible for 1500 years before Luther can along.

The RCC position is "The authority of the apostles and the Church preceded the NT portion of the Bible, and the Tradition of the Church is an equally infallible authority (2 Thess. 2:15; CCC 80–83). The Bible is part of the apostolic Tradition. The authoritative interpretation of the Bible is the prerogative of the Catholic Church (1 Tim. 3:15; Matt. 18:17; CCC 85-88). The Bible is not always easy to understand (2 Pet. 3:15-16) and needs to be understood within its historical and contextual framework and interpreted within the community to which it belongs. Individuals can and should read the Bible and interpret it for themselves—but within the framework of the Church’s authoritative teaching and not based on their own private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20-21)."

What they are saying is that is was the early RCC that decided which off many works that existed became whats is the NT and it was the existing RCC traditions and teachings from Christ that drove that choice.. therefore it is their interpretations of the texts that are correct since it was they who selected what material was put into the bible in the first place ... its like arguing with the author of a book over what he meant when he wrote something...

Now I personally doubt that God would leave something as important as salvation to only one path... I have always seen the Protestants as similar to be differences between Peter and Paul (the apostles, not the singers or the candy makers) -- one is an apostle via direct exposure to Christ, the other an apostle via faith -- two paths, no waiting .. welcome to Christ.



Anonymous Patrick April 21, 2014 12:05 AM  

and the second, third, and fourth were Greek Orthodox.

Orthodox acknowledge transubstantiation, priests forgiving sins, praying to saints, and baptism as necessary to join the Body of Christ. A Protestant becoming Orthodox is moving in the right direction. He isn't following Peter, but at least he consumes the body and blood of the Lord, can ask and receive help from the Mother of God, and accepts the full canon of scripture.

Blogger Matamoros April 21, 2014 12:56 AM  

Happy Easter to everyone. Even Tom Kratman.

Happy Easter especially to Tom Kratman, who believes in the Catholic Action of the Military Religious Orders.

Blogger Matamoros April 21, 2014 12:56 AM  

I should add, or so it seems to me.

Anonymous ericcs April 21, 2014 1:29 AM  

Truly, I rejoice that John C. Wright has awakened and is now living in Christ. As for myself, I believe in God, but I cannot believe He is personal. As but one of myriad examples, once His Son rose from the dead, he shortly thereafter left this earth to return at some 'End Time'. As for another example, why did God allow angels and devils to exist and interact with man, since surely each of us has more than enough to wrestle with spiritually on our own without a Serpent in the Garden and then Satan and his minions tempting us directly. Although I have tried to accept Christ as my personal Savior, and as I know that it makes sense to accept His sacrifice to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve, yet not once have I ever received the Holy Spirit. I guess it bloweth where it listeth. Instead, most of my life has been ravaged by bouts of depression and fear for the future. Instead, my mind is never at peace but is inundated with rancid music of all types that I can never stop, with endless tinnitus, with fear and misgivings of my inability to handle the future, with an inability to put on muscle mass and therefore appear to the outside world that I am more than just a spindly unter mensch unworthy of any type of consideration, and etc. and etc. Instead, I have no internal strength to be a real man, a real alpha male, especially one that can lead and give comfort to a woman. Instead, I have made nothing but endless mistakes in my life that continue to plague me, the latest being my Thai wife who cannot understand Western logic, has been brought up along with her generation to have no respect for any male except whatever money they bring home to supply 100% as her due in life, and etc. and etc. God has decreed that I have no children, even though I long for some every day of my life. I have prayed and asked repeatedly for decades that God would change me in some small slight way and/or give me the power to change myself, but it has never happened, and I now know it never will. At my age, children and the skills to bring in money to take care of them are no longer my due. So while I truly rejoice that some people in this world experience miracles, and have faith, and are in at least some sense rewarded or at least acknowledged by God, in my own life I cannot say anything more than that I believe in God (I have no other choice), but He is not now and never will be a personal God, he is impersonal, and if indeed there is an end time, then I must accept it like a man and be judged to hell. In the meantime, life is misery, so help me God. The trouble is, I now no longer really care, there IS such a thing as anhedonia.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Anonymous rho April 21, 2014 1:48 AM  

It was a nice post, but it was as if it was still kind of lacking something. A cherry on top, so to speak. So I thought and thought what it was, and then it hit me.

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting. So, thanks a bunch.


Quoted for truth.

Ashamed:
My questions are simple. How do you develop a reasoned mind? Where do I begin? What should I read?

Start with Hop on Pop and keep going until you've read Shakespeare in the original Klingon.

I spent Easter dealing with a backed up main sewer. Christ is risen, and so is the grey water from last night's laundry. Hallelujah.

Blogger Beau April 21, 2014 2:39 AM  

@ ericcs

I think your apprehension is incorrect - and a source of your reported misery. One needs no rush of emotion to confirm salvific faith. Countless testimonies of personal relationship to God seem beyond your ken, no matter. What does however count is your recognition of fact, and reception of the same. Did you call on Christ to save you? Yes. Regardless of the state of your emotions at that time, what does the scripture say?

He who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

No flashing lights, no rush of joy, no tweeting birds, Nothing, nothing at all, nothing whatsoever except his promise to that he - you - who called; you will be saved.

You called. Right? Yes, of course. Then what happened? He fulfilled his promise. So no emotional hoopla like many others, so what? Doesn't having a personal relationship with God consist of altered emotions? Maybe, maybe not. Are you an engineer or something? Some men don't need or require great emotion to know the truth of a matter. I suspect God makes men in this stamp because he rather enjoys having a sprinkling of people who can accept the truth of a proposition, act on it as you have, and walk in confidence without the accoutrements or distractions of smarmy expression. As engineers are confident in their calculations, be so in God's written word. His promises are sure. Tell him thank you for listening, accept the result. And whether or not you ever feel a warm emotion which many have expressed stems from their personal relationship with God - trust his promise. You called. He heard. He saved you.

Our Master said to some, You believe because you see, blessed are those who not seeing yet believe. I'm thinking that's you. Christ is risen brother.

Blogger Beau April 21, 2014 2:52 AM  

@ rho

Quoted for truth.

What you believe clever is merely quotidian. How old are you?

Anonymous rho April 21, 2014 3:22 AM  

Beau:
What you believe clever is merely quotidian. How old are you?

I found Markku's post funny, and I agreed with his sentiment. It's not my fault you're autistic.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion April 21, 2014 3:52 AM  

I am an atheist.

Nobody, not even my bitterest enemies, has ever honestly accused me of being less than 'smarter than most'. Most call me genius.

Every atheist argument for the non-existence of god boils down to "It is impossible to disprove somethings non-existence, but it is absurdly unlikely that god exists."

And John C. Wright has the gall to say (paraphrased): "What happened to me is absurdly unlikely to *not* have been caused by God."

John C. Wright must be either stupid, lying, foolishly wrong in his estimations, or has a valid argument. Or I've missed something.

2 minutes' reading of John C. Wright puts 'stupid' in the grave.
30 minutes' kills any assertion of 'foolish'.
2 hour's reading is sufficient to sink the lying theory.

That leaves 'valid argument' or 'I missed something'...

I can't see any other logical option for John C. Wright's belief system than to believe in God. I don't say that lightly.

I will be doing a lot of thinking about how that logic applies to me.

Goodnight, and Happy Easter.

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 21, 2014 4:17 AM  

"My questions are simple. How do you develop a reasoned mind? Where do I begin? What should I read?"

Read? When, as you imply, you're just sort of starting out?

No. Don't read. Do what Socrates did. Go talk to people. Go sit in the agora, the market, the public place, and talk to lots of different types of people. Ask them questions (be careful not to ask questions that will get you killed, of course), make conversation, and start to sift through whether what they say in reply makes rigorous sense to you or not. Then ask yourself, what are the reasons for your judgements?

Reading can come later. But first there is the wisdom of the old saying: Never trust a man who's never been punched in the face. (Some take this literally, others figuratively. Courses for horses.)

....

Matamoros -- you simply haven't been following the bouncing ball.


Blogger Duke of Earl April 21, 2014 6:49 AM  

@Ericcs

Remember what C.S. Lewis wrote in The Screwtape Letters, from one elder demon to a younger.

“Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

Remember also that the ancient writers of the Bible didn't necessarily hold to the concept of a "personal relationship" as we understand it today. For God, acting as our Patron, to be somewhat remote is within the normal range of relationships in the ancient world.

Anonymous ericcs April 21, 2014 7:40 AM  

Those responders to what I stated earlier seem unable to draw the obvious conclusion. It means that I do not (can not? will not? just who am I blaming here?) follow His commandments... the spirit is not only not willing, it has never really been present in the first place. Since this blog is not a personal pity party, I refuse to comment on this topic again.

Anonymous Gara April 21, 2014 8:10 AM  

I would also have to assume all the great thinkers of history were fools. While I was perfectly content to support this belief back in my atheist days, this is a flattering conceit difficult to maintain seriously.

So I guess he either believes in evolution, or assumes that pretty much all modern scientist are fools.

Blogger Booch Paradise April 21, 2014 8:50 AM  

@Gara
Or maybe it's just you who are a fool for believing journalists, who have something less than an honest track record, when they say that all modern scientists believe in evolution.

Anonymous Anonymous April 21, 2014 8:58 AM  

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting. So, thanks a bunch.

Heh, well said. Is that the aspie tendency of many blog commenters showing through? Seems like a normal person, regardless of denomination, might stop for a second and think, "You know, I'd like to make a devastating comment about that guy's joke of a religion, but it is Easter, after all, so I'd look like a real jerk with no sense of propriety. Maybe I should give it a pass just this once." Isn't that just part of living in the world without constantly getting punched in the face?

Happy Easter Monday, everyone.

Anonymous sad truth April 21, 2014 9:18 AM  

"Non-Roman Christian ...He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't."

"Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)"

Those who follow Luther and Calvin are damned. You've been warned.

Anonymous JohnBoots April 21, 2014 10:53 AM  

Will Wright's book come out in print format?

Thanks

Blogger Beau April 21, 2014 11:49 AM  

It's not my fault you're autistic.

A little thin-skinned aren't you. I only asked your age because your earlier comment would pass for a brilliant aphorism among those still wearing diapers.

Anonymous zapbrannigan1 April 21, 2014 11:54 AM  

"It was a nice post, but it was as if it was still kind of lacking something. A cherry on top, so to speak. So I thought and thought what it was, and then it hit me.

What it needed was inter-denominational fighting. So, thanks a bunch."


This made me laugh. Seriously, can we knock off the theological debates for the most important day of the year and simply rejoice in our common joy of experiencing the risen Lord?

Anonymous Don April 21, 2014 11:55 AM  

Beau - Thank you for having the right words at the right time for ericc. I know many Christians who believe but never see. My own grandmother was a devout Catholic but was hardly the type to 'see' angels and such. However, she went to an anointing of the sick and was healed (completely healed) of terminal cancer.

My mother in law literally was visited by an Angel when she lay dying in a far away city. My father in law flew out quickly to say good by and before he touched down the Angel healed her. Removing a deadly fungal infection from her lungs and respiratory system. The sad part. She still believes an angel healed her but remains an atheist.

Both women could be very trying to their families even when not sick and in a good mood but one chose Jesus all her life and one rejected him all her life. Both were healed but only one ever saw an angel (as far as I know) my grandmother believed so deeply and devoutly that I doubt she would have mentioned seeing an angel. She wouldn't have mentioned the healing except she had been bed ridden and needed constant care. She simply wanted my mother to know she didn't need to come over and change the dressing every day.

I ramble in the morning. Anyway, the point is some see and believe, some don't see and believe, and some see and don't believe and I don't know what to do for the last group except pray.

Anonymous Don April 21, 2014 12:01 PM  

ericc - I know you said you will not comment so feel free to ignore me. God may never appear to anyone. He may not bless you with children, he may never make your finances secure, make you happy etc.

That is not his job. God's job is to give you the opportunity to accept salvation and believe by faith you are saved.

Blogger John Wright April 21, 2014 12:15 PM  

"He accepts Christ. But unless you follow his Pope, he believes you didn't."

Will you sophomores please not speculate about me in public, where I can hear you, and pretend you know what is in my mind when you don't? I was converted to Christianity by a supernatural experience. That God exists, I rest on empirical evidence for that conclusion, and cannot be mistaken.

I joined the Catholic Church based on my own unaided and uninspired human reason, and may well be mistaken. I do not reject or even belittle other denominations.

So stop slandering me where I can hear you. Stop making foetid nonsense up about me. Stop pretending I said something I didn't say or believe something I do not believe. If you want to hate me, hate me for saying and being what I actually am, not for something you've made up in your jail cells of make believe in your mind.

Anonymous VD April 21, 2014 12:24 PM  

Will Wright's book come out in print format?

Yes, certainly.

Blogger James Dixon April 21, 2014 12:46 PM  

That has to be one of the better take downs I've seen recently, Mr. Wright. Thanks. Both for it and for the clarification.

Anonymous Marellus April 21, 2014 1:07 PM  

lowahine

Interesting. Think we women may be particularly prone to idolizing "passion" or "romance," (which may, in fact, be idolatry of self), that only Jesus can fulfill, as celebrated/detailed in Song of Solomon - and seeking it through the flesh. Any thoughts?

With great passion comes great tragedy, whether it's for faith, or someone else. Look at the example of Christ or CS Lewis in Shadowlands. We all want the goods, but not many want to pay the price.

Regression To The Mean is our lot, and those who struggle against it will suffer.

If you had something else in mind, kindly tell me.

Anonymous scoobius dubious April 21, 2014 2:52 PM  

@ J.C. Wright:

First of all I salute you, O-Wright-Sama, as an artist of great brilliance.

Don't take the following as a personal criticism. As with everything I write here, it is merely an invitation to conversation. Unlike a guy like VD, I rarely have fixed points of which I am soundly convinced. (That's not a criticism of VD, it just means our methodologies are somewhat different.)

If I had to define proper mysticism personally, I think I would say, That a great deal of it (but not all of it) has to do with the capacity to accurately identify vanity. In this regard, I thank you for all the brilliant details of your conversion experience, and I don't mean to demean them in any way: a) because I wouldn't do that to anyone, and b) because I owe you extra respect as a master artist. But if I were the abbot of a monastery, I might offer this as a spiritual slap in the face, for your own good, so to speak... A condensation of what you've said could be summed as "I used to be vainglorious, and now I'm not and I'm something different and far better."

This has to do in some regard to my feelings about philosophy -- which I don't discount, not at all, I'm just.... erm, looking to climb over the garden wall.

If you have anything to say to this, I'd appreciate it (even if it's very antagonistic, one always learns from that), but if not, I'll take your silence as a lesson as well.

Blogger Markku April 21, 2014 3:29 PM  

Beau: This is confusing. Back there, you were calling my comment quotidian, but now you are speaking as if you did rho's. So, I assume you have some misunderstanding of what "quoted for truth" means. It means "I agree with the above quote", with connotations of it being agreeable in the absolute, instead of just personal preference.

Blogger Markku April 21, 2014 3:32 PM  

Or, if you DO mean that using a 4chan-ism is worthy of those comments of yours, then I have to wonder if you might be having a bad day.

Anonymous kh123 April 21, 2014 6:22 PM  

"So I guess he either believes in evolution, or assumes that pretty much all modern scientist are fools. "

Truth be told, I thought similar when I read that, knowing that someone was going to pull the "gotcha" over that equivocation.

But then, as Aquinas pointed out several hundred years ago, an area of knowledge or wisdom can borrow from and lend towards other disciplines, while still being separate from and in no way infringed upon because they have commonalities and differences in subject matter or examples. In short: One thing is not like the other, kids.

As an example: Since Marxism borrows heavily from Darwin, it therefore must stand to reason - as per Herr Gara - that since Communism has been a complete and utter parasitic flop, TENS must also have similarly ridiculous flaws at its core. Or are the two simply overlapping in regards to their materialism.

Blogger Markku April 21, 2014 8:56 PM  

Will you sophomores please not speculate about me in public, where I can hear you, and pretend you know what is in my mind when you don't?

It's actually worse than that, as the information was available right here; you called C.S. Lewis a Christian, and he was Anglican.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion April 21, 2014 9:54 PM  

@Markku: "you called C.S. Lewis a Christian, and he was Anglican."

I interpret your comment to read "C.S. Lewis = Anglican, therefore C.S. Lewis ≠ Christian."

And if the character mapping didn't make it the second half is C.S. Lewis (not equals) Christian. Please define who is and isn't Christian. You are the first person I have ever heard of to imply C.S. Lewis was not Christian.

If that was sarcasm, I apologize for missing it.

I thank you in advance for your reply.

Blogger Markku April 21, 2014 10:02 PM  

I interpret your comment to read "C.S. Lewis = Anglican, therefore C.S. Lewis ≠ Christian."

No, I mean that the information that Wright doesn't restrict Christianity to Catholicism was available right here on this post, as he called C.S. Lewis Christian and he was Anglican. I mean, historically, you can't get much more opposed to the Roman Catholic Church than that particular denomination.

Blogger Beau April 21, 2014 10:34 PM  

Markku: Your original comment was spot on. My first response was an observation that Jesus found the practice unsavory in his time too. It's still among us unfortunately. Rho's sophomoric bungling of your observation drew me out, I find interdenominational infighting purile, not funny as does Rho.

Blogger Markku April 21, 2014 10:40 PM  

So it was "quoted for truth" that caused that response in you. I can only wonder if there is some generational gap in play here, or something.

Anonymous Stryker4570 April 21, 2014 11:23 PM  

John, I found your testimony powerful and personally encouraging. Thanks. Could you kindly suggest some basic reading to familiarize myself with philosophy. I am a decent theologian after thirty years of studying both the Scriptures and numerous theological works. Never looked at much philosophy. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Blogger CM April 22, 2014 10:40 AM  

Markku -
I mean, historically, you can't get much more opposed to the Roman Catholic Church than that particular denomination.

This is such a pretty post - and beautiful. And I totally agree with your first sentiment on this blog. So in a way that is completely about historical accuracy - and it not being Easter anymore - I'd like to challenge your view of Anglican/Catholic history.

My understanding of Post-Henry VIII England is that Lutheran/Calvinist Protestantism was at war with Catholicism. And that Elizabeth's direction for the hastily created and abruptly ignored Henry's CoE was to marry the two in a compromise that brought religious peace to England. Hence Anglican. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm a cradle Anglican and it gave my family no greater pleasure than to see me married to a catholic. If it had been a Baptist, that would've been a very different story =p

Blogger James Dixon April 22, 2014 11:40 AM  

> And that Elizabeth's direction for the hastily created and abruptly ignored Henry's CoE was to marry the two in a compromise that brought religious peace to England. Hence Anglican. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Broadly correct in so far as I understand the history, but it's a broad subject and there's a lot of confusing detail. The Wikipedia article on the history of the Church of England (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Church_of_England) is probably a good start for most people interested in the subject.

Anonymous MarkP April 22, 2014 11:50 AM  

An excellent conversion story indeed.

Mr. Wright, like Day, is a man who can elucidate topics and ideas to the point where 90% or more of listeners or readers become lost in a thought cloud. And yet the most powerful aspect of Wright's testimony is arguably his experience. Like the blind man of John 9, though Wright is more than capable of answering his critics, one thing is for sure: Once he was blind but now he sees.

Praise the Lord!

Blogger Beau April 22, 2014 7:25 PM  

I can only wonder if there is some generational gap in play here, or something.

Perhaps in earlier decades I too might've found Rho funny; now, expressing joy at the besetting sin of the church with the celestial city close in sight holds no attraction for me, just sorrow.

Anonymous A. Nonymous April 22, 2014 8:00 PM  

I accept Wright's testimony. He's made it clear he won't accept mine.

I'm also a Catholic, but seem to have managed the feat of getting myself banned from Wright's blog for questioning his stance on "holocaust denial". His privilege as blogger, of course, but given the degree to which the orthodox narrative of the thing enables Israeli/Jewish hypocrisy, I don't think it's conscionable for a Christian to participate, even in so small a way, in the shutting-down of all "discourse" on the topic but the most heavily-vetted press-releases and Hollywood spectacles.

Wright has put up some justification citing his father-in-law being an inmate in a concentration camp during WWII, but I don't see how that man's suffering or anyone else's can reasonably serve as a carte blanche to silence all discussion of the issue, as I tried to indicate in the question I posed, asking if Wright himself would have any respect for a Protestant blogger who blocked off all attempts at "Spanish Inquisition revisionism" which seemed like a relevant analogy given Wright's fondness (or what I recall as Wright's fondness, in any event) for addressing the black legends attributed to the Church.

In conclusion, I have to repeat that it’s not in the interests of Christians to help perpetuate the official blackout around the topic. Whatever the truth of the matter, it’s not going to be hurt by free inquiry, and extending, as Wright does, this singular privilege to Judaism (as he himself notes, the only things he will not stand for in blog comments are profanity and “holocaust denial”) above and beyond all other social, racial or religious groups on Earth, sets a terrible precedent for other Christians, despite, or indeed, because of Wright’s formidable intellect and undeniable talent as a writer.

Blogger Markku April 22, 2014 8:07 PM  

Perhaps in earlier decades I too might've found Rho funny; now, expressing joy at the besetting sin of the church with the celestial city close in sight holds no attraction for me, just sorrow.

Joy?! It's like we're speaking a different language here or something.

Blogger Michael April 22, 2014 10:09 PM  

John Wright, thank you for telling all of us, with great clarity, on your conversion to Christianity. I especially like you comments to the ILK about our sometimes, sophomoric, mind reading and telling us to “knock it off”.

Some background

I, like you, am a convert to Roman Catholicism. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think that I would end up a catholic. Most people who go through the conversion process do not know that it takes almost a year (depending on the parish) to go through the process. I knew what I was getting myself into – and I couldn’t be happier.

What most people (who don’t attend a catholic service (mass) would be surprised to hear is that the focus is on how much God love you (and me). I would bet that 98% of the masses I attend, worldwide, are affirmations on how much God loves me (and you). I am encouraged to do what I can to meet the beatitudes – and this is like a kid helping his Dad with a job. We’ve all done that – pick up the board from some house project, bring the paint brush from the storage shed, feed the animals, and lots of other things. It makes us (and me) feel good about me – like “I helped”.

Do I to say is what my priest, dare I say his name, Father Tom said to me one time when we were talking about Protestantism and Catholicism. He said something like, Mike, people in the pews (meaning protestant or catholic) are trying to do the same thing. They want to love God and do his will. The differences, well, those are for the theologians, not the layman. And that, my friend, made all the difference. I thought about my cousin, Johnny. He’s an electrician in Alabama. He goes to work in a skilled trade, sweats in the sun, and gives away a portion of his earnings to help the less fortunate. Others elsewhere do the same thing. If we didn’t have God in us or want to be a friend of God, we’d spend our time and treasure on something else. I have far more in common with my Protestant brothers and sisters than what separates us. I feel certain that others feel the same also.

It seems that C.S. Lewis said, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” It looks to me like you answer other intellectual questioner on their level.


Anonymous Rollory April 23, 2014 1:54 PM  

"I take the logical process of philosophy very seriously"

Oh yeah, totally. To the point that when someone reads something he writes, thinks "that's an interesting and unexpected idea, I wonder how he came to that conclusion" and asks him about it, Wright's immediate (and repeated) reaction is to accuse the questioner of dishonesty.

No, the question never did get answered.

That's one example but I've seen enough holes in what he's written elsewhere to be confident of the pattern. Any testimony from Wright, particularly founded on his own opinion of his reasoning abilities or character, will tend to indicate the truth being the opposite of what Wright is claiming.

Anonymous rho April 24, 2014 3:21 AM  

FWIW, Markku and I may potentially disagree on many things, but this thread is not one of them. Beau, however, is possibly a huge retard, and is probably autistic.

Anonymous TranceEnt April 24, 2014 4:23 AM  

I would look at the rigorous logic of St. Thomas Aquinas, the complexity and thoroughness of his reasoning, and compare that to the scattered and mentally incoherent sentimentality of some poseur like Nietzsche or Sartre.

I don't know about Sartre, but to call Nietzsche a "poseur" who dabbles in "mentally incoherent sentimentality" is a just little short of the mark. It suggests JCW either hasn't read him or hasn't understood him. It certainly means he can't recognize genius when he sees it.

Blogger Markku April 24, 2014 9:57 AM  

Beau, however, is possibly a huge retard, and is probably autistic.

No, Beau is a legend only just one step down from Bane.

Blogger Markku April 24, 2014 10:00 AM  

But he's ol... of advanced age. Hence I suspect some kind of a fundamental communication problem here.

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