Objection: The affirmation of the Resurrection as a miracle is connected to the event itself, a position that rejects, a priori of the miraculous would leave no room for the Resurrection as the Gospels teach it.”
First off, I’d simply point to the picture and ask, “If you had no idea of the miraculous, wouldn’t you have some understanding seeing this event transpire?”
Therefore, No affirmation of the existence of miracles is necessarily needed to witness an event that would be described by one with priori knowledge of miracles as miraculous.
If one did not have the concept of a miracle– or apathetic to the idea–prior to or have a knowledge of miracles before the Resurrection, but had the basic knowledge that dead people do not come back to life; then one would simply have to conclude the very nature of the event is outside of the realms of natural occurrences. If someone knows that people who are dead, by rule, do not come back to life then they would have to formulate a concept for the supernatural as a response to a new discover, thus they would now attain the concept of the miraculous.
The attainment of knowledge of the miraculous (the first reception) from a miraculous event would need to precede any sort of priori concept of the miraculous because if it were required that one needed such knowledge there could never be any miracles that could be recognized to be such as Aristotle, and Aquinas agrees, that all knowledge comes from the senses.
Although, I’d be willing to be more persuaded if one argues from Augustine’s Divine Illumination theory.
Make sure to pre-order my new book: The Birth of God in Historical Context: An Examination of the Infancy Narrative of Jesus Christ:
I mentioned earlier this year that I hoped to publish this book by year’s end. The book is a compilation of my earlier work in history as an undergraduate student, posts and debates that had been published on this blog and my own, and material from my most current Master’s class in theology.
The book sets a foundation on the historicity of the gospel texts within the vein of a proper understanding of historicism. An understanding of the influence of both era and culture of the authors in their proper contexts. It expresses agreement with Pope Benedict XVI that the writers do not give a video camera recording of the Gospels, but rather gives a substance of the historical truth. The book sets out to explain why there is good evidence to believe the Christmas date is of Christian origin. It explains via Thomas Aquinas why Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem, what Bethlehem was like when Jesus was born, and whether there is any veracity in the claims of a census found in Luke’s gospel account. The book examines the traditions of Mary–the Mother of God, Old Testament typology and prophecy, different historical figures found in the infancy narratives, Finally, what is the importance of the genealogies found in the texts of the gospels.
The conception of this book began a few years back, originating from a course I took in college called “The History of Christmas”. The course introduced me to many of the written sources presented in this book as well as fostering a great interest in the infancy narratives of Jesus Christ. After some years, I decided to present some of the material in a discussion group at my local parish to discuss some of the historic legitimacy of infancy narratives found in the Gospels. The book’s text expands on my notes and outlines from this discussion group.
My goal for this book is to distill the many arguments about and ideas on the infancy narratives into one, easily accessible analysis, as well as to shape the dense academic historiography and theological typology into something more palatable for lay readers. Naturally, in this project some generalizations are needed to summarize the extensive academic scholarship on the subject, so I fully encourage readers to look beyond this book and to explore all sources that I’ve presented here.
The book’s release date is December 17th. You can preorder a copy at the link below.
Overall, however, when weighing the two forms, I think the gains outweigh the losses. The 50th anniversary of the Novus Ordo’s debut is, therefore, a time to thank God for those gains.
FATHER ROGER LANDRY
I believe Father Roger Landry is a good man and a good priest with a lot of good intentions. I also think he is deluded by his own good intentions in this Register article, “Celebrating the Novus Ordo as It Ought to Be.” I always grew up hearing that old saw that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. This was my introduction to the law of unintended consequences.
When welfare programs began many decades ago, the intention was to help families in their hardships. The unintended consequences of those programs was to foster generations of unwed mothers and fatherless sons who would become savage criminals who have turned urban life into urban hell. I am crazy, but I think the solution to the problem is to end the programs. Why repeat the same mistake expecting a different result? And if the current result is worse than the problem the solution was intended to cure, you abandon the solution. This would be common sense.
The Novus Ordo Mass had many good intentions behind it at the outset. But good intentions don’t count. What we have to see are the potential unintended consequences of our actions. The unintended consequences of the Novus Ordo are plain to see. We see a decline in vocations, church attendance, and belief in the Real Presence. Liturgical abuses are common. The atmosphere of a typical Novus Ordo Mass has less reverence than what you will find at an Episcopal or Lutheran church service. And the Novus Ordo opened the doors to all sorts of innovations from the modernists in other areas. How can Father Landry seriously claim that the gains outweigh the losses?
The biggest loss is that priests like Father Landry cannot see the destruction the Novus Ordo has brought to our parishes. It’s like living in a town with a paper mill. After awhile, you don’t notice the rotten egg smell anymore. But your out of town relatives notice it when they come to visit.
There is only one upside to the Novus Ordo Mass. It makes you appreciate the real thing when you encounter it. When you attend a Latin Mass, you are struck immediately by its beauty and reverence. When you kneel at the rail and take communion, you see how much better and efficient it is than the clumsy attempt at a supermarket express lane with extraordinary ministers of holy communion. Worship is not about the utilitarian, but the utilitarian arguments against the Latin Mass are without substance.
The Novus Ordo should be totally abolished. There was and is nothing wrong with the Latin Mass except that it put restraint on bad priests in the liturgy. The Novus Ordo opened the doors wide to innovations that are ongoing even today. The changes never stop. Ultimately, those changes will invalidate the Mass altogether, and the Real Presence will vanish in an abomination of desolation. This is the ultimate destination of all these good intentions. When we reach the end of that road paved with the stones of all those good intentions, we should not be surprised to find ourselves in Hell nor claim that we weren’t warned.
Today, in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of celebration of what we have made of God’s gift to us all. Its history reaches all the way back to our Pilgrim forebearers, who felt called to thank God that they had survived the first year in the Massachusetts Bay.
Now it is a day of parades, football, serious overeating, and sleeping off that overeating by sleeping through the football on TV. But I think we all deep in our hearts do remember to thank “The Big Guy” for all we have, and the freedom to enjoy it.
President Washington certainly knew something about dark days, far darker than ours are today, and he (and Congress) thought it fit to remember the Author of our blessings. So should we.
From the Heritage Foundation
Thanksgiving ProclamationIssued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
That’s the reason for the day put as well as anyone has, ever.
My family’s traditional table grace is this
In the press of daily events, it is not always easy to remember just how good we have it. Perry Metzger at Samizdata sums it up well.
We live lives of such astonishing wealth that we scarcely notice it. Only a fool would rather be an Emperor in 1600 than a poor person living today. Compared to a king of several centuries ago, poor people in the developed world live in astonishing luxury. In the developed world, we eat fresh vegetables in midwinter, our homes are heated toasty warm in the winter and cooled and dehumidified in the summer, we travel in enormous comfort (no wooden wheeled carriages without shock absorbers for us, and indeed, we can fly to the other side of the world for a quite modest sum of money), our medical care is incomparably better, our beds more comfortable, our entertainment options beyond any potentate’s wildest dreams. This is true even of quite poor people, at least in developed countries.
Whence comes this bounty? It is not because of union organizing, or minimum wage laws, or the triumph of the proletariat over the evil factory owners. Indeed, a few centuries ago, there were few mass production factories to triumph over.
No, the source of this bounty is productivity, and the engines of productivity are deferred consumption being invested in improved infrastructure (that is, capital accumulation), improved technology, and specialization. Thanks to our better means of making things and the sacrifices needed to construct those means, productivity per worker is orders of magnitude higher, and thus there’s more stuff to go around.
Read it all, but realize this is the characteristic Anglo-American achievement, that we have shared with all the world, along with the freedom to enjoy it. Not to mention the freedom to create it, which is why it started with our peoples.
It is indeed meet that we thank our God for our Blessings.
An excessive need for admiration and praise and with this comes an equally excessive need to avoid criticism. Often this is associated with obvious attention seeking behavior. These narcissistic traits are frequently found in those who introduce and participate in liturgical innovations.
If I had the power and the authority to change things, I would abolish the Novus Ordo from Catholic parishes and demand a return to the Tridentine Mass. I did not always feel this way or even care. Then, my parish got a narcissist for a pastor, and my views on the Novus Ordo changed dramatically and permanently. This is because the Novus Ordo allows the narcissistic excesses of priests to be on full display.
We already know this. There was the priest who rode a hoverboard into the sanctuary at the beginning of the Mass. There was the priest that offered the Super Bowl Mass. Then, there was the use of a drone to elevate a monstrance with a consecrated host through the sanctuary. I wish I was making that last one up. Like it or not, liturgical abuses are the norm and not the exception in the Novus Ordo.
The fundamental problem with the Novus Ordo is that it brings the attention and focus from the sacrifice to the celebration of the community to the final celebration of the priest himself. This is sickening stuff. Now, not every priest who celebrates the NO is a narcissist. Many of them probably hate the Novus Ordo, but they are not given the option to abandon it. But the narcissist priest loves the Novus Ordo. It becomes his time to shine.
My priest is one of those narcissists. He parks his presider’s chair directly in front of the Cranmer table altar where he sits like a king and presides over his court. His homilies are just warm ups before going into long talks about himself and what sorts of television programs he likes to watch. When this becomes boring, he will launch into song which brings applause from the idiot herd in the pews. Or, he will have a quiz show where he gives away prizes for correct answers. I am not making any of this up.
This weekly spectacle is nauseating for me. I feel physically ill when this narcissist takes the stage for his clown show spectacle. To negate the scandal, I now attend the Spanish Mass where he presides but has to tamp down his ego because of his tenth grade Spanish language skills. My own comprehension of Spanish is less than this, so his homilies and antics disappear into a gibberish I do not understand. I also sit to the side of the sanctuary where I don’t have to look at him directly.
This narcissist priest noticed that we were doing this and stopped in the middle of his Spanish homily to declare in English his displeasure at Anglos attending the Spanish Mass. He had become wise to our trick, and his ego could not let it go. We still go to the Spanish Mass, so he punished us by nixing one of the English masses and moving the Spanish Mass to that time. He does these passive-aggressive type moves constantly.
When people hear of our travails with this awful priest, they ask the obvious questions. Have you written to the bishop? Yes, I have done this. Others have done this. Have you considered attending a Latin Mass? The nearest one is a two hour trip from us. What about some other parish with a priest who isn’t a narcissistic jerk? That would be a thirty minute drive where the Novus Ordo is only marginally less offensive with a priest who turns his homilies into a social justice diatribe. I think half of our parish already goes there now.
This priest who I refer to as “Father Jerk” essentially wants his parishioners to love, adore, and worship him instead of Jesus Christ. As for his parishioners, he holds them all in disdain. Many men in my parish have expressed a desire to punch him in the face. One fellow had to go outside and get some air before losing his cool with this clown after some dreadful comments Father Jerk made to his wife.
This guy doesn’t belong in the priesthood. This is a given. Yet, what drew him to this vocation? I highly doubt he was called. I think the reason is obvious. He saw in the Novus Ordo his chance to be in the spotlight. He was drawn to it like some fat moth to a bug zapper on some redneck’s back porch. He might have made a fine lounge singer or an actor, but most people who opt for these careers become nobodies. But the Novus Ordo allowed him to receive the adulation he sought while also making use of those singing and acting talents.
Would the Latin Mass have prevented this? I think so. Narcissists aren’t attracted to tradition. They want to break the rules. The Latin Mass is about Jesus Christ. The Novus Ordo is about the priest.
The only upside I can see with Father Jerk is that he has made a traditionalist out of me. I probably wouldn’t have cared about the liturgical issues, but Father Jerk has made me care. His spiritual director recommend to Father Jerk the Litany of Humility. Father Jerk’s response to this was to assign it as penance to his parishioners who confessed that week. Apparently, pride is everyone else’s problem but his own.
To the prophets: My heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble: I am become as a drunken man, and as a man full of wine, at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of his holy words. Because the land is full of adulterers, because the land hath mourned by reason of cursing, the fields of the desert are dried up: and their course is become evil, and their strength unlike. For the prophet and the priest are defiled: and in my house I have found their wickedness, saith the Lord. Therefore their way shall be as a slippery way in the dark: for they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evils upon them, the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied in Baal, and deceived my people Israel. And I have seen the likeness of adulterers, and the way of lying in the prophets of Jerusalem: and they strengthened the hands of the wicked, that no man should return from his evil doings: they are all become unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrha.
JEREMIAH 23:9-14 DOUAY-RHEIMS
This passage from Jeremiah would aptly describe the recent meeting of the United States Council of Corrupt Bishops even down to the lines about Sodom and Gomorrah. You could have tossed a stone into that room and not failed to hit a sodomite. They are a wicked bunch of men, and you would need a fresh quarry to provide all the millstones needed for the necks of these evildoers. And the sad thing is that they are still too conservative for our heretical Bishop in White who sent his emissary with words that could have come from Harvey Weinstein on his casting couch.
These are dark days to be a Roman Catholic and many look back to church history to find some parallel to our time. Yet, none quite fit. I recommend turning to the pages of the Old Testament and the many infidelities of the Hebrews in their whorings after idols. Watching Francis and his Amazonian disciples bless and prostrate themselves before Queen Pachamama ranks as disgusting as anything perpetrated in ancient Israel. When you combine the rampant sodomy, heresy, thievery, and thuggery in the Vatican, the hierarchy of the Antichurch should prepare a place for themselves next to the prophets of Baal in Hell.
But why has this calamity of unfaithful prelates and priests befallen Catholicism? Why has God allowed this? St. John Eudes tells us why:
‘THE MOST EVIDENT MARK of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics’ who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.
Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness.
St. Gregory the Great says that priests and pastors will stand condemned before God as the murderers of any souls lost through neglect or silence. Tot occidimus, quot ad mortem ire tepidi et tacentes videmus. Elsewhere St. Gregory asserts that nothing more angers God than to see those whom He set aside for the correction of others, give bad example by a wicked and depraved life.’
Instead of preventing offenses against His Majesty, such priests become themselves the first to persecute Him, they lose their zeal for the salvation of souls and think only of following their own inclinations. Their affections go no farther than earthly things, they eagerly bask in the empty praises of men, using their sacred ministry to serve their ambitions, they abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world, and in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits.
When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them. That is why He cries unceasingly to Christians, “Return, 0 ye revolting children . . . and I will give you pastors according to my own heart” (Jer. 3, 14-15). Thus, irregularities in the lives of priests constitute a scourge visited upon the people in consequence of sin.’
There are approximately 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. Yet, how many of them are worth their salt? How many of them believe in the Real Presence? How many of them can be bothered to attend Mass on a weekly basis?
The sad reality of the Catholic laity hit home to me when my wife reported that one of our parishioners expressed hope that the Church was on the verge of ordaining women priests. Now, I have heard countless heresies from the mouths of both bishops, priests, and religious. But this was the first time I heard such garbage from a fellow parishioner who I considered to be a faithful Catholic. I suspect she is on the subscriber list to the National Catholic Reporter.
It is no secret to me that many Catholics are nominalists and a large number of them disagree with the Church’s teachings on things like homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, and artificial contraception. These nominalists are merely cultural Catholics raised in a faith they did not choose but which they cling to like the old silverware their grandparents bequeathed to them. They are lacking in supernatural faith and would certainly disavow all belief in our Lord should the persecutions come. But these folks do us all one great favor by staying home except for the two times per year they show up for Mass. Our priests and prelates are not directing the Church down the path of wickedness to appeal to these nominalists.
The real destroyers are the modernists in the pews who actually do attend Mass and are actually quite passionate about the Catholic Church. But this would be the Antichurch and not the One True Faith handed down from the Apostles. It is from this crowd of lay heretics that you get the likes of Michael Sean Winters, Austen Ivereigh, Stephen Colbert, and John Allen, Jr.
Faithful orthodox Catholics like to think that they are in the majority of those who attend Mass weekly. But this is not true. They are outnumbered by the insipid half-ass Catholics who gladly pull the lever for pro-abortion Democrats and have no qualms about sodomites in the priesthood and lesbo-nuns in the convents. They fully support the agenda of Francis and his fellow modernist bishops especially when it comes to “irregular relationships.”
If you are worried that you are one of these half-ass heretical Catholics, it indicates that you most certainly are not. These calamities have not come because you forgot to pray your daily rosary or need to shape up in some area of your life. The ones who have brought these calamities are the ones who have deliberately asked for them. They are robust in their sins and errors.
It would be nice to see these scandals as just a pope/prelate/priest problem. But we forget that all clergy and religious begin as laity. These errors did not begin inside the Church. They began outside in the world and infiltrated into the Church. This did not begin at the top and work its way down to the bottom. It began at the bottom and has finally worked its way to the top. If you doubt this, just look at the sorry state of our Catholic universities like Georgetown and Notre Dame where a return to Catholic orthodoxy would certainly be met by a mass revolt from the student bodies of these institutions.
The homosexualist Father James Martin of the Society of Judas does not speak to empty auditoriums and parishes as he pushes his rainbow agenda. Those venues are always filled to capacity. Catholic politicians who vote for abortion can do so in the full confidence that their membership in the Knights of Columbus will not be affected. Many parishes and universities are “gay friendly,” and this is precisely because of programs staffed and supported by Catholic laity. It was Catholic laity in Ireland who voted overwhelmingly to legalize abortion in defiance of Catholic pro-life teachings.
Some will argue that the sheep are not to blame but the shepherds. But we are not talking about children indoctrinated in a corrupted public school. Many of these are adults who were born before Vatican II and know precisely what the Church teaches on these matters. If they didn’t know, they would not labor so mightily to change the Church’s teachings. Even I knew what the Catholic Church taught on these things, and I was a Protestant. Let’s not fool ourselves with the tripe that ignorance is an excuse here. In the age of Google, people can claim they don’t know things?!
As a convert, I diligently studied on my own all that the Catholic Church taught concerning faith and morals. I think my only sticking point was the thing about indulgences which I got over. Otherwise, I knew what the Church taught and embraced it all without reservation. If I could do this, why can’t the rest of those who call themselves Catholic?
The time for punishment has come as we now have an Antichurch staffed by wolves who molest and rape our children, filch our donations, indulge in sexual perversion, and undermine our beliefs and traditions. It is sad that the innocent are condemned to suffer with the wicked. There is no doubt that the bastards in mitres are ripe for damnation. But if you want to know where the blame lies, just look next to you in the pew. You may not deserve all of this, but those people do.
A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
When I was an atheist, the thing that distinguished me from my peers was that I wasted no time trolling believers on their blogs or their websites or drawing them into debate in the offline world. The first and most basic reason for this distinction of mine was that atheism is a fundamentally boring topic. You are not arguing for a something but for a nothing. It is easy to be passionate for a positive but not so much for a negative.
The second reason is that it struck me as a waste of time. When you consider the existential dimension of atheism, what do you gain from disabusing people of their fairy tales? If life is nothing more than a blip in a sea of infinite nothing, why should I care if you find some comfort in a lie? Atheists humor people in more damaging fictions like those of the transgendered who mutilate themselves in some vain effort to resolve the conflict between their biology and their delusions. In fact, I know from personal experience that atheists will tolerate virtually anything you care to believe so long as it is not the Christian religion. This is how my club of fellow atheists turned from people devoted to science and reason into a society tolerant of polyamory and Wicca.
Despite having a short life with the expectation of eternal nothingness awaiting at the end of it all, many atheists prefer to spend their precious time in this finite existence arguing endlessly in Christian forums and comboxes against the thing they do not believe in. Bishop Robert Barron noticed this same phenomenon of atheists trolling the CNN Belief Blog and being passionately interested in the thing they claim to be a delusion and a waste of time. I can honestly say that I spend no similar amount of time in flat earth forums attempting to disabuse those people of their nuttiness. I have a friend who is a flat earther, and I can say that the flat earth delusion does no practical harm to him whatsoever. This might be different if he was a travel agent.
The atheist troll will make the claim that debunking religion is a good cause done out of charity and goodwill in order to make the world a better place. Look at how great Chinese society is as a consequence of their efforts to stamp out all things religious. It is an awesome thing to be able to think anything the government allows you to think. Yet, this charitable desire of atheists to stamp out ignorance does not seem to extend to the Musloid fanatics with a penchant for beheading their critics and flying passenger airliners into tall buildings. The Freedom From Religion Foundation focuses on the truly harmful religious practices of coaches praying with their teams before football games or swearing on Bibles before taking office. The world would be a truly better place without those superstitious practices. Plus, those Christians don’t tend to swing scimitars, chop off the heads of your menfolk, and force your women and children into bondage and sexual servitude.
The ire, vitriol, and combox hijinks of atheist trolls comes down to the desperate desire to convince people like me that my belief in God is incorrect. They have it right, and I have it wrong. For some reason, convincing me of my wrongness is worth the third of their meaningless lives they waste trying to badger me into unbelief. Then, they discover that I was already an atheist and for a very long time. Now, I am not an atheist. That troubling fact causes even more desperation and distress for the atheist troll. One of their own defected from the ranks of unbelief to embrace the myths again.
The reality is that atheist trolls waste their time because they do not need to convince others of the truth of atheism. They need to convince themselves. Despite having an arsenal of scientific facts and logical arguments at their disposal, they are not convincing to the atheist trolls because people like me still stubbornly believe in God. Somehow, the assurance of God’s non-existence does not reach 100% until some believer becomes an unbeliever. I find this bizarre because my flat earth friend causes no similar distress in my round earth worldview.
The fact is that forever is a long time, and it is certainly made longer when it is eternal damnation. That potentiality would certainly make wasting a large portion of your meaningless life a worthwhile endeavor. I can afford to be wrong as a Christian because I have nothing to lose from believing except the love and adoration of atheist trolls. If God does not exist, I will never even know that I was wrong. And the atheist will never know that he was right. Knowledge requires consciousness which atheists claim is extinguished at death. But if God does exist, the atheist will have to contemplate his error forever. That possibility is a great motivator to make sure you got it right.
I will now render some charity to those atheist trolls and help them a bit in their desperation. If I became an unbeliever again, would it make you feel more confident in your unbelief and assurance of annihilation at death? Would it end all of your doubts in doubt? Would it make one damn bit of difference? Of course, it wouldn’t. Countless Christians apostasize and lose their faith in God. In fact, the entire world could become atheist, and this still would do nothing to alleviate the desperation of these atheists. The suspicion that God exists and the desire to know Him are itches that remain even after the scratching has stopped. If you doubt this, contemplate the phenomenon of the atheist church or the semi-religious practices of the atheist Sam Harris who attempts to gain the benefits of religion through meditation practice while retaining a prophylactic of unbelief.
The atheist must contend with the fact that if man is an animal then he is a religious animal. The material universe produced material beings with desires for non-material things. This makes no sense. Yet, religious belief and superstition is ubiquitous, and human beings have expended great amounts of material, manpower, and resources over the centuries to serve these needs and desires for the non-material. Humanity desires the divine. The desperation of atheist trolls is merely a symptom of religious frustration stemming from a denial of this desire for the divine.
I found this rather interesting, Pastor Weedon is one of the Lutherans I listen closely to. Yes, there are others. This is a series of videos that we will share with you. I am Lutheran, and even for me as an ELCA Lutheran, it highlights the differences. In any case, I think you will see parallels and differences with your church, whichever one it may be. My guess? The LCMS is probably closest to the Anglo-Catholics, as one of the original Protestant Churches.
Post by Charles Broadway.
I believe that Twitter killed Andrew Breitbart. Twitter is lovely for people who want to meet for a movie or ask your friends to cross their fingers for a big job interview. But Twitter meant that Andrew had with him at all times of day and night a little device that went ‘chirp’ when he was under attack and it went ‘chirp’ all the time. My friend Andrew could not simply walk away from that. So that’s another lesson I’m passing along from my friend Andrew: put it away. It’s important, but it’s not worth your life.
There is debate about what is Web 1.0 and what is Web 2.0. I think the debate is settled easily by pointing to BF and AF–Before Facebook and After Facebook. Facebook is what changed the internet for the worse, and everything that has come after it is Web 2.0. Web 1.0 was glorious. Yet, we speak of it posthumously as if it died, but it never died. It just lost its pizzazz in the popular mind as short attention spans have turned to social media to be made shorter. Web 1.0 still exists, and it is still awesome.
My first encounter with the internet was back in the days when you had dial up modems and American Online. AOL was the Facebook of its day. Granted, AOL didn’t steal all your private data and personal details and sell them to the highest bidder. They just made it impossible to quit their service. Facebook does much the same thing today as it was very painful for me to permanently delete my account. Now, you merely have to post something pro-life or conservative to have Facebook delete your account for you. It’s a bit like being thrown out of Hell. Be grateful that you got the boot.
With America Online, you had a walled garden with various forms of games and heavy social interaction. But beyond that wall was the Wild West of the open internet. There were homebuilt websites and messageboards. There were email list groups where you could engage peers on narrow topics. I found this open internet much more intellectually stimulating than the trivial crap on AOL. So, I embraced it. But it was still social which would prove to be a thorn in my side.
I can’t be on an internet messageboard without becoming extremely popular. I’m not sure why this is the case, but one messageboard poster told me that my secret weapon was that I had the ability to write. Apparently, literacy counts for something in the world of online forums. Various fans of my posts would actually save my posts to their hard drives and repost them again when they would be deleted. This happened to me often. I wasn’t a troll, and I used self-deprecating humor to disarm opponents. But I had committed the unforgivable sin in the world of the messageboards. I was popular.
I share these stories from the not-so-distant past of the internet to show how history repeats itself. My popularity would get my posts taken down by hateful moderators who finally banned me outright. I had broken no rules and committed no crimes. I just had different opinions.
One of the messageboard posters recommended to me that I create a blog. That blog would be my own thing which no one could censor or delete. My reach would be smaller, but it would endure. And posters on messageboards would post links on the boards to their favorite posts on my blog. The moderators would delete the links, but they would still keep coming back on their boards. But I was indifferent by then. I was done with messageboards. I was a blogger.
The blogosphere had a stellar run during the Bush and Obama years. That was a golden age for blogging. You had some of the most serious and intelligent content out there on a variety of subjects. Those bloggers brought unique perspectives and expertise to bear on the issues. Then, Facebook happened, and the bloggers felt some weird need to open accounts in the new walled garden of Mark Zuckerberg. I was one of them. I could spend all day crafting a well thought out post, but I would get a more immediate hit from the snarky one liners I posted on Facebook. Then, I would spend the rest of my time responding to people with more snarky one liners. The same skills that made me a star on the messageboards were serving me well on Facebook. Meanwhile, my blog became stale and overgrown with weeds. I had ditched my true love for a fling and came home with regret over it. I deleted my Facebook account.
I discovered Twitter sometime later. Twitter was better because you had journalists, political junkies, and Catholic bloggers. These people could read and didn’t mind if I posted a great deal. It was endless chatter for me as my blog once more grew abandoned. I had replaced the cocaine of Facebook with the crystal meth of Twitter. That addiction was much tougher to quit, but I did it.
Various people today like Cal Newport and Glenn Reynolds have issued their warnings about the deleterious effects of social media. You can see these effects now on various personalities in the Catholic blogosphere. One Catholic blogger recommends that you delete all of your social media accounts because they are tools of the Devil. Another Catholic blogger runs one of the best sites in the Catholic blogosphere publishing long and thoughtful articles from himself and others on various topics. Then, he soils his undergarments as he makes an ass of himself on Twitter with the remaining 23 hours of his day. The guy is a true Jekyll and Hyde character. Yet, he defends his social media presence as necessary to promote the thoughtful content on his website.
Should Catholic writers and journalists use social media? I think the question has already answered itself. Both Facebook and Twitter now represent near occasions of sin. I have personally had to confess sins connected to Twitter in the confessional. Let that sink in. And when you pray to avoid the near occasions of sin, how is this not a call to you to delete your social media accounts?
I have seen so many justifications by Catholics for their social media presence. The reality is that they already have a presence on their blogs and websites. That content is simply awesome. But the things they do on social media are simply awful. It’s like the Baptist who went to the bar to preach to the sinners but ended up driving home drunk and parking his pickup truck in a ditch. The theory is promising, but the practice tells the true story.
The difference between the blogsophere and social media is the same difference between a letter to the editor and a Molotov cocktail. The letter to the editor is more thoughtful and probably more influential. But the Molotov cocktail is more immediate. Why spend an evening crafting an awesome bit of blogging when you can just light people up on Twitter?
People will claim that blogging is dying, but this is only partially true. It is dying, but this is because bloggers are now wasting their time and their brains on social media. These people used to produce awesome content. Now, they produce little or nothing.
Andrew Breitbart had a nasty Twitter habit when he died. He would spend his days creating and running one of the best conservative websites on the internet. Some say it is still the best. But Breitbart would spend his valuable time in the evening fighting it out with nobodies on Twitter. He was a guy who couldn’t let it go. This was not good for a man on the verge of a heart attack. Yet, I see others making the same mistake. It may not create a cardiac event for them, but it does other forms of damage to their reputations and relationships and to their very souls.
Choosing to be a blogger over being a social media junkie is a good choice. Web 1.0 is still there waiting for its comeback like vinyl records and muscle cars. I think it behooves Catholic bloggers especially to make the move back to what was best about the old internet–the freedom to influence the world with clear thinking and good writing.