Called to Discombobulation

I wonder if Stellman needs some coaching from Mark Shea:

It was around here that I entered the Church (1987) and fairly quickly surveyed what I took to be the lay of the land. The Church, I gathered, was divided between the loopy left and what Peter Kreeft called “non-revisionist Catholics”, aka “faithful conservative Catholics” who accepted the whole of the Church’s teaching, including the inconvenient and difficult Pelvic Bits, and tried to live that out. Having endured numerous nutball Seattle liturgies (“in the Name of the Creator and the Redeemer and the Sanctifier, may God our Father/Mother bless you”) with edited scripture readings sanitized for my protection and commentary such as “This passage is a crock” from the Seattle priestly caste, as well as instructions to just feel free to blow off the Church’s more inconvenient teaching, I came into the Church ready to stick it out defiantly against the lefty Seattle fiefdom with its sneering contempt for orthodoxy and its naked disdain for the Holy Father (my DRE loved to mock the Polish accent for the benefit of the RCIA class and tell the newbies what a buffoon the pope was for upholding the Church’s teaching. It made my blood boil. Only silly ultramontanes believed all that junk JPII said, I was assured.)

So I entered the Church in 1987 and set out to seriously live by the profession “I believe all that the holy, Catholic Church, believes, teaches, and proclaims is revealed by God.” Found a great parish in Seattle (Blessed Sacrament) full of wonderful Dominicans who taught me that the key to happiness as a Catholic was what Sherry Weddell has come to term”intentional discipleship”. That means not merely getting the sacramental card punched once a week, nor figuring out strategies for doing as I pleased while checking off a minimum daily adult requirement checklist on bare minimum cooperation with the Holy Spirit when he doesn’t get in my way, but making a serious stab at asking “What do you want me to do today, Jesus?” In this, I assumed that the great secret underground of Faithful Conservative Catholics was my allies and that the mission was to infiltrate, undermine, and destroy from within the regime of liberal dissent I’d seen up close and personal here in Seattle. Seemed reasonable.

Consequently, I took the formulation of the Five Non-Negotiables (abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem call research, human cloning, and gay “marriage”) as common sense as, I have no doubt, did whoever formulated them. I can’t remember when I first ran across them (sometime in the 90s I think) and I have no idea who came up with them, but they seemed (and seem) to me to have a certain prima facie common sense to them: Here are five big issues that, at the very least, Catholics should agree on. The “at the very least” was always, for me, the key phrase. It never occurred to me that Catholics would insist that these are the only things Catholics should care about, much less that Catholics should seize on these things to attack other aspects of the Church’s teaching. That was, I assumed, what the Liberals did with their hyperfocus on protesting the Trident base over at Bangor while turning a blind eye to Seattle’s abortion mills. So I happily embraced the five non-negotiables as as a sort of quick and dirty summary of bare minimum adherence to the Church’s fundamental teachings about the dignity of human life, and the family. It didn’t and shouldn’t exhaust our understanding for the Church’s social teaching. But it sketched out the floor of that teaching, below which we cannot go. If you wanted a much fuller teaching, there was the Seamless Garment, which always impressed me as a fine, nuanced, balanced, and sane approach to articulating the whole of the Church’s consistent ethic of life. Indeed, back in the day, I once wrote a piece for the National Catholic Register, sketching out the sanity of the Seamless Garment and more or less naively assumed all Catholics agreed with this obvious, catechism-based, common sense.

At least conservatives in the PCUSA used to claim that their communion before 1967 had not changed its doctrine. An entire Christian tradition, from Augustine of Hippo to Zoe of Rome, boiled down to five moral claims?

I still wait for the Callers to acknowledge the discrepancy between their Call and their Communion. The former may have a certain logic, but the latter has all the marks of the Protestant mainline circa 1970. Here’s a piece of advice to Jason and the Callers — the Call needs to address the conservative Presbyterian opposition to modernism. How those converts got around the modernist trends in Roman Catholicism since Vatican 2 has to owe to the Callers’ divorce of history from truth.

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227 thoughts on “Called to Discombobulation

  1. The amusement triples when an OT passage is called a crock and…. just a second… yup, Jesus upholds it in the NT….

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  2. Bryan has fully accounted for liberal laypeople, priests, bishops, and popes in his apologetic. Or, at least “we” have, as he is fond of telling us.

    Haven’t received the actual citation for the sentence or paragraph where he or “we” does it, though.

    I’m sure it’s out there somewhere…

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  3. Jason’s comment quoted above was in the context of transgenderism, just in case anyone fails to click on the link and read the context.

    Question: Why does “Stellman” get mentioned so much over here in the posts. Seems like he hasn’t been around here in a long time and doesn’t care to engage. He doesn’t consider himself any type of apologist for Catholicism (even says publicly he’s not a great Catholic) and doesn’t want to debate. Is it some kind of inside joke? I’m sincerely asking. (Not that we don’t appreciate the people being referred to http://www.drunkexpastors.com.) 🙂

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  4. I’m sure Bryan will delight in telling you he already logically wrapped up your concern in a prior paper of which he offers no date or title as reference

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  5. Christian, self promotion is always fun. But I digress..

    Jason at his blog creedcodecult wrote for several years about how wrong reformed protestantism is, contrasted with his new found catholicism. I think the reason there’s so much here about JJS is that there is much reformed protestants wish to say in response to his many words.

    idk, maybe he likes the attention?

    peace

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  6. Christian, since the Callers like to show off their scalps, you don’t think having a scalp that won’t hunt is useful over here? (And don’t you think Jason might have considered some of this before he became a poster boy for Rome?)

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  7. Also, “stellman” indeed doesn’t come around the “opc blog” (here) much, but he does pop in at pca blogs (green baggins), and you guys in your podcast talk about reformed protestants. i don’t see what the big problem of Darryl posting blog posts about this topic. just me tho..

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  8. Christian, Jason was a poster boy, than not, now sorta, after a fashion, kinda, depends how the car selling gig goes, not really. Jason coulda quietly carried on his business, then quietly said goodbye. He likes the glare. Not our fault.

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  9. Christian, Iow, Jason chose to be a religious public figure and still chooses to be one, after a fashion(Drunk ex-PASTORS). I don’t really care, either way, but when it comes to the ‘whys”, maybe, ask him.

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  10. there’s the leave jason alone party, but this seems more james white-ish than darryl hartian, to me, anyway..

    The PROBLEM OF THEOLOGICAL NARCISSISM–STOP GIVING JASON STELLMAN ATTENTION, PLEASE!

    I realize that writing this post probably does the very thing that I am condemning, but I don’t know how else to address the issue. This past Sunday, Jason Stellman, a former PCA Reformed minister, was received into the Roman Catholic communion. He has posted his story of journey to Rome on the Called to Communion website. Painful, but not surprising.

    Many responses have been provided suggesting a variety of different motives for Jason’s departure–some even suggesting he doesn’t understand the gospel. I did a write-up a few months back attempting to address what I believe is the crucial consequence of his departure.

    Since that time, I have followed Jason on Facebook and his blog. When it first broke open, Jason demonstrated some kind of remorse. He apologized to people, expressed grief to those whom he has hurt in his church, home, community, etc., and he seemed generally humble by what he knew was a radical shift in his theology.

    But that day of remorse was short lived. At first Jason claimed that he would remain silent in light of the plethora of degrading responses he was receiving. Reason? Jason responded that his sanctification was being tested (mortal sins, purgatory, etc., obviously have serious consequences to an unsanctified life). But this too didn’t last very long.

    Now Jason is back and bolder than ever. From the Calvary Road (Calvary Chapel that is), to debating the fine points of election and covenant theology, to fighting the Federal Visionists, to now swimming the Tiber, Jason is now ready to take on all his former Protestant friends and debate them on how they have all read Paul wrongly on justifying faith, and assumed too much in adopting Scripture as an alone authority. Jason is ready to dissect, debate, and dissemble, in public, his former views he once held, and with robust passion. The Roman door is now open, Luther is now the door-stop, and Called to Communion has a new poster boy, as Jason summons us all to consider his insurmountable conclusion that has lead him home.

    His old, loyal friends are standing back in shock. We remember reading his public testimony of why he left Calvary Chapel. Powerful reading. Jason became the poster boy for the anti-Calvary Chapel movement. We were convinced, but now we are confused. Can you really begin with Hawaiian shirts, guitars, and Pope Smith (as Jason used to call him), and end up satisfied with collars, beads, and Pope Benedict XVI? What is left except to become a poster boy for yourself? We would surely call that agnosticism.

    I write this to make a plea with those who are still engaging Jason, listening to him, or considering following his path. Look at the real problem here. The radical nature of the paradigm shifts that have taken place in Jason’s short life should say something. And the question of why Jason has to make every shift a public event with public attention should say even more. How much attention does Jason really need?

    How Jason broke so quickly out of remorse for hurting an entire congregation and now has so boldly engaged his interlocuters on Called to Communion, Green Baggins, and his blog should earn some discernment from those who are reading. This all exposes a need for attention. It seems disingenuous for Jason to make the case that he as relinquished all autonomy in joining Rome when the result is this kind of theological narcissism.

    Jason did understand the gospel and decided it was not the answer for him. I repeat, it was not that he misunderstood it, and has departed in ignorance. Jason grasped it, confessed it, was ordained to it, promised to defend it, and then defected consciously from the system of doctrine he promised to uphold.

    We’ve considered the Roman claims, tested them by the Word, and rejected them. Our confession stands because the Word stands. This doesn’t mean that the issues are not worth engaging. They are. This doesn’t mean that the Romanist claims aren’t worth refuting. They are. It’s that Jason isn’t the fellow with whom we should be having this debate, if only for his sake. There is a bigger problem that the bigger picture exposes. We should be conscious of those who are carried about by every wind of doctrine. The most loving thing we could do for Jason right now is to stop engaging him.

    you should tell jason to come around, let him know i’ll stick up for him. even if he refuses to golf with me (bryan cross on the other hand, said YES to me, i’m still all a flutter…)

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  11. Christian,

    Part of the reason Jason is cited is because:

    1. He was a student (and I get the impression, one-time friend) of DGH’s
    2. He was a mini celebrity in the (already mini) Reformed community
    3. He was the prosecutor in a case where he accused someone of being Catholic and after he lost he converted (I’m not insinuating insidious motives or sour-grapes. I only note it adds to Jason’s significance in Reformed circles)
    4. A few months after his conversion Jason began blogging and acting as an apologist for Rome. He was speaking in his parish and at Catholic conferences shortly after his conversion.
    5. Jason acknowledge (d/s ?) that Bryan Cross was instrumental in his conversion and Jason posted at CtC explaining that he fought the Church, but that the Church won. This gives the impression that Jason and CtC are on the same page.
    6. When criticism is made of CtC, Jason is apparently part of their “team.” (I know that he was at least given editor privileges, but I don’t know that he ever used them.)

    DGH often uses Jason’s name as a literary trope, “Jason and the Callers.” If Jason doesn’t identify with them anymore (or says he isn’t an apologist for Rome), that’s great, but it doesn’t change the fact that after his conversion he was certainly acting like an apologist. It’s hard for us to transition to “podcaster” Jason from “preacher” Jason.

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  12. Darryl,

    I still wait for the Callers to acknowledge the discrepancy between their Call and their Communion.

    First you would need to show that there is some “discrepancy.” If asserting x were sufficient to show x, I could just assert that there is no discrepancy, and thereby cancel out your mere assertion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  13. AB, I didn’t say there was a “big problem.” I was genuinely curious. I see his name pop up in places such as Darryl’s first sentence of this post and was just confused about what Jason had to do with it. I wasn’t casting any blame or accusations. I get a kick out of it. I even find it humorous.

    D.G., maybe stop looking at people as “scalps?” (Especially if that’s how CTC thinks of people.)

    As someone who knows Jason personally, he’s wanted to be out of the spotlight as a religious figure for some time now. (Long before he stopped being a pastor.) From my observations, it’s not that easy to disentangle yourself, especially when you’re making what could only be a public change of mind. I’m sure he made some missteps along the way. I can’t imagine anyone not making some under such scrutiny. If he didn’t post about leaving the PCA, would any of you have let him get away that easily anyway?

    Sean, you can argue that “Drunk Ex-PASTORS” doesn’t do much to get him out of the religious spotlight, but then again, I don’t consider myself a religious figure at all and call myself an agnostic. Don’t forget the “EX” part.

    I’m not here to argue with you guys or defend Jason. I’m sure you guys are much more studied and intelligent than I am, and Jason can defend himself if he wants to. I enjoy coming over and reading your stuff sometimes and was just curious. Thanks for answering. I do appreciate it.

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  14. Brandon Addison,

    That makes perfect sense and helps me fill in where you guys are coming from. The “literary trope” part is what I was thinking. Thank you. Hopefully in a couple years he’ll just be “podcaster Jason.” Ha ha.

    And yes, I always gathered that Jason had/has a great fondness for DGH.

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  15. Ha ha, Cw! I don’t even need to watch the video to know what it’s gonna show me. Hopefully I’m not coming across that way. I don’t want you guys to leave him alone at all. We get a few visitors a day from this site, which works out well for me. 🙂

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  16. AB, I didn’t say there was a “big problem.” I was genuinely curious.

    Fair enough, Christian. Just sometimes, over at CTC, they only want me to comment if I find a problem in their article. Here, like at DXP, we are here to shoot the breeze.

    Anyway, as an agnostic, I would direct you to some writings by Paul Tillich, who may be thought of as bordering on atheism, but also regarded highly among protestant mainliners. Just a thought I had, for another day. We Buckinghams come from a long line of miscreants and atheism / anti-religion. Until my dad came around and straigtened that out (wink).

    Do take care, friend.

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  17. ps sartre is pretty biting stuff, though I don’t agree with him. toodle-oo.

    https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/sartre/works/exist/sartre.htm

    You can see from these few reflections that nothing could be more unjust than the objections people raise against us. Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position. Its intention is not in the least that of plunging men into despair. And if by despair one means as the Christians do – any attitude of unbelief, the despair of the existentialists is something different. Existentialism is not atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the non-existence of God. It declares, rather, that even if God existed that would make no difference from its point of view. Not that we believe God does exist, but we think that the real problem is not that of His existence; what man needs is to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God. In this sense existentialism is optimistic. It is a doctrine of action, and it is only by self-deception, by confining their own despair with ours that Christians can describe us as without hope.

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  18. I’m sure you guys are much more studied and intelligent than I am

    you’re thinking only of the hatted man who posted before you. the rest of us, are more like lebowski (you know which one i mean of the two). i’m out.

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  19. Christian, don’t consider yourself a religious figure, but trade on the idea that you’re both EX-pastors and drunk to boot, thus playing on the ‘supposed’ scandal and intrigue of such a proposition and then proceed to talk about the devil, God, church and religion quite a bit, even addressing Jason’s internet antagonists. Again, I don’t really care a whole lot, but it’s not like you both aren’t trying to parlay your former vocations as enticements to listen to our take on ‘everything’, including religion. Otherwise, you coulda just titled it; “Two (former) So-Cal dudes drinking a ltitle and riffing a little’ come join us.

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  20. Bryan,

    Maybe the reason you don’t see a discrepancy is because of your experiences. Growing up in South Bend, the reason my grandfather gave up on Catholicism is because he saw rapid changes in the practice of the church. He was a devout Catholic when he was young but no longer attends Mass or takes the hierarchy seriously because it all seems arbitrary to him.

    Some of my younger Catholic friends and family are more progressive than some of my non-Christian friends when it comes to sexual ethics and are religiously very inclusive. I was involved in a wedding where the parish priest said that the Eucharist was for everyone and so anyone in the wedding party that wanted to partake was more than welcome (I declined).

    I could list all of my experiences, but it probably wouldn’t satisfy you anyway. The fact that you continue to insist that there are no “discrepancies” between that type of Catholicism you are advocating and the Catholicism I grew up around and knew (as a non-Catholic) indicates that you either don’t have the same set of experiences or are ignoring them completely to sanitize “the Call.”

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  21. Hello Brandon,

    What Darryl is doing is presuming that there is a discrepancy between something we’ve said at CTC, and the Catholic Church. Attacking me (i.e. calling me blind, ignorant, lacking experiences, willfully ignoring things, etc., etc.) is very easy, but that just side-steps the task of laying out the alleged discrepancy between something we’ve said, and the Catholic Church. In this case, Darryl quotes from Shea, as if that is sufficient to show a discrepancy between what we’ve said, and the Catholic Church. But everything Shea says in that article is perfectly in agreement with that we’ve said. If Darryl disagrees, he’ll need to show how something Shea says there does not fit with something we’ve said.

    And things seeming arbitrary to your grandfather, and you having some “progressive” Catholic friends, and there being a priest who doesn’t follow the Church’s teaching, do not show any discrepancy between what we’ve said, and the Catholic Church, because we’ve never claimed nothing can seem arbitrary to anyone, or that no one can be “progressive,” or that all Catholic priests fully comply with the Church’s teaching. In fact, we’ve said exactly the opposite.

    Knocking down straw men might be fun, it isn’t helpful or charitable.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  22. Sean,

    Christian, don’t consider yourself a religious figure, but trade on the idea that you’re both EX-pastors and drunk to boot, thus playing on the ‘supposed’ scandal and intrigue of such a proposition and then proceed to talk about the devil, God, church and religion quite a bit, even addressing Jason’s internet antagonists. Again, I don’t really care a whole lot, but it’s not like you both aren’t trying to parlay your former vocations as enticements to listen to our take on ‘everything’, including religion. Otherwise, you coulda just titled it; “Two (former) So-Cal dudes drinking a ltitle and riffing a little’ come join us.

    That’s a horrible name. No one would click on that podcast! 😉

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  23. Bryan,

    I don’t see anything in the article that indicates DGH was saying Shea said something different from CTC. The invocation of Shea is to highlight similarity between modernism in Protestantism and the RCC.

    You’ve also not understood the examples that I’ve cited. They indicate that there is something about your communion that is much different than the Call you are presenting. Your communion in my experience is nothing like you claim that it is. I noted that either you’ve not had the same experiences *or* you have and you are being deceptive. I can’t really see an alternative, though I’m certainly open to either option. The larger point is that I have good reason to believe that modernism has deeply colored the Catholicism I encounter on a regular basis and those that consider themselves Catholics see it too. You may consider that hand-waving, but it’s simply reporting my experiences.

    You may think that doesn’t invalidate your argument, but I think that’s partially because you haven’t shared my experiences, and your response doesn’t show any signs of a willingness to listen. Everything is compatible with what you’ve said. Well alright…You win. I wonder how Pope Francis would think about your approach, though.

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  24. Christian, maybe at one time, but “a blustering bigot who couldn’t string together a cogent argument if his life depended on it” is an odd way to express fondness. And maybe it’s just me but “Darryl and the Blustering Bigots” sure seems coarser than “Jason and the Callers.”

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/lets-play-fair/

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  25. Brandon,

    The invocation of Shea is to highlight similarity between modernism in Protestantism and the RCC.

    One can point to similarities while remaining entirely at the level of appearances. In no place at CTC have we claimed that there are no similarities between x and y. So this can’t be the basis for Darryl’s “discrepancy.”

    You’ve also not understood the examples …

    That’s a statement about me, thus leaving untouched the truth of what I’ve said.

    They indicate that there is something about your communion that is much different than the Call you are presenting.

    Not if they are fully compatible with everything we have said. (By the way, this language of a “Call” we are “presenting” is not our language; it is Darryl’s. I’ve explained elsewhere here at OL that our only “call” is to dialogue.)

    Your communion in my experience is nothing like you claim that it is.

    And there’s the hand-waving. In order to show the difference, you’ll need to show where something we’ve claimed does not fit with something you’ve experienced.

    I noted that either you’ve not had the same experiences *or* you have and you are being deceptive.

    More criticisms of me, leaving the truth of what I’ve said untouched. (I could engage in personal attacks too, but, as you would rightly respond, that would leave untouched the truth of your claims.)

    The larger point is that I have good reason to believe that modernism has deeply colored the Catholicism I encounter on a regular basis and those that consider themselves Catholics see it too.

    Feel free to point to some place in CTC where we say that modernism has not colored the Catholicism you might encounter. Again, knocking down straw men is easy.

    You may think that doesn’t invalidate your argument, …

    That’s because it doesn’t. If you disagree, you’ll need to show the premise that is falsified by your experience.

    but I think that’s partially because you haven’t shared my experiences, and your response doesn’t show any signs of a willingness to listen.

    Again, those are criticisms of my person, and leave untouched the truth of my claims, and the validity of arguments.

    Well alright…You win.

    If it were about “winning,” then you and I would be engaged in different activities. Debates are for winning, typically. But the very purpose of logic, and abiding by the rules of logic in rational dialogue, is to get to the truth, and come to agreement in the truth. That’s why all these rules about ad hominems, straw men, question-begging, hand-waving, etc. are important for the activity that is truth-seeking, but not for a site committed to “sarcasm” and to not posting anything “substantive.” In no place where logic is chronically and indifferently violated and excoriated is truth being genuinely pursued.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  26. Sup, Zrim. Well, saying what someone thinks someone has become known as is different than saying that’s what they think. However, I can see how someone would read dislike into that post. I’m willing to bet Jason would rather be friends now than enemies though. That’s what I gather from talking to him anyway.

    As far as the spotlight, he doesn’t want to be the poster boy for Catholicism which is what he’s continuing to be held up as here, albeit in a mocking way. I get it though. I really do. I even find the humor in it. I bet Jason does too. He’s got a pretty good sense of humor. I would guess you probably know what I mean by Jason not wanting to be in the spotlight as a religious figure, but if not I also get where you are coming from. It’s all good. I was just trying to figure it out from DGH’s point of view.

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  27. Have Roman Catholics become the mainline within U.S. politics?

    Here’s one take:

    Maybe most interesting, although again not surprising, is the shift in types of Christian affiliation. Fifty years ago over half of Congress was Mainline Protestant. Today it’s only about a quarter. Methodists by themselves were nearly one fifth of Congress then, now it’s less than ten percent. Presbyterians also dropped by about 50 percent, and Episcopal/Anglicans lost about a third. Congregationalists dropped by four fifths, and now comprise less than one percent, a steep decline from their ascendancy in early America.

    Catholics are up from under 20 percent to over 30 percent. And Baptists increased about a quarter, now just under 15 percent. Undefined Protestants have more than doubled to more than 10 percent, probably reflecting the growth of nondenominational Christianity, although almost no members of Congress specifically professed nondenominational.

    Mainline Protestants still have more outsized representation in Congress than their very small share of the population would indicate, especially Presbyterians and Episcopalians, who are the traditionally most elite Protestant churches in American public life.

    But Mainline Protestants are clearly no longer Americas’s flagship churches. They are now mostly sideline, sometimes portrayed as historical curiosities or vestiges of a bygone era. Some conservatives celebrate this demise of historically liberal Protestantism, which has been largely displaced by Evangelicals and Catholics.

    And another:

    Even with a GOP majority in the Senate and a huge Republican majority in the House, there are still more Catholic Democrats in Congress than Catholic Republicans, both as a percentage and in absolute numbers. Of the 234 Democrats in Congress, 83 (about 36%) identify as Catholic. Catholic representation among Republicans is lower: of the 301 seats the GOP holds in the House and Senate, only 81 congressional Republicans (27%) identify as Catholic.

    Catholic Republicans do outnumber Catholics Democrats in the House (70-68), but Democrats more than make up the difference in the Senate, where Catholic Dems outnumber their GOP counterparts, 15-11.

    Catholics (and Christians, generally) are overrepresented in Congress; almost 93% of Congress identifies as Christian of one stripe or another, compared with 73% of Americans. Meanwhile, the oft-discussed “unaffiliated” Americans or “Nones” are underrepresented. A few years back, Pew reported that 1 in 5 Americans identified as “Atheist,” “Agnostic,” or “Nothing in particular.” According to Pew, only one member of the 114th Congress actually identifies as “unaffiliated.” If you count all the non-responses (“Don’t know/refused”) as “unaffiliated,” the total still only comes to 10 members, or less than 2% of Congress.

    Of course, the fact that politicians in a majority-Christian country identify as religious—in one form or another—at much higher rates than the population at large is not exactly a surprise. But the numbers do seem to suggest, at the very least, that our politicians know that being seen to be religious is a very important thing. As long as Americans prefer their political leaders to be religiously inclined, you can expect American politicians will continue (at least outwardly) to oblige.

    While a religiously unaffiliated politician may still be a rare bird, there is another species on Capitol Hill that is even more endangered: the pro-life Democrat.

    How rare are pro-life Democrats in Congress? Well, Democrats for Life of America (DFLA)—“the preeminent national organization for pro-life Democrats”—has endorsed just five of the 234 Democrats in the new Congress.

    That’s it. Just five men—Sen. Bob Casey (PA), Sen. Joe Manchin (WV), Sen. Joe Donnelly (IN), Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3), and Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-7)—are sufficiently pro-life to earn an endorsement from their own party’s pro-life wing. For those who care about the defense of human life—regardless of party—this is very bad news.

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  28. Christian, every man should have a defender like you, and not get overly-picky, but saying what someone has become known as is a figure of speech, an indirect way of stating one’s own opinion. After all, how does anyone actually know how another has become known to others (unless he a mass mind reader)?

    Maybe, but if one doesn’t want to be a poster boy for Catholicism then perhaps taking down one’s testimonial at a popular (and let’s face it, proselytizing) Catholic blog could be a start. But maybe that’s like saying if the pope wants to be taken seriously about being the poster boy for humility then he should avoid more photo ops and renounce the very office that embodies spiritual arrogance. Or something, I dunno, just spit balling over here.

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  29. Bryan, if you printed at CTC what Shea does, would that be a way to appeal to Protestants to convert? The depictions that you post at CTC are the opposite of Mark Shea. You have a fairly land Roman Catholicism. I’m not even sure it existed in the past. But you do have evidence for some of it. But that world is no more and even conservatives like Shea and Weigel and George don’t use the stupid appeals that you and your Roman Catholic Protestants engage in at CTC.

    For you to act like there is no difference is a lie (however peaceful). You have a Call to papal audacity. The Communion right now is in serious discussion of what the Pope is up to. CTC is on the sidelines.

    Deal with that in Christ and Mary.

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  30. Darryl,

    Bryan, like I need to show that the Pope is (Roman) Catholic?

    Not quite. The point in question is not whether the Pope is (Roman) Catholic, but whether there is a “discrepancy” between something we said, and the Catholic Church. You have claimed that there is, but have not shown that there is.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  31. Bryan, we have been down this road before. Your presentation is selective and practically never presents what is actually happening in the Roman Catholic Church. If someone read CTC exclusively, she would have a very different impression of Roman Catholicism than if she read John Allen’s books on the church.

    So the question you need to address is why is your website so slanted and partial? Could it be because you are trying to deceive? Could it be that you are clueless? Could it be that you have buyer’s regret?

    Whatever the case, we have serious discrepancy between your call and your communion. That requires no proof. It is self-evident to anyone who reads CTC and even Unam Sanctam exclusively.

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  32. Darryl, I wasn’t trying to get you to stop. I was just trying to understand it. I honestly didn’t understand. I do now though, and like I said, see the humor. Thanks for the answers! (Just don’t make cartoons of him!)

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  33. Darryl,

    The depictions that you post at CTC are the opposite of Mark Shea.

    Nothing we’ve posted at CTC is the “opposite” of what Mark Shea wrote, if by “opposite” you mean “contrary” or “contradictory.” Are there dissenters? Of course. We’ve said so ourselves in multiple places. Is dissent a problem? Of course, always has been. Dissent harms the Church. But the fact of dissenters does not refute any of the arguments we’ve presented, or falsify any of the claims we have made. That’s why there is no discrepancy between what Shea says in that article, and what we’ve said at CTC. If you disagree, you’ll need to show how the fact of there being dissenters refutes any one of our arguments, or falsifies any of our claims.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    Like

  34. Bryan, let’s go with your story. And yet oldlife still gets more traffic, so you come here to boost the alexa rating of your site. I’m just sayin, you should be grateful, is all, amigo.

    Peace.

    Like

  35. Darryl,

    Bryan, we have been down this road before. Your presentation is selective and practically never presents what is actually happening in the Roman Catholic Church. If someone read CTC exclusively, she would have a very different impression of Roman Catholicism than if she read John Allen’s books on the church.

    So the question you need to address is why is your website so slanted and partial? Could it be because you are trying to deceive? Could it be that you are clueless? Could it be that you have buyer’s regret?

    Whatever the case, we have serious discrepancy between your call and your communion. That requires no proof. It is self-evident to anyone who reads CTC and even Unam Sanctam exclusively.

    Indeed we have been down this road before, so many times I’ve lost count. I’ll explain it again. You keep treating CTC like a news site, and therefore as at fault for not presenting a complete picture of “what is actually happening in the Roman Catholic Church.” Here’s your mistake. We are engaged in an entirely different *species* of activity from that of presenting the news about what is happening in the Catholic Church. We are in the activity of laying out and mutually evaluating arguments. We are not a news site. So your question “why is your website so slanted and partial?” is built on a false premise, namely, that we’re attempting to do what news media do. It is like criticizing a cook book for not including auto repair instructions, or criticizing a car for not keeping your food cold.

    I wish this would clear it up, but given that I’ve said this same thing here multiple times over the past two years, and yet you still fall back to criticizing CTC on the presumption that we’re a news site, I’m not hopeful that I won’t have to repeat it again.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    Like

  36. aka “faithful conservative Catholics” who accepted the whole of the Church’s teaching, including the inconvenient and difficult Pelvic Bits

    Thanks Darryl, good stuff.

    Like

  37. Christian,

    Did no one tell you that when you & Jason tape your bull sessions and broadcast them to the world, they’re no longer private?

    Welcome to the world of being a public figure.

    Like

  38. D.G. – Christian, since the Callers like to show off their scalps, you don’t think having a scalp that won’t hunt is useful over here? (And don’t you think Jason might have considered some of this before he became a poster boy for Rome?)

    Erik – That would require giving more thought to one’s next public posture, public statement, or job than one gives to the decision of what to have for breakfast.

    That’s hard for Jason these days.

    Like

  39. Bryan, glad to know that you concede your site is partial and slanted.

    But you are too easy on yourself with all that peace from Christ you possess. Why call it Called to Communion? The name says it’s a call, and a call to a specific communion. Yet, you don’t explore the communion converts will need to experience — unless of course you can have the Mass and get married on-line at CTC.

    Like

  40. you know, zrim,

    Darryl and the Blustering Bigots

    , just might have staying power, too bad the acronymn leaves something to be desired.

    Like

  41. Nice to see Bryan admit that Catholic priests don’t necessarily comply with the Catholic Church’s teaching.

    Must be helpful to know if your own priest is clueless or a scoundrel.

    Sounds like Protestantism.

    Like

  42. And for all Darryl’s faults, it sure is interesting how everyone rushes to get his (or her) name on this blog, linked to their blog/podcast/whathaveyou (or twitter, hello Tom).

    Alexa rankings, man, talk about a tell-all. I’m out.

    Like

  43. Christian,

    You come here to defend Jason, you pay for his trip to Europe, you pay for him to go on a cruise, you hang together through thick and thin –including conversions into, out of, and within Christianity.

    Is there anything you would care to announce here officially?

    Like

  44. This thread looks like a lot of rabies theologorum to me:

    Luther took all three, of course. But the eschatological point was not really understood. He, in his weariness of the theological fights – you cannot become more tired of anything in the world than of theological controversies, if you always are living it; and even Melanchthon, when he came to death, one of his last words was: “God save me now from the rabies theologorum – from the wrath of the theologians! This is an expression you will understand if you will read the conflicts of the centuries. I just read with great pain, day and night, the doctor’s dissertation of a former pupil, Mr. Thompson, Dr. McNeill’s former assistant, an excellent work in which he describes in more than 300 narrow and large pages the struggle between Melanchthonism and Lutheranism. And if you read that and then see how simple the fundamental statement of Luther was, and how the rabies theologorum produced an almost unimaginable amount of theological disputations on points of which even half-learned theologians as myself would say that they are intolerable, they don’t mean anything any more – then you can see the difference between the prophetic mind and the fanatical theological mind.”

    H/T: Paul Tillich

    yo.

    Like

  45. Erik, seriously? I did not know that!

    I was simply trying to figure out why Jason keeps getting mentioned in the posts such as “Jason and the Callers.” I didn’t understand it. It looks like a one way conversation that Jason doesn’t even know is going on. That’s all. I was curious. I understand it now. It’s funny. It’s a “literary trope.” He’s a useless scalp for CTC. I understand. I really do.

    All I’m saying is that from my point of view, Jason’s not interested in being a poster boy for Catholicism anymore, if he ever was. I didn’t say publicity was unwanted. I even said that I appreciated it because of the visitors we get from here. I’m not sure your sarcasm and condescension is warranted.

    And yeah, totally, God forbid Christians show mercy to transgenders. Or anyone. I’m getting how it works over here. See ya.

    Like

  46. or a clamor of voices if you prefer:

    Faith in God is continually being stifled by the cares of each day that lay hold of us, by wishes and plans, by the passions that drive us to pleasure, and from one pleasure to another; or by living together, which is always in danger of losing its real character as a community of free and solitary persons, and of deteriorating into a clamor of voices weakening us and deceiving us about our solitariness, a clamor in which we are distracted and lose ourselves and even join in it

    Like

  47. Erik,

    You come here to defend Jason, you pay for his trip to Europe, you pay for him to go on a cruise, you hang together through thick and thin –including conversions into, out of, and within Christianity.

    Is there anything you would care to announce here officially?

    Oh, I see where you’re going with this. So clever! He’s been my best friend for many years. You don’t have friends that would do that kind of stuff for you? Kinda sad if you can’t understand it.

    Like I said, I wasn’t here to defend him. I was trying to understand. He’s more than capable of defending himself if he wants to. I’m becoming sorry that I asked.

    Like

  48. Bryan – Are there dissenters? Of course. We’ve said so ourselves in multiple places. Is dissent a problem? Of course, always has been. Dissent harms the Church. But the fact of dissenters does not refute any of the arguments we’ve presented, or falsify any of the claims we have made. That’s why there is no discrepancy between what Shea says in that article, and what we’ve said at CTC.

    Erik – The thing that has become so ridiculous about all this is that Bryan apparently honestly believes that CTC and the Magisterium are one.

    Is Shea dissenting from CTC or from the Magisterium?

    Or does it not matter because they have become one and the same?

    Has CTC reached the status of a cult?

    Does Bryan need a psych consult?

    What happened to the humility of Christ?

    Like

  49. Christian,

    The only person I’m spending that kind of time with and money on is the woman I’ve slept with for 22 years. Just sayin’

    To each his own.

    Does Mrs. Stellman get to go on the cruise?

    Like

  50. Christian – I’m not sure your sarcasm and condescension is warranted.

    And yeah, totally, God forbid Christians show mercy to transgenders. Or anyone. I’m getting how it works over here. See ya.

    Erik – But when you and Jason throw Christians under the bus — other than the exception that Jason carves out for liberal Catholics — it’s warranted?

    How charitable are you guys to Calvary Chapel? To evangelicals? How charitable is Jason to Presbyterian & Reformed people?

    You are clueless if you think you can take the stances you take consistently week after week and then act like you’re above it all. You’re in the fight. You willingly put yourself there with the goal of making money doing it.

    Like

  51. With Bultmann and Tillich above, now all I need is some Niebuhr (hello President Obama) and Barth.

    Oh wait this is an OPC blog. Doh! Stick with Machen. NOW I’m out. Where’ Mark Mc to talk with me, into the wind, yo?

    Like

  52. Darryl,

    Bryan, glad to know that you concede your site is partial and slanted.

    Nothing I said entails that CTC is “partial and slanted.”

    But you are too easy on yourself with all that peace from Christ you possess. Why call it Called to Communion? The name says it’s a call, and a call to a specific communion.

    As I’ve explained to you here before, the term “Called To Communion” refers to Christ’s call to us all to be in communion with Him.

    Yet, you don’t explore the communion converts will need to experience — …

    Indeed, there are lots of things we haven’t written about. That’s my point. We’re not a news site explaining every facet of what is going on in the Catholic Church, or setting out to present every aspect of what it is like to be a Catholic. The activity we’re engaged in is much more focused. But that does not mean or entail that there is any “discrepancy” between what we’ve said, and the Catholic Church.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

    Like

  53. Erik – But when you and Jason throw Christians under the bus — other than the exception that Jason carves out for liberal Catholics — it’s warranted?

    How charitable are you guys to Calvary Chapel? To evangelicals? How charitable is Jason to Presbyterian & Reformed people?

    You are clueless if you think you can take the stances you take consistently week after week and then act like you’re above it all. You’re in the fight. You willingly put yourself there with the goal of making money doing it.

    I love how you keep explaining to me how the world works.

    Anyway, if you want to blast agnostics, go for it. If you want to argue with me about something I said on the podcast, go for it. But if you think I’d act the way you’re acting towards someone from Calvary Chapel or wherever who came to our site in peace with a genuine inquiry, trying to understand what I think, you haven’t really been paying attention.

    Like

  54. Christian – But if you think I’d act the way you’re acting towards someone from Calvary Chapel or wherever who came to our site in peace with a genuine inquiry, trying to understand what I think, you haven’t really been paying attention.

    Erik – You’re a former Christian who is now hostile to the faith. You can try to sell the fact that you’re somehow “neutral”, but you’re just not.

    No one really is according to Jesus.

    And you know that’s what Christians believe, because you were one.

    Enough with the golly gee gosh innocence routine. You’re looking for a fight and you can come here to get one anytime you want.

    Like

  55. Christian,

    And since you & Jason will now probably talk about what a bad guy I am on your next podcast, I’ll go ahead and make my rejoinder now:

    What exactly is the definition of “bad” in an atheistic (or agnostic — an atheist who’s a chicken) universe?

    Who decides what’s bad and what’s not?

    Like

  56. Just once it would be nice to meet an atheist or agnostic who, after giving up religion, just forgets about it instead of spending the rest of their life score settling. First we get CD-Host who sets up a website on church discipline, now Christian who gets drunk and advertises he’s an ex-pastor.

    If I give up religion I’m not giving it a 2nd thought.

    Like

  57. Erik,

    Just once it would be nice to meet an atheist or agnostic who, after giving up religion, just forgets about it instead of spending the rest of their life score settling. First we get CD-Host who sets up a website on church discipline, now Christian who gets drunk and advertises he’s an ex-pastor.

    I hear what you’re saying. At the same time, people like CD and Christian probably (if I’m wrong feel free to correct me, guys) view their Christian heritage as part of their identity and psychological consciousness. Moreover, even if you became an agnostic, I think that religion is an incredibly fascinating sociological phenomenon worthy of study and consideration. The traditional Christian explanation of this is that religion is interesting precisely because we’re created by God with this innate desire to know God (some may call it the Destiny of the Species).

    I get that at times the podcast can get pedantic and (sorry Christian and Jason) pretentious, but if you expected anything different then perhaps you should adjust your expectations. I don’t listen that much (so perhaps that invalidates or softens the blow in the first sentence) precisely because I’d expect people living in the PNW to be a bit too pretentious for my Midwestern sensibilities (Go Buckeyes!).

    Like

  58. The traditional Christian explanation of this is that religion is interesting precisely because we’re created by God with this innate desire to know God (some may call it the Destiny of the Species).

    I prefer SD instead of DotS. Color me a calvinist..

    Like

  59. Bryan, and as I’ve said before, consider Oldlife a focus group. If you’re going to improve your product, you really do need to prepare converts for all the woes that come with being Roman Catholic. But if you did that, they might not leave the mess that is Protestantism.

    Try using the honesty of Christ.

    Like

  60. Cross writes, ” we have been down this road before, so many times I’ve lost count.”

    Guffaw. He has never been able to begin to convincingly address questions like the Church’s ditching of inerrancy (Raymond Brown, Joesef Ratzinger, anyone?) or the even more absurd double talk of “No Salvation Outside the Church” or DeLubac’s Nature and Grace heresy. Why address it all when you can pretend it isn’t there? Cardinal Siri, Fr Garigou-Lagrange, Robert De Mattei, Joseph Fenton, Cardinal Ottivianti?? Never heard of ’em! Too busy being enthralled with Cardinal Bea and Saint John Paul the Great. The denial would be jaw dropping if you didn’t already see the same thing with ardent Mormons explaining away every objection without a blink. Sure Joseph Smith was a loose canon, but a prophet is a prophet only when speaking as such! Popes are only infallible when we can explain what they say as being infallibly in line with Tradition, and since we can bend words at will, Popes are always infallible. Don’t you just love The Church! Let me get my Temple garments out and ready…! Oh, wait, I mean by subscription renewal to “Envoy”…

    Like

  61. Andrew,

    Challenges for 2015

    (1) Never mention golf here
    (2) Never say “yo”
    (3) Never say “Katniss”
    (4) Never say you’re out or done, because you know you’re coming right back
    (5) Never again talk about Tillich – NO ONE cares
    (5) This is the most important one:

    Play it straight (a la Jeff Cagle or some of the older gentlemen who post here occasionally) because

    (A) You do have something to contribute
    (B) You are intelligent
    (C) You are orthodox

    You have to stop being manic and just babbling because it wastes EVERYONE’S time. It honestly almost kills the site.

    Like

  62. Brandon – , I think that religion is an incredibly fascinating sociological phenomenon worthy of study and consideration

    Erik – I know. That’s why I’m trying to push them to be fair minded and bring some rigor to what they are doing. I started out tolerating it, but it’s grating on me badly now.

    The best parts remain when they talk about growing up together in California and when Jason talks about his job. And I’m serious about that.

    It goes downhill when they opine on X because they don’t have the chops for that at this stage of their lives.

    Like

  63. On Bryan and the Callers:

    After you spend about two years dealing with them it occurs to you how absurd their project is.

    Why?

    Because why does anyone need self-appointed intermediaries to discover The Church That Jesus Christ Founded (TM)?

    The whole point of the Roman Catholic Church is that it defines and interprets itself. If you want to know who she is, ask a priest, ask a bishop, read the Pope & follow him in the Press each day.

    At that point, your interpretation of who the Church is and what she believes is frankly as good as Bryan’s, as good as The other Callers, as good as Mark Shea’s, as good as Tom Van Dyke’s, as good as Jason Stellman’s.

    Bryan is just another guy with an opinion about the Church. No one has laid hands on him. Get in line.

    Like

  64. Erik- “What exactly is the definition of “bad” in an atheistic (or agnostic — an atheist who’s a chicken) universe?

    Who decides what’s bad and what’s not?”

    Susan- I agree. Even scripture tells us that we don’t have to believe in scripture to believe that God exists:
    “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

    So it sounds like it is by God’s effects, known through our senses, is the way we can know God exists. However (and I don’t know if Christian has spoken about it in a podcast or not)when a person comes to see that scripture cannot stand on its own, ecclesial agnosticism is the logical outcome. Maybe Christian lost faith in special revelation when he realized that everyone’s saying that they were right about what the scriptures teach while all others were erring somewhere( except of course when it came to “the essentials” all of Protestantism was in agreement; which doesn’t explain why anyone would divide over nonessentials) is absurd in theory and therefore can’t hold together in practice. Further ,since( per Peter Kreeft and probably others before him)all children start off with belief in God and are only talked into atheism at some later date in their development, atheism is not the norm in any society, and so when most people speak of agnosticism they are probably uncertain which religion is the truth. As far as revealed religion goes we only believe what others before us have taught, and this is one reason why it is so important that everything that is Christian be under one tent. Confusion and invention of heresies is what logically has to happen without people assenting, not to faith but to “the faith”. The one and only true faith. The truth.

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  65. Even scripture the pope tells us that we don’t have to believe in scripture to believe that God exists do what Dr. Cross says

    Like

  66. Susan, sorry, that thing was supposed to be turned ofd ages ago..

    How do we come to knowledge of God through General Revelation only, again? That’s not what I was taught. Please elaborate.

    Peace.

    Like

  67. Susan, this is a much better way to say what you are saying:

    For man now rightly to understand general revelation, he must wear the glasses of special revelation (the Word of God). To put it another way, fallen man needs to believe the Bible in order to understand the world properly. Man in his rebellion must have his soul converted and his eyes enlightened. And this is just what “the law of the Lord does: it makes wise the simple, allowing sinful man to see what he cannot see in his natural blindness” (Ps. 19:7-8).

    Having a low view of Scirpture leading you to say scripture tells us that we don’t have to believe in scripture sounds more on the path away from Xtianity, than towards it. We don’t need any more of that.

    Like

  68. AB,

    I didn’t say we learn about God only through general revelation. But at least through general revelation everyone can know that God exists. When it comes to special revelation though,not everyone will believe it because they have a skeptical view of the supernatural events told within, even though they can believe in God. So what do they do? Is it a meritorious faith that believes in God? And will it get a person to Heaven, if they can’t believe in this other divine revelation because of of its non-perspicuity and inabilty to tell which faith community it belongs within?

    Like

  69. Erik- “What exactly is the definition of “bad” in an atheistic (or agnostic — an atheist who’s a chicken) universe?

    Who decides what’s bad and what’s not?”

    It seems to me that one can tell a pretty compelling evolutionary story that explains a common morality among humanity – certain social traits enable a group to thrive. Groups that find ways to encourage those traits and discourage unproductive ones thrive and pass on their morality. As society evolves and certain behaviors are no longer beneficial, they fade away (particularly if they had a cost) – think slavery fading with the rise of industrialization and cheap energy or abortion rates falling with the availability of more effective birth control.

    It seems to me that Christianity (much less philosophical theism) doesn’t so much define morality for us as highlight how bad we fail at upholding it and what we need as a result. Morality is a brute fact of our existence – explaining its origin doesn’t really make much of a difference (whether one appeals to a naturalistic religious one).

    All this to say that I’m not so sure that appeals to a foundation for morality are going to be all that effective at convincing one of the truth of Christianity.

    Like

  70. AB,

    What I meant is that scripture tells us that we can know God exists, and it isn’t only through scripture. I don’t have a low view of scripture, I just understand that it belongs within the community that knows what it all means. Do you think all Christian groups understand scripture rightly, or just your own group?

    I would be interested in hearing Brandon take apart any Catholic doctrine using scripture alone or with the aid of the Church Fathers. No one can’t disprove any articles of the Catholic faith using scripture even though it seems a Protestant should be able to do this if the scripture support Protestantism. All anyone will be able to do is knock down a strawman of their own making( or the beliefs of some particular Protestant group’s).

    http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-protestant-fallacy-that-threatens.html

    Like

  71. Here’s a piece of advice to Bryan and the Boiler Room OperativesJason and the Callers — the Call needs to address the conservative Presbyterian opposition to modernism. How those converts got around the modernist trends in Roman Catholicism since Vatican 2 has to owe to the Callers’ divorce of history from truth.

    Precisely, an economical statement of the status questionis.

    Then there’s this:

    First you would need to show that there is some “discrepancy.” If asserting x were sufficient to show x, I could just assert that there is no discrepancy, and thereby cancel out your mere assertion.

    But does the anonymous anointed archbishop of the internet show there is any discrepancy in the “discrepancy” cited? Does he prove that x was only asserted and not proved?
    IOW there are immediate inferences and there is one-way Veronian (Roman) skepticism.
    Bryan is an obscurantist that wants to hold prots to a higher standard than that required of Rome and assorted self ordained apologists such as himself.
    Yet some of us might know something of what it’s like for the implicit faithful in the pew, contra the rarified theoretics that he champions, such as the fallacies of the excluded middle term, the “no true Scotsman” or “many questions (i.e. what is truth/who you gonna believe, your lying eyes or . . . ?)”.

    But, hey when in doubt, it’s time for all good romanists to fall back on the 13th rule of Ignatius of Loyola, the chief of Francis’s tribe: “If the Church tells me black is white . . . I assume nothing is incompatible with what I have already told Darryl, so don’t even think of going there.”

    Like

  72. I would be interested in hearing Brandon take apart any Catholic doctrine using scripture alone or with the aid of the Church Fathers.

    Please, Bryan et al can’t even tell us what 2 Tim 3:16&17 plainly say, never mind if they agree with it.
    As in what perfect work is left out of the Scripture’s purview? Is Scripture alone able to determine what is the true church or do we need something else?

    IOW to ask is to answer. You’re pretty late to the party, Susan.

    Like

  73. sdb,

    The only way science can make a case for morality just being the product of evolution is to prove that God doesn’t exist. That’s more than what science can do.

    Like

  74. As I’ve explained to you here before, the term “Called To Communion” refers to Christ’s call to us all to be in communion with Him.

    Well yeah, but it’s by faith alone in Christ alone, not by masses and praying rosaries to Mary or redefining the Word of God to include the traditions of men.

    Like

  75. All I’m saying is that from my point of view, Jason’s not interested in being a poster boy for Catholicism anymore, if he ever was. I didn’t say publicity was unwanted. I even said that I appreciated it because of the visitors we get from here. I’m not sure your sarcasm and condescension is warranted.

    You’re not sure?
    Then why don’t you kindly keep your opinions to yourself?
    Or do only agnostics and lapsed PCA romanists have that kind of podcast liberty to broadcast the same?

    You have to stop being manic and just babbling because it wastes EVERYONE’S time. It honestly almost kills the site.

    Snicker. Consider the source. One accountant to another up and coming.
    Hey, but we into Katniss (the name, not the movie).

    ciao

    Like

  76. Susan,
    That’s incorrect. Making a naturalistic case for morality (whether grounded in Aristotelian natural “law” or evolutionary theory) has no bearing on the existence of God. Given the fact of evolution, morality follows necessarily. Indeed primative moral codes are observed in social animal species as they must for that species to thrive socially.

    As millman has pointed out, modem attempts to drive ethical code based on insights from evolution, are following in the tradition of what Aristotle was doing. Only all of his science was wrong.

    Like

  77. I don’t have a low view of scripture, I just understand that it belongs within the community that knows what it all means.”
    Rome doesn’t claim to have infallible interpretations of all scripture or all theological questions. There are disagreements on all sorts of nonessentials which is why lots of orthodox rcs go parish shopping. There is less variety among evangelical denoms than RC parishes.

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  78. sdb,

    “Making a naturalistic case for morality (whether grounded in Aristotelian natural “law” or evolutionary theory) has no bearing on the existence of God. Given the fact of evolution, morality follows necessarily. Indeed primative moral codes are observed in social animal species as they must for that species to thrive socially.”

    What I mean is that science cannot prove law as originating from man just because it is observable in nature. Evolution by its own definition means evolving towards something or some sort of betterment(“Nature is always striving for the best”- Aristotle), so to suggest a chain of purposefullness in nature that began at some point by mere randomness and for some undesired( end yet without intelligence to see that it reaches finality, is senseless. What random code demands that morality accompany evolutionary process just because we have observed it happening unless there is a first cause that says this must be so. And Aristotelian natural law is the same thing as the “eternal law”.

    “Within the substance itself must be found a principle of determination. Now what is a determination but an adaptation and an orientation toward an end? The fact that the world is governed by laws far from giving any support to the mechanistic conception, is rather opposed to it. **A law is not a cause, but the expression of the constant manner in which causes produce their effects. To say that there are laws is simply to state the determinism of nature, and it is precisely to this determinism that St. Thomas appeals to establish teleology. “Every active cause acts for an end, otherwise from its activity one effect would not result rather than another, except by chance” (Summa Theologica I:44:4). And again: “It is necessary that every active cause should act for an end. For in a series of causes, if the first be removed, the others also are removed (i.e., fail to produce their effects). But the final cause is the first of all causes.**

    “As millman has pointed out, modem attempts to drive ethical code based on insights from evolution, are following in the tradition of what Aristotle was doing. Only all of his science was wrong.”

    Aristotle’s science was wrong?
    “To prove that there is a Supreme Cause is one of the tasks of metaphysics the Theologic Science. And this Aristotle undertakes to do in several portions of his work on First Philosophy. In the “Physics” he adopts and improves on Socrates’s teleological argument, the major premise of which is, “Whatever exists for a useful purpose must be the work of an intelligence”. In the same treatise, he argues that, although motion is eternal, there cannot be an infinite series of movers and of things moved, that, therefore, there must be one, the first in the series, which is unmoved, to proton kinoun akineton–primum movens immobile. In the “Metaphysics” he takes the stand that the actual is of its nature antecedent to the potential, that consequently, before all matter, and all composition of matter and form, of potentiality and actuality, there must have existed a Being Who is pure actuality, and Whose life is self-contemplative thought (noesis noeseos). The Supreme Being imparted movement to the universe by moving the First Heaven, the movement, however, emanated from the First Cause as desirable; in other words, the First Heaven, attracted by the desirability of the Supreme Being “as the soul is attracted by beauty”, was set in motion, and imparted its motion to the lower spheres and thus, ultimately, to our terrestrial world. According to this theory God never leaves the eternal repose in which His blessedness consists. Will and intellect are incompatible with the eternal unchangeableness of His being. Since matter, motion, and time are eternal, the world is eternal. Yet, it is caused. The manner in which the world originated is not defined in Aristotle’s philosophy. It seems hazardous to say that he taught the doctrine of Creation. This much, however, may safely be said: He lays down principles which, if carried to their logical conclusion, would lead to the doctrine that the world was made out of nothing.”

    And this: “On the side of metaphysics, it is clear that the natural law view is incompatible with atheism: one cannot have a theory of divine providence without a divine being. It is also clear that the paradigmatic natural law view rules out a deism on which there is a divine being but that divine being has no interest in human matters. Nor can one be an agnostic while affirming the paradigmatic natural law view: for agnosticism is the refusal to commit either to God’s existence or nonexistence, whereas the paradigmatic natural law view involves a commitment to God’s existence. On the side of moral philosophy, it is clear that the natural law view is incompatible with a nihilism about value, that is, the rejection of the existence of values. It is also incompatible with relativist and conventionalist views, on which the status of value is entirely relative to one’s community or determined entirely by convention. It is also incompatible with a wholesale skepticism about value, for the natural law view commits one to holding that certain claims about the good are in fact knowable, indeed, knowable by all.”

    IOW ‘s Erik is correct!

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  79. @susan evolution means change. It does not imply a direction. The driver is the ability of groups to survive. This is a sufficient condition for increasing complexity and the development of traits in groups like morality.

    Yes virtually all of Aristotle’s science was wrong… a brilliant man, but wrong. The scientific revolution that enabled the world you enjoy was enabled by casting off his errors…Galileo was right

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  80. Speaking of not wanting to be well known…

    At one point Jason was writing a book on his conversion. Does anyone know if that is still going on? I don’t seem to find it on his website anymore. I don’t even find an “about me” there.

    I just ask because it seems awfully strange to not want to be a public figure but then to write a book on one’s conversion a la Scott Hahn. Those two things are mutually exclusive.

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  81. Hart to Bryan:
    The depictions that you post at CTC are the opposite of Mark Shea. You have a fairly land Roman Catholicism.

    CTC waits menacingly in a corner. At first, they run down field parallel with the modernistic tendencies of the larger body. They dialogue as they run. Dialogue for the truth, and the truth subsists in the catholic religion. We know it’s dialogue for the catholic religion.

    Pope, pass the ball to me in the corner ! The world is going crazy in politics, religion and culture ! We understand the people called to this catholic communion. It’s time to kick the goal for one world religion. Let Modernism destroy. We must take advantage of a good tragedy.

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  82. Joe M., I gather you are friends with Pertinacious Papist. Welcome to OL. Tell us, if you care to, more about your location on the spectrum of Roman Catholics and where you place Jason and the Callers.

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  83. Susan on a journey, the OPC is not the Only Perfect Church. You seem to have a lot of questions for someone who purports to try to correct all of us here. I would advise you to stop posting publicly and seek to resolve your conflicts in the confines of your church. But you of course need not listen to me. I have a family to take care of and can’t contribute the way Erik rightly says I should, so I bow out. I read almost everything out here so I know more about the people who post here than frankly I care to. Go in peace.

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  84. Darryl,

    Bryan, and as I’ve said before, consider Oldlife a focus group. If you’re going to improve your product, you really do need to prepare converts for all the woes that come with being Roman Catholic. But if you did that, they might not leave the mess that is Protestantism.

    None of this shows any “discrepancy” between what we’ve said and the Catholic Church.

    More importantly, your “product” advice is built on the presupposition of the ecclesial consumerism paradigm, which is precisely the paradigm we (CTC) reject and against which we are arguing. Our arguments are not based on comfort, convenience, cleanliness, etc., but are intended only for those who love the truth above all things, and are willing to follow the truth even unto death. So a fortiori those unwilling to give up the pleasure and comfort of being surrounded only by people who look and think and talk and act exactly like themselves, or who demand as a precondition for membership that Church discipline conform to what-it-would-be-if-they-were-pope, are not those to whom are arguments are addressed. Our arguments are addressed to those who already believe that Christ’s call to communion is not separated from His call to deny ourselves and take up our cross, and thus who are willing to consider and accept that taking up this cross includes dying to ecclesial consumerism and all the insulation from unpleasantries it affords.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

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  85. While Jason and the Callers are calling Protestants, the Vatican is calling skeptics at its CTG (Courtyard of the Gentiles):

    La Costitution Pastor Bonus assigned to the Dicastery the mission to “foster relations between the Holy See and the realm of human culture, especially by promoting communication with various contemporary institutions of learning and teaching, so that secular culture may be more and more open to the Gospel, and specialists in the sciences, literature, and the arts may feel themselves called by the Church to truth, goodness, and beauty. (art. 166). And in the Motu proprio «Inde a Pontificatus» one can read the following: “The Council expresses the Church’s pastoral concern in the face of the serious phenomena of the rift between the Gospel and cultures. It therefore promotes the study of the problem of unbelief and religious indifference found in various forms indifferent cultural milieus, inquiring into the causes and the consequences for Christian faith, in order to offer adequate support to the Church’s pastoral activity in evangelizing cultures and inculturating the Gospel.” (art. 2)

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  86. Meanwhile, the German bishops are calling for conversation between Europeans and Islamists:

    Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke, who is in charge of interreligious affairs in the German bishops’ conference, also warned against branding all Pegida marchers as racists. He called for an unemotional, objective debate. The Pegida protests are at the forefront of a widespread movement in the German population, and whoever condemns their fears as racist encourages polarization, he said, adding that it’s the task of level-headed forces like the church to promote dialogue between the different social groups.

    Could Jason and the Callers be more irrelevant?

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  87. Aristotle, and Aquinas following him, both languished in the deluded, self exalting autonomous mind of the first Adam. An idolatrous epistemological and metaphysical construct wherein the possible existence of just about any vanilla God in general, but the actual existence of none in particular is the highest attainable end.

    The holy scriptures know nothing of this. The tetragrammaton, the proper name of THE God who in the beginning called light, matter, time and space into existence from nothing by fiat command, occurs over 6500 times in all but three of the 39 books of the Hebrew scriptures. Those scriptures are not in the least interested in an unmoved first mover who is pure actuality.

    Over and over and over through the lips of the prophets, after promising to stomp Israel’s brains out from Dan to Beersheba for their whoredom with other gods, YAHWEH proclaims some version of:

    “THEN you will know that I am the LORD (tetragrammaton)”

    “THEN my people will remember that I am the LORD their God who brought them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt”

    “THEN the nations will know that I am the LORD and there is no other”

    There is a vast difference between “natural revelation” and “natural theology”. The former is clearly declared in Romans 1, the passage you Susan erroneously attempt to use to advance the latter. You quote verse 20, but you need to back up and attach verses 18 and 19. God Himself has made “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature” inescapably evident within men (girls too), but they spend every minute of their lives suppressing that truth in their own unrighteousness.

    It’s not only the heavens that declare the glory of the LORD (Psalm 19), but every particle of reality, from quarks and neutrinos to the laws of logic does so with a revealed clarity sufficient to damn us, but not to save us. Nowhere more clearly than in their mirror where His created image itself is staring back at them. In fact, even if blind, their very sentient consciousness screams at them their creatureliness and their accountability to their creator.

    Romans 10 (caps as per the NASB translation crew indicating a quote from the OT)
    11-For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” 12-For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13-for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 14-How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

    Special and specific theological revelation, which yes began as oral tradition, but is now inscripturated in God’s inerrant infallible written word, is required to rescue us from our sin and rebellion. Only the man born God, Jesus of Nazareth, only eternally begotten Son of the Father and alone promised savior from all the way back in the protoevangelium of Genesis 3:15 and focused more clearly through the covenant with Abraham, can raise a man from death in sin. He is found in the scriptures alone. Not in the heavens and not in the mirror.

    Aquinas, unable to pry his lips from the philosopher’s feet, attempted to ham handedly build a biblical trinitarian house on that sandy Greek foundation with the result being idolatrous, generally theistic quotes like the ones you have brought here. Show me one single syllable of scripture that recognizes the god of Aristotle.

    (btw Shea and I butted heads pretty hard on a friends Facebook page a few years ago. He followed me back there after I made some anti papist remarks somewhat similar to the ones above in one of his patheos articles. (I think it was patheos) He used profanity with me and called me names. I was honored 😀 )

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  88. Bryan, one more thing. You want a conversation but it is sort of like the one that Leon Brown wants. You want to tell us what the topic is. On the other hand, a really interesting conversation would be to hear how you guys deal with knowing the truth and living in a communion, which Christ allegedly founded to defend and propagate that truth, that doesn’t seem to care about the truth.

    In other words, who can we pray for Jason and the Callers?

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  89. Bryan – None of this shows any “discrepancy” between what we’ve said and the Catholic Church

    Erik – From now on, I’m going to do a PSA every time Bryan creepily links “we” and the Catholic Church. For shorthand I’ll call it a CTC Cult Alert.

    CTC Cult Alert.

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  90. Bryan – So a fortiori those unwilling to give up the pleasure and comfort of being surrounded only by people who look and think and talk and act exactly like themselves, or who demand as a precondition for membership that Church discipline conform to what-it-would-be-if-they-were-pope, are not those to whom are arguments are addressed.

    Erik – So why are you still highlighting Jason Stellman’s conversion on your site?

    http://www.creedcodecult.com/stuff-i-dont-like-that-much-catholicism-edition/

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  91. Bryan – taking up this cross includes dying to ecclesial consumerism and all the insulation from unpleasantries it affords.

    Erik – How long were you a member of a Reformed church?

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  92. No hands have been laid on Bryan, but his teaching philosophy at Mount Mercy should at least entitle him to sign up for a Cedar Rapids public library card and qualify him to be served by municipal utilities.

    The chasm between the laity and the clergy is indeed wide.

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  93. When CTC holds it’s annual summer picnic do they pretend like the park they are getting together in is Vatican City? Does Bryan get to play Pope and all the other guys Cardinals?

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  94. sbd – don’t forget that the RCC has a Tiber swimming apologist (official or otherwise) who goes around preaching geocentrism…

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  95. Greg,

    “It’s not only the heavens that declare the glory of the LORD (Psalm 19), but every particle of reality, from quarks and neutrinos to the laws of logic does so with a revealed clarity sufficient to damn us, but not to save us. Nowhere more clearly than in their mirror where His created image itself is staring back at them. In fact, even if blind, their very sentient consciousness screams at them their creatureliness and their accountability to their creator. ”

    Love that! ( and I’m not being snarky) Yes,all of creation testifes to the infinite goodness of our Creator. We are not greater than God.
    And we are also not equal to Him, so we should not presume think we know better than He how we are to worship Him either, but we actually do this when we refuse to worship Him in the community which Jesus Himself created; that is, a community that started as a small band, that grew very fast, whom Jesus sent out to unto the ends of the earth to preach about the things God did for mankind’s sake, of which all of mankind would be ignorant of if it were not for the testimony of this people called the church. He gave this entity made up of people united to Him through the sacrament of His body and blood, authority( Luke 10:16) in this world.
    Greg, if you or I would have lived during the first century we would have done well by joining ouselves to that singular community. As long as we would have understood how Jesus was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, we would have wanted to put our name in with this group, this group that was one body being united to one head. In fact if we had been with this group on the night Jesus was betrayed we would have partaken of the fulfillment of the Jewish celebration of Passover even if we didn’t quite understand that Jesus was instituiting the sacrificial aspct of the Eucharist being that He was himself the Paschal Lamb. Since this was what was happening at that time the meaning and practice of that event has to continue on in the same way in which it was institated and it must be passed on through a continuity that was fixed through the people of God since the scriptures( NT) had not at that point yet been written. Then at Pentacost this same group gathered for the celebration of the giving of the Torah by the same finger of God (Holy Spirit) that wrote the law on Mt. Sinai. Notice that there is a continuity of God’s actions with those to whom He gives His laws.
    Okay, I’ve got off track, but I just wanted to show you that the revelation that God is savior is known through a history of salvation, and so while accountability belongs to Jew and Gentile alike, God provided a way for sinful men. Everyone depends on God for his life and should be grateful, but it’s only through the revelation of Christ that we know that the incarnation was for our benefit that the crucifixion was for our benefit, and that Jesus’ resurrection pointed to a general resurrection that is also for our benefit. All said benefits are namely for our supernatural end, the beatific vision.

    “Aristotle, and Aquinas following him, both languished in the deluded, self exalting autonomous mind of the first Adam. An idolatrous epistemological and metaphysical construct wherein the possible existence of just about any vanilla God in general, but the actual existence of none in particular is the highest attainable end.”

    You act like reason is opposed to God. To think like this is to lock God off in some box away from His creation. Don’t you think God made man’s mind? Don’t you think God made man’s mind to grasp as far as it can the things of creation? Don’t pit reason against scripture or the eternal Word. There is no such thing as a general vanilla God. If people are mistaken about who this God is it’s because they either haven’t yet heard or haven’t yet understood that God the Holy Spirit is pointing to one God. So you are mistaken if you believe that Aquinas had a generic idea about who the one God of creation is. Aquinas says that this one God is the author of scripture too, and even explains(in keeping with the tradition of the Church) how scripture is to be interpreted.
    http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1001.htm#article10
    God isn’t a pulsating quasar but He also isn’t a bearded sky-God either. Fundamentalism is just as much untethered to the Jesus as theological liberalism.

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  96. Erik,
    I just finished a long drive home after an even longer red-eye flight, so I’m not firing on all cylinders, but I can’t figure out what that means. Maybe it will make sense after a good night sleep and pot of coffee.

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  97. @Bryan

    Our arguments are not based on comfort, convenience, cleanliness, etc., but are intended only for those who love the truth above all things, and are willing to follow the truth even unto death.

    Dude. Seriously you are going to claim that here. We both know that’s not true. You are all about comfort over truth. Faced with truths you flee, you lie, you censor. Your site is an excellent apology for comfort over truth. Your very well written theological arguments often boil down to “we can safely reject any position that makes us uncomfortable and thus from the various comfortable positions lets find the one that makes us most comfortable”.

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  98. sdb,

    It means that while an atheist might be able to pose a plausible theory as to where morality “comes from”, the atheist himself choosing whether or not to be moral is always strictly optional. There may be some temporal consequences for being immoral, but never any eternal consequences.

    Not much incentive to be moral for an atheist, in other words.

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  99. CD-H, not to mention the implication that only those who don’t love the truth and are unwilling to follow it unto death will take exception to their arguments. Nothing rigged about that.

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  100. By going full-on papalist, you run the risk of making yourself and your “ministry” irrelevant. The CTC approach was irrelevant before it even started, even before Bryan et al were born. V2 guaranteed that. The Magisterium simply doesn’t care to press the issue that they are the one, true church anymore. Sure, they’d like to see some kind of visible unity around the Vatican, but one gets the distinct impression that no one in Rome believes it will ever happen, and they’re just fine with that. You’ve got the odd bishop who might still care, but the key word there is “odd.” They’ve become liberals in the matter of ecclesiology. Invincible ignorance will cover a multitude of sins.

    When you are supposed to do and say as the Magisterium does, and the Magisterium doesn’t seem much interested in proving itself to Protestants to be the church Christ founded, then you aren’t being a good RC anymore. CTC and Roman apologetics in general seems to be utter exercise in futility. Bryan et al have two choices—1. Admit that the Magisterium is wrong in this (but then you lose your “principled means”) or 2. Go with the current Magisterial flow and admit that Protestants are not really lacking anything important for being out of the Roman communion.

    CTC isn’t getting the message the church is sending: “Everybody in the world is going to heaven unless they do something really, really bad, and even then, you’ll probably make it because we are hoping that hell is empty—if it exists.” Ironically, if what Erik and others are saying is right, Jason is getting it. The student—Jason—has surpassed the teacher—Bryan.

    Traditionally, Rome has seen itself as the sacrament of salvation. I suppose it is still there to some extent. But when you have a church that is saying the biggest problems in the world are not human depravity and being cut off from Christ but rather youth unemployment, loneliness in old age, and now, global warming, you’ve become the equivalent of the Unitarian Universalists, just with fancier hats. How long before CTC gets this?

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  101. I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already. For the record, I LOVE the idea of RCC ecclesiology and authority. Truly. I totally get how folks WANT there to be on voice that settles all the arguments. The trouble is, whatever that thing is in Rome? It does not bear any even accidental resemblance to the gospel of church of the scriptures. If I hand you a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and you tell me it says “Mary had a little lamb…. etc”, your credibility as a reader has been forever lost in my eyes. The eye rolling costumes and ridiculously opulent house built on the backs of the poor doesn’t help either.

    Susan says: “You act like reason is opposed to God.”
    No Maam. I do absolutely no such thing. I know this is long, but it addresses the biblical view of logic and reason. It is from a pagan website and a conversation ongoing right now with a former Southern Baptist named Ruth
    ========================================================
    Ruth on November 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm quotes me as saying:
    Tiribulus says: “1+1=2 is to me a profoundly significant and vastly consequential, as well as representative specimen of the very essence of our reality”.
    And then responds by asking:
    “Are you saying that mathematics/logic is a priori or independent of our reality?
    Yes. Mathematics/logic have eternally existed in the mind of God. Here’s where none except biblical philosophy properly declares the being and nature of God. We tend to think of God as a REALLY big man (so to speak). As the highest peak on a scale of universal being ala the ancient Greeks. We have raw matter at the low end and God at the high end with minerals, bacteria, plants, fish, reptiles, mammals (etc) and man in between, but all on the same scale. This is wholly incorrect. There is God and everything else. Entirely distinct and utterly disparate at the very ontological level. Eternal uncontingent creator and finite, dependent creation.

    The whole of the latter designed and brought into existence by the former. Every particulate bit of the latter therefore without autonomous definition, function or purpose on any level. EVERY fact outside of the being and nature of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a created one and is unintelligible without direct reference to the eternal infinite mind that engineered it. Maths/logic primarily included. Just as with all other manifestations of the creator-creature distinction, Maths and logic exist in man AND his environment as finite creations, with man (women too) being sentient moral and intellectual replicas of God because He has built into them His image and likeness.

    Logic has existed as long as God has. When He created us to be like Him, He gave us some. However, it’s not simply that God has MORE logic than we do. No, His is of an entirely different order than ours. I firmly believe that as we delve further and further into the subatomic quantum world we get closer and closer to the actual being of God that is sustaining it’s existence. That’s why OUR logic begins to break down there. It’s also why Cantor’s infinities will never surrender to resolution without faith. ALL existence, whether in the realm of pure metaphysical mathematics in the case of Cantor or empirically observable physics in the case of Boltzmann. Absolutely NO fact of any kind is perceivable to us in non tautological fashion. (Which was Kamui’s brilliant point). We are left with forever unresolvable infinity if left to ourselves.

    It is not possible for us to live in unresolvable uncertainty like that though. Oh we can proclaim with all pagan piety that we are willing to do so, but even the proclamation itself requires an immediate contradistinction to UNwillingness, along with several other logical assumptions in order for it to make the slightest bit of sense to anybody. So the religious unbeliever assumes by faith that which she proposes to deem unnecessary in the very proposal itself.

    Ruth says: “I don’t think we can make any abstractions mathematically or logically without first having a concrete process.
    How can a “process” be concrete? It may be applied to the concrete, but a process itself is a set of ideas which is by definition an immaterial abstraction. It appears we’ll get into that a bit more below.

    Ruth says: “By that I mean that we know that 1+1=2 [or anything else for that matter] because we can see it.”
    I must respectfully yet vehemently disagree once again. Numbers ARE abstractions until applied to “things” we can see, but they exist in their own right. 1+1=2 is a complete statement of truth just sitting here on this page and in our minds even if NEVER applied to physical objects. It was true in and for God from eternity when He was the THE only existant. Even if one were to argue that we can’t understand mathematics UNTIL it is applied to the phenomenological universe (a thing I do not concede), it would still be the case that once consciously experienced at all, math and logic are then seen to first be metaphysical truisms that then govern our day to day life.

    The law of non contradiction illustrates this perfectly. A statement cannot also be what contradicts it in the same sense at the same time. That second of the three “laws of logical thought” requires NO particular specimen for its truth to be universally binding if we are to stay alive for 5 minutes and also do so in any sort of meaningful fashion. It exists as a rule that we APPLY in practice, but again, a rule, an idea, (or set of them) is not a physical thing.

    Ruth says: “When you say that the abstraction is not dependent on reality”
    Oh no Maam!! I say the abstraction IS reality. The eternal Spirit that IS almighty God, is the original reality and everything else, while just as real, is derived from Him. Not simply as an unmoved first mover or being than which nothing greater can be conceived, but as He without whom neither argument can even exist or be intelligible if they did, which is also impossible.

    Ruth says: “you are undercutting the base of our knowledge, and that is what is observable. You are denying the base upon which knowledge is even built.”
    Not so. I am providing the only base of our knowledge that will ever be possible. I am further saying that, though directly relying on that base every conscious second you’re alive, you will NEVER believe that until freed from sin and death in Christ. Never. Anything I can talk anybody into, somebody else can talk them out of. I am not here to persuade you with my self perceived brilliance. I am here to proclaim God’s truth and rejoice in the privilege and opportunity to do so. HE will do with it what He sees fit.

    Ruth says: “The only reason we are even able to make abstractions is because we have a concrete base.”
    Nonsense Madam 🙂 It is the abstractions that provide the interpretive framework for what we observe. The “concrete” as you call it. Without logic, which being invisible AND immaterial IS the quintessential definition of abstraction, not ONE single thought we could ever have would make sense. The so called scientific method does not “make abstractions”. It utilizes them at every point and on every level. If whatever makes 1+1 equal 2 is NOT true and binding? Then absolutely NONE of anything we think say or do is possible. Yet there it all is. Logic precedes application. The metaphysical dictates the physical.

    Even at the level of quantum physics, where again, OUR logic begins to fail us, we couldn’t even know that unless the logic God gave us kept working in us even then. It’s there that we are coming face to face with HIS logic.

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  102. Hi Greg,

    “I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already.”

    Okay, well if you can’t see any reason to the “canned polemic” as you call it, then we aren’t going to get far. I’d rather tackle it as it exists than dismis it because it reaks of papalism.

    “For the record, I LOVE the idea of RCC ecclesiology and authority. Truly. I totally get how folks WANT there to be on voice that settles all the arguments. The trouble is, whatever that thing is in Rome?”

    Actually I didn’t go looking for a voice that settles all the arguments( thanks for noticing that Protestantism has lots of unresolved arguments), but I was happy to find that when I scanned Christendom looking among all the possible choices for an authoritative voice, Rome was there quietly waiting. Imagine having a question about some doctrine and seeing on your desk papers that represent the answers( Reformed Confessions…?) formulated by differing denominations, and skipping over the Catholic voice just because, on the authority of Luther or Calvin, she is denied a hearing in the conversation. I was that gun shy of Catholicism even though, at the same time, my Reformed denomination measured the correctness of its essential doctrines to be on par with the Church it considered the Whore of Babylon.

    “If I hand you a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and you tell me it says “Mary had a little lamb…. etc”, your credibility as a reader has been forever lost in my eyes. The eye rolling costumes and ridiculously opulent house built on the backs of the poor doesn’t help either.”

    You are taling about groundless hypotheticals. Give me one Catholic doctrine that you disagree with and I can give you a reasonable defence to its truth.

    For the record, I appreciate what sounds like good southern manners even when disagreeing.

    You lost me on the talk about mathematics:)

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  103. my Reformed denomination measured the correctness of its essential doctrines to be on par with the Church it considered the Whore of Babylon.

    Which denom were you in that called the RCC the WofB?

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  104. @ec of course. That’s what I get for posting while tired…. I think you are mistaken here. I doubt that eternal consequences of our actions really makes much difference. Those who are Christians behave better than they would otherwise bc the holy spirit works in us (HC#1). In my experience the eternal consequences of doing something stupid really don’t factor in (more like will I get fire, go to jail, divorce, embarrassed, etc…). For those who aren’t believers, belief in.the afterlife doesn’t seem to play a huge role in guiding behaviour. At the margins there may be some effect, but it is week. Japan is more moral than Italy (of course RC seems to work against moral behavior from a sociological perspective). All that to say temporal concerns are pretty good for guiding behaviour…this is why 2k works. Where it fails is when we inevitably make a hash of thing…there isn’t a place for forgiveness and mercy in this life…you kill someone driving drunk this life is basically over. The church offers something different though: forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy, and hope in the life to come. This strikes me as a much better message to
    nonbelievers who are pretty decent neighbors than, “you know, you don’t have any reason to be good”.

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  105. @ec of course. That’s what I get for posting while tired…. I think you are mistaken here. I doubt that eternal consequences of our actions really makes much difference. Those who are Christians behave better than they would otherwise bc the holy spirit works in us (HC#1). In my experience the eternal consequences of doing something stupid really don’t factor in (more like will I get fire, go to jail, divorce, embarrassed, etc…). For those who aren’t believers, belief in.the afterlife doesn’t seem to play a huge role in guiding behaviour. At the margins there may be some effect, but it is week. Japan is more moral than Italy (of course RC seems to work against moral behavior from a sociological perspective). All that to say temporal concerns are pretty good for guiding behaviour…this is why 2k works. Where it fails is when we inevitably make a hash of thing…there isn’t a place for forgiveness and mercy in this life…you kill someone driving drunk this life is basically over. The church offers something different though: forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy, and hope in the life to come. This strikes me as a much better message to
    nonbelievers who are pretty decent neighbors than, “you know, you don’t really have any reason to be good”.

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  106. @EC a good counterpoint to what I just wrote is P.D. James’s, “the children of men” (not the movie). Just as sterility need not drive an individual to despair, it would for all of society. Similarly, while an individual atheist mayhave sufficient motivation to be moral, it isn’t clear that a whole society can reject the transcendent and thrive. Even non theistic cultures all seem to need some concept of a meaningful afterlife (ancestor worship etc…).

    Like

  107. Susan: “…my Reformed denomination measured the correctness of its essential doctrines to be on par with the Church it considered the Whore of Babylon…”

    AB: “…Which denom were you in that called the RCC the WofB?…”

    Yeah…I was thinking the same thing. I’ve always understood the eschatology in Revelation regarding “Babylon” to be a reference to (modern) secular culture, not the RCC. In fact, a few months ago I was watching a documentary about the world wide competition for the design and construction of the tallest skyscraper, something the narrator (an architect) referred to a society’s way of “making it’s mark in the world,” something that could as easily be attributed to ancient Babel.

    Like

  108. I think she’s wrong, but ad we know

    The conclusion of the matter:

    In all seriousness (actually, the stuff about “trolls” above was serious), I’ve rarely seen people publicly change their minds, admit they are wrong, or stay on topic, in the comments section of blogs where a debate is taking place. Some of us probably need to consider what an almighty waste of time “internet debating” can be. Sure, the “great post” flattery is harmless – actually, no it isn’t (Ps. 12:3) – but I digress… https://andrewbuckingham2.wordpress.com/140-2/

    Like

  109. Greg – “I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already.”

    Erik – My boy is learning how we roll here. Well done.

    Like

  110. Susan – thanks for noticing that Protestantism has lots of unresolved arguments

    (Meanwhile Susan stumbles into traffic and is flattened like a pancake due to the blinders she is wearing to assist her in not seeing the unresolved arguments in her own church).

    Like

  111. Susan – but I was happy to find that when I scanned Christendom looking among all the possible choices for an authoritative voice, Rome was there quietly waiting.

    Erik – Yeah, there’s Pope Francis “quietly waiting”, surrounded by the massive Vatican media apparatus and press corps that would make Bill Clinton blush.

    Like

  112. sdb,

    I’m not employing an apologetics strategy, I’m just stating the facts. If there is no God there is no reason to be “good”. There is no definition of “good” that stands the test of time. If I’m “good” I’m dead in 80 years and in another 100 I’m forgotten. If I’m “bad” I’m dead in 80 years and in another 100 I’m forgotten. No difference.

    Atheists with lofty ideals need to make sense of and come to terms with this.

    Like

  113. @ec this is the same argument transformationalists make about culture, “if there is no eternal significance to making a movie, why bother?”

    Not going to jail, getting fired, or losing your friends are good reasons for being good. Not everything that matters, matters eternally.

    Like

  114. sdb,

    You need to get out more.

    I’ve been hanging out with film geeks online lately. Traditional morality has little appeal and in the world they inhabit there is very little censure or penalty for completely ignoring it — especially when it comes to sex.

    You can be a very bad person in today’s world and be gainfully employed and have plenty of similarly-minded friends.

    You can do lots of evil that the law cares little about.

    Like

  115. In fact – the connection between atheism and depravity is very clear and quite biblical – “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”

    It’s not “work hard, act like a Christian, and uphold traditional morality for tomorrow we die.”

    If I was an atheist, inertia would probably keep me living like a Christian for awhile, but if a hot chick came along who was not my wife, why not? Especially if I probably won’t get caught.

    In the Drunk Ex-Pastors podcast, Christian flouts this. Formerly a Calvary Chapel missionary, now a guy who celebrates masturbation, “Milfs”, pornography, and sex out of wedlock. Why not?

    Like

  116. Erik, you’re sounding like the Reformed epistemologists. Who cares if unbelief can’t justify goodness so long as good is done? Why grouse philosophically when the unbelieving cashier gives me the right change (the flip side of being shocked-just-shocked when the believer doesn’t)?

    Like

  117. Zrim, I was going to chime in on behalf of sdb

    sdb,

    You need to get out more.

    I’ve been hanging out with film geeks online lately.

    But your comment seems oddly sufficient.

    fore

    Like

  118. Zrim,

    Who cares if unbelief can’t justify goodness so long as good is done? Why grouse philosophically when the unbelieving cashier gives me the right change (the flip side of being shocked-just-shocked when the believer doesn’t)?

    I don’t think he’s grousing; just pointing out the obvious. For some thinking atheists, such points may have evangelistic merit.

    When an unbeliever gets all high and mighty about evil and yet at the same time can’t given an account for it, can it not be a potential avenue for gospel witness?

    Like

  119. Zrim,

    Gordon Stein had a hard time when Bahnsen (channeling Van Til) pointed out that atheism gives one no grounds for laws of morality.

    Maybe atheists and Christians are all o.k. with that now.

    We do live in the age of “meh”…

    Like

  120. Erik quotes me as saying: “He (Mark Shea) used profanity with me and called me names.”
    And then responds with.
    Erik – Jason likes to use profanity in public, too. Sees no problem with it.
    I have found with Catholics, that foul, profane language is almost an 8th sacrament. To be fair, I’ve seen a similar attitude with far more elaborate rationalization among modern protestants as well. I believe an absolutely airtight case exists against this. (Because I’ve made it) In public for sure, but even privately it’s tough to make this a liberty worth pursuing, but it can probably be done at least some of the time. (another long story)

    Erik quotes me as saying to Susan: “I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already.”
    And then responds with:
    Erik – “My boy is learning how we roll here. Well done.”
    I feel like I should take a bow or something 🙂

    “sdb says to EC: “this is the same argument transformationalists make about culture, “if there is no eternal significance to making a movie, why bother?”
    And now for my first official act as Erik’s new boy 😀 , I will heroically resist the urge to help sdb with the immediately above at this time. (I am not a transformationalist btw)

    Susan quotes me as SAYING “I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already.”
    And then responds with:
    Susan says: “Okay, well if you can’t see any reason to the “canned polemic” as you call it…
    No, I really can’t.

    Susan says: “…then we aren’t going to get far.”
    It doesn’t appear so does it?

    Susan says: “I’d rather tackle it as it exists than dismiss it because it reeks of papalism.”
    Then you are welcome to do so my dear. I don’t dismiss it because it reeks of “papalism”. I dismiss it because it has no basis in fact and I’ve had the exact conversation you have laid out literally a few dozen times..

    Susan says:”( thanks for noticing that Protestantism has lots of unresolved arguments)”
    If you take a quick trip over to Catholic Forums you’ll notice just as many unresolved arguments among Romanists. There’s two general kinds of Catholic teaching. Dogma, which is universally binding, but everybody does what they want anyway, and more loosely held general teachings, about which everybody also does whatever they want. This is why I love Micheal Voris. He’s a Catholic that gets that and is engaged in an utterly futile quest to put a little ecclesiastical muscle on the decomposing corpse of magisterial authority.

    Susan quotes me as saying: “If I hand you a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and you tell me it says “Mary had a little lamb…. etc”, your credibility as a reader has been forever lost in my eyes.”
    And then responds with:
    Susan says:”You are talking about groundless hypotheticals.”
    No Maam, I am not. The scriptures have actual meaning discoverable by anyone willing to apply themselves diligently to their study. Your new church proposes interpretations and impositions upon those scriptures that you’d have to be a Catholic (big C) to buy. No, it will not do any good to argue about those. No amount of exegetical, expositional evidence could ever be any competition for the “only true holy and apostolic mother church.”

    Susan says:”Give me one Catholic doctrine that you disagree with and I can give you a reasonable defense to its truth.”
    Aquinas Aristotelian metaphysics. The only debate with having with Catholics is about “authority”. Because if Rome is who she says she is? Every debate is already over. If not? She’s the grandest Satanic imposter of all time. Guess which one I believe? Arguing this or that individual doctrine is a waste of time and energy. Nuthin personal at all.

    Susan says: “You lost me on the talk about mathematics:)”
    You stated that I “act like reason is opposed to God.” I gave you a detailed account of how and why that is entirely untrue.

    You seem like a nice lady Susan. Is there somewhere you have written about your conversion to Catholicism?

    Like

  121. Instant Classic:

    Susan quotes me as SAYING “I’m going to respectfully skip that whole first 75% of your comment because it is frankly a standard canned papal polemic that I’ve heard a coupla hundred thousand times already.”

    And then responds with:
    Susan says: “Okay, well if you can’t see any reason to the “canned polemic” as you call it…

    No, I really can’t.

    Susan says: “…then we aren’t going to get far.”

    It doesn’t appear so does it?

    Like

  122. Robert, sure, playing gotch’ya is one way to go. Another is to take sdb’s cue and make a distinction between provisional and eternal life in such a way as to treat unbelievers like they have a stake in the shared life (instead of bumbling fools who can’t account for their contributions), which can have a way of making the call to join eternal life a bit less obnoxious.

    Like

  123. Zrim,

    Robert, sure, playing gotch’ya is one way to go. Another is to take sdb’s cue and make a distinction between provisional and eternal life in such a way as to treat unbelievers like they have a stake in the shared life (instead of bumbling fools who can’t account for their contributions), which can have a way of making the call to join eternal life a bit less obnoxious.

    Who’s advocating that? Not me. I only go down this particular route when the atheist, or whomever, “starts it” by talking nonsense about how evil the God of the Bible is.

    Like

  124. @Erik
    You are right that I should probably get out more, on the other hand I did just spend a week in Seattle at the American Astronomical Society meeting, and I work in a department of mostly nontheist profs at a state university that isn’t exactly packed with believers. I’ve never met one who said “anything goes”. To be sure they have very different views about the morality of porn, ssm, etc… but they have a moral framework grounded in a commitment to a combination of consequentialist practical ethics with flowery words about Kant and Rawls (gag). Most are pretty good neighbors, citizens, and parents. Divorce is low, teen pregnancy unheard of, and they water my plants when I am out of town without pillaging my posessions.

    One could tell an evolutionary story about why people are instinctively moral (even if we cheat on occasion) and lots of religions give similar frameworks. What makes Christianity special is what it provides for us failures.

    It sounds like Christian has been unfaithful to his church, and it sounds like his infidelity has passed to other aspects of his life (I’m going by your reports…I’m not interested enough to listen myself). It has always seemed that a life like his is its own sort of hell-if you can betray those closest to you, who wouldn’t you fear betraying you (Kantian-lite?)? I think the despair that follows explains quite a lot about the sudden appreciation for drunkenness, antidepressants, and constant need for distractions by so many apostates.

    I do wonder about your comment that you’d be cheating on your wife if there were no afterlife. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but hopefully your marriage isn’t so bad that fear of hell is all that is keeping you faithful.

    Like

  125. Robert, so you’re not a do-not-cast-pearls-to-swine, shake-the-dust-from-your-sandals, or do-not-answer-a-fool-according-to-his-folly kind of guy?

    Like

  126. Zrim,

    Robert, so you’re not a do-not-cast-pearls-to-swine, shake-the-dust-from-your-sandals, or do-not-answer-a-fool-according-to-his-folly kind of guy?

    Depends on the person, the situation, and whether there is a broader audience to the discussion. You know, kinda like how there are some fools you are to answer according to their folly.

    Like

  127. SDB,

    One could tell an evolutionary story about why people are instinctively moral (even if we cheat on occasion) and lots of religions give similar frameworks. What makes Christianity special is what it provides for us failures.

    But the problem that an evolutionary story can only give us an “is”, not an “ought.” And a religion such as Islam, where God never actually reveals Himself because of the nature of Islamic transcendence, can’t give one any assurance that the moral code is nothing but an arbitrary fiat that could be up and changed.

    Like

  128. @Robert
    I agree about the is/ought divide. But maybe there is no ought and needn’t be, rather morality is a brute fact of social species. Maybe our adaptations to that brute fact vary among members of the species (but that is true for all fitness factors), and we need cultural constraints to enforce moral norms. See for much of common life, such an evolutionary story allows one to justify a similar moral outlook to the Christian (or Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist). Of course there are disagreements around the edges (some say porn is evil, others say it is beneficial), but you have the same kinds of arguments among theists (cf. vasectomies). This seems to be in keeping with what Jesus said about even unbelievers loving their own…everyone does that. How we arrive at something like the golden rule may vary, but we all have a similar moral sense. I don’t see any apologetic value in trying to build the case that Christianity (or theism more generally) provides a special framework for having a moral world view (Dostoyevsky was wrong). Where Christianity really does have something unique to contribute is in one raising the bar to a level no one can meet (you may think you’re all that for loving your family, but have you tried loving your enemies and speaking well of them?) and providing a path to redemption when you realize you fail at what you should do.

    As an aside, either you or Erik I think brought up the violence in the 20th century. It is important to keep in mind that those are raw numbers – as a fraction of the population, there were much more violent times of warfare on a per capita basis. Imagine what the religious wars of the 16th century would have looked like with 20th century technology. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, it would be a lot like what we are seeing in Syria today I think…

    Like

  129. SDB,

    I agree about the is/ought divide. But maybe there is no ought and needn’t be, rather morality is a brute fact of social species. Maybe our adaptations to that brute fact vary among members of the species (but that is true for all fitness factors), and we need cultural constraints to enforce moral norms. See for much of common life, such an evolutionary story allows one to justify a similar moral outlook to the Christian (or Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist). Of course there are disagreements around the edges (some say porn is evil, others say it is beneficial), but you have the same kinds of arguments among theists (cf. vasectomies). This seems to be in keeping with what Jesus said about even unbelievers loving their own…everyone does that. How we arrive at something like the golden rule may vary, but we all have a similar moral sense. I don’t see any apologetic value in trying to build the case that Christianity (or theism more generally) provides a special framework for having a moral world view (Dostoyevsky was wrong).

    But the issue then comes down to the assumption that life in and of itself is a good thing. I grant that naturalistic evolution can account for some of the existing moral structure in some ways. The most one could say, however, is that morality evolved because it was the most conducive way to preserve the species. But then the naturalist can’t explain why the species ought to be preserved. And there are plenty of nihilists who don’t think it ought to be. Thankfully, there the small (microscopic?) majority, but they’re there.

    And it doesn’t account for why, on any assumption of survival of the fittest, people can still instinctively know that it’s wrong to slaughter entire ethnic groups wholesale. What if doing that, in the long run, is more conducive to the advancement of the species? A consistent atheist/naturalist, it seems to me, would have to have no qualms about genocide then.

    Where Christianity really does have something unique to contribute is in one raising the bar to a level no one can meet (you may think you’re all that for loving your family, but have you tried loving your enemies and speaking well of them?) and providing a path to redemption when you realize you fail at what you should do.

    This is of course true, but I think too limiting, particularly with relation to atheists. Further, even this point shows that moral judgments are ultimately inconsistent for the atheist. If “should” is mere evolutionary memory, there’s no reason for anyone to think it should continue to be universal. Maybe we’ll find one day that it’s an evolutionary advantage to not love those who love us, or at least not all of them. I bet we’ll still have atheists (or at least the majority of them) thinking it wrong to kill your child even if it is an evolutionary advantage somehow.

    Why should I care that I don’t do what I should do if what I should do is not theistically grounded, especially when doing what I know I shouldn’t do brings me a great deal of pleasure? What would be wrong with being a psychopath? Brute fact can’t answer those questions, or at least the answer is—you shouldn’t care.

    The problem is that we do care. I don’t see how atheism can answer the question as to why, and I don’t see how non-Christian religions can answer the question in a consistent manner.

    Like

  130. And it doesn’t account for why, on any assumption of survival of the fittest, people can still instinctively know that it’s wrong to slaughter entire ethnic groups wholesale. What if doing that, in the long run, is more conducive to the advancement of the species? A consistent atheist/naturalist, it seems to me, would have to have no qualms about genocide then.

    It might be that qualms about other humans arise as an epiphenomenon from our concern for our own kind – instinctual value from life of our clan has a halo effect. The qualms do not come from rational reflection, but from emotional and instinctual response. Haidt is pretty convincing on this point.

    I guess the presumption I am challenging is that our caring is something that we rationally decide. For most people, I doubt this is the case…perhaps caring is just instinctual. There is no should really, anymore than when I am held underwater I hold my breath and gasp for air when I surface. Its not that I should do this, it is that I am hardwired to do so. I don’t see counter-factual questions that boil down to, “what if we evolved without a moral sense…what then?” as being any more meaningful than the question an atheist might pose to the Christian – “What if God wanted to send you to Hell for his Glory?”. They are meaningless counterfactuals that do not apply to reality.

    Like

  131. sdb – I do wonder about your comment that you’d be cheating on your wife if there were no afterlife. Maybe that’s not what you meant, but hopefully your marriage isn’t so bad that fear of hell is all that is keeping you faithful.

    Erik – I’m not saying I would cheat on my wife – I’m just saying that if I did there would really be no consequences for either of us after we were dead. I would be dead and would not be punished. She would be dead and would no longer be mad at me (if she found out). Our kids might suffer, but they’ll be dead relatively soon, too, so no biggie.

    Welcome to atheism. Welcome to short-term thinking.

    Like

  132. Erik Charter
    Erik – I’m not saying I would cheat on my wife – I’m just saying that if I did there would really be no consequences for either of us after we were dead. I would be dead and would not be punished. She would be dead and would no longer be mad at me (if she found out). Our kids might suffer, but they’ll be dead relatively soon, too, so no biggie.

    Oh, your wife is definitely cheating on you in this life, OldLife fanboi. No biggie.

    And God will not punish her. He’ll go, what took you so long? What a wanker. When I sentenced you to Earth, I didn’t sentence you to Hell. If I wanted to do that, I’d have made you read OLTS and your husband’s 68 responses a day.

    Poor Mrs. Charter.

    FTR, was that riff below the belt, “Erik?” I know nothing of you in real life and assume you’re a phony internet name and that does all Darryl G. Hart’s dirty work here on his blog.

    If “Erik Charter” is actually your real name, then I hope Darryl will delete this. Sorry.

    Like

  133. Christian’s owned 9 new cars in the last 14 years.

    Great plan for having to eat cat food at age 75.

    No wonder these guys are liberals. Needing the government to take care of them soon.

    Like

  134. Jason doesn’t agree with his own statements about Catholic clergy & pedophilia from last week. He just said it because he had been drinking.

    So we now have drunk Jason and sober Jason at odds.

    O.K., that’s an excuse. Needs to try it on his wife sometime.

    Like

  135. Basically they’re arguing that no one should take them seriously at all. They’re just trying to make friends.

    So Bryan should take down the testimony and EWTN should take down the interview.

    Jason has no credibility. He’s just throwing crap at the wall, seeing if anything sticks.

    I can live with that. It is what it is.

    Like

  136. Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, and Denmark are Jason & Christian’s ideals. “100% literacy, free lunches, generous unemployment, high taxes.”

    Also racially homogeneous & not very open to immigration. Not the United States, in other words.

    Clueless.

    Like

  137. SDB,

    I guess the presumption I am challenging is that our caring is something that we rationally decide. For most people, I doubt this is the case…perhaps caring is just instinctual.

    That is probably the case for most people, at least initially. People for the most part don’t rationally think about why they care on any kind of higher philosophical level—and that’s just fine. They do start thinking about right and wrong in transcendent categories when they ponder religious matters, however, even if they would never use the word transcendence.

    There is no should really, anymore than when I am held underwater I hold my breath and gasp for air when I surface. Its not that I should do this, it is that I am hardwired to do so. I don’t see counter-factual questions that boil down to, “what if we evolved without a moral sense…what then?” as being any more meaningful than the question an atheist might pose to the Christian – “What if God wanted to send you to Hell for his Glory?”. They are meaningless counterfactuals that do not apply to reality.

    But the problem is that if that is the case that we are hardwired, then Christianity is pointless and that which you say sets it apart—the answer to the problem of sin—becomes completely meaningless. Of course, you would agree with that. The problem is that the atheist wants to have it both ways; he wants to have a transcendent standard but wants to account for morality as merely the result of chance. He can’t have it both ways. Someone like a Richard Dawkins wants to say we ought not be religious, which is inconsistent if religion is something hardwired into us and is gives us the ought.

    To put it more simply since I’ve been on a tangent, no one should care that Christianity gives the answer to the problem we feel if the Christian God doesn’t exist and He isn’t the transcendent standard of good. If that which sets Christianity apart from all else—the solution it provides to sin—is to be meaningful, then we have to go back to the meta aspects of the reason why we care about sin (right and wrong) in the first place. What sets Xty apart must also include the fact that it alone can give a coherent account for why we care about morality and why we assume that there is a transcendent standard that all people should know (we all expect everyone else to agree with our own standard of right and wrong, after al). If another system can do so, then we should ignore the Christian answer and go with the answer of another system. If being hardwired by naturalistic evolution can account consistently and coherently for our moral sense, then who cares about the cross?

    At the end of the day, the moral standards given among different religions are largely the same in many ways, so it’s not Christian morality that sets it apart. I would argue, that only Christianity can consistently account for why human beings should expect that there would be an expectation of transcendence at all and why we think others should be able to recognize it and why we feel the sense that we need improvement and that something just isn’t right. Naturalism certainly can’t account for the latter. It can perhaps account for specific moral standards as a means to promote survival, but it can’t account for the sense that something is wrong with us. It can’t answer the higher-level existential and philosophical questions about transcendence and human experience.

    Not everyone is going to be thinking on this level, but for those who are, these facts are important to point out.

    Like

  138. Posted a comment:

    “Race has less to do with being able to pull off a humane version of socialism than does a shared culture, controlled immigration, and vast natural resources (e.g. Norway). France has 5 million Muslims (7.5% of their population). Not terribly well integrated in case you weren’t paying attention last week. Socialism is not working particularly well there as they have trouble paying their bills. You’ve made no case defending how the U.S. is in any way demographically similar to the Scandinavian countries that you love. More simplistic baloney from the drunks.”

    Like

  139. Erik said:

    Everything Jason & Christian believe is tentative, nothing is certain.

    Wow. Not surprised about an agnostic, or Jason really. He’s a smart guy. The CTC and traditional anti-Protestant RC apologetic depends on convincing people that nothing is certain about their own private judgment. Jason is consistently applying this to his judgment about the church.

    Cletus and Bryan—if you’re here—witness what happens when your argument about certainty and principled means is followed consistently. You want to apply it only to Scripture and its claims of divine authority. Looks like Jason is being more honest and applying it to the church’s claims as well.

    Basically they’re arguing that no one should take them seriously at all. They’re just trying to make friends.

    So Bryan should take down the testimony and EWTN should take down the interview.

    Bingo! So much for Rome’s certainty of faith.

    Like

  140. “The real question on death is, why take a chance? If Jason clings to Christ (although sadly as mediated by the Pope & Mary) he is at least clinging to something that claims will get him to heaven. Christian clings to nothing, so what reason does he have to hope that he will get to heaven? He rejects Christ in order to enjoy the pleasures of this life, which will end soon. That’s a bad trade, even though the reality of heaven remains somewhat uncertain for both. In other words, Jason is hedging his bets, Christian has just folded.”

    Like

  141. Jason and Christian having a hard time deciding what filthy speech is.

    Most of us learned this one in Kindergarten.

    Jason says it depends on the intent of the speaker. Since his intent is, of course, always virtuous, he gives himself a pass.

    #MoralVanity

    Like

  142. i guess it’s not easy being 78:

    Colombo (AFP) – Pope Francis on Tuesday cancelled a planned meeting with Sri Lankan bishops, with one security official saying he was “exhausted” after a long journey from the airport exposed to the hot sun.

    The 78-year-old, who arrived in Colombo Tuesday on an Asia tour that will also take him to the Philippines, took over an hour to travel into the city from the airport on roads thronged with well-wishers.

    The pope travelled in an open-top car with no protection from the strong sun and after a long overnight flight from Rome.

    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said only that the meeting with the bishops had been cancelled due to the pope’s late arrival from the airport.

    But a source working on security arrangements who asked not to be named told AFP the pontiff looked “exhausted” after his journey.

    Pope Francis has shunned the pomp of his predecessors, and said earlier this year he prefers not to use the bulletproof “popemobile” favoured by previous pontiffs.

    Journalists travelling with him said he appeared on good form during the flight.

    Like

  143. My comment:

    “Now Jason, do Reformed Christians really say that good things come from God and bad things from the devil?

    Did you sleep through the class on the Heidelberg at Westminster?”

    Like

  144. Jason says pastors’ “schtick” is that they are a model of clean living and holiness.

    So a biblical requirement now a “schtick”?

    And Bill Clinton gets a pass with Monica Lewinsky because he never claimed to be a moral role model.

    Like

  145. Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, and Denmark are Jason & Christian’s ideals. “100% literacy, free lunches, generous unemployment, high taxes.”

    Also racially homogeneous & not very open to immigration. Not the United States, in other words.

    Clueless.

    And higher rates of alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide. Watching coffeehouse gadflies go through their midlife crises publicly and make a hash of their lives is not pleasant viewing. Given the pain they are causing for so many, the selfishness of their behavior is staggering…

    Like

  146. Darryl, you can’t get homeland (I just asked the Library to save me a copy, fyi..) on mubi, can you?

    I still think the library beats mubi and netflix, but whatevs. I pay $8/month, but think of the children (by that, i mean, mine, they need their littlest petshop and thomas the tank engine,yo).

    Like

  147. “The Romanist must admit,” it has been urged, “that the state, whether of the Church Catholic or of the Roman Church, at periods before or during the Middle Ages, was such as to bear a very strong resemblance to the picture he draws of our own. I do not speak of corruptions in life and morals merely, or of errors of individuals, however highly exalted, but of the general disorganized and schismatical state of the Church, her practical abandonment of her spiritual pretensions, the tyranny exercised over her by the civil power, and the intimate adherence of the worst passions {314} and of circumstantial irregularities to those acts which are vital portions of her system.” [Note 2] Such is the imputation; but yet, to tell the truth, I do not know any passages in her history which supply so awful an evidence of her unity and self-dependence, or so luminous a contrast to Anglicanism or other Protestantism, as these very anomalies in the rule and tenor of her course.

    -J.H. Newman, Anglican Difficulties

    Like

  148. CW,

    Nothing that the pope has said falsifies anything that Cletus, Kenneth, Bryan, or Jason have said. Nothing the pope could say could ever falsify anything Bryan could ever say.

    Like

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