Selective Skepticism

Glenn Loury inspired this post.

Have you noticed that skepticism about climate change is unacceptable?

Skepticism of man-made global warming is high among pastors, especially younger ones, according to a 2013 poll from LifeWay Research. Just 19 percent of pastors ages 18 to 44 agree with the statement, “I believe global warming is real and man made.”

The Christian right has been actively promoting climate change skepticism, especially on Christian radio and television, said Robin Globus Veldman, a religious studies professor at Iowa State University who is working on a book on evangelicals and climate change.

“Environmentalists were caught in the crossfire because they were positioned on the other side of the aisle and tend to be less religious,” Veldman said. “They started to be described as allied with the people who were trying to push Christianity out of the public square.”

But skepticism about the U.S. criminal justice system is acceptable:

Long after the facts of the case have been parsed and forgotten, long after Mike Brown t-shirts are faded and Darren Wilson rides off into a sunset that still hides George Zimmerman, there will be a record.

And if written correctly, it will tell the story of a people who refused to let America run from her promise of justice and equal protection under the law; citizens who used every awful tragedy, every imperfect victim, every messy media firestorm, every conflicting account, every questionable death, every chance it got to scream a truth that it knows deep in its bones: the police state is dangerous and unequal.

So, dear lions. Those of you black, brown, female, gay, poor, and oppressed; those feared and hunted by a system that won’t recognize its flaws, commit now to being historians. Tell and claim the parts of the Ferguson story that didn’t make it into the President’s remarks or McCulloch’s recap or the 24 hour news coverage.

If we do this, history will undoubtedly show what the state never has: that black lives – and all lives – matter.

Is the difference the result of Americans’ greater esteem for scientists compared to their regard for the professionals who comprise the criminal justice system (attorneys, police officials, judges, legislators, governors, POTUS)? Do Americans distrust people involved with law more than those who do science? Like so many answers, this one is complicated. Americans and scientists often do not see eye-to-eye on a number of matters of public debate:

A majority of the general public (57%) says that genetically modified (GM) foods are generally unsafe to eat, while 37% says such foods are safe; by contrast, 88% of AAAS scientists say GM foods are generally safe. The gap between citizens and scientists in seeing GM foods as safe is 51 percentage points. This is the largest opinion difference between the public and scientists.

Citizens are closely divided over animal research: 47% favor and 50% oppose the use of animals in scientific research.1 By contrast, an overwhelming majority of scientists (89%) favor animal research. The difference in the share favoring such research is 42 percentage points.

In some areas, like energy, the differences between the groups do not follow a single direction — they can vary depending on the specific issue. For example, 52% of citizens favor allowing more offshore drilling, while fewer AAAS scientists (32%), by comparison, favor increased drilling. The gap in support of offshore drilling is 20 percentage points. But when it comes to nuclear power, the gap runs in the opposite direction. Forty-five percent of citizens favor building more nuclear power plants, while 65% of AAAS scientists favor this idea.

The only one of 13 issues compared where the differences between the two groups are especially modest is the space station. Fully 64% of the public and 68% of AAAS scientists say that the space station has been a good investment for the country; a difference of four percentage points.

So if Americans and scientists are divided on lots of questions, why feature evangelicals’ skepticism about climate change? I wouldn’t have anything to do with the mantra that 81% voted for Donald Trump.

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112 thoughts on “Selective Skepticism

  1. Quite the hodge-podge here. Some are empirical questions (is the average temperature of e earth nceading, are gmo foods safe), and others are value questions (should we incrase nukes, should we test on animals). All of it is status signaling.

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  2. “It wouldn’t have anything to do with the mantra that 81% voted for Donald Trump.” Yes.
    I’m a skeptic of any report stating “x% of scientists say…”. As Lestor Freamon would say, “follow the money”. Then you’ll see why x% of scientists say this or that.

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  3. There’s a lot to unpack here. The bottom line is people will believe what they want to believe – right or left. I remember arguing with an intelligent OPC pastor once about childhood vaccines – he was convinced they cause autism, despite the fact that I showed him convincingly that there is no evidence of that whatsoever. Black Lives Matter people still think something unjust happened in Ferguson, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

    Also, climate change – like evolution – is hard to assess via polls because the implications are very nuanced. For example, if someone asked me if I believe in man-made global warming, I would answer Yes, because there probably is some human factor in the causes for global temperature increase. On the other hand, do I believe the global environmental apocalypse is just months away unless the trend is immediately reversed? No, I do not. Same with evolution. Is evolution a real thing? Of course it is – it’s observable. Do I believe we all evolved from atoms that happened to form nucleic acids that happened to become DNA particles that eventually evolved into the amazing diversity of life as we know it? No, I do not. I suspect the wide discrepancy between scientists and non-scientists is due to the imprecision of the questions.

    And on a side note, nothing is more galling than those who pit science vs. religion. The two are not in opposition at all, yet they are made to be by many atheists and Christians. Foolishness on both sides.

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  4. As posited: Is global warming a reality? And as answered: Sure. There is plenty of evidence in an increased rate of Arctic ice melt, permafrost thawing, an increase in catastrophic storms, earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc.

    But several questions remain largely unanswered, only “picked at” by one side or the other:
    1) How much of the increase in global temperature is caused by “natural” phenomenon and how much of it is due to human activity.
    2) Of the human activity, how much of it has been more or less correctly identified as a probable root cause, how much of it has likely been mis-identified as a root cause (or at least overstated), and how much of it is yet to be identified (or there is either an unwillingness or disincentive to identify it) as a root cause.

    Of the natural causes, one that seems to have been largely ignored is solar activity. HAM radio operators who use the ionosphere to bounce or skip their HF signals are well aware of the poor reflectivity of that atmospheric layer in recent decades. Those who like to pursue things further have studied solar activity and have made plots available indicating that events on the sun are cyclical and those being observed recently are identical to the depression era “dust bowl days” in the early 20th Century. Why hasn’t this been brought up in any discussion? Because there’s a fear that it would deflect movements away from doing anything about human activity.

    Among human activities, the ones that are commonly on the forefront are fluorocarbons, carbon dioxide buildup, exhaust emissions from automotive and industrial output. The contentious ones that are either mis-identified or overstated include the group of “indirect” causes or ones that may actually contribute to a reinforcement of protective atmospheric gases instead of reducing them, such as certain types of solvents and cleaning compounds and methane gas. And the unidentified causes could be things like cellular telephone transmitter microwave emissions. Yep, cell phone transmitters. Consider the invention of cellular phone technology (ca., mid-1980’s), the accelerated rate of transmitter towers (mid-90’s up until the present time), the increase in transmitter power to support higher bandwidth and 4G services (2005 up to the present time), and then overlay the increased rate of ice melting, etc. and you’ll find a very close correlation.

    Preposterous, you say! How could the minor emission from a cell transmitter have any effect on global warming?! Well, considering the output from a single transmitter that’s probably correct. But by now there are millions of them world-wide. And remember, the output is in or near the microwave spectrum. And consider the laws of conservation and energy: matter can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. So what happens to all of that extra microwave radiation surrounding all of these transmitters? You guessed it! But, of course, there is way too much money floating around in that industry for anyone to ever admit that there may be some truth in this theory and the businesses will work hard to keep any evidence of such events from ever reaching the forefront of GW discussions.

    As the saying goes, “Drink beer and forget about it.”

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  5. So … this is an area of interest.

    I don’t have answers, but I have a lot of partial information that I’m still trying to piece together. At the moment, I am a “lukewarmer”: Warming is real, at least 50% anthropogenic, but not likely to be a crisis.

    @ George: Of the natural causes, one that seems to have been largely ignored is solar activity.

    It has been researched, and there is a majority view and a minority view. The majority view is that the increase in solar flux is too small to account for all warming, but may account for < 1 deg C. That's NASA's view.

    The minority view is that, yes, by itself, the solar flux is too small BUT there is an indirect effect on cloud cover, which has a much larger effect on temps. That's Lindzen's view.

    Research is ongoing.

    George: And the unidentified causes could be things like cellular telephone transmitter microwave emissions…overlay the increased rate of ice melting, etc. and you’ll find a very close correlation.

    I think that’s likely to be a spurious correlation. Three reasons:

    (1) Cellphone emission is < 3 W at any given time. Cell towers are capped at 500W but seem to transmit more around 20-60W typically. As a crude worst-case estimate, that would give us 3W * 7Gphones = 21GW of power from the cell phones, and 500 * 4Mtowers = 2GW of power from the towers IF everything is running at max (which they don't).

    Crudely, spread that energy out over the surface of the world: 510 x 10^16 square centimeters. That gives us

    0.000 000 004 W / cm^2.

    Compare to the sun's 0.14 W/ cm^2 and you can see that even running full-bore, cellphones are dwarfed by the sun. It's kind of like "everyone jumping up and down at once" — yes, it's a lot of energy on a human scale, but not on a planetary scale

    (2) There’s a reasonable explanation for the correlation: Cellphone use has risen as global energy use has gone up, and CO2 is a byproduct of energy production. From the calculation in (1), cellphone use would be non-causally correlated to the temperatures as a concommitant of higher energy use.

    (3) The highest temperature climb has been in the arctic; the lowest in places like US and China. IF cellphones were a culprit, their effect would be local (unless you have MUCH better reception than I do!). But the temp increases by region show anti-correlation to cellphone increases.

    That strongly suggests that cellphones are not the culprit.

    Keep researching … the whole topic is a fascinating study in big messy datasets, human agendas, and crazy math.

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  6. “… Keep researching … the whole topic is a fascinating study in big messy datasets, human agendas, and crazy math …”

    But Jeff, isn’t that the key to the whole thing? No one knows for sure what’s causing the increase in global warming. But there’s rampant speculation from one side to the other, each of which seem to think they have the final answer. Of course, the cell transmitter emission is a minuscule amount in the grand scheme of things. But does that stop one from throwing it into the “grand mix” of everything else? And, from recent news on the issue, there seems to be an increase in NIMBY regarding the establishment of cell towers around the areas where people live, their kids attend school, etc.

    So why should I, as Mr. Citizen, put any more stock in any one of those “causes” than another? “Human agendas” and “crazy math” indeed! Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be buying into this stuff lately and voting accordingly.

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  7. @Jeff
    You wrote, “It has been researched, and there is a majority view and a minority view. The majority view is that the increase in solar flux is too small to account for all warming, but may account for < 1 deg C. That's NASA's view. The minority view is that, yes, by itself, the solar flux is too small BUT there is an indirect effect on cloud cover, which has a much larger effect on temps. That's Lindzen's view. Research is ongoing."

    I'm not sure this is quite right. The total warming since the mid 20th century has been about half a degree C. As you note, solar variation has been looked at (as has indirect effects on clouds), and the effect is marginal. There is no question (even from Lindzen) that the small increase in temperature that has been observed is a result of the ~30% increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The question is what further increase in CO2 concentration means. The boundary conditions are pretty clear if we put lots of CO2 into the atmosphere (you eventually get Venus), but does an additional doubling of emission (60% increase since the baseline) mean another .5degC, 1.5deg C, 3deg C? We don't know. The models are unclear. Furthermore, if we increase (say 1.5deg C) what does that mean for weather patterns and sea levels? That too is unclear. The big problem is that we don't have the tools to quantify whether a crisis is likely or not, and that is a problem in and of itself.

    Of course the real debate is centered around the public policy proposal around what we should do in light of the potential that our activity is driving temperatures up in ways that will have negative effects (a 1m sea level rise may not sound like much, but it can mean catastrophic flooding of very expensive real estate). There is a major cost to action that is certain (but the political consequence of this cost are uncertain). There is a potentially even larger cost for inaction which is highly uncertain (economically and politically). Judith Curry has a lot of sensible things to say about how we deal with uncertainty. We really can't say whether any particular outcome is likely or unlikely. Our inability to quantify the uncertainties of our projections is an important problem that has not received sufficient attention.

    All that being said, I think scientists have done civilization a terrible disservice by convolving public policy activism with science. Their tribal approach to science and activism – particularly as it preferred action happens to align with their prior policy preferences naturally causes a great deal of skepticism. They have dealt with that skepticism poorly.

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  8. Perhaps the concern about the rejection of climate change science by many evangelicals is due to the increased urgency and narrowing window of time there is to act to limit or stop the negative consequences that could arise from climate change. Perhaps in this issue, scientists are the real prophets while many evangelicals are the false prophets.

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  9. Curt – your point might be valid if the environmental “alarmists” hadn’t been wrong time and time again. How many times do dire predictions have to be completely incorrect before you stop taking them seriously?

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  10. VV,

    Curt – your point might be valid if the environmental “alarmists” hadn’t been wrong time and time again. How many times do dire predictions have to be completely incorrect before you stop taking them seriously?

    Ding, ding, ding.

    As someone who has no doubt that human beings often have a negative effect on the environment, I find all of the GW stuff very hard to follow. I don’t have enough of a science background to track all the arguments, but I do know that the loudest global warming alarmists have also been those who drive the biggest hummers and have the biggest jets and houses (Al Gore). It’s hard to take them seriously when they demand that Joe Nobody in Tennessee stop driving his pickup truck or want to tax him into oblivion but that they are golden in their ginormous houses and burning of fossil fuels because they can buy an expensive carbon credit.

    If there wasn’t so much virtue signaling in the GW alarmist movement, it might actually make some advances in convincing people. Nobody’s out to ruin the world on purpose.

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  11. SDB: The question is what further increase in CO2 concentration means. The boundary conditions are pretty clear if we put lots of CO2 into the atmosphere (you eventually get Venus), but does an additional doubling of emission (60% increase since the baseline) mean another .5degC, 1.5deg C, 3deg C? We don’t know. The models are unclear.

    I agree that “climate sensitivity” is the important question. I was just responding to George’s narrow question of “what about solar variation?”

    SDB: Furthermore, if we increase (say 1.5deg C) what does that mean for weather patterns and sea levels? That too is unclear. The big problem is that we don’t have the tools to quantify whether a crisis is likely or not, and that is a problem in and of itself.

    Yes, and putting that up against the costs of crisis mitigation is yet another policy problem. Bleargh.

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  12. Vae,
    Don’t know what environmental alarmists you are talking about. I do know that the dead zones in the ocean keep increasing. I do know that the permafrost is thawing and is releasing methane into the atmosphere. I do know that parts of the SE coastal areas of the US are experiencing more and more non-weather related flooding. I do know that the seas and air temperatures are rising faster. And I do know that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to increase.

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  13. vae vic, agree about environmental “alarmists.” So I wonder why if you are skeptical of those claims, you aren’t similarly skeptical about Keller. He’s much more likely to believe climate change science, in case you haven’t noticed.

    “The Christian message uniquely instructs us to care for the environment, and to fight for social justice as well.”

    This one actually made me laugh out loud. It takes a great deal of hermeneutical gymnastics to tease out a concern for the environment from the New Testament, and you just don’t ever hear many evangelical pastors impressing upon their congregations that caring for the ecosystem is on the God’s wish list for his people.

    “The work of the Spirit of God is not only to save souls but also to care and cultivate the face of the earth, the material world.” (p.233)
    “…Christians become stewards of the material world, from those who cultivate the natural creation through science and gardening to those who give themselves to artistic endeavors, all knowing why these things are necessary for human flourishing.” (p.235)

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  14. Curt, you never heard of Population Bomb?

    Paul Sabin’s excellent new book tells the whole story, linking it to larger issues in American political and intellectual life. He argues convincingly that Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon represent the two poles in this late-20th-century debate, which echoes down to the present. He shows that Ehrlich’s exaggerations, and the steady failure of his prophecies to come true, eventually led conservatives to conclude that environmental “crises” were really no more than minor annoyances. Ehrlich unwittingly helped lay the groundwork for the global-warming skepticism that is widespread on the American right today.

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  15. Curt – “The result is that people who drape themselves in the mantle of science and mock even the slightest expressions of skepticism are often wildly, inexcusably, and repeatedly wrong. But since they’re wrong in the service of a good cause, the media is notoriously reluctant to hold them to account. So the old wrong predictions disappear down the memory hole, new wrong predictions dominate the headlines, and cautious members of the public wonder what they’re supposed to believe.”
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/448244/environmentalist-left-has-grapple-its-failed-alarmist-predictions.

    DGH – exhorting Christians to be good stewards of the Earth is hardly “alarmist.” A strong biblical case can be made for it.

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  16. vae vic, I didn’t say it was alarmist. I’m just trying to insinuate that some distance exists between your conservatism on cultural matters and Keller’s “third way.” So why the pastor crush?

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  17. DGH – I don’t consider myself “conservative” on cultural matters. If anything I’m to the left on most cultural issues except abortion. I am right-leaning on economics and fiscal matters, and I’m a literal imperialist when it comes to foreign policy. But what does it matter what Keller’s politics are? He votes his conscience, I vote mine. Isn’t that 2K theology?

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  18. vae vic, politics are relevant precisely because Keller has postured as the transformationalist who is not the hard-arse that Francis Schaeffer was. This is kinder-gentler transformatalism. Why his avoidance of hard lines while also speaking to those lines (urbanism, race, gender, environment) doesn’t get your literal imperalism going is beyond me. Crushes matter.

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  19. Vae,
    The necessary evidence is not restricted to scientific journals. And quoting from an echo chamber does not help your case. My experience with conservatives who are UE is that economic concerns trump all other environmental concerns. Unfortunately, the necessary evidence to show that climate change and other environmental problems stemming from the modern way of life are real are being observed.

    So you can make whatever declarations you want and cite articles that ignore what scientists are observing now all you want. It doesn’t change reality. And that we would trade the a healthy environment for our descendants for short-term financial gains now shows that the love money reigns.

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  20. Curt – no one is denying there is valid scientific evidence that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming, and that humans are contributing to that warming to some degree. What isn’t clear is how much, what the remedies are, and what the consequences will be, if any. If you actually read the article I cited, you will see a list of dire predictions that were completely wrong. That’s the problem, not the science itself.

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  21. vae vic, I’m betting (even in Vegas) that your views on politics and society are quite different from Keller’s. And yet, much of Keller’s appeal is his soft transformationalism. So why do you give him a pass on his politics?

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  22. I don’t think Keller’s transformationalism has much meat to it. I think it’s largely already melted down to sloganeering and psychobabble. It’s more soft Osteen(best life now-conducive to human flourishing) than anything resembling what the RC religious would call social justice work or even what we called corporal works of mercy.

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  23. DGH – are you saying that Keller’s belief that the church should work for social justice and racial conciliation and environmental stewardship makes him liberal politically? This isn’t true: he isn’t saying the government should do those things, he is saying Christians should do those things. A political liberal would push for government fix to all of society’s woes, but Keller has actually said the opposite. As I said earlier, I have no idea what Keller’s political leanings are and really don’t care. But I don’t believe his transformationalism ties him to any political ideology.

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  24. D.G.,
    The context of my question had to do with climate change and the environment. So do you want to answer the question within the context? Or do you want to discuss another topic?

    BTW, what are scientists recommending about nuclear power and animal research?

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  25. I don’t think any of my colleagues doubt that CO2 emission (the 30% or so we have increased it in the atmosphere) has contributed to the .3% increase in global temps over the past half century. Further, they virtually all agree that there is no way we are going to keep humanity from oxidizing all of the cheap carbon in the ground. Calls for action are political tribalism. Everyone knows that nothing on the table will actually make a difference, and the kind of action necessary to make a difference would cause massive social upheaval.

    Scientists are broadly supportive of dramatic expansion of nuclear power and using Yucca Mountain to store waste. We are also broadly supportive of expansive freedom for animal research.

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  26. VV, if transformationalism says the church should work for particular socio-political issues then isn’t that awfully close to what the Protestant liberals and religious right are all about? Does that matter? And if TKNY says Christians should work for social justice, etc. but some aren’t as convinced, what does that say about them?

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  27. Zrim – I have never heard or read Tim Keller advocate a stance on a particular political issue. He advocates Christians caring for the poor/oppressed – how many times have you read that in the Bible? – as well as environmental stewardship, etc. That’s different from taking a stance on a specific political issue or advocating a specific government policy. This is not the same the religious right or the social Gospel types who advocate using the government to affect good works. In 1 Timothy Paul says that the wealthy should “be generous and ready to share,” but that does not mean he is advocating socialism.

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  28. vae vic, “are you saying that Keller’s belief that the church should work for social justice and racial conciliation and environmental stewardship makes him liberal politically?”

    Sure doesn’t make him conservative.

    You need a strong dose of Old School Presbyterianism. Some help with it.

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  29. VV, “social justice and racial conciliation and environmental stewardship” aren’t code for particular political issues? But re the social gospelers, it’s a distinction without a difference, the distinction between hard (government) and soft transformationalism (people). The tie that binds is the assumption that faith implies world-changing from its adherents, a highly questionable assumption.

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  30. “vae vic, “are you saying that Keller’s belief that the church should work for social justice and racial conciliation and environmental stewardship makes him liberal politically?”

    Sure doesn’t make him conservative.”

    I don’t know about that. Being a Christian means being under the jurisdiction of The Church and being under the jurisdiction of the church means aligning oneself with the moral law and receiving grace through the sacraments in order to be more transformed. That transformation is supposed to spill over and transform society( if we cooperate with the grace received). So in society, Christians may be a part of a political party, but a political party cannot perfectly represent the issues that a Christian is supposed to hold to.
    I’m a conservative because I believe there are foundational things that simply cannot be progressed without causing harm to society overall. Social justice doesn’t belong to the atheist liberal, but achieving social justice cannot be done using a Marxist dialectic either.

    I just heard a podcast that is making me rethink the whole modern notion of the secular and religious. There’s also a book investigating the idea. The historian is Dr. Andrew Jones. It’s a really interesting discussion.

    http://matthewsleonard.com/066/

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  31. Susan, social justice? You think any society can stand up to justice? Heard of the fall?

    How about proximate justice?

    How about listening to one of your popes?

    It must be first of all recognized that the condition of things inherent in human affairs must be borne with, for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition.

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  32. Susan says: receiving grace through the sacraments in order to be more transformed.

    Hi Susan, also, don’t forget this very great grace that transforms, which Jesus repeatedly mentions: (so vital that if anyone adds to or takes away from, they’re in big trouble (Rev 22:18-19)

    Jesus:
    -Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matt 4:4

    -the words I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. John 6:63

    -humbly receive the word implanted which is able to save your souls (James 1:21); through the living and enduring word of God, you are born again of imperishable seed, 1 Peter 1:23

    -those with good soil: hear the word ,accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, hundredfold.” Mark 4:20

    -constantly nourished on the words of the faith and sound doctrine (1 Tim 4:6), we grow in respect to salvation1 Pet 2:2

    -His word: a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts 2 Pet 1:19

    God’s light is about to shine forever on the universe making all wrongs right, wiping away all tears, and fulfilling the promises of a new heaven and earth. In the long dark night of suffering on earth, the eternal morning is about to dawn… and scripture -His word – is our continual light- a light in darkness-until the bright morning star returns

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  33. Hi Darryl,
    Sure. The world, and us in it, remain fallen.We have the downward pull( concupiscence), but all of us know, through reason, that we should shun evil and do what’s good, and in that way, we are not like the “brute” animal.
    We are the creatures at the crossroad between spirit and matter( a little lower than the angels)in the hierarchy of creation and we live in time and learn discursively, so we make our decisions during the hours and minutes of our days until we die, rejecting or choosing to live out the graces received. Our reason is darkened, not annihilated, and because of this we can, and will, give account. And this accords with Jesus’ admonitions

    Ali,

    The verse from Rev. 22 is referring to adding to or taking from that book that St. John wrote, not anything else.
    So we have to be careful about taking things out of their context.
    You can tell that it’s being taken out of context because it’s impossible that we could take anything away from what Jesus did in his at-one-ment. In what way could we take away what would be advantageous to us? As far as “adding” goes, grace builds on nature, because what God initially created He also sees as good. He chooses to heal us not annihilate us, and healing us means making us partakers of the divine nature.

    “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge” 2 Peter 1:4

    All of the other verses you gave are compatible with what I’ve said:)

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  34. D.G.,
    Don’t we selectively accept all other information from people? To automatically follow all information from a human source puts that human source on an uncomfortably comparable pedestal with the pedestal that should be there with God’s Word.

    But one doesn’t have to agree with everything climate scientists are saying to understand the dangers that are already looming on the horizon because the dynamics and initial signs of those dangers are already apparent.

    BTW, the article you sent, which was not from any scientist, makes errors. Plenty of other places besides the IPCC and when one looks at the list of science organizations that have placed themselves in the CE category, your team B, which seems to lean toward conservative politics anyway, is quite impressive.

    Why not, for example, look at the NAS and PNAS for articles on climate change? Follow NASA’s study on climate change. Search the equivalent of our NAS from other nations and see what they write about climate change. Go to scientific sources that align themselves in the UE category as well. But do more than go to a website that has, for the most part, attorneys as their writers and look up articles written by those who are scientists and compare the positions and evidence they use.

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  35. Susan says Ali,You can tell that it’s being taken out of context because it’s impossible that we could take anything away from what Jesus did in his at-one-ment.

    Susna, that is how one can tell it’s being taken out of context? It says add or take away …words. Words can’t change reality, except potentially in the mind’s imagination, which is the problem.

    my bible notes on Rev 22:18-19: Jesus offers extended testimony on the authority and finality of the prophecy. He commissioned John to write it, but he was its author. These are not the first such warnings (cf. Deut, 4:2;12:32; Prov 30:6; Jer 26:2) These warnings against altering the biblical text represent the close of the NT canon. Anyone who tampers with the truth by attempting to falsify, mitigate, alter, or misrepresent it will incur the judgments described in these verses.

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  36. Hello Ali,

    First of all, I hope you and yours are well.

    Ok so let’s talk:) Maybe I misunderstood you, but I thought you were warning me about adding to Jesus’s atonement, by using Revelation 22: 18,19 as your proof text. And if you were doing that, that wouldn’t be the verse to fit what you were intending. It’s objectively clear that John was, in this case, was referring to the book of Revelation because more of what God spoke was added to the canon being that the Gospel of John and the Epistles of John were written after it.
    I agree that none of what the Eternal Word has spoken can be added to or taken away without because where God speaks, it cannot be changed. But it’s worrisome that it’s possible for people to change the meaning by changing the words( by adding or removing), or by incorrect interpretation( by innovation or a faulty hermeneutic), or by altering the canon to serve one’s private interpretation( even if well meaning by seeking to honor and exalt God). The canon is those books that were already in use prior to the change made during the Reformation, but I’d prefer not to get into a discussion about it because doing so publically will bring in comments from other people and it would interrupt any fruitful discussion:)

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  37. Susan, “all of us know, through reason, that we should shun evil and do what’s good, and in that way, we are not like the “brute” animal.”

    So what does grace or baptism do? This makes Christians the most virtuous of people?

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  38. Hi Darryl,

    You asked: “So what does grace or baptism do? This makes Christians the most virtuous of people?”

    I think that’s a good question. I never understood the moral life in believers of Christ vs. the virtuous behavior of people who don’t profess Christianity, until I began to learn more about the virtues. It’s still not easy for me to parse it all.
    So instead of doing a terrible job, I’ll link you to an explanation:)

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a7.htm

    In any case, maybe you can see that it’s important to recognize that the virtues are not invented by man, as in “humanist virtues”(as if Aristotle lived on a planet not created by God), and with no bearing on our supernatural end. I mean, the four cardinal virtues have scripture to back them up. Then there’s the three theological virtues delienated by Paul in 1 Cor. 13:13…. And please, no collapsing faith and hope! If Paul wanted them lumped he wouldn’t have taken care to mention each. If they are delineated that means that we are supposed to find out why, since they will surely affect us.
    Anyways, my friend, I have never seen such defining and systemizing until I became Catholic. 🙂

    Happy reading!

    Best to you,
    Susan

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  39. D.G.,
    Then you have to ask whether that affected their work. And if it didn’t, what are you going to do about climate change?

    You simply try to discredit that which would push you past your 2k/conservative-libertarian world. And just like I have to acknowledge points where the Scriptures disagree with Marx and socialism, you need to do the same with conservative libertarianism and 2kt.

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  40. Susan, you have no antithesis in your lumping — not to mention you’ve never listened to Nietzsche on Christianity’s effeminacy. You are a moral universalist. Everyone is/can be good. And since salvation comes with being good, you are a universalist in the making.

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  41. Curt, I am as skeptical about supply side as I am about climate change. Why do you fall for any political bromide? Put no hope in princes or their policies.

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  42. Susan says: Ok so let’s talk:) Maybe I misunderstood you

    Hi again Susan: quickly, just to conclude & reiterate why I commented, because:
    You said : receiving grace through the sacraments in order to be more transformed.
    So I said, because you left it out: His word, according to His word, is vital for transformation

    and so, eg, re dgh’s tweet: Old Life @oldlife I am praying that the vice president will repent and submit to the pope. http://theweek.com/articles/703663/im-worried-about-mike-pences-immortal-soul … @matthewwalther

    God’s own word takes a sword to destroy speculations and lofty statements like these:
    – “To the devout, the only cause that matters is that of Catholic truth, ancient and undefiled. Schism is a mortal sin, one that endangers his immortal soul. “
    -“ostensibly catechized adult Catholics who do not realize that the Mass is a sacrifice at which the priest asks the archangel Michael to carry his offering to Christ’s altar in heaven”
    -“Which is why I am praying that the vice president will repent and submit to the pope. I am worried about our vice president’s immortal soul.”

    Jesus testifies to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.Rev 22:18-19

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  43. Curt,
    Most scientific studies are not reproducible, there is a strong bias against replication and null results, and there are strong social pressures not to “encourage the mouth breathers”. This doesn’t prove that the media consensus pushed by the popularizers is wrong, but skepticism is warranted. The replication crisis in science is a big deal. That doesn’t seem to stop people from co-opting scientific claims when they support their political priors. I would like to see more honesty on this front in our political discourse. Most people start with their political stance and gather religious and scientific support for what they believe. Just as there should be a separation of church and state, there should be separation of science and state.

    That being said, the fact that CO2 has increased about 30% and the mean global temp has gone up about .3% is not in question. These are public measurements freely available. The questions are:
    1. Does current activity presage catastrophe? The models’ predictive power is unclear, and their uncertainty has not been well quantified.

    2. If so, what has to happen to thwart catastrophe? The dirty secret is that nothing being proposed will stop our trajectory. It is like ed reform…politicians have to care which means they need to do something. As Freddie DeBoer (he’s a leftist, so he is safe for you to read) notes, we have no idea what we are trying to achieve, what various reforms are supposed to do, much less whether they work. Governmental climate action suffers a similar problem. Unlike efforts to mitigate cfcs, soot, and smog – the global effect of CO2 is tough to pinpoint.

    3. If we are going to a carbon free energy grid, who enforces it and who pays and what does it mean for economic and political stability. Expensive energy makes us poorer.

    The consequences of doing nothing are unclear (read Judith curry if you are interested in a fair assessment of uncertainty). 2k says that neither Marxism nor libertarianism are necessarily proscribed by scripture.

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  44. Darryl,

    I will leave this Selective Skepticism thread since the discussions here can be convoluted, but of course, I must at least try to have the last word:)
    I think the glaring antithesis is that Catholicism does not teach universal salvation. It makes distinctions and broadens thought on a subject as organs of truth should. That was one of the things that reeled me in; “True theology wasn’t going to make Aquinas sit in a corner”.
    We know by reason that we are to shun evil and do good, we all have a free will, and that actually matters. There again, more antithesis to the universal by use of the moral. However, a person who has never heard about Jesus’s salvific mission, but seeks to shun evil and do good can still benefit from Christ’s work, much like the Jews who only witnessed all the prefigurement during OT times benefited from Jesus’ incarnation and salvific work.
    What results in loss of Heaven is denying the moral order by actions done against reason and/or militant atheism( reason can know that God exists), or having faith but not charity.

    As always, I wish you well

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  45. 1. “I’d prefer not to get into a discussion about it because doing so publically will bring in comments from other people and it would interrupt any fruitful discussion”, “the discussions here can be convoluted”
    Evidently your conversion hasn’t done much for your charity or politeness. Still the drive-by asserter who suddenly runs out of time to chat when challenged. I guess the triumphalism means never having to say, “good point, I don’t know”.

    2. ” However, a person who has never heard about Jesus’s salvific mission, but seeks to shun evil and do good can still benefit from Christ’s work”
    For by grace you have been saved through [seeking to shun evil and do good]. And this is not your own doing (?); it is the gift of God not a result of works(!?)… hmmm…your version doesn’t quite cohere… Perhaps if you are condemned because of what your representative (who was better than you) failed to do, not having heard of a way out isn’t such a problem…

    3. “We know by reason that…we all have a free will”. No. Some people rationalize a belief in freewill and pretend to have arrived at that belief by way of reason, but there is strong evidence that our will is much less free than we like to believe (twin studies should put a damper on how much freedom we really have…perhaps Paul’s observation that we don’t do what we will might help too).

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  46. Hi SDB

    “I’d prefer not to get into a discussion about it because doing so publically will bring in comments from other people and it would interrupt any fruitful discussion”, “the discussions here can be convoluted”
    Evidently your conversion hasn’t done much for your charity or politeness. Still the drive-by asserter who suddenly runs out of time to chat when challenged. I guess the triumphalism means never having to say, “good point, I don’t know”.

    I chose the wrong word and apologize I meant that people in this thread are talking about more than one topic and that can cause confusion as well as missed comments.
    You’re right, it isn’t nice of me to join in and then not stay with it. It’s not easy to determine when a conversation has run its course, but I really think my conversation with Ali hit a wall. What do you think? I’d be willing to continue if we could get over the hurdle that says, “Catholics are adding to scripture”.
    If you look back, you can see that I did say that I thought Darryl had a very good question. I don’t purposely shut down conversations, but I also see that Darryl didn’t speak to what I said. Just now he gave me the Westminster Shorter Catechism defining what sin is. I can agree with this with qualifications because I also see that it doesn’t explain enough. The implication in this definition shuts men down. The CCC satisfies my reason and my understanding recognizes it as being true. I will link it, in order to be helpful, and refrain from making comments like “happy reading” which I said in in my earlier comment to Darryl and probably sounded triumphalistic and flippant. Two things I really didn’t mean to be, and regretted on second thought.

    I honestly apologize for getting into a discussion that I don’t have the time to stick to. I am taking classes in order to finish my degree and will be very busy.

    Best to you,
    Susan

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  47. sdb,
    What you ignore is that effects of climate change and other environmental problems are already observable. And they do not look good for us. Those observable effects include atmospheric and ocean temperature increases, thawing of the permafrost which releases Methane, increased acidification of the oceans and well as increased dead zones, a sharper increase in the rise of the oceans including non-weather related flooding along parts of the East Coast, the faster loss of arctic ice than projected, longer seasons for forest fires, and so forth

    IN addition, can you tell me which unrepeatable experiments you were talking about?

    The real issue is whether Conservatives are willing to change to adjust for what will be happening to the climate should things go as they are. And the Scientific consensus goes against you on climate change. The business, however, does not. What do the Scriptures say about the love of money?

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  48. sdb,
    BTW, Trump misunderstood the projected effects of following the Paris accords according to University Officials. In his speech about the Paris Accords, Trump cited an MIT study saying that the change would be so small that it was almost unmeasurable. Unfortunately for him, MIT officials showed where he made his error.

    Besides, if the Paris Accords don’t go far enough and we pull out of those Accords because of the economic consequences of those Accords, how can you claim that you would be in favor of doing what is necessary in order to prevent affecting climate change to the catastrophic level?

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  49. Curt,

    And the Scientific consensus goes against you on climate change. The business, however, does not. What do the Scriptures say about the love of money?

    Oh please. As if there is no business in the climate change industry. Something about Al Gore making money off of carbon credits rings a bell. And those lobby groups representing electric cars and solar power and such.

    The question isn’t whether the climate has changed. The question is whether the change is or will be catastrophic. The fact that all the dire warnings haven’t come true by now like we were told they would makes one rightly skeptical of the doomsday scenarios.

    And BTW, is the computer you’re using to comment powered by sustainable fuels that don’t add carbon to the atmosphere?

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  50. “What you ignore is that effects of climate change and other environmental problems are already observable.”
    I’m not ignoring anything.

    “Those observable effects include atmospheric and ocean temperature increases, thawing of the permafrost which releases Methane, increased acidification of the oceans and well as increased dead zones, a sharper increase in the rise of the oceans including non-weather related flooding along parts of the East Coast, the faster loss of arctic ice than projected, longer seasons for forest fires, and so forth”
    You are confused. I’ve noted that mean surface temperature has increased ~.3% in response to a 30% increase in CO2 abundance in our atmosphere. I don’t doubt that observable. The other factors you mention are heavily disputed in the literature.

    “IN addition, can you tell me which unrepeatable experiments you were talking about?”
    The reproducibility crisis is well known. Here is a primer from Nature:
    http://www.nature.com/news/1-500-scientists-lift-the-lid-on-reproducibility-1.19970

    “The real issue is whether Conservatives are willing to change to adjust for what will be happening to the climate should things go as they are. And the Scientific consensus goes against you on climate change. The business, however, does not. What do the Scriptures say about the love of money?”
    1. The real issue is whether the cost of action that will accomplish anything is justified by the benefit.
    2. I’m pretty sure I’m in line with the scientific consensus. The popularizers are another story. Curry is worth reading.
    3. Scripture says that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Not sure what that has to do with not wanting to hold down impoverished countries trying to climb the ladder out of their crushing poverty. The west is wealthy enough that what we can be “green” at little cost to us. However, it won’t make any difference if developing countries don’t get on board. Another approach is to allow everyone to get richer and then use our wealth to mitigate the challenges posed by a warmer planet.

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  51. Susan says I really think my conversation with Ali hit a wall. What do you think? I’d be willing to continue if we could get over the hurdle that says, “Catholics are adding to scripture

    don’t think we can get over that hurdle Susan.

    dgh tweet: What You Need to Know About the June 13 Fatima Apparition

    “Let’s look at her words to Lucia: “since Jesus wishes you to make me known and loved on earth. He wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.” Our Blessed Mother told her she must not be sad. “I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God.””

    “So far we see it is Jesus, her Son, who wants to make her known and loved with devotion established in the world to her Immaculate Heart. And the Immaculate Heart will not only be our comfort, but the way that will lead us to God. Wow! You can’t have it clearer than that — reason enough why we should be devoted to the Immaculate Heart.”

    Notice the specific reference to her heart. “Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

    “Let’s remind ourselves who it was who asked for this devotion: her Son Jesus. “It is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.”

    “on February 15, 1926, the Child Jesus appeared to Lucia and asked, “And have you spread through the world what our heavenly Mother requested of you?”

    “By our consecration we promise to become dependent on Mary in all things: to offer all our prayers and oblations to God through Mary, and to seek every gift from God through Mary,” teach the Dominicans at The Rosary Center. “And we do this with the greatest confidence. Since she is our mother, she knows our needs better than we; and since she is Queen of Heaven, she has immediate access to the infinite treasury of graces in the Kingdom of her Divine Son.”No wonder we’re advised to consecrate ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

    “Jesus chose that we go to him through Mary — “both the mystery of God coming to us through Mary, and our being led to God through Mary, is a work of the Holy Spirit.”

    “If we make the consecration and honestly try to live it, what the Blessed Mother promised Lucia applies to us too: “I will never leave you; my Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.”

    “Sister Lucia constantly promoted consecration to the Blessed Mother as she was asked to do.”

    “Honoring the Immaculate Heart: Isn’t it time in this 100th anniversary year to begin, or increase, our honor and devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary?”

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  52. Curt,
    “Trump misunderstood the projected effects of following the Paris accords according to University Officials.”
    I doubt that Trump knows enough about science to even get to the level of misunderstanding. To paraphrase Pauli, he is not even wrong.

    “In his speech about the Paris Accords, Trump cited an MIT study saying that the change would be so small that it was almost unmeasurable. Unfortunately for him, MIT officials showed where he made his error.”
    Yes. The question is what would be unmeasurable. The problem is that there is not cost effective way to raise developing nations out of poverty. Wind, nuclear, solar, hydro, etc… are all much more expensive than digging up rocks and burning them.

    “Besides, if the Paris Accords don’t go far enough and we pull out of those Accords because of the economic consequences of those Accords, how can you claim that you would be in favor of doing what is necessary in order to prevent affecting climate change to the catastrophic level?”
    We don’t know if what we are doing is going to change the climate to a catastrophic level. We know that to stop increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would cripple the world economy and drive billions of people into deep poverty. Isn’t going to happen. The consensus from my colleagues in the field is that:
    1. Burning fossil fuels is driving increasing temperatures (certain)
    2. Increasing the mean surface temperature of the earth will increase average sea levels ~ 0.3-0.8m beyond what would have happened anyway over the next century (pretty confident).
    3. Predictions for weather patterns, rainfall amounts (recent Nature Communications article by Su argues that rainfall will increase!), and other ecological effects are highly uncertain.
    4. Likelihood that the world community will make the requisite sacrifices to stop the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is ~0 (certain).

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  53. @Ali,
    Thanks. It is interesting to contrast “my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort” with “My only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own but belong body and soul to my faithful savior Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for all my sins with his precious blood.”

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  54. amen sdb.
    spoken in love.
    for in any discussion, among whatever set of disagreeables ” Again, the fear is clearly real, acute among Protestants, that God and Christ are jealous for their glory.”

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  55. Hi Ali,

    I understand where you are coming from( I was a protester of the Catholic Church too). But it’s completely Christian to honor the mother of God. Jesus wants her honored, not dishonored. And we can never honor her too much But you have to believe me when I say that Catholics do not worship Mary. If I can recognize and confess that distinction you should believe me, and refrain from asserting that we do. If that misconception can be cleared up perhaps we can make progress.

    Something to think about:

    What will hinder your understanding is in trying to come at this from a Bible only paradigm. For someone who doesn’t look to the fathers of the church to inform them of what Christianity consists, or who does look to the fathers, but then selectively chooses what is orthodox from among them according to their own private interpretation, or according to a tradition outside of Catholicism because they already believe that that new tradition( which has dropped orthodox doctrine according to their private interpretation) is the correct church, is going to miss all that is the fullness of The Faith.

    Take St Athanasius for example. This man is known for single-handedly defeating the Arian heresy, a mistaken idea that Jesus was less than God. His Christology most certainly was informed because of his understanding of how Jesus assumed our human nature. In other words, Jesus got his entire human nature from his mother. So without Mary, no Jesus.
    Jesus took our nature so that we could share His divine nature( John 6:53).

    “The Eternal Word, the Son, was in no way degraded by receiving a human and mortal body. Rather, he deified what he put on; and more than that, he bestowed the gift of his divinity upon our humanity.” – St Athanasius

    I’m digressing a teeny bit, but it’s all important. My point is that St Athanasius was not mistaken and his theory is no mere theory, but an enlightening by the Holy Spirit. We cannot argue about whether it’s true or not that Jesus is consubstantial with the Father and having a human nature at the same time. We confess it on the authority of the church which is the pillar and bulwark of truth( 1 Tim 3:15).

    This same Athanasius also said this:

    O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the Ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides. (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin, 71, 216; Gambero, 106)

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  56. Hello Robert,

    I understand where your objection is coming from, but one has to approach this objection in the same way one does honoring her in the first place, and that is to follow Church doctrine. To be consistent to the Apostolic Faith we need to look to the fathers and the saints to see how she is supposed to be venerated. If the fathers have historically sought her intercession, then I cannot veer. I am to submit, understanding that the church is my authority and won’t lead me astray.

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  57. @Susan
    Honoring Mary, the Mother of God is one thing. But evidently “Our Lady” has asked for more than honor. She has revealed new commands (I want you to say the Rosary every day) and teachings (Jesus wishes also for you to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart). For better or worse, this is an addition to scripture which I believe was Ali’s original point (is that right Ali?).

    Second, what we see from this apparition is not simply a call to honor Mary. Rather we are to establish devotion to her and find our comfort in her. We are to ask her to “make sacrifices for sinners” and to save sinners. Further she asks that communion of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.

    Third, Lucia tells us that by our consecration we promise to become dependent on Mary in all things, to offer all our prayers to God through Mary, and to seek every gift from God through Mary. This is more than just honoring Mary as the Mother of God – it is to make Mary a mediator between man and God.

    Fourth, we learn from this article about our Lady of Fatima that “there is no better way to obtain the help we desperately need than through Mary’s intercession. This is because, she has immediate access to the infinite treasury of graces in heaven – implying that this is access that others lack. Lucia tells us that Mary will never leave us and is our refuge – the path to God. This is a clear reappropriation of the Psalms – God is our refuge and strength and the Gospels – never will I leave you.

    This language is far stronger than veneration. This is the elevation of Mary to mediator – something completely absent in the NT. Indeed, the NT tells us that Jesus is our only mediator, that we can boldly approach the throne of Grace, and that all the riches of heaven are ours in Christ Jesus. There is an enormous gap between the quotes you provided by Athanasius and the claims made here.

    A few more things to consider – I’m pretty sure that Ali (and the rest of us here) do not have a “Bible only paradigm”. What we have is “Bible is supreme paradigm” or more properly our only “rule”. It is the only infallible record of God’s word for man, it is living and active, and the Holy Spirit presently speaks through it. Even in the early church we see that many were led astray and heresy was popping in all over the place. Even Peter erred. So the fact that guys in 300AD said something is not dispositive by itself. Their words were not God’s word. This is different from what Paul wrote (as Peter noted for example). But the larger problem here is that the claims made by Lucia contradict the inscripturated apostolic witness.

    Hope this clarifies the basis of our objection to Marian devotion within your sect.

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  58. Susan, you have prior commitments that will never satisfy a Protestant on something like this, but I’ll still ask: if prayer is an act of worship and if praying to the BVM isn’t an instance of idolatry, what would be?

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  59. Susan,

    Actually, to be consistent to the Apostolic faith, we need to follow the teachings of the Apostles. It’s possible that the fathers miss the boat in some places. In fact, according to Rome, they miss the boat in several places, because even Rome doesn’t follow all that the fathers taught. If Rome did, she wouldn’t ignore all of the ecumenical canons that are directly contrary to the theology papal supremacy.

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  60. Hi Susan, good of you to return to talk. I’ll just follow up and say that dgh’s linked article ‘What You Need to Know About the June 13 Fatima Apparition’ is an eye opening reminder and his twitter comment: ‘seriously?’ seems generous. I say ABOMINABLE as others have talked about.

    All I can say to you is what Jesus said – test the spirits to see whether they are from God .
    He’ll be asking us each individually about it all, and we’ll, each one of us, individually, be fully responsible.

    You’ll find it harsh for me to say, but I guarantee you spirits associated with that article subject FAIL THE TEST.From
    the article:
    -a prayer : ‘take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need’ would never be commanded by Jesus, because He tells us everyone is exactly equally in need in that regard

    It is impossible that it would be at that 1900s “Immaculate Heart’ revealing apparition that Jesus would establish ‘blessed mother’ as “our comfort,our refuge, and the way which will lead you to God.” and that “it is to save them that God wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If you do what I tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace.” because from the beginning, God has revealed that He alone is our Savior and the only way of salvation: as many as receive JESUS, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in HIS name John 1:12

    Re: the rosary and “By our consecration we promise to become dependent n Mary in all things” , Jesus tells us to be dependent and trust HIM in all things.

    test the spirits Susan, this is serious, serious business. Why don’t you come back to the place of truth where Jesus chose to save you

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  61. Hello Steve,

    How are you? I don’t have time to address everyone, so I am picking your question since this is the first time I’ve talked to you in a couple months or so. I will do my best to answer SDB, Robert, and Ali later.

    You asked:
    “Susan, you have prior commitments that will never satisfy a Protestant on something like this, but I’ll still ask: if prayer is an act of worship and if praying to the BVM isn’t an instance of idolatry, what would be?”

    1. To ask another person, who is beholding the beatific vision, to pray to God for me, or someone else isn’t worship. I don’t recognize any saint as being equal to the Holy Trinity.

    2. You and I aren’t a pagan people who are making guesses about the supernatural and mixing things up as cults and aboriginal people do. We identify the Diety who is to be worshiped because He has revealed Himself to us.

    “The first commandment embraces faith, hope, and charity. When we say ‘God’ we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his authority. He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us? Hence the formula God employs in the Scripture at the beginning and end of his commandments: ‘I am the LORD.'”8

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  62. Hi Robert,

    I decided to try to answer you too.

    You said; “Actually, to be consistent to the Apostolic faith, we need to follow the teachings of the Apostles. It’s possible that the fathers miss the boat in some places.”

    I can understand that it’s possible for some of the fathers to miss the boat, but not all the fathers through centuries. And I agree that no doctrine can go against what is written, but I don’t think that Apostolic means exactly what you say. It’s more to do, as Pope Francis says, with the church being founded on the Apostles and in continuity with them, so that as she goes about her mission of evangelism, she brings them into the same church that they were sent out from; that is the one, holy, universal church that has a succession of bishops.

    You said: “In fact, according to Rome, they miss the boat in several places, because even Rome doesn’t follow all that the fathers taught. If Rome did, she wouldn’t ignore all of the ecumenical canons that are directly contrary to the theology papal supremacy.”

    What ecumenical canons are contrary to papal supremacy? It doesn’t sound very ecumenical to ask Rome to renounce a position that was given to her by Jesus. Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean?

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  63. Susan, “I don’t recognize any saint as being equal to the Holy Trinity.”

    How many saints “appear”? How do you know the apparition is not something you ate?

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  64. Susan
    Fair enough. Marian devotion exists in Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran denominations as well. However, it is fair to say that it goes to volume 11 in Rome. I agree that the Reformed have historically underemphasized the role of Mary, ut that was (is) an understandable reAction to excesses in the Roman tradition – after all the movement to declare Mary co-Redemptrix exists mainly in your communion, though to be fair it has been soundly rejected by JP2 and Benedict. There is no question that devotion to Mary and the saints has led to syncretism among Catholics (especially in Latin & Caribbean communities). The reaction to these excesses among ports is more than understandable even if some have gone too far and unwittingly fallen into a sort of neo-nestrotian ditch.

    I think what Robert is getting at is disputes between the orthodox and Catholics over which councils are in fact ecumenical (the ‘quinisext’ council). I think the orthodox would argue that if a council can declare a pope a heretic (and they have), then the pope isn’t supreme. Of course popes have done the same to councils (and each other when there has been more than one). Of course Peter wasn’t supreme…Paul had to lay down the law on him!

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  65. Susan, but this doesn’t sound like one saint simply asking another to pray for her:

    Thou who, with special mercy, look upon those clothed in thy beloved Habit, cast a glance of pity upon me. Fortify my weakness with thy strength; enlighten the darkness of my mind with thy wisdom; increase my faith, hope and charity. Assist me during life, console me by thy presence at my death, and present me to the August trinity as thy devoted child, that I may bless thee for all eternity in Paradise.
    Amen.

    When militant saints ask me to pray for them, they sure don’t sound like that, and if they did I’d think they hopscotched right over my simply being triumphant and thought me divine. Even the angel knew enough to tell John to get up when he tried to worship him. So, again I ask (because you really didn’t answer), if asking of Mary only things God can grant isn’t not idolatry then what would be?

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  66. SDB,

    It’s fair to say that devotion exists in the Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran denominations. so I don’t understand why Catholicism is your greatest beef, volume 11 notwithstanding.

    ” I agree that the Reformed have historically underemphasized the role of Mary, ut that was (is) an understandable reAction to excesses in the Roman tradition ”

    SDB, that is very good of you, and I appreciate your acquiescence. Would you kindly, for the sake of clarity, delineate the degree of emphasis that is permitted? If you think that the church in the West has gone too far, does this mean that you agree with everything up to a point( co-redemptrix)?
    I’m looking for you to tell me what is the biblical and traditional limits of Marian devotion. In other words, what is the standard that no one should exceed? If you concede that the role of Mary is underemphasized in Reformed theology, what does this say to the Presbyterian and Reformed knowledge of scripture and tradition?

    “– after all the movement to declare Mary co-Redemptrix exists mainly in your communion, though to be fair it has been soundly rejected by JP2 and Benedict. ”

    The role of Mary as co-Redemptrix isn’t going too far, and it isn’t soundly rejected by John Paul II or Benedict XVI either.
    http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/07-09-marys-cooperation-in-the-redemption/

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  67. @susan,
    Catholicism isn’t my greatest beef. I reserve that for the unitarians. As I have noted before, I have a great deal of admiration for the RCC, though in the end I found too many of its truth claims wanting….particularly its commitment to an Aristotelian metaphysics. What I find particularly grating is the triumphalism of Protestant converts turned apologists. I’ve known way too many converts over the years looking to out run their doubts only to see their faith utterly collapse in the RCC.

    More importantly though, I am convinced that the reformed articulate the gospel described in scripture correctly while the RCC does not.

    Regarding Mary as co-redemdrix, I attended a conference on this as a grad student, and as I recall there was a lot of angst in certain quarters over jpII and B16’s rejection of the proposal to dogmatize this. It was considered, “theologically inadequate, historically a mistake, pastorally imprudent and ecumenically unacceptable”.[22] Pope John Paul II cautioned against “all false exaggeration”, his teaching and devotion to Mary has strictly been “exalting Mary as the first among believers but concentrating all faith on the Triune God and giving primacy to Christ.” B16 said, ““Co-redemptrix” departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings…Everything comes from Him [Christ], as the Letter to the Ephesians and the Letter to the Colossians, in particular, tell us; Mary, too, is everything she is through Him. The word “Co-redemptrix” would obscure this origin…”

    Of course these quotes are just snapshots and may obscure important qualifications, but the gist of the conference back in the day was that this went a bit too far for the Vatican. Perhaps Francis thinks differently.

    I don’t see that the underemphasis of Mary in reformed circles says anything at all that we don’t already claim for ourselves…we are fallible (capable of error) as is everything that comes from man. The only reason that the scriptures are infallible is because they do not originate in the will of man, but come from the Holy Spirit. All traditions are capable of error including my own.

    Mary should be esteemed and held up as an example of godliness. She does not dispense grace, serve as a mediator between God and man, she is not our refuge, we are not to make reparation to her for the atonement of the sins of the world, and she is not our comfort. To refer to these things as just the sort of intercessory requests we make of fellow believers is not an honest appraisal of what Marian devotion looks like in your tradition. God is our only refuge. To look for that elsewhere is idolatry. Christ is our only mediator, and his sacrifice makes way for us to boldly approach God with our requests. It is right to ask others to join us, but they are not mediators. The Holy Spirit is our comforter…he assures of us eternal life and makes us heartily willing and ready to live for him. Unfortunately people look for comfort else where. Like Abraham and Sarah deciding that they needed to take matters into their own hands and help God’s promise along by introducing Haggar, too many people believe they need to take matters into their own hands and help the Holy Spirit’s promise along by adding to means of grace he describes in his word. Whether it is Catholics adding Marian devotion or revivalist using emotional manipulation to get folks to walk the aisle, we have a tendency to “help” God along. The testimony of scripture is that this never ends well. Don’t add or take away is not just a narrow principle for the book of revelation, it is a theme woven through scripture and a solemn warning we all need to hear and continually apply to all we do.

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  68. sdb says Mary should be esteemed and held up as an example of godliness

    and re godliness, we are told the same for all believers:
    2 Peter 1 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,
    through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

    My bible notes:
    -His divine power::“His” refers to Jesus Christ-Christ’s power is the source of the believer’s sufficiency and perseverance (cf Matt 24:30; Mark 5:30; Luke 4:14;5:17; Rom 1:4; 2 Cor 12:9)
    -Things pertaining to life: The genuine Christian is eternally secure in his salvation and will persevere and grow because he has received everything necessary to sustain eternal life through Christ’s power.
    -Godliness: To be godly is to live reverently, loyally, and obediently toward God. Peter means that the genuine believer ought not to ask God for something more (as if something necessary to sustain his growth, strength, and perseverance was missing) to become godly, because he already has every spiritual resource to manifest, sustain, and perfect godly living.

    one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him (Jesus), “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:27-28

    also,re Mary truths:
    -Matthew 1:25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
    -Matthew 13:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56a And His sisters, are they not all with us?
    -Mary – the apostles did not not give her a prominent role; the Bible says nothing about her ascending to heaven;having an exalted role there;nor that Mary can hear prayers nor mediate for us with God.

    Mary said:“My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Luke 1:46-47

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  69. Susan, thanks but I’m not as interested in the case for co-redemdrix per se as what a Catholic imagines is idolatry if not the sort of prayer above. But I’m gathering you’d rather not think about it.

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  70. Zrim – do you ever ask other people to pray for you? Do you ever pray for others? Do you pray that God will have mercy on non-believers and call them to repentance? Classic RCC teaching views Mary as an intercessor in the same way living humans can be intercessors. It doesn’t mean she has any power or has accomplished any redemptive work on her own. Now, one can argue that it’s foolish to ask dead saints to intercede for us, but that’s a different argument altogether.

    SDB – I agree that many Catholics – especially in Latin America and other parts of the world – raise devotion of Mary to a level of idolatry. But the official RCC doctrine cannot be blamed for poor practice among its members any more than we can blame fundamentalism on the Puritans.

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  71. VV, yes, I’m familiar with the creative reasoning (and yes to your questions as such). But if you don’t believe triumphant saints have divine powers, would you really pray that prayer above? And when I ask others to pray for me, I just ask with eyes wide open, I don’t bow to them.

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  72. Zrim – that’s a single Carmelite prayer, not Catholic dogma. Yes, that prayer is idolatrous, and should not be prayed by any follower of Christ. But citing a single idolatrous prayer does not negate their actual doctrine.

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  73. Zrim – I think the point is that prayer does not reflect RCC doctrine. In fact, it directly contradicts the RCC Catechism:

    “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed Virgin’s salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws all its power from it.” “No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.”

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  74. SDB,

    ” B16 said, ““Co-redemptrix” departs to too great an extent from the language of Scripture and of the Fathers and therefore gives rise to misunderstandings…Everything comes from Him [Christ], as the Letter to the Ephesians and the Letter to the Colossians, in particular, tell us; Mary, too, is everything she is through Him. The word “Co-redemptrix” would obscure this origin…”

    From what understand( and I am, of course, no authority) it’s the word “Co-redemptrix” that can give rise to misunderstanding( as B!6 said).
    Yes,Mary is everything she is through Jesus! But what is she? Is her role over? It’s just that Catholics and Orthodox believe that Mary continues to have a role in salvation history and therefore their devotion is active. Mary can be seen as just a statue inside the church and her name mentioned in a perfunctory way in the liturgy of Anglican and Lutheran Churches if devotion isn’t part and parcel of that comminity’s ethos.
    In modernity, supernatural things drop to the wayside if there isn’t a living church.
    If she is the ark of the new covenant, and if she gave her consent( even hastened His hour at the marriage at Cana) and was with Him at the foot of the cross, again, giving her consent, then she is participating in His redemption. She is the New Eve, as the fathers of the church recognize, and as the first Eve( mother of all living), the Woman in the Garden, participated in our fall, she the new mother( John behold your Mother. Woman behold your son) participates in our salvation. This is because this is the way God wants it to be. He gave her this role as is apparent from Holy Scripture.

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  75. SDB,

    When I learned even this much about what the Catholic Church had gleaned from scripture, I knew that she was the truth telling entity, for no one in any Reformed scholarship tilled and brought forth this kind of harvest. Or if they had( and I didn’t know about them) then they were only making Rome’s case for them. Either way, I couldn’t deny that the church was that group who owned scripture by writing it, by preserving it, by delibeating the canon, and by interpreting it correctly and then delighting in that discovery.

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  76. Susan – for us Reformed folk the problem isn’t the Catholic Church that wrote, preserved, formed the canon, interpreted Scripture correctly, etc. It’s the degradation of that Church over the next millennium or so that’s problematic. I tend to be more sympathetic than most on here to the RCC and Orthodox Churches – I still hold out hope that enough correction will be made so that we can be reconciled again.

    Zrim – of course not! Nearly half don’t even believe in transubstantiation, which is kind of an essential in Catholic dogma.

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  77. VV,

    But the official RCC doctrine cannot be blamed for poor practice among its members any more than we can blame fundamentalism on the Puritans.

    Sure it can since the members aren’t disciplined for poor practice. It’s a de facto endorsement that the practice is congruent with the doctrine, especially if Rome has the power and authority and infallibility it claims.

    Besides, when I ask my Christian friend to pray for me, I don’t say, “Hail Joe, full of grace.” I don’t genuflect before him or his picture, etc., etc. The doctrine is inherently idolatrous.

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  78. sdb,
    See the bottom line for you is the financial bottom line. And when that trumps environmental concerns, then that does not bode well for the economic system. The same goes for when workers are exploited because of the financial bottom line. In addition, it doesn’t bode well, scripturally speaking, for those whose financial concerns trump concerns over the environment and worker exploitation.

    What is our financial system based on? Isn’t it based more on short-term profit for stockholders than on any other factor? What if building solar, wind, and so forth has a higher initial costs? If we are comparing that with current methods to produce energy which pollute the environment and threaten both the immediate health and the health of those who follow us, then why let immediate costs always trump short-term profits.

    Plus, we do have a good idea of how we are affecting the climate. Yes, there are multiple variables involved. However, the dynamics involved with the continual increase of CO2 in the environment is not only understandable, it is observable. And it so for the vast majority of scientists and scientific organizations. We know and have observed enough to start acting. But again, short-term profits are trumping these concerns. It’s funny that what you claim is impossible for us is becoming more and more possible for other nations. And one of the reasons for that is because we are investing far more into weapons and security than we are in environmentally friendly technology and because of that, we will lose not just in terms of fouling our own nest, but in terms of jobs and products sold as well as leadership in the world’s marketplace.

    See, we know enough to know the risks and we have general idea of the point of no return. We know temperature thresholds for catastrophic consequences. And we are seeing some of the consequences already way ahead of schedule. What point of certainty do you need before you start trumping short-term profit concerns with other concerns?

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  79. Robert,
    Certainly there is a business in the climate change debate–there is a business on both sides. But there is also a serious study side on the climate change debate. And to attribute concern about climate change to its business side shows a predisposition toward the business side of the climate change debate you failed to mention. That business side says that short-term profits trump environmental concerns.

    As for your question, from what I have heard, there is a switch toward the use of sustainable energy. And since the energy we use at the house is a fixed situation beyond our control, there is a fixed environmental cost regardless of my use of the computer. However, we do better with our vehicles. And we try to minimize the electric we use at the house. Now how about you? Is your house powered by sustainable energy sources?

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  80. Robert – fair point about discipline. If the Carmelite prayer Zrim posted is idolatrous in the view of the RCC, then they should discipline those who wrote it, those who endorse it, and certainly those who pray it. As for the “Hail Mary,” such a greeting is Scriptural – that’s exactly how Elizabeth greeted Mary in Luke 1:28. Even if you use the ESV, it is “Greetings, O favored one.” Far more reverential than friendly.

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  81. @Ali
    Mostly agree, but you left out a few important tidbits. Luke also recounts that she was highly favored, the mother of our Lord (God), and that all generations were call her blessed. That last item from Luke 1:48 indicates a remembrance and place of honor above the rest of schlubs who will be forgotten while the nurses are still wiping drool from our chins (much less all generations). That being said, remebrance and honor are a far cry from co-redeemer or mediator.

    @VV I do blame the Puritans…kidding (sorta). Robert is spot on here. What we agree are excesses are not frowned on and are in fact encouraged among many in the hierarchy. Steubenville has several strong advocates for what I think we would agree are excesses.

    @susan Yes, Mary’s role in the history of salvation is over. This is why she is never mentioned after the events in the gospels. She was special, she should be remembered and honored for the role she played, but that role is complete. In modernity, belief in the supernatural persists…people are as superstitious as ever. What they reject is authority and discipline.

    The scriptures do not teach that she is the new ark and she did not give her consent to anything at the foot of the cross. Rather she and two other women stood by Jesus and mourned. She was faithful whereas the other disciples were not. John was charged with caring for Jesus’s mom, but as we see in the rest of Acts and the epistles she had no further role in the economy of salvation. Honoring her and raising her status further did serve a role in Christiania I guess paganism in the last days of the empire and in the new world. This later addition is not found in scripture though. I think we are going to have to,agree to disagree here.

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  82. Curt,
    There you go again with accusations and assumptions. When I say that the kind of effort necessary to decrease CO2 in the atmosphere will plunge billions into poverty, I don’t mean suburban Americans. I am talking about the billions in developing nations who have seen their prospects dramatically improve over the past four decades. Our financial bottom line will be unaffected as we are already cutting emissions and can afford expensive alternatives like nuclear, wind, and solar. We also have vast gas reserves to take the edge off and balance loads.

    It is unlikely that the changes in the glacial coverage, etc… are due to the 0.5C of warming we have caused. The changes pointed to by popularizers are not generally valid. You keep asserting as facts stuff you’ve gleaned from activist websites. I work in a related field and follow this literature closely. Read Curry to balance your digest of activist work.

    As far as losing out on jobs, etc… see broken windows fallacy. If the rest of the world develops cheap tech for no carbon based energy while we use cheap carbon based energy, we come out ahead. Of course no one believes this will happen as there is no cheaper alternative to nature’s solar batteries (coal). Anyway, you have assumed my preference. I haven’t described it. I have given you glimpse into the insider’s view of what my colleagues and I find likely. Perhaps you have something to learn from a conservative prot who isn’t a leftist? Or does the learning only go one way?

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  83. sdb says: @Ali Mostly agree, but you left out a few important tidbits. Luke also recounts that she was highly favored, the mother of our Lord (God), and that all generations were call her blessed. That last item from Luke 1:48 indicates a remembrance and place of honor above the rest of schlubs who will be forgotten while the nurses are still wiping drool from our chins (much less all generations). That being said, remebrance and honor are a far cry from co-redeemer or mediator.

    Thanks sdb.

    Luke 1:28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”

    My bible note :Luke 1:28 O favored one Lit., “full of grace” – a term used of all believers in Eph. 1:6, where it is translated “blessed”. This portrays Mary as a recipient, not a dispenser, of divine grace.

    Re VV’s ‘hail’ or ‘greetings comment’ – Χαίρω – is the same word used in: Matthew 28:9 And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them.

    Paul might say about this matter also? :But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to CHRIST. 2 Cor 11:3

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  84. Susan, VV, SDB, Zrim,

    There’s also the problem with the way RCs talk about Mary’s decision to accept the message from Gabriel and be the Messiah’s mother. The way Rome talks about human freedom and other things means that salvation really hinges not on God but on Mary. What happens if Mary were to have followed her free will in a different direction and said no. For Rome that’s a real possibility. Good bye salvation.

    Despite the many qualifications in “official dogma,” Mary ends up being the real savior.

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  85. Hi SDB,

    You said: “The scriptures do not teach that she is the new ark and she did not give her consent to anything at the foot of the cross. Rather she and two other women stood by Jesus and mourned. She was faithful whereas the other disciples were not. John was charged with caring for Jesus’s mom, but as we see in the rest of Acts and the epistles she had no further role in the economy of salvation.”

    Yes, the scriptures do teach that Mary is the ark of the new covenant. You’re just giving me a Protestant reading that doesn’t go along with the church fathers East or West or the doctrine and practice of the East and the West.

    I can see the obvious parallels in the OT and NT. And I can see that Jesus’s words have more import than what your hermeneutic allows.

    Want me to break it down, one point at a time? Here’s a helpful outline.
    1. The Annunciation
    A. How can this be?
    B. The power of the Most High will overshadow you
    2. A History of the Ark
    A. God’s Presence among His People
    B. David Brings the Ark to Jerusalem
    C. Lost Forever?
    3. The Visitation
    A. Elizabeth and Mary
    B. David’s Journey and Mary’s Visit
    4. The Ark in Heaven
    A. The Ark Reappears in Heaven
    B. The Woman Clothed With the Sun
    C. What Makes Mary the Ark of the New Covenant?
    5. Discussion Questions

    If you really want to do justice in our conversation, then please read my link and tell me how each aspect is a mistaken reading.

    https://stpaulcenter.com/studies/lesson/lesson-three-the-ark-of-the-new-covenant

    You said: “Honoring her and raising her status further did serve a role in Christiania I guess paganism in the last days of the empire and in the new world.”

    Elevate her status further than what? You said her role is complete, and you use the fact that she isn’t mentioned further than the Gospel of John. I can see by reading the Gospel of John that her role extends further than what is printed on the page because she is given a role and because the Bible is more than propositions on a page.

    And just because a group of people uses the aspect of the feminine to serve their own purposes doesn’t mean that Christianity has to throw out the Virgin Mother. Using that logic, we shouldn’t refer to God the Father and God the Son because of the worry of sounding too patriarchal.
    You don’t hide or get rid of the truth for fear that paganism will have a hay day. Paganism and the occult can incorporate sacrifices, rites, incense, new birth, angels, demons, oracles, sacred spaces, elements of fire and water etc. too, so does that mean Christianity is co-opting?
    What your doing is proposing that Christianity draws from paganism and if that’s what’s going on, rather that all these things were in the world and so they were Christian, then I can see how someone who found out that sola scriptura wasn’t tenable and denied Catholicism would become an atheist.

    Here’s a great answer to your charge:

    “The phenomenon, admitted on all hands, is this:—That great portion of what is generally received as Christian truth is, in its rudiments or in its separate parts, to be found in heathen philosophies and religions. For instance, the doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian; of a divine kingdom is Judaic; of Angels and demons is Magian; the connexion of sin with the body is Gnostic; celibacy is known to Bonze and Talapoin; a sacerdotal order is Egyptian; the idea of a new birth is Chinese and Eleusinian; belief in sacramental virtue is Pythagorean; and honours to the dead are a polytheism. Such is the general nature of the fact before us; Mr. Milman argues from it,—’These things are in heathenism, therefore they are not Christian:’ we, on the contrary, prefer to say, ‘these things are in Christianity, therefore they are not heathen.’ That is, we prefer to say, and we think that Scripture bears us out in saying, that from the beginning the Moral Governor of the world has scattered the seeds of truth far and wide over its extent; that these have variously taken root, and grown as in the wilderness, wild plants indeed but living; and hence that, as the inferior animals have tokens of an immaterial {381} principle in them, yet have not souls, so the philosophies and religions of men have their life in certain true ideas, though they are not directly divine. What man is amid the brute creation, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting the doctrines she found there. She began in Chaldea, and then sojourned among the Canannites, and went down into Egypt, and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom of the East country, and the luxury of Sheba. Then she was carried away to Babylon, and wandered to the schools of Greece. And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High; ‘sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions;’ claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. So far then from her creed being of doubtful credit because it resembles foreign theologies, we even hold that one special way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out of the world, and, in this sense, as in others, to ‘suck the milk of the Gentiles and to suck the breast of kings.’

    “How far in fact this process has gone, is a question of history; and we believe it has before now been grossly exaggerated and misrepresented by those who, like Mr. Milman, have thought that its existence told against Catholic doctrine; but so little antecedent difficulty have we in the matter, that we could readily grant, unless it were a question of fact not of theory, that Balaam was an Eastern sage, or a Sibyl was inspired, or Solomon learnt of the sons of Mahol, or Moses was a scholar of the Egyptian hierophants. We are not distressed to be told that the doctrine of the angelic host came from Babylon, while we know that they did sing at the Nativity; nor that the vision of a Mediator is in Philo, if in very deed {382} He died for us on Calvary. Nor are we afraid to allow, that, even after His coming, the Church has been a treasure-house, giving forth things old and new, casting the gold of fresh tributaries into her refiner’s fire, or stamping upon her own, as time required it, a deeper impress of her Master’s image.

    “The distinction between these two theories is broad and obvious. The advocates of the one imply that Revelation was a single, entire, solitary act, or nearly so, introducing a certain message; whereas we, who maintain the other, consider that Divine teaching has been in fact, what the analogy of nature would lead us to expect, ‘at sundry times and in divers manners,’ various, complex, progressive, and supplemental of itself. We consider the Christian doctrine, when analyzed, to appear, like the human frame, ‘fearfully and wonderfully made;’ but they think it some one tenet or certain principles given out at one time in their fulness, without gradual enlargement before Christ’s coming or elucidation afterwards. They cast off all that they also find in Pharisee or heathen; we conceive that the Church, like Aaron’s rod, devours the serpent of the magicians. They are ever hunting for a fabulous primitive simplicity; we repose in Catholic fulness. They seek what never has been found; we accept and use what even they acknowledge to be a substance. They are driven to maintain, on their part, that the Church’s doctrine was never pure; we say that it can never be corrupt. We consider that a divine promise keeps the Church Catholic from doctrinal corruption; but on what promise, or on what encouragement, they are seeking for their visionary purity does not appear.”

    The best thing to do is to go back to the link that talks about how Mary is The Ark of The New Covenent and how scripture supports this. Then read the same thing from the church fathers to see that they also believed this.
    If scripture and tradition both teach the same thing, then they are the ones in the right.

    “I think we are going to have to,agree to disagree here.”

    Yes, I’m tired of going back and forth on this. Wish you the best.

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  86. Vae Vic, “Classic RCC teaching views Mary as an intercessor in the same way living humans can be intercessors.”

    When I ask Zrim to pray for me, I don’t believe the apparition of Zrim is really Zrim. What intercessors appear (unless in a really bad Las Vegas show)?

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  87. Vae Vic, haven’t you ever read modernists? “Mary’s function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power.”

    Calling the resurrection a symbol in now way obscures its power or inspiration.

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  88. Robert, especially blameable is Rome’s teaching about how special bishops are. Apostolic succession really ins’t that effective. But inquisitions sure are.

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  89. @susan
    Your article makes mistakes (for example, his discussion of John describing Jesus’s call to his mother as “woman” fails to understand that this was an honorific…akin to ma’am today) and the parallels drawn are not unique to these texts. I read the other lessons in the series, and the exegetical approach is not convincing. The parallels are overdrawn (one might say circular) and the justification of typology as an exegetical method was unsound. He is confusing indicative with imperative.

    Re: Elevate her status… further than what? from mother of God, faithful and blessed servant, and model of faithfulness to queen of heaven, dispenser of grace, mediator between God and man, and co-redeemer.

    No doubt that the Bible is more than propositions. We agree! But neither is it a text to be molded to fit our aims. You can see from reading John’s gospel that her role extends beyond what is described in the text because she was given a role?

    I don’t know why you think I want to discard the feminine or throw away the mother of God. I have said the opposite. Rather I want to be careful not to add to God’s word with the tradition of men. This has certainly happened in the case of Mary and it has fed syncretism and idolatry. That is not say that everything in paganism (for example) is false or that we should not expect any congruence between other religions and Christianity (Lewis made the same point provided in your extended quote more pithily). That is irrelevant to this discussion though. My charge is that throughout the history of the church (old and new) we have been tempted to compromise God’s revealed word by addition and subtraction in order to accommodate the surrounding culture. Don’t add or subtract in Revelation does not merely apply to that epistle as you erroneously told Ali. It is a theme running through the whole of scripture, a focal point of the gospels, and a recurring warning running through the epistles. Paul specifically warns believers that they can be cut out just as they were grafted in. It is true that the gates of Hell will not prevail over those who are called out. They didn’t when Elijah thought he was alone, they didn’t when Judah was carried off, and they didn’t when a new people were grafted in. They won’t today either, but the church is not defined genealogically (whether by physical descent from Abraham or laying on of hands by a Bishop), but by true faith as defined by God’s Word alone.

    It’s been fun. Until next time….

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  90. sdb,
    When sea levels start to threaten major cities, and I am not just talking about American cities, what do you think the economic impact will be? As for glacial coverage, are you paying attention to what is going on now? Loss of glacial ice in the Arctic is happening at a faster rate than expected just as air temperatures are also higher than expected. And and rising sea temperatures are large pieces of ice to break from Antarctica and drift northward. That is today’s news, not tomorrows. And a 0.5 C difference can be significant when 2 C rise is what is trying to be avoided. But 0.5 C is the low end of the MIT study. And talk about assumption, I get my news from other sources than from activists.

    As for being behind the curve on technology affecting our jobs, I am more than comfortable letting you live on your island paradise.

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  91. If Mary were as important as Rome has made her out to be, why does she essentially disappear after the birth of Christ? Why do none of the Apostles tell us to call on Mary for assistance in time of need. Seems that if she was such an effective intercessor, Paul or Peter or John or James might have thought to mention that when talking about prayer.

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  92. Hi sdb,

    “My charge is that throughout the history of the church (old and new) we have been tempted to compromise God’s revealed word by addition and subtraction in order to accommodate the surrounding culture. Don’t add or subtract in Revelation does not merely apply to that epistle as you erroneously told Ali. It is a theme running through the whole of scripture, a focal point of the gospels, and a recurring warning running through the epistles. Paul specifically warns believers that they can be cut out just as they were grafted in. ”

    You’re misunderstanding me, but I will take responsibility for that because maybe I’m not being clear enough.

    As you can see, from the quote from John Henry Newman, that God “in a way” spoke through those signs and practices done by pagans; for as the people to whom God revealed himself “more fully” by the medium of words privately spoken( to Adam, ” Freely you may eat of any tree in the garden, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…; to Abraham “Take your son, your only son whom you love” etc.; to Zechariah who recorded what the Lord spoke directly to him through and angel and told him that the Lord had spoken to Zerubbabel, ” Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts etc..) traversed, they were able to gather those aspects that they did because those things spoke the truth. They were able to filter (knowing when God had spoken thereby determining revelation, because they were the church), the words spoken by men and after that, inscriptured them in the books of Moses(who wrote some of what he didn’t witness) and in the prophets. They( this “called” people of God) gathered up those other aspects ,not known to them until they encountered them in other cultures( but were true), as if they were the rightful owners of it all, knowing, by inspiration, that of which all of it signaled( revealed). This is what is meant by “The Church”.
    In other words, as Hebrews says, all that was known, in the OT sojourning, was in fact, God speaking, but it wasn’t known all at once(however it was there, of course), for think how long it was from the time of Moses to Malachi.
    Those jewels that were happened upon by other cultures were not “additions”. They were part of his ,yet to be written, word when the people of God would grabbed it add it to the bag of treasure. From then onward it was passed along, being the most precious artifact of the people because it held the story of what God did and what he spoke. But they never worshipped the word inscriptured as if all that was known of God was inside a box.
    (Of course, at no point during Israel’s journey could one argue, saying that what was thus far revealed and written down, wasn’t really God speaking, either. They couldn’t say, “ Angels are in the metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle, and so our literature contains “non-revelation” from God because it cannot be special revelation since it’s in the cosmology of the ancient Greeks.”)
    What I am trying to say is that words signify, or point to a thing beyond themselves. And that was what I was trying to say to Ali. I know you’ll agree with me when I say that they bible isn’t static. It’s always reaching up, always informing us even though it isn’t changing.
    Think of it this way; When the temple was destroyed and all the gold burned, that was surely the world coming to an end for the Jews. All of the sacred implements used for ritual and worship through those rituals was destroyed. No more sacrifices in the place where God had given them a place to observe their worship. He instituted the whole thing.
    Now what do you suppose would have been worse, to have all the scrolls burned up or the temple itself with the altars, including the golden altar, the seven branched candlestick, the brazen sea, the ark of the covenant? The people of God lost their place to offer sacrifices to God, so ( from their point-of-view) how do they worship anymore? Is it enough to have before them in written form what God spoke in times past? Did they suddenly stop being “God’s people”?
    For 400 years after Malachi there was silence and then ( in these last days)when God does speak, He sends forth The Word incarnated, God’s son whose very life is God speaking. It doesn’t mean that God has stopped talking to us, it just means there is no need of speaking the way He spoke in the past because the OT shadow is fulfilled in Jesus.
    And that brings me to what I meant by parallels. The parallels between OT and NT are there, and are the only right way to interpret scripture because the bible is one complete story. So if someone shows me that Mary went to Elizabeth’s house, traveling the hill country of Judah to get there and that Elizabeth’s exclamation is just like that of David’s when the ark of the covenant was returned, then I can’t deny that revelation, that enlightening done to my mind. I don’t know whether the writer( Luke) was aware or unaware of the parallels( or even how he knew unless Mary told him), but that can’t matter to me because I accept on the authority of the church that the gospel of Luke is inspired.
    Same thing concerning the parallel of Jesus using the word, Woman, while He hung on the tree. These were his last words, so I know He’s referring to her pointedly so that hearers would know that all OT typology concerning her was completed. You see, I expect pretty much everything from the new testament to shed light on what was revealed in the Old. I expect that if the narrator is drawing attention to something so hugely important even telling us the word choice, then I am tobe on alert for echoes.
    Plus your reading doesn’t accord with the fathers, while the Catholic Church’s does, and has even made dogma out of some of it, so that centuries old accord is a motive of credibility.

    I think our conversation has probably run its course, and I can’t devote any more time to it. I do appreciate your hearing me out and conversing as far as we were able to go.

    Take care,
    Susan

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  93. Sdb,

    I’m sorry I didn’t complete my thought.

    Let me fix this:

    Now what do you suppose would have been worse, to have all the scrolls burned up or the temple itself with the altars, including the golden altar, the seven branched candlestick, the brazen sea, the ark of the covenant? The people of God lost their place to offer sacrifices to God, so ( from their point-of-view) how do they worship anymore? Is it enough to have before them in written form what God spoke in times past? Did they suddenly stop being “God’s people”? If they lost the scrolls they would still remain the people of God. They were a people of the book, but the book wasn’t their authority. Things could have continued on if Messiah had tarried, just as it did in the days of captivity even without a bible. They had been an oral people from the time of Genesis to Moses anyways.
    For 400 years after Malachi there was silence and then ( in these last days)when God does speak, He sends forth The Word incarnated, God’s son whose very life is God speaking. It doesn’t mean that God has stopped talking to us, it just means there is no need to speak the way He spoke in the past( through prophets declaring the future through typology) because the OT shadow is fulfilled in Jesus.

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  94. ok Susan and sdb, I’lll join in along with your example of final remarks on this discussion.

    My participation began when it seemed apparent that you, Susan, may not agree that God’s word is a primary means He uses to transform us, since you exclusively mentioned the Lord’s Supper. (btw, I am not aware of scripture that says the Lord’s supper transforms (help, sdb?). Given the truth about His transforming word, we can be assured that God is serious about preserving His own word and us knowing His own word. It is especially understandable, then, too, His many warnings, in just about every bible book, about being deceived away from His word. God tells us what God told Eve was not enough for her – not His perfect word, nor His perfect provision. And so it began.

    God says eternal life is knowing Him (John 17:3) so our pursuit of His word is all about that; also, it is all about Him conforming believers to Jesus’s image (Romans 8:29, and is all about glorying (Rev 15:4) (and thus enjoying) Him and Him alone, for Who He is, as He is, forever. We know all of that only and all from His revelation to us, preserved by Him, for us, for this purpose..
    Appreciated the discussion. Take care.

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  95. I stand corrected about something the 400 years of silence from Malachi to Matthew. I was wrong. Learn something new every day.

    “God was not silent in the four hundred years between Malachi and John the Baptist. There may have been a lull in prophetic activity, as in other periods, but God did not stop giving his word to individuals. Moreover, he did not stop inspiring Scripture then any more than he did in other lulls. The view that corresponds to Scripture is the Catholic understanding of a God who gives revelation to man in all periods-even today, in private revelations-not the Protestant view of a God who remains utterly silent, century after century.”
    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/four-hundred-silent-years

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  96. Ali,
    I think the best way to say it is, God communicates to us so that we can know what he has done for us in order to save us. You don’t have to exhaustively know what is written to be saved.

    “whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver” (as opposed to the mode of the one giving whatever is received). Therefore, even though God can do anything doable, if He is to communicate with humans who must, by their very nature (of which He also is the author), think by making use of images, He must communicate in a way which humans can understand. Thus, even in the supernatural realm of divine revelation, the grace of God does not destroy (human) nature, but builds on it (another Thomistic principle). As a result, Aquinas, says that it is appropriate that Sacred Scripture makes use of signs in order that God communicate with man ( ST Ia, 1, 9).”

    But, yes, He is serious about preserving His own word and about us knowing his word( what he has revealed).

    As for what the Lord’s Supper gives:

    “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:5)

    “Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me” (Jn 6:57).

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  97. CD:

    You talk about an “echo chamber” in conservative circles?!

    OK, but pot/kettle…

    And libertarian protests are clearly not based on economics but on politics: who gets to force feed the globe the solution to any crisis no matter how real? And at what point to Christians say, “Hey, the Book of Revelation isn’t fiction, no matter how much you love your grandkids”?

    The Jesus of the New Testament as Eul Gibbons is kind of hard to believe, C.S. Lewis aside….

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