Friday, March 30, 2012
Abortion- the active taking of a life of a fetus. NOT included are operations to remove an already dead fetus.
Birth control- artificial techniques used to provide moral assurance of not getting pregnant. Natural Family Planning is not included because there is no such moral assurance, even when done correctly, God could still give you a little miracle. Female and male hormonal therapy for various cancers and other complaints also does not count, because the intent isn't moral assurance of not getting pregnant. The reason I say moral assurance is because other than full surgical sterilization, there is no known method of reversible birth control that can provide absolute assurance- and in fact, when used correctly, condoms have a worse error rate than NFP (1% for full NFP with callendars, temperature, and data analysis, 3% error rate for manufacturing defects in condoms).
Death Penalty- A duty based act of a legitimate government to remove an individual's life to protect other members of the society. Outdated, because any government with modern post 1802 technology in metal working can substitute a sentence of Life in Solitary with No Hope of Parole Or Escape. Plans forthcoming in a future blog posting for a jail cell of my own design that can provide absolute assurance against escape or parole, or even further contact with the rest of the human species.
Just War- a war fought, against a legitimate government intent on invading other nations, to prevent invasion. I hold to Augustine's original definition, which forbade a just army from fighting foreign wars or invading another nation in return, and using techniques that show love for the enemy including bringing wounded soldiers from the battlefield into local domestic hospitals, regardless of which side the soldier was originally fighting on. More modern definitions are available for debate, but I find most of them highly suspect and full of the type of foreign entanglements that made WWI, WWII and the Cold War so hard to deal with. I'm not even for the so-called War on Terror, for I can see how modern information technology can give us a conception-until-natural-death record for every human being on the planet, and that would eliminate any possibility of a terrorist act.
Euthanasia- the ending of pain for a terminally ill patient. I was once in the anti-life camp on this topic, but modern post 1995 advances in hospice technology and pain management have made my original views about quality of life vs quantity of life completely obsolete. As has my own diagnosis of disability. Thou shall not know the hour or the day isn't prophecy- it's promise- and it's the way human beings were meant to die, not knowing ahead of time.
I hope referring to these definitions in the future, will help avoid some rather unpleasant what-if scenarios presented that are outside of these definitions, as well as clarifying my own positions on these topics.
Monday, March 26, 2012
This is a part 1. It would have been another Channeling Chesterton, but like Chesterton, to do that I need to do my research and I have not yet even found the book. I just heard about this morning. So this is a really superficial treatment of the basic concept, which is what are the real motivating values of Americanism, and how does Catholicism differ.
A recent researcher asked an interesting set of political questions. But he asked people to put themselves in the mindset of their perceived enemies- he asked conservatives to predict how liberals would respond, and liberals how conservatives would respond. Turns out only conservatives could do this exercise, and the reason was tied to motivating values.
Liberals in America, it seems, are stunted politically, they are motivated by care for the victim, liberty for themselves, and preservation of resources. Conservatives add to this respect for authority, rule of law, and the concept of sanctity, or the sacred. As I said, I have not read the book- I want to, but it will have to wait for now.
But even hearing about this experiment, and the apparent results, brings me to describe a third type: the ideal Catholic, who is as foreign to America as an Ausralian Aborigene. Our values do overlap the conservative and mimic the liberal- but are different from both.
The Catholic motivating values are Love, Hope, Charity, sanctity (sacredness), respect for authority, rule of law, a duty to victims, a duty to the poor, and a duty to Life itself.
I would say, as in theology, only the ideal Catholic is Universal and complete on all questions.
--------I don't have time right now, but it turns out it's a study; one which considered the conservative values as immoral Here's another blog that discusses the core issue.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Normal atheists are disgustingly normal. That is to say, they may believe in only what they can see and no more, but to them religion is just more data for that soft science they call anthropology. They are perfectly willing to join in whatever "superstitious religious ritual" you want, precisely because they KNOW there is no harm in it and many of them are jolly good fun besides. IF God does not exist, IF the occult does not exist, how could Satan exist? And thus, where is the harm in any religious practice, to the atheist?
However, in Western Civilization today, there is a new breed of heretic along these lines- the athesistic believer, the anti-theist. This is a man (or woman) that is lying to himself (or herself). They claim to be atheist, but they truly believe in the power of God to work through ordinary human beings. They also hold no love for God but rather a massive hatred of God and a disordered love of liberty. I say disorderd; because our Mother Church also preaches of Liberty- constrained, of course, by an objective morality and a rational God.
The anti-theist's liberty is one of selfishness first. They often cry out for many of the same ideals as a Christian: Personal responsibility, a right to be left alone with no control from other men. But their morality is subjective rather thean objective- even when it claims the lofty title of Objectivism. It is subjective because it fails to reach out to history, to culture, to humanity. These things are "living by somebody else's morality that is being forced upon me" to the anti-theist.
And that is, in short, why the anti-theist, claiming freedom from religion, religiously defends their own mind from any mention of diety. Examples abound, even recent examples. Richard Dawkins , in The God Delusion takes up a full chapter of anecdotal evidence about the abuse of childern by theists, despite several thousand years worth of evidence that religious myth is an excellent way to teach morality to young children. The young atheist from Rhode Island, Jessica Ahlquist, recently who was so offended by a dusty 50 year old generic prayer plaque on the wall of her high school, one that many other students never bothered to notice, that she sued the school for its removal. The recent battle in Montanna over a WWII monument of Jesus Christ put up by the Knights of Columbus out in the woods before there even was a Forest Service or a Freedom From Religion Foundation to complain about it.
Anti-theists are not just anti-God, they are anti-history; for as many of lower intelligence remind us, history is HIS-story. They would tear down the monuments and traditions of the past. And in so doing, they tear at they very foundation of Civilization itself.
But anti-theism, if it is to be a real hersy, must infect the Body of Christ as well. And in fact, we find the same Love of Liberty over Love of God had its beginnings in the Protestant Rebellion itself. The denial of the control of Mother Church, was the beginning of "my way or the highway", the rejection of objective morality.
But it did not stop there. After Vatican II, many Catholics as well choose to reject the teachings of Mother Church, becoming Cafeteria Catholics, using their own uninformed consciences. They choose to vote for pro-torture or pro-abortion politicians, never giving the faithful Catholic politician a second look because "a vote for a third party is a vote for the other side". They persist in sins such as homosexuality and promiscuity because they cannot imagine a man who has taken a vow of celibacy has ever had to battle the temptations of lust. They persist in economic crimes against poverty, because they cannot understand a man who wears clothing woven of gold that comes from a museum and owns nothing himself would know anything about trying to make a profit. Their imagination is limited; so they do not see what profit other people being objectively moral has already brought them.
I do not have good answers to this heresy; other than to point out that without an Objective Morality revealed by a Rational God, civilization itself would have ended with the fall of the Roman Empire; and there is no reason whatsoever to assume it would have arisen again without Christian monks safeguarding the real treasures of the past from barbarism. Anti-theism is just the latest threat to that great treasure chest of history; the latest barbarism to be conquered.