Thursday, September 29, 2005

Go Tell It on the Mountain

A key team in the Anglican leadership in Iraq is feared dead (Hat tip: Donald Sensing)

The entire lay leadership team of the main Anglican church in Iraq is presumed to have been killed after they were attacked while returning from a conference in Jordan. The team of five Iraqi-born Anglicans including the lay pastor and his deputy, should have returned two weeks ago from the conference. ...

The loss brings to 12 the number of Iraqis that Canon White has lost in his reconciliation work in Iraq, although these are the first connected to the church. He did not think they were targeted because they were Anglicans. "The fact is that attacks on people on that road happen all the time, particularly on people who appear to be richer or middle class."

The deaths, in my opinion, are unlikely to affect the Anglican apology for the war in Iraq.

LONDON, September 19, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) - Four Church of England bishops offered Monday, September 19, that the Church takes the lead in reconciling with UK Muslims by apologizing to their leaders for the US-led war in Iraq if the British government fails to do so. ...

Leaders of the Church of England, which lies at the heart of the worldwide Anglican communion, including Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, had been critical of the war, insisting the invasion failed to meet the criteria of a "just war", reported AFP. ... The report highlights a "long litany of errors" in the West's handling of Iraq which includes its support of Saddam Hussein over many years as a strategic ally against Iran, its willingness to sell him weapons and the suffering caused to the Iraqi people by sanctions.

They'll have to get a new lay leadership team in Iraq, though, to don the sackcloth and ashes. The London Times has a list of the missing.

Those missing include Maher Dakel, the lay pastor; his wife, Mona, who leads the women's section of the church; their son Yeheya; the church's pianist and music director, Firas Raad; the deputy lay pastor; and their driver, whose name has not been disclosed.

Perhaps the reluctance to cast blame, except on America, stems from a desire to protect the remaining Anglicans in Iraq from further violence. It brings to mind Piers Brendon's account, in his history of the 1930s, the Dark Valley, of how some men who died under NKVD torture blessed Stalin's name with their final screams in the hopes they could keep their tormentors from persecuting their families. It didn't help.

114 Comments:

Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

This is a test I hope I never get put to. Will I have the courage not to give the b@$+@*)& what they want when it will not benefit me in the slightest.

Too often leftist Christians forget that Jesus had a kick-@$$ side to him as well, and his promise was to cast those into the eternal furnace who rejected a merciful and forgiving God.

9/29/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

How very sad about these people, extending their hand in "reconciliation work" and losing their lives.

But some major western churches appear less troubled by a world religion being commandeered by radicals seeking global dominion through terror and intimidation than they do by the US and allies intervening to overthrow the sadistic regimes of the Taliban and Saddam & Sons. Their attitude is so softly, softly that is cringe-inducing; not only do they reject hard power in service of western interests, no matter how those interests may coincide with those of the oppressed, they would be almost criminally indulgent of our adversaries-- "States must address the 'long-standing grievances' of the terrorists and even, perhaps, offer them economic support".

They'd draw absurd moral equivalencies-- "The bishops plead for understanding of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 'The public and political rhetoric that Iran is a rogue regime, an outpost of tyranny, is as fallacious as the Iranian description of the US as the Great Satan". No, actually, they save their harsher criticism for us in the West-- "it is not terrorism but American foreign policy and expansionism that constitute 'the major threat to peace" and "Democracy as we have it in the West at the moment is deeply flawed and its serious shortcomings need to be addressed". And they're masters of specious, even dangerous logic to buttress their anti war/action/sanctions/censure stance-- "Iran’s relationship with Islamic terrorist organisations should not be seen as proof of any al-Qaeda link".

It's as if they're humming Onward Muslim soldiers, marching as to war. What happened?

9/29/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

The crazy thing is that Iraq is so violent that they may never know why these people were killed. Getting killed is what people do in Iraq.

When the US leadership makes the decision whether to leave Iraq or not, they have to understand that there will be violence in the muslim lands for a long time. There will be violence in Iraq after the americans leave. They must understand that. That does not mean the bringing of democracy to that nation was a mistake. It was a calculated gamble which still may pay off.

9/29/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

So the Anglican Church wants to apologize for it's governments past support of Saddam to those who implicitly offer him their support now? Wonder if this apology extends to "UK Muslims" of the Kurdish or Shia variety.

9/29/2005 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

sfrcook,

This is the moral problem that the Williams is trying, unsuccessfully I think, to dodge. If Christianity consists entirely of nonjudgemental passivity, of the acceptance of anything, what is our obligation to the child upon whom a pedophile is advancing? What is the moral duty of a Christian security guard who sees a suicide bomber, with fuze in train, running toward a schoolbus? Are we not also condemned for doing nothing?

9/29/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

Wretchard,
I believe we most certainly are. And strongly disagree with our Anglican friends that OIF did not abide by their definition of "just war." " St. Augustine in "The City of God" and Thomas Aquinas in his treatise on Charity enumerate 5 factors that legitimize the use of armed force. They are(1)initiation only by a competent authority ie duly established public authorities(2)proper cause(3)reasonable prospect for success(4)utlizing proportionate and descriminate means(5)only as a last resort."
Blind pacifism is simply not the prerequisite of a devote Christian.

9/29/2005 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

When Jesus talked about the meek inheriting the earth, he meant it as a warning.

9/29/2005 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Wretchard,

Yes, doing nothing is not an option as far as God is concenred.

I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the LORD our GOD

One of my most haunting moments in my not so short (nor so long) life is a moment of doing nothing. My father, a friend with a terminal brain tumor, and myself were at a bar (never mind what kind of bar). My friend being a cancer patient had no hair (and was often a target for derision from those not knowing what chemo is about) and went to the restroom and some drunk kicked the door back on my buddy as he left the restroom, my buddy was knocked down. I clearly saw what happened and did nothing a bartender from another tavern saw it all too and mentioned it to me. I didn't have to beat the guy, I just had to ask him if he knew what chemotherapy was about. I did nothing and....

Its fine to talk about human rights but human rights don't just "happen".

9/29/2005 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger sfrcook said...

That's "devout" sorry.

9/29/2005 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

i wouldn't bother reading too much profundity into the words or (non) deeds of anglicans. unless things have changed a lot since i lived in England, their sole motivating principle in life is being 'nice.'

9/29/2005 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Ex-Dem,

IIRC, it was Martin Luther King Jr. who said a life with nothing worth dying for was not worth living. Unfortunately, too many people forget being a Christian being a brave witness to the truth and not being nice.

Nice guys do finish last. God doesn't want us to be nice guys but but brave for what is right.

9/29/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

marcus aurelius,

The classic case of doing nothing was described in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

"And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

I have often wondered what the Samaritan would have done had he arrived while the robbers were attacking the traveler.

9/29/2005 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

The Left would answer the case of our not "doing nothing" with how we are selective and self-interested in which wrongs we redress. We took down Saddam but not il Jong, etc. But is there something particularly unChristian about self-defense? Don't we have an obligation to ourselves and our civilization not to be murdered or subjugated in order to raise those children on the schoolbus Wretchard mentions? Don't we bear responsibility in distinguishing between right and wrong to the best of our limited ability and stopping the wrong, both for ourselves and for those who would be led into following evil, or is evil itself an outmoded concept?

Being our brother's keeper shouldn't be about tolerating and excusing (and, by this, actually emboldening) all that he may do, when he is hurting himself and others, including his own people. The US and allies certainly can be faulted for not doing enough everywhere and are criticized for this, ironically by many of the same people who complain about American exceptionalism and interventionism, but how is what we do end up doing too much or unChristian?

Perhaps the bishops' posture is one of nonjudgmental passivity, though to me theirs seems to have morphed into an unhealthy co-dependency with the other side. It's certainly difficult to see their attitude as one of religious charity, when disruption, disfunction and death are so evidently the aims of Islamist/Baathist terrorists despite when, and even especially when, they are offered soft and lofty understanding by western terror apologists.

9/29/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger MK said...

If the Anglican church is apologising for the Wests past support of Saddam and sanctions that caused suffering to the iraqi people. Remember sanctions were not there because it was a quiet day at the UN, but to contain Saddam, who also oppressed the shiites and kurds.

If they are really sorry, then what better way to make up for it than by kicking out Saddam, lifting sanctions, pouring money into the country, bringing freedom to the oppressed majorities and rebuilding iraq.

Obviously if this could be achieved without a single life being lost, they can show us how to in other parts of the world.

9/29/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

The problem with the Anglican Church in the west(but not in parts of the third world such as Africa) is they have rejected the authority of scripture and the definition of good and evil by a transcendant God and not the shifting sands of man's political systems.What makes western civilization morally strong enough to crush the Barbarians at the Gate is the Judeo-Christian ethic .The left from Voltaire and Robespierre to Stalin and PolPot has marched to the beat of a different drummer,the idol of man exalted,the state omnipotent.
The liberal churchmen are useful idiots for leftist tyrants and also serve as enablers for the savages who would destroy us.

9/29/2005 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

I am truly ashamed of the Anglican church. What cowards, displaying with every action their secret wish that their veil of ignorance be returned to their eyes. What Christian sect could possibly prefer the systematic and intentional destruction and degradation of fellow human beings to the current situation?

Perhaps Archbishop Williams might refer again to the martyrdom of Thomas Cramner - put to death by Mary for granting Henry VIII's divorce from her mother. He agreed to acknowledge the Pope's authority in trade for his life, but upon realizing that he would be killed, was dragged from his funeral mass announcing and denouncing his own cowardice: "[T]hings written with my hand contrary to the truth which I thought in my heart, and written for fear of death, and to save my life if it might be; and that is, all such bills and papers which I have written or signed with my hand since my degradation, wherein I have written many things untrue. And forasmuch as my hand hath offended, writing contrary to my heart, therefore my hand shall first be punished; for when I come to the fire, it shall be first burned." Link

Thomas Cranmer was the first Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury to learn that selling your soul to save your life is a Devil's bargain, unworthy of a Christian priest, and unlikely to gain that which is sought. How long will it take the Anglican Church to remember these truths?

Perhaps they will recognise that reconciliation is impossible before they recognise that another Reconquista is necessary.

9/29/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

trangbang68,

I don't disagree but think the problem is more subtle. Large sections of the West have lost confidence in their ability to act because past acts have brought with it the burden of guilt. Only through inaction can the consequences of activity, namely guilt, be evaded. Freedom becomes a cup that we pray should pass away.

But unfortunately, there is no balm in Gilead. Adopting inaction is itself a choice with its own consequences. Sartre once observed that we are condemned to be free; that there was no escape from choice. The attraction of cults lies in their offer to extinguish freedom; to make choice unnecessary; to promise submergence in which there will be no guilt, no uncertainty, no need to think.

9/29/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Wretchard,agree with your thought that a loss of will paralyzes many of those among us.Is it guilt or is it the soft underbelly of ease and gluttony?
It's telling that even the songs of the church have often lost their verility.One fine old hymn said
"Rise up oh man of God
Be done with lesser things
Give body mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of Kings."
I recommend a thoughtful cultural analysis.It is a book by historian,Herbert Schlossberg entitled
"Idols for Destruction".It is an analysis of how nations become idolatrous when they reject Biblical revelation.
One insight Schlossberg had is that freedom and justice are like the smile of the Cheshire cat.They are moral capital purchased by previous Christian generations.When the revelation is totally gone in the west,those things will be gone also.
This is the danger posed by the enemy within who would erase Christian ethos from the public square.
GK Chesterton said"the problem when men quit believing in God is not that they believe in nothing,but they believe in everything"

9/29/2005 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wretchard, re the guilt of the west, you are right on, again.

The guilt so prevalent in the west is clearly tied to the loss of faith in God. When you no longer believe in God, you are mistaken if you think you can now make do without the role once performed, for the believer, by God: guaranteeing that the inequities of good and evil in this world would be rectified in the next.

If you declare God dead, then it becomes incumbent on you in this world to serve as guarantor of the human belief in reciprocity and a future accounting of good and evil. It becomes incumbent on you to insure that justice and an ongoing exchange between humanity's leaders and followers can be realized on earth.

But this duty is actually a great hindrance to you actually ever doing anything much. Because every bold act you allow promises to create a new imbalance in the accounting books that it is your job to balance at year's end. Caution reigns and western guilt can only attempt payouts to its publicly acknowledged victims, and a tight leash on those who would lead us into a future with accomplishments to which others would have to find a way to measure up. In the end we destroy the reciprocity we wanted to enforce, just like too many regulations destroy a free economy, because we forget the necessity that an ongoing reciprocity means someone always has to be in the lead, going first.

Our guilt will destroy us, sooner or later, pushing us into a great morasse where resentments and quibbling over all the minutiae of past actions, rules; and this in place of hopes in future accomplishments. Hmm, sounds kind of like the MSM and a good part of the current left.

9/29/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

It smells to me like the acceptance of evolution in preference to Genesis is what has emasculated the Anglican confession in Britain.

Hitler, Stalin and Mao and many other famous people who have accepted evolution have a similar aroma to them.

God bless you Wretchard. Your blog lifts my spirit.

9/29/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

I should add, it takes a lot of faith to go first, especially in matters geopolitical. That's what we need to find again. Bush is pointing the way.

9/29/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

an anglican service in england i attended last christmas eve had a male and a female vicar (?). we were all struck by the (male) vicar saying with apparent pride "I'm not a particularly religious person..."
everything about the event was apologetic.

9/30/2005 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

Truepeers:

I think you miss the mark just a bit with your discussion of "declaring God dead." The Left may have declared the Judeo-Christian God dead, but the question then is: What, in the Leftist mind, is that Higher Power that can solve all man's ills or destroy him?

The answer: Government. Big "G".

It has been my suspicion that part of the outright hatred of Pres. Bush has to do with the fact that the High Priest worships another god before the one named Government.

As a fan of Tom Paine, I doubt that the Government could bring about salvation or damnation intentionally.

9/30/2005 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

serious speculation alert

When the New World was discovered, the Pope divided the world in two and gave half each to Spain and Portugal.

Needless to say, the Anglos felt a little left out. But what to do? They couldn't obviously go against the head of the Church, so they set up their own - Anglicanism. Nothing too different, mind, just a new head, well anybody except the Pope and his edicts. How about our monarch, that'll do. Through the pearly gates AND options on all the planet.

Like all constructs with weak foundations, they ultimately collapse and fall over.

end serious speculation alert

And not too soon in my book, and hopefully the malevolent construct out of Mecca will quickly follow.

ADE

9/30/2005 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

I see many many on the Left going under the scimitar praising multiculturalism with their last breaths; like the NKVD victims of recent memory - not even imminent death can dislodge such weighty personal investment in illusion.

9/30/2005 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Reconquista, Battle of Tours, and Lepanto, and now the GWOT. This may the last major religious war, but history will probably prove me wrong. Pacifism did not keep (sometimes in history stronger) Islam at bay, but only our superior tactics, and use of technology.

Not only must the myth of the Jihadist be broken, but Islam itself must remade. If it isn't, the clash of civilizations will continue. If the west continues to fragment under the weight of political correctness, multiculturalism, athiesm, and the guilt that has invaded the intellectual 'elite'.

9/30/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

, then only does Islam have a chance of taking over the West....

9/30/2005 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Rune said...

Western civilisation is older than Christianity. Loss of faith is not the root cause, but yet another consequence of that which is eating at its soul.

Also, I don’t know The Dark Walley, but many people imprisoned by the NKVD truly believed the cult of Stalin to the end. And thought that if just they could get a message to Stalin he would set things straight, never for a moment believing he was the man behind their destruction.

9/30/2005 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

It's amazing how the Anglican church who is as anti-israel as it gets, gets it's own hand chopped off by the same beast they try to protect from the big bad israelis..

I doubt they will learn or change...

9/30/2005 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger Sophia Phoster said...

Human beings are complex and it's difficult if not impossible to ascribe behaviour to a single cause, but I've come to the place where I accept that jihadis are not extremists but only the more devout. Islam is a pernicious ideology that embraces rape, murder and mayhem of the infidel as core belief.

Not all muslims are rapists and murderers but there is nothing in their belief system that prevents them from becoming so if the object of their action is a non-believer. Oriana Fallaci got it right and the Anglicans should be put on suicide watch.

9/30/2005 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

MADRID — An imam who wrote a book on how to beat your wife without leaving marks on her body has been ordered by a judge in Spain to study the country’s constitution.

The judge told Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, imam of a mosque in the southern resort of Fuengirola, to spend six months studying three articles of the constitution and the universal declaration of human rights.

How does this fit it?

it dont... just to funny not to post.. sorry

9/30/2005 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

As a Christian I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins. I have faith, therefore to act boldly since he is my intercessor.

As Paul told Timothy, "This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you....For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power and love and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord....Witht he strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Goood News."

Aparently this anglican has forgotten this core Christian belief.

I have read many times amongst these threads that freedom does not come to man without blood. It was Jesus blood that bought my (as a Christian) freedom.

trang nails it in identifying this Anglican poser as being non-scriptural. It is the litmus test for clergy. We have the recorded message!

What are witnessing is the same old theme of subjective morality. If I don't like the way I FEEL about something i can devise my own set of moral standards to suit. Again, we have been given a set of OBJECTIVE standards - that, being not from man, are infallible.

Wretch makes a good point about the freedom we are shackled with. If used irresponsibly it will nail us every time. Many a postmodern dude will call for freedom and leave out the all important set of rules by which we are to abide that goes with that freedom. Freedom without rules - you have anarchy and chaos in the streets.

9/30/2005 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger gultig said...

It's as if they're humming Onward Muslim soldiers, marching as to war. What happened?

Late add, i know. But that one had me cleaning the coffee off my keyboard.

gultig

9/30/2005 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

I wonder whether believing in God, is, in fact, a necessary condition for righteous action, or whether it is merely a handy mental shortcut that resembles but does not equal the truth. I've said this before, but once again it is pertinent to the discussion.

Paul Berman, in his book Terror and Liberalism, had this to say about the anti-war French Socialists of the thirties, and how they thought the true enemies of peace were the warmongers and profiteers of the French right; in their eyes, these men, not Hitler, were provoking war:

Those were the arguments on the anti-war left, the political arguments. But the political arguments rested on something deeper, too--a philosophical belief, profound, large, and attractive, which was reassuring instead of terrifying. It was the belief that, in the modern world, even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable.

The belief underlying those anti-war arguments was, in short, an unyielding faith in universal rationality...That belief was the other face of liberalism--not liberalism as the advocacy of freedom, rationality, progress, and the acceptance of uncertainty, but liberalism as blind faith in a predetermined future, liberalism as a fantasy of a strictly rational world, liberalism as denial...

The totalitarian movements arise because of failures in liberal civilization, but they flourish because of still other failures in liberal civilization, and if they go on flourishing, it is because of still more failures--one liberal failure after another.


The refusal to believe that pathological mass movements are possible--movements with no rational causes, movements that cannot be addressed with rational solutions--this is the failure of liberal society that allows evil to flourish. Is the denial a godless one, or is it merely the refusal to look at history empirically?

We look at the anti-war left, we see they are godless, and we assume causation. We look at the resolute right, we see they are devout, and we assume still more.

But how to explain someone like me? I can recognize evil, though I do not recognize a God. I believe in empiricism, but I do not have blind faith in rationality. I believe in blind physical and moral evolution, but I also believe in progress, and better. I look at history, and have no problem seeing pathology.

My eyes and my memory allow me to discern, and in that way they make me selfish, and give me the courage to discriminate. But it is an enlightened selfishness, not the drivel put forth by a novice of Nietzsche, and it is a rational discrimination, acceptance bleeding into tolerance bleeding into condemnation, and that which is condemned is that which I seek to destroy. My enlightened selfishness forces me to accept that my well-being is inextricably tied to the well-being of others; because there are masses of enemies who would destroy me, I must subsume myself into an even stronger mass. I accept any that believe likewise, that are willing to die for my freedom because I am willing to die for theirs, but in the end it is still selfishness. Without this nation of exceptional virtue, without its strength, I would be vulnerable and defenseless. And so I defend her unapologetically, and unabashedly clamor for her success.

I arrived at none of this by way of God. I know many others who feel the same, who do not need God to discern good and evil, who do not need religion to have the courage to do what needs to be done. We look around us, at the wealth, and decency, and opportunity of this land, and we simply know.

9/30/2005 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

aristides:
You claim that you arrive at your conclusions without God. I say you don't arrive without God.

One of the most fundamental questions of science: Why, where there should be nothing, is there all this? A universe....with life.

Science does not adequately answer. Without a creator God, my friend, you are nothing.

9/30/2005 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Enscout,

A more precise statement would be that I arrived at my beliefs with out also having a belief in God. I do not factor a deity into my analysis.

Whether or not God is causing me to arrive at these conclusions, or allowing me to arrive at these conclusions, is quite beyond my ability to know, though I doubt it. Descartes rejected "God the Deceiver", and I tend to doubt "God the Self-Denier".

As to why, who knows? The Anthropic Principle suggest that, in an infinite probability theater, it is unhelpful to ask why, because "why" means nothing more than "is". There is life in this universe because there is life in this universe. We can ask why because in this particular iteration of the universe we exist to ask why.

I never claim to be certain. But if an idea doesn't rise to the level of belief for lack of evidence, i.e. the existence of God, I discount it in my analyses. I could be wrong, but then again, so could you.

9/30/2005 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

ADE,

Needless to say, the Anglos felt a little left out. But what to do? They couldn't obviously go against the head of the Church, so they set up their own - Anglicanism. Nothing too different, mind, just a new head, well anybody except the Pope and his edicts. How about our monarch, that'll do. Through the pearly gates AND options on all the planet.

-whatever you think of the founding of the Anglican Church, it and the culture it fostered, turned out to be something quite different from Catholicism. The articles of the Anglican church are Calvinist, and one of the most important, but oft-ignored features of historical Anglicanism is that it helped move much of the previously Catholic English culture's propensity for ritualism outside of the church and into other venues. It was England that from the late seventeenth century was at the beginning of an important revolution in civil society, the rise of secular clubs, fraternities, learned societies, mutual aid organizations, philanthropies, of all kinds, etc. etc.

These relied on a broad class of, for lack of a better term, amateur priests. The Freemasons were the archetype of this amateur priesthood, and many Anglican priests were Masons. Why would Anglican priests have a need to perform the rituals of another organization that might be seen to put some of the doctrines of the Anglican Church into question? Perhaps because with the loss of Catholicism, they were not sufficiently satisfied professionally, given the new limits on their official, professional, i.e. sacrificial, roles.

And it was the existence of a massive amateur priesthood in the civil society of first England, but soon the entire Anglo-American-British imperial world, that has been an essential part of our civilization, and one that is perhaps now at risk of forgetting itself. To blame our present troubles on a betrayal of Catholicism, or a mad imperial will, misses the point entirely.

It is a successful form of civilization that is at stake. It is notable that may of the Jihadists mimic the rhetoric of Hitler and blame the world conspiracy they are fighting on both the Jews AND the Freemasons (And the Rotary Club, believe it or not). This is insanity, of course, but at least it does not forget altogether an important chapter in our religious history.

9/30/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Jrod said...

VDH sarcastically speculates how the world would be today had we not removed Saddam from power. The Anglicans would be pleased--at least they would have nothing to apologize for.
http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson093005.html

9/30/2005 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

And, no doubt, the Jihadists are trying to separate the Catholics and the Protestants in some kind of divide and conquer strategy. Don't let it work.

9/30/2005 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Aristedes, re you fine capacity to distinguish good and evil.

It is not just a question of God. It is a question of both God and the things, signs, and places that are sacred in this world. No human, atheist or religious, lives without some kind of relationship to the sacred.

Traditionally, God has been seen to guarantee the sacredness of the sacred things, signs, places of this world, but he is not the sacred thing itself. To believe otherwise is idolatry.

The sacred is an anthropological fact, whether or not you consider it also a divine fact. Everyone has to relate to the sacred, because all human language and consciousness depends on it, because our language and consciousness is founded on it.

But it is perfectly possible for you to develop a healthy relationship to the sacred without believing in God.

The problem is that many "Enlightened" people in rejecting theism also deny that they have to have some relationship to the sacred. This only leads them into some kind of ignorant mysticism, which, for example, is exemplified by the modern western left and its embrace - in the guise of anti-Americanism - of Jihadi sacrificialism. They think they are not blindly religious or sacrificial, but they only become more so.

This is why I suggested that the great emphasis on guilt in the modern west is a form of the sacred. It is not a very healthy form. If we want a healthy one, we need to reflect on those forms that have best served historically. That doesn't mean you have to become a religious believer in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But if you are going to become a secular believer in this tradition, you have to ask how you can relate yourself to the sacred in a way that encourages your good not evil.

Not trying to play God in a secular role is one key to this. Putting your faith in a secular equivalent of God is another.

Peace,

9/30/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger George M Weinert V said...

The Natives are indeed Restless

I am the moderator of http://americanjihad.blogspot.com/

I recieved this threat at our Google Group of the same name so expect an Attack from the on line

Terrorists - this is also fowarded to the FBI and Homeland Security.

George M Weinert V


Please could i have your address so i CAN FVKEN KILL YOU YOU AS5HOLE£!
All 2 messages in topic - view as tree - 1 new
Al-Jihad Sep 28, 7:06 am show options

From: "Al-Jihad" eba...@hotmail.co.uk - Find messages by this author
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 05:06:23 -0700
Local: Wed, Sep 28 2005 7:06 am
Subject: Please could i have your address so i CAN FVKEN KILL YOU YOU AS5HOLE£!
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IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST MERCIFUL


WHAT YOU HAVE WROTE ABOUT MUSLIMS IS DISGRACEFUL AND YOU DESERVE TO DIE
LIKE SALMAN RUSHDIE. I WILL CONTACT THE POLICE AND INFORM SKY NEWS, CNN
AND OTHER NEWS GROUPS AROUND THE WORLD. I CANNOT TAKE THIS AND I AM
GOING TO TAKE THIS WEBSITE AND GROUP DOWN ANYWAY I CAN, I CAN HACK AND
DRAIN THIS WEBSITE.


MAY ALLAH KILL YOU


BYE-BYE
AL-KILLER(AKA AL-JIHAD)


Reply





Muslim_Killer Sep 30, 12:46 pm show options

From: "Muslim_Killer" georgemvw...@hotmail.com - Find messages by this author
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 10:46:36 -0700
Local: Fri, Sep 30 2005 12:46 pm
Subject: Re: Please could i have your address so i CAN FVKEN KILL YOU YOU AS5HOLE£!
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Kiss my BIG AMERICAN ARSE!


God Bless America,
George M Weinert V


Reply





End of messages

9/30/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Aristides:
If I am wrong and you are right, I lose nothing (excpt perhaps my head at the bloody hands of a mohammedan, but then again if they do it to the likes of me, they could do it to you as well - for any reason - pick your poison) and you gain nothing.
If I am right and you are wrong,(and I can't imagine anything worse than you being wrong if I am right) we potentially gain the fruit of the spirit - "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control". I like to add generosity.

I am not saying you cannot adopt these virtues without first being a Christian nor am I saying that every Christian achieves this level of goodness. It is a transforming life - not usually something that happens as an apocolypse, but rather as a process. Early Christians called this new life "the way". I'm afraid we've gotten away from that in our instant gratification culture.
I believe that if you follow it, the likelyhood of these blessing increase.

9/30/2005 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Wretchard, the British Anglican church is not a heavy in the world today. They've lost a large part of their communion over the ordaining of gays to the priesthood. The Primate of the Nigerian church The Rev. Peter Akinola is about to accept some churches from the US into his group. The Nigerian Church.

9/30/2005 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

George,
send them your address, then when they come for you, we'll know it was serious.
In the mean time, just shoot 'em first, if they come for you.

9/30/2005 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Pascal's Wager

9/30/2005 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

TP,

I agree with everything you write, though I would substitute the word sacred with necessary. For men to survive, they must live with other men. Morality, then, is the art of living together.

Your point is well taken as to traditions of thought, because my approach to this issue is still encapsulated within the uber-set of Western Approaches, though my conclusions may differ because of my unique experience.

If we want a healthy one, we need to reflect on those forms that have best served historically.

Being an empiricist, if I am to be intellectually honest I must defend the virtue of Judeo-Christian ethics because I celebrate the obvious results of their supremacy. I also am forced to concede that such ethics were probably a condition antecedent to our present situation.

Where I tend to disagree is on the issue of reality. That we have developed a useful mental construct to enable man to live with man does not mean that construct is true. Such ethical narratives can be necessary without being fact. But by necessary I mean necessary to get to this point, this time, not necessary metaphysically (an ethical version of the Anthropic Principle).

It is not curiosity that kills the cat, however the saying goes. It is exposure that kills the cat. Exposure to reality, exposure to phenomena for which it was defenseless or unprepared, that destroys it. Curiosity may be the proximate cause, but "reality" is always the cause-in-fact.

The same goes for belief and memes. They may be the proximate cause of ethical development or civilizational success, but the cause-in-fact is much more interesting. My belief that I can fly may make me leap from a building, but the cause-in-fact for my death must take into account neurological posture, prior experience, gravity, biology, etc.

The same principle applies to beliefs in general. Beliefs can correlate with reality without equaling reality (which is how I see Christianity--supplying the correct form without supplying the correct reason). The closer to equaling reality they are, the better they enable man to exercise power and survive. While man may have developed an unbelievably complicated mental universe, nothing can change the fact that we are mere animals, moving through and affecting reality, arbitrary in general, but precious in the particular.

9/30/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

This post really frosts me. I just finished all the comments, and I don't believe anyone has addressed one (IMHO) vital point about the Anglican church's "apology": you can't apologize for someone else and have it mean anything except that you disapprove of what the other did and want everyone to know it. All right, it's partly cowardice in this case, yes, in that it may have been intended in part to deflect Islamist action against vulnerable Anglicans.

But. Parents may apologize for their children with all parties completely aware that their apology is really just a way of their saying, "I taught this child better than this, and there'll be our family's version of heck to pay when I get the kid home." One spouse may apologize for another and be understood to mean, "I can't believe I ever go out in public with this cretin. I hope s/he's ready to face the private consequences of his/her public faux pas," or, in the sadder case, "[Usually] He's going to beat me within an inch of my life tonight, but my own pride demands that I not let his behavior go uncommented." But when an organization apologizes not for its own actions but for the actions of another organization over which it has no sway - that's arrogance. It's insulting, it's patronizing, it's patently un-Christian. And if there was ever an organization with no room to be arrogant, it's the modern Church of England.

9/30/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

In that regard I suppose it's rather like the Belgian courts of with their so-called universal jurisdiction.

9/30/2005 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Aristedes,

I would substitute the word sacred with necessary. For men to survive, they must live with other men. Morality, then, is the art of living together... nothing can change the fact that we are mere animals, moving through and affecting reality

-the necessary is a quality of the sacred. If it were not for the sacred we would never have the concept of necessity (or the freedom that flows from it). No mere animal has the concept of necessity. When an animal, say, turns to flee from a stronger rival, it is acting on pure instinct. It does not stop to ponder the concept of necessity. Any hesitation is simply the time taken to size up the other, not to reflect on freedom and necessity.

However, when I have to choose to fight or flee, the moral question of necessity and freedom is always imposing itself on my animal instincts. And, indeed, I might hopefully have the courage, if need be, to choose to fight and sacrifice myself to a physically greater foe if I thought this could serve some greater good, something no animal, short of protecting her very own young at the very moment they are threatened, would ever do because the animal can have no concept of a future-oriented action or reality.

Otherwise, Aristedes, I think we are pretty much in agreement. You are right that Christianity or any religion is but an attempt to articulate the truth of the human condition, and that any such articulation is subject to being superseded by a superior paradigm for human self-understanding. On the other hand, Christianity may be a final expression of human truth in religious terms (one now joined to secular developments) - there have been no more major religious revelations in the last two thousand years that seem destined to replace it, with all due respect to Islam.

However, I think you are somewhat narrow in your understanding of truth. You seem to argue that Christianity could be pragmatically true, but not true in some ultimate sense. But if it is pragmatically true - if it serves an essential social or historical function - then this truth must be assimilated into your understanding of ultimate truth. If it helps us survive, then it is, on some essential level, simply true. We need to explore further the relationship between the pragmatic truth that bonds the community and the ultimate ontological truth that tends to be the pursuit of only brave outsiders. The community most committed to the truth will in time integrate both kinds of truth.

9/30/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The deaths, in my opinion, are unlikely to affect the Anglican apology for the war in Iraq. LONDON, September 19, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) - Four Church of England bishops offered Monday, September 19, that the Church takes the lead in reconciling with UK Muslims by apologizing to their leaders for the US-led war in Iraq if the British government fails to do so. ...
////////////////////////
The church of England is not really christian anymore. Their theology is much more in line with that of islam than it is with traditional christianity. The church of england has embraced -- as all other liberal once mainline churches have embraced--
the arian heresy. According to this heresy--Jesus not God, but only a man. A very good and wise man, but a man none the less. This is pretty much in line with moslem theology.

9/30/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

[Revelation 1]

10:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

11:
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12:
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13:
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14:
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15:
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16:
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

17:
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18:
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.


Revelation 1

9/30/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Wow good insight Charles in the syncretism of Islam and Anglicanism as they both deny the deity of Christ.Of course the difference is the Jihadi will slit your throat while the Anglican will only bore you to tears.It's interesting that there are more Muslims than Anglicans in England today.That is woeful in a country that produced the Wesleys,William Booth,Charles Spurgeon,Martyn Lloyd Jones and other giants of the church.
I think one of the real toxins of the weakening of Christian revelation in the west is we not only lose sight of what God is like but also what man is like.
We forget that man is in essense not good and enlightened,but bad and dangerous.The naivity of the left has been that we can just disarm,think good thoughts and "perform random acts of kindness"God deliver us from such drivel.

9/30/2005 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

I wonder whether believing in God, is, in fact, a necessary condition for righteous action, or whether it is merely a handy mental shortcut that resembles but does not equal the truth. I've said this before, but once again it is pertinent to the discussion.

Aristides,

I do believe much of the driving forces behind our acting for good are God driven. You may not believe in God buy you are surrounded by those that do. Not only that but generation after generation of our civilization has been immersed in the Goodness of the God of Abraham and those who may not believe in God are influenced by Him every bit as much as those in the pews or the temples.

Prior to the rise of Christianity life in the West was only slightly less brutal than it was elsewhere. After the collapse of Rome it regressed but it was the men of God who kept the light from flickering out.

9/30/2005 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

As institutionally weak as the Anglicans are, it is no wonder that the Church itself shows no backbone. It is a dying church, and certainly acts like one.

www.postmodernspectator.com

9/30/2005 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger plainslow said...

These people hate any body who is'nt like them. I just can' believe, it's so hard for victims to see.

9/30/2005 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

Aristedes,

When I read your writing I hear the voice of Hal-9000.

9/30/2005 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

Here is an interesting and brief reference to the "Been there, done that" of raw pasivism (not pacifism):

http://www.theweeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/002/456bfymb.asp

The Christian Century, for example, suggested that massive peace movements outside Germany would soften the Third Reich. "The internal effects upon the populations of even dictator countries would surely weaken their military morale as they contemplated a prospective world order in which the real causes of the war . . . would at least be on the way to being removed." Albert Palmer, president of Chicago Theological Seminary, admitted that world domination by the Nazis would likely follow an invasion of Britain--yet remained untroubled by the prospect. "Can military force do much against soul force which folds its arms and bides its day?" he asked. "Without military opposition the Hitlers wither away."
................
Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr had announced his opposition to war in 1923. "I am done with this business," he said. Ten years later he upbraided Winston Churchill for his "unyielding imperial ambition." But by the Munich Agreement of 1938, which delivered Czechoslovakia into Nazi hands, Niebuhr reversed course. He emerged as the most forceful advocate for all-out war. A socialist critic of democracy, Niebuhr nevertheless scorned those who obsessed over America's shortcomings to rationalize German militarism. "It is sheer moral perversity," he said, "to equate the inconsistencies of a democratic civilization with the brutalities which modern tyrannical States practice." He finally broke with the left over its "moralistic illusions" about restraining fascism. Christian forgiveness by itself would not stop this gathering storm, he argued; a deeper view of Christianity's confrontation with evil was required.
..............
"Nazi tyranny never could have reached such proportions as to be able to place the whole of Europe under its ban, if sentimental illusions about the character of the evil which Europe was facing had not been combined with less noble motives for tolerating Nazi aggression," Niebuhr wrote. Failure to resist this tyranny, he warned, meant assisting in its triumph--and in a defeat for the cause of Christ. "This form of pacifism is not only heretical when judged by the standards of the total gospel. It is equally heretical when judged by the facts of human existence."

9/30/2005 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger RCM said...

This might work a little better:

http://www.theweeklystandard.com/
Content/Protected/Articles/
000/000/002/456bfymb.asp

9/30/2005 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers, 11:43 AM:
Love that post:
"-whatever you think of the founding of the Anglican Church, it and the culture it fostered, turned out to be something quite different from Catholicism.
The articles of the Anglican church are Calvinist, and one of the most important, but oft-ignored features of historical Anglicanism is that it helped move much of the previously Catholic English culture's propensity for ritualism outside of the church and into other venues.
It was England that from the late seventeenth century was at the beginning of an important revolution in civil society, the rise of secular clubs, fraternities, learned societies, mutual aid organizations, philanthropies, of all kinds, etc. etc.
It is a successful form of civilization that is at stake
."
---
Was Science, prior to the unmooring of Western Civ's "intelligentsia" from their senses and their faith, a central ritual of a successful form of civilization?
---
Jamie,
Indeed, I was offended by GWB apologizing for Bill Bennet.
PC Shields us from all truth.

10/01/2005 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Doug:
Both science and theology strive for the same purpose - to know that which is not known. I don't see any conflict between the two as long as you deal strictly with what we know and not with theory.

We have lots of theories that are floated as scientific fact - big bang, evolution, even some quantum science. None have been brought to conclusion by the minds of men.

The 11th century Moorish philosopher Al Gazzali posited that science is bad for man as it reduces his faith and trust in God. As a result of like thinking amongst his contemporaries, Islam - which had been at the forefront of science and learning - receeded into its dark ages.

Another near contemporary of Al Gazzali - Thomas Aquinas - reasoned that science and the fear of God were in concert since all things come from God. The resulting age of enlightenment catapulted Europe out of its dark ages.

10/01/2005 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"science and the fear of God were in concert since all things come from God."
---
So we ran with the message, and they stuck with the devil.

10/01/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...but the theories often explain things before we know, and lead us to knowing more.
Through Science as Science, not science as religion as the left likes to think.
(equating theories w/facts)

10/01/2005 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Can these Church leaders be removed from office in the next election cycle? How are these fellows any better than that follow from Chad, Hissène Habré?

10/01/2005 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

that fellow from Chad

10/01/2005 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger remoteman said...

The Church of England is, as Anne Coulter has called it, The Church of The Right Fork. I attend an Episcopalian church in the US and I am fast losing respect for it. This is but one more reason why.

10/01/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

enscout said...
Another near contemporary of Al Gazzali - Thomas Aquinas - reasoned that science and the fear of God were in concert since all things come from God. The resulting age of enlightenment catapulted Europe out of its dark ages.
///////////
One of the few books I've been able to bring myself to read since I went online in 1995 has been Francis Schaeffer's "Escape from Reason".

Schaeffer says the most interesting things about Aquinus. They sound similiar to your description.

Schaeffer said that Aquinus was the first to place nature in the realm of the secular and thus a proper subject of scientific inquiry.

Schaeffer used a categorization scheme that went something like this:
upper story: sacred
lower story: secular

What Aquinus did was place nature in the lower story. Previous to that nature was in the upper story. Which is why-- previous to Aquinus-- catholicism was soaked with the presence of God because he emanated from all the natural sources around men. (Today a similiarly pre aquinus catholic theology can be found in charismatic protestants.)

according to schaeffer the effects of aquinus on the early rennassaince in painting were the vanishing point/perspective and more images of nature--but always in the background. As well the mountain climbing became popular for the first time as a result of aquinus because the mountain tops came to symbolize the places where the secular met the divine.

Schaeffer said that, alas, history has shown that there is a tendency for the lower story to fill up the upper story.


Interesting reading.

10/01/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Doug:
True - your statement about theory leading to discovery. Just don't sell it as fact unless proven.

Remote:
Same for me & the Methodist Church.

10/01/2005 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Charles:

Intersting indeed. Aquinas put theology above philosophy in the same way - as God is above man.

His presciption - man is to move forward his discovery of God's universe only after careful contemplation.

10/01/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

We win,
western religions tell you what has to be done, Islam tells you how to do it. It has no room for growth, the culture may grow but Islam won't.

10/01/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

DOUG: Was Science, prior to the unmooring of Western Civ's "intelligentsia" from their senses and their faith, a central ritual of a successful form of civilization?

-This is a tough question, identifying the ritualistic element in science. If you are simply asking, have we recently discounted the value of science, I would say in some ways yes, but we are still largely a society focussed on laboratory life and both scientific and scientistic ways of thinking. The current craziness in the political arena suggests to me more the collapse of one paradigm for understanding society, and the absence of its successor yet not fully formed. But both paradigms, when we can see them in better perspective in future, will appear indebted to scientific forms of thought. Keep in mind that there is always science and then better science; new scientific paradigms succeed their forebears as the new ones prove capable of explaining more.

Is science a ritual?
There were surely ritualistic elements in "science" before the rise of modern science. Think, if you will, about the invention of things like cheese, wine, or the sowing of fields. They surely weren't the product of careful experimentation but the happy outcome of some kind of sacrificial behavior. Throw some seeds to the gods, and lo and behold next year you have a new field of wheat.

THere has always been a role in science not just for theory but for people who are good manipulators, who are good at making experiments work and reproducing them - such reproduction might be considered a ritualistic skill. There are important esthetic skills - the ability to move the mind back and forth between the world of symbols and the world of things - involved in science, and originally (ancient times) the esthetic was part and parcel of the ritualistic mode of being.

My original point was simply that institutions like the Royal Sociey that historians of science consider to be an integral part of the seventeenth-century revolution in science were predicated on certain social transformations in England and then Britain that allowed the pursuit of knowledge outside of church and state in some kind of new, relatively neutral, arena, with a new kind of "priesthood". The Royal Society was not just integral to scientific history but was also exemplary of a new kind of volutary organization - it was a founding institution of a new kind of civil society that would expand rapidly in the eighteenth century, a self-organizing culture that is at the heart of first British and then American culture.

I would not say Anglicanism was directly responsible for all this, but it was an outcome that I think we can connect to it as part of its larger cultural history.

10/01/2005 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

No mere animal has the concept of necessity. When an animal, say, turns to flee from a stronger rival, it is acting on pure instinct. It does not stop to ponder the concept of necessity. Any hesitation is simply the time taken to size up the other, not to reflect on freedom and necessity.

A strong statement, but more controversial that you might think. An elephant that is raised outside of the herd will be, if ever reintroduced to nature, shunned by any herd that finds him. Lacking any learning in herd ethics and protocol, the rogue elephant is a liability to the group and by necessity he will be driven off to fend for himself, by himself.

Do they understand necessity? Probably not the way we do, as a penumbral abstract that encapsulates many distinct phenomena. But does that change the fact that such behavior is necessary? Evolution decides that question, much like evolution decides what is necessary for man.

However, I think you are somewhat narrow in your understanding of truth. You seem to argue that Christianity could be pragmatically true, but not true in some ultimate sense. But if it is pragmatically true - if it serves an essential social or historical function - then this truth must be assimilated into your understanding of ultimate truth.

I was probably too muddled in my writing in addressing this point, but I do assimilate it into my understanding of ultimate truth. Christianity is true insofar that it exists as a meme; it is true in the sense it affects reality by affecting behavior. If we ask how human beings can live together and flourish, the lessons of Christianity supply true solutions. The nature of these solutions themselves contain subsets of truth, about man's nature, man's circumstance, about man's environmental context. Another way of saying all of this is to say that Christianity is a good evolutionary strategy, that it has withstood the withering tests of ethical natural selection.

And what is ultimate truth if not existence? Beliefs exist, and are true, insofar that their existence in the minds of men emits causal gravity and affects and changes reality. The question remains, however, about a belief's ability to affect reality outside of its role as a belief, outside its existence as a motivator for action. The test of a belief is whether it stands independently, whether it can be consequential with or without adherents.

2 + 2 equaling four would affect reality even if nobody ever thought it. Would God?

10/01/2005 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

enscout said...
Charles:

Intersting indeed. Aquinas put theology above philosophy in the same way - as God is above man.
////////////////
Yes theology is God centered whereas philosophy is man centered.
the tricky part for theologins is knowing which is which--especially when philsophy comes dressed up as theology.

rarely do you see it the other way around.

though it does occur to me that the bible does have an example of theology dressed up as philosophy. That being the book of ecclesiastes.

10/01/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: Bennett's statement and Bush's apology.

A statement may be true and also be completely worthless. A statement that total black abortion would lower the crime rate has no prescriptive value and does not do anything to further debate. In fact, it is an absolutely arbitrary observation, and undeserving of support.

To see this, imagine if Bennett had said that if we murder everyone who makes less than $100k a year, the crime rate would drop precipitously. This is also a true statement. Is it politically correct to point out that this statement is also vicious, and worthless?

The reason Bennett's statement should be condemned is that it is intellectually vacuous. Kill everyone not named Bush, the crime rate goes down. Kill everyone who owns less than 4 acres of land, the crime rate goes down. Blackness itself does not commit crime, men with poor values, mostly in poverty and beholden to the culture of victimology and entitlement, do.

So let's distance ourselves from this statement. There was no reason to make it, and every reason not to.

10/01/2005 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

aristedes - for once i disagree with you: Bennett put no stock whatever in the 'statement' you paraphrase (and here, i think, precision matters). he employed an argument that he did not personally advocate (and explicitly decried) to illustrate a wholly different point.
let me see if i can construct a useful analogy.
suppose that in pre WWII Germany, a liberal politician argued that the jews should not be exterminated because many were valuable to the economy. bennett's equivalent might then have argued that the reason not to exterminate the jews was because that would be morally wrong and that constructing utilitarian arguments like this one was dangerous because it might open the door to the argument that - if improving the GDP was the prime goal - then all the mentally or physically handicapped should be exterminated.

10/01/2005 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Fury over 'abort blacks' remark
By Caren Bohan
Washington
October 2, 2005



Mr Bennett, a conservative radio commentator, stirred outrage for saying on his talk show on Wednesday: "But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.

"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he said on his talkback program Morning in America.

10/01/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

aristedes, charles - there's a pretty good discussion of this issue over here; http://www.proteinwisdom.com/index.php/weblog/entry/19114/

10/01/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

I think all churches and anti-war activists should GO to Iraq, and talk about peace there.

Otherwise they are:
ChickenDoves.

Neo-neocon has a GREAT note about Gandhi and the Holocaust -- "let them die"

10/01/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Ex-Dem,

Upon reading your post, I looked a little deeper into Bennett's remark and I must admit error. Worse, I made the kind of error that I generally despise. The only familiarity I had with the remark was what I had read in the newspaper, and taking it out of context I assumed it was a stand-alone observation.

Ironically, Bennett was doing exactly what I did in my condemnation post: he presented an outrageous straw-man to highlight the ridiculousness of particular argument. My litany of analogies only reinforced Bennett's point, by showing even more scenarios where the ends don't justify the means.

So, a mea culpa is in order, as is a stronger commitment to read the transcript before jumping to conclusions.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

10/01/2005 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Now, I still think it was an unfortunate thing to say, inartful and incendiary. But I also must admit that, now that I've perused the blogosphere and digested the different responses, the spectacle of the Left being forced to say, "Well, sure it is true, but..." is worth the way the remark grated on my sensibilities.

10/01/2005 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Aristedes,

A strong statement, but more controversial that you might think. An elephant that is raised outside of the herd will be, if ever reintroduced to nature, shunned by any herd that finds him. Lacking any learning in herd ethics and protocol, the rogue elephant is a liability to the group and by necessity he will be driven off to fend for himself, by himself.

-I know little about elephants but it strikes me your argument would be stronger if, like humans, the elephants sometimes let the loner into their group and sometimes excluded him - i.e. showed some freedom of choice. Why do you call what you describe here an "ethics" rather than a hard-wired survival instinct?

I know my position is controversial in the sense that there is a wide body of professional opinion that treats human and animal intelligence and communications as comparable, acknowledging only that the human is a little more evolved. But after having looked at the best arguments on both sides, I think this body of opinion is deluded. I believe the human emerged from the animal, but not in any purely gradual, evolutionary sense. I think the emergence was an eventful break, founding a wholly new concept of time and being, and that human self-understanding must now come to acknowledge this, not only in relgious but also in scientific terms, if it is to progress.

The body of opinion to the contrary is, to my mind, just another instance of our postmodern guilt complex that thinks putting humans above animals is somehow arrogant. But as I said a few threads ago, the true arrogance is ascribing human qualities to animals and not humbly acknowledging that we, as a species, are queer and alone, at least until the day ET lands.

Evolution decides that question, much like evolution decides what is necessary for man.

-true, only if you acknowledge that biological evolution and cultural evolution unfold according to quite different logics.

Christianity is a good evolutionary strategy, that it has withstood the withering tests of ethical natural selection.

ethical natural selection? But what are human ethics for? And why are they not comparable to the animal pecking order? Human ethics are not primarily a response to the natural environment. They are first of all necessary as a means to maintain order *within* human society, to stop us from killing each other, and also to make our communities viable in face of our rivals. What determines selection in the human and historical context is not nature, but rather the viability of one human ethics in comparison to (and in competition with) another that free humans have imagined and constructed. IN the long run, the freer socities tend to become stronger and better militarily. In this sense does selection work in matters ethical.

2 + 2 equaling four would affect reality even if nobody ever thought it. Would God?

-you need to reword this. What you mean is that 2+2=4 whether or not arithmetic exists as a symbolic system. Sure. But what do we mean by affect reality? Only a free being can consciously affect reality, whatever the natural dynamics at work in our changing universe. Put a little differently, if I can notify nature of my calculation that 2+2=4 and thus change the way nature itself acts, just as new knowledge or calculations introduced into a human marketplaces can change how the market acts - then nature is free, not determined, which of course it is not. Our actions certainly influence nature, but they don't change the laws of physics.

On the other hand, no economist has ever determined laws of the marketplace comparable to the laws of physics, notwithstanding all the investments of hedge funds in trying to do something like this. The law of supply and demand is just a tautological abstraction from the central, never fully explainable or law-bound question of why certain products/securities succeed when they do, and why others do not. The human system is free, unlike nature.

Would God affect reality even if no one were around to think "God!"? How can I know? All I can know is that for humans, God is the only concept that cannot be directly derived from worldly experience. It is not like, say, the beautiful or the true, whose derivation from our experience is clear enough. And yet the idea of God is clearly part of being human. The only satisfying explanations for this entail hypotheses of how humanity and the human's idea of God could have first come into existence simultaneously.

10/01/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peers,
"THere has always been a role in science not just for theory but for people who are good manipulators, who are good at making experiments work and reproducing them - such reproduction might be considered a ritualistic skill.
And,
There are important esthetic skills
-
the ability to move the mind back and forth between the world of symbols and the world of things - involved in science, and originally (ancient times) the esthetic was part and parcel of the ritualistic mode of being
."
THAT,
Is what I was talking about,
(particularly, the "ritualistic" aspect of the scientific method.
Not exactly, of course, but kinda, sorta. )
---
...along with the left's prostitution of science, and everything else by their unacknowledged worship of pseudoscience as god.
...and forcing others to get in line w/whatever dogma they come up with from that.
---
But as usual, you were thinking of that and much more than that, since you know more than that.
How you learned it all is beyond me.
---
Charles,
Interesting indeed.
And sad, that internet addiction/book thing:
I've been there for 1 year more than you.
---
Sometimes I fear that young folks may never achieve some of the esthetic skills Truepeers refers to that require more than constant entertainment/distraction/"interaction," but the exceptional still will I guess.
Would that mean the continual dumbing down of all the rest.
A world w/o books and daydreams seems pretty Orwellian to me.

10/01/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes,
"abortion would lower the crime rate has no prescriptive value and does not do anything to further debate. In fact, it is an absolutely arbitrary observation, and undeserving of support."
---
Don't have time to catch up with all posts right now,
But in context Bennet went WAY out of his way to be sure there would be no misunderstanding of his not meaning just what you post.
---
But of course in our pc world, that means nothing, unless you're a lefty, in which case you can say whatever outrageous thing you decide to say,
WITH NO CONSEQUENCES.
---
But now all the experts and talking heads can waste everyone's time beating on Bennet's head, all to absolutely no good effect.
(and further putting a chill on our most important right)

10/01/2005 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

BTW,
Limbaugh's view concerns the fact the the GUY ACTUALLY DOING IT, (aborting black babies, for free, ...out of the kindness of his heart.) receives NO Censure Whatsoever.

10/01/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

aristedes - you're a gentleman and a scholar.

10/01/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ex, 4:16,
Indeed.

10/01/2005 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Can't argue with that.

10/01/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Off Topic:
. "Research," LA Style .
In four short years, she's gone from lowly medical research scientist, to well paid, ....
...and brought her sister along to boot.

10/01/2005 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

As The Jerk would have said:
"I got my horse, my house, my pool, my vibrator, my money, my car,
...and that's all I need."

10/01/2005 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh, and don't forget the drugs.

10/01/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Twenty-Five Killed as 3 Bombings Rock Bali.
By Richard C. Paddock and Dinda Jouhana
At least 100 are injured in blasts at crowded restaurants. Indonesian authorities suspect the group behind the 2002 nightclub attacks.
---
I guess it's pretty smart to suspect the same guys after they've been caught and released.

10/02/2005 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Hey! I teach in an Anglican school, and yet I don't see the moral cowardice or religious retreat in the brass. Morning prayers are direct and full of praise, and Jesus is still worshipped as the Son of God, and the word of God is still taken as Gospel. And they're praying hard to God every day for the students as the promotional exams and the A levels approach.

This is the one thing I find strange and hard to explain. Why is it that the frontiers of the empire seem to be closer to the original mission than its rotting core?

10/02/2005 02:20:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor © said...

No one should be surprised that Christian proselytizers are murdered in Muslim countries for religious profiling, religious bigotry, non-tolerance, and religious violence is the historical hallmark of Muslims from the very beginning. What is surprising is that Westerners are caught of guard and continue to be ignorant of this expected outcome.

All that go to thwart the goals of Islam will be killed. End of story. The moral is: you put your life in danger at any moment when confronting Muslims, especially in their lands.

10/02/2005 03:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The dark side of faith
IT'S OFFICIAL: Too much religion may be a dangerous thing

10/02/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Truepeers
Hope your still there. Much appreciate your input.

"one of the most important, but oft-ignored features of historical Anglicanism is that it helped move much of the previously Catholic English culture's propensity for ritualism outside of the church and into other venues"

Well said. Despite my previous post, I am no lover of religion, most (actually all but one) have done a lot of good.

I was brought up a Catholic boy, but came from a multi-generational underground attitude of rebellion. So I ditched it all, as you do.

Or so I thought, until I was faced with secular organisations that did good deeds, without the need for a God.

"Not for me to usurp God's spot", until I worked out why my attitude was the way it was. This goes to your second point:

"And it was the existence of a massive amateur priesthood in the civil society of first England, but soon the entire Anglo-American-British imperial world, that has been an essential part of our civilization, and one that is perhaps now at risk of forgetting itself. To blame our present troubles on a betrayal of Catholicism, or a mad imperial will, misses the point entirely.


Well said again, and I assure you that that I now well understand that the propensity to do good has been hijacked by religions (with one exception).

"It is a successful form of civilization that is at stake."

Indeed it is, one that predates Christianity, one that has had its brief 'hour upon the stage', but one that I will go down for lest it cease to strut its hour, altough I actually believe in nothing.

ADE

10/02/2005 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Oh Doug

The study, by evolutionary scientist Gregory S. Paul, looks at the correlation between levels of "popular religiosity" and various "quantifiable societal health" indicators

do you know what any of the nouns actually mean?

Do you think that Greg knows what a noun means?

ADE

10/02/2005 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think he does not know and does not care.
Is that not the sign of the MSM?
(Shades of 666!)

10/02/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Yesterday I heard a BBC report on NPR (Talk about a combination!) that talked about our latest offensive in Iraq, Operation Iron Fist.
The BBC commentator said "These offensives have been unable to stop the bombings."
I wonder if when Gen Patton's tanks reached the Merse River on 1944 - a year ahead of schedule - if that BBC reporter would have mentioned the V-weapons attacks on Great Britian and said "Patton's drive east has been unable to stop the bombing of England."

10/02/2005 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Schaeffer used a categorization scheme that went something like this:
upper story: sacred
lower story: secular

Aquinus put nature in the lower story.

The protestants during the reformation generally put everything but the bibile in the lower story.

In the mid 1700's what was called Higher Criticism put the bible itself into the lower story.

All the liberal mainline churches are heirs of this "Higher Criticism." The consequence of which is that there is nothing in the upper sacred story for the liberal church.

10/02/2005 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger jim said...

The Anglican bishops' statement apologizing for the allied war to unseat Saddam and calling for Christians to understand Muslim terrorist needs is an apt companion piece to the Anglican Communion's recent proposal to divest from pro-Israeli companies. "By voting to support the divestment measure, the Anglican Consultative Council, the church's most representative advisory group, recommended to its 38 provinces that they support a September 2004 report by the council's Peace and Justice Network... which condemns Israel's treatment of Palestinians, calls on the 75-million-member church to challenge and exert moral pressure on companies in its investment portfolio that support the occupation."

Even though, after much rancor and protest, divestiture was voted down in the end, there is something decidedly Arabist, pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli, and even anti-West and a little anti-Christian about the C of E's recent political leanings and pronouncements. Could be that some of Christendom's dried up and jaded church leaders vicariously enjoy the passion of militant Muslims and their underdog standing and are reveling in their struggle. It's all rather inverse and perverse, given the destructive consequences to come, but still it's gloriously PC diverse and "fair-minded" and that's sacred enough for now.

10/02/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

C:
Scary that, in addition to the hard left using the very traditions of liberal thought and inheritance of freedoms that allow them to survive to now tear themselves apart, now we have the church - the very church that was so long central to the process - also intending to tear itself apart.

10/02/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

ADE:

"If I can see further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

Sir Isaac Newton knew well that had he been born in another place or into another time the opportunity for his great scientific accomplishments would not have been availed.

How much less do do we owe to our magnificent Judeo-Christian forebeares?

10/02/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

now we have the church - the very church that was so long central to the process - also intending to tear itself apart

Yes, Enscout, looks like church leadership is also going the way of the high priesthood of education that eschews its own tradition of debate and logic in favor of trendier truths and sensitivities and which is pushing western classical thought and history down the memory hole. Are we to forget the what, why and how of the Church, too? Moorings lost and some important western institutions adrift, looks like.

I'm a fine one to talk. I stopped going to church to keep some semblance of faith in something!

10/02/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

C:
So much of this has to do with our success. we are materially rich but spritually poor.

Go to the barrios of Juarez and see how the people survive on faith alone - they have little else. Spiritually they could conquer us.

"Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea.
I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other. But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Is there any reason we cannot have it both ways?

Perhaps not.

10/02/2005 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/02/2005 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I'll trade that gem for this off thread question:
Has anyone noticed that the search function is now seemingly useless compared to the way it used to find whatever you looked for?

10/02/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Not off-thread at all. Seek and ye shall find.

10/02/2005 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Iraq says Zarqawi sending some militants back home:

Foreign al Qaeda militants waging a campaign of suicide car bombings in Iraq plan to send some fighters home in preparation for similar operations in their own countries, the Iraqi interior minister said on Sunday.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabor said documents found with Abu Azzam, said to be a lieutenant of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, signalled a plan to send foreign Arab Sunni militants back home to widen the battlefield beyond Iraq.

The new administration in Baghdad has struggled to win acceptance from the Sunni leaders of the rest of the Arab world, however, who remain suspicious of its dependence on Washington and sectarian ties to non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran.

Jabor said foreign Arab militants now numbered less than 1,000 compared to between 2,500 and 3,000 six months ago. They were much weaker but readier to inflict more civilian casualties: 'There are indications of a sharp weakening of the capabilities of the insurgents,' Jabor said.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20051002-0747-iraq-security.html

10/02/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Waiting for the Anglican apology for allowing the Jews to leave gaza...

At least three Palestinians were killed in fierce clashes between Palestinian Authority security forces and Hamas gunmen that erupted on Sunday evening in various parts of the Gaza Strip.

PA security sources said the three victims, Ali Makkawi, the commander of the PA Police station in Shati refugee camp, a police officer and a 10-year-old girl, who was run down by a police car, were killed when hundreds of Hamas gunmen attacked the station with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.

10/02/2005 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

If I were the PA, I'd rather fight the Israelis than Hamas. Europeans aren't pulling their bacon out of the fire this time. Assimilate or die.

10/02/2005 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

U.S.: 28 Militants Die As Iraq Fight Grows:

U.S. troops battled insurgents holed up in houses and driving explosives-laden vehicles in a second town near the Syrian border Sunday, killing 28 in an expansion of their two-day-old offensive chasing al-Qaida fighters along the Euphrates River valley, the military said.

Al-Qaida in Iraq claimed to have taken two Marines captive during the fighting and threatened to kill them within 24 hours unless all female Sunni detainees are released from U.S. and Iraqi prisons in the country. The U.S. military said the claim appeared false.

http://www.jg-tc.com/articles/2005/10/02/ap/headlines/d8d07p3oe.txt

10/02/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

May the report on captured Marines be untrue.

Anglican bishops might approve of this non-judgmental attempt to understand the terrorists' reality and reasons for doing what they must do: "Paradise Now" (medienkritik via lgf) is an award-winning film about suicide bombers tasked with blowing up a couple of buses full of Israelis. "Amnesty International distinguishes it with its peace prize because it's neither 'lecturing nor moralizing'... Most German critics praise the 'sophisticated' presentation."

The film is a joint German-Dutch-French production, written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad and presented by Warner Independent Pictures. It's rated PG13, since, when all those Jews get blown to pieces at the end along with the Palestinian martyr, all is handled artfully- viewers don't have to see any actual bloody consequences of the deed. Paradise isn't about rent flesh and bone shards, you know.

10/02/2005 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Meet the Press, John Abizaid:

MR. RUSSERT: The war is two and a half years old. Why are only 750 Iraqis fully combat-capable, ready?

GEN. ABIZAID: Well, Tim, of course, you can parse the words any way you want. But the war is two and a half years old, and when you think of where we were two and a half years ago, where we essentially didn't have any Iraqi security forces in the field, to where we are now, where we've got close to 200,000 Iraqi security forces in the field, we've come a long way.

MR. RUSSERT: But if you had three battalions in June that were considered Level I combat ready, why is there only one now?

GEN. ABIZAID: Look, if you were to look at the readiness system of the United States Army and parse it for the American public, you could come to the same conclusion that somehow or other there's a lack of readiness and a loss of capability. But I'm telling you, there's more people in the field fighting and participating in operations than at any time in the past and their casualty rate is double, if not triple that of which ours is, which means they're out there fighting.

MR. RUSSERT: Is there a public relations challenge to you that the American people are losing confidence in the war?

GEN. ABIZAID: Well, there's no doubt that we have got to continue to tell the story of what's happening in Iraq. Iraq is a country in the middle of a counterinsurgency operation, and the Iraqis are more and more taking the lead.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9542948/

10/02/2005 09:29:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Mr. Russert & his ilk represent the "public relations challenge".

10/03/2005 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger gmat said...

There was a very informative speech by Petraeus at Princeton Saturday, ably blogged here

This should have been picked up by the media, but they missed it. I picked it up via Tom Barnett's blog

10/03/2005 05:49:00 AM  

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