samedi 2 février 2013

How I Pick my Battles

If I wanted to be flippant I could say that I don't - I just get them anyway.

But since I have systematically had intellectual battles against certain positions rather than others, I guess the question can sort of have an answer.

First off, I do not pick them for others. I am no bishop, no priest, no monk, no prophet, no pope, no patriarch, no messiah and no idiot so as to imagine myself any of above.

On the other hand, I am not quite trusting to ecclesiastical superiors who not only do not share my battlefields, but actually fight on the other side. The Remnant had an article directed to "Cardinal" Pell entitled "Your Highness, Dawkins actually has a point".

Let's not paint Dawkins too white. On one occasion he rebukes a Christian who contradicts him by saying he believes in Adam and Eve, saying to him that "every priest and bishop" is evolutionist. On the occasion evoked by The Remnant, he asks the Cardinal as precisely not an evolutionist where the Original Sin came from, if there was no Adam and Eve, as historical and even primal human individuals. He wants to ridicule anyone who can argue against him, and then he argues against those he does not ridicule - at least on this account.

So, though I am a Roman Catholic, I am not sure "Cardinal Pell" is - or anyone supporting him as a Cardinal.

Some might consider I am not a Roman Catholic because I have been Roumanian Orthodox for a while. Others that I am not because I do not fully and unequivocally recognise the "superior of Cardinal Pell" as being the Pope. I do not recommend combining the charges insofar as Benedict XVI himself considers Roumanian Orthodox a "sister Church" - not as in Uniates at Iasi being a Sister Church of the Latin Church, which would be traditional, but as in non-uniates at Iasi being a Sister Church of Latins-and-Uniates together, usually known as Roman Catholic Church.

His predecessor even made a deal at Balamand of not allowing either individuals or bishops to convert either way between Catholics and Orthodox without their superiors' benediction. And I have converted forth and back again.

Now, this suggests I do not pick battles from a sense of strategy, because this would have been a very clumsy strategy on my behalf.

I am an ex-Lutheran. I was alienated from fellow Swedish Lutherans on two accounts. One being their not very clear stance in favour of the literal meaning of the Blessed Sacrament, the other their stance against the literal meaning of Genesis the early chapters.

I sought the Church which was there in Sweden before the Reformation. And afterwards I was not sure that Catholics in union with John Paul II were really continuing the Church as in the days of Pope Leo X, who was perhaps a worldly Pope, but not a drastically bad one, as he has been painted out. And who had the sense to condemn the wildly unhuman theses of Luther, including the one that said that the souls in Purgatory by the fact of their love for God's Justice would resent an Indulgence that let them off too early from Purgatory.

"But Luther can't have written that! He was a Protestant!"

At the time of Exsurge Domine, he was a badly instructed Catholic. A High Church Lutheran tried to persuade me that Luther was actually a very Orthodox proponent of the Catholic doctrines of Purgatory and Indulgences. The thesis I just cited - it is one of the 41 theses condemned by Pope Leo X, I do not know if it comes from his 95 or his earlier 97 theses, as Exsurge Domine dealt with both collections - is neither good Catholicism, nor the kind of Protestantism I embraced insofar as I was not involved in its active rejection of Catholicism.

I did not want to remain a Protestant, nor did I desire to take Luther's statements even as a not-yet-Protestant for my Catholic Catechism. I never regretted that step, nor is it likely that I will. I do regret however having admired Teilhard de Chardin at a very Jesuit-friendly moment. I still admire St Ignatius of Loyola, of course. But, unlike Pierre Theilhard, he was not an evolutionist.

I have seen that Creation Ministries International are indeed a Para-Church Protestant ministry (more close to baptism than to Lutherans or Anglicans, since they do not accept that child baptism makes one a child of God even before one can speak or learn the Catechism), and on that level I do not want to be part of that. That does not mean they are not free to re-publish my articles, such of them they deem good, with a note that the author does not actually belong to CMI but is a Catholic. Or they can of course link to them as an external link, stating that they recommend such and such an article as it was when they saw it, but cannot vouch for other content on my blogs, or for the article remaining as it was when they saw it. I saw that kind of note for a link to conservapedia. And of course The Remnant has quite the same freedoms too.

I do however admire their teamwork as learned men dealing with question after question as they link to each other - except for the one of the Galileo case. Let us take their principles of how they pick their fights and see how it would apply to the Galileo case.

1) "The Bible explains the Bible"

I do not think that is the case unless you add a few words: "to those who are firm in faith, wise, and intend to stay with the Church".

I will not say that the Bible alone explains the Bible, or that the Bible as cut off from Church or Tradition is supreme authority. The Church has the right to say on "Christ is the only mediator" passages that to the original Catholic hearers of Saint Paul that never implied an exclusion of invocation of the saints or of the Blessed Virgin, nor that it is not in the Sacraments of the Church that He exercises that mediation. The Church has the right to say "the Bible does not always mean what it seems to say to a modern reader" - but it has not had the right to say or believed itself to have it that the Bible would have deceived the first hearers of each word so as to make it decryptable only centuries later. The Messianic prophecies were not as badly understood by the prophets as they were by the Pharisees.

But, one Bible passage is to be taken literally, usually, unless another passage states the contrary. Even Old Law was literally applicable up to the Birth of Christ. Today we celebrate Our Lady obeying the law about Purification.

When Christ states the contrary to certain Mosaic dispensations, he is requesting a higher justice that that of divorce and of revenge. Or ordering it, rather, as the new Moses. But he was not denying these dispensations had their validity up to his day.

So - if Genesis about the days is not to be taken literally, where does the Bible say so? I'll come back to "for God one day is like a thousand years and thousand years like one day" in a moment. But likewise, the Bible never states that Joshua's long day is not to be taken literally either. And as I said just about the necessity of the Church, its magisterium has traditionally not canonised modern theories as dogma. A few passages in the CCC by John Paul II and a few words by him and by Benedict XVI is about all the encouragement we have there. Up to then, it was rather a question of "Hanging Lose" (as Carl Wieland says) on both these questions, but certainly not Hanging Lose but rather clinging on as to the Historical Adam and Eve. One had the choice between Jonathan Sarfati and Hugh Ross as far as Genesis is concerned, and one had the choice between Sungenis and Dom Stanley Jaki as far as Astronomy is concerned - as one had had since the condemnations of Heliocentrism were lifted in 1828.

2) "Evolutionism is proven to encourage atheism"

As far as I have seen in debates - online and earlier among comrades - rejection of Geocentrism can do it nearly as well as rejection of a Young Earth/Recent Creation.

I left the Palmarian Church - to which I had adhered at distance - after fourteen months, half a minute before finding out the founder-prophet-and-pope had committed sodomy, as well as abusing nuns under his obedience (if I had met him, I would have councilled him to go slow on eating meat, since he was celibate and meant to stay so) for the open reason that he did believe the cosmos had more than three dimensions. The relation of time to space is not really a parallel of the relation of up-down to left-right. He believed "Antichrist sees the world from the fourth dimension, but the Purest Virgin from the eighth". Saint Augustine believed God had given the cosmos three dimensions so as to remind all living in it of the Blessed Trinity. So, I made an act of renouncing provisionally Palmarianism half a minute before finding out Gregorio XVII had molested monks under his obedience as well. I wonder what Palmarians now think about obedience to men when not in tune with obedience to God ... if they learnt a lesson, that is good. But believing evolution because one thinks the Church teaches it - because of the passages in CCC just mentioned - is not very recommendable either.

Now, as to the belief in eight dimensions, which made me reject provisionally Palmar de Troya, it reminds me of the more exotic Creationist Cosmologies, by people who refuse to be Geocentrics. Evolution, Deep Time, Heliocentrism - Parallax - Deep Space, Many Dimensional Universe - all of these encourage atheism and for that matter unsound mysticism.

3) "Let us agree as much as we can with Evolutionists and not add disagreements without necessity."

I have seen this morning the injunction to agree as much as the Bible and the Creationist stance allows with the adversary. In order not to get involved with minor disagreements they could ridicule us for. On CMI site, of course.

This is not one of their reasons to be Creationist and Young Earth. It is their reason, probably, for rejecting the primary battle of Sungenis, Geocentrism.

It cannot be that Geocentrism is first of all Calvinist, since one Calvinist on a video recommended a Geocentric book as intellectually the best option, but not for beginners, since not Calvinist. He said the book taught "salvation by works" or "meriting heaven". I e that the stance was, so far, Catholic rather than Calvinist.

We do not deny Heaven is a Gift or Eternal Life is a Gift. We say the Gift begins on earth - usually with Child Baptism - and includes the given ability to earn merits "because it is not I who work, but Christ who worketh in me". And who would deny Christ the ability to merit for us? However, His doing so in oneself, in ourselves depends on our free cooperation with grace.

However, the complaint of the Calvinist shows that Geocentrism is not just a Calvinist cause.

Now, I would say that Sarfati's reason for not being Geocentric is very parallel to Hugh Ross' reason for not believing the Young Earth.

While I mention Hugh Ross, I think I owe him an agreement on Behemoth and Leviathan. His explanation does not presuppose that Dinosaurs never coexisted with men. It presupposes that Behemoth and Leviathan coexist with men living after the flood and if Job is not in Egypt at least in a country not far off (which is true of Edom, where "Tektonics" place the book of Job), and that he knew of Leviathan and Behemoth as contemporary challenges to the art of taming. Therein he also agrees with a Young Earth Creationist and Roman Catholic like Bishop Challoner, or if it was Calmet - the two people Haydock cites most often in his 1859 Bible Commentary.

But is the principle soundly put? If there is something to say for it, why not make it like St Thomas, who said basically: I know by Holy Faith that the Universe is in fact created with a beginning, but let us prove God exists as if I did not know that, let us take an eternal universe as a model and see if that model also leads logically to God. He did that, but he did not ask people to ignore, for fear of ridicule, people holding more directly to the faith.

And of course he did hold directly to the faith too. He used the model only to scrap it later. By Q 45 or so he has established that the universe could only come from God, neither by identity nor by emanation, but strictly speaking only by Creation. And when he describes it, he gets to the days, when speaking of them in general he mentions two models - one-moment creation (held as dogma by Palmarians) and creation in six times 24 hours. Then when he describes the work of each day, he uses only what Sarfati would have used.

But even if Hugh Ross would not endorse or use at all himself the model which we hold is a part of the faith, i e six day creation, he could say "if you are less into modern dating techniques, than I am, you can see how Sarfati criticises them on his site" - and Sarfati could quite similarily link to me or Sungenis - or both.

Where I think Sungenis mistaken is using a Geocentric model that is a kind of perpetuum mobile (or close to) set in motion once in the very beginning by God, but moving on by its own accord.

I believe in a Universe where every day is in a certain way a miracle, insofar as every day depends on "divine intervention." God is not the earliest mover of a clockwork going on by its springs, He is the first mover of contemporary movers, of simultaneous movers. Just as He did not incarnate once two thousand years ago so the Church could run itself by reading the Bible, He takes the form of bread and of wine every day. Every day and every mass is a fresh miracle, even if we do not see it. The miracles we usually refer to as such are only reminders. Joshua's day reminded of who moves the Sun and Moon (and probably also Stars beyond them) each day.

You see, if you take the idea of agreeing with your opponents too far, they end up with tripping you up on your unnecessary agreements.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Bpi, Georges Pompidou
Candlemass, or
Purification of the BVM

PS, I think I promised to come back to the Jericho question, so I take those links and comments first:

1447 - 40 = 1407 was Garstang's "Bible dating".

LXX implies, according to Roman Martyrology: "a Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo" -> 1510 - 40 = 1470 as earliest date for fall of Jericho.

2 commentaires:

  1. Saw two things on CMI.

    "The Behemoth's tail is like a cedar." According to Hugh Ross the word for tail is not just the part sticking out but the rump it is attached to too. A Hippo bottom is thick like a cedar.

    And this on centaurs - Carl Wieland is wrong insofar as he says they are restricted to Greek and pre-Christian times, St Anthony going to visit St Paul the First Hermit saw one too. He hesitated between a real creature of God and an apparition of the devil trying to scare him.

  2. Of course, I have not the Greek knowledge to know if the Greek word for tail means "strictly tail only" or can also mean "tail with rump". Maybe Carl Wieland knows it means strictly tail only, as used in Septuagint, and maybe he feels the Seventy translators are to be trusted as inspired as much as the Original Text by Moses.

    In that case he might use LXX to prove Brontosaurus is in the Bible.

    If I am right about T Rex and some other ones being products of Genetic modification, post-Flood Holy Writers had a reason so as not to provoke unsound curiosity in not telling about such.