Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Philosophers and Ploughmen

Philosophers and Ploughmen

Each must know his part

To sow a new mentality

Closer to the Heart

-          Closer to the Heart, Rush

When I see something from Ira Katz posted at Lew Rockwell’s site, I will almost always read it first.  Recently, he asked the question, “What is to be done?  He asked it regarding the issues of our time, quoting Jonathan Pageau who describes these times as the end of our civilization.  Readers here do not require a further explanation of Pageau’s sentiment.  Katz offers:

But to understand the problems does not necessarily give us the direction for action.

In an earlier post, Katz referenced work being done by Bret Weinstein, an evolutionary biologist from Evergreen University fame and who has further ridden the wave caused by the rise of Jordan Peterson.  Given Peterson’s poor health for an extended period resulting in his disappearing from the conversation, it is probably Bret and his brother Eric who have come most to the fore in this discussion of the current situation.

In the earlier post, Katz made favorable comments regarding a project of Bret’s, a system for unity.  I am not terribly familiar with it, only having heard enough to suggest to me that it is a project that lacks – as much of the current dialogue lacks – a willingness to grasp at the necessary foundations for resolution to the malaise and self-destruction that plagues Western society.

So, now, when answering the question of what is to be done, Katz has offered some comments from a reader – comments in response to his post on Weinstein:

The problem with Weinstein and Co. is they are part of the industrial state.  And here’s what I mean.  Not only have they been ‘educated’ in our Prussian style universities, where the teleological educational aim always pushes the graduate to reinforcing the state’s aims, they’re physically deficient as well.

They haven’t worked the land. 

The land will temper intellectual abstractions quicker than Bret can recount a genome sequence.

The vast majority of any population is made up of real people – by real people I mean not those presumably brilliant intellectuals, those full of book smarts.  Real people know something of the land – some in a narrow sense, many in a broad sense.  They know something of it because they know something of themselves and their neighbors.

The Progressive Era is marked with brilliant technocrats devising and implementing actions to scientifically perfect man, with little foundation other than the intellectual abstractions learned in the self-reinforcing higher-education institutions.  Those in this current discussion, despite their goodwill, are merely continuing this trend – devising a religion that is not a religion (John Vervaeke), or something to take the place of religion but that isn’t a religion (Bret Weinstein).

Peterson is the one who really brought this conversation to the fore.  He certainly understood that western society has stripped western man of any meaning.  Without meaning, life is…well…meaningless.  And this meaninglessness leads to the malaise as seen in depressions and suicide.  And worse: no desire, interest, or even awareness, in preserving and developing the cultural foundations that have given meaning to Western man for something like 2,000 years, plus or minus a few centuries.

It should be no surprise that Jesus came to us as a carpenter.  He did not come as a product of higher learning as a Pharisee or some such, although He certainly understood as much as and more than any of these.  Jesus, the carpenter and the friend of fishermen, knew something of the land – the real people.  Just one example:

Matthew 12: 1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.”

After offering a couple of examples to demonstrate His point, the passage continues with Jesus citing from Hosea:

7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

The Pharisees – despite being experts in the book – didn’t learn this from the book.  They didn’t learn it because they didn’t know something of the land – of the real people.  They had book-smarts, but without the knowledge of real people they had no comprehension of proper application.

This current conversation – the Weinstein’s, etc. – are missing the same thing.  They cannot even offer an answer to the question: “what is good?”  The best they can suggest is that they know “bad” when they see it – virtually useless information with knowledge of the good to temper it. 

Western man has lost any idea of the good that gives life meaning, and this conversation, given its current boundaries, is incapable of delivering an answer regarding the good to Western man.

Jesus was obviously so much more, but one thing He certainly was for the world was the archetype for man, man’s purpose, and for what is “good.”  He put into action the words, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”  Here, we find the good.

In this video, Paul VanderKlay was discussing related points, including the search for a healthy hierarchy of values.  He made the statement: “We don’t live for happiness; we live for meaning.”  To which I offered the comment:

No behavior can be considered “better” or “worse” unless it is taken that man is created with a purpose, end, telos.  Accept this, and the first step toward understanding the necessity of natural law is taken.  Unless this is accepted unquestionably, there is no end to this conversation.

The Latin word used to explain man’s purpose was beatitudo, commonly translated as happiness.  But it wasn’t the superficial happiness as we understand it today.  It is better understood as fulfillment through other-regarding action.  In other words: meaning.

We live for happiness; we live for meaning.  The first is found through the second.  The conversation being held regarding this loss of meaning and the malaise leading to the slow (but rapidly approaching) end of our civilization has no end without offering a target at which to aim.  The target can’t merely be “don’t do evil.”  As we have seen, such a target is useless as it provides no anchor for the good, and without such an anchor it gives no stability to what is evil. 

To hit a target, we need something more than that which we should avoid – to hit the intruder requires knowledge of something more than not hitting my dog.  The target is the good, identified by understanding man’s purpose; man’s purpose is beatitudo: fulfillment through other-regarding action.  This gives life meaning.

For those who don’t like the Christian (or Catholic) sound of this, rest assured: natural law is discoverable by all men; just ask many of the Christian natural law philosophers.  But I do believe it requires a belief in something above and outside man’s reach and man’s control.

In this developing conversation, VanderKlay has parsed out what different people see as different aspects of God – or in some cases, two different definitions of God.  He labels these as God #1 and God #2 – not that he believes these are two different gods, just two different views of what we call God.

God #1 is always present; this is the immanent God.  The spiritual God who permeates the world and permeates nature.  We sometimes use the word “metaphysical” to describe this aspect of God.  Two examples might help illustrate:

Acts 17: 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’

The Apostle Paul is citing a Greek philosopher; Paul is making known the God that is the object of what the Greeks only knew as the unknown god.  This is the immanent God.

A second example of God #1 (really an analogy), offered by VanderKlay: Frodo can’t find Tolkien, yet Tolkien is everywhere in Middle Earth.  This is the immanent God.

God #2 is the transcendent God – separate from the material universe; an agent who acts in history and governs the objects of the world; we are subject to and dependent on His will.

Modern Western Christianity has virtually dismissed the idea of God #1 and sees only God #2 in its sights.  Many modern intellectuals dismiss both dimensions of God.  But without a belief in something like the first dimension – God #1, who permeates the world – there is no hope for natural law or any type of order that can remain outside of human control.  And we know the disaster that always comes from order imposed via human control.

When we say that all men are below the law, it is only possible through a firm belief in something that represents God #1 – don’t call it “God” if that word bothers you too much.

In concluding his post, Katz writes:

In a previous LRC post I wrote “In these desperate times, I feel the two actions that are essential are to take courage and to pray.”

I offered something similar, here, taken from Jesus: prayer and fasting.  Katz continues:

Clearly, I should also add “and to garden.”

Returning to the broader conversation today: the participants, knowingly or not, are in search of natural law.  Until they get to this, the conversation will only get dragged into the circling drain that the participants are attempting to avoid.

Today’s philosophers need to learn something from the ploughman.  The ploughman understands that every being has a purpose, a purpose that gives it meaning.  The horse has a purpose, as does the cow, the plow, and the seed.  Each must fulfill its purpose if it is to have any meaning.

It is just as true for man.

Conclusion

Natural Law.  This is where I ended in my search for liberty.  Murray Rothbard has concluded the same thing, well before I did…as I find always the case on every topic I that explore

As mentioned, natural law is available to and discoverable even by those who cringe at the word “Christian” or “Catholic.”  It is also discoverable solely through Scripture, for those who believe it to be contrary to anything Biblical or who believe that the only place one should look for such truths is the Bible.

For those who cannot stand even the idea of God #1, Hans Hoppe has offered his Argumentation Ethics.  As Hoppe puts it, his purpose is not to replace natural law, but is specifically aimed at those who can’t stand the idea of a higher authority.

Personally, I don’t believe natural law and liberty are sustainable without such an idea of this higher authority held by a large portion of the population in any given polity.  I also find the idea of liberty through an adherence to natural law is possible only with the grounding offered through Christianity.  Certainly history has proven this so, as the idea exists only in fragments in other cultures and traditions but nowhere else in whole. 

This isn’t just dumb luck.

48 comments:

  1. Dear BM,
    Thank you for your discussion of my article. It can go without saying because I have noted it many times in other articles that I have learned much from your blog (and the regular commentators) and follow it closely. I totally agree that recognition of the Natural Law is critical. One regular commentator at Paul Vanderklay's channel is Karl Gruner who makes a Natural Law argument from a scientific/agnostic point of view. He has also been a guest on Paul's channel.
    Best wishes,
    Ira

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    1. Ira, you write in a manner that paints music; I have no other way to describe it. Your writing pulls on the heart. I really do appreciate it.

      Regarding Karl, he and I have exchanged a few times at PVK's channel in the comments. Yes, we see things similarly when it comes to the value of natural law.

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  2. What a great post - thank you.

    Understanding happiness as "beatitudo," living the blessed life, man’s purpose, is fundamental. This talk from Peter Kreeft puts the beatitudes front and center, in contrast to “modern happiness” - should clear up a lot of confusion.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp0tIhW1YyY

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    1. Nat, it is a worthwhile talk. Thank you for sharing it.

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  3. I see the Biblical God as both God #1 and God #2, being both immanent and transcendent. If that sounds strange. I would add there are other characteristics He possesses that are just as hard to fathom like the fact that He is 3 in 1. He defies our natural ability to perceive in some ways.

    Another word used to describe God's immanence is Providence. I actually like that idea better. It is through His providence that he superintends things on the earth even while existing outside of time and space.

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  4. I commented on William Langland's Medieval poem "Pier's Plowman", or at least Christopher Dawson's take on it, in your post from March 21, 2020 entitled, "Addressing the Divide", but it is so much more fitting to this post. Please read my two comments again; I'm mostly quoting Dawson who is a fantastic writer, so I'm not tooting my own horn!

    Ira's critique of Weinstein and Co. fits with Dawson's critique of the failure of the "more learned and highly cultivated classes" in creating a unity of religion and culture, juxtaposed with the success of the friars who preached the Gospel in the vernacular among the common folk. Langland's poem is apparently representative of the unification of the religion and culture achieved during this time period among the working men of the High Middle Ages. It was a unification of the individualistic barbarian warrior culture and the community-based peace and love culture of Christ. It was also a reconciliation of the otherworldly Christianity of the monks and religious ascetics with the worldly everyday Christianity of the common working man.

    Perhaps there is something in this poem that can help us do the same, but with an eye for liberty that Langland, not privy to the hindsight afforded us of the subsequent rise of the state and the decline of the Christian culture, may have not had.

    This also brings me to the strategy of Rothbard compared with that of Hayek in promoting liberty. Hayek wanted to convert the intellectuals with the beauty and coherence of the libertarian theory. Murray wanted to convert the average joe by showing him how they were getting robbed... and bamboozled (I couldn't resist). I think it's pretty clear that Murray has had the more enduring legacy.

    Anyway, a copy of the poem can be found here, but it is written in Old English. Godspeed to any intrepid soul who endeavors to read it.

    "Langland's poem is the last and in some respects the most uncompromising expression of the medieval ideal of the unity of religion and culture. He realized more clearly than the poets and more intensely than the philosophers that religion was not a particular way of life but the way of all life, and that the divine love which is "the leader of the Lord's folk of heaven" is also the law of life upon earth." - Christopher Dawson

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  5. This issue about philosophers that have never worked with their hand, particulary as farmers, be suspect parallels my way of thinking. To understand manyof the parables one must have, at least, some rudimentary knowledge of farming.

    The law of the harvest is one example "you reap what you sow" brings also to mind that the reaping occur when the field is full for the harvest, at some time a while later.

    Another thing about Mathew 12 is that they were walking through a field during the Sabbath. How far they can walk on the Sabbath is also regulated. Were the Pharisees also violating the Sabbath regulation and could only raise the issue of plucking "heads of grain and to eat" without condemning themselves? Using a different measure so as to not to condment themselves.

    The disciples were not condemend by the Lord of the Sabbath.

    In another context:

    Mathew 31
    28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
    29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
    30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.
    31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
    “The first,” they answered.
    Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

    Which reminded me of (yes, I like Keith Green's music, a lot)

    To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice
    by Keith Green
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xNHiRXnFyg

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    1. I like Blake Shelton's "God's Country". This encapsulates the everyman's experience of the Christian South fairly well and the traditional history of it.

      "Right outside of this one church town
      There's a gold dirt road to a whole lot of nothin'
      Got a deed to the land, but it ain't my ground
      This is God's country"

      Christian natural law concept of property.

      "We pray for rain, and thank Him when it's fallen
      'Cause it brings a grain and a little bit of money
      We put it back in the plate
      I guess that's why they call it God's country"

      Trust in and gratitude toward God for providing a living.

      "I saw the light in the sunrise
      Sittin' back in a 40 on the muddy riverside
      Gettin' baptized in holy water and 'shine
      With the dogs runnin"

      Seeing God in the beauty of nature and holiness in the everyday mundane experiences.

      "Saved by the sound of the been found
      Dixie whistled in the wind, that'll get you Heaven bound"

      Whistling Dixie will get you Heaven bound? Doesn't he know the Confederate South were a bunch of irredeemable white supremacists? Sheesh.

      "The Devil went down to Georgia but he didn't stick around. This is God's country"

      If only.

      "We turned the dirt and worked until the week's done
      We take a break and break bread on Sunday
      And then do it all again
      'Cause we're proud to be from God's country (yeah, yeah)"

      Working hard and honoring the Sabbath, unapologetically.

      "I don't care what my headstone reads
      Or what kind of pinewood box I end up in
      When it's my time, lay me six feet deep
      In God's country (yeah, yeah)"

      A nice dismissal of materialism and intellectualism.

      Only comparable song I can think of that exemplifies the honest workman Christian is "Country Boy Can Survive" by Hank Williams Jr. Also a great song.

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  6. "I also find the idea of liberty through an adherence to natural law is possible only with the grounding offered through Christianity. Certainly history has proven this so, as the idea exists only in fragments in other cultures and traditions but nowhere else in whole.

    This isn’t just dumb luck."

    Maybe, precise meanings matter. It is also not dumb luck that the strongest pulls towards tyranny/nihilism are all sequalae of the uniquely Western Judeo-Christian currents, too.

    "Peterson is the one who really brought this conversation to the fore. He certainly understood that western society has stripped western man of any meaning."

    Western man also did this to man everywhere else. Man everywhere else did not do this to western man. The split between subject/object and the flight into rationalising discursiveness are certainly not native Oriental features.

    Christianity's unique insistence that fidelity to the Law could be fulfilled by putting everything on the side of "Faith and Love", instead of balancing these aspects, was for sure a very fruitful reduction. Perhaps it was one with deep long term consequences too.

    "Liberty" and "Law" can and should be the one thing at essence, that is what Natural Law deeply understood and instantiated means. However, trying to get to Natural Law by throwing out the Laws of the past/one's existing community will only give you a form of liberty that is constantly cutting the world in half, each new split making a new enemy out of the rest. Prejudice and the perceptual wilful blindness comes to rule the day on all sides instead. "Certainly history has proven..." becomes a very dangerous thing to rest on, when unbiased perception itself is that which has been lost.

    In conclusion, the angle taken in relation to all this is understandable sir, and one which your direct opponents will do well to understand. I fear it will also get you and the West utterly nowhere on its own.

    There are alternatives to doubling down... if you could but see it. If you can't see it, surely there are identifications acting as idols blocking proper investigations.

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    1. If it is a contest to see who can come up with the largest liability side of the balance sheet when it comes to the West, I offer the following:

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/p/bu2b-brought-up-to-believe.html

      If it is a matter of the largest asset side of the balance sheet, the West holds a singularly unique position.

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    2. Anon,

      Alternatives which are??? What is the "proper investigation" we should be having if not the traditions of Christianity and liberty in the West?

      I will agree that the West has had the most powerful ideas in almost every direction, including along the axis of good and evil. Perhaps the East beats the West in spiritual asceticism, but we certainly had our world-renouncing mystics as well.

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    5. ====
      "If it is a matter of the largest asset side of the balance sheet, the West holds a singularly unique position."

      Bionic, I think contests of assets/liabilities are not a good angle.  All occurs by God's/Heaven's/The Unconditioned's Will, I think all but all Traditions agree on the power of Providence there, so how one can best instantiate this fact as a being becomes much more important than external measuring schema.  

      Besides this, how one evaluates (if one takes Jordan Peterson seriously) depends on (the degree of growth past) one's own value structure and "constitutional biases".   Praxeology shows us what is considered asset and liability in the first place (even if not the case in God's Judgement) is very much subjective or intersubjective.  As Jordan Peterson says in his "Conscientiousness" lecture, if you imagine yourself to be able to be a detached observer of the phenomena around you, or as Jonathan Pageau says about Symbology, intepreting patterns whilst not realising you are not outside the pattern, then you are all but certainly deluded.  Or from Tom Holland, to realise that "secular modern values" are really Christian values, so that assessment of the non Christian by modern basis is tautological.

      What one does with that realisation then becomes the marker of those truly able to repent from error, when the signs and consequences are there to be read.  Arrogance and a "contest" mindset, maybe especially arrogance about love, is a large stumbling block.  I believe you wrote not that long ago about the arrogance of the West as a reason for its current inability to resolve existing internal struggles?

      ===

      Texan, an alternative is to be consistent with the Messiah's call to "Love your enemy", where real love is impossible without understanding them from their own point of view.  Justification or Judgement is not for us, I believe our highest calling to be one of advocacy.  That covers what I mean by investigation.  If Due Diligence is due, but for some reason never paid, even if the self interest in doing so is clear, perceptual error (what JBP infers is a core aspect of sin) is indicated.

      "Perhaps the East beats the West in spiritual asceticism, but we certainly had our world-renouncing mystics as well."
        
      The highest I think is not about "asceticism" as that is now popularly understood, especially for this Age. That's why Buddha spoke of his dispensation only lasting 500 years.  To take up our cross, to be in this world but not of it, is to hold to the Eternal whatever happens to us or the world.  In the midst of difficult discussion, in the midst of eating, making love, fighting, being tortured, offended, etc, to maintain a serenity that is never shaken.  This isn't a technique, this is usefully seen as a proof of "authority" and Knowledge, vs Pharasaic knowledge.  Instantiation again, as JBP would say.  Whoever of our own People's history achieved whatever in this regards compared to others, is less important as how we ourselves are doing in it.  A flaw (advantage in resisting repentance) of the "contest" framework, perhaps.

      ===

      Roger, perhaps it is useful to hold the definition meant loosely.  Like to assume the unity of what I have written first, or at least entertain its possibility, and then find what definition works the most consistently.  This has a better chance to overcome perceptual blinders than trying to work "atoms upwards" so to speak. I want to propose that understanding a true "Other" is impossible if one insists on thinking only in this way. Again, perhaps this is an "advantage" in defending certain identity structures.

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    6. Hello again all,

      If I can put it all another way that brings us back to Mr Katz's point - gardening is one of those areas where the rubber hits the road. If we are abstractly defending identities and definitions, the tendency is for our connection to natural rhythms to be off and for our endeavours to here to fail. Perceptual blinders become mercifully magnified, even as mechanical methods/conscientious mindsets can be utilised to run roughshod over such signs... for a while.

      Parenting (esp homeschooling) well, in a way that you successfully midwife your own children to be exactly who God made them to be, is another. The balance and integration of Mercy and Guidance.

      To have one's or one's peoples' flaws pointed out is not necessarily a matter of contest, even if this perception is normal (worldly). For a man bent towards repentance, the characteristic response can be gratitude to God for sending such a sign - including the sign that contest (and responding with doubling down) seems to be all one sees in this.

      God bless.

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    7. Using Jordan Peterson or Jonathan Pageau to deny objective value in ethics doesn't work very well.

      Understanding God's will as a denial of objective value in ethics doesn't work well either.

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    8. Agreed. So the questions becomes, what are the blinders in place that want to come to the certain (non investigative, doubling down) conclusion that is what is being expressed here?

      What if instead above all it may be a call to be more consistent with Christ's message of Love and understanding of Other, in order to defeat the arrogance, not that objective ethics exists, but that the true ethically objective view happens to be one's own?

      As JBP says about the Right and the Left, conversation and respectful investigation between those of different constitutional biases is essential for a working community. Community as echo chamber of people that share your bias certainly looks and feels like objectivity, and is an understandable situation when all sides cling on to that feeling of being on the side of ethical objectivity, for whatever reason of internal fragility. I mean clearly that's what the mass of BLM believes too.

      Such fragility is not the way, let's call it, the objective reality of Faith instantiates in an individual or community.

      Let's none of us underestimate how radical Christ's message still is, especially clear in the Sermon on the Mount. To turn the other cheek properly, is so much more than to physical injury, maybe it's actually much harder to do for the verbal and emotional. Maybe it's actually impossible for us human creatures... but for God's Mercy and Guidance, in living Christ's example.

      God Bless.

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    9. "What if instead above all it may be a call to be more consistent with Christ's message of Love and understanding of Other"

      Yes, I Have addressed this in my original post via a link. So I do not understand your point.

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  7. Throughout the Bible God never calls anybody to "natural law." You confuse "natural law" with "general revelation," which tells us only enough of God's power, wrath, and sovereignty, etc., to drive us to the "specific revelation" of the Bible.

    Throughout the Old Testament, God never said, "Return my people to Natural Law." No, he was constantly indicting Israel for rejecting the Mosaic law, summarized in Exodus 20-24 -- The Mosaic Constitution.

    Jesus likewise in Matthew 5: "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets"

    Pagan nations around Israel were likewise obligated to obey God's law -- not natural law. Even the Egyptians knew enough about God's law to capitalize the Hebrew slaves when they departed in the Exodus. The first two chapters of Amos indict all the nations around Israel for violating God's law, before Amos turns his guns on Judah and Israel.

    Forget Natural Law. It's a dead end street.

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    1. God never said "Trinity" either.

      Try this if you want to have a meaningful discussion, which I linked to in this piece specifically for responses like yours; perhaps you just missed it:

      http://bionicmosquito.blogspot.com/2020/08/natural-law-sola-scriptura.html

      To your other comments, these might be worth discussing if you show good faith in this discussion.

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    2. Unknown,

      You need some Thomas Aquinas in your life.

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    3. A word invented to represent a concept does not invalidate the concept.

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    4. Semantics. God's Law is the Natural Law. He is your and nature's creator. What else would Natural Law be? And who disagrees that things like the Ten Commandments aren't Universal truths. Nobody wants to be murdered, robbed, raped, of sacrificed to a false god. This was true before the TC were etched into tablets. The Bible wasn't written in English nor does it come with tips for clarifying the English translation. You gotta do some interpreting. No sense arguing over inane semantics of some 3rd generation translation. The message is the same. Am I wrong?

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    5. Jaime, I agree.

      Anon, if I understand your meaning, you are not wrong. Natural Law is quite Scriptural, as I have written.

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    6. Semantics is the study of meaning. The term can be used to refer to subfields of several distinct disciplines including linguistics, philosophy, and computer science.

      Lots of semantics, everywhere, for to listen and understand what is written or spoken its meaning must be discerned.


      Romans 2
      (snip)
      12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
      (snip)

      You are correct that God does not call anybody to Natural Law but God did establish His natural order which we can discover. Those discoveries we call laws. If you jump from atop the Empire State Building you will die from the sudden stop. We call that myysterious force that compels the body to fall gravity. We call the ground that does not yield splatt. God did not call you to gravity, it simply is because God made it so. Is the Law of the harvest valid? God does not call you to it. It simply is.

      I disagree with your "Forget Natural Law. It's a dead end street." Natural law provides a means to establish a basis that might open people that reject ab initio any claims that Scripture is revealed truth. I have tried to speak with people with whom we had no common worldview and understanding. There was no way to communicate. Natural Law, or whatever term you want to use, at least, gives us some way to hopefully live in peace with each other. Unfortunately, living at peace with some people that follow certain philosophies is impossible.

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  8. It's a well crafted point. It had to be because it all started with Rush lyrics. I keep screaming from the rooftops that were all stuck in feedback loops. Even LRC and many of it's contributors. They can tell you what's wrong, but ask for a solution and you get vague libertarian absolutes. Ask them why they keep telling you what's wrong without a solution and they get pissed. That's why I love this article. STOP talking to hear yourself talk. STOP dumping your view of what you see as the problem on everyone else. STOP being a slave to the very thing propogating it. Turn off your TV, phone and computer and live YOUR life. I promise you within 2 days you will no longer care what's going on in Syria. You won't care about Nancy Pelosis haircut. Find what's good in the world by enjoying the genuine thing that you enjoy. People follow a leader. You may think leadership means having 100000 Twitter disciples but nothing could be further from the truth. Leadership is finding the thing that makes the world good and doing it to great enjoyment. This will attract far more interest and following than your idiotic Tweet, no matter how clever you thought it was. Even if someone totally gets it, they're never going to do anything but retweet it. People are so desperate for something that feels real now, THAT ISNT MORE EMPTY WORDS. All these riots are nothing more than that. Real bottles thrown at real cops by real people. It's about the only real thing left when you've abandoned faith and family and country for empty narratives. Why? Spend the time you would use consuming media to do something real. Be THAT influencer. Unless you've been to Syria, everything you see and hear on TV about it is nothing more than someone creating your reality for you. Why and for what purpose of yours? Create and expand your reality with things you care about. Do them well and for the glory of God and others will follow your example. I've come to the conclusion that while the internet and social media were a nice novelty and convenience for a while, nobody really wants this new reality but nobody has the guts to say it. We're all miserable and looking for things we had and surrendered. Take back real life. Leave the fake world behind. God gave you majesty and beauty and the ability to appreciate them. The internet gave you pretty much the exact opposite. Come back to what is real. You'll love it here.

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    1. "...but ask for a solution and you get vague libertarian absolutes."

      Are you reading the same LRC that I am reading?

      "Unless you've been to Syria, everything you see and hear on TV about it is nothing more than someone creating your reality for you."

      Of course, there are other possibilities. Like knowing many people displaced by events in places like Syria.

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    1. “There is a lot of contrast between some of the comments above.”

      You can say that again. Thanks for the comment and grounding back into scripture.

      A recently posted (not necessarily recent) talk from Rupert Sheldrake might offer a way to “shake it off” and re-focus/clarify some of the “enlightenment”/cultural differences.

      Angels: A talk with Father Bede Griffiths

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hedOJopxbLo

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    4. Roger, are we not to discuss in order to try to understand, to teach, to come to some agreement? If it all is as simple as revelation to the elect, why bother getting in God's way? Why bother with anything?

      Men for more learned than I am have been struggling with understanding for 2000 years. Is it a waste of time?

      Am I missing your point?

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    1. Roger, I think the difficulty or issue is that we are still human vessels. We can be confused, we can be led astray; also, none of us should feel completely certain in our understanding. There is no doubt, I feel it safe to say, that both Peter and Paul had the Spirit of God, yet the two of them tangled.

      We take wisdom in counsel. As to my sincerity and honesty, I guess each can judge. I am doing my best, and readily admit my shortcomings or lack of understanding. I have learned a great deal from those who comment here, and my views have evolved because of this.

      I have been writing for ten years with no advertising and no outside income supporting this effort. Believe me, if someone was paying me to deceive, he would not be happy with my meager success regarding page views or followers.

      Do I have concern about wolves in sheep's clothing here? If one comments in a respectful manner, I try to weigh it against my understanding and the feedback from others. I don't know what else to do.

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    2. Roger,

      "If He gives me His spirit in order for me to be able to hear His voice and understand His words, I don't believe I will be confused. Am I wrong here?"

      But how do you know you're listening to the Spirit of God and not a different spirit? I'm asking because I don't know, but here is my strategy:

      1) The truth must be internally consistent (like a story with a plot that makes sense).

      2) The truth is always coherent with other external truths (timeless Divine revelation fits with disciplined reason, ancient or modern).

      3) Truth in ethical matters resonates with what we know in our hearts to be good (we have a natural aversion to what is wrong).

      4) The truth regarding our nature and our existence in the world is universal and immutable ("and there is no new thing under the sun" -Ecc 1:9).

      5) The truth regarding our proper course of action is to be found within the confines of the teachings of Jesus, His Apostles, and the timeless virtues of temperance, fortitude, justice, wisdom, faith, hope, and charity.

      6) The truth bears fruit in the real world, and there should be a historical record of it to examine (as Christianity fades among the citizenry, the State ascends and vice versa).

      "He is also able to preserve His message in it's most perfect and important form."

      He is able, but is this what He actually did? One problem I have struggled with in my study of the Bible is that God never wrote His words or His laws down with His own hands. Jesus never, after delivering a parable, said, "write that down." He let His words be filtered through the hands of men in their own good time.

      Now, He could have guided the authors of the Gospels and the Epistles or the prophets of the Old Testament so that each word was absolutely perfect, but that doesn't seem to be His way; He gave us free will after all. If we were all made perfect, it'd be quite a boring experiment (life without conflict and suffering is life without meaning).

      The Bible was written and compiled by men and is therefore subject to the same fallibility that corrupts everything else man touches. Does this mean I regard the Bible as a book of lies? Of course not. I am a Christian, and I regard the Bible as the best source of truth we have. And I don't discount the words of those who came after the time of Jesus who spent their lives thinking about what it means to be a Christian either. I revere (not worship) the Saints and others of great wisdom. There is undoubtedly much truth in them as well (Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, C.S. Lewis, etc.).

      But clearly, we were made imperfect for a reason, and God may have had reason to make our Book imperfect as well.

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    3. For what it's worth, I will without hesitation vouch for Bionic Mosquito's sincerity in his search for truth. I've watched his positions on matters of liberty develop for several years as he has been led by what seems irrefutably true. Most of the truths he arrives at are 'hard truths', and this is another of my barometers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is (for instance: "The NAP is all you need." Nope. There's so much more.).

      My only exception to this last test is the promise of God. It sounds too good to be true, but it fulfills all my other truth tests, and it requires in addition the virtue of humility. It takes a childlike faith to believe in a Heavenly Father, but I choose to do it anyway.

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    4. There is one Spirit of God. This I believe to be true. There are also 7.5 billion people on this earth who are created in the Spirit and Image of God, every one of them different. There are not, never have been, and never will be two people who hear the Spirit of God and come to the same understanding every time. There are, have always been, and always will be disagreement about what the Spirit is saying and what that Word means.

      God understands Himself fully and with perfect clarity and objectivity. We understand God (and ourselves) somewhat less fully, quite subjectively, and, as the Apostle Paul said, "...through a glass darkly." Some of us have better vision than others, but no one has ever arrived at or even come close to perfect understanding.

      This fact should instill humility in us. Too often, though, it breeds arrogance. We tend to judge others based on what we think we know and this judgement is a major cause of the trouble between us. We can and should judge the actions of people towards others, but we cannot and never should make a judgement about their heart condition. God reserves that prerogative to Himself.

      "My problem seems to come when I find people who claim to know the meaning of God's word when that meaning is based on something that is, in truth, not God's word."

      Roger, I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Can you give us a 'for instance', an example?

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    7. Roger,

      I have to admit one mistake. There are not 7.5 billion people on Earth right now. There are actually more than 7.8 billion. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

      This is a fact.

      It is also a fact that no two individuals are exactly alike. Even identical twins have differences. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328151740.htm

      It is also my belief that because of our differences, no two people are going to hear the Spirit in exactly the same way every time. I am quite certain about this and, in fact, I am willing to declare this as fact.

      Like it or not, these are the facts and you can argue or disagree all day long, but it won't change anything.

      Anything else?

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    8. roc (to avoid confusion): thank you for the shout out on BU2B.

      As to the rest: I think it is the height of arrogance to shrug off what has been passed to us through 2000 years of scholarship and tradition. Do you want to discount the idea that man - all men and all women - are made in the image of God? If you don't have a simple retort, start a blog site and start explaining.

      Do you want to ignore that Peter and Paul had a disagreement? I don't even know what to do with this.

      And you are unable to provide answers to Roger's request: "Whatever example I might offer would be based upon God's Word as I am able to access it."

      Well, who says that the way in which you are able to access it has any more validity than anyone else commenting at this site.

      You write as if there is one infallible truth (there is), and that all who have been given the spirit know this truth perfectly (nonsense, at least for us humans that believe we have been so blessed).

      Nonsense. I have no better word. Peter, preaching just after the Holy Spirit came to him, would agree.

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    10. Yet you continue to ignore reasonable inquiries.

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    1. It's enough. I think it's time to end this conversation. You are one person offering one person's opinion.

      Scriptural understanding isn't so simple as "see, I have this verse." Even the strongest blasphemers can find individual verses to support their views.

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