Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Halloween!

No post today, cuz I am lazy.  Have fun!  And remember that Nov 1 is all Saint's Day!  Holy Day of Obligation!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prudential Judgement

One of the phrases that gets thrown about in the Catholic blogsphere with reckless abandon is "prudential judgement."  This phrase when used properly distinguishes that which Catholics can legitimately disagree about.  But often times it is used as a short hand for "I can believe whatever I want."

Prudential judgement comes from the virtue of Prudence, which is used when making decisions about everyday life in conformance with the Church's teachings.  It is more than that however.  It is also the virtue of determining the good and evil in things, and knowing what one ought to do and what one should avoid.

When used properly prudential judgement is a key virtue in living our lives.  It allows us to live by the Faith in everyday actions and informs the decisions we make in order to derive the most good out of a given situation.  It also allows us to discern what is good and what is bad, allowing us to make sense of situations where the good is hidden or evil that lies in wait.

What it does not mean is that decisions that are of prudential judgement cannot be either right or wrong.  It means that unlike things that go against the Faith directly matters of prudential judgement require reason and discipline to find the good and avoid the evil.  There is still good to be had and evil to avoid.

Prudential matters involve questions such as "what is a just wage?" and "how can we best improve the lot of the poor?"  These questions are difficult and require understanding of the particular circumstances as well as the moral principles of social justice.  As a result people of good faith can disagree about the answers to such questions.

What it does not mean is that there is not a right or wrong answer.  There is such a thing as a just wage for our current circumstances.  There is a right and proper way to help the poor.  While these things are the subject of much debate, there are correct answers to them.

What all of this means is that while matters may require prudential judgement, it does not mean that matters of prudential judgement are places where relativism resides.  We do not have the luxury of simply pretending that what we want to be true is true.  Matters of prudential judgement still have a right and wrong answer.  And it is our moral duty to discern the correct answers to such questions for our time.

It is one of the strange ironies that relativism has rendered discussions about prudential judgement as hostile as they are today.  Relativism promises that there is no real truth.  So we should not get so worked up over disagreements.  Yet our political discourse is hotter than ever.  This is because of two reasons.  One is our pride and we hate to be wrong.  The other is that deep down we know that these things matter even if we've forgotten why.

Prudence however is a virtue that reminds us of the importance of truth in our everyday lives.  It calls us to use our reason and to discern the good in all decisions.  We owe to to God, our fellow man, and ourselves to discern and work for the good that exists in all of our decisions.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The new blacklist

For all the complaining about McCarthyism, the Left has now fully embraced the strategy they once decried.

Collective Guilt Part 5

This is the fifth part in the series on collective guilt.  It has been a while so for those who follow my blog should read up on the previous four sections.  And once again as stated in the first section this is simply my own musings and am open to correction where my thought may not be in line with Catholic teaching on the subject provided one can demonstrate such.

We last discussed this question we pondered if one who was under another's authority could be punished for the sins of the superior.  We finished by asking the question:
But how is this fair?  And when has this principle ever been applied?
The nature of authority presumes its existence is for the benefit of those under the charge of the superior.  Our world naturally organizes itself into a hierarchy of persons responsible for decisions that range from those that have minimal impact to very wide ranging consequences.  The hierarchy exists not only for beneficial reasons but given situations a necessity.

This hierarchy exists for the benefit of all in theory.  One can see this in the family, where the parents by nature have dominion over their children.  This authority is for the benefit of the child, as the child is not able to interact with society at the level necessary for survival on their own.  While this may seem trivial, when one thinks about it the family reveals at a very basic level the notions of authority as they are meant to be.  It is no accident that the Church calls the family the fundamental unit of society.

If we clearly derive benefits from authority and the proper use of such it only stands to reason that the improper use of authority can be punished and that punishment can be enforced on those under the authority abuser.  The fact that we benefit from the proper use of authority practically demands that the punishment for abuse of that authority be distributed in a similar manner.  To not have some form of punishment distribution would be a violation of justice, not its execution.

Having said this it must be pointed out that oftentimes the "punishment" for the abuse of authority happens naturally.  The employees whose corrupt CEO who runs a company into the ground are deprived of their livelihood.  The child of the father who goes to jail is deprived of their natural provider.  The teacher who neglects their duty to teach deprives the students of an education.  Oftentimes the nature of the sin results in the punishment of those under the authority of the sinner on its own, requiring no further action due to the fallout of the sins themselves.

Other times however further action is justified.  An aggressor state that is defeated in a war should be forced to pay reparations.  Employees who directly benefited from corruption but otherwise not involved may be required to pay some compensation for cheated customers.  And in an example that hits close to home, a church can be forced to make restitution for the sins of the pastor.

All of these are legitimate examples of those who are punished for the sins of the one in authority.  And in such cases the punishment is demanded by justice instead of being against justice.  This does not mean that direct action needs to be taken, as the fallout from the punishment of the authority can harm those under their charge.

Next I will discuss the origins of this arrangement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A virus for good

I probably need this:

On the concept of "personhood"

Personhood is often invoked as a yardstick for determining if a member of the species homo sapiens deserves the protection of the state.  The problem as always with such concepts that deny rights to humans is that upon inspection the concept of "Personhood" breaks down.  The proponents of abortion will cite Personhood as the thing which a fetus lacks, and thus can be "terminated" without violating the right to life of "persons".  But when asked for a definition is when things begin to go south.

Personhood has no real definition.  Unlike the distinction between the color of skin, ethnicity, age, geography, and sex the concept of Personhood has no distinguishable traits that mark a fetus as a "person" vs. a "non-person".  This is not to say that traits won't be invoked.  As a whole however Personhood as an operational definition is poorly defined, especially for the potential stakes at play.

Before we look at the real problem with the term let us examine some traits that are marshaled toward its definition.  A problem will become apparent soon enough:

The ability to feel pain - This is often the first trait that is invoked to distinguish "persons" from the fetus.  This is obviously problematic given conditions such as the inability to feel pain in otherwise "fully formed" humans. This is often the first metric to be countered and dropped like a hot potato in discussion.  More on this afterwards.

Cognition - This is the closest thing approaching actual philosophical thought given modernist assumptions about mental activity and what it means to be human.  The problem is that this is invoked not for cognition per se but brain wave activity.  The two are not the same, despite materialists tendencies to convince us otherwise.

The main problem with using cognition as a metric is that cognition is a relative quality when it comes to our ability to perceive it.  So folks with Down's Syndrome for example would appear to be less worthy of life because of lower cognitive abilities, something which normal people would reject.  As a side note this is not always the case, see Nazi Germany and "life unworthy of life".

Viability - Ironically the weakest yet the one that comes up most often in discussions about abortion.  The best definition I have of this is the likelihood of the fetus living outside the womb.  The silliness of this metric is the fact that the ability for the fetus to survive keeps improving as medical technology advances.  Which means not only is viability not static but relative but it isn't even dependent on the fetus itself.  Let's think about that for a minute.  This is supposedly a metric to determine Personhood, yet the metric doesn't involve the fetus at all.

The real problem with this type of thinking is that realistically speaking it isn't even about the fetus.  The pro-abortion mind throws these things out in an attempt to deny the humanity of the fetus.  First pain is usually cited then dropped real fast when the disorder cited above is mentioned.  Then cognition.  Then viability.

The line of thinking presented is not about determining what exactly personhood is.  It is an attempt to justify abortion by "squishifying" what it means to be human in order to justify abortion post hoc.  Personhood is not a legitimate distinction, but is simply a means to an end to dispose of "non-persons" that meet the arbitrary metrics.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Quote of the day

Courtesy of Dr. Edward Fesser's blog.  From a commenter:

I have not read Noe's post, but both of the other hostile reviews display a common tendency with naturalists. First, they point out the successes of the natural sciences, where the criteria of success are wholly pragmatic and utilitarian. Then, they tell us that because the sciences are pragmatically successful, we must defer to them for our metaphysics. So they justify scientism by appeal to purely practical considerations, while demanding that we derive our theoretical conception of the world from science on those grounds alone. 
I find this maneuver infuriating; they want play pragmatist on defense and then they want to turn around and play realist on offense. But nowhere do they ever try to seriously defend the inference from "science is really pragmatically successful" to "science tells what the world is really like." All we ever get are vague declarations about "successful research programs" and our "best theory of the world." (As if there was such a thing)

The right to be insane

One of the lines coming from the Obama camp is a play on fears of Christians about Romney's Mormonism. It is a strange play for a number of reasons, such as attempting to induce Catholics to assent to what amounts to anti-Mormon bigotry given the rocky history of Catholicism in the U.S.

This got me to thinking however.  Would I rather have a Mormon than a secularist in the Oval Office.  Much like Oogway warns in Kung Fu Panda, "One often meets his destiny trying to avoid it".

By trying to get me to dislike Romney for being a Mormon I find that now I have another reason for why a Catholic might vote for Romney (not that I am mind you, but it is a thought).

The reasoning goes like this.  A Mormon believes in the supernatural.  A Mormon believes in the notion of a Divine Law.  A Mormon knows that some things lie beyond them, yet are bound by such things that transcend our complete understanding.

Obviously these are generalities.  The theology of Mormonism is "out there" when it comes to the spectrum of religious ideas.  But while the Mormon make look in a very different direction than most do, they are at least looking out beyond themselves and see something along the horizon.

Secular atheists have no such orientation.  For them law is based "purely" on empirical reasoning and rational analysis.  To search outside of the mind for any insight into Man and morality is a fool's errand.

Religion to such a mind is at best a curious superstition to a dangerous mental disease.  It regards religion as a relic of the past, and should be regulated to the private sphere.  The role of religion in the public sphere is at best minor and at worst non-existent.

Such a mindset has no interest in preserving religious freedom.  To say that one has "religious liberty" is akin to saying that one has the right to own a unicorn.  That religious ideas should have a say in forming public policy sounds like madness.

This is why a secular mind to me is more dangerous to religious liberty than someone who's theology is may be off in a variety of ways.  When a thing is not respected, the right to act on that thing is not respected as well.  It only makes sense.


Still better than the actual candidates.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Religious liberty is more than you think

Religious liberty has more or less taken a back seat to the economy in this election cycle, which is somewhat predictable given that it is hard to think about principles and fundamental truths when you are worried when the next meal may come.  While the economic situation isn't in such dire straights for most anxiety is the order of the day.

Part of the problem is that religious liberty has been so dumbed down in the public mind that Obama's "freedom of worship" is what people think of rather than the actual "freedom of religion."  The two couldn't be more different.

Religious freedom is the first right of the American citizen.  Recognized as a natural and inalienable right by the Founders, this principle is the bedrock from which all other rights flow.  The religion is the center of the moral viewpoint, and the practice of such is what distinguishes the human from the animal.

The Founders understood this when drafting the Declaration of Independence.  While the backgrounds of these men were diverse they understood the foundations of natural rights and the paramount importance of religion in society.  Far from modern secular arguments would hold, religion was to have a prominent place in the public square.

Most of the confusion lies around the First Amendment, or rather the modern man's interpretation of such.  If we are to believe what secularists would say about it the First Amendment was to protect the government from religious people influencing the laws of the land.  While ridiculous this actually carries clout in some circles under the (also misunderstood) guise of "separation of Church and State."

Let us examine the text:

The bold is mine, as it pertains to the discussion about religious liberty with regards to the HHS mandate.  Right now I will simply restate that the HHS mandate violates the bolded part of the First Amendment by forcing religious institutions to compromise their faith on life to execute their beliefs in helping the poor.  This is the work of a tyrant, not a President.

The italicized portion is where most are confused these days.  So a little background is required.  First and foremost most of the Founders came from England, where the State Church of Anglicanism was the official stance on moral issues and whatnot.  Any law that conflicted with the official religion was not allowed by virtue of that conflict.  This was a situation that the Founders wanted to avoid, had to avoid if the people were to have a say in how the laws were shaped.

The jump from saying that no religion should be established to saying that religion has no place in the public square is a non sequitur.  Yet we are to believe that any religiously based law is somehow off limits or not allowed to be passed by virtue of its origin.  This is to rob the First Amendment of its power and in actuality establish a "secular religion".

The Founders understood the importance of religion.  The purpose of the religious freedom is to allow the people to shape the laws of the land in conformance with their beliefs and their ability to convince their fellow citizens.  Thus to deprive Americans of religious background a chance to shape their laws is to violate the rights of religious citizens.

Next time I will argue why a secularist is a greater threat to religious liberty than a theocrat.  For the moment it is sufficient to say that the current understanding of religious liberty is woefully inadequate and a threat to all our freedoms.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The search for truth in the modern age

I spend a lot of time dumping on modern thought, mostly because of the poisonous effects it has on minds and thinking.  But also because it throws up huge irrational roadblocks to the truth of Christ that every man deserves to hear without the illogical and hateful attitude that inspires most of the ills that effect our thinking.

It was C. F. J. Martin who (as a paraphrase) said that the philosophers of the past issue a challenge to us today.  A challenge to prove that moderns have correct ideas and that the ancients are wrong.  Moderns fail at the challenge on a daily basis, mostly because they assume that since we came after them temporally we are somehow smarter.  Yet in reading both I have yet to see any evidence of that axiom.

The world tries to convince us that the Truth is dead.  Timeless truth however is just that, timeless.  And we owe it to ourselves to give it that opportunity to transform our lives.  To do otherwise is to twist our minds against their natural purpose.

There is always hope on the horizon.  Like a light that shines through the dense fog Pope Benedict, arguably the greatest moral philosopher alive at the moment, talks about the reasons for his hope for the future of Europe.  In particular:
A third reason, an empirical reason, is evident in the fact that this sense of restlessness today exists among the young. Young people have seen much - the proposals of the various ideologies and of consumerism - and they have become aware of the emptiness and insufficiency of those things. Man was created for the infinite, the finite is too little. Thus, among the new generations we are seeing the reawakening of this restlessness, and they too begin their journey making new discoveries of the beauty of Christianity; not a cut-price or watered-down version, but Christianity in all its radicalism and profundity. Thus I believe that anthropology, as such, is showing us that there will always be a new reawakening of Christianity. The facts confirm this in a single phrase: Deep foundations. That is Christianity; it is true and the truth always has a future.
I have seen this first hand in RICA classes where I have been either a sponsor or a catechist (God help them).  Even after dismissal from the Sunday night Mass, where energy is at its lowest, we can find deep passion for the truth among the youth who yearn for more than what the world offers.

We humans yearn for a deeper truth.  We crave it.  We seek it in everything we set out to do.  This is why moral relativism and the denial of objective truth will never win the day.  Humans aren't built that way.  We know in the deep recesses of our hearts that there is more than what the modern world proclaims.  We know deep in our minds that there is a Way, Truth, and we hope for a Life beyond what we are told is all there is.

The Church proclaims that Truth.  We as members of the Body of Christ are God's witnesses to the deep truth that mankind yearns for.  The world needs His message now more than ever.  It craves it now more than ever.  We have a great deal to overcome.  But like Sunday's reading says:  With God, all things are possible.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Describing modern "intellectuals" to a T

John C. Wright is.  Here is the quote to end all quotes:
This was the first time I met someone with absolutely no mental or intellectual integrity at all. He could not answer an honest question. He treated inquiry into his thoughts not as the inquire of a potential buyer willing to adopt his intellectual goods, but as personal attacks against him, slurs meant to wound his ego.

I was going to write a post about Romney's problems

but Mark Shea did the work for me when considering an argument for voting for Romney by Dale Price.  Both are presented.

We can't keep going like this

"We can't keep going like this," my mother said to me during a visit to the family earlier this year. This seems to be the thought that inhabits the most these days.  Other variations such as, "Something's got to give" and "Things have to change."  Ironically it seems to be the only thing that we can agree on in the current debate.  That is ultimately why I think Obama will lose this election, despite what the polls may say leading up to it.  I could be wrong, but from where I sit this amounts to being wrong about which candidate is going to continue the downward spiral.

I have made up my mind that I will be writing in someone for President rather than voting for Romney.  Voting for Obama is out of the question with his continued war on the Church.  But just because Obama is holding a gun at the Church is not a sufficient reason to vote for Romney.  My personal feeling is that Romney will simply put the safety back on said gun.

Given that in the past I would vote for the lesser of two evils my decision seems to run counter to my natural instincts as an American voter.  From an early age we are taught the process and the political math that leads us to conclude that voting for the lesser of two evils is the safer play.  The problem I am finding is that the lesser of two evils gets a little more evil each time around the bend.  Eventually we will be forced to choose between Satan and one of his lieutenants.

The problem I see lies in our tribalism mentality about the whole thing.  We are afraid, literally, to criticize the people we vote for.  We seem to have this notion that if we do anything to rock the boat on our end that helps "the enemy."  But all that really means is that "our side" is so intellectually shallow that any criticism will blow the whole thing wide open.  It is a sign of disrespect to people when you cannot be honest about your own shortcomings.  And it is a sign of pride.

For my part this year has been a real struggle to understand my role as a Catholic and as an American citizen.  For years I never worried that the two would be in conflict.  That I could vote purely on matters that lined up with my views, or at least a party that had a better chance of reflecting my views.  But never once did I ask how such a thing affected my soul.  Obama's war against the Church only made things worse, as I felt earlier that Romney would be a better instrument to dismantle the nightmare that is Obamacare and the Leviathan that it has created.

But just because Obama supports the annihilation of the Church's institutions (or at the least it's compromising at its core) does not mean that Romney will do anything to stop the train wreck.  I have zero confidence that either party is moving in the right direction.  That the theory that the Republicans might be "less worse" than the Democrats is hardly a reason to jeopardy  my soul for the sake of the political machine that would rather ignore my existence.

So to bring this to my original point this cannot go on.  More precisely I cannot go on like this.  Something has got to give.  It might as well start with me.  I may be throwing my vote away.  But at least it cannot be corrupted if I do.  I would rather have no impact than provide justification for more evil.  And the knowledge that my soul will be intact rather than in need of reconciliation is a better comfort than the knowledge that someone got elected who might actually care about the danger the Church is in.

Christ promised us freedom if we follow Him.  What I have begun to understand is that He didn't promise freedom to do what we pleased.  But He promised that we will be true to our nature with His help.  And that means that we will truly be free.  Free from the dominating slavery of power politics.  Free from fear that however the election turns we need not fear Caesar.  True freedom is not found in the power of princes of this world.  But in the knowledge that God rules all and His people belong to Him.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ignitum Thursday

was yesterday!  You can find a link on yesterday's post.  But I usually give myself a break so no post today. Go play XCOM or something.  Like me.

The Management

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The binary debate

A thought I have been pondering lately is the attempt to answer a question that popped into my head the other day.  It is remarkably striking how similar atheist argument forms are similar to the current political argument forms.  At the heart of most of these is this notion of a false dichotomy.  Either the atheist position is correct or Christianity is correct.

Now atheists would jump out on this as a logical fallacy, and they would be correct.  However, I have found that in having this argument with atheists this dichotomy has a tendency to bleed into the discussion.

Take for example one of the arguments I frequently hear against the Second Way of Thomas Aquinas.  After much haranguing over the argument the most often criticism I hear is the following:
Even if we accept the Second Way as a valid argument, this does not prove that God is what the Christians say It is.  All you have established is that It is the First Cause. 
To which an A-T adherent responds with a hearty "Duh!"  Aquinas would be horrified if he knew people thought that was all he had to say on the matter.  In fact he spends hundreds of pages going from this understanding of God as the First Cause to deriving several properties of God (there can be only one, existence and essence are one and the same, etc).

What really strikes me about this retort is that the atheist has declared defeat with the concession.  If such a First Cause exists, the atheist position falls apart.  The Christian may or may not be right, but the atheist is certainly wrong.

I cannot help but feel the current political "thinking" plays a large role in this.  This notion that if my opponent has not proven his point completely I can still hold onto mine even if my position is collapsing beneath me.  Most political "arguments" do not defend one's position but attack one's opponents, thus implying a false dichotomy.

Is the current nature of political discussion poisoning the debate over God?  Or is the current mechanistic view of modern thought poisoning the political discussion?  Or do both stem from a different source entirely?

While many people disagree over the existence of God or what is a good tax policy no one seems to be immune from this binary thinking.  As if there are only two sides to any question.  And I suspect that my own thinking in the matter suffers from the same limitation (paradoxes more often than not are a sign that the theory needs to be refined).

What do you think?  As always comments are welcome provided you haven't  been already banned due to jerkitude.  Only one person has been banned to date so I think I'm pretty open to any conversation.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The end of the world

Update:  Apparently the game releases tomorrow!  But I can "pre-load" the game, thus I'm half right.  Sigh.

Western Civilization is on the rocks these days.  Economic stress, failing morality, and collapse of trust in our institutions have led to a morass of depression and self-questioning among the populace.

But....who cares?  XCOM: Enemy Unknown is coming out today!  As we speak it is downloading onto my computer.  Soon I will be saving the universe from the coming alien invasion. post today.  I'm giving myself a break.  Ciao!

Friday, October 5, 2012

When ideologies collide

Found on my Twitter account was this link to a story about a Chicago lawyer who proposes that women should have the right to abort children who have the "gay gene."  Gay rights groups are upset about this consistent piece of logic.  But really if one thinks about it and holds that women have a right to abortion for any reason (my body, my choice and all) then the lawyer's argument makes sense.

A public confession first.  My initial thought about reading the story was "See.  SEE!  This is where bad ideas lead you!"  But this is precisely the wrong attitude to have, as I was taking delight in the mental hurt that the ideologies are inflicting on others.  Mea Culpa.

What is important and perfectly right to point out is that since ideologies are isolated by nature they often tend to conflict.  In this case, "gay children" are caught in the crossfire.  Abortion rights advocates argue that no one can impose limits on a woman's choice to murder her child.  Gay rights advocates are horrified at this, as they argue (rightly so) that this simply means that gays are not to be disposed simply because they are "unwanted" or "would have a tough life due to discrimination."

This is akin to the silence of the feminists like N.O.W. regarding the "gendercide" of abortion of baby girls.  China, India, and even in "advanced" nations like England are finding that families are preferring one child and that child should be male.  There is a real unnatural imbalance in China right now (some 23 million "extra" males) who don't have a bride.  Yet this genocide of young girls is taking place without any protest and even our consent.

One thing that this does illustrate in a back handed way is how the right to life ranks at the top of the hierarchy of truths.  When the right to life is threatened, all other rights inevitably follow suit.  When we compromise on the right to life in the name of some other truth, we do damage to both.

The ideology of abortion swallows all other considerations.  Look how often it comes up.  Healthcare, legal issues, even the everyday conversations we have.  Abortion is a cancer that eats at the heart of anyone with a conscience.  We have to force ourselves to look the other way for it to even take place.  Yet it is a holocaust that dwarfs the WWII genocide of the Jews.

As long as abortion is the law of the land no right, no principle, no good is safe from its encroachment.  Evil does not bide alternatives.  It does not stop until it consumes everything in its path.  And as long as we continue to try to justify it we will undermine everything else we do right.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Series page: Problem of morality in video games

A continuing series about morality in video games:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Series page: Collective Guilt

An unfinished series on musing about collective guilt

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

The Age of Miracles

Patheos blogger Rebecca Hamilton writes about a miracle story here.  Most of the non-faithful will simply write it off as a delusion or an as-of-yet undiscovered scientific explanation.  The faith of the non-religious in science is unwavering.

But the thing about these stories is that they happen all the time.  They really do.  I open my Facebook or RSS feed and everyday I get a story like this.  Sometimes they are the same story for about two or three days.  Sometimes they are really similar such that I wonder if one is a riff of of another.  By and large there are so many of these stories that I find it next to impossible to dismiss them as coincidental.

I say next to impossible because being a natural skeptic I have to force myself to check my unreasonable bias against such stories.  When I'm actually thinking it is impossible to come to any other conclusion that there is a God and He seems interested in us.  But critical thinking even when useful leads to bad mental habits of doubting something simply because it doesn't mesh with one's experience.

In the past I would wonder why God would not perform miracles for the "unbeliever."  It seemed to me at the time the most rational thing for Him to do.  Empirical evidence and all that.

The thing I've learned over time however is that humans are not rational by nature.  In fact it requires a great of mental discipline to actually think properly.  Most people are emotional first, then use tortured reasoning to back up the emotion.  It takes time and discipline of both emotion and reason to gear our senses toward the truth.  And it is a daily struggle.

With this in mind I remember the story of Jesus visiting His hometown and would not perform a miracle due to their unbelief.  Now I see that it wouldn't matter.  The human mind is ultimately governed by the will.  And the will can and does override what should be the natural reasoning process.  If we are not careful we can put ourselves in a position where nothing could make us change our minds.

It is a wonder that we live in such an Age of Miracles and yet we try to pretend as if we do not.  There is wonder all around us.  But we choose to live the life of a false narrative.  Ultimately this is due not to reason or empirical evidence, but the fact that we are afraid of the cost of changing our minds.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cartoons about the HHS mandate

can be found here.

Series Page: On the subject of history

On historical perspectives

History: Part 1

History: Part 2

History: Part 3

History: Part 4

History: Part 5

History: Part 6

History: Part 7

History: Part 8

History: Part 9

History: Part 10

Series Page: Objective Morality

A series on common misconceptions about objective morality:

What is objective morality?

Misconception 1: Everyone would agree what is moral

Misconception 2 - Subjectivity has no role

Misconception 3 - Objective morality is not knowable

Series page: Why we need Aristotle and Aquinas

A collection of my posts regarding the need for the rediscovery of A-T metaphysics:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

The tyranny of the secular state

I have often heard the claim that America was founded as a "secular state."  Religion was specifically excluded from the Constitution because our Founders thought that a state founded on religion caused great harm to society.  Thus religion has no place in American politics.

Let us set aside the question of if "religion was so dangerous why is it the first freedom afforded to us under the Bill of Rights?"  Clearly the Founders saw some merit in religion if it appears at the top of things the government should not infringe upon.  

But let us take the claim that religion has no place in politics.  If taken to its logical conclusion this would mean that one should not legislate anything that derives from a moral viewpoint.  This is where we get that phrase that couldn't be more wrong "One cannot legislate morality."

A government that has no moral outlook is like a man without a soul.  It lacks the ability to justify why it should be allowed to prohibit or compel action on behalf of the people.  The secular government cannot justify its use of power except by the fact that it has power.

To see the point I'm driving at consider some "theocracies" of the past.  The Caliphates of the Islamic world justified their rule by appeal to the Prophet.  The Western monarchs appealed to the "Divine Right of Kings."  Both point to a higher source of that authority.  

This is not to say that these principles were followed to a T.  The point is that there was the principle to point to.  And more importantly (at least in theory) a higher power that can bind the lower authority.

The secular state has no such claim to derived authority nor any bounding on that authority.  The state seeks no justification for its actions, only what it can get away with.  It seeks no purpose for wielding that power, only that it can.  The citizens are not which are served by the state, but who serve the state.

We are now seeing the fruit of the secular state as it continues to encroach on the freedoms this country once cherished.  But it is not surprising that the state will not guard them.  It neither recognizes them nor the source from whence those freedoms came.  It is sadly, the natural course of the tyrant.