02 April, 2012

New Atheist Magical Thinking |Blogs | NCRegister.com

New Atheist Magical Thinking |Blogs | NCRegister.com

13 comments:

  1. "One of the things grownups understand is that things like the epistle to the Colossians were not written by a wizard who could wave a wand and eradicate an institution that had existed absolutely everywhere the fallen human lived since the dawn of time."

    So the author of the Epistle to the Colossians was an moral relativist with regards to slavery. I don't think the pope is going to like that.

    Rationalist1

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    1. Rationalist: What do you think is happening at the Holy Post? I know that Charlie is off on sick leave as he's had a setback with his back surgery, but it's been so long without a new article that all the comment threads have been closed after being open for 72 hrs. Strange.

      Fr. Tim

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    2. Not sure Fr. Tim. Thought it might have been because of Holy Week.

      I was seriously disappointed with Mr. Shea for that line however. Saying that the author of the Epistle to the Collossians realized there was nothing he could do about slavery so he just repeated the culturally accepted zeitgeist about it is appalling. It leaves one open to saying that about all sorts of verses in Scripture that one finds troubling. Mr. Shea was desperate. to get out of that one.

      Hope you're not tiring yourself out during Holy Week. Take some time off afterwards if you can.

      Rationalist1

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    3. you spoke too soon. There's a new post at NO.

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    4. Rationalist: Actually, the logic and argument he's making is founded in the same methodology that scripture scholars have used for hundreds of years: 'Sitz en liben'. He is placing the teaching into its historical context (zeitgeist, if you will) so as to better understand its meaning. It's the antithesis of relativism. It is an attempt to best discern what is an orthodox interpretation of what is written... to distill the essence of the teaching so that we can apply it wisely in our 21st Century times. It is an example of Mark using one of the Vatican II lodestars - 'ressourcement', a return to the original sources (or as far back as we can go - things get murky in the pre-Nicean epoch of the nascent Christian Churches) to ensure fidelity and harmony to the earliest wisdom of our Catholic Tradition.

      Today is my last break before dashing into the big Holy Week celebrations. God willing, I will be able to get to my cottage for two or three days of R & R next week. I pray you'll have a peaceful and joyous celebration with your family during what promises to be a wonderful long weekend - weather wise.

      Fr. Tim

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    5. But One could also, using Mr. Shea's line of reasoning, argue that any Scriptural Teaching that mirrored that society's prevailing ethics could be called into question. The obvious Scriptural denunciations of homosexuality come to mind but also one of reasons often given to not allow women priests, that Jesus never picked any women apostles. One could argue that Jesus was only accommodating the cultural norms of the day and not wanting to rock too many boats

      Rationalist1

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  2. Good point Rationalist1.

    I would take your argument one step farther and point out that if "Sola Scriptura" is an insufficient basis for moral reasoning, then why not dispense with scripture altogether? Since one must look to historical context, tradition, and modern moral understandings in order to properly interpret scriptures, scripture becomes largely superfluous to the underpinnings of our moral reasoning. Scripture on the question slavery is simply an impediment to be rationalized away so that a proper moral understanding can be arrived at.

    As I have pointed out before, Christinaity is like a big comfy woolen sweater. It may keep one comfortable on a cold day, and it might even look fetching when you wear it...but just pull at one stitch and the whole thing soon unravels.

    Cheers...Martin

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  3. Rationalist: Your error is in equating Jesus and Paul. Jesus broke any number of social and religious conventions (eating with sinners, touching lepers, including women in his followers, letting prostitutes touch him, etc) because he was the Messiah, the 2nd person of the Trinity. Paul was simply a post resurrection follower and evangelist. He would not have the same capacity as Jesus to see beyond the zeitgeist of his time.

    Fr. Tim

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    1. Then staying only within Paul (or possibly Paul in the case of Collosians) then is one free to discount any teaching of Paul that is in conformity with the culture of the time as Mr. Shea did with the slavery example. To me that's a rather poor exegetical process.

      Rationalist1

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  4. Rationalist: Even Paul would tell us not just to listen to him! One needs to read the Epistles in context with the Gospels ( which themselves are rooted in the Hebrew Bible). That process, and the faithful transmission of the Christian message is the responsibility of Tradition in Catholic orthodoxy. Martin is correct in his use of a wool sweater analogy... at least to a point. I would suggest that many a knot skillfully knit into a well made sweater can suffer the wear and tear of the years, even the occasional embarrassing hole in a public place without losing its form and function. That for me is what makes faith, like a warm and comfortable sweater, a true and cherished gift.

    Fr. Tim

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    1. But slavery is an issue where in the context of the gospels the author of the Epistle is being consistent. A more honest reply would be to say that Scriptures were silent on this issue but that Christians as co-creators with Christ the Church's understanding of slavery has evolved to fully embrace the Gospel message, etc.

      Mind you all God would have had to do was to lose one of the first 4 commandments centered around him and say "Thou shall not enslave another person." (I would pick the Lord's name in vain one, rather self centered if you ask me). I'm not saying people would have followed it and would not have been nuanced out of meaningfulness, but it would have provided some intellectual and moral cover for the later actions of thousands of years of human enslavement.

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    2. 1 abandoned sheep05 April, 2012

      Anony- You are a blathering nincompoop in this reply. You claim GOD was wrong, AND SELF"CENTERED. How dare you? You are self-centered , not GOD !

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    3. Abandoned sheep - I don't declare God was wrong, except in an rather ironic way, as I don't believe that God exists. Considering that these 10 commandments are the only words that the supposed creator of the entire universe committed to print, the first four of which deal with how his created creatures, who must greater to him what amoebas are to us, are to worship and not use his name in vain. Could the vibration of air particles in a certain pattern on an obscure planet in a non descript galaxy really offed this God so much that he couldn't leave out that command and instead say Thou shall not enslave, or Thou shall not mistreat children, or Thou shall not be racist? Indeed this command has all the hallmarks of a human creation of a priestly class that was trying to inspire awe in their fellow human beings.

      I'm not self-centered. I don't think the universe was created with me as the epitome of creation or that a God who created all this cares about every hair on my head (albeit not as much of a concern as it used to be). And if it was up to me I'd rather people maligned my name daily rather than enslave each other. Wouldn't you?

      Rationalist1

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