Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Are Mormons Christians? Yes, of course! - or else, most Catholics and Protestants are not Christians either...

*

What I find most ominous about the way that so many mainstream Christians reject the Christian status of the CJCLDS / Mormon church - is that the grounds on which they do so would also reject the vast majority of past and present members of their own Catholic and Protestant denominations.

*

In practice, many mainstream Christian intellectuals regard philosophical doctrines as more important than Christianity; in the sense that they cannot believe that anyone who rejects their philosophical doctrines can really be a Christian.

This formally entails that their understanding of Christianity is contained-within the philosophical doctrines of Catholic or Protestant theology; or those bits of Catholic and Protestant theology which overlap.

To put it crudely, they put philosophy first, and fit Christianity inside it; and assert that anything outside the philosophy cannot be Christian

What does this mean for the mass majority of Catholic and Protestant children, simple people, and others who either cannot understand these philosophical doctrines, or cannot hold them in mind, or in actual fact believe in a God the Father and Jesus Christ who have (to all intents and purpose) exactly the same nature as is understood by Mormons?

*

This must, indeed, be the case - because ordinary simple people simply cannot comprehend what it means to create from nothing, or to have a disembodied God who is located everywhere, or to have a Holy Trinity which both is three and one simultaneously - what is actually in their heads is pretty much what Mormons have as their 'official' doctrine.

Now either these Catholics and Protestants who actually believe in the Mormon God and Jesus are not really Catholics or Protestants; or else we regard being Catholic or Protestant as being merely a submission to a structure of authority and passive assent to a set of un-comprehended verbal forms.

*

This is a terribly hazardous situation - not for the LDS, which is doing fine, and indeed is perhaps more devout than at any time in its history - but hazardous for Catholic and Protestant Intellectual Christians; because the temptation is to misrepresent Mormon beliefs - in order to be able to deny that Protestants and Catholics actually hold them - is hard to resist, and is clearly seldom resisted. 

The misrepresentation of Mormonism ranges from an ignorance which is understandable, yet is proud, wilful and refuses correction; through to an ignorance which is based upon pervasive bias; to a deliberate focus upon decontextualized peripheral aspects of Mormonism (pulled-out and held-up for ridicule as obviously crazy) while ignoring the core of actual Mormon beliefs and practices as they are lived; to plain and straightforward lying about Mormons (dishonestly rationalized by the desired-for end - of destroying the LDS church - justifying the means); to what I can only regard as a near-psychotic craziness on the topic of Mormonism which refuses to see the plain and obvious present day known realities, and instead focuses on the open-ended realms of the hidden and unknown, the arcane, the potentially possible, supposed analogies with other religions, and whatever evils attributed to Mormons (someplace at some time) that cannot conclusively be disproved.

(And, as always in human affairs, there are those Christians who are simply looking for an excuse to indulge in the exhilarating emotion of unrestrained hatred; in which case, unless this pleasure-in-hatred is repented, they may not remain Christians for very long.)

*

Now - of course I do not expect that either Protestants or Catholics ever could or would accept Mormon theology - it is profoundly different, profoundly in the accurate sense of different way back at the level of metaphysical assumptions.

Also there are additions to Mormonism compared with Catholic and Protestant beliefs. But then there are additions (loads of them, and very profound ones!) in Catholicism as compared with Protestantism; and in many forms of Protestantism in actual practice - which incorporate magic, animism. Indeed, in general, since Protestantism lacks a central authority - and many forms have a very local form of organization, there are almost as many types of Protestantism as there are churches, home groups or individual worshippers. Who knows what additions, combinations, or new emphases these may have?  

*

And I accept that there is evidence on both sides of Mormon claims. Certainly the evidence is not overwhelming. There is some good evidence that the LDS church is true (in the sense of essentially what it claims to be), and also some good evidence that it is not true: the evidence is in some kind of balance. In other words, the evidence either way is not decisive. The choice between the possibilities is a choice, the decision is not-compelled, and the choice must be made by each person.

Furthermore, the way that Mormonism was set-up, and the highly specific and concrete nature of its claims, leaves very little 'wriggle room'. This means that there are only two informed coherent attitudes to the CJCLDS - that it is true or it is a fraud: a deliberate deception by the founders and sustainers.

*

So, the crux is that for Mormon unbelievers the choice is between on the one hand regarding the religion as a benign fraud - and on the other hand, regarding Mormonism as a fraud that is covertly malicious (since there is so little/ zero evidence of overt wickedness).

Nonetheless, if we are both honest and informed, it must be acknowledged that precisely this situation exists between all Christian denominations - that either someone else's denomination is true or a fraud; and that any Christian faith which comes from another denomination must be attributed to ignorance or accident.

However - this should never lead us to deny the reality of Christian belief in despite of what inevitably seems like organizational fraud, or doctrinal ignorance.

We must have a concept of Christianity which fully and at the highest level encompasses the faith of the the simple and the ignorant - and those of other Christian denominations who live by Christ, as best they may (which may be very well indeed, and far better than the intellectuals who profess to judge them on philosophical grounds).

*

(I know that some will allow that individual Mormons may be Christian, but hold that the LDS church itself is not Christian. And they regard this as a problem because they believe that false theology will lead - sooner or later - to apostasy, and evil. Yet the apparent fact that this has not happened in the CJCLDS must either challenge their belief, or encourage them to look hard for signs of apostasy and evil in the modern Mormon church - evidence that it is going-bad; and if you look hard enough, you will of course find what you seek. Also, it is obvious that 'true' belief in a church does not prevent apostasy, or error or corruption. Thus the relationship between philosophy/ theological detail/highly specific official doctrine on the one hand - and on the other hand goodness and Christian faith is... well, at best extremely weak and probabilistic.)

*

So, the status of being 'a Christian' must - and I really mean must - be non-philosophical and extremely simple; or else we will do terrible damage both between denominations, and also within denominations.

Therefore, the specific example of Protestant and Catholic attitudes to Mormonism leads us to a very important general topic that transcends the specific question of the CJCLDS - i.e. the definition of being 'a Christian', as contrasted with the definition of any particular Christian denomination.

I contend that the apparent desire to enforce a definition of Christian which includes both Catholic (Eastern and Western) and Protestants, yet excludes Mormons, will lead to falsity and wickedness - will indeed stoke hatred within-denominations and between sincere self-identified Christians; and will, in short, play-into the hands of the Enemy.

Because, a definition of 'Christian' which includes Protestants and Catholics yet excludes Mormons, will also and inevitably exclude most of the simple, the ignorant, the isolated, and the children among Protestants and Catholics.



Thus I would expect that honest and informed Protestants and Catholics would accept that it is possible for Mormons to be Christians (and good Christians) despite the philosophical/ metaphysical differences.

And if they do NOT accept this, then they need to agree that if Mormons are not Christians due to (for example) their supposed misunderstanding of the nature of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity - then the clear implication is that many and probably most Catholics and Protestants throughout history have not been Christians for exactly that same reason.

*

A brief and preliminary review of The Son also Rises by Gregory Clark

*

Gregory Clark. The son also rises: surnames and the history of social mobility. Princeton University Press, 2014.

In one word: disappointing.

In one sense this was inevitable, given that I regarded Clark's previous book (A Farewell to Alms - FtA) as a work of genius. Nonetheless, The Son also Rises (SaR) is disappointing in a disappointing way.

Whereas the facts and figures of FtA were structured by an underlying clear, explicit, comprehensible theoretical underpinning; the SaR reads like a compendium of new data - as-if a linked collection of papers. It includes a lot of empirical analysis - but the theoretical and explanatory basis seems either over-complex or muddled.

Also, the 'normative' or ethical concern over the good-ness or bad-ness of social mobility is intrusive and distracting - indeed, I regard this normative/ethical prominence as the main reason for the unclarity of the books theoretic basis.

Of course there is a lot of very interesting piecemeal data and analysis, evidence of a lot of hard work and thinking; but in the end the SaR is less than the sum of its parts.

What do I take-away from the SaR, so far (given that there are some of the inner sections I have not yet read - and may never read)?

Well, what I take-away from this book is that the whole topic of 'social mobility' is a stupid subject, a pseudo-discourse, a false frame for analysis, and (most of all) a fake ethical principle.

Therefore, given the astonishing abilities of Gregory Clark - a man who operates at an intellectual level far above my own - what I want is for him to try again with this mass of data.

What I would most like to see is that Clark set aside the whole 'social mobility' garbage - and instead present an honest, clear and explicit causal analysis, based upon a sufficiently simple and lucid and coherent theoretical basis.

*

Silliest. Hairstyles. Ever.

*

Are now to be seen: 

In women - to make a crescent-shaped, four-inch-high lump out of a fold of long hair, then to place this lump into position on top of the head, posterior to the brow and parallel with a line between the ears.

In men, to shave the head into a 'Number 1' crew cut, except for a square of longer hair left on top of the scalp, which is gathered into a tiny pony tail - of perhaps an inch long, or a three inch ponytail folded-back onto-itself.

*

Monday, 21 July 2014

Do not despair! Damnation hangs by a thread.

*

We are indeed living in the end times, the latter days; yet Satan's triumph is a trick - and he lives in terror of its being seen-through. He has successfully induced the mass of Men to nihilistic pride and existential despair - but this is extraordinarily fragile.

Satan's meticulously-constructed vision of nothingness could suddenly shatter in anybody's life - or blow-away like a wisp of smoke.

It is not our salvation that is precarious: if we want it, we can have it (at least have salvation at some level, albeit not usually a high level - yet vastly better than anything we could now experience). Rather it is damnation that is precarious - because it must be chosen; and ultimately it must be chosen in knowledge of the consequences.

To induce people to choose damnation requires getting them to reject God's vision of their happiness and to prefer the gratification of pride at our power to spit in the face of deity; and to embrace such a despairing vision of nothingness that a perpetual self-satisfaction at our own defiance seems the best reality we can imagine.

**


[Damnation - for most of the people for whom it is a real possibility - is to accept as the ultimate reality and fundamental truth Satan's selections, his evaluations, his methods... most often, nowadays, as they are modeled in the totality and net nature of the mass media.]

The wonder-full New Testament video series on lds.org

*

A truly inspiring set of short dramatised video episodes dramatising some of the major incidents of the Gospels, currently continuing into the Acts of the Apostles, is incrementally being published on the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/categories/bible-videos-chronologically?lang=eng

These are so good, I could suppose that viewing them might be one of the best ways for a somebody to become a Christian; because the videos seem to provide not just a correct understanding of the essence, but the proper way to think about it.

At times I have felt my spirit transported back in time to experience the strange and unique impact of Jesus in a very personal way - this has not happened for me with any other TV or movie depiction of the Gospels - indeed, I generally dislike such things.

The difference with these LDS segments seems to be the seriousness and intensity with which they have been created - resulting in an extraordinary detail and focus; such that a small segment of a few minutes duration functions as a micro-world within-which (and from-which) events unfold in a deliberate and expansive manner. And this itself must surely have been how time with Jesus was actually experienced.

But perhaps the greatest achievement is that the concentration and focus is achieved in a non-theoretical manner - by story, personality, social actions and responses, atmosphere, setting, light... As an intellectual with a tendency to over-analyse and abstract - this is exactly what I need.

And it greatly increases the potential scope and impact of this video Bible series - far beyond the scope and impact of any analysis or abstraction.

*

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Women as victims of modernity

*

In a superficial sense, women are pandered and pampered by modernity - in a deeper sense they are the primary victims.

I know that women are privileged above men in almost all human societies (there are more than half a billion women living in the culture that is the exception); and that this preference is biologically-based upon each specific woman being on average reproductively more valuable than each man (see The Woman Racket by Steve Moxon before disagreeing with this) - BUT when it comes to the fundamentals of life, women are in the situation of having been duped by modernity so profoundly that they do not even recognize but profess to enjoy the situation!

*

I will not weaken my case by stating too many pieces of evidence: two will suffice:

1. Among the wealthiest, healthiest, most able and (on average) most attractive women - those women who are free-est in our society, and perhaps in the history of the world - the fertility rate is about half a child per woman, and about half of these women choose not to have any child.

Somehow, women en masse have been duped into forgoing, indeed rejecting, the greatest of all earthly mortal gratifications: motherhood; for which nothing can remotely compensate - and what is worst of all they embrace their victimhood (at least they do in public).

2. Healthy young women are intrinsically the most valued, desired, and attractive entities on this earth - and yet, about half of these beautiful creatures strategically, deliberately and (what is worst) proudly mutilate, deface and uglify their bodies with tattoos - they pay to do this, they go through inconvenience and pain to do this, the damage cannot be undone - and yet they advertise and boast about and display their foolish choices and wicked actions (wicked - because gratuitously to mar beauty is indeed wicked - and to advertise it is to encourage wickedness in others).

The trend is recent, the scope and inclusiveness of the trend is increasing and spreading, the extent of self-inflicted defacement and mutilation are expanding year on year. 

*

How has this happened? I think the answer is fairly simple. Women calibrate their behaviour mostly by reference to the peer group of other women - in modernity this peer group has been hijacked by the mass media.

The only force powerful enough to overcome the peer group for women is religion; and in modernity religion has been rejected (or subverted into being merely a mouthpiece of the mass media).

And the mass media is evil - indeed in modernity it is the very source and focus of evil

http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk/

The mass media has duped women into becoming willing mass victims - and the mass media has done so deliberately, from its intrinsic wickedness and its strategic onslaught upon good.

The reason for the greater success among women than men is simply that the mass media can successfully mimic (at the psychological level) the peer group of women and can shape their active, chosen behaviour.

*

(The mass media can and does destroy men - but as a rule men know their lives are miserable and wicked and futile; and do not embrace and celebrate and make political movements out of their desperate condition, in the way that women do.)

*

To do all this to women, the mass media first had to clear away religion by portraying Christianity as intrinsically anti-woman and a misery-inducing fraud, and imposing a secular world view - and this was accomplished very fully about fifty years ago - in the mid 1960s. 

*

Modern secular women are helpless before the mass media: psychologically, nothing stands between each modern woman and the pervasive, crushing, gleefully destructive power of the mass media.

*

Since the mass media is the source of evil in modernity, it can be equated with Sauron's One Ring  - which puts modern women into the situation of Frodo when he had become 'addicted' to the Ring.

So here - from The Lord of the Rings - is the situation of modern, secular, media-addicted woman:

No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.

*

Summary of the metaphysics of free will

*

I have written quite often about free will on this blog

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=free+will

*

The reason why people (why I myself) find it hard to grasp this subject is that it is metaphysical, not scientific; i.e. it is about our assumptions concerning reality - not about our investigations of reality.

Another problem is that the metaphysics of free will is that - to be real - the free will must be an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause.

It must be - so it is!

*

That places free will outside of science - because science is only concerned with caused things.

This means that science is necessarily incomplete - since there must BE uncaused causes, or else we have infinite regress in a-caused-b-caused-c-caused-d forever! - and a situation which nothing could happen (this was pointed-out centuries ago by Aquinas).

*

But free will conceptualized as an uncaused cause implies that each Man (and maybe other things) is to some extent an uncaused cause - and this creates difficulties for most philosophies, which are monist - and refer all causes back to one cause.

The conclusion seems to be that God has free will and is an uncaused cause; but the same also applies to each Man.


How can this be understood?

The only two rational conclusions I can see; are either

1. To state that God caused each uncaused cause: i.e. God caused (created) each Man to as an uncaused cause.

Or

2. The theology of pluralism: that God and also each Man are alike in being uncaused causes, and 'always'-have-been. God and each Man are (at the level of being uncaused causes -  although not necessarily as 'persons') basic constituents in the universe.

*

The first is the solution of Aquinas, the second is the solution of Mormon theology. Each solution has advantages and problems - and different implications.

I personally favour the Mormon metaphysics, partly from temperament - but mostly because it solves the problems that are most dominant for me, and I find the consequences congenial; while the Thomist solution  seems too obviously paradoxical and leads to problems (such as the problems of pain/ suffering and moral responsibility) further down the line.

But both solutions are viable in some ways, unsatisfactory in others; and both are much preferable to the up-front, in-your-face nihilistic incoherence of denying the reality of free will!
*

Saturday, 19 July 2014

JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion - audiobook reviewed

*
http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/review-of-simarillion-audiobook-read-by.html
*

Has scientific research proved that human freedom is an illusion?

*
No, because science presupposes freedom.

If we are not free, and everything that happens is merely a consequence of what led up to it; then there can be no judgment, or decision, or choice; then science has no validity, and nor does this comment nor your response to it, and neither does anything else!

The very concept of a fact depends on freedom - therefore facts formally cannot disprove freedom.

*

Friday, 18 July 2014

Decline and fall of Mouse Utopia, reinterpreted by Michael A Woodley

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-demise-of-mouse-utopia.html
*

What was the main problem for God?

*

God and Man are of the same basic 'kind' - which is evidenced by the fact (not metaphor) that He is our Father, we are His children and we are destined to be raised-up as 'Sons of God'.

Hence we can become, and are enjoined to become, like God.  

This is what God deeply desires to accomplish - He yearns for us to become like Him - enough like Him that we may each of us experience (what could be termed) a divine loving friendship with Him: and He with each of us.

*

But there is a problem...

Or rather, the 'problem' was not a problem - but a reality. The reality that Man's will is free.

Because Man really is an autonomous agent, then man can only be educated, enticed and persuaded; Man cannot (ultimately) be coerced into becoming like God, nor can God-like status be imposed upon Man.

We, personally, each of us as individuals, must consent to becoming like God: more than this, we must actively want to become like God.

*

So, this was the problem - the reality - confronting God when designing the earth and the basic nature of things.

Everything must work-around free will and autonomous agency as immovable facts.

*

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Anthropological and historical evidence on very high rates of child mortality before the modern era (consistent with mutation accumulation as a mechanism for intelligence decline)

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/convergent-evidence-on-child-mortality.html
*

Noisy desperation and the sexual revolution

*

It seems to me that the mass of modern men lead lives of noisy desperation - and the women even more so.

The possibility, the threat, even a discussion of any way of limiting their sexual freedoms in (almost) any way, seems to evoke something like panic - followed by wild fury.

The reason is presumably that sex is what modern people live for, what keeps them going - and it is only this which keeps them going.

Not so much actual sexual fulfilment; but hopes and dreams and the merest potential possibility of sexual fulfilment; and they do not want there to be anything - not marriage, not lack of marriage, not a family or dependents or responsibilites, not love nor hate nor fear; not gender, not age, not illness; not geographical location; not job not lack of a job; not even religion - nothing but nothing but nothing can be allowed to stand in the path of their one and only hope of their one and only slender chance of the one and only something that sounds like happiness.

A society of unmatched comfort, convenience, resources - yet has there ever been so grossly impoverished a society of souls as are revealed by the modern attitude to sex?

*

Given that the 'evidence' is ambiguous, it is the primary assumption about Life which mostly influences the evaluation of whether existence is meaningful, or not

*

Does God exist, does Life have meaning and purpose? There is some evidence on both sides; the evidence is ambiguous...

Therefore, what is usually crucial is the assumptions we bring to the evidence - the assumptions shape the conclusion.

If we bring-to the evidence the inborn, spontaneous, natural assumptions (of early childhood) - the assumptions of animism (a living universe), the (theistic) reality of spirits, gods or God... then we become religious.

But if we bring-to the evidence the assumptions of modern, secular Leftist (hence anti-Christian) culture - then we become atheist, and indeed de facto nihilist in that we feel, suspect, believe and tend to act on the basis that reality is not really real.

Consequently, in order for modern secular people to become (really) religious, they must first recover their childhood assumptions.

*

A bit of folklore - Walter Willson's wettry tea

*

Walter Willson's wettry tea
Is good for dergs; but not for me

*

  • Walter Wilson's = a chain of food shops, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which used to be found in prominent high street locations in many of the mining village of Northumberland. Now disappeared without trace.
  • wettry = watery
  • dergs = dogs

Recorded in the middle 1960s, from my Father - reported from his childhood of the 1930s (?) - Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland

*

Existentialism and choice

*


Colin Wilson c1956 - England's home-grown beatnik existentialist

The era of Existentialism, in the years following the 1939-45 World War, was the last time that atheists did any serious thinking about the human condition. Since then things have slipped back into shallowness, sloganeering, and sophomoric sniping.

*

My interest in existentialism goes back to a TV interview in the Men of Ideas series, in which presenter Bryan Magee spoke to the expert William Barrett - who authored Irrational Man. Or perhaps this was preceded by my finding the work of Colin Wilson - especially The Outsider.

 I grabbed onto existentialism exactly because it was 1. atheist; and 2. serious - tackling the most profound issues of life. In fact, I never much cared for any of the canonical existentialists except Nietzsche - I was (and still am) unable to get anything out of Kierkegaard), was bored and repelled by Sartre (who seemed dishonest), very interested by Heidegger but unable to plough through the turgid tedium of his prose (although I read dozens of books about him) - but nonetheless, I probably saw myself as an existentialist of some kind - gleaning bits and pieces here and there from novels, plays, poems, pictures...

*

The existentialist attitude to Christianity is hostile or bored. Nietzsche regards Christianity oxymoronically; as a powerful-powerlessness, a cancer of the will, puny yet able to bring-down civilizations and individuals - but this complex vision fell into two opposite, alternating assertions:

Christianity was merely the fairy-tale, wishful thinking of feeble-minded people who avoided confronting existential reality by escaping into daydreams;

and/or Christianity was a tyrannical, oppressive force of social authority and control, that crushed freedom and happiness.

*

But the 1950s existentialists seemed mostly to be bored by Christianity, and the assumption was that (perhaps for world historical reasons) it just didn't work anymore; therefore something new and stronger was needed.

But the existentialists were honest enough to perceive that in eliminating God, they had eliminated objectivity - and that therefore LIFE boiled down to a subjective choice - which was not regarded as The Truth, was therefore not binding on anyone else, and could not serve as a socially cohesive force.

What was the choice between?

*

The human condition falls into the good bits - happiness, insight, fulfilment, a sense of meaning and purpose...

And the bad bits where it is miserable, boring, painful, meaningless and pointless. The question was - which was real and which was the illusion?


Most existentialists chose to believe that the bad bits were underlying reality, and the good bits were temporary illusions; Colin Wilson chose to believe the opposite - which was why I found him a valuable author.

But the fact was that it was all down to choice, individual choice, subjective choice, contingent choice, impermanent choice: the whole weight of existence hinged upon this choice...

So, in the end, existentialism does tend towards despair - since sooner or later even the most pride-crazed mind (I am thinking of Nietzsche) becomes filled with terror at supporting the whole weight of existence by a mere act of impermanent, fragile choice - a choice which must be sustained at all times, through thick and thin, sickness and heath, youth and age, good times and bad...

*

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What did Jesus save us from? Death

*

If I was asked this with not much time to answer I would have to say that Jesus saved us from death, or gave us eternal life - but the meanings of the key words and concepts of 'death' and 'eternal life' are not likely to be understood.

I might try to make a few points:

1. Before Jesus came, Men would die; after Jesus, they now have eternal life. All men now have eternal life. This is why the Gospels are called good news.

2. Death means that the body dies, and the soul is severed from it; and (before Christ) the souls of all Men (maybe a handful of exceptions) continued to live in a miserable, hope-less, demented, state which the Ancient Hebrews called Sheol, and the Greco-Roman pagans called Hades. This is what we have been saved-from by Jesus.

3. After the life of Christ, when we die the separation of body and soul is only temporary, then all Men are resurrected with a perfected body.

4. After resurrection each Man decides whether to accept Jesus's offer to live in Heaven (ultimately, a perfected earth, New Jerusalem) with Him, and also those we love who also accept this offer; or else to reject this offer and go our own way, on our own terms, existentially alone (Hell).

This is also called judgement. It is about whether we live in the society of the saved, and live by the rules of that society - which requires repentance and acknowledgement that we have been sinful; or not.

Men really have the power to defy Jesus Christ, to refuse to agree with God's explanation of Good and evil, beauty and ugliness, truth and lies, virtue and vice - and to assert the ultimate validity of our own perspective against that of God. We really can reject divine principle and rules, and live either alone or among those others who also rejected the society of the saved, its principles and its rules.

5. So, after Jesus Christ, nobody dies, everybody is resurrected, everybody gets to decide on their fate. Nobody is 'sent to Hell' - but some people choose not to accept Heaven.

*



A note on the viability (and desirability) of cousin marriage under historical conditions

*

The modern consensus is that cousin marriage is 'a bad thing' because of the higher probability of genetic disease among close-ish relative.

Cultures which practice cousin marriage certainly experience much higher rates of genetic disorders - especially those relating to rare and recessive genes. The clinical genetics wards in the UK are very obviously populated by the offspring of such cultures.

But, in the conditions of historical human selection, this doesn't matter.

Before about 1800, all human societies experienced very high rates of child mortality (probably about 2/3 or 3/4 of children died before maturity) - so most babies that were born would not have survived until adulthood.

Any significantly deleterious gene combinations resulting from relatedness would be eliminated by this harsh selective sieve.

So a somewhat higher rate of genetic diseases would barely be noticeable, and easily outweighed by the group benefits and social advantages which cousin marriages might be expected to bring.

**

References:

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/child-death-and-demographic-change-and.html

http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/what-proportion-of-offspring-survived.html



*

More on the lop-sided genius

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-lop-sided-genius-summarized.html
*

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

How intelligent does a creative genius need to be?

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/how-intelligent-does-genius-need-to-be.html
*

The moribund Orthosphere

*
It looks as if The Orthosphere group blog

http://orthosphere.org/

has pretty much died, with no original posts for more than a lunar month.

It had a reasonably vigorous lifespan of a couple of years; the idea being launched on this blog:

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/orthosphere-it-is-do-ortho-bloggers-and.html

But, like almost all group blogs, The Orthosphere has been somewhat less than the sum of its parts; and like all unmoderated blogs, the good commenters (of whom there were several) were generally overwhelmed by the spiteful, angry and semi-crazed.

*

In general, the basic idea of The Orthosphere was of a 'Mere' Christian blog of traditional religionists who opposed the sexual revolution and the liberalization and Leftist colonization and take-over of mainstream Christian churches.

However, the Orthosphere consensus soon became apparent that 'Mere' excluded Mormonism. This dismayed me greatly, because ever since I became a Christian, and indeed before I became a Christian, the inclusion of Mormonism within Mere Christianity has been a lynch-pin of my personal agenda.

So, that put me decisively out-with, and at-odds-with, the basic Orthosphere philosophy - even before I stopped trying to become Eastern Orthodox, fled the Church of England, and began calling myself a Theoretical Mormon .

*

Indeed, what I regard as the failure of The Orthosphere to generate and sustain a unified perspective and web presence among traditional Christians has highlighted for me, and helped persuade me of, the impossibility of the Mere Christian idea as a basis for any kind of 'movement' (and this 'movement' ideal also underlies the bigger and more influential First Things http://www.firstthings.com/ and Touchstone http://www.touchstonemag.com/ magazines and blogs) - and, in general terms, the political affiliated associated with Francis Schaeffer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Schaeffer#A_Christian_Manifesto).

*

Despite my own unaffiliated and un-churched status; my hopes are now pinned on specific Christian denominations in specific places; and I reluctantly accept that there is near zero prospect of active interdenominational cooperation and support among real (traditional, non-Leftist) Christians.

The best that can be hoped for among Christians is a non-aggression pact - but I'm not even sure whether than would work for long; given the strength of resentment between denominations, and the nature of the religious priorities which they demand.

*

Theological limitations of CS Lewis (my revered mentor)

*

I cannot be too grateful to CS Lewis for his role in my conversion to Christianity - which was substantial and decisive. Indeed, my own trajectory into Christianity was broadly similar - in that it was 'philosophical' and went from theism, to monotheism, to Christianity; and proceeded mostly by logical argument with myself.

However, Lewis's Christianity remained highly philosophical - and indeed Lewis's Christianity is actually based upon the acceptance of some abstract philosophical principles - in particular the Platonic/ Neoplatonic (Boethian) concept of eternity as outside time - which is required in order to make sense of reconciling free will and omniscience.

That this was foundational to Lewis can be seen throughout all his writings; and even in the Narnian books for children - when The Last Battle ends with a very detailed description of the philosophical basis of Christianity - and a story-analogy for the relationship between Heaven and the mortal world: Plato is even name-checked by The Professor.

So, there is no doubt in my mind that Lewis was not only a philosophical convert, but continued to base his Christianity on philosophical concepts which are abstract and eternal and unchanging.

*

That is no longer the case with me - my Christianity is now based-upon relational concepts and a narrative understanding of history - I see God as primarily a Father, our Father - our relative in some sense; and therefore a person with a certain disposition, motivation and intentions; rather than a metaphysical/ physical entity with certain properties.

I now understand God's love for me and for Man as essentially like love as I know it; rather than love being an ultimate force or structuring principle.

And I feel no need to have my Christianity underpinned by explicit and abstract philosophical assumptions - for example concerning time. My metaphysical assumptions (that is, my basic assumptions which structure the understanding of reality) are now not philosophical. Philosophy and logic are still there but not as foundations, but further down the line as properties.

*

So, I would now distinguish apologetic and evangelical tactics from strategy; Lewis's tactics for explaining Christianity and winning converts are clearly effective for some people in some situations - indeed among intellectuals he seems to have been the most effective individual writer of the twentieth century.

But this approach is limited, and not necessary - indeed far more converts have been made by evangelical Protestants and Mormons, whose method is (to summarize crudely, in order to conflate the two rather distinct systems) based upon establishing a felt personal relationship with Jesus Christ, as validated 'emotionally' rather than rationally.

*

So Lewis was my original Christian mentor, but I no longer regard him as the major influence - and indeed feel Lewis 'got stuck' in that primarily philosophical mode which happened to be the way that he became a Christian - but which is not necessarily or usually the best way for other people to become Christians and even less is it necessarily the best way to remain a Christian and embark on a path of spiritual progression or theosis.

(Of course Lewis never would have claimed exclusivity - he was just doing what he could, as best he could; and he did it better than anyone else).

However, I think Lewis was led to the error of believing that some Platonic philosophical assumptions (such as out-of-time eternity) were indeed foundational to Christianity as such - since he included them in his Mere Christianity broadcasts and books.

In this I think Lewis was simply mistaken - since he did not know - or to the extent that he knew, did not appreciate - that Christianity has been, is, and can be non-philosophical - underpinned and built upon other things than 'philosophical'' principles.

*

Indeed, philosophy never ever needs to be mentioned in Christian discourse! - unless people ask about it, or our troubled by it. 

Platonism is not Mere to Christians!

And this is something to be grateful for!

*

NOTE - It must be understood that I love CS Lewis the man and his writings, perhaps second only to his friend JRR Tolkien; I have read pretty much everything Lewis wrote - much of it more than once and some of it many times; I have also read a large swathe of biographical and critical material. So there is no need to defend Lewis against attack by me: I am not attacking him!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Were William the Conquerer's Norman invaders *much* more intelligent than the Anglo Saxons?

*
http://iqpersonalitygenius.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/the-highly-intelligent-normans.html
*

The magic of Keswick

*


One of the best places I know is Keswick, in the Lake District; which is the main place I have taken my holidays over the past thirty-five years.

I hope it is not tempting fate to say that the place has never let me down, but always proved potent at curing alienation, and reconnecting me with 'life'.

Keswick is England's nearest (and preceding) equivalent of Concord Massachusetts as the rural literary centre and birthplace of Romanticism - at various times Coleridge, Southey, De Quincey and Shelley lived there (and were visited by other major writers of the time); and the Wordsworths were just a couple of hours walk over the fells at Grasmere.

Keswick - located on the banks of the sublime Derwentwater, is also the centre for hill walking in the northern Lakes - which was an activity also pioneered by the Romantic poets - so the place attracts residents and visitors who have an outdoorish and also somewhat poetic cast of mind.

Keswick's other main claim to fame is The Keswick Convention, which is an evangelical Christian gathering that was very influential as a cross denominational grouping in Victorian times, and continues in some form - but although church groups visit throughout the year; Christianity is not, overall, a major presence (as it is in, for example, Oxford or Durham or some small Cathedral towns). The spiritual feel is of a general pantheistic/ neo-pagan type.

It is interesting to speculate why Keswick is such a magical place, because there are many factors against this - the fact it is a magnet for tourists, and seems to have a greater number and density of bed and breakfast 'hotels' than anywhere else I have ever been. (Yet these are, in practice, a plus; since the B&Bs tend to be owned and run by couples and families who are some of the nicest people I have met.)  And of course all of Keswick is not magical all of the time - mornings are best, and evenings next best.

Yet somehow the enchantment stands. The surrounding hills have a lot to do with it. The fact that much of the building uses local stone (a dark blueish green slate) probably helps. The type of people it attracts. And probably some cumulative atmosphere built-up over the centuries.

Also, Keswick is very English in a deep and traditional sense of that word, which includes resonances of Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) and Scandinavian - and that also is something I like very much.

How fortunate I have been to know and benefit from Keswick.

*

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Christians don't *really* believe that God is omnipotent (or, if He is, then He has a funny way of doing things)

*

The evidence is simple: the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

This implies that God the Father could not do what Jesus Christ has done - therefore He either was not, or is not, omnipotent (by any simple or sensible understanding of omnipotent).

*

With suitable qualifications, this is a powerful and basic truth; and may serve to help shake free from the deadly and paradoxical tyranny of over-focusing on God's abstract, absolute omnipotence.

**

Note: If this statement sounds fanciful - try to imagine how Christianity looks to a Non-Trinitarian strict-monotheist - who would surely find it incomprehensible that a genuinely omnipotent God (who supposedly created everything from nothing and makes absolutely everything happen absolutely according to His will); apparently cannot achieve what He wants to achieve for Man without the rigmarole of incarnating Jesus Christ as a Man at a particular point in history!

My impression is that the underlying situation is that real Christians don't really believe that God is omnipotent - but don't like to state that He is not ; are indeed scared to state that He is not omnipotent - since this sounds disrespectful, asking-for-trouble, and is certainly liable to lead to vehement accusations of blasphemy.

But I regard this as evidence in favour of the truth of the statement that God is not omnipotent - since to be deterred by fear, when God is our loving Father, suggests that omnipotence is in fact a demonically-inspired error; because to submit to a God conceptualized as being of un-limited power, from terror of the consequences of denying His power - is profoundly anti-Christian. It is indeed to subvert and invert God. 

That is why this error of omnipotence needs to be tackled head-on.

*

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The nature of dialectic - the necessity of the viva voce in evaluating real understanding

*

Following from

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/what-kind-of-man-was-socrates-prophet.html

The method of enquiry depicted in Plato's dialogues is the dialectic - which bears some relationship to a procedure of question and answer - and this was taken up much later as a key term by Hegel then Marx; but I have never been able to understand what dialectic meant.

I read definitions, but they mean nothing to me - and in particular I could not understand why this method (and not another) was supposed to have a special kind of validity.

But it now strikes me that what is going on in Platonic dialogues should be considered in the light of what Socrates reported of his own motivation to do philosophy - in other words, the 'dialectic method' is simply the way of testing the knowledge of another person; to see whether he really understands the matter in hand.

*

In the Apology, Socrates describes his motivation as trying to find a man wiser than himself - to try and refute the Oracle at Delphi who stated there was nobody wiser than Socrates. So Socrates met and conversed-with various candidates for greater wisdom.

But how do you discover whether somebody is really wise, when they may be faking it, or they may believe that they understand - but really do not?

*

The only answer is that you need to 'apprentice' yourself to them - try to learn understanding from them to the extent that you can do it yourself.

Memorizing facts and relationships is not understanding. What is needed is to try and learn from the inside - so that having genuine understanding, new knowledge can be generated from that understanding.

It is a matter of understanding generating the answers; rather than a set of answers masquerading as understanding,

*

To know if an actual person himself understands, involves engaging him in a face-to-face, real time engagement - in a situation when whatever you get from that man comes from his mind (and not from a book).

The dialogue must be an open field, in which any topic can be addressed and probed to any depth.

This means that the would-be Master cannot simply prepare a set of answers in advance, but must respond to whatever subject at whatever length the questioner deems necessary; and must do this here and now.

Only if the Master knows the subject from the inside can he do this.

*

I take it that Euthyphro represents a (more or less) 'transcription' of the kind of thing Socrates did (since that seems to be the way this dialogue is presented, and indeed is its only justification since the dialogue doesn't really go anywhere).

http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/euthyfro.html

And Euthyphro seems to correspond closely to what I have described above.

*

So, the essence of the dialectic is a real-time, interactive conversation between actual people (the dialectic cannot be done via books, or by one person). Its objective is to test knowledge. Its 'method' is that there is no constraint on the topic being discussed. Any theme may be introduced and any line of enquiry may be followed-up.

Dialectic supposes knowledge to be as located in a generative understanding and ramifying out through innumerable specific topics like branches and twigs from the trunk of a tree. Dialectic questioning moves between these specific topics at the twig ends, and follows back each answer through the larger branches and toward the central trunk (or real understanding, which itself cannot be directly observed).

*

Thus the dialectic represents a very ancient form of discourse, in which wisdom was understood only to be communicable and testable via direct, here-and-now, one-to-one (or one to just a few) human communication; and in which we can only know that someone else knows via real time and unstructured communication.

This is how the Master knows that his apprentice really understands the subject - and how a potential apprentice such as Socrates might evaluate a putative Master - and this is why all early university tests were simply discussions: 'oral', viva - or more fully viva voce = 'living voice' exams.

The dialectic 'method' is simply a thematic but unstructured conversation. That is why it is difficult for moderns to grasp the nature of dialectic; since moderns typically deny the necessity of the unstructured individual relationship in real education, testing and evaluation of understanding.

*

Friday, 11 July 2014

The superiority of bodily incarnation in Tolkien and Mormonisn

*

One of the most striking aspects of Mormon theology is that incarnation, to have a body, is regarded as superior to a spiritual existence.

This is - of course - spontaneous, universal common sense about divine things (something that seems to be innate to all children); but stands in contrast to the Platonic (and gnostic pseudo-Christian) traditions which regard the spiritual as superior to the incarnate - the the spirit as being 'dragged-down' by the body.

Mainstream Christianity has historically been ambivalent on the matter of the body - the essence of Christianity being focused on the incarnation of Christ and the resurrection of all Men, yet with strong trends in the opposite direction of regarding the body as bad, corrupt, weak; and the spirit as purer and more perfect.

*

For the Restored Christianity of Mormonism, humans lived a pre-mortal spirit life - and some humans chose to be incarnated as mortals, and to die; and one reason for making this choice is that to have a body is superior to being a disembodied spirit. Living as an incarnated mortal and then dying leads to resurrection - and to be resurrected (and perfected by Christ's atonement and our repentance) allows spiritual progression or theosis - to become divinised as 'Sons of God'.

So higher divine beings are incarnate beings - and therefore not just Jesus Christ but also God the Father are incarnate beings with bodies (this reality was also a revelation given to Joseph Smith).

The implication is that the body is an enhancement of power, not a diminution. This is quite an alien and hard-to-grasp idea for the Western intellectual consciousness - indeed, some mainstream Christians apparently regard it as self-evidently ludicrous and incoherent that God the Father should have a body - presumably because they feel this would be a limitation rather than an enhancement.

*

In understanding the idea of incarnation as an enhancement, the work of Tolkien provides some help. Tolkien's gods/ Valar - including the minor gods or Maia - are incarnate (the nature of Eru, God, The One, is not described).

In particular the history of Sauron suggests that power is enhanced by the focus and concentration provided by a body - and that the periods of time when Sauron's body had been destroyed (when he was caught in he ruin of Numenor, and after the One Ring was cut from his hand by Isildur) were times when he was weakest. At such times he was a spirit of malice, like a black mist; but he needed to condense and form a body in order to become powerful.

Also in Tolkien is the idea that the beauty of the body is linked with the spirit which inhabits it. Sauron was at first and for a long time exceptionally beautiful, which was part of his ability to 'charm' and deceive the Numenorean King Ar Pharazon, and the Noldorian Elven smith Celebrimbor. When Sauron's body had been destroyed in Numenor, he was unable to remake it as beautiful; and the situation was worse after he infused much of his power into the One Ring - these were weaknesses.

Analogously, Morgoth began as the greatest of the Valar, incarnated in a body, and beautiful - but as his corruption and evil work proceeded he infused much of his nature into Middle Earth itself, and his armies of creatures such as balrogs, dragons, orcs and trolls. He ended up shrunken, blackened and physically weakened - and it seems his body was destroyed and his discarnate spirit shut out from the world of living creatures.  

*

So, Tolkien's mythology provides an example of incarnation regarded as a focusing and enhancement of power; and a purely spirit existence as relatively weak and lacking in focus - and in this respect it is a helpful analogy for understanding what is (for Western intellectuals, at least)  an unusual aspect of Mormon theology.

*

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Addicted to Distraction (my new book) is now available in the Kindle format

*
My new book -

Addicted to Distraction: psychological consequences of the modern Mass Media,

http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk/

is now available on Kindle at what seems a reasonable price:

$4.12 from amazon.com

£2.40 from amazon.co.uk

*

Note: I personally do not make any money from this book, since I took no advance and waived royalties; however, I would like a reasonable number of people to buy it to reward the publishers for publishing it. 

Population replacement in Britain - understanding its origins, following through its implications

*

The population of Britain is rapidly being replaced; from a combination of severe sub-fertility among the native population combined with year-upon-year massive immigration.

The sub-fertility aspect was brought home to me when I recently visited that rare thing - an English city which has had near zero immigration over the past fifteen years.

What struck me (before I had even figured out the reason) was that so many of the people around were old.

This brought home to me the deep reason behind population replacement; which is that the British reject religion and (therefore) refuse to reproduce.

*

Christianity has dwindled and declined in Britain to a much greater extent than is superficially obvious - because most self-identified Christians are - overall, in effect - anti-Christian; and this applies especially to the Christian leadership, who are Leftist fifth columnists that have subverted, hollowed-out and all-but destroyed all of the mainstream churches (the Church of England; the major Nonconformist churches such as Methodists, Quakers, Presbyterians; and the Roman Catholic church).

This mass apostasy is the root of a profound nihilistic demotivation which characterizes British life and is revealed most objectively (and lethally) in the incremental collapse of marriage and families, late fertility and massive sub-fertility most obvious among the skilled, educated and leadership classes.

*

Continued rapid mass immigration of any kind is very obviously a form of social suicide - and the British kind is perhaps more obviously so than most - so it is interesting to consider how a nation can do this to itself.

Mass immigration is indeed an active, deliberate and destructive strategy on the part of the British rulers - and this is a consequence of their characteristic self-hatred and smug, moralizing spite; and a thing only possible when people live inside the mass media, rather than being located in their own common sense and experience.

But equally striking is the bland, inert, passive consent (or at least placid acquiescence) of the mass majority of the British population - albeit that this is an engineered consent, yet there is little or no resistance to the engineering.

*

This is indeed near the root of the matter, and was starkly revealed by the picture of an English city without immigration; a city in which the population was almost visibly crumbling; the long term consequence of several generations in which purpose has weakened, sickened and almost died.

This is population failure at the most basic biological level.

The impression was of a people with nothing to hope for, therefore waiting to die, and therefore (at best) wrapped-up in the daily minutiae of media diversion and the pleasures of consumption; sometimes quiet, well-behaved, smart and cultured - sometimes aggressive, offensive, self-mutilated and destructive.

*

It is not so much that the mass of the British people actively-want to be replaced by a collection of various other people from other places - eventually to be dominated by whichever group happens to turn-up in the largest numbers and has the strongest will to take-over in any particular region; it is more that - lacking religion - the British people have no strong ideas about what to do instead.

How could they? For an apostate population; life has no purpose, no meaning; and in post-modernity, human relationships are few, shallow and ephemeral.

Mass immigration has been engineered by evil-serving elites who recognize it will destroy the British life that they loathe - but they could not have done this without the passive consent/ placid acquiescence of the demoralized mass of British people - and this demoralization runs very deep.

Indeed represents the deepest psychological level of evaluation.

*

The British reject religion - both among the elites and en masse - a sure sign of which is gross sub-fertility among the healthiest, wealthiest and most able.

Mass immigration follows on from this; but not as any kind of economic compensation (because most of the immigrants are economic dependents and use-up far more resources than they generate) - but simply because the migrants want to come to Britain and take advantage of her prosperity, while the nihilistic British people simply shrug and go along with this, because they don't care much (or at all about) what happens in the future - because they don't have anything in particular to aim at.

In sum, there seems to be only one thing which the British people are sure about - one primary and powerful conviction - and that is that they do not want Christianity - or indeed any other religion.

And from that, much else follows, as it will.

*

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

William Arkle on the proper attitude to God

*

For those who do not respond to the Personal reality of the Creator, the system of schoolroom environments continues in the same way as it does for the ‘believers’. The value of the growth situations is real to them, and the friendship relationships can flourish between them and their fellows. 

The exception to this latter situation are those who are trying to give up the individual stance of the individual spirit in the belief that it is a hindrance to their full enlightenment, which consists of ‘being God’, rather than ‘being a god’. 

In the sayings of Jesus for instance, there are many references to us being gods, but never a reference to us being God. The distinction is always clearly drawn between our identity as individual children and the idea of God as a Father, who is a Person in His own right. 

...But we must not become too concerned to know more of the activity of our God than He wishes to show us, or else we may fail to actualise our true Self on its own terms. So we must be delighted with the opportunities to taste of the flavour of God’s Personality, but not become obsessed by the idea of God to the exclusion of all else.

For if we understood the summit of love to be friendship, in the way of equality and mutual valuing, then an excessive clinging to God would rather cause Him to retreat a pace than come closer to us.

However, a drowning man clings desperately, but the drowning situation is not normal and will not last for ever. When the drowning person feels spiritually safe again, he will then be able to let go his grip and realise that it is no longer necessary or helpful.

During the rescue period on earth, there is much desperate clinging and this is of course understood and allowed for. But, as we move into a more mature phase of our schooling, a totally different understanding of religious purpose will help us to know it more in terms of education and growth.

**

Notes:

One aspect of William Arkle's thought which I found at first surprising, but has eventually convinced me, is his argument that if God's plan for Man is that we should grow to become God's friends then this has implications for how we should (ideally) regard Him and address Him. 

(I should make clear that for Arkle, this idea of divine 'friendship' is the highest imaginable kind of relationship between two beings.) 

In other words, if the reason behind God wanting us to become 'gods', that is divinized as resurrected and perfected Sons of Gods, is that at least some of us might at some time become sufficiently like him that we could be friends; then we should consider what this tells us about how God might want us to regard and address him. 

*

Since God is our Heavenly Father - we can consider how an earthly father might hope that his children should regard and address him - especially if that earthly father's wish was for his sons and daughters to grow into unique and developed personalities who would at some point undergo a transition from child dependent to adult 'friend'. 

Taking this perspective, it seems clear to me that a good father would hope for love of course, and also respect and due deference - but not 'worship', submission, abasement, grovelling or anything of that sort - which would more appropriate to a tyrant than to a father.

This suggests to me that some forms of liturgy, prayer and meditative address may (indirectly, inadvertently, unintentionally) have the effect of limiting and perhaps even blocking our relationship with God - preventing us from regarding Him as our Father.  

*

A second point Arkle makes in this passage is that, since we are intended to become God's friends,it is not enough for us to be obsessed with the idea of God to the exclusion of everything else. 

This is a startling point, because implies that 'self-actualisation'- development of our selves as unique individuals - is not a self-indulgence but a duty, an essential purpose in life. 

I infer that this means that God does not want us to do nothing-but pray, meditate, and humble ourselves by comparison with Him; God does not want us to cling desperately to Him - obsession and clinging sometimes is unavoidable, necessary and appropriate; but this is not God's hope, or goal or highest aspiration for us.

We should, if possible, be trying to do more. 

*

The modern West is *not* recapitulating the decline of the Western Roman Empire

*

While there are some parallels, the differences between the decline of the modern West and the decline of the Roman Empire are qualitative and decisive.

*

1. The modern West rose with the industrial revolution, which is unprecedented in human history.

And the industrial revolution was a consequence of multiple and frequent 'technological' breakthroughs that caused a massive increase in productivity - such that the population of the world increased seven-fold; so we now have a world of more than seven billion people - six billion of whom are utterly dependent on continued technological innovation and expertise.

2. In the 400s AD Christianity was extremely vigorous and devout, dominated the affairs of the Empire, and had been growing exponentially for about 14 generations by the high reproductive success among its adherents as well as rapid conversion - that certainly does not apply to the world of 2014, where most of institutional Christianity is not just feeble and declining - but substantially anti-Christian in intent and effect.

3. Ancient Rome was corrupt, incompetent, faced by too many problems and so on... but the modern West is not merely corrupt and incompetent - but rather it is actively working to destroy itself.

Because of the apostasy of the elites; the modern Western ruling class hates itself, and labours strategically and deliberately to mislead, weaken, subvert and invert their societal values, especially to attack the remnants of real Christianity and Christian values (both at home and internationally) - and to support and favour enemies of Christianity and Christian values (both at home and internationally).

*

No - we are not recapitulating Rome - we are in new, unprecedented and uncharted territory. There have never been times like these, and there has never been a situation like this one.  

*

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Christian aspirations - micro-living

*

The previous posting about Christian theocracy highlights how vanishingly-unlikely such a thing is - which means that therefore Christians will continue for the present to inhabit a secular Leftist society, until it collapses  - which it inevitably shall, from whatever combination of suicide and self-loathing and assisted or passively-accepted take-over by whatever (non-Christian) group that is able to muster the will and organization.

(With, no doubt, Christians being blamed for the collapse. Christians are at the bottom of the pecking order in the blame game. Leftists blame Christians for everything bad that happened in the past and for opposing the sexual revolution in the present. Secular neo-reactionaries and Dark Enlightenment types blame Christianity for Leftism.)

But, here and now, how can a Christian live in a society where bad is labelled as good; where ungliness is promoted as art, as beautiful; where virtue is vilified as evil; where hatred is regarded as tolerance; where gross lying, spin and falsehoods are mandatory beliefs and there are severe punishments for speaking or writing truths?

How can a Christian live? Only in some kind of micro-life - only in some kind of internal exile - only by a profound psychological detachment from the mainstream - only be accepting powerlessness and low status; because the price of power and status is active and frequent endorsement of lies, ugliness and vice.

Christianity is now counter-cultural; and like all real counter-cultures, that means it is small, weak, precarious - and appears dumb, crazy or wicked to the mass majority culture.

To dwell, mentally and physically, inside such a culture is an exercise in micro-living.

*

Monday, 7 July 2014

The absolute need for theocracy (or, what will get called "theocracy" by modern mainstream secular discourse)

*

What is needed, the only thing that is needed - what is necessary - and without which there is zero possibility of effective action... is theocracy.

Theocracy in a very general sense. It does not have to be rule by priests, or rule by a divinely ordained monarch - but it does have to be a government with religion as its primary, explicit, public objective; government which references every single decision to religion when the rationale for that specific decision is challenged.

*

NOT a government which justifies its actions on the basis of prosperity, or making people happy, or freedom, or equality, or relief of suffering, or security, or preserving the planet earth, or preserving or privileging any race or civilization or arts or science or power or glory. None of them. No secular goal.

They are only means to the end, and the end is religion.

*

The specific type of 'theocratic' government contains a variety of possibilities - but all the participants, all the rulers, all the elites must be singing from the same hymnbook!

*

And for heavens sake don't quibble about the meaning of theocracy! 

Any good, viable, valid possible government will get called theocracy so we might as well get used to it.

*

The only choice is the choice of religion. If people could get that fact into their skulls, the future would be a lot brighter.

*

Do I believe this will happen?  A theocracy in Britain?

No, I don't. Not at all. Not in any future I can forsee. I detect no signs of this happening at all in the UK...

Well, that is not quite accurate. I could imagine it happening, and quite soon (within my lifetime, if I live an average lifespan) - but not with Christianity being the religion.

That will be the default for those who refuse to see that the only choice is choice of religion. Really, it will.

*

Some visionary paintings by William Arkle

*

From:

http://shepton.org/page/the-paintings-of-william-arkle

*







*

The first picture is (I think) God presenting each of us with the Great Gift of the world and his divine friendship - there, waiting patiently for us to notice. The rest are an expression of our normal, natural, everyday world as suffused by awareness of its meaning, purpose, God's love: reality shining through appearances.

To get their full value, it is important to recognize that these paintings are not ideas or hopes or philosophical projections: they are attempted depictions of William Arkle's direct personal experiences.

*

The pentangle - a spiritual symbol

*



(In Middle English)

THEN þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez
Wyth þe pentangel depaynt of pure golde hwez.
He braydez hit by þe bauderyk, aboute þe hals kestes,
Þat bisemed þe segge semlyly fayre.
And quy þe pentangel apendez to þat prynce noble
I am in tent yow to telle, þof tary hyt me schulde:
Hit is a syngne þat Salamon set sumquyle
In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbez, 
For hit is a figure þat haldez fyue poyntez,
And vche lyne vmbelappez and loukez in oþer,
And ayquere hit is endelez; and Englych hit callen
Oueral, as I here, þe endeles knot.
Forþy hit acordez to þis knyȝt and to his cler armez,
For ay faythful in fyue and sere fyue syþez
Gawan watz for gode knawen, and as golde pured,
Voyded of vche vylany, wyth vertuez ennourned
in mote;
Forþy þe pentangel nwe
He ber in schelde and cote,
As tulk of tale most trwe
And gentylest knyȝt of lote.

Translated:

Then they showed him the shield that was of shining gules,
with the pentangle painted there in pure gold hues.
He brandishes it by the baldric, casts it about his neck,
that suited the wearer seemly and fair.
And why the pentangle applies to that prince noble,
I intend to tell, though I tarry more than I should.
It is a sign Solomon settled on some while back,
in token of truth, by the title that it has,
for it is a figure that has five points,
and each line overlaps and locks with another,
and everywhere it is endless, and English call it
over all the land, as I here, the Endless Knot.
For so it accords with this knight and his bright arms,
forever faithful in five ways, and five times so,
Gawain was for good known, and, as purified gold,
void of every villainy, with virtues adorned
                    all, so.
          And thus the pentangle new
          he bore on shield and coat,
          as title of trust most true
          and gentlest knight of note.


From:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/Gawain/1:2?rgn=div1;view=fulltext

http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/English/GawainAndTheGreenKnight.htm#_Toc178583489

**

The pentangle is a name for the five pointed star drawn as one continuous line - this particular name comes from the Medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (from the late 1300s) where it is extensively described in terms which make clear that it was at that time a Christian symbol.

Others call this type of star a pentagram.

Since then the pentangle has been variously (although not frequently) used by Christians - sometimes inverted (with the point downwards, sometimes with the downward point extended) - and also and more widely known by magicians and neo-pagans, who tend to enclose the star inside a circle: this is sometime called the pentacle. As such it appears in some versions of tarot cards.

But - in one form or another - the pentangle has for a long time, been a very potent spiritual symbol for me; beginning from my early neo-pagan times and this continued when I became a Christian.

*

Symbols are interesting things. On the one hand there is an objective quality to symbols, so that they are not open-endedly interchangeable - an inverted pentangle is quite different from the usual orientation, a four- or six-pointed start is quite different from a pentangle, and enclosing the pentangle in a circle (the pentacle) is different again.

Explaining why this should be tends to lead, in my opinion and experience, to a heap of unconvincing nonsense - such as numerology.

All I can give is my own subjective feelings on the subject of the regular pentangle with point upwards

1. It has a perfection absent from any other geometrical figure: perhaps because it is the simplest figure which is yet complex enough to be non-obvious and interesting (compare the dullness of a square or a triangle).

2. Furthermore, it is a dynamic shape - closely associated with the act of drawing it, or describing it in the air - it is 'the endless knot' (mentioned in Gawain). Perhaps this suggests eternity?

3. I cannot explain why - but the shape seems to have a connotation of protection. This seems to be a particular element in the Gawain poem - the pentangle protects him - which is why it is on his shield. But, probably, it only protects the worthy knight: protects his virtue, and protects him from harm.

4. And finally there is an obvious association with the human form of head, arms and legs; regularized and abstracted - with somehow each pointed away into... What? Eternity?

*

So for me the pentangle is lovely in itself, and also for its associations. Indeed, I feel an affection for it which I do not feel for 'the cross' as a symbol (with the exception of the Russian Orthodox cross, which seems very potent in my mind). And I am, in general, averse from the crucifix (Christ on the Cross). Not fixedly so, and there are exceptions; but as a general rule the crucifix either does nothing for me, or evokes a claustrophobic despair. This is probably linked with ineradicable theological reservations about what I regard as a false and distorting emphasis on the necessity and totality of the specific action of Christ being crucified.

*

On its own, the pentangle is perhaps too abstract and inhumanly-perfect a symbol - but it has a place, I feel, among other symbols, states, icons. At any rate, for those who respond to it as I do.

*

Sunday, 6 July 2014

On being in a minority (of one, or a few)

*

I suppose my usual experience of 'intellectual life' - whether in medicine, science or beyond - is being in a minority of just myself, plus or minus a handful of others.

Of course there is a large-ish set of shared assumptions, evidence, modes of reasoning and so on - an area of discourse - but it has been normal for me since I began publishing in the middle-late 1980s too find that nobody else agrees with my 'position'. And it has been normal for many people through intellectual history - or so it seems: the people I read or read-about are sui generis and there is nobody much 'like them'.

Are, for example, The Inklings alike? Are JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis? Only slightly, only in general terms and compared with the average - yet people group and pair them. The reality for both these men for most of the time was that they were in a minority of one, with a handful of others that had some kind of sympathy or interest in their views and productions.

Even in science, most of the good work has been done in the context of very small groups - Invisible Colleges, as they are called - which are the real creative intellectual units.

This is why the modern invention and forcible imposition of 'peer review' - or government of intellectual life by corrupt-committee - has been lethal to real intellectual work. And it explains why intellectual 'influence' is so unsatisfying to the originator - because other people virtually never understand the context of a creation or a discovery in the same context as does the creator.

The creator experiences his discovery or production as having been wrenched from its proper context, misunderstood and misapplied.

And he can do nothing about it. After all, he is in a minority of one!

*

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Intellectuals: analysis versus grandiose schemes (with reference to 'climate change')

*

On this blog I do a lot of analysis - which involves summarising some situation, describing it in terms of a few factors, and then extrapolating or interpolating something from this. And a lot of these analyses are about problems, threats, failures of potential, causes of misery and the like.

It seems to me that most intellectuals, most people perhaps, go straight from the analysis to what are we going to do about it - and the what we are going to do about it is almost-inevitably framed in terms of grandiose schemes - hatched on the assumption that the analyst has now become an absolute world dictator (a benign dictator, obviously) and can order things as he wishes.

This is almost an assumption: that all problems once identified ought to be solvable, indeed can be solved (or significantly ameliorated) and any solution is perceived in terms of some monolithic regulatory answer. Or, perhaps this is less of an assumption and more of a habit - the way that our culture habitually moves. We talk of problems, we do simplifying analyses, we outline what purport to be solutions - then we try to impose solutions or (more often) engage in rhetorical and propagandistic schemes to persuade other people to impose the solutions.

By such means A problem becomes The problem - and conjecture piled-upon conjecture takes on the status of an impatient imperative. The clearest current example is the way that Anthropogenic Global Warming went from being an ingenious and interesting conjecture in James Lovelock's books, into a worldwide brain-washing and legislation crusade, blending pseudo-scientific rationalism with blind idealism, and fuelled by astonishing levels of hate-filled zeal. (Having been a close reader of Lovelock from the mid-1980s, I saw the whole thing unfold with breakneck rapidity.)

But this is only an extreme example - almost every post I do about civilisational collapse from Leftism, 'dysgenics' or the runaway world population is met by an impatient demand of what am I going to do about it, or a request to know my policy recommendations. I am invited to become that world dictator and solve, by some grandiose scheme, the problem i have just outlined.

I wonder why our culture should be so prone to this particular kind of nonsense? Maybe it is that, lacking any genuine religion, we are thrashing around for some purpose to string-together the hours and days into some semblance of meaning and purpose. I suppose this is evidence of poverty of perspective. Religious explanations are excluded from the mainstream public domain - or ridiculed as crazy or framed as evil.

Indeed this seems almost inevitable given the lack of a possible assumed consensus among the public (all media communications are written with this assumption, but the basis for what can be assumed is ever-shrinking - being ever more thoroughly crushed).

From this perspective, problems are raised only to lead to action (even though action almost-never occurs - this then becomes another problem demanding action to remedy the inaction - and so on...).

Thus problems cannot be discussed, nor disasters contemplated, without leading to the demand that action be taken such that they be prevented. And (this is the strange and scary aspect) this imperative for action applies even when there is no known or possible action which could prevent the problem - as with 'climate change': the discussion moves seamlessly from a few conjectural analyses to multiple plans to avert climate change by controlling the earth's climate!

I suppose 'science' knows enough to recognise that this is by-so-far impossible that we might as well be discussing how to control the heat of the sun - for example, by making the sun burn hotter or cooler, as required.

But the modern mind demands solutions - even when the supposed solutions are insane and evil - the one thing that apparently cannot be contemplated, is that that there might be nothing we can do about it.

The one thing we absolutely cannot cope-with in modern public discourse is that almost-everything that will happen, will happen (or not) whatever we personally may feel, think or do.

Any philosophy worth its salt must acknowledge this vast and basic fact of life; and the fact that ours cannot do so is sufficient proof of its insufficiency.

*