Monday 15 June 2020

Do you have a question?

If you have a question for me (one question) - please ask.

(I do this from time to time, but recent readers may have missed earlier iterations.) 

I won't necessarily answer! - especially if the question is too personal, if I don't know, or if it is too much about the details of current affairs.

But I will at least read and consider it.


dearieme said...

Why has nobody much enquired about the fate of the Uyghurs in their concentration camps during these plague months?

(Suggested answer: because nobody can see how to weaponise them against Trump or Brexit.)

David Earle said...

My mother brings this up a lot. What's to be said for people that spend their entire lives rejecting Christ, not thinking about it, sinning, and then on their death bed decide to "get saved"? Compared to people that devote their entire lives to Christ? My mother would say that seems unfair.

Ron Tomlinson said...

What's the relationship between motivation and learning? Can the plethora of learning tools, workflow apps and so on ever work or are they just a futile attempt to live life on paper/pixels?

Radford Harrell said...

Dr. Charlton, Thank you for fielding questions. Your perspective on self defense (with the potential to take the aggressor's life) and the Gospel would be very helpful to me in these trying times. Thank you for your ministry.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d - Until I looked it up just then, I had no idea what an Uyghur was. 'Nuff said.

@i - You need to consider what it is to accept Jesus's offer of Heaven. To get to Heaven entails that we want to go there when we die, and this requires following Jesus through resurrection to life everlasting. It involves making an eternal commitment.

How people behave is not the essence (after all, people have different characters and circumstance, and most people can be compelled to do amost anything given sufficient threats of the right kind) - it is a person's motivation that is the essence.

Tt is whether they are orientated towards God, or not. Whether they wish to live forever in harmony with God's creation, or not. Whether they wish to live as members of God's family, or not.

Last minute repentance is certainly real and possible - but what is not possible is to regard Heaven as if it was a paradise, and that God can be tricked, as if repentance is a loophole. Someone who wants to dwell in Heaven will not be someone who regards Heaven as a test that can be cheated - and if someone does think of Heaven this way, they have already excluded themselves.

It is not possible because it is to have misunderstood the whole nature of why people go to Heaven and what it entails. Anyone can get there in theory, at any time; but one must want to become a part of Heaven forever.

But we cannot make a certain and eternal commitment in mortal life, because mortal life entails change. We can and do make such commitments only after mortal life, when the decision is implemented (by resurrection).

@RT You need to be clearer about the context - generically, learning may apply to an amoeba or to someone training as a doctor. If you are talking about the latter - then motivation is vital.

Quite a lot of this kind of learning is unconscious, but the person must minimally be motivated to put themselves into a situation where learning can occur, and to stay there long enough, and to repeat this frequently enough.

For this kind of higher education in attitudes and skills and insight; there have been no discoveries or technical inventions of any value since the book - quite the opposite. Apprenticeship is the best method, and it has been all-but abolished.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RH - I'm not sure what you are driving at. I reject pacifism if that is what you are asking. If you are asking whether self defence against (assumed) murderous assault can legitimately include deliberate killing of the murderous attacker, then I go along with the consensus of Mankind through history: Yes, obviously.

Jacob Gittes said...

What do you think is the main, or some of the main, causes of depression in our era?
To me, it seems like a repression or suppression of life force, vitality, and love. What is the spiritual component?

Ranger said...

Not exactly a question, but I'd love to read your thoughts on the Lancet-chloroquine article fiasco; and now they not even longer pretend to be a scientific publication, talking about the Brazilian President's "loss of a moral compass". Who made "scientists" moral authorities?

Bruce Charlton said...

@J - By context I assume you mean the emotion of depression (rather than the psychiatric disorder); I would say 'alienation' is the main cause. Alienation caused by the purposelessness and meaninglessness of life in a Godless world; where nearly everything is unalive, and where the other 'people's behaviour is determined, a product of unconscious instinct or simply random.

@R - Science has been dead for a considerable time, professional reseacrh is part of the single bureaucracy, the Lancet are bought and paid agents of the System (among the worst). As for chloroquine, what I do believe is that only sufficiently competent and honest people with direct experience of treating patients with the specific probem are in a position to have a medical opinion; and perhaps (nowadays) there is no such person.

John Douglas said...

You mentioned the other day that you woke up with a migraine headache. I can sympathise for I have the same affliction occasionally. I had migraines in my younger days which then disappeared until recently, probably a gap of 35-40 years. They no longer give me a headache, now I just get the 'light show' which is not unpleasant except that it interferes with whatever I was doing.
Reading about migraines produces conflicting opinions. Is it neurological or physiological? Hildegard of Bingen was famously a migraine sufferer.
Your own experience and professional opinion would be good to hear.

Philip Keefe said...

A few weeks ago you mentioned in passing Martin Carthy and Shirley Collins among other folk artists and I found it interesting that you are familiar with their music.
As an older boomer I remember very fondly the folk music revival of the sixties and early seventies, the wonderful nights at folk clubs and festivals. What I am wondering is how and why you think that sub-culture came about. Although I lived just over the border in Wales the traditional songs were mostly English with maybe some Scottish and Irish and that was fine. There were industrial songs too but things never got overly political. The best of the music harked back to what seemed a simple age of bucolic life.
My question is, why was this music so appealing to us at that time and do you think that traditional English music has the same appeal and relevance to some of today's young people?

Stephen Macdonald said...

@Bruce, perhaps as a refinement of Radford Harrell's question, what is your opinion of the US Second Amendment as opposed to government attempts to disarm the public? Here in Canada, our progressive elitist government has recently begun stripping gun owners of their legally-acquired firearms, while doing nothing at all to prevent armed gangsters from shooting up Toronto. As Christians, is it wise to own a gun for the protection of home and family?

Bardsey said...

As a misfit Catholic of "Romantic Christian" temperament in a time of overwhelming assault by the Media and the System, what are your thoughts on Suffering at this time? Much of what I read here strengthens me in my ability to say No and turn away. But there is overwhelming sorrow, especially over my young children. Do we let people see Sorrow on our faces and keep our rejoicing private? Are we inscrutable and silent? Or do we try to show joy in spite of the bitterness, even though it cannot be understood by most people we meet?

Bruce Charlton said...

@JD - I don't believe anybody knows much about migraines - including not how they are caused or best treated. Nobody at all in the UK. You need to make yourself your own expert on your own disease by informed trial and error. I'd advise sticking to old drugs - since the research literature over the past 20 years is worse than useless. Just about the only person I have found who talks sense and is vastly experienced is an American Larry Robbins: What is clear is that different people find different things work for them, but often nothing works except treating the acute attack by whatever means your body can tolerate. I don't have an answer, which is why I had to retire early and lose several half days per week - including today.

@PK - I've written about this here and there on this blog if you do some word searches - essentially I believe it was part of the 1960s romantic revival, which continued into just after the first half of the seventies. It succeeded partially because it was tapping into older ways of thinking "Original Participation" - do teh word search), but it failed ultimately for the same reason tha tit looked back for what was good about it. Also it was anti-Christian (pro-neo-pagan) and even the best of it was actually permeated by leftism; albeit of an older and better William Morris, RH Tawney inspired kind. It went the way of all leftism and anti-Christian things. Since about 1977/8, the folk revival lost its soul.

Bruce Charlton said...

@N - Two things - since earlier this year we live under a full totalitarian regime; so laws don't matter. In the UK our lives are literally 'dictated' by a member of the government announcing how we will live (for the next few days) on the media - there are no laws anymore. I am ever more sure that we will have a very complete civilizational collapse, which will sweep away individual attempts to hold it back, of all kinds. We may survive a few weeks or days longer by various attempts (and 'luck') but when a civilization collapses there is no hiding place; and until our civilization collapses any violent resistance to leftism/ mobs will (of course) be more aggresively dealt with than crime. (In the UK the police operate primarily to protect the officially approved and funded mobs against resistance, to facilitatie their mob activities.) That is assuming some other cataclysm does not happen first.

@B - I believe that we each have our own individual destiny; our own purpose in this world; the lessons we personally need to learn from our exact specific experience. Individual guidance cames from our true self (which is divine, because we are God's children) and from the Holy Ghost, with which we have a personal relationship (if we choose).

(Including Nova in this) I would say that we get guidance about what specifcially to do for/ about our selves and families from these sources (God the Father within, Jesus/ the Holy Ghost without). Guidance may be to 'do' nothing but to live spiritually, to do all the Christian things that we might otherwise put off, or give a low priority. Ask and you will be advised.

Chip said...

I would be interested in your opinion of Winston Churchill. Seems to be in the news lately somehow.

Bill Turgeon said...

I am not a scientist and have never been keenly interested in geology, botany, chemistry, etc.

Intuition has always whispered within that the age of our Earth and Man are nowhere near the extensive umpteen millions of years science indicates.

It's a strong intuition - with no scientific basis.


"If you examined a human heart today, then five days later and then again after a further five days, you could calculate from the minute changes what it was like three hundred years ago and what it will be like three hundred years hence.

In the same way geology can calculate what the Earth looked like twenty million years ago and what it will look like twenty million years hence.

The calculations may be perfectly correct.

But the Earth was not in existence twenty million years ago and will not be in existence twenty million years from now.

The calculations themselves are correct but they are not true."

- Rudolf Steiner, January 25, 1924


Do you have an opinion?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Chip - Overall, I like Churchill for saving Britain when probably nobody else could or would have done so. He was a wonderful prose writer too!

@Bill - This is well argued in Owen Barfield's Worlds Apart; and I can't fault the argument.

Essentially, the age of the earth is based on a model, and all models are ultimately wrong (because simplified and distorted) and because they pretend to dispense with consciousness but actually smuggle in modern consciousness dishonestly.

In addition, there is the problem that because knowledge requires consciousness - there is a metaphysical problem from projecting modern consciousness into situations where there is no human consciousness.

Or *different* human consciousness. I think the main implication is that we cannot argue from these modelled projections (about pre-human history, or about vastly remote parts of the universe) to prove something about here-and-now life.

The other implication is that there were times and places where different rules applied. For example, Ancient Egyptian society was based on magic; deployed by a professional magical-priesthood like a technology. For them magic was objectively real, and worked predictably and controllably; and we can see the results in their extraordinary buildings and artefacts.

denise said...

Dr. Bruce: could you share your thoughts on Luke 14:33, and also any insights into the entire chapter of Luke 14, I very much appreciate you,

Brandon said...

Are white people of Indo-European extraction largely doomed to marginalization and a future of hated minority status in all nations of the West? They appear deeply sick spiritually, psychologically, physically and currents events bear this out.

Pangloss said...

Bruce, after the invisible enemy (a virus) there now is the visible enemy (supposed systemic racism) tearing society as we know it apart. There was bush fires, there is locusts, economic crisis is expected, famines may occur, and what you have.
Jesus Christ's prophecies (Matthew 24) speak about these things which may just be happening whilst we are speaking:
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Q: The question I have for you is what phases will be heaped upon the current ones? For surely we aren't done yet. I am aware you do not believe in a Second Coming.

Epimetheus said...

What is the Final Participation of Dreaming? So far, all the discussion has centered around the daytime two-thirds, the waking consciousness. What about the remaining third? Is it possible to participate actively in dreaming consciousness? How might this be done?

Completely unrelated, but I keep experiencing a vivid idea-image that the first Adamic race of man could travel the stars in their dreams, their sleeping consciousness floating through galactic clusters, the cloudscapes of gas giants, the surface of far moons, beneath the ice in alien oceans, or even deeper metaphysical worlds. Cool, eh? I'm mostly stuck with babbling and invisible quicksand, alas.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d. I find such passages as this do not strike me as authoritative. If IV Gospel is our guide, Jesus did not list rules of living in this way.

B. Yes, if The System survives; but I don't think it can survive.

@P. So far I don't seem able to predict "what will happen next", but my intuition is that there will be a major solar event: "signs in the sun." Before autumn is over. I have no evidence for this.

Epimetheus said...

Yes, the power of the System is based on it's mind-control beams ie. electronic communication through the mass media and the Internet, through which it controls the consciousness of Western mankind. A solar storm sufficient to wipe out all complex electronics would do the trick - people would suddenly have their consciousness set back solidly in their laps.

James said...

What are your thoughts on contemplative prayer as taught by Thomas Keating? Furthermore, what of other writers and thinkers in the contemplative/mystical realm of Christianity? I've felt very drawn to this type of contemplation and the spirituality of it, but I've had concerns of the rightness of it in a Biblical sense. Likewise, I've had the same concerns with the idea of Romantic Christianity, but I am starting to reconcile these concerns with the lived experiences I've had and the vitality to experiencing Christ in this way. If you could share your thoughts on this topic if would be appreciated.

Bruce Charlton said...

@J. I don't know anything about Keating. Not sure what you are asking here But I agree that Romantic Christianity is not closely compatible with the tenets of Protestant Biblical Christianity, i.e. that regards all of the Bible as equal in authority, and all verses as inerrant.

Wes S said...

What do you think the purpose of Mormon "plural marriage" was? Would you guess it was a genuine revelation of Smith at the time, or something created in error, or maybe was the error simply turned toward the good in the end?

I have thought that, whatever the reason it came to be, it was a kind of Providence in that it kept Mormons cohesive and apart (societally and genetically) in the face of intense public backlash and continued mockery, even to the present.

Moonsphere said...

Bruce, how do you reconcile the approach that God had towards Saul, compared to the Pharisaical movement in general? Why do you think that God made an exception for Saul and elevated him despite his crimes whilst leaving the others to continue upon a path of ruination.

My own answer would be based upon reincarnation (Saul/Paul was already a great soul), but without that I would be somewhat at a loss to explain.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ M. I don't accept the assumption that God can raise up an unwilling person, agaost his will. If that was what Paul really believed then he was mistaken, as he was mistaken about several other matters, including a basic misunderstanding of what Jesus did and how.

Why do I think this? Because I regard the Fourth Gospel, and Mormon theology, as more authoritative - more true; and because I acknowledge fundamental contradictions between these and Paul.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wes. I believe in Mormon theology and the validity of the Book of Mormon (overall, as a true sign) but not the CJCLDS as a bureaucratic institution. I think that the impulse which led to the Restoration was intended by God to be Fourth Gospel Romantic Christianity, based on families.

Plural marriage was meant (by God) to be spiritual not sexual, as it was for Joseph (who only had sexual relations with Emma, not his other wives) - and it initially included spiritual polyandry as well as polygamy.

Intended as a way of 'making' extended families by linking monogamous but unrelated families. The physical polygyny was an error of understanding.

jas said...

Is calling something 'Judeo-Christian' an oxymoron?

Sean G. said...

Do you have any thoughts on the lost gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary?

Bruce Charlton said...

@SG - They don't interest me. I regard them as later than, and more distorted from, Jesus's teaching than Matthew and Luke. But if the IV Gospel is true then the other Gospels (including the Gnostic ones) and the Epistles are seriously distorted/ incoherent (due to bringing a different agenda from IV Gospel, to a collection of memoirs of varying reliability).

Bruce Charlton said...

@jas - It is an oxymoron in some usages, a rhetorical manipulation in others, and a shorthand for the inclusion of the Old Testament (hence Jewish history) in the Bible in other usages. But whatever usage is aplied, Judeo-Christian is not a relevant concept for me.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Epi - I'm not sure; but I think that sleep (both deep and dreaming sleep, which are probably very different) is supposed to be functionally different from awakeness; so it may be that Final Participation never will apply to sleep.

Luke said...

Do you have any ideas about why reincarnation would happen?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Luke - Rudolf Steiner, Owen Barfield and William Arkle all believed in some version of reincarnation and that they themselves had been reincarnated - so one reason may be as a spiritual teacher.

This may also apply to John the Baptist, since the possibility he was one of the prophets was discussed (this showing that the Jews at the time of Jesus believed that that reincarnation - or something like it - was certainly possible).

All hunter gatherers believe in another version of reincarnation rather like the closed system recycling of spirits.

If you word search reincarnation on this blog you will see the question discussed.

Moonsphere said...

Bruce - As well as prophets and spiritual teachers, do you believe that evil individuals can also re-incarnate?

Bruce Charlton said...

@M As I've said elsewhere, I think reincarnation was normal before Jesus. My evidence is simply that, so far as I know, almost everybody believed it (of course there are many versions). After Jesus made possible resurrected eternal life, reincarnation became rare and specific).

As for evil individuals, surely that description includes everyone?

I think we need to regard salvation.and especially theosis as bespoke, individually tailored - if resurrection is helpful then somebody would have it.

Ingemar said...


I've begun the trimming-away of my attachments to the System; I've deleted major social media accounts which has the side effects of cutting off contact with relatives that I have no means of contacting except by the System.

I forsee that I will have to lose my job either because I don't pay tribute to VirusRegime or because the bureaucratic nature of it will drive me away anyways. Thankfully the only mouth I have to feed is mine.

But since the beginning of the Birdemic I've been suffering the very real effects of isolation. Phone calls and video conferences are of little consolation because almost everyone in my family are Brainwashed (except those who are most-explicitly religious; even among those, there is disagreement). I've grown tired of trying to explain myself and trying to expose error. It's come to the point where I even dared my father to report me to VirusRegime authorities.

I have people online, around the world--but there's something disconcerting in the fact that they ARE online, as if they aren't real persons. How best to deal with this isolation?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ing - I think there are only two possible answers: one is that you absolutely need to find human companionship, like most humans; which nearly always entails marriage or family (or a religious order, although that lacks many of the most important - to most people - aspects such as human touch). The other is deliberately to become a hermit, and focus your life on that.

Wade said...


Above, you state "and a shorthand for the inclusion of the Old Testament (hence Jewish history) in the Bible in other usages. But whatever usage is applied, Judeo-Christian is not a relevant concept for me." ..

Can you elaborate on this a bit? What parts of the OT and/or Jewish history do you regard as important for modern Christianity and Romantic Christianity (if any at all)? I've been reading your blog for quite some time and noticed that the OT is not much of a going concern here the way it would be in many Protestant churches. So, I'm very curious as to your views on the OT.



Bruce Charlton said...

@Wade - Too big a topic for comments. The answer is implicit in about 1/4 of all the blog posts I have done. Maybe you could look at the Lazarus Writes book I did on the Fourth Gospel (side bar).

Jennifer said...

Hi, Dr. Charlton,

Aside from the Bible, do you have a short list of must-own or must-read books?


Bruce Charlton said...

@J - Well, no; because I can't recommend a book to anyone I don't know well. My favourite book is Lord of the Rings; but it doesn't suit everyone.

Bruce Charlton said...

@HOJ - The short answer is yes; All Western institutions are 'converged' - not matter what their supposed subject matter or function. At least, I don't know of a single current exception.