Sunday 31 July 2022

Should Christians hand-over their eternal salvation to... historians? Romantic Christianity at the cutting-edge

At the cutting-edge of experienced-life - 

The Church = What (some) Historians Say

All claims of knowledge reduce to intuition/s; but for traditionalist Christians, the baseline intuition is that The Truth is a matter of history; and history is known through the work of 'historians' - broadly conceived. 

Whenever a Christian makes a statement about the past, about what happened, and how things were (for example in the life of Jesus or The Church - whichever he adheres-to); in practice the implication is that 'history' defines truth. 

How can we know this history? 

Well, if we regard the church as primary, then in some sense we are saying that true knowledge of history lies outside our-selves. That we cannot be a Christian (or, at least, not properly) without this historical knowledge... 

Christianity is indeed an historical faith, intrinsically - based on Jesus making interventions in reality at some historical point. 

For the Christian this history is true. Yet true by what account, by what authority? 

Too often this is understood to mean that being a Christian means accepting the authority of (one or another bunch of) historians - as primary

Thus Christians put themselves in the position of being at the mercy of 'historians' (including scholars of many stripes - historical linguists, archaeologists, translators and editors, theological interpreters (the modern informing us about, and interpreting, the ancients) etc. 

According to church-primary Christianity; that which Christians are called upon to believe and the ways they are called upon to live, are rooted in historical work... yet are we really so confident about handing over our immortal souls to historians?

I Am Not! I am not at all confident about handing over my eternal salvation to the work of historians and other scholars. 

Why should I accept one selected and specifically interpreted set of historical statements, upon which to base my mortal life and resurrection - when there are so many and contradictory statements of history? 

To answer my own question: I would only accept a particular version of history when it has been validated at the deepest and most enduring level by what could be called intuition: when my deepest-possible, sustained reflection on the matter tells me that this particular history is true: even if not 100% true in every possible respect - that it is true in the ways that matter. 

What this means is that faith rests ultimately upon such intuitions - and therefore does Not rest upon any external source of knowledge. External knowledge must be checked against intuition. In different language: our faith needs to be confirmed by 'personal revelation' - as the Mormons term it. 

Such intuition is an ongoing process, which never ends in this mortal life; which is why our faith is a living and renewing thing - or else it dies. 

But having reached the insight that our faith rests upon this internal knowing - this personal revelation; then we may further recognize that this internal knowing is not restricted to confirming externally-derived information

When our personal revelations have confirmed that we are sons and daughters of God, and that the ascension of Jesus Christ made possible our communing and consultation of The Holy Ghost for knowledge and guidance...

Then we may realize that intuition (in this sense) may be a primary source of Christian knowledge and guidance - independent of external sources: independent of churches.  

And this insight and affirmation is (more-or-less) Romantic Christianity. It amounts to the personal revelation that we ought not to handover our external salvation to 'historians' and their like. 

To live (unconsciously, spontaneously) by external guidance was natural and necessary in the past, in many civilizations - but it is nowadays neither necessary: nor indeed possible.  

Modern Men cannot do what ancient Men universally did - and our choice is therefore between denial and acknowledgement of how we actually do live (when at our best): as autonomous agents, as choosing consciousnesses; guided by intuitions from our own divinity and the Holy Ghost...

We can only know such intuitions for our-selves - from our-selves - and in our actual circumstances; and these may guide us to a particular denomination and church; to particular persons and books and statements, and what we ought to think/say/do - Or Not, as the case may be. 

The aim being to bring us to affiliate with God and creation in the spiritual war; aiming after mortal death to follow Jesus Christ to resurrected life in Heaven. 

We can by such means - and at the cutting-edge of actually being-experienced life - learn those churches, teachings, 'histories' which are in-accord-with truth, and help these aims - and learn to detect and reject those which are not. 

Note added concerning Mormonism - a case study of personal revelation: 

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. According to the scholarship of Terryl Givens; the BoM is broadly highly compatible with the Bible. Its production functioned mainly as a sign that new Christian revelations were being made by God, via a new prophet. But the BoM has one theological innovation, which is that individuals ought to seek personal revelations to confirm all significant and foundational Christian claims. 

For example the BoM itself served as an instrument of conversion. The missionary would ask an individual to read the book, then seek personal revelation as to its truth. If revelation confirmed the truth of the BoM, then this was (pretty much) sufficient for baptism - which might follow immediately or very soon. This process has striking similarities with the almost instant conversions described in the Gospels, and Acts of the Apostles - such as the Ethiopian Eunuch.     

But the explicit insistence on a need for personal revelation was new, and foundational of the new denomination.    
Yet, the scope of personal revelation was soon limited explicitly by top-down CJCLDS rulings; because low level church members were claiming major revelations about many and fundamental whole-church matters, and these were leading to schism and disruption. By revelation of the prophet Joseph Smith; the scope of revelation then became hierarchically limited, especially in relationship to church order, official theology, doctrine, practices etc. Only church officials were allowed valid revelations in accordance with the scope of their office; up to the church President (the prophet) who was the only person allowed fundamental and church-wide revelations. 

This meant that henceforth the Mormon church assumed primary authority over all fundamental matters, and that the church's teaching on all vital matters must be regarded as a unit; either to be accepted as a whole, or else rejected - but nobody had the right to pick and choose, modify, or add-to that unified body of mandatory beliefs. 

However necessary to the survival of the church were such hierarchical limitations on the scope of revelation; the validity of such limitation on the scope of personal revelation is itself subject to the need for confirmation by personal revelation. And that personal revelation may lead to the rejection of such limitations - and instead lead to the potential validity of personal revelations up-to and including fundamental matters of theology, doctrines, life-practices etc.

In a nutshell, if personal revelations of unlimited scope are allowed to all Mormon believers; this will lead to the destruction of top-down church authority. The Mormon Church (CJCLDS) would then become regarded in an expedient fashion, as being more or less helpful to theosis and salvation (in terms of its teachings and practices), and itself subject to the imperatives of personal revelation.  

This is my own attitude to Mormonism. I regard the BoM as true, and Joseph Smith as a real prophet, and Mormon theology and metaphysics as a major breakthrough (and revelation) in world historical terms. Yet I am not, and never have been, a CJCLDS member, nor have I ever attended services nor placed myself under church authority (indeed, I have attended selected Church of England services, and support some of these particular congregations). 

What I get from Mormonism is the ultimate validity and necessity of personal revelation - and I do not accept (for myself) the pragmatic necessity or primacy of 'official' revelations from the leadership. In other words, I see myself as having accepted, and benefitted from, Joseph Smith's original revelations concerning the primacy of personal revelations - without the later-added institutional restrictions. 

That this is a timely and correct course of action seems to be confirmed by the ongoing 'convergence' of the CJCLDS with several of the purposively-evil strategies of the global totalitarian establishment. In short, the Mormon church has already ceased to be a Christian church overall, and is engaged in its own further and further self-destruction by alliance with the demonic side in the spiritual war of this-world. 

If this is correct, then those who continue to maintain their own inability to have general, church-wide, unlimited personal revelations will be led into greater convergence, and more extreme and active alliance with Satan. 

This is one example of why the matter of personal revelation/ intuition/ direct-knowing/ heart-thinking - that is, of Romantic Christianity - is of such urgent importance. 

Saturday 30 July 2022

Me-Here-Now versus History - what kind of Christian are you?

Christians will find themselves - sometimes again and again - at a point where there is a stark awareness and apprehension of Me-Here-Now - a situation of direct and 'intuitive' knowing; rooted in a personal and first-hand experience, and a person to person relationship - typically in relationship to Jesus Christ. 


This contrasts with traditional church-based knowing; which is rooted in historical discourse and 'scholarship' of various types; and is therefore second-hand (or third-/ fourth-/ fifth-hand...). 

Church-knowing is indirect knowledge-about... rather than experience-of. It is something we learn and strive to remember... rather than apprehend with instantaneous clarity and conviction. 

Because modern Men are self-aware, because we are conscious of our own consciousness; we distinguish these two 'ways of knowing' whereas at times in history these would have been regarded as aspects of a unity...  

Indeed they were not distinguished, because the individual was then immersed in the group's thinking; and often had experienced none-other; his beliefs were spontaneously and unconsciously those of the social group, and these beliefs were apparently stable, apparently 'eternal'. 

Man in the past did not distinguish even the possibility of himself having direct and personal knowledge that diverged from knowledge he absorbed insensibly and by training and education from his society. 

Therefore in the past - when Men's consciousness was different; the basis of Christianity rooted in a church was natural, inevitable, and right

But Now we experience self-validating truth for-ourselves, intermittently; in flashes, or 'epiphanies'; yet brief because we are then in a state of self-awareness that of-itself interrupts that which is being-observed

As soon as we know we are knowing - that consciousness slips-away into mere knowing that we know...

But anyone who has known by this kind of directly-apprehended, wordless intuition; is aware of its utter distinction from those vast masses of external and historical 'knowledge' which constitute 'a religion' or 'a science' or 'literature'...

The question then arises; why should we believe secondhand church-knowledge? 

Such a 'why' question would not have occurred in the past - but now it has; and it demands an answer; that is, assuming we are to give some version of church-knowledge absolute primacy* over all other contesting knowledge-claims... 

For a Christian, we see on the one hand an enormous, heavy, complex system of historical claims which constitutions a denomination or church; all of which includes the claim that this is (in some essential fashion) the unchanging truth, and our job is to worship and obey. 

Or job as a church-Christian is primarily to learn-about this body of historical material - and submit-to it. 

Therefore, Me-Here-Now and (what feels like) direct knowing; must be fitted-into - and submit-to - this mass of external stuff. 


For a church-Christian; Nothing we might ever possibly experience, think, say or do - past, present or future - can ever affect the directionality of that relationship

The Church - and therefore History - is absolute and primary; we our-selves are contingent and secondary. 

(And the same applies if, for instance, The Church is replaced by Scripture, or Tradition - it's all History, ultimately; all external - all given-us by a particular body of Men, all based-on historical claims.)

So, this is the crux. We have our own most intense, most real, most true and most important convictions - rooted in (what feels like) a direct-knowing of reality...

Or we have (what feels like) a secondary, second-hand, submission to (what purports to be) a vast bulk of mixed historical claims - cross-referencing the validity of authority, scriptures, traditions and practices, beliefs etc. 

These two possibilities (for many perhaps almost all) people have separated, their combination was a consequence of unconsciousness - and now we are conscious - and they have been split apart by this consciousness.

Thus Romantic Christianity became a possibility, and the decision concerning ultimate authority became a necessity. 

We can either acknowledge or deny the crux - but denial is dishonest. 

What to do we do; where place our primary loyalty, where look for salvation? By submission and obedience to History (i.e. Our Church)?

Or; do we instead start the process of re-knowing, re-learning, re-making Christianity from the basis of the primacy of intuition, direct-knowing, heart-thinking (whatever we call it)...

(Which is (for Christians) intuition of the divine within us (as we are children of God), and our apprehension of the Holy Ghost without?)


The crux is: Do we trust our-selves and personal-knowing primarily; or we we trust... whatever we have been told by our favoured historians concerning church-history, and organize everything else around that?   

Is Christian faith to be rooted in the Here-and-Now experience - or in curated historical claims? 

Romantic of Traditional? 

*Note: 'Primary' and Primacy' are used here to indicates which comes first and is foundational. It is not a matter of either/ or Romantic versus Historical Christianity - but which is primary and foundational; about which judges and discerns the other. Thus a Romantic Christian may be a full church member and believer - but at root he will have intuitively-discerned and evaluated the truth of the church's claims (at least; those which are of core importance to him), and consciously chosen to accept them. The Historical-Church Christian may experience intuitive direct knowing, but will accept or reject such insights in accordance with his primary obedience to the church - therefore no personal knowledge could ever (as a matter of principle) challenge or overturn the church's instruction and teaching. What a church-Christian experiences and knows here-and-now, will only be allowed validity when it supports the church's 'historically-based' understanding; and any other insights will be rejected as erroneous or evil. 

Friday 29 July 2022

Pharaoh's Walk by Exodus (1971) a revivalist craze waiting to happen...

English-produced 'Rocksteady' Reggae with jazz flute from 1971... what's not to like? 

I don't actually remember this from the era in which it was released - despite having had a strong liking for the Jamaican Ska/ Rocksteady/ Reggae of the late 1960s. But I recently came across it in a YouTube compilation of such music that was issued in the UK by the famous Trojan Records. 

It is such a great little track that I immediately recognized it as one of those which will, sooner or later, be rediscovered and used as movie background, or a the theme for a TV show; so that sometime in the future 'everybody' will know it.  

Well, thanks to BC's Notions; you can be one of the early adopters... 

Thursday 28 July 2022

"Daddy, what did you do in the the birdemic?" - The question that church-affiliated Christians need to ask

"What did you do in 2020 - when the churches were told they were 'inessential', ordered to close their doors without stated end-point, ceased to offer the sacraments, and forbade all gatherings of Christians - even outdoors?" 

"What did you do when people were imprisoned wherever they happened to be, were forbidden to meet, were prevented from touching, and were compelled to hide their faces?"

"How did you then explain and justify your capitulation-to and embrace-of the globalist, totalitarian, Satanic agenda?" 

"And do you now explicitly repent what you thought, said and did in relation to the birdemic-peck?"

These are the kinds of question that real-Christians need to ask of their denomination, their specific church, and their pastor/ priest.  

(...Unless, of course, they already know the answers full-well; because, for so many self-identified Christians; 2020 is, was, and always will be.)

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Emptiness and futility, arbitrary motivations and hedonism - on re-reading CP Snow's The Light and the Dark (1947)

Although now almost forgotten as a novelist; CP Snow's work has many special qualities, and I find I return to re-read one or other of his books every few years*.

I last read The Light and the Dark when I was at school, aged about sixteen - but have appreciated it more this second time around. It is focused on the story of Roy - a brilliant scholar of lost and obscure languages, whose personality alternates light and dark moods... 

(Not to the level of psychosis - he is not a manic depressive, always keeps working, and is never hospitalized; but nonetheless the down-swings are terrible for him to suffer. The point of the book is that his gifts and his miseries are part of a package - he cannot have the bright accomplishments without the shades.)

As always with Snow; the main character is based on a real-life model - an oriental linguist called Charles Allberry; whom Snow regarded as the closest and most intimate friend of his life. 

As a teen, I was considerably put-off by the aristocratic milieu and snobbery depicted among many of the main characters (although not the narrator, who - like Snow - had impoverished lower middle class origins, but aspired to be assimilated into the rich and able ruling class. And achieved it - becoming Lord Snow of Leicester, and sending his son to Eton.)   

This time around, I was more entertained than annoyed by the class-consciousness; and instead I saw the novel as a depiction of the spiritual bankruptcy of the English ruling class on the eve of the 1939-45 war. 

In a nutshell; the characters depicted most intimately have nothing to live for - except arbitrary motivations such as cultivated snobbery, and short-termist 'amoral' (often sexual) hedonism. And then The War... 

There are political motivations - communism or pacifism for many (especially scientists), National Socialism for a few; but these are essentially negative. In the end the war is fought - bravely and effectively - but against Germany rather than for anything in particular in the world afterwards. 

Which is, of course, exactly how things turned out - but it is fascinating to realize that Snow could perceive this so clearly and explicitly even by 1947, when this book was published. 

One sub-plot is the 'Light and Dark' protagonist's unsuccessful 'search for God' - Roy sees with absolute clarity that his life (and the world) is futile without God - but cannot 'make himself believe'; therefore leads an hedonically promiscuous life (alleviated by great - and secret - kindness and generosity to many people) which ends by deniably engineering his own death. 

Most of the characters avoid acknowledging this harsh truth; and immerse themselves in little (or large) plans and schemes, to seek pleasure and 'get-on' - but all, sooner or later, realize the futility of this 'materialistic' life.  

Seventy-five years later our civilization has lost the bleak, stoic insight of Snow (via his characters); and are still trapped by a false dilemma between a traditional Christianity they cannot believe - and a despairing life of increasingly short-termist, ever-less-coherent expediencies. Snow himself - with his life of ambition and status-seeking - seemed to be caught in this trap, up to his death in 1980. 

Regular readers know that I believe there is a way-out from this crux of unacceptable nihilism versus impossible traditional religiosity (i.e Romantic Christianity) - but that it requires individuals to give their best efforts to understanding (for- and from- the depths of their natures) Man in relation to God. 

This personal quest needs to be accorded at least the same effort and application as Roy gave to his unravelling of ancient texts; or others gave to communism, fascism and the other later leftist ideologies that purported to displace and replace Christianity. 

So, here we are...

*The Masters is probably CP Snow's best book - being an extremely gripping, sustained, satisfyingly-structured work. The Search is less accomplished, but also excellent for anyone interested in 'real science' - it has stuck in my mind for several decades. Also The Affair, and The New Men are similarly memorable; encapsulating certain things incomparably well. The Physicists - a group biography of some of the greatest physicist of the early 20th century, most of whom Snow (who had degrees in chemistry and physics) knew personally to some extent - is also extremely good; as is Variety of Men, a collection of memoirs of eminent people.  

Tuesday 26 July 2022

The Bad Faith of Traditional Christians; or; why we should acknowledge that our bottom-line convictions need to be personal, endogenous, intuitive, directly apprehended

The main difference between Romantic and Traditionalist Christians (when they are real-Christians) is that Romantics will acknowledge explicitly (to themselves, as well as others) that their bottom-line convictions are a matter of intuition... 

Whereas 'Traditionalist' Christians will claim that even their bottom-line convictions come from outside themselves; i.e. typically from The Church (i.e. whatever aspect of church or denomination they personally regard as true). 

I believe that, when the Christian is true, this claim is false. 

It is clear to me that the real Christians now (i.e. those who have survived the temptations and passed the Litmus Tests of recent years - demonstrating their are not merely Christian-flavoured apologists for totalitarian leftism, or Establishment bureaucrats) - are people whose faith is solidly founded-upon an inner, intuitive and personal discernment of truth. 

The difference is that Traditionalists claim that they are merely obeying the external and objective authority of their church; while the Romantics are clear that whatever complex superstructure rests upon these baseline discernments; and this is true however much that superstructure is derived from one or more churches/ denominations.

The foundation of a genuine and robust Christian faith in 2022 needs to be personal intuitive discernment; a direct knowledge-of, and relationship-with, the divine. Validated from-within - not obeyed from-without. 

Any external source of knowledge may be, is-being, and almost certainly already-has-been - subverted, destroyed or (worst) inverted. 

And therefore one who really did base his Christian faith on the external is no longer a Christian.  

This is why I continue to debate these matters with real Christians who regard themselves as externally-validated Traditionalists, Orthodox, Mainstream; because I believe they are living in a state of denial of both freedom and responsibility, of error, of self-dishonesty and self-deception; in a Christian version of what existentialists used to call Bad Faith

And this inauthentic, faith is 'bad' for Christians because it is genuinely self-deceptive and dishonest. This untruthfulness inevitably weakens faith; and therefore renders Traditionalists highly vulnerable to seduction by mainstream atheistic-leftist-materialism operating via general culture; and specifically through the top-down net-corruption of the leadership class in all major churches and denominations. 

In sum: I ask traditionalists for something very specific: an explicit acknowledgement that - here-and-now - the effective and resistant faith of even the most traditionalist and church-orientated of real-Christians has a personal and intuitive foundation.  

Sunday 24 July 2022

We should trust in our own salvation

There is a convincing line of thinking that regards fear* as the greatest sin; which is opposed by the virtue of trusting in the goodness and love of God. 

This implies that we are meant to trust in our own salvation - i.e. be supremely confident that we, our-selves, will be resurrected to eternal Heavenly life; and therefore we ought Not to live in fear of damnation. 

Only if we live confidently trusting in the fact of our own salvation, can we make salvation - that is our future Heavenly destination - the basis of our mortal life. 

Surely this is what we need? I mean, to live this mortal life in the eternal context, to recognize it as a preparation for the Main Thing - which is post-mortal, resurrected life? 

If so, then we should not allow ourselves (as So Many Christians have done, and still do) to mistrust and fret over whether or not we will be saved. 

It is a very different matter to live in fear of damnation than to trust in salvation: at best, fear of damnation is merely a double-negative simulation of the positive faith which leads to following Jesus through mortal death to life-eternal

A challenge to this - which comes to mind - is that someone might have the idea that he can be sure of salvation whatever he thinks, believes or does... 

Yet that is incoherent nonsense. Someone who really believes in the salvation of Jesus Christ - in resurrection and eternal heavenly life - will naturally know that if Heaven is a real place, then it is Not something that can be fitted-around our mortal life. 

If Heaven is real to us, then we will recognize mortal life must be fitted around Heaven - that way around. If Heaven is really-real then the natural and rational question is 'how we get there'.  

Only if Heaven is un-real to us could we have the idea that we would go there whatever we thought/ believed/ did; that we would arrive there whatever direction we travelled; and would arrive there even if we not not want what Heaven actually is.

As I have often said, Christians - like almost everyone - are prone to abuse fear to gain short-term goals (e.g. threatening and scaring people with consequences); whereas what should-be aimed-at is a life without fear: 

Without fear because we know (that is, we have solid faith) that God the creator loves us, and is good. 

*By fear I mean 'existential fear' - which is a motivational state primarily, rather than an emotion. 

Saturday 23 July 2022

What is the "Orthosphere debate" (concerning the Altar-Civilization Model) ultimately About?

Francis Berger initiated the debate - and Orthosphere writers JM Smith and Kristor have thus-far responded. 

My attempt here is to try and summarize briefly what I believe the debate to about About. 

In other words - what do I regard as the ultimate question behind the rather complex arguments on both sides.


I think the ultimate question is something like this:

Is The Christian Church (in some sense of The Church) in-charge-of human salvation - or is salvation primarily a matter for each individual.


I think that all sides agree that individuals may err in their discernments and choices, and that such errors and choices may lead to that individual being damned.  

The question is whether The Church (which in practice means My Church, in the way I conceptualize it) can err in an ultimate sense - such that The Church's errors will lead devout and obedient members to damnation. 


My understanding of adherents of the Altar-Civilization Model, is that they are rooted in the conviction that (in an ultimate sense) The Church cannot err on the matter of salvation - whereas individuals can and do err; and therefore The Church will ultimately know better than any individual; and therefore the path to salvation is necessarily via obedience to The Church. 


In even simpler terms: the Orthospherian conviction is that "The Church is Christianity"; and any individual can only be a Christian - i.e. achieve resurrection to eternal Heavenly life - secondarily, by means of The Church. 

Whereas the Romantic Christian idea is (I think) that - however things may have been in the past (and I personally acknowledge that the Altar-Civilization model used to be true); here-and-now each individual Man can and must discern Christian truth and his own salvation...

Including the discernment of which (if any) institution he regards as The True Church, and his own relationship to that Church's authority. 


In the end, at bottom, ultimately; the Romantic Christian idea is that it is our individual discernment (understood as our direct and unmediated relationships with God and Jesus Christ) which is necessary for salvation; and the choice of relationship with any church (or no church) is secondary to that. 

In brief; the individual (not any church) ultimately 'defines' Christianity: i.e. the way to salvation. 

And therefore if, or when, that individual errs; and does not repent, and is damned; it will always be his own responsibility - regardless of whether he was following any church.

Friday 22 July 2022

Discovered after 180 years - Only photograph of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet


Here is the story behind this discovery. 

It seems wonderful to see the face of a man whom I regard as a real prophet. This image is far more impressive than the portraits done at the time. It now seems a little easier to imagine how he did what he did, and why so many felt inspired to believe and follow him.

NOTE ADDED: Here are a selection of first hand, contemporary descriptions of Joseph Smith. There is a fair bit of variation; but observers seem to converge on the fact that he was unusually tall, had blue eyes, a fair complexion, large nose, light brown hair, and an athletic physique.  

Do we get spiritual guidance from God, or the Holy Ghost (= Jesus Christ)?

My contention is that Christian daily spiritual guidance comes - by intent, according to divine plan - from the Holy Ghost, rather than from God the Father.

I'm not sure whether this matters very much; but I think we can see, throughout the Fourth Gospel, that Jesus's intent was that our external spiritual guidance in life was to be from the Holy Ghost

Which means, I believe, guidance from Jesus Christ himself; since the Holy Ghost is Jesus Christ, resurrected and ascended.  

Of course it is never sufficient to 'quote scripture' since this leaves open the question of how we should read The Bible; and my understanding of the primacy of the Fourth Gospel is unusual among Christians. 

But I think we can make a reasonable case that the plan for guidance of Christians towards salvation would be by Christ himself; since he is the one who enables our salvation. 

And also because Christ is fully divine, hence a creator with full creative powers - hence able to shape the circumstances of our lives to benefit our salvation (and also theosis). 

This conflicts with the usual Christian practice of praying to The Father - that is to the primary creator; which seems to be modelled on what Jesus himself did, and what he is reported as instructing for his followers in the Matthew and Luke Gospels. 

This, then, is a situation in which the prior assumptions before reading the Gospels comes into play: the Fourth Gospel telling us, in effect, to pray to (and/or commune with) the Holy Ghost (which is Jesus Christ); while other sources say we should pray to The Father. 

So - should we pray to The Father; or to The Holy Ghost/ The Son? Are we to model ourselves on Jesus's personal practice, or instead to do what Jesus told us to do? 

Because I regard the Fourth Gospel as primary, I think we know what Jesus wanted.

But either way the decision goes; we should seriously practice inward and intuitive discernment, and seek confirmation of our understanding.  

I doubt if this is crucial - and we could, of course, pray to both Father and Son/ Holy Ghost. But it may be that praying to the intended divine person - i.e. by seeking spiritual guidance from Jesus as the Holy Ghost - may, in some way, be more effective than the alternatives.  

Thursday 21 July 2022

Can globalism be replaced by multiple nationalisms?

Over the past few months, it seems as if we have seen the end of the globalist ideal - at least for the short- and medium-term; since the globalists themselves have (by their 'sanctions') divided the world -- rather than (as looked to be unfolding just a couple of years ago, with the global birdemic-peck strategy) administering the whole planet under a single (denied and mostly not-visible) authority. 

But now the 'debate' is presented as a unipolar versus multipolar world: a single totalitarian system versus several or many national systems. 

I have argued that the unipolar world was never going to happen because those who were implemented it were deliberately destroying the social institutions that would be required to administer it. Godless bureaucracy was generating demonic active-destruction: lawful evil was developing into chaotic evil. 

Given such a background; is this multipolar idea even possible? 

I would say not. The multipolar world is just an intended re-set to an earlier historic way of dividing the world between 'spheres of influence'; but this time the world is in a state of spiritual disintegration and therefore value-inversion. 

Religions used to be synonymous with churches - and insofar as that is still the case we can see that religion has ceased strongly to motivate Men. This is evidenced by the international (and all-religion) church shut-downs in response to the birdemic - which revealed that the churches are subordinate to global-political (leftist, atheist) imperatives. 

Churches have ceased to be possible alternative sources of motivation and guidance. 

I am convinced that without religion as prime motivator and organizer, civilization is bound to collapse, and cannot re-emerge. Yet no major nation in the world is even proposing having religion as the core of their social organization - indeed, this may have become impossible, as a result of the developmental-evolution of human consciousness over recent generations. 

Therefore, my prediction is that any multipolar world attempt will begin to collapse even before its structures have been formed. 

At most the switch from uni- to multi-polarity will be a shift from greater to lesser evil; and as such may somewhat delay and slow the inevitably self-destructive impulses (personally self-destructive, as well as socially) that are a consequence of Godless and irreligious societies. 

In sum: We live in a secular world; and secular institutions, societies and politics are unsustainable and indeed now in the terminal active-suicide phase.

So the world is paralyzed by insoluble demotivation, and perverted by inverted teleologies; such that any re-organization of the nations will not affect the inevitably lethal outcome.  

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Unrequited love in Heaven? Heaven is Not just an eternal version of worldly hedonism

When I was an atheist, I used to regard the Christian idea of Heaven as just an eternal version of the hedonism of this world. 

In other words, I did not distinguish Heaven from the mainstream idea that the main thing in our lives is to be as happy as possible/ suffer as little as possible; with the mainstream 'utilitarian' notion of morality as wanting the same for as many other people as possible. 

But if happiness is made the main thing about Heaven, then this leads to all sorts of difficulties in conceptualizing Heaven - which then make it even harder to believe in the reality of Heaven. 

Many Christians already make the error of regarding Heaven as 'perfect in every way' which implies it must be a static state. However, if perfect happiness is also required then this rules-out free will (and indeed individuality) because we must be Made Happy.

And it rules out our participation in creation. 

Yet, if we want to summarize Heaven in a single concept; that concept should not be happiness by creation - taking account that creation is inseparable from Love

The idea of eternal happiness paralyses any possibility of creation - because it removes any motivation for creation. It also paralyses actual interpersonal Love as the characteristic of Heaven - replacing it with an abstract and unchanging love this just-is: going nowhere, because there is no reason to go anywhere (it being already-perfect).  

Therefore, we should - I think - take care not to place happiness or any other 'emotion' at the centre of heavenly life; but instead regard happiness, suffering and misery as being subordinated to Heaven's primary reality and goal of loving-creation. 

In Heaven we may be happy at any particular time - but we may also suffer. For example, we may aspire - we may desire change which is improvement; and in general be discontented with how things are at present.  

For example; there may be - at any given moment and for a particular individual - be unrequited personal love in Heaven. We may wish to become eternally married to someone who does not feel the same way about us. And this is extremely painful: here and now. 

But in Heaven we have discarded sin; and therefore unrequited love is a starting point - not an endpoint. In heaven, one who suffers unrequited love will live eternally; but that person will be experiencing, creating and learning - and through this will come healing. 

Also, nobody in Heaven is bereft of love; everyone will be in a loving family. And while family love is not the same as love of a spouse; it is certainly far better than the indifference and neglect that so many people experience in mortal life.  

Therefore; while Heaven is much happier than mortal life for many people, much of the time; as it ought to be on earth; happiness is best considered a motivator, a guide, a reward - and not the end-point. We will surely feel very happy sometimes, and less happy or miserable at other times. 

But we ourselves will be far better able to cope and make the best of these feelings - which will be the basis for our living and working. 

Heaven is not about happiness primarily - but about living in love, fully aligned with God, and participating in the divine work of creation.  

"Where do we come from, where do we go?" Understanding whether "death" is a good, or bad, thing

Deeper, even, than the mystery of Cotton-eyed Joe, is the question of "Where do we come from, where do we go?" with respect to "death".

And, immediately, we must put scare-quotes around death; because whether the end of "biological-life" is good or bad, entails a choice between radically different conceptions of what "death" means. 

To the atheist mainstream, death is the end of everything that constitutes a person - body and mind (because there is no 'soul' nor anything equivalent). But an alternative conception - that which I will use here, is that death is the severance of soul from body

Okay - but the significance of such a severance of soul from body depends on our understanding of what the soul is severed-from, and what happens afterwards. My understanding is that the soul is eternal and of-itself indestructible (although it can be changed) - but the body from which it is severed at "death" is mortal; and therefore subject to 'entropy' (meaning the innate tendency to change, corruption, disease, decay.... and death. 

What this means is that, since we are mortal, death is the culmination of a process - and therefore inevitable. Death - of itself - is neither good nor bad; whether good or bad depends on what-happens-next. 

...We can immediately see that most discussions of death are ill-formed questions; because they treat all deaths as one, and the value of each death as representative of every death. 

(This common but ill-formed question is typical of the way that the evil powers of this world attempt to make an answerable-question into an insoluble paradox-mystery; and channel thought into false dichotomies.) 

Instead, the reality is that deaths have extremely different - even opposite - values, according to what went before ("where did he come from?"); and to what-next ("where did he go?").

The value of a particular death therefore depends on the mortal life from which it is approached, and the immortal life to which is is a transition. 

And these valuations are questions of metaphysics - ultimate, primary, intuitive (or externally-/ passively-absorbed) assumptions concerning the nature of reality (and not matters for empirical investigation - they can neither be addressed nor resolved by 'science' nor any other such kind of investigation). 

And indeed each death is, potentially, unique insofar as the exact and specific next-steps following severance of the soul from the body may be distinctive to each individual soul. 

To summarize - a particular person's death may be good or bad because of what went before and what comes after. 

We can sometimes, to some degree, influence these for others... but we can certainly make a decisive difference for ourselves to whether our death is good, or not. 

And, indeed, this is an inescapable responsibility for anyone capable of formulating the question of death. 

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Born free!

Excellent song from my childhood - written by the brilliant John Barry and sung by the fine voice of Matt Monro. 

It's a simple tune, but made memorable by the understated and lyrical performance - listen for the breath control and subtle phrasing. 

The song Born Free is about lions, from a movie of the same name; but the phrase also applies to the human soul: whether we humans like it, or (apparently mostly) not. 

How might a 'group soul' (e.g. an Angel of England) actually work?

It is interesting - and not easy, I find! - to try and understand just how group souls might actually function. 

For example, how an Angel of England might work to pursue the nation's destiny. 

And, in this, how Not to fall-into physicsy ways of thinking about people en masse!

The first insight is that the destiny of a nation is not analogous to a blueprint, nor a plan; even though this is the first kind of metaphor that comes to my mind. 

I want to avoid regarding the national angel as if part of a heavenly bureaucracy, 'tasked' with  'implementing' some particular aspect of the divine 'strategy', in-line-with God's mission statement

So, if that is a wrong metaphor; then what would be better? 

Well, some kind of family metaphor, obviously. 

How could we, for instance, describe the way in which an 'ideal' father would act to pursue his family's destiny; especially the destiny of his children?  

The ideal father would not be operating from plans or towards a blueprint; but instead from the fact of his being in harmonious accord with God's purposes and methods. 

Then, whatever he actually did, would be in continuous interaction with the consequences of each individual child. For example, presumably each child would - from time to time, and indeed frequently - err and sin and start getting out-of-harmony with God. 

The ideal father would perhaps remove positive incentives for his child to sin, keeping the child away from environments that endorse sin (beyond that child's capacity to discern and resist). He may actively try to dissuade wrong-directions and wrong-methods.

But whatever the ideal father did; each of his children would be unique, and would have his or her own unique destiny. The ideal father would try to work from-and-with each particular child's nature. 

He would not try to force all of his children into one mould, nor even into a pre-planned unique mould that took no account of the child's choices; but the ideal father would be continually nurturing that child as he or she engaged with life in a trial and error fashion. 

The ideal father would encourage what he hoped were the best choices, and work to make these choices available - but the child would decide. Bad choices by the child would lead to evil-inducing situation - that turned the child away from God. 

The angel might try to 'engineer' or create situations in which the child might recognize and repent these bad choices and turn again towards God's creative intent. 

But - to be effective - each 'engineered situation' ought to take account of the individual, and the situation in which he find's himself (the situation in-which he has, to some extent, placed himself).

The ideal father would then deal-with whatever choices the child had made; and work from wherever (whatever point) that choice had placed the child. 

Then imagine that this ideal father was placed 'in charge' of a nation as the Angel of that nation; and was tasked with creating choices for individual persons and and dealing with the outcomes of those choices... 

The angel takes into account the uniqueness of individual persons, and of spiritually-coherent and motivated groups of persons; but also the uniqueness of the individual nation of England. 

The angel works much as the imagined ideal father; and therefore seeks to contribute to the alignment and harmony of the nation with on-going divine creation. 

The angel of a nation would not ideally work alone, which would be ineffective; but would be helped greatly by dealing with other angels who had responsibility for various smaller groups. 

Thus the angel of a nation would be analogous to an ideal tribal patriarch - a father-of-fathers; and angel-of-angels (or 'arch-angel'). 

But not by trying to force the nation to follow a pre-ordained path; rather, by knowing what is unique about that nation - nature, capabilities, motivations - and working with-and-from that. 

Because nations are unique, none are 'equal' - except in the spiritual sense of being loved by God as his families. Some nations are better or worse than others, some more or less capable - and the national motivations vary in their Goodness and change in time, including as a consequence of earlier choices. 

A once good and capable Nation may transform, through bad choices unrepeated, into an evil and/or inept nation; or a nation may break-up (or combine with another) for valid, or for evil, reasons. 

(And, of course, some 'political units' that get called nations, are not coherent and destined 'spiritual-nations', and therefore lack a guarding and guiding angel. Such pseudo-nations (probably most of the nations of the world) properly, by God's intent, are under the responsibility of another nation's angel; or else the people ought to disperse to other real nations.)

Throughout, the angel continues to work with the nation - starting from wherever the nation actually is; and with short term aims that are varied in accordance with the consequences of choices. What might be a good choice for a good nation, may become an evil choice for a bad nation. 

The national angel needs continually to take account of what he is dealing-with here-and-now, and how best to encourage that national being to become its best possible self; how to develop the best possible family environment for nurturing God's children; and how that nation (as it is, as it could become) may optimally contribute to God's ongoing creation. 

Note: My assumption is that angels are either male or female, men or women; and therefore it seems likely that some nations have a father/ patriarch archangel, while others have a mother/ matriarch archangel. Furthermore, this makes-a-difference; since men and women differ. Alternatively, or instead, it may be that nations are ruled by both a man and women angel united in eternal marriage as a dyad - in the same way as 'God'. Therefore, the 'ideal father' in the above passages may be changed to 'ideal mother' - mutatis mutandis

Monday 18 July 2022

Top-down always makes worse, bottom-up can make better - but sideways is the usual direction of improvement

Continuing from yesterday's post about how large-scale, long-term strategic-planning-type thinking is always an evil; the implication would seem to be that bottom-up is the directionality of The Good. 

This is certainly true - I mean, that Good comes from individual and specific persons, and their effect; but bottom-up directionality implies that the bottom improves as if affects policies, laws, rules at the top. 

But if top-down is not capable of generating real Good, but only conformity and obedience; then how does any collection of people ever improve?

As well as downwards and upwards; the sideways directionality also needs to be considered! 

(That is, if I insist on using abstract geometrical metaphors to 'explain' humans! - a practice that I recurrently warn myself against...)

And it strikes me that this is the usual way in which good-stuff is spread: that is within families, between friends, and (in the past) between neighbours or work 'colleagues'; and in particular from the-admired (sel-chosen mentor) to the-one-who-admires (chosen mentee): i.e spread between those who are similarly motivated and share similar 'world-understandings' (metaphysics)

This similarity, plus a degree of sympathy (resonance, empathy, accord) between persons 'at the same level', are what probably allows for Goodness to spread. 

This seems to be the usual direction of genuine and strong Christian conversion - at any rate; whereas top-down imposition of a religion, or immersive socialization, of themselves, lead to a Christianity that is only culture-deep. 

Note added: Sideways does not imply 'equality' because (as William Wildblood has clarified) there is no equality except in chaos. Creation is differentiated. There is always distinction, and may be hierarchy, in what I mean by 'sideways' - my point is that it is a chosen-relationship. So 'sideways' encompasses some (the most ideal) examples of the Master-Apprentice and Master-Servant type of relationship - when these are innwardly-affirmed relationships.  

Sunday 17 July 2022

The evil of strategic thinking

It seems increasingly clear to me that the world's policies are planned by a relatively small global establishment who practice 'strategic thinking'. 

This is a long-term and large-scale analysis for which a decade is the basic time-segment of change; and even nations are too small to be of much interest: whole alliances and continental divisions (and indeed the planet) are the basis of critique.

So when one talks of geographical-population units such as the Anglosphere, Europe, Asia; and timescales of decades, generations, centuries - one is firmly in the realms of strategic thinking... 

Strategic thinking is heady stuff for its empowered participants (I mean, those few who command the influence and resources to compel their ideas to be taken seriously then implemented).

To engage in strategic thinking produces a kind of ecstatic delirium in its participants; which gives them the grandiose delusion that the largeness of scale is intrinsically morally superior to the downstream world of manipulated-sound-bites and biased-selected snippets from the mass media and official communications, upon-which most people in the world waste their energies. 

This innate moral superiority, and the fact that it is rooted in a world view that sees individual Men as merely subject components of vast masses of hundreds-of-millions being directed by strategists; is what leads to the smug psychopathy of the leadership class - the fact that they are not really human - but instead literally-demonic in their attitudes, motivations and behaviours. 

The leadership class is literally demonic, because strategic thinking is not just a tool of purposive evil; but is itself innately evil.

This means that those who affiliate with God and divine creation cannot use strategic thinking for Good ends. To use strategic thinking is necessarily to regard individual Men, families, organically-real human groupings - as instrumental; as means-to-strategic-ends... 

And this is precisely to take the side of evil. 

So; it is useful to know about the attitudes of strategic thinking; because it unmasks the core activities of evil in the world today: the 'litmus test issues' such as the birdemic-peck, transagenda and sexual revolution more generally, climate change emergency, antiracism; and most recently the contrived Fire Nation War with its sub-agendas of hyperinflation and food/ energy famines. 

When these mini-strategies are truly seen as aspects of strategic thinking; we may understand how it is they encompass the world and persist/ accelerate over timescales many-fold greater than the fare more frequent cycles of politics, business, finance, media... Even across human generations.   

But those who take the side of Good cannot (and should not try to) combat Establishment strategic thinking with any alternative strategies - because that would be to use The One Ring 'against' Sauron

We should seek understanding at the strategic level - but not ourselves operate at this level. Instead, our units of Christian activity should be individual persons, and groups who are affiliated by love - not groups whose members are joined by bureaucratic organization or economics; and not groups who have been deluded by strategic thinking. 

Saturday 16 July 2022

The dangerous delusion of 'physicsy' spirituality

The idea, now so ingrained as to be habitual and invisible, of regarding spirituality as a kind of physics - as a 'physicsy'  phenomenon - goes back at least to Pythagoras, and has been evident in the Platonic stream of metaphysics, which still pervades most religions and theological systems; and which was carried-over into New Age thinking. 

I was listening to an audio-lecture by Sir George Trevelyan; who is sometimes regarded as the grandfather of the New Age. On the whole; I find GT a likeable character (despite being a Norman*!): on the right lines and on the right side (he was an unconventional Christian, rooted in Steiner). 

But Trevelyan, like many others of counter-cultural spirituality from the 1960s, was convinced that there was an ongoing spiritual awakening afoot: an irresistible raising of the human spiritual state to unprecedented heights. 

It was possible for them to believe this, I think, for at least two reasons. 

Superficially and immediately because there was a developing spiritual-consumer subculture which meant that there was an increasing audience and market for 'Mind, Body and Spirit' books, in which spirituality became assimilated to psychological self-help, feel-good, positive-thinking ideas. 

There was significant, and expanding, mass media coverage; and some official recognition from the bureaucracies. 

This meant that professional New Agers could increasingly make a living and make a name; including securing publication; attracting patronage, grants and subsidies; and also getting a viable audience for lectures, therapy, workshops and merchandise.  

More deeply, it seemed possible that there might be a planetary spiritual awakening because the New Age metaphorical structure of spirituality was one in which individual people were driven by large scale, physics-like powers such as energies, vibrations and frequencies. 

Indeed, reality, including humans, were/ are often described in terms of ultimately being composed of energies, vibrations, frequencies and fields - with our surface appearances and properties as illusory. 

This implied that humans were acted-upon by external influences that could 'raise' their spirituality. Thus a spiritual awakening could be induced by some change and enhancement of the spiritual influences that drove spirituality, consciousness etc. 

Other phsyicsy metaphors were also used; such as a 'rising tide' of consciousness or positive spiritual energy/ vibration/ frequency/ field. And a rising tide implies that all individuals (all 'boats') will be floated, lifted, passively-raised-up...

My main point is that there are ways of talking about spirituality, ways of conceptualizing the causes of spiritual development - whether metaphoric or literal - that almost-irresistibly create a picture of individual human spirituality as primarily passively responsive to large scale influences coming from without the person.  

But this is also the case for many traditional and mainstream religions, including Christianity. For example, there have been, and still are, traditions within Christianity that regard salvation as primarily a group phenomenon; and the Christian life as a 'nation' life - the positive influences being external to the individual - the individual Christian's role being essentially passive: to learn and obey. 

Some discussions of Grace, as the means of salvation, have a strongly physics-like flavour; as if Grace were almost like a space-radiation that bathed the earth, or operated on individual Christians like a field. Thus, Christian revivals are conceptualized in terms of an increased power of Grace coming-down from God, and Christian individuals (around the world) as responding to these enhanced spiritual influence - as if fuelled and energized by increased supplies of Grace. 

It seems to me clear that Christian salvation is (and always has been) primarily a matter between God and each individual Man; but that the individuality of Men has changed through history. 

Men began, in ancient times (just as we began in our own early childhoods) as substantially communal persons - immersed-in the group (especially the family and tribe): in such situations, the individual does not wholly differentiate himself from the group. In such circumstances, spirituality and salvation are substantially groupish, communal - hence externally-determined. 

In such circumstances, physicsy metaphors and concepts are a broadly accurate way of describing the human spiritual condition. Models of spirituality as driven by changes in energy/ vibration/ frequency are pretty accurate as accounts of Man's experience.

But as we ourselves grew-up, and as Mankind developed through history; there was an irreversible increase of detachment of the individual from the group, from the social - until now the primary reality is one of 'alienation', and all kids of groupishness and external determination are become ultimately conscious and chosen. 

In different words, modern man is voluntarily-affiliated where ancient Man (and children, still) are unconsciously-immersed. 

And this means that the physics models of spirituality are no longer valid, but instead misleading and indeed spiritually dangerous. 

Because, in a world where individual conscious choice is actually primary, it is harmful to encourage Men to regard themselves as essentially groupish spiritual beings, and to wait passively for spiritual enhancement to come from external sources. 

As the New Agers found out (or would have discovered, had they been honest and rigorous in their discernments, which very few were since they were in fact primarily leftist and politically-motivated; and only secondarily spiritual**): general spiritual enhancement did not happen.

Instead of a better and more spiritual New Age expanding from the 1980s, there has (especially from the millennium) been the opposite - an ever-more-extreme materialism; with a world ever-more-dominated by totalitarian bureaucracy/ mass media propaganda and manipulation. 

Passivity to external influences now means assimilation to evil.  

*Note: I would, on the whole, regard physicsy spirituality as being characteristic of the Normans; who have a strong tendency to abstraction that comes from their basic mind-set, or innate deficit. (i.e. Physics metaphors are abstractions, when applied to individual Men, or to groups.) Norman nature lacks something personal, to do with the capacity for real love; which deficit, on the one hand, drives them into abstraction (as lacking the full capacity for spontaneous 'animistic' thinking); and on the other hand, also makes then adept at abstraction (fuelled, also, by their higher-than-average IQ/ general intelligence). Consequently, and with Normans occupying so many positions of power and influence, abstract and physics-like spirituality gets imposed on the masses; as being, supposedly, The Truth. 

**Further Note. Some influential New Agers still believe (or, at least, assert)  that we are in the midst of a global spiritual awakening; and - due, presumably, to innate and foundational leftism; as well as 'vested interest' - are able to interpret even the birdemic as evidence in favour! This astonishing situation just goes to show that evidence is always subordinate to metaphysical assumptions.         

Friday 15 July 2022

Irresistibly cheerful, absolutely trivial... dance music of the late 1920s

The early steps of decadence are often very enjoyable - and the late 1920s "Charleston-type" dance music is no exception. 

Since I was a young kid and heard 'Winchester Cathedral" - a pastiche by the New Vaudeville Band; I have really enjoyed that style of music - especially when performed by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, which used to feature frequently on British TV during the 1970s. 

Later, when at medical school, I used to go see a similar band from the Newcastle area, called the Savannah Syncopators (playing in the ex palace of the Bishop of Newcastle); and later still a similar band that played at my most local pub: the West Jesmond Rhythm Kings. 

With the exception of owning a few LPs of Bix Biederbecke, and until the advent of YouTube, I did not know anything about the originals of this music: it was the more recent revivalists that attracted my interest. 

Enough chat; here are a few examples:   

And here is an impressive and amusing old video of Varsity Drag, from when the dance was still new:

Thursday 14 July 2022

Peak vitality

I think the peak of my 'vitality' - the sheer inner energy of life - was reached shortly after I turned twenty-one; during a particularly beautiful spring; and in a year when there were no formal examinations at medical school - so I could make the most of it.  

I suppose this was when I had just 'grown-up' - at least physically. But psychologically there was an effect, too. 

Up to twenty-one, it seems in retrospect as if the fact I was still growing lent a certain child's innocence to my aspirations and motivations, which meant I was not fully responsible and therefore my bad choices were more excusable. 

I think we all feel this to an extent: there is a waxing livingness about youth that compensates greatly for its moods and tantrums. 

But from my twenty-first year onwards, there was an irresistible 'darkening' of my nature; which I now attribute to my living without religion and therefore - ultimately - hedonically, selfishly. I was no longer growing-up; and the special dispensation of youth no longer applied - no matter how much I might wish it did. 

In this sense, we can almost live without explicit acceptance of God when a youth, because youth's sheer vitality gives us (unearned, spontaneously) a spiritual communion with nature. We know God/ The gods implicitly - even when we deny such knowledge explicitly. 

This natural-goodness ebbs after maturity, and in order not to become progressively corrupted we absolutely must take responsibility to make the right spiritual choices...

But, of course, at just this time of life, a modern person is most immersed in 'career' - as I was; on the assumption that if we get 'career' right, then the other major problems of life will be solved...

I can now see that - in trying to live without God - I was embarking on a futile quest. As I have often mentioned; I had the general attitude of desiring and seeking 'anything but Christianity' as the answer to my existential dissatisfactions. And I also now see that my negative feelings about Christianity were significantly exacerbated by the (apparently) universal conviction that to be a proper Christian one Must be a member of the one-true-church... whatever and whichever that might be. 

I should have been a Romantic Christian - and I should have put at least as much effort into thinking hard about Christianity; as I did about politics, science, literature, music and my other enthusiasms. But that would have meant being less existentially selfish and hedonic - which was something I felt I could not cope with. I needed my selfish pleasures and idleness, psychologically to survive - so I reasoned. 

The 'peak vitality' to which I refer presumably occurs for different people at different times (according to sex, rate of maturation, and circumstances) - and there sometimes arises a sense of nostalgia for a time when life seemed easier simply because we felt able deal with whatever it might throw at us; so strong was that surging energy from within.  

But this optimism of vital-youth is an illusion, albeit a pleasant illusion; and we ought not to project from it onto something special about the time and place when it happens-to-happen; nor to seek to recreate that temporary phase. 

Youth is a bit of a 'free pass', because our real business has not yet begun; and by the time we have recognized peak vitality, it is already going (willy nilly, irretrievably); and our true challenge from life then begins in earnest. 

If we desire to move beyond futile yearning for lost adolescence, and for our adult life to be a good and positive experience; we must understand it in the context of God - and that means Christianity... of one sort or another. 

What sort of Christianity is then our first proper concern. 

Wednesday 13 July 2022

What Tolkien's war experience can teach us about the modern world

Second Lieutenant JRR Tolkien of the Lancashire Fusiliers

It is characteristic of those intellectuals and officers who wrote about the Great War of 1914-18, that they experienced a permanent disillusion leading to the attitude epitomized by Robert Graves's autobiography "Goodbye to all that". 

In other words, the typical effect of the Great War was some combination of a rejection of tradition generally but especially Christianity; the embrace of hedonism - especially sexual, but also drinking and smoking, jazz etc.; socio-political leftisms of various types - communism/ socialism, fascism, pacifism, vegetarianism, 'green' ideas etc; an intense, tragic and paralyzing, yet guilty, nostalgia for the care-free privilege and security of the Edwardian era; and all underpinned by a bleak combination of philosophical materialism and hopeless nihilism. 

But, as John Garth makes clear in Tolkien and the Great War, this did not apply to Tolkien. He was deeply affected by the war, his trench experiences, and especially the deaths of so many friends (i.e. all but one of his closest friends) - yet Tolkien was not permanently embittered nor disillusioned by the War, nor was he impelled to adopt the above-listed 'typical' literary responses. 

What made Tolkien immune to this existential aspect of the war? I think the answer is quite simple; and it is that Tolkien had a deep and powerful Christian faith. 

In contrast, from what I can tell, those who experienced the disillusion of the Great War either practiced a shallow and merely conventional Christianity, that rapidly and permanently collapsed under the intense and sustained psychological and physical pressures of trench warfare... 

Or else they were not Christians at all, and the war confirmed their pre-existent conviction that the reality of life was nasty, brutish and short - and the only valid response was to live for today oneself, and agitate for a more peaceful, prosperous and secure society in future. 

Many of the most disillusioned men were intensely artistic and aesthetic people, intensely political and reformist in outlook, and 'romantically' dedicated to a life of intense personal relationships. But they failed to learn from the fact that none of these - nor all together - were able to cope with the stresses and sufferings of the Great War. 

Instead of noticing this failure of their ideals - instead of noticing that their own disillusion proved that their ideals were illusions -  they doubled-down on their ineffective strategies... And have continued to do so in the many decades since. 

The failure of secular ideals taught the failure of trying to live without religion.

And something analogous applied to mainstream Victorian/ Edwardian Establishment Christianity: it had been tested, and it had failed the test. 

The failure of mainstream Christianity taught the failure of the churches. 

Things could have been otherwise... 

Tolkien, as so often, showed the proper and effective way forward - because he was both a Romantic and a Christian

I think the same applies to this era. 

The mainstream churches have been taught that they have failed in the face of crisis; the leftists have been taught that their ideals are incoherent and based on lies, propaganda and coercion. 

We know what has failed - now we need to seek what is both good and strong. 

As times of trial approach - beware of cultivating fear-less indifference to death, but at the cost of indifference to mortal life

In times of great fear, especially fear of suffering and death - it is tempting to strive for a solution to fear in indifference-merely. 

In other words; one may overcome the angst and suffering generated by fear of the future, by means of training oneself in not-caring: not-caring whether one lives or dies - or even by seeking death. 

This is the attitude advocated (whether directly or implicitly) by advocates of oneness spiritualties - Western derivatives of Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. 

(Oneness in the Western understanding is apparently not, in the same way, a feature of the actual religions in their native places; because there the religion is a whole way of social life - not individualistic; including elements such as the caste system in Hinduism, linked to a morally justified (karmic) system of reincarnation; and by related prohibitions on suicide.) 

The proper task for Christians is therefore not to write-off this mortal life as a bad job, not to look-forward to the oblivion of death - but instead to be unafraid of death and welcoming when God decides, while also valuing this mortal life. 

While the oneness solution to fear of death (and suffering) is indifference; the Christian solution should be through positive valuing: positively-valuing both the resurrected Heavenly life that comes after biological death; and also positively-valuing this mortal life which God has given us (and continues to give us) for our own eternal benefit, and the benefit of others.

Therefore, we ought to distinguish between those who overcome fear by indifference, and those who overcome fear by transcendent valuation.

The danger is that a world ruled by terror - and in which terror is encouraged; we may be over-impressed, and wrongly-impressed, by individuals who genuinely do not feel this terror - but who have achieved this by the wrong means - by devaluing life to the point that they have ceased to care about it.

This may be attained by a change of attitude induced by systems of meditative training; it may be achieved by other technologies, potentially including insights achieved using drugs such as Ayahuasca or other methods.   

Such an attitude is not so much spiritual as therapeutic: it resembles a medical treatment of the emotion of fear - and as such we must be aware of the side-effects of this treatment when it works

For a Christian; genuinely achieved indifference to life and death resembles the calm acceptance of nihilistic despair as a conviction of reality; which state is to reject salvation and desire hell. 

However tempting the immediate relief from fear; an effective spirituality and world-explanation that is merely negative and therapeutic will do us, and also the world, more harm than good over the long-term. 

We require instead a spirituality, rooted in a metaphysics, that is positive and motivating; and which sustains our valuing of this world, as-well-as the next.  

Tuesday 12 July 2022

"Emergence" is a metaphysical assumption - just as much as teleology

Sophisticated people nowadays use 'emergence' to 'explain' complex phenomena (e.g. systems comprising many agents) - especially when they do not want to posit any innate purpose, or do not believe in the existence of such purpose. 

So, in describing a biological organism or sub-system, they might regard it as emergent from simpler units such as cells - a consequence of what just happens, spontaneously, when many specialist cells gather together, perhaps combined with some kind of mathematical tendency for 'order', or a selection process. 

The idea is that there is no originating centre to the purpose; but instead apparent purpose emerges-from dispersed interactions from an innate, pattern-generating tendency. 

Emergence is sometimes used to explain (or explain-away) the apparent cohesion and purposiveness, working across many subunits and across time, of phenomena that are seen in human society - such as the economy, war, or the mass media. Emergence is therefore contrasted with the focused purposiveness of top-down, hierarchical, organized, teleological beings...

I emphasize 'beings' as providing and imposing cohesion and purpose on a society, because of the common assumption that it can only come from humans. But that is another assumption - I mean the assumption that exists no God nor other supernatural beings, and therefore there can be no divine or other supernatural purposes at work in human society.  

For example, the evil tendency of modern Western institutions is regarded first of all as neither divine nor supernatural (because they do not exist - by assumption). 

Having restricted possible explanations to the human, the choice is between humans working in a centralized and hierarchical manner to impose cohesion and purpose - and the rival idea that order and direction emerge-from the nature of systems; and do not require positing any central and coordinating purpose. 

By this account, evil Just Happens when systems (of the kind we currently have) emerge..

But emergence is not an explanation on the same level as the phenomena it purports to explain. Emergence is not some kind of scientific discovery. It is not some kind of solid, observable, empirical datum. 

Instead; 'emergence' is simply a hypothetical assumption that some particular observation can and does happen without any guiding purpose or organization

The advocate of emergence as an explanation has made unacknowledged metaphysical exclusions (e.g. of God and the supernatural as possible explanations), and is then making the unacknowledged metaphysical assumption that there is such-a-thing as emergence

Having already-assumed that 'emergence' is real and can explain the phenomenon under discussion; then it is regarded as the preferred explanation on the grounds of some other general assumption about how to make valid decisions.

This might be along the lines of 'Occam's Razor' - which assumes that the simplest explanation (i.e. which excludes by assumption the largest number of possible causes) is true; or it least pragmatically preferable. 

Another common assumption about how to make decisions is that we should always prefer to blame 'cock-ups' rather than 'conspiracies' - but this is not a generalizable empirical principle, nor is it logically justifiable; it is merely a modern (and often maladaptive) prejudice. 

Yet even as a way of choosing between explanations; this modern procedure is rooted in some historically strange ideas about what counts as a simple explanation. 

Through most of history (and probably still in most of the world) the most obvious - and thus simple - explanation is that things happen because some-one, or some-being, wants them to happen and made them happen.

When simple people encounter what looks-like coordination, control and purpose; they spontaneously have tended to assume that this is because some individual (or some cohesive group) is doing it - and that they want it because their nature is to want that kind of thing.  

The place we have arrived at now is based upon layer upon layer of denying what is spontaneously obvious to simple humans; until we have reached the situation where the simple obvious explanation is the only thing we absolutely refuse to believe

And because we refuse to believe the obvious, we cannot even perceive the obvious. 

So, modern people cannot perceive evil purpose - cannot perceive personalized, organized and directional action towards evil - because they do not believe in God and therefore have no coherent understanding of evil. 

Thus any apparent evil, pursued across nations and through decades, cannot actually be the work of beings with evil natures; but instead must be an 'emergent property' of abstract systems. 

And this 'must be'; simply because all other possible explanations have already been ruled-out, in advance, by multiple unacknowledged prior metaphysical assumptions. 


Why was it 'impossible' for Men to attain resurrection before Jesus?

I'm assuming here (as explained here) that the essence of what Jesus did was to make possible resurrected eternal life in Heaven. 

One way I think about resurrection is that Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, and developed the explanation that we were like sheep who could follow him - implicitly from biological death of the body, to eternal resurrected life. 

I take this parable rather 'literally' as describing a 'process' or transformation - happening through time - which we may choose to go-through after death. 

It seems, from the Fourth Gospel, that the process is one in which it is necessary, in some sense, to follow Jesus; and that this following happens (broadly) because we love Jesus and have faith in his promises. 

This raises the question of why is it necessary to follow Jesus; why cannot at least some Men find their own way? 

One answer is that Jesus's own death and resurrection 'blazed the trail' which Men coming after were then able to follow - metaphorically, Jesus created or 'cleared' a path from mortal to immortal life; and afterwards this path was enough for Men to follow. 

However, I am convinced that Lazarus was resurrected by Jesus before Jesus himself had undergone the transformation. If correct; this means that Jesus made possible resurrection for those who loved and believed him even before he himself died. 

When did resurrection become possible? At the time of Jesus's baptism by John- when he began his ministry and became fully divine and capable of primary creation, as demonstrated by the miracles and direct interaction with God The Father. 

In other words, Jesus's death and resurrection was 'only' a matter of providing him with an immortal body; because he had already - even while still mortal - made the eternal spiritual commitment to live in total harmony with God's creative motivations. 

Putting these together; it suggests that resurrection was made possible by Jesus, a Man, attaining fully divine creative ability; and this itself is an aspect of Jesus (from his baptism) living (yet still a mortal Man) in permanent and complete harmony with the will of God the primary creator. 

When other Men than Jesus (e.g. but not exclusively saints) have done miracles; these happened because the miracle worker was - at that moment, but temporarily - in harmony with God's will

The difference between Jesus after baptism and other Men was that Jesus (while still mortal) had made a permanent and irreversible commitment to live in total harmony with God's creation; and we men are not able to make this permanent commitment during mortal life - but only afterwards, after biological death, and by means of following Jesus. 


I have not really answered the question of what it is that Jesus uniquely does to enable us to choose resurrection; but perhaps the analysis provides some extra focus and specificity. 

What happens to enable resurrection is this choice to allow ourselves to be made wholly harmonious with God's divine creative will. 

This is mostly a positive desire to be resurrected, to dwell eternally in Heaven; but also vitally, 'double-negatively', it entails a willingness to discard our sins. That is, desiring to be cleansed of all our motivations that are Not aligned-with God's creative will.

Thus, to enter Heaven we must want to enter Heaven, and as party of this, we must want to be transformed such as to remove all aspects of ourselves that are hostile to Heaven. And we must want these permanently. 

Until Jesus; no Man had ever been in the position of loving God so fully that he was able (or willing) to make this total and permanent commitment.  

But after Jesus had made this commitment; reality was changed forever for those who loved Jesus and wished to follow him. 

The crucial difference between Jesus and us, is that we cannot (as he did) make eternal commitments while still mortal; we can only make such commitments after biological-death. The 'entropic' nature of our-selves (including our minds and wills), and of this world, seem to render all permanence impossible to us.

There may perhaps be some exceptions, as with some (not all) of the true saints: so, perhaps some mortal Men can (since Jesus) love him perfectly enough to make an eternal commitment? 

But for most of us, we are too labile and corruptible; and we are provided-for by having the final choice made post-mortal, at a time when we have become discarnate spirits.

All we have to do in mortal life is decide whether we want resurrected life in Heaven; and know that this is possible for any who choose to follow Jesus Christ's guidance on this path; and we can do this with the help of the Holy Ghost - who is the spirit of Jesus active in this world. 

By this account - the deep meaning of Grace, is that this was done for us by Jesus Christ; and we need merely to assent; rather than having to find the path to resurrection by-ourselves.