Thursday, November 17, 2016

Faith And Falsehood

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Learned Hand

I have been a Catholic since the cradle and still consider myself a member of "the fold."

But I am not subject to blind faith. 

Although "hidden in plain sight," the Second Vatican Council signed off on "Primacy Of Individual Conscience," a postulate fundamental to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.

In effect, the Roman church -- until Vatican II -- has acknowledged that the schism provoked by the Reformation was due to the Vatican's mistake, not the reformers'. 

But that's another story...

Shortly before his death, Trappist monk, Father Thomas Merton laid bare the relationship between authority and individual conscience in a letter written to a friend: "Authority has simply been abused too long in the Catholic church,  and for many people it just becomes utterly stupid and intolerable  to have to put up with the kind of jackassing around that is imposed  in God's name. It is an insult to God himself and in the end it can only discredit all idea of authority and obedience. There comes a point where they simply forfeit the right to be listened to."Thomas Merton in a letter to W. H. Ferry. Dated January 19, 1967, 23 months before Merton's death

Like Merton, I do my best to keep my eyes and heart open. 

Like Merton, I hold no brief with jackassing.

From my vantage, I see "the good" and "the bad" in my religion.

On balance, my view of Catholicism's essence - and even more so my view of its founder - holds the carpenter and the church in very high regard.

Even so, it takes but casual inspection to realize that Catholicism, like all faith-based religions, readily runs off the rails when practitioners act as if belief is knowledge, and then -- locked and loaded behind this fundamental epistemological error -- they feel entitled to dictate Truth to "infidels."

The Newsroom: The Tea Party Is America's Taliban

The doctrine of "extra Ecclesiam, nulla salus" -- which is to say "outside the church there is no salvation" -- is not only wrong but pigheadedly wrong... unless, of course, a believer is a theological contortionist, of whom there are many.

Lamentably, theological contortionism is not limited to Catholicism: indeed, it is probably more prevalent among Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals.

It is stunning that 52% of Catholics and 58% of Protestants voted for Beelzebubba. (Without taking into account the decisive majority of Hispanic Catholics who voted for Hillary, 60% of white Catholics voted for Pussy Grabber!?!)

According to preliminary data, about 15% more Christian Americans voted for the thrice-divorced, pussy-grabbing, narcissististic megalomaniac than the overall percentage of Americans in the general population who voted for him. ///

Forevermore, the unfathomably hypocritical despicableness of American Christians in the 2016 election will be considered an egregious (if not diabolical) expression of American "Christianity."

If it were not for American "Christians," Hillary would have won by an unprecedented landslide.

At some point American Christians - in fact, American Christianity itself - needs to take responsibility for this monstrosity.

If Christians construe Trump as their political savior, it is fitting to ask how their bottomless ability to rationalize "any damn thing" relates to the credibility of their theological beliefs.

What Too Many Christians Get Wrong

Pope Francis On Fundamentalism: The Horror Of Turning God Into Ideological Pretext

Pope Francis: The Horror Of Religious Fundamentalism And What's Wrong With Religion

Christians Are Their Own Worst Enemy: 
Wrecking The Brand

The tight relationship between faith and falsehood belongs in that uniquely paradoxical category of "being largely invisible because its obvious."

If you don't understand what I'm taling about, see Poe's "Purloined Letter" in which the crucial "letter" remains invisible by virtue of deliberate placement in plain sight.

There is much about Christianity -- and arguably much more about Catholic Christianity -- that is, at least on the surface, preposterous.

The one and only God becomes a man in order to be executed so that the grace released by crucifixion will serve as salvation for all who believe.

Then there's The Ressurection itself, most frequently conceived as a literal truth; i.e., the physical body of Jesus of Nazareth was laid in a tomb and three days later that body was brought back to life.

I hold these beliefs in high regard although my interpretation of them leaves plenty of room for the unresolvability of unknowing-and-unknowable "mystery." 

However, when "biblical literalists" pretend that their faith in apparently preposterous beliefs transfers lock, stock and barrel to matters of science and everyday factuality, then they completely part company with intellectual rigor, the scientific method and any epistemology worthy of the name.

In effect fundamentlist faith becomes the cornerstone of the All-American Mad House in which we now live.

This year's election -- whose eldritch outcome was further fueled by "the irrational echo chamber of conservative Christian social media" -- has demonstrated that many (nominal) Christians, along with many secularists who are similarly fond of real-world "fantasy," make their faith (sacred or secular) the foundation of flamboyant falsehood.

Although I will now confide an article of personal faith, I believe that conservative Christians are -- sometimes consciously and other times unconsciously -- cheerleaders for Armageddon because their faith makes them despair of the world. And whether or not that despair is borne out, I also believe that Christians are called upon to assume the goodness of this world and to live their lives dedicated to the proposition that we can (and should) make this world a better place.

If terrestrial Armageddon befalls us, conservative Christians will be largely responsible for making that "self-fulfilling prophecy" happen.

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"Faith, Hope, Charity And Divine Desperation"

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People Want To Be Lied To: The Convergent Horror Of Faithful Falsehood And Aggressive Ignorance

Trump "Shaking Things Up" | Oh, C'mon! That's Just Donald Shaking Things Up | image tagged in trump,armageddon,nuclear holocaust,just kidding | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

The Borowitz Report: "Trump Says He Would Only Use Nuclear Weapons In A Sarcastic Way"

The Borowitz Report: "Trump Blasts Media For Reporting What He Says"

The Borowitz Report: "Trump Blames Bad Poll Numbers On Existence Of The Numerical System"

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Frank Zappa Prophesied A Fascist Theocracy. Barry Goldwater Agrees

James' Epistle: "Judgment Without Mercy Will Be Shown To Anyone Who Has Not Shown Mercy"

Pope Francis: The Horror Of Religious Fundamentalism And What's Wrong With Religion

Bill McKibben "The Christian Paradox: How A Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong"

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