Saturday, 6 February 2016

Which religion would you support to rule your nation? Choose - or have the choice made for you

It is currently inconceivable that we in the West could have a government which regarded Christianity as the first and central principle of organizing life. A large majority of the population would oppose this, would indeed regard the idea as utterly monstrous.

And yet, of course, all long term stable and authoritative governments throughout history have put some religion as the first and central part of organizing all aspects of human life: politics was based-on religion.

Examples would include the Kingdoms of Ancient Egypt - which lasted 3,000 years, and the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire - which lasted 1,000 year; both of which were permeated by religion in their ideals - and often in their attainment.

The idea that decent government can be attained without religion is still just an idea - since what we currently have would neither be regarded as stable nor as government by people in the past.

It is very clear now that the Western elites want to destroy their societies - one way or another; the favoured methods currently seems to include (but not be restricted to) the destruction of marriage and family, chosen reproductive sterility with an ever-ageing population, and unrestricted mass inward-migration including a high proportion of dependents and aggressors.

But at the root of this is the negative decision to dispense with religion as the unifying aspect of government - and the utter failure to find any other positive principle with which to replace it. 

So the West is characterized by implacable hostility to real Christianity, and a focus on the permanent revolution of destroying the Christian legacy including inverting the transcendental Goods of Truth, Beauty and Virtue. 

Since the Leftist project is in its essence negative and destructive, it will necessarily be replaced by some positive polity (at the point when the Left has so weakened the power, will and morale of the West in a particular place that some local religious group becomes by default more powerful, and is motivated to take-over). So we will get religion at the centre of politics again; the only question is which religion, and this will vary from place to place.

Trends are in place which often allow the outcome to be predicted in a particular situation; but there remains scope for summated individual choices to change the predicted outcome.

The most important political question of our day is therefore to determine which religion you, personally, would and should support as the basis of your government.

You can - of course - opt-out of the choice, and forgo even any possibility of influencing the outcome. But that is, in effect, still a choice: it is the choice to allow other people to decide which religion should be the basis of your country.


Friday, 5 February 2016

"Free will" = uncaused causation = "Agency" = a divine attribute. (Mainstream and Mormon Christianity compared)

When people talk about 'free will' they are implicitly referring to an uncaused cause - in other words, the ability to act (e.g. to think a thought) without that act being caused but coming from within.

This can be termed Agency - the property of an entity being an Agent, which is self-motivated (in which motivation originates from within, and is not merely passively caused-by something acting upon the entity.

If this is accepted, then it can be seen that free will and agency are not attributes of the 'material universe' of mainstream modern discourse (nor of science - in which everything either has a cause or else is 'random' and presumed to be unmotivated - like some aspects of quantum physics).
*


For Christians, indeed, free will and Agency are divine attributes; attributes characteristic of divinity.

Since, for Christians it is assumed (on the basis of revelation), that Men have free will and therefore Agency - this implies that Men are to this extent divine; by which I mean actual mortal incarnate Men are divine.

Which means that God made us as little gods - partial gods, gods in embryo: this is simply a fact, and neither a cause for pride or despair.

For mainstream Christians adhering to Classical theology, this implies that God created us ex nihilo (from nothing; presumably at some time between our conception and birth) as Agents , as beings whose wills are independent from him - so, to that extent, we are mini-gods who are out-of-control of God.

The aim is (by theosis) to become more like God but - since we are created/ creatures - theosis can never go very far towards God-ness. It is an eternal fact that only God can create from nothing, and the main fact of our relationship with him is that asymmetry.
*


For Mormon Christians, Agency is explained by our essence having been in its origins eternal and independent of God - we 'later' became God's spirit children in a pre-mortal life, and then were (voluntarily) incarnated as mortals.

God as the Creator is a shaper and organizer - he does not (because it is impossible) create from nothing.

Because we were agents from eternity, theosis is seen as an (in principle) unbounded process of progression towards becoming the same as God in nature.

The asymmetry between God and Man that remains eternally is not in terms of creative potential - since Man may become a creator in the same sense as God - but a difference of relationship. An earthly Father and his Son may be of the same nature, but the Father remains the father.

Thus: For Mormonism, relationship has an ultimate, vital and structuring metaphysical role.

This is an essentially unique attribute of Mormonism (unshared with any non-Christian religion and un-shared with any pre-Mormon Christian heresy) and this needs to be understood if Mormon theology is to be understood.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Blue Pill, Red Pill & Christianity compared using Tolkien

Blue Pill = Wormtongue's whisperings

Red Pill = Orc Draught

Christianity = Mirovor: The Cordial of Imladris

*

Blue Pill  
(i.e. Anti-Christian Leftism, Political Correctness, the propaganda of The Cathedral, the emanations of Social Justice Warriors)

[Gandalf]: Ever Wormtongue's whispering was in your ears, poisoning your thought, chilling your heart, weakening your limbs... Dulling men's wariness, or working on their fears, as served occasion.
[Theoden]: Indeed, my eyes were almost blind...

Red Pill 
(i.e. Secular Neoreaction, Dark Enlightenment, Alt-Right, Moldbuggism)

Ugluck thrust a flask between Pippin's teeth and pured some burning liquid down his throat: Pippin felt a hot fierce glow flow through him. The pain in his legs and ankles vanished. He could stand.

Christianity

As soon as Frodo had swallowed a little of the warm and fragrant liquor he felt a new strength of heart and the heavy drowsiness left his limbs. The others also revived and found fresh hope and vigour.

Lesson: Red Pill thinking is to Christianity as Orc Draught is to Miruvor: both awaken from debilitating delusions, give energy, and get you on your feet - the one with searing anger and aggression; the other by a sustained warming of the heart.

Don't debate the dishonest - Maxims for bloggers

Don't publish comments from, or debate with, the dishonest (and where somebody is dishonest is a thing you will need to judge for yourself).

The dishonest have an agenda, a reason for commenting - and they are using your blog to propagate it.

What is the point of a traditional Christian blog publishing comments that seeks to undermine and subvert its blog posts? What is the point of overwhelming the Christian blog posts with following comments that are anti-Christian - and pro some secular agenda that is nearly always secular Left, nearly always pro-sexual revolution?

That would be taking one step forward and two steps back.

You may believe that you are publishing comments to refute them - but that may not be how the exchange appears.

When a commenter is dishonest, and when his aim is destructive, he has a massive advantage in debate - He can raise problems and doubts more simply and easily than they can be dealt-with; he can ask questions faster than you can answer them (a short and easily-understood question often needs a long and involved answer that is difficult to follow and needs concentration to follow - hence your answer will - often - not be followed).

When a commenter is parroting mainstream mass media opinion, he also has the advantage that his view is backed-up by what people (usually unconsciously) regard as 'evidence' (i.e. 1001 things they have heard, seen or read, somewhere - they aren't sure where - and sort-of accept as presumably valid).

A dishonest and subversive commenter can destroy certainty, belief and hope much more readily than you can patch-them-up.

Don't give them space and airplay, don't give them attention, don't waste your time on them. It will do more harm than good.

Education versus fertility - our revealed existential preferences

When it comes to women, the strong correlation (over many years) is years in formal education are inversely associated with fertility: more education = less babies.

That is not the whole story - because in the modern West even the uneducated are usually considerably sub-replacement in fertility (fewer than two children per woman) - but it is a significant part of the story.

So, on the one hand, the native Westerners are going extinct by choice, and have already created the most  old-age skewed population in history and matters are continuing to get worse. On the other hand, an ever greater proportion of ever less-able, less-motivated, and less-benefitting women are staying ever more years at places that call themselves 'a college' (and getting - or sometimes not - something called a 'degree').

Which is more important? 

This is, or ought to be, a non-problem - since there are 1000 ways of solving it while saving time, money and effort as well. 

The fact we do nothing about it except to continue to make matters worse, shows our priorities - no, worse that that, it reveals our preferences. We get what we want.

Real, actual, existing college is (for the overwhelming majority) a (literal) waste of time - in that it takes time, and actively-wastes it - which is evil. (Same with resources.) And it takes more and more time from more and more people and destroys it (while lying and misleading and concealing what is going on).

This is not neutral - this is evil. Yet this is our preference. This is what we celebrate - individually and culturally. Our moral imperative, unchallengeable in its authority...

By contrast, this situation reveals that we fear and hate our own potential babies, our unborn children and the ways and means by which they come among us: loving, stable marriage and family.

We must hate them because we will do nothing for them, not even speak-out in their favour; indeed we are - as a civiization, for our own selfish reasons - wrecking their future in ways both deep and serious, and superficial and immediate.

On the one hand, the primary form of human relationship -- on the other hand, a few more desultory years pretending to learm things that have neither interest nor relevance; pretending to have acquired skills that have really never even been attenpted, staving off loneliness and boredom by distraction with recreational sex, drink, drugs, and other miserable but addictive indulgences.

All this means - in brief summary - that as a culture, as revealed by what we actually do and celebrate and try to do more of: we fear, loath and want to destroy ourselves.

Okay that is the situation - and it IS the situation. What are we going to do about it?

Are we going to continue to pretend that there is no real problem except that we do not get enough of those things we supposedly want? (Like college, sex freedom and frequency, enjoyable distractions).

We already have more of this stuff than anyone ever in the history of everything. Is our lack of even-more really the big problem?

So - given that we are deep in a hole and still digging, and the walls will sooner or later collapse and crush us -- what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? 


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Where does modern poverty come from?

Modern poverty is different from ancient poverty - and this is true whether we are talking about 'relative poverty' in The West (where the poor do not work, are overweight and tend to overuse drugs); and 'absolute poverty in the Third World (where people work long hours, are thin and malnourished, and cannot afford any inessentials).

200 years ago, the modern poor would have been dead.

In other words, as a generalisation, the people who are poorest nowadays would not have been alive in the past.

(Socialism probably got its start and its moral force from observing the 'new poor' - and misunderstanding their origin. Socialists assumed that the new poor had been immiserated by capitalism from the old prosperous working class. But they had in fact been created by saving some of the children of the poor from death: but saving them from death to only-just-subsist in extreme poverty.) 

In The West, instead of being part of a chronically unemployed/ sick/ unemployable and socially pathological underclass, the modern poor would have been long-since dead - probably in the womb or in early childhood; plus quite a lot more in the teens. 

In the Third World  - they modern poor would have been dead from infectious diseases, or predation, or starved to death, or by violence (all of which have now been significantly prevented or cured by importing technology and expertise and other resources from The West).

The average poor woman woman 200 years ago would have had close to zero children surviving to sexually fertile adulthood on average (no matter how many babies were born). And if she personally did not raise the children, they would even-more-certainly die.

Nowadays, even in the poorest areas the average woman can expect to raise a majority of her children.

And in The West, she can expect that very nearly as many children as she gives birth to, will reach adulthood in a condition to have their own children (even if she personally does not rear them, someone else will be paid to do so - and there is no limit to the number).  

This analysis seems to suggest that the problems of modern poverty are essentially ineradicable - since there is no compelling reason to believe, no precedent to assume, that the problems can be solved.

Maybe they can be solved? - or substantially ameliorated? But, if we are hard-nosed and sceptical, we would have to acknowledge that that is just a wish and a hope, and - as yet - there is nothing at all to support the idea.   


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Rainbow clouds today

From http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3428242/Devastatingly-beautiful-Rare-rainbow-clouds-seen-painting-skies-UK-despite-splendour-formations-cause-holes-ozone-layer.html

This morning from about eight o'clock and for more than half an hour in Newcastle upon Tyne (and other parts of the region), we had the most extraordinary skies I have ever seen - I stood and watched in amazement and wonder at the changing display. The colours were such as I have never seen in nature before - and yet of course they were natural. It really looked as if something tremendous, apocalyptic, was about to happen. But, of course, the tremendous thing was actually already happening - right there in front of me. 

Why fix your metaphysics - negative and positive reasons

If religion means for you the idea of a real constructive change of life - rather than (just) a new set of beliefs in the context of exactly the same general way of relating to the world; then you probably need to fix your metaphysics.

Your metaphysics is, in this sense, your deepest and most fundamental set of assumptions about how reality is organized.

Getting this right does not, in and of itself, change you experience of being alive. But it is often the first and necessary step towards making that possible. And, for sure, some assumptions will pretty much sabotage any prospect of a significant and sustained enhancement of your life.

Fixing metaphysics has two aspects:


1. Negative
2. Positive


Negative - means to break bad habits, compulsions or unwarranted/ unnecessary convictions. Such beliefs include the assumption of insignificance - that that nothing really means anything. That all good things are subjective only. That all experiences - no matter how wonderful they feel - are ephemeral only- and will be terminated utterly by death.

That what you thin you know is rendered unreliable by the intrinsic inaccuracies of the senses, by the possibility of illusions, by the tendency towards delusions and wishful thinking.

That we will never know for sure that the whole world and all the people and things in it, and the sense we make of it - isn't just a kind of dream or nightmare.


Positive - means the possibility of building your life around assumptions of significance, meaning, purpose. These would probably include assumptions that you personally, and what you do or don't do, matter in the large scheme of things.

That life has a purpose, and that this purpose includes a role for you specifically. That things (significant in themselves) also add-up to something even greater.

And that you have the possibility of real and valid communication with other people, and things.


The thing we must recognize about metaphysics, is that the metaphysical framework is neither validated nor contradicted by experience. That modern metaphysical assumptions are not the consequence of knowledge, or science, or logic. That traditional or religious metaphysics have never been refuted nor disproved.
We can choose to change are metaphysics, and (by repetition and self-monitoring) work to make the new metaphysics a spontaneous habit.

Is metaphysics then all just a matter of arbitrary opinion?  Well, it can be  but it need not be.

1. We can examine our metaphysical assumptions to see whether they are internally consistent and coherent.

2. We can trace the provenance, i.e. the origin, of the metaphysics we currently hold-to and see whether we regard that source as good, reliable, trustworthy (for example, if the metaphysics comes from people whose motives or character we regard as bad, then there is a good reason not to accept their metaphysics).

3. We can explore and compare the consequences of different metaphysical systems and evaluate which we think is the most Good: that is, the most true, beautiful and virtuous.

In other words, we can approach metaphysics with the conviction that some systems are better than others, and deploy our deepest and most fundamental mode of evaluation to compare systems and choose that which is best; and choose to try and live by it.

Why does God want so many of us to become divine, like him? The play and music of creation - From Arkle's Letter from a Father

...Another question you would like to ask me is why I should need so many children around about me in this scheme of mine. Why would not twenty or fifty be enough?

To begin with you do not yet know the depth of my nature. You do not yet know just how much I have to give. If what I had to give were just a simple thing it would not require an elaborate situation to give it in, but what I have to give is most elaborate, and so, to create the necessary width of understanding, I need to find expression for all my qualities, and lay them all out for you to see.

As many of these qualities have to be lived, so I need many different children to live amongst one another. My plan was vast in your sight because my being is vast also, but do not let that be a cause to think that any of you do not matter to me; you matter to me all as individual children and also as players in my play.

If you do not play your part, who is to do it for you? No one can, and it thus leaves a gap in my book. As my book is a long one it needs many words and you are both my children and my words to one another.

You are all players in my orchestra, and I cannot make the sounds I had hoped for if any of you are unable to play the individual parts that make up the whole piece of music. My orchestra is not like yours. In my orchestra no two parts are the same but they are all needed to make up the true beauty of the sound I have visioned...

I need a large family because I need to express a large number of characters, so do not think only of rushing to my heaven, for it is not necessarily in heaven that you will be able to learn the part you have to play. Remember that where character is concerned it is the hardest experiences that stamp the deepest patterns, and, when you think of my music, try to remember that it is a continuous creation and not a single piece that is to be repeated.

I have no desire to repeat my music, rather do I spin it newly all the while, so what you add to it now, and at any other time, is continually affecting the performance. You and I are making this music now, and each of your sounds is valuable to the effect, and I am the one who all the time gathers them in and weaves them together into a whole of constantly changing music. Thus I even make use of the discordant sounds since they all express in some way the reality of the complete situation.

Not that I would have you think that I sit back and coldly conduct this music, or feel any pleasure from discordant notes. I am doing many things at the same time in ways that you would not yet understand, and each discordant note pulls at my heart and my sympathy.

My music is not made to entertain, it is the expression of our endeavour, and effort, and suffering, woven together with the beauty of the beginning and the end. It is the sound of the whole book as it is being read by you all. It is this very music that I use to order and adapt my school to the needs that I sense in it. It reports to my sensitive ear the exact condition of my whole work and my nature responds to its beauty and its needs.


http://billarkle.co.uk/prose/letterfromafather4.html

Monday, 1 February 2016

Death - why is it necessary?

It is my primary assumption that death is necessary for spiritual progression toward a higher and fuller state of divinity - but how does this work?

If the purpose of mortal life is incarnation (to get a body) then why? One answer may be that the body brings us irresistibly into contact with 'the world' - because the body is unavoidably part of the world.

(Whereas, as pre-mortal spirits, we were not in direct contact with the world, and our spiritual body - if we had one - was not subject to the world.)

So long as we are awake, alert and purposive in thinking - our body is spontaneously and by-default part of reality. And our consciousness (our spirit) identifies with the body (including the body's senses).

We spontaneously get-away-from the body during sleep - and especially in dreaming sleep when we are all-but cut-off-from the senses, and paralysed; in dreams we remain influenced by the body (e.g. illness can influence dreams) but we are no longer constrained by the body (we can dream anything, and be anywhere).

Much mysticism is trying to get away from the body - but insofar as this includes drowsiness or sleep, undirected or free-associative thinking, thinking directed by external cues etc. then this represents (merely) a regression towards the situation of pre-mortal spirit existence - which is fine, but regression is not the reason why we became incarnate mortals (otherwise we would simply have remained in our pre-mortal state).

Minimally we are incarnated for our spirit/ consciousness to identify with the body - and then die (this applies, for instance, to those people who die in the womb, or around the time of birth - they experience little more than the bare fact of incarnation).

Beyond this minimum, some people survive into childhood, adulthood - perhaps for many decades... what is that for? The purpose of prolonged life seem to be spiritual progression, divinization, theosis, sanctification (variously conceptualized) during mortal life.

I think this divinization necessarily entails a development, or evolution, of consciousness - of a type which is a foretaste of the post-mortal resurrected state.

This state of advanced consciousness has been variously termed a particular type of clairvoyance by Rudolf Steiner (also called Final Participation by Owen Barfield), or 'self-remembering' by Gurdjieff or Colin Wilson), or Active Imagination by Jung, or some versions of Abraham Maslow's Peak Experiences.

In essence, this is an awareness of ourselves as spiritual beings simultaneous with identification with the body and its senses.
Death is therefore the separation of spirit from body, the spirit having experienced the identification of spirit with body.

So there are three stages in spiritual progression in relation to mortality:
1. The spirit is identified with the body (mortal life)
2. The spirit separated from the body (death)
3. The spirit rejoined with the body from which it had separated

This three-stage process of incarnation, death and resurrection was - of course - established and made possible for us by Jesus Christ.

It leads to the post-mortal state of a permanent and habitual attainment of that state of consciousness which is typically only glimpsed (if experienced at all) during mortal life.

This is the divine mode of consciousness - which can then embark on further development.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Because human sexual selection is parental - individual sexual preferences (charming, good-looking, sexy and fun) may be compensatory

Since it seems that parental choice is dominant in choosing marriage partners in nearly all societies organised on traditional lines:

http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/the-science-of-sex-most-important.html

This suggests that sexual selection operates substantially via parental choice. In other words, sexually selected traits would be expected to have evolved to appeal to parent-in-law primarily - rather than to the prospective sexual partner.

This model seems to account for many of the major trait differences between men and women - and accounts for the poor choices of marriage partner made by so many modern individuals: unaided individual people often make bad partner choices because humans are not 'designed' (by natural selection) to choose their own marriage partners.

(i.e. People make bad choices because they lack the instincts to make good ones.) 

Indeed, the model may also explain the nature of the bad choices typically made.

Parental choice would be expected to give most weight to 'sensible' criteria such as a man's economic prospects, a woman's youth and health, family background and so forth; but would tend relatively to neglect individual, personal qualities such as being charming, good-looking, sexy and fun-to-be-with.

Parental choice alone would often lead to dull spouses. 

In a system of parental choice - where all individual choices of spouse operate withing a 'field' of pre-approved candidates; it might therefore be expected that the individual woman and man would tend to focus on exactly these compensatory aspects. In other words, individual choice would tend to pick the most charming, good-looking, sexy and fun of the possible, parentally-chosen, candidates.

This would work pretty well, with the parents choosing potential spouses of solid, grand-children-rearing quality; and the individual husband and wife being able to pick the one who is most enjoyable to be with.

But take away the framework of parental choice, as we have in the modern West, and leave choice purely to individuals and you get... well, exactly the kind of sexual choices which people make in the modern West; where they go for the most charming, good-looking, sexy and fun-to-be-with of available people, regardless of who is a sensible, solid choice of child-rearing partner. 

What are the main reasons so many people are now living beyond their natural biological lifespan?

These are some guesses:

1. Antibiotics

These are now used so routinely that we forget they are life-extending treatments. In the past, many people, throughout life but especially in old age, were carried off by overwhelming infections - especially pneumonia, but also things like cellulitis (skin infections), septicaemia (blood infections). These are now unthinkingly nipped in the bud by antibiotics, with the result that people survive to get the various types of dementia.

2. Starvation

Many old people lose their appetites and would not spontaneously feed themselves adequately - they would naturally waste away to the point of being easily carried off by any unusual physiological stressor. Nowadays there is a combination of ready prepared food, food brought to the elderly, and food being put in front of old people and them being encouraged to eat.

3. Warmth

Cold stress means that core temperature must be maintained by increased metabolism and shivering - further exacerbating the problem of self-starvation and rendering individuals vulnerable to any further stress like an infection. Nowadays central heating is normal, and houses are kept well above outdoor temperatures.

4. Trauma

Even nowadays, an elderly person's life is often terminated by a fall and broken hip or other bone (alternatively, they may be saved but dementia becomes evident from that point - perhaps due to anaesthetic and drug effects). In the past these would not have been treated effectively and would have accounted for more.

In nomadic hunter gatherer conditions, seventy years seems to be about the limit of lifespan for most people. In agricultural conditions this was extended in some people who were looked-after in sedentary (stationary) societies - and who were prevented from injuring themselves and protected from infections.

Nowadays, many more people in the developed countries are kept alive by the above means - plus others including resuscitation and life-support, intensive therapy, advanced vascular surgery (including heart surgery) and life-extending drugs and surgery.

It is striking that even in the early 1980s, sixty was the maximum age limit for the (cutting edge) coronary care unit which I used to cover on-call - nowadays people routinely get heart and vascular surgery up into their eighties (plus 'heroic' cancer resections and chemo/ radio-therapy), even when they already have dementia. (And such treatments themselves often induce dementia - although this is seldom admitted, noticed or remarked)

It is in this context of routine and unreflective life-extension far beyond the natural lifespan and regardless of 'quality of life' (because all this life-extension now regarded as a 'human right') that the intellectual elites of the UK are pushing and pushing for a system of humane murder by medical means.

I saw an advertisment that an example of this is going to be televised by the BBC, as part of the propaganda for... What is the catchphrase? Ah yes... dignified death.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Colin Wilson's role in preparing for publication Arkle's Geography of Consciousness

http://williamarkle.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-writing-of-william-arkles-geography.html

Pity and horror as weapons of evil

Any virtue become a vice when pursued in isolation - and the virtue of pity has surely been exploited to the hilt in this fashion.Likewise horror - evoked by the horrible things of the world.

These are standard weapons for the mass media, politics, government, artists, educators and those who seek to manipulate and corrupt us to their own nihilistic agenda.

Unbounded pity is evoked (usually with an implicit threat against those who fail to go along with it); horror is shown or created with the (again totalizing) intention that it cancels, makes a mockery of, any claims of goodness anywhere.

By the power of depiction, aided by the power of imgination, pity and terror are induced and enhanced to stun, transfix and thereby divert or dissipate any attempt at understanding - any attempt at the virtue of prudence which balances virtues and vices - any attempt to attain the comprehension of order and achieve the greatest Goodness.

Thus the prevalence of that special evil of despair - a sin which does no good, but merely evokes even-more pity and horror.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Double-repentance and beyond...

The power of Christian repentance is unbounded.

If we sin, we should repent. If we cannot undertake not to commit that sin again, then we should repent that failure too (double-repentance).

If we sin, and we cannot resolve not to commit that sin again, and we cannot even find the resolution to want not-to commit that sin again - then we should repent that failure too (triple-repentance).

There is no limit to this - it is all possible, and indeed all necessary if we are to be clear about the nature of sin and of our personal failure.

But this is not paradoxical, complex, weird nor even difficult: the rule is that we simply repent every sin - everyone can do this, can do it now; and nobody is excluded by any personal deficiency.

It is a great gift - for by it any person can clear-the-decks, shrug-off paralysis and despair; enjoy the assured hope of salvation; and embark on the adventure of being a Chrstian as best they may.

(And with all kinds of divine helps and aids coming to awareness, that were unseen before - which may well lead to unexpected successes.)  

Why do the Left win every public dispute? Because they have an irresistible argument

It does not matter what argument Christians use to defend themselves - none of them work. Rationality is suspended, evidence deemed irrelevant, the outcome pre-determined.

The argument by which the Left win every battle is simple and single:

God is dead and everything is permitted. 

*

This fact was first noted by Dostoevsky, a long time ago.

The assumption in all modern public discourse is that God is dead - God is not a reason for anything.

And the, correct, inference is that therefore - in an ultimate and bottom-line sense - everything is permitted. 

*

Because God is dead in the West, and in particular in the public domain - the arena of general discourse; therefore everything is permitted, nothing is forbidden.

Because everything is permitted and nothing is forbidden, there is no reason to do or not do, allow or not allow, tolerate or coerce - and this is precisely the backdrop of assumptions which makes a trend to Leftism inevitable.

Even on the few and rare occasions when Christianity beats secular Leftism, it does so using secular Leftist arguments such as free speech, religious freedom, human rights, diminution of suffering, emotional manipulations, legalism and loopholes... and every such victory strengthens the principle that that is how public disputes ought to be settled. The exclusion of Christianity from the public arena is further solidified.

*

This brings clarity.

Tactics are doomed - so, focus on strategy.

Don't waste time finding the perfect argument - it doesn't matter, may do more harm than good.

Strength of personal faith and life, conversion of the nation - Christian priorities are the essentials, and they must also be the priority.


The Genius Famine, my new book, is now published

Edward Dutton & Bruce G Charlton. The Genius Famine: Why we need geniuses, Why they're dying out, Why we must rescue them. University of Buckingham Press: Buckingham, England. 2016

http://geniusfamine.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon.co.uk
- Kindle edition £2.02: http://tinyurl.com/jtxt85r
- Paperback edition £12.99: http://tinyurl.com/zj9rbp8

Amazon.com
- Kindle edition $2.88: http://tinyurl.com/zplr5mv
- Paperback edition $15.52: http://tinyurl.com/zpewycf


Thursday, 28 January 2016

What is *especially* sinful about the sexual revolution?

Advocates of the sexual revolution often point out that most mainstream sexual sins are not all that sinful in the larger scheme of things.

They are right.

Why, then, are sexual sins (those advocated by the sexual revolution) perhaps the largest underlying problem in the West, and sexual sins are primarily responsible for the catastrophic decline and (near-) death of Western Christianity?

Firstly, because sexual sins are so popular - unlike murder, many people want to do them (or, at least, be able to take the chance of doing them, if the opportunity arises).

But secondly - and far more importantly - because sexual sins are not repented.

Sexual sins are not repented in our culture, because people have come to deny that they are sins at all. You cannot repent a sin if or when you deny it is a sin.

From arguing, correctly, that these are not necessarily very big sins, people have concluded that sexual sins are not sins at all - therefore they do not need repenting.

Indeed, many self-identified Christians have begun (usually indirectly, sometimes explicitly) promoting sexual sins - as if they were virtues; for example they criticize or punish people who recognize that sexual sins are sins.

(This pattern is altogether typical of unrepented sin - it leads on to moral inversion.)

Repentance wipes us clean of sin - that is the gift of Christ's atonement. But failure to repent is what chains us to hell, because it entails a deliberate rejection of God's order.

It is not by committing some spectacular sin, but rather clinging to a 'minor' sin that is probably the main cause of (self-) damnation.

(CS Lewis portrays this convincingly in The Great Divorce - where souls in Hell are shown Heaven, and offered the chance to dwell there - but at the price of repenting their favourite, habitual, 'minor' sin; the sin around which they have organized their lives: Most choose to stick with their sin and stay in hell.)

We are safe from sin if we know and acknowledge sin; repent and repent again. 

We may not reform our behaviour, we will very probably continue to be sinners of the same type to a greater or lesser extent; but sin cannot get a grip on us. Salvation is assured.

But unrepented sin - even one, no matter how relatively minor it may be - can, and often does, take hold and tighten its grip, until we are altogether pulled-down by it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Superstitious fear of nemesis thwarts joy and hope - Colin Wilson, William Arkle and optimism

The superstitious attitude assumes that there is some cunning and perverted consciousness presiding over all our acts and, if we fail to keep to the special and secret rules, this presiding entity causes unpleasant things to happen to us and our loved ones.

From 'Justice' in William Arkle's Geography of Consciousness (1974).

This above passage struck home hard with me, and I have returned to it often; since it describes a besetting problem of mine - which is that I fear to speak explicitly and honestly about my happiness and hope, or my appreciation of the goodness of things, for fear that this will be seen as arrogance (hubris) and will attract retribution form some kind of 'cunning and perverted consciousness' - that I will be punished for my presumption - I and those I love will suffer the nemesis of the gods.

This attitude runs deep: very deep.

I seem to worry that displaying a sunny and optimistic aspect will attract cosmic schadenfreude, and will get me noticed and singled-out for humiliation and degradation and torment -- that I will be like a butterfly broken on a wheel - and the wheel could be any one (or more than one) of so many hazards and horrors of the world.

Yet this fear-full, dread-full, superstitious attitude may itself be one of the major hazards in the world. If (as I believe) the world is alive and responsive to our attitudes - full of sentient entities, many benign; then this attitude of suspicion and supplication cannot fail to bring out the worst in our environment.

Of course, nobody wants to be 'taken for granted' - but on the other hand we want our good intentions to be appreciated - and if despite we are treated as cunning, perverted, hostile; if we are treated as an implacable foe looking for any excuse to inflict harm - then we are likely to be wounded and dismayed even if we are the most virtuous of entities, and be irritated and angered and proviked if we are neutral.

I have therefore come to recognize a great courage in explicit declarations of joy and hope.

Our culture tends to admire the cynic, the pessimist, the hard-boiled, slyly-corrupt hedonist - the anti-hero. But I feel that the greatest Christian hero is the one who really believes in the goodness and love of God such that full value is accorded to those moment of joy, hope, beauty and inspiration which come our way.

It was a subject that Colin Wilson worked-through over many decades: the difficulty of being an overall-and-in-the-end optimist in a culture which regards pessimism, nihilism and assertions of the meaninglessness and purposelessness of life as being deeper and truer. Wilson got himself called naive, childish, shallow, insensitive - but he was right; and he was braver than his critics.

William Arkle took this optimism even further such that he started even Wilson (the two men were friends). Arkle had been in war, he knew about the harsh, tough and terrible things of life; but he would not allow himself to be deflected from his deepest convictions that this is a benign world, set up by loving Heavenly parents; that we are surrounded by helpers; and that in the end, so long as we strive and stay true, so long as we don't succumb to bitterness and despair, we will be given a prize, a situation, a world more wonderful in its scope and nature than our sweetest dreams.

The attitude to Pride divides the Christian perspective from others

Lots of people know that for Christians Pride is the worst sin. This is distinctive to Christianity - where it has a particular meaning of rejecting the authority of God, the validity of God's creation, the Goodness of God.

If you don't understand Pride, or disagree with it being a sin, then you aren't a Christian.

(Of course, you may simply disagree about whether a particular thing is an instance of Pride and therefore a sin. But a Christian cannot deny that Pride is indeed a sin. 

But you don't need to live consistently without Pride! Christianity is about 1. acknowledging that Pride is a sin, and 2. repentance of the sin of Pride in oneself when it happens; Christianity is not conditional on the (impossible?) achievement of living entirely without Pride. (Christ came to save sinners, not perfect men.)

Some sins are almost universal, shared between religions and no religion, and seem 'natural' - but Pride is not one of these. Pride is distinctive to Christianity, and that Pride is a sin is known as a consequence of Christian revelation - it is not a product of instinct nor a result of logical analysis.

This is a living, active dispute. Many campaigns and organizations are structured around the goal of stimulating and sustaining Pride in some group of persons. Typically, they will officially define Pride in non-sinful terms such as 'self-respect', or 'love for' or loyalty; but equally typically they will sooner or later advocate sinful Pride - including the subversion, rejection or inversion of the Christian understanding of other sins.

The sin of Pride usually leads swiftly onto resentment and hatred - and this is a reliable way of detecting sinful Pride, and discriminating it from benign or neutral self-respect, love or loyalty. Non-Christians often argue that Pride is necessary - and indeed it does seem to be psychologically necessary to non-Christians, or at least mostly-so.

Most religions regard Pride as a good thing, not a sin - so long as it has the appropriate subject matter. For modern atheist/ agnostics, Pride may be the core of their being, the thing that keeps them motivated and active.

I would say that this was largely the case for my pre-Christian self: that Pride was what enabled me to stand against the social consensus, what gave me strength to do my thing. Pride was the fuel and Pride provided my direction: thus I would not have been willing to agree that Pride was a sin, and certainly not the worst sin. 

This is perfectly understandable and maybe inevitable - if you are not a Christian. 

So, the attitude to Pride is indeed a cleavage line between Christians and non-Christians. Pride can only be seen as the evil it is, when a person acknowledges that the values of the universe do not arise from himself - but are established by our Heavenly Father who is 1. the creator, 2. Good, and who 3. loves us - we being his children.

So the prevailing 'rules and laws', the order of the universe... this is not arbitrary, nor does it come from ourselves - these things are true, objective, external (even when our knowledge of them is imprecise and prone to error) - and the 'set-up' of creation is essentially benign and made for our ultimate benefit (individually and as mankind).

Because God is the creator, Good and our Father - God has legitimate authority over us. Or, to put it another way, since God created order - there is no ordered Good except within God's creation. If we reject God, then we, Pridefully, are setting ourselves up as a rival God - yet we have no created order to dwell within. Our position is therefore oppositional to the created, ordered Good.

Or else, insofar as it is not merely oppositional, in Pride we come to dwell in a microscopic subjective universe of our own self-will - perhaps trying to persuade others to subordinate themselves to our subjective micro-universe. We make ourselves God of a tiny world where nothing has created by us, but only co-opted from God's universe and subjected to our personal interpretation.

This Pride-full, micro-subjective universe situation is not impossible, it is not even irrational - but it is anti-God, anti-Christian, a self-exile outwith the bounds of Christianity.

Christians call it Hell - it is in fact plural: a group of multiple mutually-self-isolated mini Hells - but clearly some people prefer it and choose it. That choice is the consequence of ultimate Pride. 

Pride is a rejection of the basic fact that our shared reality comes from our Christian God - and the demand to define reality from within ourselves - which is why it is incompatible with Christianity. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Tough minded about Christian idealism

It takes a special kind of tough mindedness to be idealistically focused on spiritual priorities, when we are all vulnerable to shroud-waving of one sort or another.

When the need for Christian conversion, evangelism, revival comes up, there will pretty soon be something about dealing with the real problems, or the implication that this is all escapist stuff, some kind of luxury, which nowadays (with all our problems) we cannot afford.

Yet the reality is that when the chips are down and life is on the line, that is exactly when religion is most wanted, needed and powerful. IN the past when life was harder, in parts of the world where life is hardest, at times of life when life is realist and most existentially focused (childhood and old age)  - these are precisely the times when spiritual matters press upon us.

Then the argument switches to religion being merely a kind of desperate clinging by vulnerable people under stress - grasping at straws... Not a test of realism and hard-headedness when people are suffering - suddenly, only cool, detached comfortable people are (apparently) able to judge the importance of stuff...

Well - which is it?