All Causes Are Reasons

There cannot be a cause that is irrational; for, as incoherent, any “thing” irrational could not be realized concretely in itself, or therefore in its effects. It could not be a thing. So there cannot be a brute cause; a cause, that is, which is prior to reason. Nor by the same token could there be a brute state of affairs prior to reason, and thus without reason or ratio; for, what is not logically consistent cannot subsist.

No Lógos no reason no cause no being.

Being;; ergo, Lógos. QED.

NB: this argument – *like all arguments whatsoever* – presupposes the Lógos.

Hence, a corollary argument: no Lógos no argument; argument; ergo, etc.

What are the practical implications of these arguments? Get to church, dude! Confess, and repent! The Lord our God – who is the Lógos, logic himself in person – is implacable. All your pathetic puerile gamma atheist dodges are for naught. Get home, now, or begone, into the outer darkness.

Up to you.

NB: that it is up to you presupposes the Lógos. By the definition of the Lógos, everything does.

On Personal Discernment

I here now camp on to Alan’s most recent post on this topic.

Personal discernment is not of course for any partiscient creature – any creature, that is to say – ever optional. We are here below the orbit of the moon all at bottom, and obviously, left to our own devices, in figuring out what we should do. Such is the condition of Fallen man, alienate from the Truth of his Creator, so subject to Original Sin, ergo mistaken about moral reality, and thus misled – thus tempted, as temptable: as, i.e., concupiscent. This is not at all controversial. It is the perennial teaching of the Church, aye and of Israel. It is no more than what we all find to be the case, qua humans. Everyone whatever admits the truth of it, implicitly; for, in no other way might there be such a thing as a moral difficulty or question, such as we all always suffer, and that ever wrack our minds. So, to discourse upon it one way or another is feeble, beside the point, and so rather a waste of time. Nobody has any option but to do his best to discern the truth, and so the right way forward, according to his best lights. This is obvious. It is as obvious as arithmetic; nay, moreso.

Nuff said re that.

Nobody questions the inescapable requirement of all sentient creatures that they should exercise discernment. On that matter of discernment hangs the entire colloquy of freedom, sin, redemption, atonement, and salvation – which is to say, the entirety of soteriology, and of the practical Christian enterprise (also those of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam (and Taoism, that apotheosis of the protoevangelium)). So, never mind that. It is not the true question at issue.

The real question is whether in the process of discernment one should admit of correction or guidance from anything other than oneself. If the answer be no, it is ipso facto a repudiation of discernment per se; for, if our process of discernment allows for no influence from without us, why then it is a process, not of discernment properly so called, but rather only of adventitious self will. It is in that case, not discernment at all, but the opposite thereof: simple pride.

Which is to say, fantasy. Which is to say, solipsy.

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Personal Discernment

Bruce Charlton has a post observing the following about traditionalistic Catholics: On the one hand, they exercise “personal discernment” to decide which of the competing Roman Catholic authorities they will follow but on the other hand, they defer to said authority because that’s what Catholics are supposed to do rather than discern personally. Personal discernment seeming to be the opposite of deferal to authority, Bruce thinks he detects a contradiction and a weak point here.

I’m not Catholic, but this phenomenon is not a contradiction if understood correctly. It’s non-contradictory because there is a third element which Bruce failed (explicitly) to acknowledge: reality.  Charlton:

But at some point, in some respect; each individual – here-and-now – is compelled to make a choice that has no ultimate basis but his own personal judgment.

That “…no ultimate basis but his own personal judgment” sounds an awful lot like a purely subjective act.

But if the seat of authority (which I select as my authority by using personal discernment) really has authority, then I am not being contradictory. I am instead using my discernment to discern between rival claims about reality. Once I am satisfied that I understand reality well enough to select the true authority, I make that choice and then submit. Continue reading

What You Can Do Right Now

You are not going to prevail against the FBI, the IRS, Facebook, Google, or their equivalents in the rest of what remains of the West. Not if you go up against them directly. So, don’t try. Render unto Caesar. Give them what is needed to get them off your back. Live to fight another day, in another way.

In what way?

By a direct spiritual assault upon the Enemy, and his minions, the enemies of Man.

How?

The spiritual war is fought one body at a time. Mundane wars, likewise; but only inasmuch as they resemble their spiritual archetype.

Let your body be your battlefield, and so with it your worldly life. Perfect your holiness. That is at bottom your only weapon against the Enemy. It is the only field of battle on which you can fight him, practically; so, it is the only battlefield on which he can be fought, at all. And if you are holy and righteous altogether, like Galahad, he cannot, when push comes at last to shove, ever touch you; for, you shall then belong utterly to the Lord God, who is the font of his being, so still his King, and thus his conqueror. So in Christ shall you conquer him, who would destroy you, and all that you love.

If in your decisions from one moment to the next you frustrate the Devil, and bid him get behind you, well then, you have done far more to deal with the perfidy at the high places of our worldly governments than you could possibly have done by going up against them directly, who are after all no more than the hapless stupid clueless minions of their Dark Lord.

Your outward governors are enemies capable to you at all only inasmuch as you let the Enemy govern you inwardly.

Defeat him within yourself! It is at bottom fairly easy, if just you pray; the Lord Jesus will help you, if you do. And so shall he through you help Christendom; thus, derivatively, the West.

On, then, brothers. Deus vult.

Pray the Jesus Prayer, & Be Done With All the Rest

Hunting as I do daily over the links provided by our valuable and indefatigable allies at Synlogos, I am struck again, as I have of late been more and more often, with the bootlessness of it all.

Our struggle looks doomed. As usual.

What mundane prince might save us? None, at the last. For, we are all doomed to die. We are doomed to lose all that to which we have devoted our lives, including our progeny and their heirs, all of whom shall like us, and like the grass, wither away. That shall all happen, no matter the outcome of the midterm elections, or the war in Ukraine, or … of anything else whatever.

Mundane princes then are in the final analysis neither here nor there. While it behooves us as a matter of plain duty to attend to their motions, still in the end they amount to nothing. All that matters to us in our private persons is our ultimate reconciliation – each of us – with ultimate reality.

Pray then with me the Jesus Prayer, as often as you can remember to do so:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Nothing could be more lethal to our worldly adversary, and to his designs.

On the Peculiar Difficulty of the Ascension

Herewith, a guest post from commenter PBW:

I

I had a lot of trouble with the Ascension. Every time I recite the Rosary, to take the most frequent example, I start with a declaration of belief: The Apostles’ Creed.

In saying the Creed, I assert a series of beliefs that are jarring to modern sensibilities, but not, for the most part, to me. I believe in God, and in his only begotten Son. I believe in his conception, by divine intervention, in the womb of the Virgin. I believe that, his body in the tomb, Christ descended into Hell. There is much here to ponder, but it is all comfortably within the assent of faith.

“[T]he third day he rose again from the dead …” This is the fulcrum of the Faith. Whilst the work of our redemption was done in the Passion, the sign of our redemption is the Resurrection. It is the incontrovertible revelation of the nature of Jesus Christ. “My Lord and my God.” I believe, unreservedly.

What is it then, in the midst of all these wonders, that makes for awkwardness about the Ascension? For one thing, it is the staginess of it. It is the levitating Jesus, who “was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9.) It is the convenient cloud; it is the trapdoor into Heaven.

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Examining Bruce Charlton’s Theory of Knowing Christian Truth

I do not know how many people lean toward the Romantic Christianity espoused by Bruce.

[I use his first name because of our long association and my personal concern for him.]

I suspect many people are sympathetic to his approach, which downplays history and formal church and theological organization in favor of a direct / personal apprehension of Christianity. If many are sympathetic to his doctrine, it must be analyzed.

I think that his approach identifies some real problems but provides a mistaken solution. And since I once had something similar to the religious confusion that he says he once had but has transcended, I continue to interact publicly with his doctrine.

Some, of course, will say I am beating a dead horse. Not so. The horse is very much alive to many people. If it is dead to you, read no further.

I have copied below the entirety of Bruce’s post entitled Me-Here-Now versus History – what kind of Christian are you? My comments are left-justified; his post and Scriptural quotes are indented and highlighted as quotes in the WordPress way.

 

Charlton:

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.

 

According to the Bible, a non-Christian starts becoming a Christian when he reads and believes what the Bible – -especially the Gospels – – says about Jesus. The Gospels are a true and accurate written account of what really happened in specific places at specific times.

According to the Bible, when some people learn more and more about Jesus by reading the true accounts about Him, the Holy Spirit begins to work in them, giving them spiritual life. Others do not so respond, evidently because the Holy Spirit chose not to work in them. This gives the new Christian, inter alia, the ability to have true faith (knowledge, agreement, trust) in Jesus. Continue reading

Romantic Christianity versus Christianity Proper

To my recent post about Finding the True Way to Life, Bruce Charlton commented:

@Kristor – I find your post and comments both surprising and confusing! Your post concedes pretty much all the ground to Romantic Christianity; so that you seem to be advocating the same attitude to churches.

Your comment of July 25, 2022 at 4:49 AM suggests that any particular actual or manifest church (including the RCC) is ultimately ‘merely’ (secondarily) helpful or harmful – but never should be regarded as primary or decisive – precisely the Romantic Christian attitude.

And that the individual person’s intuitive knowledge of the mystical/spiritual/immaterial ‘church’ is all that *really* matters at the bottom line (albeit, I cannot distinguish this concept of ‘church’ from knowledge of deity – of God the Father/Jesus Christ/the Holy Ghost).

Most remarkably, you apparently regard the actual, worldly functioning of the Roman Catholic Church to be a matter of ultimate indifference to you! I.e., whether or not the RCC locks its churches; if it ceases to offer the mass, marriage, funerals; and if most of its bishops and priests focus their teachings on defending and endorsing … whatever policies the global totalitarian Establishment are currently pushing – you say:

I am not too troubled by all of this outward and merely formal ecclesial subjection to the tyrannical civil authority.

I suppose the crux is that you regard this as ‘merely’ formal submission. Yet when formal *and informal* RCC discourse overwhelmingly endorses – and indeed instructs – not just submission, but enthusiastic and active participation, over many years and increasingly … Well, I believe you are in error.

Altogether, I don’t [see] you are putting forward a coherent argument here – which may simply mean that you are in a transitional phase.

Indeed I hope so; because I find your casual, dismissive attitude to the RCC enthusiastic-self-shut-down of 2020 (etc.) to be abhorrent!

Like Archbishop Viganò; I regard 2020 as probably the worst disaster in the history of Christianity, an existential catastrophe, the significance of which can hardly be exaggerated.

These are all important points, and it is important that I respond to them cogently, and forthrightly. The first thing that I would say in response is that this latest travesty of the craven responses of the various church hierarchs to the mandates of the civil authorities in respect to the supposed crisis of covid is not our first rodeo of that sort. Things were much, much worse with the Church during the Black Death, a real pandemic:

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Not all High-Profile Churches Slammed their Doors in the Faces of their Flocks

The Romantic Christians say that in the birdemic, church leaders endorsed the Lockdown and shut their doors in the faces of their flocks for months or years on end.

Not all church leaders did this. John MacArthur has been the pastor of Grace Community Church in the Los Angeles area for more than fifty years. He holds to orthodox Protestantism and also vigorously attacks heresies both religious and secular. His church closed for a few weeks, decided it was wrong, reopened, and remained open in the face of many threats from the civil authorities.

And MacArthur has massive influence worldwide.

On Our Recent Discussions of Christianity

The Orthosphere and Bruce Charlton’s Circle have lately been discussing the nature and current state of Christianity. This is an urgent matter so I’m compelled to respond.

I) Charlton:

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.  [emphasis in original.]

Given the correct understanding of the meaning of intuition, this is true. But I sense that Bruce is using a somewhat incorrect definition.

Since reality exists and is what it is independent of us, knowledge ultimately refers to something out there, unless it is knowledge of one of our inner states. Religious knowledge is no exception.

Intuition is man’s faculty of knowing something to be true without engaging in a process of reasoning. “You just know it.” But since man is not omniscient, he must have confirmation that comes from outside his mind, something that is really out there.

It does no good to complain that by verifying it you make it no longer intuition. Because reality exists external to man, his intuitions are sometimes wrong. And since he can be wrong, man needs confirmation even of his intuitions.

The act that is purely subjective (purely personal, if you will) is not knowing, but rather apprehending this knowledge. Taking it inside of us, affirming it, relying on it, living by it.

Intuition is needed for the simple reason that all reasoning is ultimately based on premises that are not subject to formal proof. If everything must be proved formally we have an infinite regress, with the result that we know nothing. Therefore, it is inescapable that some things are accepted without formal proof. But since man is not infallible, he needs confirmation even of his premises. It may appear contradictory, but it is inescapable. Some things must be formally unproved, and since we are capable of being wrong we must seek confirmation outside of ourselves. Continue reading