The Secularist Critique
a philosophy of religion blog from a catholic perspective
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Wednesday, December 10, 2003  

Moving
I'm changing my blogging sofware due to the lack of reliability and sophistication on the part of blogger. All new posts will be done at my blog Noetica which also has most of my older stuff. I will keep this site up but not update it.

| posted by theist | 12:53:00 AM


Monday, December 08, 2003  

"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity and striving after wind."

| posted by theist | 12:21:00 AM


Monday, December 01, 2003  

Protestants and cult
I find it curious that CatholicPundits.com has a link to religion News Blog which is a blog run by Apologetics Index, a protestant counter-cult organization.

Now counter-cult organizations are generally secular bullies out to destroy and undermine any religious groups (usually newer ones) that appear odd to their sensibilities and even worse, groups that display cultic tendencies. Now the Catholic Church is definitely a cult, and most of the religious activities of men in history have been cultic, this is a core aspect of the religion phenomena. So, logically they could be attacking the Catholic Church as much as they go after new religious movements. I assume that they overlook it for now because it is old and established, and because under the influence of our secular culture, has unfortunately lost some of its cultic dimensions. But the point is that these groups exist to oppose any religions they think they can get away with (usually the NRM's), which is why it is odd for a Catholic to link to such an organization. Catholics believe in religious freedom, which means that when someone gets involved with some religion that we may personally find strange, we don't start talking about 'brainwashing' and hiring kidnappers to 'rescue' them.

What is even more interesting is that this particular organization is a protestant group that set t themselves against other religious groups other than themselves. This seems particularly revealing to me, because Protestantism is by nature, non-cultic. Protestantism is the rejection of cult, and so the reformation was actually the mother of Western secularism. So it does make some sense that protestants are involved in counter-cult activities.

| posted by theist | 3:12:00 PM


Thursday, November 27, 2003  

Immanence
The transcendence of God is strongly emphasized in Western theology, and although God's immanence is also affirmed it never seems to get much attention. The traditional formula is that God is present in all things by His power and causal activity, sustaining all things in existence. But is this really all that can be said about immanence? Surely, immanence should mean much more than that. One may deduce that God is present to things by causing them to be, but this deductive knowledge is far away from the more intuitive experiences that seem to be mediated by nature. It seems to me that too much emphasis on God's transcendence could make Him too aloof from creation, almost a deistic God that is just 'out there' not really having much to do with internal affairs. And to balance it out more would have to be said than just God is everywhere by virtue of causing them to be.

| posted by theist | 11:23:00 PM


Tuesday, November 25, 2003  

The abuse of marriage
Marriage is an institution given legal status, recognition, and benefits because of the recognition that the humane creation of stable families is a basic foundation of a healthy society. Today, the people that have charge of the common good don't know or care about this relationship of marriage and family to the good of society. They are more concerned with placating the ideologies of politically correct bullies. Homosexuals have no right to marriage for the simple reason that they can not contribute to the benefit of society the way a heterosexual couple can, therefore they are not entitled to the benefits given to the married.

But many heterosexual couples also get married without the slightest intention of having a family. They often marry for convenience, to obtain the benefits of combining their incomes, of using each other's bodies for pleasure, and any other benefits that come from being recognized as married by the state. They take the benefits without giving back. These people also should have no right to marriage.

Gays and heterosexual couples that want to live together in utilitarian relationships, if they are to have any recognition at all, should be given a lower status in the hierarchy of legal recognition and benefits. To redefine marriage to accommodate these people is to drag down marriage to the level of these morally inferior relationships. Equality in this case would mean that the relationship of the heterosexual couple committed to family is on the same level as all sorts of sexually sordid relationships, which is a lie.

| posted by theist | 1:52:00 PM


Sunday, November 23, 2003  

The response from atheism.about.com
Ironically, the atheist section of about.com has done a critique of my "logic of homosexuality" post. I wonder if I can find a critique of theism at homosexuality.about.com

| posted by theist | 3:25:00 PM


Friday, November 21, 2003  

Sex and love
A commentator on the "logic of homosexuality" post says:

Let me get this straight: You think that because gay sex produces no babies, that it is for no other purpose than "sensation"? And because it is based solely on "sensation" that it couldn't possibly have anything to do with love or commitment? What a load of bull. That logic also says that an infertile straight couple is not capable of love and/or commitment, or that a straight couple that enjoys anal sex is incapable of love and/or commitment.

This raises the question of how sex can relate to or express love. Its an excellent question, one that people immersed in our culture's sexual mores need to think about more deeply. People have a sense that sex can be or should be connected with love but their thinking is fuzzy on how exactly it works. Exactly what is the basis for sex becoming an objective expression of love?

I think the answer has two components. The material basis is the procreative nature of sex. The formal basis is the conscious decision to accept and affirm that procreative nature of sex by two people. Its primarily the procreative power of sex that enables a man and woman to be making love rather than performing meaningless sex. It is the creative power of sex through which the love of a man and woman multiply by being incarnated in children. As their family grows, love is multiplied; a community of persons develops which gives the couple the opportunity to continue deepening their love both to their children and to themselves through their children. As their family grows, the commitment and sacrifice does to, deepening and solidifying their love. This is real love, not ephemeral emotion, feeling, or lust. Objective, ethical, committed, sacrificial, selfless love.

Now if we subtract this reference to the procreative power of sex, is there any remainder left that is capable of objectively expressing love? No, because what is left is sensation. When two people are seeking nothing but the experience of their own subjective sensations to the explicit exclusion of the procreative aspect, that is just lust. Thus what could and should be a relationship of love becomes an instrumentalized relationship between two persons. Sodomy and all forms of contraceptive sex are basically reducible to the mutual satisfaction of private sensations. In this scenario it is not possible for the two persons to transcend themselves; they are locked in the prison of their own subjective experiences of sensation. Even though their bodies are close, they could not be any farther away from each other.

So are infertile people incapable of making love? Not necessarily. The essential thing on the part of the couple is the conscious affirmation of the procreative nature of sex. Some precision is required here. This does not mean that a couple has to desire to have a child every time they have sex, it doesn't mean that they must be fertile all the time, it simply means that they know and accept that sex is something that is procreative by nature. It is part of the nature of sex to be infertile sometimes, thus one can know it to be infertile while still making love, but one can't accept its procreative nature while acting to make what is fertile into something infertile, or by doing something sexual that is not even related to procreation in the first place, i.e. sodomy.

If you think there is a remainder in sex after the reference to procreation is subtracted that is capable of grounding love in an objective manner, than let me know.

| posted by theist | 1:42:00 PM
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