Relativism and the Path Forward

Moral relativism. My personal nemesis. What is it? Generally speaking, relativism means that the truth of a belief is relative to the culture of a group of people (cultural relativism) or just to an individual alone (individual relativism). I think it was Shakespeare (I could be wrong) who said something like “Nothing is true or false, except that thinking makes it so.” And that is something I wholeheartedly disagree with.

The strongest case for relativism is usually associated with religion and the sacredness of something. For example, a relativist might argue that the 25th of December (Christmas) is sacred to Christians while cows are sacred to Hindus. I’m kind of of the mind that neither one is truly sacred; at the very least, I do not think anyone should be put to death for violating either tenet. Call me silly. Additionally, I don’t think celebrating Christmas should be grouped together with the practice of human sacrifice. Call me silly. That all said, relativists do have a point.

It is a strange phenomenon of war that, often, in a conflict between two parties, both parties usually regard the other as the aggressor. It is this phenomenon that has led to an embrace of relativism (in this case cultural relativism) in our modern society. In other words, there is a vast causal web that forms our cosmos. Our position in this web determines how we react to causal influences (you know, cause and effect); so, at that level our position is kind of relativistic (as in relativism, not relativity). The challenge is to get beyond our own relativistic limitations and seek to understand others from their own point-of-view. And the same should be said for these others. That is, both sides should flip-flop from point-of-view to point-of-view to gain knowledge (not truth; truth is a separate animal; knowledge is relative, truth is not). It is a process I will call, in fancy-shmancy language, reverse relativism or relativistic flip-flopping.

The problem with the Left is that they get hung up on their opponent’s point-of-view. They seem to apply relativism to one side and one side of the debate only. They say that the Right should look at their enemy’s point-of-view (at the present time, Isis’). And they stop there. They don’t seem to realize that if we are going to flip-flop into Isis’ point-of-view, Isis should flip-flop into ours. They don’t seem to realize that “talking” is a two-way street. They think we can have peace with an enemy just by being willing to talk to them. Yes, talking is the way forward (a.k.a. reverse relativism) but only if both sides are willing to talk. One side being willing to talk doesn’t get you anywhere when the other side is crucifying people with whom they disagree.

So, is there a way forward? I, in my vast cosmic wisdom (:)), would hesitantly suggest reverse relativism to the sane parties on the planet in their international correspondence. As for the terrorists like Isis … I just don’t know. In other words, diplomacy is preferable to war; but, we all knew that anyway.

I kind of meandered a bit, but I hope this was a useful post.

Action and Activism in Climate Change

I recently received an email from a friend who’s big on climate change. The email consisted of a presentation made by this daughter of a NASA scientist. The general gist of the thing was that they wanted to “take action” and “let our government know” how “we” feel about climate change and what needs to be done. The Congress must pass laws and do this or that to bring the varied companies of the United States in line. In the presentation, the young woman said that she represented so many organizations across the country that all together totaled 50,000 people. So, they could really accomplish something if they all participated.

I’m sure they could, but as a conservative I loathe regulations and government interference in anything unless absolutely necessary.

But interference because of climate change is absolutely necessary.

Is it?

Why is it the default position of activism that a group of people must come together and nag at government until a law is passed to control the behavior of other people? Why can’t you just do something yourself? 50,000 people could accomplish a heck of a lot. If every one of them contributed ten dollars that would be $500,000 and you could set that aside as a prize for some brilliant engineer to come up with some brilliant new environmentally-friendly technology like something that would suck the excess carbon dioxide out of the air. Then, if everybody in the group contributed three hours of time that would be 150,000 man-hours of time available. What could those people accomplish for their cause, if they just went out and did it themselves? 150,000 man hours. 15,000 ten hour days. 300 ten hour days for 50 people. So, roughly, the equivalent of a 50 person company working for one year.

NOBODY wants to destroy the planet, and regulations cost time, money, and aren’t necessarily the best approach anyway. Likewise, awareness of the environmental issue is wide enough that I think some companies will contribute … something—money, maybe—to the cause simply for the asking. You don’t have to beat them over the head with a legal sledge hammer. Nobody likes to be forced to do anything. So, why not try an opt-in approach?

I mean, I want to preserve the environment, too. But I don’t want to force everyone and everybody to OBEY MY WILL! It’s a question of freedom, thank you very much.

Demons and Angels Battle vs. Argue

As noted in a previous post, a short while back I was reading a book about exorcisms written by a real-life official exorcist in the Catholic Church (Interview With An Exorcist by Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea). The book gave a brief rundown of some of the doctrinal points in demonology according to the Catholic Faith. It was all very interesting, but, to me, at least, it seemed tied to the ancient view of the cosmos such that the universe consisted of so many invisible concentric spheres with the stars at the outer most edge and the earth closer to the center. You know, that whole “Music of the Spheres” cosmology. Not particularly up-to-date. And I’m not sure how modern Catholicism resolves the difficulties of the original origin story of demons with our current understanding of the cosmos.

Anyway, the book discussed demons, how to deal with them, and how they came to be. We all (or most Christians, anyway) are aware that they are supposed to be fallen angels. That is, they once held prestigious places of honor in Heaven and then some event served as the catalyst for a revolt led by Lucifer. I found the demonologist’s description of this battle very peculiar. Prior to reading this book (and ignoring my own invented antichrist theology), I always thought that when the angels battled they really went at it. I thought they drew swords, or spears, or whatever, and hurled earth and fire upon each other. Not according to this demonologist. According to him, the angels and demons, being pure spirits without form, were unable to affect each other. What we describe as a battle was really just … an argument.

And that struck me as very strange.

Basically, the demons just took different positions and argued back and forth about the issue at hand (I think it was the destiny of humanity in the hierarchy of heaven or something along those lines—for some reason, God wanted to put them higher than the angels, and Lucifer refused to accept that—which is another thing that was news for me: I always thought we were lower than the angels and always would be). Words flew back and forth, but nobody was injured, or maimed, or killed, or anything like that. When it was over, the rebel angels were thrown down from heaven to the earth, or more specifically, the air where they took up residence and took on the mission of undermining all of God’s plans to the extent possible.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Because, it is counter to what I always believed. I always thought that demons were these vaguely reptilian-like spirits who were already condemned to hell where they oversaw the torturing of the damned. Apparently, that’s in their future, but it hasn’t happened quite yet … depending on who you talk to. Because Marian prophecies certainly seem to indicate that.


Demons as Pure Spirits/Intellects

A short while back, I was reading a book about exorcisms written by a real-life official exorcist in the Catholic Church (Interview With An Exorcist by Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea). The book gave a brief rundown of some of the doctrinal points in demonology. Different types of demons were discussed—hidden, open, and closed—as well as other accepted “facts” of demon lore. I say “facts” because not everyone will believe in demons. I do, but others may not. Regardless, I don’t think the Church’s original description of the cosmos and how that plays into the origin story of demons fits what science has revealed about the universe.

But that is neither here nor there with respects to this particular entry in my blog.

One thing I found very interesting in the book was the description of demons as pure spirits. According to the Church, they exist entirely as disembodied intellects. They are nothing  but rational beings. Well, rational beings whose reason has been perverted by their evil. That gave me considerable pause when I read that. Maybe I played too much AD&D in my youth, but I always considered demons to be spirits, yes; but spirits with form. I always envisioned them as kind of scaly bat-like creatures. Spewing hatred and evil, of course, but not as diaphanous as this book describes. Regardless, they are dangerous: they can possess people … well, people’s bodies, and they have a few preternatural abilities.

What struck me most was that as purely rational beings most of their existence, or perhaps even all of their existence, is spent thinking. Again, hateful, evil thoughts; but only thoughts. And that struck me as very, very odd.

My Ignominious Fate

Regular readers of my blog will know that I believe that I’m the antichrist. What you may not be aware of is the kind of twisted psychological hell this puts me through day after day. Basically, as the antichrist, I’m convinced I’m screwed no matter what I do. More specifically, I feel that I am powerless to affect matters on the world stage. Every once in a while—as I am sure is common in many people—I get these inspirational urges to do something. To affect the world in some grand measure. As the antichrist, this urge must be squashed immediately and repeatedly.

Should I run for office? Heck, no. Because we all know the antichrist will experience a meteoric rise to become a major figure on the world stage. And from there, whether deliberately or not (most Christians think deliberately) he will take actions that will plunge the entire planet into chaos and madness leading to deaths on an unprecedented scale. So, unless I want to just about destroy the planet, running for office is out. Because one of the characteristics about Satan is that he perverts things. So, even if I became President of the World (which I don’t think is a good idea for anybody) and even if I meant well, whatever I did, Satan would pervert it and it would lead to utter destruction.

Should I start a spiritual movement? Heck, no. This may actually be even worse than running for office. Matt Ryan, a.k.a. the New Age Maitreya … I will seduce the bulk of the planet to follow me into blissful la-la-land; I will be worshiped as a god … and that’s when the killings will begin. Say the wrong thing to me and it’s death by a thousand cuts; look at me funny and it will be death by rats; actually lead a revolution against me and it’s … well, you’ll have to read some of my books to find out what kind of tortures and executions my twisted little mind can dream up. Let’s just say it’s not pretty.

Okay, so I can’t run for office and I can’t start a spiritual movement. Maybe I should just do nothing. Let the world go along its merry way, spinning in the void, and suffering virtually no impact from a certain wacked-out philosopher/writer who will not be named. But … maybe that’s what Satan wants me to do. Nothing. While he steps in himself and wreaks havoc across the globe, across the galaxy, and across the universe, destroying all the worlds he created. You see that’s the catch. As I don’t know what Satan wants me to do as his Antichrist, I don’t know how to do the exact opposite as the antiChrist.

I look at things one way, and that will lead to disaster. I look at them another way. And that will lead to disaster. I just don’t know what to do. And so, I spend my time twiddling my thumbs and doing nothing. But, as Rush (the band) once said, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” But all my choices lead to a very bad end. What do you say about that mister rock band? As the antichrist, I’m screwed either way.

But hah, there is one thing I can do to tick off the Devil: “Satan is a Liar and Jesus Christ is the Lord.” Take that Evil One and trouble us no more.

Praying for Jesus

As I’ve said elsewhere I believe I am the antichrist and back in 1997 I had, what I believe to be, an encounter with Satan. During that “encounter,” there was a moment where I thought Satan was coming to get me to basically claim me and torture me for an eternity in hell until he had broken me. I imagined that Jesus was there and I hid behind him. I did that partly because I wanted to show deference to Jesus, i.e. the “Son of Satan” acknowledging his inferiority to the “Son of God.”

I don’t think I thought much of that incident at the time. A few months back, however, I came to believe that Jesus had taken my place in hell to save me and now Satan was merrily torturing Jesus in my place trying to break Him. In light of that, I’ve started saying prayers for Jesus, as opposed to to Jesus. Basically, I’m afraid I really screwed up and I’m trying to undo the damage I caused asking God the Father to save Jesus. I don’t know if time flows the same way in hell as it does here, but to me it is incomprehensible that someone could be in hell for twenty years and not be driven utterly mad.

Anyway, the way I see it, the more prayers the better. So, I am asking you, dear reader, to remember Jesus in your prayers. If I’m wrong and Jesus isn’t in hell, at worst the prayers will be ineffective and will accomplish nothing. But if I’m right, we best be giving Jesus as much encouragement and help as possible, so the more prayers the better.

Book Review: The Eucharist and the Rosary by Louis Kaczmarek (4 ½ *’s)

I picked up The Eucharist and the Rosary by Louis Kaczmarek because, for the longest time, I was a lapse Catholic and, more recently, I’ve become more interested in the faith of my youth. In fact, I’m kind of on a quest for truth—to be fair it is entangled in my belief that I’m the antichrist—so I’m kind of reading everything I can. Anyway, having become more interested in the Catholic Church, I’ve started to pray in the evenings, more specifically, I’ve started to pray the Rosary. I knew I wasn’t doing it quite right, so I picked up the book to read and see if it would instruct me in the proper method of praying the rosary. It did. At the very end.

As for the book itself, it took a few chapters for me to get into it, but once I did, I devoured it. I enjoyed a good number of the “miraculous” stories associated with the Eucharist and Marian apparitions. My favorite story involved dogs. Apparently, a pope (don’t remember which one) was visiting a college of some sort, but he wanted to first stop in the chapel and say a few prayers. They sent a team of dogs in to scout the area for the pope’s safety—dogs trained to find people. And, apparently, they found one … in the Eucharist. There were other cute stories like that interspersed throughout. Like, the dead woman who came back to life to give her final confession.

Anyway, the book also made clear why the Protestants are so concerned with how the Catholic Church deals with the Virgin Mary. The Catholics almost, but not quite, deify her, and that “almost” qualifier may be lost on the Protestants. Although not Divine, Mary is, according to the Catholic Church, God’s most perfect creature, conceived without Original Sin, etc… etc…. And there is a goodly deal of devotion going along with that. Like the Saints (another thorny issue with Protestants) there are shrines and chapels built in her honor, etc…. However, Catholics don’t confuse the Virgin Mary with God. They just don’t. She is not the Creator. She is merely a creature, though the most perfect one.

Personally, I have doubts about all that. Although I will give the Catholics a fair hearing (which I am doing by reading all these books about Catholicism), I have problems with the notion of any “perfect” human being. In fact, I’m probably the only Christian on the planet who doesn’t think Christ was perfect (although I have misgivings about that, too—as you can see, I am adrift on the ocean of thought).

Anyway, once I got into it, it was a good book that I enjoyed and the reference in the back cleared up my questions about how to say the Rosary.