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Many go through life with God in their pocket. This is a reference to your phone which can control your day and set your schedule. If we get fixed on time as it is set in this age, then we will struggle to have freedom in or abide by time that is beyond this age. In the Kingdom we must come to flow with time, living in both this age and the eagerly anticipating and participating in age to come at the same time. Imagine trying to control every aspect of your marriage.
And truly a waste of time, energy and effort — Marriage is a relationship and not designed to be controlled. Once you are in control, intimacy is no longer possible, for the relationship is not longer one of love, rather it is based in fear. When you are in the Kingdom of God — which is everlasting — your experience of time is altered to meet God not the other way around.
This age is also clearly under the siege of the enemy of God. I am of the perspective that Christ will return, His Return will not be known ahead of time, His return will only take place once, which means no rapture, prior to a second coming and there is not a literal year reign after this return.
Persecution and the signs of the times will intensify until His return Much more can be said — look here. Further, I believe in a physical resurrection, meaning our bodies will be raised physically. I cannot and will not attempt to explain this mystery here — but resurrection is certainly not mere a spiritual experience.
Luke , John To live in the Kingdom is to have your identity rooted and established in the love of Christ. Eph We have seen this over the last few weeks in our Worth. When our worth is redeemed, and salvation is granted unto us… our identity is found in intimacy with Jesus. For now is the moment of engagement for you, and the LORD hears your cry and will save you. This is true now and forever more, for the Kingdom is from Everlasting to Everlasting. Your Identity is the Key to your Freedom. Is your identity formed by this of this age or of the age to come?
True Freedom is found in Self-Control. This means that nothing outside of you — controls you. Since you have been washed and redeemed, buy the Blood of the Lamb John sin no longer is your master. Romans Rather the Spirit of God is in you producing the fruit of Self-control. John , 2 Timothy , Eph. Self-Control moves toward Intimacy by Faith. Titus As I abide with Christ and choose where I choose — I exercise self-control to be with Him, rather than to be tempted by the addictions of this world, I continue to grow in my trust and faith in Him.
This exchange of time with the King, rather than to give into temptations of the world yields an intimacy that moves beyond this age into the next. You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience. Prior to the Lectionary Scriptures this week — I wanted to make a not on human worth… if you have that figured out — skip down to below. Psalm , Eph Therefore no human being is worthless, regardless of their actions.
However not all humanity has been made worthy. Romans Our worth does not come from things we have done for ourselves, nor have we earned or deserved them. Even justice is not deserved because we earned it — rather it is due us because the law of God established it. Eph There is no worth in that which is dead. For this reason, God imputed gave to us His own righteousness not because we were worthy of it, but because we were unworthy, unlovable, and unable to make ourselves worthy in any way. To be known and loved is to experience my worth as God has declared it. In fact, apart from God we remain in an unworthy state of being.
Romans The truth is that this does not make us worthless — rather like an empty soda can that is not recycled — it has worth but it must be redeemed. This value and worth is given and established by God because of the price He paid to make us worthy—the death of His Son on the cross. It is only through the blood of Jesus that our lives are filled with worthy and are fully redeemed.
To conclude, our self-worth which is too often based on what other people tell us about ourselves it truly of no worth at all, The one, true authority on our self-worth is Jesus Christ, and since He gave His own life up for us by dying on a cross, that informs us just of just how valuable we really are. I am convinced that a life filled with Thanksgiving is a mark of Christ in you. His self-worth is high, but he remains un-redeemed in the eyes of Christ. So again we return to the fact that actions are not enough when the attitude is not matched with the love of Christ.
When we make life an issue of good verses bad, we are engaging in a self-righteous trap. The true quest is in know that which is life-giving verses death. This is contrasted by the tax collector who declares that his life is a mess and he is deserving of judgment, yet it is his desire is to seek the mercy and grace of God to that he might be redeemed. For the Pharisee, he is already convinced that his own righteousness is complete in his works. This error is not as easy to see in ourselves as it is in others.
One key to seeing this in yourself clearly is to walk in humility. Humility is at the edge of the Kingdom. Humility comes as you steward your sufferings. If you lack stewardship of suffering — you will lack awareness of your need for God. If you lack stewardship of your relationships you will lack awareness of your need for others.
While the Pharisee lacked these — he did not lack the stewardship of resources. Therefore he did enjoy the returns of this world. The Pharisee is receiving his full reward. Matt Paul models stewardship on all fronts. As the end of his life is drawing near, there is no bitterness, regret or resentment. He holds nothing against those who bring him harm and caries no resentment for his sufferings.
This again is the mark of humility. This attitude is one of having no shame, based not in pride but in deliverance. By contrast the Pharisee as well has no shame, but this is rooted in pride and elitism — this is rationalization of life in comparison to the world. Forgiveness as addressed above is the initial act of accessing worth. It is a gift of grace. Humility is grown through our actions of stewardship and our willingness to forgive others.
A humble life anchored in receiving forgiveness removes the shame that can decrease or negatively affect our acceptance of worth granted by Christ. Shame prevents us from seeking the justice which is to be granted by God. Justice must be sought, and will only be done by those who have fully known grace and mercy. Knowing grace and mercy will yield a life of forgiveness and humility such that justice will flow freely. They have been focused on their own righteous deeds rather than the righteousness of God our Savior. Justice is based on what is due where an injustice is be leveled against you or it is the desire for judgment against sin.
Jesus deals with this greatly in the Sermon on the Mount. Therefore — Bitterness fills their bones, rather than humility filling their heart. Anytime a sinner is justified, the focus for the Pharisee is on what should have been deserved. This is a win-lose mentality. However those who exalt themselves will be humbled, while those who humble themselves will be exalted. The only way to break from bitterness is through thanksgiving which is anchored in humility mercy and forgiveness grace.
May we be released in this life from the need to have our expectations met. May we seek only the Cross of Christ to be our rule and judge. At the foot of the cross my we find mercy and grace such that we enjoy the forgiveness of God much more than any justice that may be served on our behalf. A man should carry two stones in his pocket.
If persistence gets you what you want then prayer is based in possibility thinking and law of attraction. Yet, God is the ultimate and final judge, therefore we are to come to Him with our cries for justice. The persistent widow cries out because of her awareness that justice is due her, and her faith leads her to continue to cry out in faithful expectancy. We too are to model this hope, not based on our needs, rather based on the Character and Promises of God.
God has sufficient mercy and grace for us — and both of these are freely given, our invitation today is to learn to cry out in prayer for justice. We are to cry out for the promises that God has committed to us. First, let us understand Mercy — It is difficult to be thankful for that which God withholds from us — but in his Mercy judgment is withheld from us — for we are sinners and death is what is due us all. When we become aware of Mercy we respond with Thanksgiving. When we become fully aware of Grace, we respond with Obedience. Where a faithful follower of Christ is not encountering Mercy or Grace — the Enemy is thwarting the very desire and will of God.
There are two main reasons why this thwarting can take place — either the enemy is intruding, or we have invited. The Widow was crying for Justice. If there is not intrusion, there is no need for Justice. The enemy is not stupid, he will always wage war where he is most likely to win. When we invite see below and the enemy brings chaos, tumult and destruction — this is only stopped by an act of Grace. Not every invite results in chaos — in this case Mercy was executed over us. This ought to move you to thanksgiving. In response to mercy, we are to move toward grace.
Therefore every time the enemy moves against you intrusion , as you are clothed in righteousness — You are deserving of Justice. Justice is the ultimate payback, with a huge spiritual dividend and physical blessing. Let us be quick to invite the LORD to rule and reign and just is quick to resist the enemy. While Grace and Mercy are given freely we must seek, cry out for and demand for Justice. This Engagement is an act of prayer that shifts our focus from what is happening to what can happen.
Prayer shifts our focus from the reality of this world to the realm of the heavens. When we pray and lament to God for what was due us and how the enemy has tormented us — we are asking for what we deserve —that is Justice. Prayer guides us in the journey of faith, teaching us the will of the Father. Justice being delivered restores you to the rightful place in which God has already established and prepared for you. Therefore this is not a change in you, it is a confirmation of what we hoped to be true- now realized. There is no longer any shame in the life of the believer who has received Grace or needs more Mercy.
Romans , 2 Cor. If we error and sin — resulting in an invitation to the enemy to bring destruction, we simply confess our sins and he is faithful and just. This nullifies the shame of the act, and lead us to embrace consequences of our actions with Thanksgiving. So all this to say — Be Alive and full of live in the Kingdom of God. Boast in your weakness, be not ashamed of your life. God is at work in you and for you. Cry out to him and you will see — the Mercy, Grace and Justice that he is longing to bestow on you. The Good life is a Godly life where there is a value for both profit and prophet.
Micah , Matthew The difference between the not-for-profit and the for-profit is who benefits from the profit. Not-for profits, must make a profit, but the benefits are NOT to be owned or controlled by the leaders of the organization, rather they are put back into the organization to fulfill its mission. For-profits can put the profits in the pockets of its leaders and owners, for that is the mission of the business. Our lives need to have both profit margins and prophet margins. The Bible says, the poor will always be with you, and it addresses the rich not as the problem.
Rather the problem is when the rich find their identity in their wealth. For this reason the command of 1 Timothy is not against money, nor that money is evil, rather it is to find joy in all God provides, being rich in good deeds and generous by sharing with those in need. A Church Divided. A Circle of Forgiveness.
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The Mary/Martha Principles: Discovering Balance Between Faith and Works Tommy Tenney
A Sea of Pink. Powell Davies. Abby's Birthday. Abrahams Covenant with God. Adam and Eve. Adin Ballou and The Hopedale Community. Amrita's Tree. Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom. Ancestral Tree. And It Is Good. Angel of the Battlefield, Clara Barton. Anger A Buddhist Story. Annie Arnzen Making A Difference.
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Building a Beacon. Building Respect Reverend Joseph Jordan Cast The First Stone. Cathedral of the World. Challenged in Belief. Channing and the Response to Slavery. Charles Darwin. Charles Dickens. Circles of Light. Clara Barton. Clowning for Joy in Haiti. Combating the Hate of Westboro Baptist Church. Community Capacity Building in Arkos, Transylvania. Confessions of a Prodigal Volunteer. Craig Keilburger and Free the Children. Creation from the Dreamtime. Crossing the Finish Line Together. David and Goliath. Dinosaur Bones in New Jersey. Discovering Truth Through Science and Religion.
Doctrinal Freedom. Dolores Huerta. Dorothea Dix. Emerson's Moral Dilemma. Enough Stuff. Excerpts From Oliver Twist. Fahs Religious Education Experiences. Faithful Fools. Feathers on the Wind. Feeding the Hungry: an Interfaith Story. Filling the House. Finding Balance. Finding God In Silence. Finding Your Way Ethelred Brown. Fire, Water, Truth, And Falsehood.
Flame of Learning, Chalice of Love. For the Love of Stars. Forrest Church's Redemption Experiences. Fragments and Front Porches. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. Frances Harper Bends the Arc. Francis David Guilty of Innovation. Francis David: Guilty of Innovation. From Why to Why Not.
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Joseph Tuckerman's Revolution. With regard to my bridge illustration, I do not agree with you about shuffling. One method of shuffling consists in allowing the two halves of a pack to interpenetrate. If, in a no-trump hand, the suits had been played out in turn, and all the players had followed suit in most of the tricks, two such shufflings in which a card from one half the pack was placed between every card of the other half, would tend to concentrate the cards of one suit in the first, fifth, ninth, etc.
Or so it seems to me. But perhaps I stated my case too modestly. Anyway, we agree on the fundamental point at issue. I certainly know of no well-authenticated case of that particular miracle. As to Mark xvi. The second sentence: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," is usually taken as referring to people in general — myself, for example. The signs of belief e. I had always assumed both sentences to have a general application.
If the promise and threat of the second sentence only apply to the apostles' hearers, like the immunity to poison, then the modern Church has less to offer than is generally thought. And I contend that if you regard the two sentences as referring to different sets of people, it is you, not I, who reads that passage with a prejudiced mind. As regards the resurrection, I do not agree with you that the discrepancies are "minor" ones.
It is quite possible to give four accounts of the same event in very different words which do not contradict one another: Read the accounts of the same football match in four different papers if you doubt this. Clearly we shall have to discuss the whole problem in detail later. Now for my "curt dogmatism. They read as follows: "But the intellectually honest man must realize the utterly provisional nature of his beliefs. So when I make an apparently definite statement, I must ask you to put before it some such words, as it seems to me very probable that if this is dogmatism you can lock me up in a padded room with the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and Mr.
Joseph McCabe! In the next paragraph I assert that the creeds are full of obsolete science. You then say that the public "does not realize the very tentative nature of my views. I am inclined to think that it quite often does both. And I am beginning to wonder whether Zola and Strauss may not perhaps have qualified their apparently dogmatic remarks by statements which you omit. I still assert that the creeds are full of obsolete science. For example, the theory of a solid heaven, or firmament, is to be found in the book of Genesis, the book of Revelation, and here and there in the intermediate parts of Holy Writ.
It was, of course, the usual scientific theory before the time of Copernicus. It was clearly in the minds of the framers of the creed who said, "He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. You agree, I take it, that Jesus rose from the earth's surface. If so, His body either came down again, reached a place called Heaven, is still moving, or was annihilated. Which alternative do you prefer? You would presumably regard the phrase about Jesus sitting as a metaphor.
But the phrase about His resurrection is to be taken literally. So is that about His virgin birth — until a knowledge of genetics is as widespread as that of astronomy. I certainly regard the theory that bread can be altered by the action of a priest as chemical. If Jesus ascended into heaven that was an anomalous physical phenomenon. If bread is converted into His body and blood that is an anomalous chemical phenomenon. If bread is burnt it assumes, according to the scholastic philosophy, a new forma substantialis and new accidents.
If it is consecrated by a priest it assumes a new substance, namely, that of the body and blood of Christ. Its accidents are unaltered but they become, it would seem, much more liable to alteration. In particular, consecrated hosts are said to be liable to bleed, as in the case of the miracle of Bolsena. Also the eating of one has it is alleged profound effects.
If you say that a change of substance and a change of substantial form are so different that no one could classify them together, I shall be delighted to take up the point later. Personally I regard the theory of transubstantiation as a piece of pre-scientific chemistry, and shall continue to do so until you attack that view by argument rather than assertion. In the same way the theory that a substance called the soul leaves the body at death is widely held. I have never to my knowledge stated that it is Catholic doctrine. It is a physiological theory, because it is held that the presence of the soul in the body is responsible for some, if not all, of the phenomena of life.
Again, the object which Catholics worship at mass is thought by them to be God. I think that it is a wafer. Not being addicted to masses, whether high or low, black or white, I admit that I may have been wrong in calling it a biscuit. But I am told that it is fiat and round, and made of the same materials as certain biscuits, so I do not think that I am very far out.
You object to my not defining what I mean by "absolute" during half an hour's broadcast address. Had Sir John Reith seen fit to accord to persons who do not share his religious opinions one-tenth of the time that he allots to sermons by the clergy, I might have had the opportunity to do so, and your criticism would have been legitimate. By "absolute" I mean independent of circumstances, the opposite of contingent. I further believe that it always was true, and always will be. On the other hand, the statement, "No men exceed twelve feet in height," though true at present, might be rendered false by the appearance of such a man.
It is a contingent statement. I hope that I have made myself clear.
Such realities as I think do not alter with time, like the things in the visible world. When I used the phrase "invisible world" in the address in question, I was referring to the aggregate of those realities which do not change with time, and I am quite willing to give this as a definition. It corresponds, roughly at least, to what Plato meant by the world of ideas, but his account seems to me unduly metaphorical.
As I understand that you believe in the multiplication table, I assume that you also believe in some such absolute and eternal facts. I suspect that this "world" includes moral facts as well as mathematical and physical. But why should you attack me for agreeing with St. As I do not think that I have ever talked or written about a "realm of values," I am not called upon to define it.
On the other hand, when I talk about the invisible world I do not, as you assume, mean a supernatural world. The timeless facts which are symbolized by the multiplication table are invisible, but hardly supernatural. Nor did Plato or Aristotle, to go no further. As for my own opinion of death, I do not know if my works will perish with the solar system. Our descendants may migrate elsewhere. I am not myself afraid of death, among other reasons because I have tasted life so fully that I expect to be fairly satisfied when I cease to live.
On the other hand, I think most people's lives are too short to give them a chance to fulfill their possibilities as I hope to have done. That does not mean that if, by pressing a button, I could make everyone live a hundred thousand years, I should press it. Premature death is generally an evil. I am not sure that death is so. You see, I do not begin, as you think I should, by asking whether more life is better than less life, but how much more life, if any, is desirable. That is because I often think quantitatively, which Socrates did not.
I claim that this habit for which I deserve no credit, for I did not invent it allows me sometimes to think more accurately than did Socrates or St. But I will concede you a point. My interest in vital statistics is largely a sporting one. No amount of hygiene will make a man live for an infinite number of years, just as no amount of strength or skill could enable him to run an infinite number of yards in a minute.
But I like to see records broken, whether in yards or years. As for the statement which you quote from me as to "the teaching of physiology," I admit that I was using a metaphor. It is physiologists, not physiology, who teach. But it would have been misleading to write "some physiologists" as you suggest. I cannot think of a single living physiologist for whose experimental work I have any great respect who holds the contrary opinion. I therefore think that my metaphor was legitimate. And though I will try to avoid metaphors in this correspondence, I do not promise to abjure them in my other writings, nor do I apologize for having used them in the past.
Now for your last quotation about the "Great Being. They seem to me perhaps wrongly to possess a reality of somewhat the same kind that I do. They may be regarded as fictions or abstractions, but they are not, I think, quite unreal. They are not, I presume, conscious, but neither is a poplar tree, so far as I know. Yet the tree possesses a unity, although we can divide it, and grow the parts separately. There may be Great Beings including Humanity, but I do not know about them.
The phrase "Great Being," due to Comte, was probably clearer to my audience than to you. Once again you are annoyed with me because I do not state my reasons for all my speculative opinions. Had I but world enough, and time I should be glad to do so, though I do not know how many listeners I should find. Perhaps some day I shall perpetrate a philosophical system. But I have a lot to do, and cannot work for more than ten hours daily. I think, moreover, that the reasoning embodied in some of my scientific and mathematical papers is more solid than any that I could offer on behalf of my philosophical views.
If I do not defend these latter in any detail in these letters it will be because I think we had better concentrate on our differences rather than on our agreements. For, after all, you believe much more firmly than I both in the existence of an invisible world and of superhuman beings. But if you really want me to define any term that I have used I will, of course, either try to do so or admit that I was using a metaphor. Please, however, do me the justice to suppose that, at least nine times out of ten, I mean what I say.
If you think that I have evaded any of your questions, tell me so, but I feel that we have already covered much paper with the discussion of trivialities, and had better get down to more fundamental issues, such as the existence of an almighty and morally perfect creator. Now for a spot of counter-attack. If I do not use as strong language as Mr. Joad, it does not follow that my feelings are any weaker than his. But I realize that if we are to argue as opposed to slanging one another, which is much easier, and nearly as good fun we had better avoid invectives.
You are generally polite to me personally, but rude to my profession. You say that we make noisy assertions to be compared with the still, small voices which issue weekly from some tens of thousands of parsons in their pulpits. And you refer to "all that scientific pioneers have had to suffer from the jealousy and obscurantism of organized science. To begin with, they have not been burned alive by their colleagues, as some of them were at the instigation of the clergy.
Sometimes their writings were ignored, as in the case of Mendel. This was generally due to a failure to recognize their importance, rather than to jealousy or obscurantism. Mendel's work did not contradict any firmly and generally held opinion, or cast doubt on the merit of any of his contemporaries. It was just so new that those who read it did not realize its importance.
More rarely an important contribution has been refused publication, as in the case of Waterston's paper on the kinetic theory of gases. This contained several obvious errors, which gave the referee a chance to turn it down.
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I can sympathize with Waterston, as in two cases I was induced to refrain from publishing important and subsequently verified principles on the ground that my evidence was inadequate. In each case someone else later produced the same theory, based on much better evidence. But I also sympathize with Waterston's referee, because I have acted in this capacity for many scientific papers.
And I have turned some of them down, not because they attacked current opinions, but because I thought the evidence in them inadequate to prove their conclusions, or even to make them plausible. I am sure that for every paper wrongly rejected on such grounds dozens are rightly refused, owing I to the smallness of the funds available for publication. No harm whatever came from the rejection of my conclusions referred to above.
They were securely established within a few years on much surer foundations than my own. Perhaps you will care to substantiate your attack on my profession by some detailed examples. Such attacks are often made, and in the course of centuries are doubtless occasionally justified. For scientists are only human beings, and neither passionless nor infallible. But a general accusation of this kind is as ridiculous as Mr.
Chesterton's defence of crusades and persecutions in your first paragraph. I wish that some day you would explain Mr. Chesterton to me. In a recent article he remarks: "All men of science have abandoned materialism. Or is he, like his mediaeval friends, relying on "blind instinct"?
In England to-day such a statement of materialism as Hogben's The Nature of Living Matter, finds wide acceptance among my colleagues. In Russia the upholders of the official dialectical materialism complain that many of the Russian scientists are too mechanistic.
I often have to argue against what I consider the exaggerated materialism of my younger colleagues. And personally I am engaged in examining dialectical materialism as a possible philosophy, and so far find it intellectually attractive, though I have not gone so far as to adopt it. But I certainly think the physical discoveries of the last ten years have made materialism far more plausible than it was in the past. Now for your attacks on "modern sceptics. I do not, however, propose to go on with this line of attack, and collect intemperate and inaccurate statements by Christian controversialists.
It would be too easy.
After all, it is possible that your methods of controversy may be unfair but your basic arguments correct. So I await your proofs of God's existence in your next letter. In the first I shall take up a few minor points and reply to various challenges in your letter. In the second I shall discuss two fundamental issues — your defence of extreme scepticism and your attitude to death.
In the third part of this letter I shall clear the ground by defining my real difficulty, the prejudice against which the Christian apologist has to contend and — more serious still — the fact that those who are most strongly biased are unaware of their bias. First as to the minor points. Mark beginning with the operative words, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," was addressed to the apostles and referred to their missionary activities; it is rather hard that I should be accused of suggesting that the first and second verses of this passage refer "to different sets of people.
If so, His body either came down again, reached a place called Heaven, or is still moving, or was annihilated. Heaven may be a place or a state. Nobody knows, nobody professes to know.
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Meanwhile let me remind you that the question as to what happened to the body of Christ is a greater difficulty for you than for me. You will have to supply, at a later stage of this correspondence, some theory to account for the empty tomb, and also some explanation of the absence of a shrine, for, if the body of Jesus did not leave the earth, the place where His body rested would probably have become a shrine.
It is odd that you, who are so well read in Catholic theology, should betray no acquaintance with all that St. Thomas, among others, has to say on the characteristics of the risen body, and on its relations to time and space. We can go into all that later, if you wish. I should like to devote my next letter to this theme.
Meanwhile I will ask you to name a single scientist who has been burnt alive "at the instigation of the clergy. All I claim is that intolerance is not a vice from which scientists are immune. But do, please, believe me when I say that I am perplexed and puzzled by the recurrent suggestion that there can be any quarrel between the Church, which is concerned with supernatural truth, and science, which is concerned with natural truth.
The Church of Copernicus, Vesalius, Stensen, Mendel, and Pasteur is only accused of hostility to science by people who are imperfectly informed of the facts. And now for fundamental issues. The opening pages of your letter confirm my belief that Mr. Chesterton is a true prophet. His wildest paradoxes are coming true. You, an eminent scientist, express your grave regret that "Mr. Chesterton was unduly optimistic in predicting a race too modest to believe in the multiplication table. What does this mean? In what conceivable way would it help us to doubt those very truths which elsewhere in your letter you describe as "absolute"?
For more than a century secularists have been contrasting the objective facts of science with the subjective superstitions of religion. Sit down before fact like a little child. Why bother to think at all if it is salutary to doubt the very foundations of thought? What precisely are you getting at?
Is the reader expected to contrast the exaggerated humility of the man of science with the dogmatism of the Christian? True, the Englishman instinctively distrusts all dogmas save that corpus of sound doctrine which he imbibes at his public school, and you may be wise to exploit this prejudice, for the man who would be shocked by the heresy of wearing a black tie with tails is the first to condemn the Church for its intolerance of heresies more serious than these sartorial lapses.
But only the unsophisticated will be impressed by this parade of sceptical humility, for modesty need not involve the suicide of thought. Thomas Aquinas, who filled volumes with the exposition of Catholic dogma, was one of the humblest of men, but humility is not the most marked characteristic of our modern secularists. I do not think you can fairly claim Descartes as the spiritual father of ultra-scepticism.
You will find his real view of the multiplication table in his second rule. I do not believe he ever seriously doubted the absolute truth of arithmetic, and, if he did, subsequent philosophers have not been foolish enough to congratulate him on this feat. After all, Descartes said, "Cogito ergo sum.
You prefer to style yourself an "abstraction. I do not think that either Comte or you have thought out what you mean by personality. Comte's "Great Being" is the result of realism gone mad — I am using "realism" in its philosophic, not its popular, sense. You deny the transubstantiation of the substance of bread, but expect us to accept by faith a "substance" called Humanity. Does "Humanity" mean all those who have existed and all those who still exist? And does it include the unborn? Has "Humanity" any real relation to human beings?
What scientific facts have been discovered to justify your assertion that "Science is very emphatic that such a Great Being may be a fact as real as the individual consciousness"? Is Humanity a "particular" or a "universal"? I think your "Great Being" would have emerged rather the worse for wear after a debate on this bogus universal with Abelard. This blind faith in a "Great Being," for whose existence in any real sense of the term there is no scrap of evidence, scientific or otherwise, is one of the penalties which you pay for your excessive scepticism.
You tell me that you feel as strongly as Mr. Joad on the subject of Christianity. But why should you entertain any feelings, strong or weak, until you have made up your mind that there is a "you" to feel strongly? Again, if it be true, which it certainly is not, that "our ideas about most, if not all, things are self-contradictory," why lecture the poor Christian on what you believe to be the inconsistencies of his position? Your own are admittedly no better.
Indeed, why bother to discuss or to think at all if you have so poor an opinion of the possibilities of human thinking? Life is impossible, science is impossible, without an act of faith. What value can you attach to a scientific experiment if you really believe that most, if not all, of your ideas are self-contradictory? Science would be impossible unless men assumed that the universe was rational.
Faith is the necessary prelude to all research. Your own career proves, that you do not take these delicate doubts very seriously.
Mary Martha Principle-(Tommy Tenney ) | Prayer | Thou
I entirely disagree with you that such doubts are salutary. Indeed, I regard this ultra-scepticism as the solvent not only of religion but of science, philosophy, and rational thought. A world which took you at your word would be a world which had condemned itself to extinction. And now for the second great issue which you raise in your letter — death and our attitude to death. It is not the disbelief in immortality that I criticize, but the conviction that it is "selfish" to desire immortality. Those who lecture us on desiring the survival of our petty personalities do not seem to be less interested in their own personalities than, say, St.
You say that you are not afraid of death, and my belief that this statement is sincere is, like my belief in Christianity, the result of reasoned deduction from the evidence. But I still maintain that your attitude to immortality is irrational. Now for a spot of science. As an amateur psychologist I suggest that the process whereby you have convinced yourself that death does not matter is not a rational process, but the process which psychologists describe as "rationalization.
Well, I am old-fashioned enough to believe that arguments must be met by arguments and not by an analysis of the motives which induce Smith to hold Smith's views; so I will cease trying to diagnose you, and will proceed to criticize the reasons you adduce to fortify your belief that death does not matter. You say that you expect to be fairly satisfied when you die because you have tasted life so fully.
How odd! I have not had a dull life, and for that very reason I deplore the shortness of life. I have only scratched the surface of knowledge. If I lived to be a thousand I might find time to read all the books which are worth reading, all those that have so far been written, but I should still be haunted by the knowledge that I had only skimmed the cream off the good books which will be written in the next millennium.
I have been looking at pictures all my life, and am only just beginning to appreciate the majesty of Michelangelo's line. If among a man's possibilities, which you seem to think can be satisfied in a normal life, you include the possibilities of aesthetic pleasure, how can you suggest that three score years and ten is long enough for their development? On the physical side I am already too old to climb a Himalayan giant. There are scores of great mountain ranges which I shall never see, much less explore; and if I lived to be a thousand I should not have exhausted the glories of the Alpine Spring.
And, since to look at things in bloom Fifty years is little room, I should be glad of five thousand, nay, five million, years, sure in the knowledge that no repetition could possibly stale the miracle of May. I should indeed be depressed by the awful brevity of life, if I was not persuaded that death is nothing more than a bridge between two modes of existence.
And surely if God offered you a thousand years of eager intellectual activity, you would not reject the boon on the ground that you are quite content to die at eighty because some part of your work would survive you? By way of preface to what follows a word of personal explanation is necessary. In this correspondence we are concerned with the fundamental differences between Christianity and secularism and not with the minor differences between various Christian Churches.
In my correspondence with Mr. Joad I had the worst of both worlds, for I did not run away from the difficulties of the Catholic position, and consequently was not free to disown, say, the Inquisition. In addition I was expected to reply to Mr. Joad's animadversions on the Church of England.
In this correspondence I propose to defend the Catholic interpretation of such doctrines as you may select for attack. I am not, as yet, a Catholic, or even "under instruction," and your arguments may keep me out of the Church. Whatever be the result, I do not think I shall alter my view that the difference between a Catholic and an Anglican who is orthodox on the Incarnation is unimportant compared to the difference between those who believe in the Incarnation and those who do not.
And I hope that if I do become a Catholic I shall still be able to co-operate with all those who in this country and elsewhere are defending the basic doctrines of Christianity. And it is in defence of the beliefs which are common to all Christians that I have entered this discussion.
Having defined my position, I will now return to my criticism of yours. I share your anxiety to prevent this correspondence from developing into a "slanging match," and I see no reason why it should. I propose to criticize your recent book, The Inequality of Man, which I have read with the liveliest of interest; but I do so, not because I am anxious to make debating points at your expense, but because your book is a useful peg on which to hang a general criticism of the attitude of secularists to the Church. Christians believe that the argument between the Christian and the non-Christian resolves itself into a duel between reason and prejudice.
The case for the Church, we believe, is so strong that any man will be convinced who approaches this problem with an unprejudiced mind. But how few do! Many years ago I wrote a book called Roman Converts. I should have been irritated then, as you may, perhaps, be irritated now, to be accused of prejudice. I had taken a great deal of trouble to get my facts right. I was not accused of obvious mistakes about Catholic doctrines, and yet I missed the whole point, just as you seem to me to have missed the point.
I admit that you are exceptionally placed to form an unbiased verdict. You have been trained in two great schools — philosophy and science. You have some acquaintance with Catholic literature, and you are not consciously unfair. Your failure, then, to understand the Christian point of view cannot be ascribed either to ignorance or to bad faith, and must therefore be attributed to ingrained prejudice.
You seem to start from the premise that this great philosophy, which has attracted many of the master minds of our race, is a puerile collection of absurdities. Like most of your contemporaries, you approach this problem with a mind firmly closed to the possibility that Christianity may be true. Professor Whitehead is one of the few non-Catholic scientists in this country who have any sympathetic understanding of Catholic philosophy.
I do not want to make capital out of small points. I will therefore mention only two minor errors on points of fact which could not, I think, have been made by anybody who understood the Catholic outlook. Ambrose "became" a bishop when he was consecrated, not when he was offered the bishopric. A Catholic would realize instinctively that an unbaptized bishop is an impossibility.
Again, Catholics do not regard "celibacy" as a pre-requisite of sanctity, as you would know if you understood the Catholic view of sanctity. These are minor points. More interesting is your failure to understand the Catholic attitude to authority and to the interpretation of the Bible, and your inability to realize what Catholics believe about tran-substantiation. To begin with, the Church claims to found its case on reason. The Catholic believes that he can produce reasoned and convincing, if not coercive, arguments in support of his belief that God exists, that Christ was God, and that Christ founded a Church with authority to teach in His name.
The Church also proposes for his acceptance certain truths, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, which unaided human reason could never have discovered. It is not, however, irrational to accept these truths on the authority of the Church, provided that you can prove by reason that the Church is infallible. The individual Catholic accepts as proven the doctrines which the Church has defined as true, but few non-Catholics realize how wide is the area open to discussion among Catholics.
There is a far greater economy of definition in the Church than you seem to realize. When, for instance, the controversy about evolution broke over Europe, the Church maintained an attitude of cautious reserve. The Church has seen too many scientific fashions rise and disappear to allow the latest scientific hypothesis to be taught in her name before it has been thoroughly examined. The Church never condemned the theory of evolution, and to-day the theory of the evolution of lower animals may be taught as a "probable hypothesis.
There is an old saying that it is not the business of the Church to teach men how the heavens go, but to teach men how to go to heaven. The Church makes no claim to infallibility in scientific matters, but the views of churchmen on scientific matters naturally reflect those of their age. The Church is slow to define and slow to censure, and the fact that a particular statement has not been censured no more proves that the Church made that statement her own than the fact that a particular doctrine has not been defined proves that the doctrine in question is heretical.
You quote some naive remarks by a mediaeval writer, and add a sentence which shows that you misconceive the Church's defining claims. Your remarks about the Bible show a similar failure to appreciate the Catholic point of view.