Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spirituality according to Duncan Robertson, quoting Louis Bouyer

"Spirituality is a mode of introspection that brings one into communication with someone beyond oneself" Duncan Robertson in his book Lectio Divina, quoting Louis Bouyer

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sexual ethics

Sexual ethics
I uphold most of traditional Catholic sexual ethics: complete monogamy, no sex outside marriage, and so on. But I disagree with the Church’s rule that condoms cannot be used to postpone pregnancy, and that sterilization is immoral even if a couple already has several children. It is not clear to me that this follows logically from any ethical premise. If it is immoral to have sex without the intention of procreation, then all sex would be immoral for women after menopause, and when they were temporarily infertile. Augustine would seem to have gone to such an extreme that there are passages which indicate he might be in favor of reproducing only in an asexual way if that were possible (cloning).  Insisting on using natural family planning seems to be just a legalistic burden, and unfortunately every form of Christianity has its legalism. Unfortunately, all so called contraceptives prevent implantation, which causes moral problems since the egg has already been fertilized.

Despite Romans 1, I have trouble believing someone will be excluded from heaven because of engaging in a monogamous homosexual relationship. There might be a good philosophical argument for the immorality of homosexual acts, based on the fact that humans reproduce heterosexually, I'm not sure. That seems more moral than heterosexual promiscuity. Should the government legalize same sex marriage? That goes back to the age old question- should law enforce morality? I think it should to an extent- pornography, for example, ought to be illegal. Whether one can police the internet practically is another question. I'm not so sure about being for or against same sex marriage being legal.

Why I voted for Jill Stein in 2012

A little late to be posting this, but I wanted to explain my reasons for voting for Jill Stein in 2012.

First of all, Stein is more anti-war than Obama. I know people will say that war is something we've always had, and perhaps always will have, and that Stein's position is unrealistic. But I don't agree with those arguments.

Secondly, I would vote for Obama over Romney any day. Romney was much more pro-war and his economic policy that we should cut spending on the poor is against Catholic social teaching, whatever some Catholic republicans might say. But Obama is not a good candidate either, with his policy trying to force churches to pay for abortions.

Thirdly, I support Stein's policy on Israel. Stein herself is a Jewess and thus free from any charge of antisemitism. The Palestinians need their own state, as well as voting rights for those who live in the state of Israel.

Fourthly, environmentalism, of course.

Jesus and Freud

In our time, since science has developed more, we have more of a problem with each new development in science with how to reconcile it to the truths of the Christian faith.  Take for example Mark 7:21: (parallel is Matthew 15:19).  “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders.” In this passage Jesus certainly seems to be teaching that it is wrong for a single person to have fantasies of fornication, or even any sexual fantasy at all. But we know from modern psychology that one of the leading causes of mental illness occurs when people try to repress their sexuality. This does not mean that God does not call some people to celibacy, or that celibate people cannot possess the fullness of mental health. How do we reconcile the teaching of Jesus with modern psychology? I’m not sure we can, and that poses a big problem. I accept the authority of Jesus- whether or not Scripture scholarship will tell us he actually spoke those words or not, it at least has the authority of Scripture. I accept the inerrancy of Scripture on such moral matters. But I think at times someone repressing their sexuality can lead to mental illness. I see a big conflict here, but I am not sure how to resolve it or even spell it out in more detail.

Why we need stricter gun control in the U. S.

For every act of gun violence in the UK, there are 40 in the United States per capita. Why? Because Britain has stricter gun control laws. How simply citing this statistic isn't enough to prove that we need stricter gun control laws in the U. S., I don't know. Let's repeal the second amendment.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A reply to a comment on this blog

In the comment below, it is claimed that Mary is the spouse of the Holy Ghost and that therefore she could not be the spouse of a mortal. First of all, although Catholic tradition teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Latin tradition teaches that Mary and Joseph were married- although in the East they are never said to be married, but only betrothed. Even if the East is right and they stayed betrothed, betrothal was as legally binding as marriage and required divorce to end it. So by this argument, Mary is guilty of bigamy. But the entire argument is fallacious because even if “spouse of the Holy Spirit” is a correct term for Mary, it is a metaphor and not a literal marriage. God is a spirit and therefore cannot contract marriage. Why it is blasphemous to think of Mary being married to Joseph isn’t clear to me.
I never abandoned belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. I don’t know where the replier has got this from. Belief in Scripture isn’t equal to my own imagination. Dogmas like the perpetual virginity of Mary don’t stand rational investigation. I never denied that Scripture or the faith was of divine origin. I never said Scripture was wrong.
If you want to quote Aquinas, how about the passage were he says only the literal sense of Scripture can be used to define a dogma? Where is the perpetual virginity of Mary in Scripture? It isn’t there.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Thought on 1 Peter 5

I would like to quote just 2 and half verses and comment on it: 1Peter 5: 5-7
"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.' Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you."

One of the most familiar passages in the Bible. But I never noticed the connection that the passage seems to make a connection between humility and being free of anxiety- it is the humble person who casts all his anxieties on God. Maybe I'm reading in a connection that is not there, but I don't think so.