Contra Mozilla

Friday, September 6, 2013

Seven Quick Takes Friday (vol 3).

I haven't been posting as much (or as lengthy, or in as high-quality) as I'd like, but I've become very busy all of a sudden. It's not just the start of a new semester (though this doesn't help). I can't really point to anything in particular, other than maybe exhaustion. A three-day weekend helped, but it was mostly spent baby-proofing the apartment, and I did not have any time for writing (and little for reading). Maybe it's that when I am home, I am instantly in charge of a very demanding baby, and when I'm at work there is no real down time on most days (including lunch-breaks, etc.). How I pine for a better work-life balance, but i also want a better life-LIFE balance. Some of what follows is a set of threads which I had wanted to make into longer posts, but which I don't have the time or the energy to tackle.


In the days of my youth I supported both the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars. I'm not sure that it was a mistake per se at the time (and certainly not the Afghanistan War), though now that I see how our country fights wars anymore, and how it botches the clean-up after the war, I'm certain that at the least I would have opposed the war as fought there. I have tried to learn a bit from my mistakes, and really also from the mistakes of others, so even had the pope been silent on Syria, even had the Syrian Christians said nothing, and even if I had more confidence that the President wanted the war for more noble reasons than saving his own credibility, I would be opposing a war in Syria. Alas, a number of Republicans (and a few Democrats, too) are not so opposed. We may well enter into an unnecessary war, and on the wrong side (if there is a right side), to save face for the President, thanks to a Congress which is less interested in doing what is right than in playing politics with lives. Feeling ruled, feeling insignificant? That because in the eyes of the "ruling class," you and I are.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin." This is a common saying for Christians, in particular orthodox Christians. However, "liberal" Christians think they love the sinner, and are utterly indifferent to the sin; some conservative Christians hate the sin but at times forget about the sinner; and "progressive" Christians celebrate the sin, but are indifferent to the sinner.

"Love the sinner, hate the sin." It's actually a sort of tautology: the Christian recognizes that loving someone means wanting what is right for them, and despising what is bad for them. The greatest good consists in beatitude and ultimately the beatific vision, that is, seeing God face-to-face, enjoying God. The supreme and ultimate Good is God. Sin is that which separates us from God. Therefore, sin, and its consequence (damnation, separation from God) is the greatest evil. Hence, we cannot love the sinner fully without also hating his sins.

Two thoughts on the pro-life front. The first is that neither party really stands against abortion as a priority, but it's obvious that one party is willing to go all-in to fight for abortion, whereas the other is not. There are very few genuinely pro-life politicians, but they are more rare on the Democratic side of the political aisle; Senator Bob Casey, for example, is not particularly pro-life, nor really pro-family. Neither party is perfect, and I actually mostly dislike both parties, but one party's platform is at least tolerable, and one party is clearly more pro-abortion than the other. The second thought is related to the first, which is that appalling few states actually ban abortion coverage in insurance outright, and far too few ban it in the state exchanges. A few "conservative," "red," "Republican-stronghold" states (*cough* Texas *cough*) lack such bans.  The pro-life issue has always been grassroots, but there are some frustrations with having little to no political leadership on this issue.

This series of posts by Mike Flynn on the Galileo Affair is fascinating reading. It's in three parts, though there are prequels. Among other things, it really brings out the personalities of those involved (and it was not just a matter of "Galileo vs the Church" as the modern scientistic-atheistic propaganda would have us believe). Among other things, there was no real reason to believe Galileo's (really Copernicus') model at the time of the Galileo Affair: there were simpler explanations which made more accurate predictions and which were less counter-intuitive. Actually, it seems to me that the main theoretical justification for heliocentrism is found in the laws of gravitation and in Newton's Laws. While two of Newton's Laws (the first and the third) were known prior to Newton, it was Newton who interpreted them into a coherent set of principles relating forces and momenta, and Newton who significantly advanced our understanding of gravity (since overthrown by general relativity). Newton, you will recall, was born in the same year that Galileo died.

Also worth highlighting is the irony that even in Kepler's model of the solar system (which is superior to Copernicus' model), there are still epicycles (e.g. the moon's orbit of the earth, and the orbits of the other planets' moons about their respective planets).

The Bad Catholic--that is Mr Marc Barnes, not Mr John Zmirac--has a post up about youth ministry and authority. I link to this both because I think it gives some sound advice, and because it relates to some other recent links about Millenials and the Church [1].

Anyway, the emphasis in Mr Barnes' post is on the importance of authority: and I think that this is actually exactly what our generation is looking for, whether from the Churches or from the culture. I rather hope more would find real and reliable authority from the former and not the latter.

[1] Millenials: didn't we used to be called "Generation Y?" I kind of liked that name, even if it was meant as a place-holder, "The otherwise-unamed Generation after Generation X," but it also worked well as a pun which really has so-far captured our generation: "Why?"

Seven Quick Takes Friday is hosted by Mrs Jennifer Fulwiler at her Conversion Diary blog.

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