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Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum / Re: Why not hedonism?
« Last post by Pon de Replay on Today at 08:31:09 AM »
As you probably know, dear Pon, what is called "Pascal's wager" is in reality only a small part of his Pensees. I think Pascal was a very good scientist, mathematician, philosopher and theologian on the whole, though I don't necessarily agree with each and everything he wrote; here is the part that deals with has been called his Wager, "We know that there is an infinite, but are ignorant of its nature. As we know it to be false that numbers are finite, it must therefore be true that there is an infinity in number, but what this is we know not. It can neither be odd nor even, for the addition of an unit can make no change in the nature of number; yet it is a number, and every number is either odd or even, at least this is understood of every finite number. Thus we may well know that there is a God, without knowing what he is ... Since there is an equal chance of gain and loss, if you had only to gain two lives for one, you might still wager. But were there three of them to gain, you would have to play, since needs must that you play, and you would be imprudent, since you must play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where the chances of loss or gain are even. But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And that being so, were there an infinity of chances of which one only would be for you, you would still be right to stake one to win two, and you would act foolishly, being obliged to play, did you refuse to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there be one for you, if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to win. But there is here an infinity [98] of an infinitely happy life to win, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite; that is decided. Wherever the infinite exists and there is not an infinity of chances of loss against that of gain, there is no room for hesitation, you must risk the whole."

Pascal uses an argument of the form derived from the mathematical concept of expected value, a simple idea. Suppose someone offers $10 in a coin toss for every time you land a head, and you pay nothing if you land a tail. Here, the expected value from the experiment is $5 (=0.5*10+0.5*0). In practice, nobody would offer that, and expected value would be set to zero. E.g. you pay $10 if its heads, you receive 10 if its tails etc. Pascal argues, and this much is agreed by almost everyone (math textbooks would say the same on what rational actors would do), that in such a case, everyone should go forward and toss the coin, because given the stakes, there is a fairly assured probability of return (or, in this case, a certain payoff), and a very unlikely probability (or in this case, nil probability) of loss. He then argues that the promised gain here is infinite, namely eternal life, and is therefore worth risking a lot etc.

Some critics point out that it assumes the likelihood of God and Heaven existing is equal to it not existing etc. Strictly speaking, it does not assume that. Others say it would be useful only if deciding between Christianity and atheism were the only two alternatives. That is a better objection. So personally, I prefer the Thomistic Ways that show us God's Nature and Attributes to that of Blaise Pascal. Some of the other things in the link are quite good, though, particularly the section on prophesies.

Gracias, Xavier.  Thank you for the elucidation on Pascal's Wager.  We agree: the best objection to it is that "it would be useful only if deciding between Christianity and atheism were the only two alternatives."  That was originally how I understood Daniel's dilemma, and that's why I (mistakenly) argued for the wager earlier.  I'm just surprised that Pascal didn't see the flaw there.  Even though in the Pensées Pascal does argue, as you often do, that things like Scripture and miracles ought to be persuasive, in the portion concerning the wager he seems to be putting that aside and starting from zero, so to speak: God exists or does not. 

Yet it in assuming that God's existence necessitates an eternal reward, he takes too great a leap.  Starting from zero, it seems it ought to be framed as: either God does not exist or any god might exist.  From there the discussion could proceed to apologetics in order to establish which god one ought to believe in, but in that case it was pointless to start from zero.  Properly considered, the wager supports agnosticism.  It isn't 50/50 with a high expected gain.  It's one in the number of religions proposing afterlives (or even an infinite number of religions that haven't been revealed yet—dawn has not yet come and we're all primitives living in spiritual darkness).  In which case hedonism in this life is the surer bet against a lottery.  To be fair, this is my objection to Pascal and not Daniel's.  Interestingly, Daniel disagrees with Pascal for prizing happiness over truth.  Daniel would sooner suffer for truth than wager on happiness.
General Catholic Discussion / Re: Divine Friendship?
« Last post by aquinas138 on Today at 08:16:46 AM »
There is a famous ancient Coptic icon of Saint Menas (died a martyr ~309) that is sometimes described as depicting Christ as the Divine Friend, with his hand on the martyr's shoulder:

I think that this particular posture is more probably a Christianization of a theme in pagan Egyptian art. A deity with his hand on the shoulder of a person usually indicated the deity was the person's patronal deity; this image indicates that Christ is the patronal deity of Saint Menas. That said, the patronage of Christ is more appropriately described as friendship than the merely transactional relationship between the various pagan gods and their devotees, so seeing a theme of friendship in the icon is not inappropriate.
I don't know. Isn't it entirely possible that McCarrick is just a pervert and sexual predator without having been a Soviet agent? And if he were, I'm not so sure what it changes. Any of his close associates are suspect enough based on sexual perversion alone that it is a crime itself they occupy such lofty positions in the Church; being agents of a no-longer-extant country doesn't really do much to their reputation one way or the other.

And of course the Soviets tried to influence the Catholic Church and other churches in ways overt and covert. So did and does the United States. So have secular governments always done and always will do. However, I think blaming Communists for homosexuality in the Church is preposterous. I think the OP is right; it's blaming it all on a boogeyman. That blame lies with no one but the bishops, even before Vatican II, who failed to do due diligence in ordaining men to the priesthood, in failing to punish malefactors with ecclesiastical penalties, in not handing them over to the secular authorities, in moving predators from parish to parish, and obstructing legitimate investigations by the state into criminal matters. And a heaping pile of blame lies with the Vatican in promoting men to the episcopacy who do such things and in not deposing men found to do such things.
Opus Dei mouthpiece and homo. Just look at his face during his Milo Yiannopolous interview. "Gushing" doesn't begin to describe it.
Voris was not the first to speculate that McCarrick is a part of the communist infiltration of the Church.  I am sure I could find more than the handful that I am posting here.  Fr. Robert Altier was not even speculating.  And nearly thirty years ago Fr. John O'Connor warned of the homosexual infiltration of the seminaries.

Is Pervert Uncle Teddy McCarrick one of Bella Dodd's grandchildren?
Saturday, 23 June 2018

Hello, Bella…Conspiracy Anyone?
September 21, 2018

Church Crisis: Communist & Homosexual Infiltration & a Time for Purification ~ Fr Robert Altier
Sermon published to youtube on Aug 28, 2018

Theodore McCarrick and the Homosexual Infiltration of Seminaries
Saturday, 23 June 2018
Source for Fr. John O'Connor's video warning about the homosexual infiltration of the seminaries nearly 30 years ago.

Besides, Voris wrote about this last year.

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand: Stalin ordered communists, in particular gays, to infiltrate seminaries
July 31, 2018

But what amazes me is how McCarrick qualified to be a member of the board of counselors for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Why was McCarrick a ‘counselor’ to this pro-contraception globalist charity?
September 6, 2018
The History Subforum / Re: The Irish Revolution
« Last post by awkwardcustomer on Today at 06:31:24 AM »
I think it's an exaggeration to say the Catholic culture of the Celts before the Normans were 'outliers'.  Rome had recognized the Church in Ireland and Scotland from early on.  They had been Catholic for a few centuries before the Anglo-Saxons, the Normans (Norse) and the Vikings converted.  You may want to read a book by Thomas Cahill, titled "How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe".  "Cahill argues a case for the Irish people's critical role in preserving Western Civilization from utter destruction by the Huns and the Germanic tribes (Visigoths, Franks, Angles, Saxons, Ostrogoths, etc.). The book retells the story from the collapse of the Roman Empire and the pivotal role played by members of the clergy at the time."

I agree, that's why I put 'outliers' in scare quotes.  And I'm familiar with Thomas Cahill's book and am well aware of the argument which I don't doubt.

Osway the king of Northumbria, Elfred and Egfrid reeked havoc on the Culdee houses.  In Scotland a controversial reform was inaugurated by Queen Margaret and carried through by her sons Alexander I and David I.  It seems the Benedictines and the Cistercians were covetous of the Culdee houses.

Another example of the oppression of the Gaels, this time by the Benedictines and Cistercians!

Those poor Gaels just can't win.

To the contrary, the hostile and distinct minority of the planted Protestants united the Irish Catholics and the Old English (Normans), didn't it?  The Irish eventually got most of their country back.  And me thinks with demographics they will eventually have a united Ireland.  Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland are having more babies.  The Moslem immigration into the West may turn out the same, but not because of demographic reasons.

A diverse and non-Catholic Ireland is what the Irish will get, an Ireland grateful for the crumbs that fall from the tables of its new Globalist masters.

If the Irish had any sense at all, they would be clamouring to leave the European Union along with a majority of the UK electorate.  But what do they do instead?  They collude with Brussels to thwart Brexit.

Just as Eamon de Valera refused Churchill’s offer of the 6 counties, thereby aiding and abetting the war against their old enemies the English, so Leo Varadkar is aiding and abetting the EU against the people of Britain who voted to leave.

The Irish cannot see how they are being played because they are blinded by their ancient hatred of the Anglo Saxons, a hatred and victimhood which their new masters in Brussels are more than willing to encourage.
Feudalism has recently been outlawed in Scotland.  Now the question that is being asked is "Who owns Scotland?"  Both Feudalism in Scotland as well as the Lyon Court are Norman constructs.  Feudalism in Scotland clearly was not a "wonder of the Medieval period"; it was a way to steal land.

Just as it was in England.  But that doesn’t count because the land being stolen belonged to the Anglo Saxons!!!
Traditionalism needs a dark night of the soul.
Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum / Re: Why not hedonism?
« Last post by Kreuzritter on Today at 05:31:42 AM »

This is about what you've just said to Daniel, but also other things you've said in the past. 

Perhaps I misunderstand you, but I sometimes get the idea that you don't think much about reasoning about morality and "understanding the rules". Or are you only saying that DANIEL (and others like him) wrongly focus on these things as though they were the most important thing, or even all that mattered?

I believe I've said it elsewhere. Reason, as regards morality, is a tool for awareness of what one is doing and understanding what its consequences will likely be. I mean that in the sense that a good person will act out of love, but, to give an example, though this disposition would not lead him to harm another person, he may yet harm another person if he doesn't understand that is what he's doing (this is not meant in the sense that one can be "ignorant", e.g., that what murder is is wrong, but that one might not understand that one one is doing is this). But I unequivocally reject, and reject as pagan, the fundamental idea of Western ethics and the proposition that value and "right action" are discoverable through reason in any other sense than the one I just gave.

So you are just saying that thinking EXCLUSIVELY of these things, or leaving out Charity (union of love with God) is Satanic?  (This always makes me think of the  cruel Inspector Javert in Les Miserables, always acting in the name of "justice".  Sorry if you've never heard of him!)

Somewhat. Moreso, it's a warped Western view that sees God, morality, Heaven and salvation in these terms.

God's rules include the 10 commandments (deriving from the two great commandments), and Christ says "If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Keeping the 10 commandments only materially (without love) can break them, because we are meant to follow the spirit of the law (and must follow the 2 great commandments, love of God and neighbor). Not following God's rules (mortal sin) MEANS that you don't have goodness in your heart.

Sure. The good implies certain right ways of acting which can be forumulated as imperatives. But Moses was founding a state, and a state needs to formulate explicit rules to keep order and enact justice in the face of evil people. The point is, this is not the essence of morality: following the rules of a supreme authority. The essence of the good and moral action is love; loving God with all ones being and loving ones neighbour as oneself.

People are never excused from following the natural law written into their heart; it is never entirely erased.  But it is dirtied, hushed, blurred, ignored.  SIN itself makes it easier to break the natural law in the future.  Original sin brought concupiscence and ignorance to us, so our passions rise up against the natural law and our intellect ignores or is confused about it.

The work of the law is written on the heart, but the scriptures never mention "natural law", which is through-and-through a Greek and Stoic idea. I've responded to this before.

God wrote the natural law on our hearts; but then He ALSO saw fit to give us His laws written on two tablets. I speculate that that would not have been necessary had Adam and Eve not sinned.  Perhaps God would only have needed to give them His "positive" law explicitly e.g. "of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat" (Genesis 2:17).

Was it a positive law, verbally announced, as we understand it? I don't know. The text of these chapters of Genesis is not strictly literal. But remember why Eve took it, apparently: the desire to be like God.

Given our weakened intellect and the EFFECTS of original sin and past personal sin in us, what ought to be obvious (e.g. that contraception is immoral) is not (even if that is our own fault).  Having the 10 commandments and the Catholic Church (and the study of moral law) explicitly point out and explain what is wrong forces our minds to "pay attention" and recognize and admit the evil it should have already seen. 

Sure. Theosis is a long process. Rules are like a ladder.

And there are positive laws, such as the laws of the Church.  We owe God OBEDIENCE, because He is God, even if a law is not "on our heart". True obedience IS love, not done only out of fear.

Sure, but those law don't need to be. Where they serve the purpose of the Gospel, great; where they become Pharisaic, and people treat them as such, the object is lost. Look at Daniel's reasoning on why the Church "doesn't allow" him to get married. It's horrific.

The study of moral theology and natural law also focus on the "objective good", which is not explicitly covered by the "divinity dwelling within and ones ever-deepening union with it". God's commands tell US (subjects) to do some objective good.  We could focus only on the subject, and find true union with God and love, what finally matters. But God commands us to do some specific, concrete, good-in-itself thing. Love of God requires us to care about, and so to think about, that objective thing. Natural law and moral theology consider the objective good.  If the objective good is unknown or misunderstood, the subject can still be holy if his intention is holy and his ignorance is blameless.  But the intent of the subject must be to do the objective thing that God had in mind (without that intent there is no love). I think we need to use our intellects to study these things.

If that's meant as I previously spoke, I agree but doubt its expedience when it comes to ethics as an intellectual exercise; if it's meant that man, in absence of God, can through his intellect and applied reason discover "moral truth", I dismiss it.

ETA: Having said all that, I agree with you (and others) that people (e.g. Daniel) can sometimes get hung up on intellectualizing and fail to act as a simple Catholic out of love for God based on what they do know already. I just don't think the study of natural law and moral theology should be pooh poohed in general. It can affect the teachings/explanations of the Church which do matter to every Catholic, and can help fight philosophers whose ideas filter down into society at large, even if not immediately impacting any given individual.  And it is a GOOD THING to understand morality (which is from God) better,  even if it does not impact our current lives.  It is GOOD but if done to excess can tire and confuse our minds, and interfere with our "duties of state" (e.g. caring for our families).

It's not just that, it's that his vision of God and morality and salvation is diabolical. When I read him I'm struck with the image of a man in a fevered delirium running frantically in circles through a subterranean maze. It's positively neurotic.
Coffee and Donuts / Re: greetings
« Last post by red solo cup on Today at 05:28:51 AM »
The rejection of an idea because it merely doesn't agree with you or is therefore conspiratorial is silly at best. Our government was shooting people with gonorrhea in Guatemala for years telling them it was a vaccine, and the Gulf of Tonkin is a real moment in American history.

Now do I think that Soviet agents infiltrated the Church? Yes, only someone who wasn't thinking critically wouldn't. Could that be McCarick? Maybe, I don't know, but it's not impossible, nor even improbable.

I don't know if Bella Dodd was telling the truth, but was it probable? Yes and credible. How about the work of Fr. Luigi Villa and communist infiltration? Yes and he was commissioned by Pius XII. Now do I think just because he was a homo he had to be a commie? Not at all, but they aren't mutually exclusive and if evidence (real evidence) comes up it's very likely.

Any who labels something "conspiratorial" without a good reason isn't worth discussing things with. Any wholesale dismissal of an argument without a real one isn't arguing, they are labeling and if the last 100 years of history shows me I don't dismiss conspiracies because I don't like them because there are too many which are real. Trust me I used to think the naked woman with JPII dressed like a voodoo witch doctor was fake and the Vatican paying Bob Dylan $500,000 was fake and a 100 other things I thought were fake all turned out real and now we have Mr. Soros paying the Vatican 750,000 euros to talk more on climate issues. All real. 
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