Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Bee and the Lamb, Part 5

THIS POST WILL BE “STICKY” FOR SEVERAL DAYS. Scroll down for posts that may have appeared after it was first published on March 6.

The essay below is the fifth in a series by Takuan Seiyo. See the list at the bottom of this post for links to the previous installments.

'Blind monks examining an elephant', Hanabusa Itchō, circa 1888

"Blind monks examining an elephant", Hanabusa Itchō, circa 1888

The Bee and the Lamb
Part 5

By Takuan Seiyo

Embracing the elephant (continued)

To regain the cognitive “top-10%,” traditional Christianity would have to give up its fundamentalism and obscurantism. Blaming “secularism” for the ills of the West is spurious when it’s “faith-based”, reason-defying religious assertions that on the one hand have eased the way for Socialism and xenophilia (aka Roger Scruton’s oikophobia) to corrode the West from within, and on the other have repelled born-into-the faith intellectual heavyweights and cognitive prodigies in droves since the early 18th century.

“It is this deep impression of supernatural truth, "wrote Edward Gibbon, another of those prodigious quintifectas that the British peoples used to produce in such profusion, “which
has been so much celebrated under the name of faith; a state of mind described as the surest pledge of divine favor and of future felicity, and recommended as the first or perhaps the only merit of a Christian.”

“Accordingly,” continued this 18th century British historian, polyglot scholar, parliamentarian, officer and gentleman, “to the more rigid doctors, the moral virtues, which may be equally practiced by infidels, are destitute of any value or efficacy in the work of our justification”.[1]

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from which these lines are excerpted took Gibbon 12 years to complete, beginning in 1776. The “conservative” voting into office any churchgoing moron who has good orthodontics framed in engaging smiles, is over 5’10” and married with children and not fornicating, will be outraged by the salvos Gibbon fired at Christianity in this multi-volume masterpiece. He would be only slightly less outraged by Gibbon’s dislike of Judaism and his wondering in horror what would have happened if Mussulmans won the battle of Poitiers and the Koran would now be taught by Oxford professors demonstrating to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.

As it were, the Saudi-financed Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies is now in … well, I won’t tell you; it’s the kind of question that highschoolers flunk in countries run by multiculti space cadets. Oxford is as well where the aforementioned local bishop voices support for the amplified Muslim call to prayer, so congruent with the 14th century lanes of this once-Saxon town and the traditions that once made Great Britain great.

Returning to Gibbon, his treatise on the fall of Rome and the weaknesses of Christianity found its most ardent admirers among contemporary giants of the Anglo-Scottish-American Enlightenment like Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, William Robertson, David Hume and Benjamin Franklin, and statesmen-philosophers like Horace Walpole (another Anglo quintifecta). It had a place of pride in the libraries of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Carlyle, Winston Churchill and countless other heavyweights. But what’s significant about the names iterated above is that almost all of them had an estimated IQ of at least 150. That’s not just Charles Murray’s top 10%, but the top 0.09%.

IQ, even genius, has no necessary bearing on wisdom, common sense, morality or character. That’s why a smart elite that’s not wise is worse than useless. Intellectual brilliance does not insure against the fancies of craziness, whether Martin Luther’s (est. IQ 170) ranting against reason, heretics, Jews or the abodes of the Devil (e.g. in a Swiss lake), or Ted Turner’s (I.Q. 128) donation of $1 billion to the U.N. Third-World cesspool and championing of every cause of the kooky Left, from Obama to global warming.

Luther’s dismissing Copernicus as “upstart astrologer” and citing on the authority of Moses that six thousand years ago the world did not exist, are well known. More significant is his reviling Reason in passionate terms as “poisonous beast with many dragon’s heads” or “the Devil’s greatest whore… eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed… [and have dung thrown in her face]”.[2]

Contrary to Luther, faith justifies nothing but itself. It’s a tautology. Old revelations had physical symptoms remarkably like modern migraines[3]. But a reasonable inference may be made as to the existence of God by observing the doings and ecological function of a bee [let’s call it Hypothesis A]. A reasonable inference may be drawn that except for the supernatural stuff, the basic story of the life and ministry of Jesus as told in the Gospels is true despite their mutual inconsistencies [Hypothesis B]. A reasonable hypothesis may be argued that if we posit A and B, inference C is that A and B are connected[4]. But no reasoned deduction can be made that B equals A, or that one knows and can define the precise nature of that connection. Therefore, it’s presumptuous to assert that every word that unknown and non-contemporaneous writers ascribed to Jesus — including all the lamb and turning of the cheek lines[5] — is the immutable Word of God, hovering in a supernatural dimension outside of time and space.

The 120+ IQ people still run things, and they have either abandoned Christianity (mainly in Europe) or are milquetoast Christians (mainly in the U.S. and U.K.) forever worrying about bigotry in Britain or “racial injustice” in America, but not about the survival of Britain or America. And that survival depends on attracting a large number of them to its cause, as well as turning Christianity itself from an agent of the West’s self-evisceration to an agent of the West’s self-revivication.

The situation is dire. The Muslim fanatic chased from his own Muzland finds refuge in England to preach the enslavement and mass murder of Anglicans while receiving lavish welfare from Anglican taxpayers and vocal support from the Anglican Primate and bishops. If that’s not crazy, what is? And the Muslim is not the crazy one.

In the United States, the Congregationalist Hartford Seminary (est. 1833) expounds on its website at length about its paving-of—the-road-for-Islam activities, including this 2011 study boasting that “the number of American mosques increased 74 percent since 2000” and — Hallelujah! — “Islamic houses of worship are ethnically-diverse,” which in current Duckspeak means that the culturally enriching dispensers of the magic of Strength in Diversity are not only Arabs but also North and West Africans, Pakistani and Talibani, Bosniac, Chechens and other cousins of Washington, Jefferson and, of late, Roosevelt and Truman. As if this glorious contribution were not enough, Hartford is also committed to “providing leadership education to marginalized communities,” which translated from Duckspeak means the Black, the mestizo tribe of La Raza, and women. No doubt, when generous patrons provide more funding, other marginalized categories will be added to this rainbow, though for sure not reactionary, churchgoing Polaks.

Not that the Catholic Church itself would care for such uncool ethnicities. Among others, it operates Catholic Charities USA that bills itself as “a professional association and social justice movement” committed to “Racial Equality and Diversity.”

Racial Equality is anathema to God, for if it weren’t, Poles would have been born with greater ability to shoot hoops, and Blacks would have been born with greater ability to solve differential equations. That part alone, equal outcomes for all, is enough to make of a former empire a dusty province fit for cubicle serfs toiling in the bowels of the Ministry of Truth and preyed upon by imported yahoos — all probably under the colonial administration of a people that has not yet ascended to Echelons Above Reality — say, the Chinese.

The “Diversity” part of the charming formula hints at Catholic Charities’ being one of the primary contractors for the U.S. Federal Government’s master plan of electing for itself another people; in this case through the proactive sucking in of 7th century “refugees.” Catholic Charities’ rationale for this is, first, that Jesus himself was a refugee and, second, “Our history as a faith community has been as an immigrant church in an immigrant nation.”

Both statements are fatuous babble. Jesus was a Jew born in a semi-Hellenized country of 700,000 Jews, and removed temporarily to a next door, semi-Hellenized country of 1,000,000 Jews (plus 7 million others) — and no welfare, “racial justice,” “hate crimes,” ADL or ACLU[6]. But Catholic Charities USA imports thirdworlders ranging from Somali Bantu to Burmese Lhotshampas. These are transplants not only from vastly different cultures, but from different centuries. If Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus had found refuge in 1st century Peru, there would have been some parallel here.

As to the “immigrant nation” bromide, by the time George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were born, their families had lived in America for 100 years. They were no immigrants who founded the United States. Besides, there is hardly a nation on Earth that isn’t an immigrant nation. The founders of the Vatican immigrated to Etruscan land and, for racial justice’s sake, should both return that land to the Etruscans and encourage immigration by the Somali Bantu. The Japanese once lived somewhere between Mongolia and Korea. So much for Progressive drivel.

Catholic Charities has offices in many American cities, busily importing and planting wonderful diversity in the “immigrant nation.” They brought in the Rwandan “refugee” Beatrice Munyenyezi to Manchester, New Haven, where she is now on trial for her participation in genocide. They boast how “Kurds have changed Nashville”, as the Kurdish Pride Gang undoubtedly has. As the primary Tennessee fiduciary agency for the U.S. feds’ project of replacing America’s root stocks with alien barbarians, Catholic Charities probably plays down such predictable consequences as the 29 Somali Bantu gangbangers on trial in Nashville for trafficking Somali girls as young as 12 for sex in several American cities. More on such benefits of imported Wonderful Diversity — and that’s just in one state, Tennessee — here. All this is financed by the U.S. taxpayer, and implemented mostly by Christian charities. What could possibly go wrong for people of faith, the little Lambs?

The church weighs in heavily on the yin side in the West’s Empire of Yin. Gone are the yang forces that once complemented it: hierarchy based on manly virtues, attachment to the soil, ethnic and cultural homogeneity, and still-felt vibrations of Roman and Greek cultures.

The tilt toward the feminine and dissipative (i.e. “peace, equity and social justice”) is in compensation for past yang excesses. Like the Judaic precursors, for instance the prophet Samuel urging King Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, the Church has had centuries of yang eruptions. Catholic Popes sired multiple children and rode off to battle in resplendent armor (e.g. Julius II). Arnaud Amalric, Cistercian abbot and papal legate, asked by the commander of the crusader army how to deal with the besieged town of Béziers, including its women and children, answered, “Kill them all, the Lord will recognize His own." The year was 1209, but the Cathars of Béziers were French Christians, if fundamentalists. That hurts.

Nor are the Protestants immune to this charge. The word ‘roundhead’ still inspires wrath in Ireland, 260 years after its denotation expired. Old townhouses in Holland still contain secret nooks where Catholics worshipped in fear. Michael Servetus perished not in a Catholic but a Calvinist bonfire. Women in 17th century Puritan New England or Lutheran Scandinavia were treated as though those were still the times of 1st century’s 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Hence the counter-amplitude. Tossed about pendulum-like by cosmic forces they do not understand, modern day Western Christians serve the forces of entropy and decay instead of the earlier contractive but harsh paradigm. They are convinced, however, that they are continuing the good works of [Augustinian canon] Erasmus, Pope Pius IX (1792 — 1878) or [Archbishop of Canterbury] Thomas Cranmer (1489 —1556).

Erasmus (1466 — 1536) in particular has been adopted by the forces of Christian and post-Christian yin as the patron saint of the European Community and its socialist-multiculti-Islamocuddly doing away with itself. But while all three Christian greats and others in their vein were ecumenically oriented, liberalizing opponents of strict dogma and deeply learned humanists, their critical inquiry was bound in respect for tradition; their analytical reason, by faith in the transcendent; their ecumenism, by discrimination; and their humanism, by the concern for the survival and prosperity of their own kind.

What emanates now from important Christian leaders, not to speak of such bona fide faithful as the Johnson, Carter, Kennedy, Bush, Blair, Brown and Atlee names adduced in a previous chapter, is something entirely different: it is secular solipsism and utopian eschatology masquerading as enlightened Christianity. It harks back to 2nd century Gnostics and not to the great Christian thinkers of the Renaissance or Enlightenment. It’s the lamb lying down with the lion that’s still a lion. It’s redistributive socialism and minorities-exalting Progressive doctrine that has nothing to do with the recognition of God’s presence on Earth.

In contrast, in that part of Europe that was protected from the Progressive virus by the Iron Curtain, the Church is much stronger, but still mired in lowbrow superstitions of the lower cognitive classes. Catholics in Poland still aver that the Virgin Mary is Queen of Poland but prefer not to notice that the queen’s name was Miriam and she was a married Jewish mother in Israel[7]. Hungarian Christian bigots revile Jews as foreign Semites, discreetly omitting that Jews not only conceived Christianity but were Christian and even European very long before the Hungarians were — respectively 1000 and 700 years earlier. If the Croat Catholic Church has begged Gods’ and mankind’s forgiveness for its horrific role in the genocide of Serbs and others (e.g. here, here and here), I haven’t heard about it. The Antisemitism of the Orthodox churches, notably the Russian and Greek, has no modern peer outside of Islam, and their anti-Catholicism has no parallel on the Catholic side (though in the past it did).

Protestant Western churches could lend some of their benevolent ecumenism and Biblical historicity to their Central and Eastern European brethren. But they should learn from the latter’s resilience, connection to the mystic chords of memory, centeredness on the home ethny, and an unabashed support for traditional, masculine values. It’s not in vain that the latest bridge in Slovakia is named after Chuck Norris, but Chuck’s home country can’t rename itself fast enough after Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar Chavez, and soon enough, Harvey Milk, too. Western churches might learn as well that tolerance is not surrender, and compassion for the poor is meted out to individuals through the virtue of private charity, and not to social classes through the vileness of the Socialist state.

A shift away from a socialist-redistributive agenda and toward historicity might bring Christianity overall closer yet to another truth: the grinding material poverty of the little people in 1st century Palestine has long ago vanished in the West. But ugliness and charmlessness and psychological warps stemming from these afflictions are greater and more intractable than those based on material wealth.

Scratch a mega-murderer like the chicken-like chicken farmer Heinrich Himmler, terrorist like Yasser Arafat , communist revolutionary like Antonio Gramsci, militant socialist feminist like Betty Friedan or Tarja Halonen, unhinged lefto-media flamethrower like Alex Pareene or Rachel Maddow or a super-rich, world-repairing narcissist like Soros or Bloomberg, and you reveal a neurotic ugly duckling in high school, physiognomy too repellent, or stature too short, or sexual signals too weird to gain acceptance among peers, with painful hurt inflicted by members of the opposite sex.

It’s those ugly ducklings that grow up with the burning mission to show “them,” to control other people’s lives, to inflict punishment, to enforce “social justice” because God’s injustice in the distribution of beauty cannot be redrawn, to become so powerful or rich — by any means — that any beauty, whether that of a woman or a painting, may be got on a whim.

A church fully awakened from Platonian stupor and no longer responsive to socialist cues would minister to the ugly and infirm more than the poor, and catch them at a very early age too, for they inflict much damage later on. The notion of life’s essential unfairness and the expression “cross to bear” are relevant, but even more so would be the Stoic idea that virtue is indifferent to the slings and arrows of fortune such as genetic inheritance (looks, health), parental advantage (family standing, wealth) or even the shadow of impending premature death. Painfully forged virtue and valor are the antidote to losing in fortune’s lottery of genetic—parental advantage, and the healthy society values them more highly than it does the winners in that lottery. Hello, Socrates; Goodbye, supermodel.

The rationalization of Christianity could draw to it many more adherents from among the cognitive elite. This would amplify religion’s function as a damper of transcendence on the lucky few who are usually prone to narcissism, disdain for the little people and hubris. And hubris kills and destroys, as the Greeks knew so well but our midgets don’t. At the least, they are guilty — all of them, everywhere — of what Nicholas Nassim Taleb calls “epistemic arrogance.”

For a very long time, the Judaic and then Christian creeds have served to instill in the high and mighty a sense of humility and accountability before a “higher authority.” As God says to Job [Job 38:4, KJV]: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.” This has worked for the benefit of the ruled since early Biblical times (e.g. the prophet Nathan v. King David), and many times in European history, e.g. Pope John XXII repeatedly admonishing the cruel, despotic (and pervert) King of England, Edward II, for his malfeasance.

In addition, Christianity centered around the historical Jesus rather than the theological one could help unite a large number of cognitively equipped Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox, Lutherans and Laterans, Pre-millenialists and Post-millenialists, Pascal wageres and “Cultural Christians,” Baptists, agnostics and even atheists honest enough to admit that Christianity and Western Civilization are one laminate. To scour and polish it is one thing; to delaminate is to kill it.

All those might, at last, perceive that they are rowing the same boat in stormy seas, its floatability depending on their harmonious cadence. Each faith can be permitted its own carry-on baggage, as long as it renounces claims that God’s truth is locked in its own satchel and no other. Each would have to admit humbly that it’s a blind man touching a different part of the same elephant. The theology and rituals of each should be respected by one and all, as long as the adherents acknowledge that theirs, just like their co-passengers’, is tinfoil wrapping a more solid but ineffable core, tied with a ribbon of tradition, warm remembrance of childhood, mother and father and a natural reluctance to take a sharp cognitive blade to warm and fuzzy parts of the self.

The second condition for a berth is that everyone forgets who killed whom in the past. The third is the recognition that this is a particular Western ark, and its sole function is to ensure the survival and enlightened thriving of the Western peoples. The Buddhist-Taoist-Confucian longboat is another worthy vessel, and it’s not any Christian’s business to extol his over theirs. The Chinese, Japanese and Hindu peoples too have had many spiritual masters who, though blind just as their Christian counterparts are, touched the elephant as surely as any Christian has[8].

About Islam, the less said the better; let it suffice that it belongs in neither boat. It is a basic rule that the louder the clamor of exclusive franchising rights to God and the stiffer the penalty for disbelief, the greater the distance to God. Islam’s distance is the greatest.

England’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, a critic of British schools providing religious education, says that government ministers of all three parties are not religious believers themselves but believe that belief is good for others. Meanwhile a British-via-Pakistan baroness, Sayeeda Warsi, a practicing Muslim herself and prominent Tory, decries what she calls “Europe’s aggressive secularism” and urges Europeans, in forums as diverse as Oxford and the Vatican, to be “more confident” in their Christianity. But then, of course, promoting Christian superstition within the tolerant framework of postmodern Europe creates a larger berth for Islam’s superstition as well. It’s the “Abrahamic religions” shtick that leads to sharia creep[9].

It might be better to excise the fallacy and fantasy from Christianity, if the prize includes the excision from the West of the fakery — and danger — of Islam. After all, when Muhammad pbuh took verbatim dictation from the Archangel Gabriel and later rode off to heaven right from where the Jews had once had their exclusive God franchise, and within sight of the site of Jesus’ resurrection, he was merely plagiarizing his PhD dissertation in theology, sort of like Martin Luther King Jr. 13 centuries later but with more woeful consequences for the original authors.

The glow of Jesus has come to us distorted by the distance light has to traverse over 2000 years to reach the here and now, bounced along the way off such cracked mirrors, bent copper pans and dented silver chalices that the Gospel writers and Church leaders have been, and all men are. It’s miraculous that unknown outside a little sliver of a remote, benighted province at its inception, and multiplexed with great noise as it has been since, the transmission has reached us at all. Admitting that we don’t know where the noise ends and the transcendent music begins could rebuild a stout foundation for a new Christian spirituality. “There lives more faith in an honest doubt,“ wrote one of the great 10-percenters of the 19th century, Alfred Tennyson, “than in half the creeds.”

If admission of errors in doctrine and action is made openly, a stronger case for the merits of Christianity can be made as well. Moreover, such errors and resulting offenses are evident in the history of all the Abrahamic religions, and though mostly ended for the Jews when their theocratic nationhood ended shortly after Jesus’ ministry, it continues in Islam, stronger every day. Similarly, though the litany of whitey’s crimes is now recited by 8-year-olds in every school between Berlin and Auckland, Whites under African or Muslim rule, whether as slaves or just minority prey, have suffered more than Africans or Muslims have suffered under White rule. Had Africa invaded Europe in the 18th-19th centuries rather than Europe Africa, neither this computer nor this writer could have existed.

Second, such valuable Greek and Roman elements as are integrated in Western civilization — above all the Greek curiosity about the workings of the universe and veneration of beauty — became so through the work of many brilliant clerics, of which Pope Sylvester II (950—1003) was not the first, and Abbot Gregor Mendel (1822—1884) was not the last. As to the great gathering of beauty in Christianity, unique among all religions, one need only spend an hour in a medieval cathedral or in a museum of Renaissance painting, or listen to sacred music by composers ranging from Palestrina (1525 - 1594) to Lauridsen (1943- ).

The other great merit of Christianity is that it transplanted to Europe, and from Europe to America and the rest of the world, the Hebrew Bible’s ideas of the autonomy of the individual that’s subject to God alone. From this came the rejection of ancient practices that the Jews first rejected: human sacrifice and slavery. From this too came the concept of Natural Law and Jefferson’s immortal words about men created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, the legitimacy of Governments based solely on the consent of the governed. Which brings us finally to the Founding Fathers and their Nature’s God.

(The concluding chapter of this multipart essay will appear next month.)


1. Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776, reproduced in Edward Gibbon, The Christians and the Fall of Rome, Penguin Books, 2004.
2. How many of us have read Luther, let alone in German as he ought to be read? I haven’t. It’s impossible to be an expert in all the disciplines one is trying to harness in a panoramic view of the affairs of man. For the reader interested in ascertaining the veracity of the ubiquitous Luther quotes on rationality, they are referenced in multiple secondary sources per “Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition volume 16, pp. 142-148.” Other quotes of similar nature, including in the original German, appear in the Web-accessible facsimile of History of the Christian Church, volume 6, Philip Schaff [professor of Church History, Union Theological Seminary], C. Scribner’s, New York, 1888.
3. Randel McCraw Helms, The Bible Against Itself, Millennium Press, 2006, pp 33 -39.
4. It’s not enough to posit that a reasonable inference “may be made.” An atheist would challenge that immediately. However, a written work must have boundaries of space, and therefore topic. Judging that the typical reader of this will be a Westerner at least friendly to Christianity, I had to leave out most of the argument that might be directed at the unfriendly ones.
5. The irony is that Jesus probably did speak those lines, and all the eye-of-the needle things and the parables. It comes across from deep reading and reflection by a layman such as this writer, but has been confirmed many times by brains of genius (e.g. Jefferson) or deep studies of learned scholars (e.g. Ehrman, ibid.). But that was the message that the yang-ravaged Jews of 1st century Judea, preparing for the imminent end of the world, needed to hear. We, 21 centuries later, are ravaged by yin.
6. Population estimates for 1st century Judea and Egypt are by the distinguished 19th century German historians Theodor Mommsen (also classicist, archeologist, Nobel Prize) and Adolf von Harnack (also a Protestant theologian who argued some of the ideas about the Gospels relayed in this essay).
7. The overreach in this statement is intentional. The Virgin Mary, by the way, in addition to having been Rabbi Yeshua’s mother, is the Christian version of the ancient Slavic goddess Marena, and of the Far Eastern bodhisattva (saint, enlightened being) of compassion Kannon (Japan) - Guanyin (China).
8. To make a point, I often say to by-the-book Christian fanatics (I avoid Muslims or Jews of that ilk) that if one accounts for the cultural differences and removes the outer wrap of theoretical dogma, the truest Christians now alive are the Jains. Another statement that does not endear me to God’s self-appointed franchisees is that there is more of God in my cat than in any book of theology.
9. There are legions of well-meaning academic fools eager to enlighten us about the wonderful unity of the Abrahamic religions that portends The Brotherhood of Man and World Peace. A recent offering is Jesus and Muhammad: Parallel Tracks, Parallel Lives by New York University professor F. E. Peters. But in a recent case, an American judge and Muslim convert, Mark Martin, dismissed an assault case against a Muslim who had attacked an atheist, on the ground that sharia obligation of the former— to assault those who insult the prophet Mohammed — overrode the American Constitution’s free speech right of the victim.

Takuan Seiyo is a European-born American writer living in exile in Japan.

Previous posts:

2008 Oct 14 The Real Mark-to-Market
  Dec 1 You Say Mumbai, I Say Bombay
2009 Apr 8 The Deadly Jive of Jiverly Diversity
  Jun 2 The American Press: The Unbearable Lightness of Treason
    12 Critique of the Culture of Kevin MacDonald
  Jul 31 Sons of Onan
  Sep 2 Be the Change
  Dec 15 F Street
2010 Apr 25 Vast Canyon of Gas and Dust, Inshallah
  Jul 7 Vast Canyon of Gas and Dust — Progressive Progress Report
  Dec 12 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 1
2011 Jan 7 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 2
    31 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 3
  Mar 20 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 4
  Apr 2 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 4(b)
  Sep 30 On Fanciful Attributions and Wishful Imputations
  Nov 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 1
  Dec 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 2
2012 Jan 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 3
  Feb 12 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 4
    13 The Free University of Brussels is Not Free
    23 A Short Treatise on Modern Dance


Anonymous said...

I've very much enjoyed this series. I wish it could be circulated to a wider audience. Afterall just us right wing extremists believe read this sort of stuff anyway! The whole Christian bashing thing is worthy of the Karl Marx seal of approval, other than that I'd say you're easily a 10 percenter!

Anonymous said...

So much to take in and decipher but on first thoughts two points stand out - individualism as a positive and welfare as a negative.

In these times ultra-individualism has destroyed trust in contract and replaced it with the self-interest of corruption while the welfare of the people is reduced to a of state slavery on a par with that of islam in the name of political self-righteous charity.

The exaggeration of individualism and disparaging of the welfare of the people has left the western flock scattered - preening individual sitting ducks quacking about western civilisation, a sum far greater than their worthless and narcissistic individualism.

Jolie Rouge

Hermes said...

I just can't wait to read again two dozens of page-long commentaries on theology, philosophy, ethics and politics from gatesofvienna's highly qualified and learned readers concerning this new essay of T. Seiyo :)

Lisa Beth W. said...

No. Just NO. Christianity is to be understood by Who God is, not by whom His followers are. They are weak stumblers, full of error. He is truth. His Word, the Bible, shows us Himself. His character is not besmirched by our sin. He is unchanging and He is the only way. There is no elephant b/c there is only one way to God--the elephant is a wishful figment of someone's imagination.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see evidence for the assertion that the idea of the autonomy of the individual derives from the Hebrew scriptures. In my view, this concept is a child of the Reformation, and especially of Luther's and Calvin's emphasis on faith and the witness of the Holy Spirit to each person in particular, in the reading of the Bible. Luther, by the way, knew his Aristotle very well, and only objected to the misuse of reason in realms which called for faith alone.

Columnist said...

Learn languages.

Anonymous said...


Re: Autonomy of the Individual

You'll find a quick, comprehensive summary of the issue in Thomas Cahill's "The Gift of the Jews." As a counterpoint, you may be interested in his "How the Irish Saved Civilization" too.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

This might be of interest to you all. It seems there are a group of thinkers who see the rot set in with the advent of nominalism in the middle ages:

Curses William of Ockham.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for discussing religion and Christianity. Appreciate your thoughts and willingness to go outside the religion box and also thanks to GOV for allowing it.

I think you come closest to the answering the problem of Christianity in the paragraph ending:

“There lives more faith in an honest doubt,“ wrote one of the great 10-percenters of the 19th century, Alfred Tennyson, “than in half the creeds.”

In zen one must be taught the importance of doubt. Buddha said, don't just believe, verify.

Real religion is truth oriented, not movement oriented.

Real religion requires doubt. Which means, when it comes to the facts, we simply don't know. Life was, is and will be magical/mysterious in quality, and that religion is supposed to be the part of our culture that is celebrating that.

Instead, the idea of faith is extremely distorted by false religions who taught us to think of faith as simple obedience to a rote idea. This is a horrible mistake, since we end up losing our spiritual life and putting our energy into "causes."

Real spiritual faith is knowing without any doubt that you don't, in fact, know diddley squat about the basis of anything whatsoever. We must practice spiritually until we become lucid about our not knowing.

The doubt we need is a doubt in our own lies we've told ourselves..."we get it." Otherwise we end up looking for a cause and join the masses of world secular saviors. There is nothing Christian about false Christianity and we should turn away from it.

Return to doubt, return to ineffability of God.... The infinity of mystery is so great there is plenty of room for science and creativity in all fields.

And, in this honesty, the conceptual faith of fake Christians and the secular self-proclaimed world saviors can both become obvious in their triteness and may be spat out.

May the Spirit of Christ flow unimpeded.

Regards, You New/ Sol

Nemesis said...

No doubt Christendom has had its ups and downs throughout history, and without the Bible being made freely available to the newly educated classes of the past few centuries, Christianity would no doubt be still in control of the West today.

Education has been the most significant factor in Christianity's downfall which has played a huge role in dispelling much of the Church dogma that controlled so many lives, and still controls may lives in those nations that do not educate their populations.

And by education, I mean reading and writing.

But, even with its downfall in the dogma stakes there is still much to recommend Christianty and to uphold those parts that are so obviously beneficial to humanity as a whole.

Another fine essay from this author.

Pleistarchos said...

"Arnaud Amalric, Cistercian abbot and papal legate, asked by the commander of the crusader army how to deal with the besieged town of Béziers, including its women and children, answered, “Kill them all, the Lord will recognize His own." The year was 1209, but the Cathars of Béziers were French Christians, if fundamentalists. That hurts."

Only one correction, and that will only matter in the sense in which "Fundamentalist" was intended.

Those who died at Beziers were Aligensians. Their doctrine was dualistic, having a good God and an angry God and by all accounts seems to be, like the Bogomils and Cathars, offshoots of the old Manichaeism of the third century AD. They may well have considered themselves Fundamentalist, but we must use caution when applying such a term. Christian Fundamentalists, who by doctrine stand in contrast to Mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox, have an entire genre of pseudo-historical claims that strives to identify themselves with the persecuted of the Middle Ages, and the Abigensians and others mentioned are cited as (formerly) living proof that practitioners of Fundamentalist Christianity were around farther back than they actually were. In actuality, specific Fundamentalist Christianity can only be traced to the origins on the Anabaptists in Germany after Luther's break with Rome.

jeppo said...

Scratch a mega-murderer like the chicken-like chicken farmer Heinrich Himmler, terrorist like Yasser Arafat , communist revolutionary like Antonio Gramsci, militant socialist feminist like Betty Friedan or Tarja Halonen, unhinged lefto-media flamethrower like Alex Pareene or Rachel Maddow or a super-rich, world-repairing narcissist like Soros or Bloomberg, and you reveal a neurotic ugly duckling in high school, physiognomy too repellent, or stature too short, or sexual signals too weird to gain acceptance among peers, with painful hurt inflicted by members of the opposite sex.

It’s those ugly ducklings that grow up with the burning mission to show “them,” to control other people’s lives, to inflict punishment, to enforce “social justice” because God’s injustice in the distribution of beauty cannot be redrawn, to become so powerful or rich — by any means — that any beauty, whether that of a woman or a painting, may be got on a whim.

This is an important and overlooked point: ugliness breeds resentment breeds outright hostility. But this phenomenon is not just confined to individuals (and just off the top of my head let me add to Takuan's list of hideous hatemongers: Abe Foxman, Al Sharpton, Luis Guiterrez, Andrea Dworkin, Susan Sontag, Maxine Waters, Mohandas Gandhi, Kim Jong Il, Tim Wise, Hugo Chavez, Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri), it's entire ethnic groups that resent the prevailing Western standards of beauty, particularly the "Aryan" ideal of blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin.

I wonder how much anti-EuroChristian animus is driven by simple jealousy of our looks? Yes it's completely superficial but superficiality describes most of the human race to a tee. So the next time some particularly repulsive ugbot attacks white people and/or Western civilization, tell them what the lady from the 1980s Pantene commercial used to say: don't hate us because we're beautiful. It might not win the argument but it will definitely enrage your unsightly interlocutor! I think I'll go try it out right now on Tim Wise's website ;)

Anonymous said...

It seems that you aren't quite sure what to believe. On one hand you say that Christianity can't be taken all that seriously, and on the other, you seem to say that the West needs Christianity in order to survive.
Do you REALLY expect this to be a formula for civilizational renewal? If Christianity is as pivotal to the West as you seem to imply (and I agree with this), then a West which no longer truly believes in mere Christianity is ultimately doomed.

As for Gibbon, as intelligent as he may have been, he was ultimately a man of his day. His hostility towards Christianity was due more to the enlightenment air he breathed, than to any personal genius. And wasn't his thesis that it was Christianity which ultimately weakened Rome enough to fall? Funny how highly religious Byzantium lasted for another thousand years. I doubt the Byzantines interpreted "turning the other cheek" to mean "walk all over me."

If the West is to survive, it needs to return to its Christian roots. It should shun the religious violence of the old days, and purge itself of the Progressivism which has infected it in our own. And for it to be a REAL faith, it needs to believe that Christianity represents mankinds true contact with the elephant (while not denying that others have always had a relationship to it). Relativism wrapped in the guise of Christianity is more of the same old, same old: cultural decay.

-el gato loco

Pleistarchos said...

I mistyped "Albigensian" wrong twice. I am the world's worst typist. I need Dragon Speak.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article. I can't say I completely agree with it though.

Here in the U.S. a large segment of contemporary Christianity has been infected with many ideas from the "New Thought" and New Age movements. Toxic nonsense from the likes of Telihard de'Chardin that were embraced by many in the RCC to garbage like "The Secret" which has been adopted in part by many churches. Then you have the oily tongued feel good ministers like Olsteen that pump their foolish minions full of happy talk like a heroin dealer selling his wares. All of this has disabled the critical thinking facilities of many.

Because of this, mainstream traditions are so screwed up they can no longer tell good from bad or a friend of Christianity from a Muslim maniac intent on spreading shariah and destroying their culture. They are oblivious to the ethnic cleansing of Pakistani, Iraqi and Coptic Christians. Or you get a bearded dolt and Islamic tool like Cardinal Rowan Williams who takes initiation into a Druid sect and grovels when it comes to Islam, or worse a cowardly Pope having to apologize to a bunch of 7th century savages for quoting a 14th century Byzantine Emperor.

But it isn't entirely the fault of Christianity. Ever since WWII the Left has been making serious inroads by propagandizing our college educated youth and taking over entire political parties to achieve their goals of destroying Western Civilization. It's now to the point where open public discussions on many topics are no forbidden lest you find yourself facing a gang of college educated leftie activists and their lawyers.

Dymphna said...

For some who may be waiting to see their comments published, a reminder:

Gates of Vienna's rules about comments require that they be civil, temperate, on-topic, and show decorum.

So, for instance, to the atheist who went through the trouble of responding with a long comment: It almost passed, until the end, when you finished up with a judgment of "evil". That crosses those "temperate, civil" rules.

I don't know how to get across the concept that ideas can be disagreed with but they cannot be dismissively labeled "tripe" or "nonsense". Or "evil".

Perhaps some enterprising soul will offer an online course in formal rhetoric so we could all learn the rules for courteous debate. The fact that they are no longer taught in school (except here) is just one more sad result of leftist-dominated education. But they know that if they were to teach critical thinking skills the students would turn on them very quickly.

School is mostly over for all of us - time to be an eternal student and learn rhetoric on your own. If anyone knows a good rhetoric site to which we can direct people, please let us know.

Anonymous said...


Re: Looks,
I am not sure what statistical distribution model applies to looks, but just like other genetic characteristics, e.g. IQ, height, fast twitch muscle fibers, there are clear group differences. European-origin people have had the highest incidence of good looks, and among them, most people consider the blond-blue eyed type tops. According to Bede, when Pope Gregory saw for the first time blond blue-eyed boys from the British Isles, in a slave market, he said Non Angli, sed Angeli (They are not Angles, they are Angels).
Problem is that this too has been spoiled for us by the Nazizoids - I mean now, not in the 1930s. You visit any “Aryan” blog it’s full of boasting about the looks and the supremacy etc. But that is yokel cock-a-doodle-doo that should make any thinking White cringe.
First, boasting is a cousin of trash talk. People of virtue don’t boast. And if they do, they talk of something they achieved on their own, and not of what they got from mommy and daddy.
Second, I don’t quite understand what’s the big deal about the “Aryan” look, except for the swarthier races that are gaga for it. If you spend some time in Spain or Italy, you may come to share this view.

Third, beauty is not merely a matter of physical proportions but what illuminates them from within. Our current generation has many more good looking, taller, better proportioned people than was the norm even 40 years ago. But the hollowing out through hedonism, broken educational model, soft parenting 24/7 electronic media brainwash, consumerism etc. has taken a heavy toll on what’s inside. Very many of the good looking young white people I see whether in Dallas or Dortmund are chirpy mannequins that might as well have been squirted from a computerized nozzle. That kind of beauty may be surpassed soon by what technology will have on offer.

Lastly, as their diets and circumstances have changed, the not-so-pretty races started producing beauty too, and increasingly so. You compare Lucy Liu to Lindsey Lohan, not only the proportions are on a par but the former is so much more radiant than the latter that it’s an easy call. In Japan and Korea, the young generation is a foot taller than its grandfathers were, and there are many good looking people now where once there were very few.

As to the uglies, there are many, many more that could be added to your list. You may start from the Debbie person who is chief honcho of the Dems, and segue to the top hierarchy of the EU. What’s interesting however is that some of the most beautiful people in the world, from Vanessa Redgrave through Susan Sarandon and George Clooney, are among the biggest leftist twerps. There is a different theory that applies to that: guilt.

Anonymous said...

@el gato
I am quite sure what to believe, but it’s not that simple to define and besides neither my belief nor yours are of any importance in this forum. What is important is that the sort of belief formula that I have outlined here was embraced by the majority of the smartest, wisest, most noble characters that Western civilization has produced in the last 250 years, with quite a few that may be counted back 600 years. That is what they REALLY believed, and the United States, among others, was founded on this belief. Part 6 will deal with this matter.
The Enlightenment air that Gibbon breathed was the most nourishing air that Western civilization has produced so far. You have to equate it primarily with the Scottish enlightenment, and forget the French one, for that is not what animated the greatest men in the tradition that I live in, from Isaac Newton to Abraham Lincoln to T.S. Eliot and thousands of illustrious names besides. To them too, like to me, the Enlightenment and its rationalism applied to religion has been most nourishing.
As to your prescription that the West return to its Christian roots, that being the REAL faith, I appreciate your opinion. Do take under account that there is no chance that a sizeable part of the 125+ IQ cognitive elite will ever go that way, and without them, the REAL faith has no chance either. Just think whether the American “Family-Values” theocons have succeeded in stopping the takeover of their county by leftists who can think twice as fast and deploy in their arsenal every sly weapon such as using REAL faith Christians from south of the Rio Grande as their main phalanx, with the Church aiding and abetting and the theocons cheering.
Takuan Seiyo

Chiu ChunLing said...

I'm struck by the inconsistency of the assertion that the intellectual elite run the world, but they are to be held entirely blameless for their departure from Christianity rather than continued reform of it (which, entertaining foibles aside, was the chosen work of Martin Luther--who stands out as much because of how strongly his discoursive style is imprinted on TS's own work as because of his historical importance).

Why are the hapless masses who do not have the intellectual tools to shape a coherent and carefully reasoned theology to be charged with the task of attracting intellectuals, while on the other hand we are to accept the assertion that those intellectuals are the primary agents of shaping all other ideological trends?

What it comes down to is that the sincerely humble intellects of the 0.1 percent that uphold and defend the traditional ideals and interpretation of "fundamentalist" Christianity are content to state the truth as they find it and let the other 99.9% accept or reject it. The rebellious 10% wish their pride to be accommodated, but there is no percentage in that for those who believe, in sound reason, that Christ's claims are valid.

Does it turn out that humility really is a necessary virtue and pride really is a damning sin? Well, there are those of us who have taken measures to ensure that pride will not seem such a rewarding path after all. But we also have left it up to each individual to choose between pride and humility. I personally decline to take responsibility for whether anyone chooses to heed my words, as long as I have spoken true.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Columnist said...

Many Arabs know Hebrew. Be wise.

Anonymous said...

My capitalization of the word "real" seems to have irked you. It was not my intent to suggest that you are morally inferior simply because you don't really believe. That's repugnant, so if I came across the wrong way, I apologize. My point was only to say that a Christianity which doesn't fall within the bounds of "mere" Christianity is a belief system without a solid foundation. A casual look at the Church of England is enough to make my point.

What exactly did you mean in mentioning "REAL" Christians from "south of the rio grande"? I couldn't help but feel that you were equating their low-brow Christian religiosity with some other form of inferiority. Maybe I'm mistaken. I hope so.

Whether the "cognitive elite" accepts Christianity is irrelevant. The message of the Nazarene was never intended to exist solely for smart people. In fact, that is one of its strenghts. For those with IQ's the drooling masses can only dream of, it does them well to remember that it was God who gave them their brains in the first place.

I also am thankful for the Enlightenment, though I believe they threw out the baby with the bathwater. But it wasn't all happiness and sunshine. The Progressivist cancer currently destroying Western Civ is an enlightenment phenomenon. The secular religion of "man as the measure of all things" is the most blood soaked notion in human history.

And you never refuted my point on Gibbon. Despite his you-are-smart-enough-to-dismiss-Christianity-IQ, his notion that Christianity was responsible for Rome's fall never held water. Why did extremely religious Byzantium last for another thousand years? In fact, ALL of the major Western powers before the Enlightenment were in some way overtly religious. Some of these were among the most successful political entities in history. Gibbons position seems awful strange in light of this.

-el gato loco

Crusader said...

Sophistry. Secularism is not faith-based. This is the foundation of his opening arguments and it simply isn't true.

Christianity is to be judged on the shadow it casts over the societies where it dominates. Compare Christian or post-Christian nations with Islamic, Secular or Buddhist nations and the difference is clear. Secularism is in no way a cousin to Christianity. The bewildering hostility of secularists (in many instances) to Christianity disproves any amicable association.

Attacking Christianity for obscurantism is akin to relentlessly attacking Churchill for his alcoholism without regard to his battlefield and political brilliance.

Anonymous said...


That is not entirely true. Secularism has its roots in "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's".

Granted, completely blind secularism leads to the danger of treating Muslim immigrants as if they were Buddhists, but a modified secularism (a less suicidal one) is completely compatible with the faith.

-el gato loco

Salome said...

Christianity can't be redefined just because Takuan Seiyo says so. To be honest, I'm nervous about the godless patriarchy he's advocated in other places. The only patriarchy that is acceptable is one that derives from the fatherhood of God, in which marriage is founded on Christ's relationship with his Church. On the present point, to suggest that equality of races is anathema to God is completely erroneous. The distinguishing feature of Christianity (and Judaism) in comparison with Islam is that under the former, man is made in the image of God. Further, according to Christian doctrine, the same price was paid to redeem each and every one of us. Whether races and nationalities are on average better at basketball, gymnastics, physics or whatever doesn't take away from the equality of value of each and every human person. And as to the distinction between the biblical and historical Jesus--that's just sooooooo 19th century.

Anonymous said...

"Secularism is not faith-based."

A minor disagreement with that. Secularism is every bit as faith-based as any other system devised to explain life, the universe and everything. The only substantial difference is that the secularist's faith, instead of in Someone, is placed in an impersonal Something; the fact that this Something/first cause remains open to debate among convinced secularists, is beside the point. Secularism's ultimate truth claims are ultimately as unprovable and unknowable as those of any other faith system - unknowable this side of death, anyway. It very much is a faith system.

Secularism might get far more traction than it tends to get if its adherents simply admitted and embraced that simple fact.

Anonymous said...

@Crusader, loco, et al.
I have no quarrel with your faith(s). If you choose to quarrel with mine, it simply means that we cannot be oar-mates. The fewer who man the oars, the weaker we are.
Second, if you do choose to quarrel, at least know enough, or be honest enough, to acknowledge that you are quarreling also with the faith of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Adams, Henry, Lafayette, Goethe, Voltaire, Newton, Beethoven, Mozart, Smith (Adam), Hobbes, and a long additional list comprising together pretty much the best that Western civilization has yielded in the last 250 years plus. And I haven’t included a single illustrious atheist, agnostic or Jew here (e.g. Spinoza), of which there is quite a number too. Of course, no leftists either. Believe what you will, but that high tone of the man who has plumbed the depths of Truth, when those names are on the other side of the scale from yours, is a bit overdone.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

I do not pretend to have plumbed the depth of Truth. Aun aprendo, as they say. And no, I have no personal quarrel with your point of view, however contradictory, relativist, unitarian, and cavalierly eclectic it may be. You are entitled to believe what you want.

I've never insulted you, I've just passionately disagreed with you. You seem to take my strong opinion that you are going in many, and ultimately no, intellectual directions as some kind of personal slight. It certainly wasn't meant that way.

And who knows? Maybe I'm the one who is wrong, right? The truth depends on no man.

Plenty of brilliant Christians have existed as well, you know. Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Boyle, Kepler, Aquinas, and some of the more brilliant of the U.S.'s founding fathers were all believers.....unless you load the dice and define "brilliance" as having adopted a particular point of view. This list is laughably small compared to the real number of the famous top-rate Christian intellects of History, and you are educated enough to know it.

In the end it doesn't matter HOW brilliant a mind is, if it is wrong, then it is WRONG.
Case in point: Gibbon's claim that Christianity destroyed Rome is blatant Enlightenment vitriol and myopia. Byzantium lasted for another 1000 years. All that brilliance and erudition....for a sophisticated, yet blatant falsehood.

But as far as what ails the West, I agree with you on an awful awful lot. In that sense, yea, we are in the same boat.

Anyways. You see it your way, I see it mine. No one really knows. But just because we walk by faith, and not by sight, it doesn't mean that certain beliefs aren't true.

Best of luck,
El Gato

Anonymous said...

One last thing. I was thinking of brilliant people who are Christian, and Dinesh D'Souza's name popped into my noggin. It is true that the man is insufferably arrogant, but it is also true that he is a very smart fellow (though he's no giant like Newton).

But here's the point. D'Souza seems to take Christianity as an argument to be won. That is NOT the point of having a brain. The greatest of virtues, Paul tells us, is Love, not pedantic bla bla bla (and not nauseating Disneyesque "love" either). It is the only one of the three great virtues (faith and hope being the other two), which exists entirely in the present -- a fitting analysis for something in relation to the God who IS by our friend Paul.

Anyway, if you took my exchanges with you to be some D'Souza carbon copy endeavor, then you missed the underlying emphasis behind it all. I'm not trying to be a gadfly, I just wanted to have an amicable discussion (which for the most part, we've managed to do very well).

Facts and ideas without love of truth means nothing. That's why I'm stressing the fact that this is just respectful chit chat, not an ego contest. Again, if I came across that way, it was NOT my intent.

Here is a juxtaposition between 1 Kings 19:11-12, and a quote from the movie "Interpreter" (2005). One is the cultural echo of the other. The deeper and more spiritual the truth, the more it can only be communicated in one way. D'Souza-like pedantry only amounts to the sound of gunfire...

(1 Kings)

"Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."

"Interpreter" (2005)

"The gunfire around us makes it hard to hear. But the human voice is different from other sounds. It can be heard over noises that bury everything else. Even when it's not shouting. Even when it's just a whisper. Even the lowest whisper can be heard - -over armies... when it's telling the truth."

Anonymous said...

@El Gato,
Your last par. is more or less what I’d like to see from all conventional Christians: Big Tent. Whether “true” or false” is a question better left alone. Speaking for myself, I am partial to Catholicism and quite bitingly critical of Mormonism – if I allowed myself to open my mouth about it, which I don’t. Why should I? The Mormons make one of the most exemplary demographic segments of the U.S. If believing what they do make them so, I see no reason to put their faith under the magnifying glass.

As to the first part of your statement, I urge you to reread what you are responding to, as you are asserting what I had just asserted. Yes some of the primary names you adduce were believers, even Christian believers, as I am. But not the kind of believers as you are or speak for.

And yes, there have been plenty of conventional believers too, both brilliant and virtuous. I am for instance a great admirer of the by-the-book Catholic and historian Paul Johnson, and have relayed on these pages my high esteem for various clergy and pious lay greats, notably JP II and Solzhenitsyn. But the ones I like among them and bring up are the ecumenical ones, who don’t rain hell and brimstone on “heretics.” Aquinas, alas, brilliance notwithstanding is not an example I am particularly fond of as he repeatedly advocated the auto da fe for said “heretics.” And all that kind of stuff has eaten Christianity through and through, if you get my amplitude swing theory.

Anonymous said...

@El Gato
Dinesh D'Souza is not a fortuitous choice. We are awash in smart fellows. We are desperately short of wise, virtuous and erudite ones. Whenever I read D’Souza on Islam I question whether we live on the same planet. Besides, he is a neocon with little understanding of what the great issues of our civilization are in AD 2012. He is also responsible for the firing of Sam Francis from his job at the Wash. Times, which indirectly finished off that irreplaceable American whose briefcase D’Souza was not fit to carry.
The statement “Facts and ideas without love of truth means nothing” means nothing in our context here. Facts are the truth. If they are not true they are not facts. Besides, it ought to be obvious to you, having read this work and perhaps others of mine, that it’s love of truth that animates every sentence I put down. I will have turned it over several times in my mind and in the light of facts, before it ends up in the text. On the other hand, it is certainly clear to me that you are convinced of speaking for the truth and feeling that in your bones. I have no quarrel with that. I used the challenge pattern in my replies to you because you got on the case of my faith, and on the case of the Christian greats who were “doubters.” But criticizing “doubters” is puerile, particularly when they form a Pantheon as impressive as I have adduced. It’s a useless waste of time, good only for those prone to flaunting their “true” faith.
What’s has been more important here is not whether my beliefs or yours are true, but whether the theory this essay presents accounts plausibly for various social phenomena we see in the West now. And that’s not a question of truth, even though I used only true facts on which to build this theory. The issue is whether the theory is correlated with Reality strongly enough to have predictive power. We shall live and see, or maybe only our grandchildren will. But truth will assert itself, and only then we will be able to assess the efficacy of this theory.

Anonymous said...


There is a huge, HUGE difference, my eloquent friend, between using the mind as a muscle, and using it as an EYE.

"Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free" (John 8:32)


Chiu ChunLing said...

I personally find it difficult to accept that all the really inquisitive minds of the Christian tradition must have been absolutely opposed to the central tenets of Christianity itself just because they put forth their own interpretations.

Ultimately, there is a difference between the entertainment and exposition of novel doctrines that are informed by an appreciation of Christ's divinity and anything that proposes that He is not divine in any special sense that does not apply equally (or more) to the proponent of some new theory.

That is where I must ultimately draw the line, cutting the proponent of the "historical" Jesus off from anyone that really saw Him as a central figure more important than history itself.

Of course, it is difficult to refute the argument that Christians should admit that they are wrong and Christ is unimportant...if you accept the premise that Christians are wrong and Christ is unimportant. I don't accept this premise.

And if I did, I would see no necessity of refuting any argument based on it. If Christ is not divine, if His teachings about justice and mercy have no imprimatur of ultimate authority, then I see nothing at all 'wrong' about engaging in "obscurantist" or simply false beliefs as long as they "work for me". Certainly secularists recognize this for their own claims, that they can claim whatever 'sells' (that is, whatever they can get away with) without any serious regard to the actual truth, if there is no divine sanction of truth regardless of convenience.

Of course, the unanswered question for me is what the point would be if there is no salvation. Because I have no ability to see humanity for anything other than what it is, a desperately fallen race that cannot ever redeem itself through its own works. Every milestone of human 'progress' is accompanied in short order by the grim reminder of exactly where humanity will ultimately progress if left to its own devices. The historically aware cannot help seeing that this evidence is not an isolated phenomenon of any given culture or century...self-defilement and destruction are the natural bent of man.

The modern secularists nonsensically blame this terrible history on religion, which would be a more creditable (if still internally inconsistent) claim if not for the secularist experiments of the 20th century.

Admittedly, I still find it incomprehensible that Christ would offer salvation to humanity. But I can muster no real objection as such as long as He is willing and able to pay the price. Which, to my mixed dismay and delight, He is.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Columnist said...

As I said, large families require wars of conquest. This is the basic problem with Christianity. First, they have large families. Then they conquer territory against their own rules, and then they feel guilty about it, and destroy their own society.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say I liked DSouza. I flat-out don't. I spoke of him in order to highlight the difference between soulless bla bla bla and genuine attempts at communication on the part of believers. And no, not all "facts" are the same. Some facts have to be alive in order to be meaningful. Using the mind as an eye instead of a muscle makes a huge difference in the attempt to communicate these living realities.

I did not mean to say you don't care about the Truth. You obviously do. But the nature of the "facts" I talk about (assuming that they ARE facts), and the way I try to talk about them, are inextricably bound. My attempt to stress to you that I am not some pedantic creep like D'Souza....has only led you to say that I'm like D'Souza. Go figure.

And no, I'm not "flaunting" my "real" religion. This exchange began, if you remember, when I said your position on the role of Christianity in the West to be utterly hopeless. You don't really believe it, but you seem to say it is of vital importance. Good luck renewing Western Civ with that approach. The Church of England, unitarianism, relativism, etc, are all symptoms of the Wests decay. As well-intentioned as your approach may be, it aint gonna work.

I'm not advocating shoving religion down everyone's throat. I've always thought that non-believers can sometimes be much closer to God than believers. But when you say that Christianity is central to the West, only to defend a comatose version of it simply because some smart people have seen it that way, it isn't religious zealoutry to disagree and say that the patient might actually be alive.

All I am saying is that: a) your prescription for civilizatonal renewal rests on a hopeless position, b) "some smart people have thought so" isn't exactly a great defense for your view of Christiantiy, c) that your adoration of Gibbon as one of these people is misguided, and should be a clue as to why "smart" people can be wrong, d) you have a right to your beliefs, but that criticizing them is not the Spanish Inquisition, e) that I really REALLY do stress that I'm not trying to be a DSouza-like pedantic pain, but am only interested in friendly communication, and f) that this form of communication is inextricably bound to the "facts" which I believe in, as not all facts are the same. Some facts pulsate with living truth (at least I think so).

But if we disagree, we disagree, right? No sense posting ad nauseum.


Anonymous said...

You never said that I was like D'Souza, but I did get the impression you were implying it.

-el gato

Green Infidel said...

A conservative voting into office any churchgoer over 5 foot 10... what are they looking for? A genius? Or someone who is reliable, and can be trusted? That clean-cut image surely, to the voter, represents the latter... whether they have what it takes to be president of a country (a somewhat complicated affair, requiring high diplomatic, leadership and, above all, decision-making skills) is another matter... But surely they are a better choice than the conservative's intellectual opponent who, while possibly boasting a high IQ, could be a "subverter" looking to make life difficult for those who did most to make his country great, while promoting groups tohate the country he/she would be president of?

That we've got to such a choice of candidates is, surely, then an indicator of just how poor the current pool of politicians is? A problem that previous generations, with the likes of Churchill, Thatcher, Reagan or Nixon would not have had to face...

But if we have such a dearth of suitable candidates for president, then is this a problem with only politicians, or with society as a whole?

Could the current prevailing mindset (among the young) of sexual promiscuity, bling and hip-hop on MTV, obsession with celebrities in the papers, obsession (by all social classes) with soccer/baseball scores (even of lower-league teams), promotion of non-white/Christian cultures and an addiction to drinking ever-larger amounts of alcohol be leading to a generation where being a leader standing for unfashionable but necessary values is not worth the social stigma for anyone, except a few "new conservatives" lacking in charisma?

Anonymous said...

@el gato
No connection between D'S and you. I know nothing about you and only take issue with your argument, not with you. As to eye and muscle, you don't know the first thing about the eye. The eye is not in the Catechism or in the Book of Common Prayer. It's in sitting alone in a cave for five years and wrestliong with your own stupidity. Ask Simon Stylites, not to mention Siddhartha and hundreds of Oriental sages. Or Thomas Merton, to get closer to our times and religion.

Anonymous said...


Siddharta wasn't wrestling with his ignorance, he was wrestling with the utter horror of unending death and rebirth.

As for the other two, I'll take your word for it. I find it impossible to believe that people from other cultures/beliefs didn't wrestle with the same things we do. We're all human, after all.

There is another aspect to what I said about the mind as an eye. One does not create his/her own reality with the mind. The mind is a tool, not an end in and of itself (i'm sure you agree). But there comes a point where you have to take certain things on faith. You have to let go. Your mind should not be the authority of your own reality, but rather be a handmaiden to your relationship to it.

And one's relationship to reality is overwhelmingly based on faith. What can you say you really know? I've never been to China, yet I believe it exists. And yet I still call my faith in China's existence a form of "knowledge".

As smart as people may be, we walk by faith, not by sight. I believe that God is the ultimate source of Truth, and it is his presence on earth (however imperfect) that enables anyone to see. His victory over death here on earth sets those who love him free from death, falsehood, and any need to know for oneself. God is the Truth and light of all of us, whether we realize it or not. Let the devil "know" the darkness of his own sollipsism.

The mind is there to see, not to know.

Columnist said...

Yes, God exists, and hell is eternal.

Anonymous said...


Yea, I know. The horror of hell gets to me too, sometimes.
But there is one thing that makes it somewhat understandable, and on occasion, understandable....the existence of evil.

-el gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

The theory of historical periods of "excessive Yang" or "excessive Yin" is not consistent with the meaning of Yin and Yang, which are always in balance across the totality of a system at any given time.

Individuals can have an excess of one or the other in relationship to one another (that is, in some degree of codependency), because an individual should be balanced as a discrete system (thus independent), not subordinated to existing as a part of an external relationship. To define oneself as an aggressor requires victims, and victims need aggressors.

A better way to understand Yin and Yang is to look at the relationship between figure and ground in art (and perception). Escher famously explored the idea of removing ground from images by combining figures, but it one looks at the images created one has a profound sense that, invariably, at the moment that ground has been totally removed, the figures cease to be figures and become mere pattern...more suitable as a background than as a focal point.

Yang cannot be out of balance with Yin for the same reason that figure cannot be without ground, it is the passivity of Yin that allows the activity of Yang to be discerned. Stealth can be achieved by reduction of signature or by increased background noise.

The point of understanding Yin and Yang is to become a complete and independent individual. Nations, corporations, movements, these things have no independent existence, they are entirely emergent/contingent by nature. Yin and Yang, thus applied, distorts and ultimately corrupts the essentially individual application.

Ultimately, the test of the predictive powers of your theory lies in the future. But I predict with confidence that it is the emotionally resonant and sanctified Christianity of a truly divine Christ, and not the ecumenical version stripped of any unique claims which so offend "intellectuals", that will characterize the reemergence of Western Civilization's core values.

As Green Infidel points out, making the right decisions isn't usually a matter of great intellectual prowess so much as firm moral character. So why should we embrace a revision of religion to provide more intellectual wiggle room and less clear moral guidance?

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...


Always a pleasure to read your posts.

If Yin and Yan are locked in proper balance at all times, then if one individual freely chooses to be aggressive, it must by definition mean that another individual MUST be passive. Who then, has free will? At the most, it can only be half of the people at any given moment.

Your critique of Tekuan was spot-on. There CAN be no "excessive" Yin or Yan.

There is a huge irony in the idea of ruling "cognitive elites" that disdain Christianity. How different are they really from the ecclesiastical elites of old? As a case in point, Academia is an institution that jealously guards its power and privilege, using "knowlege" as a weapon to do it. Are cries of "racist", "fascist", "creationist" " etc, ANY different than the old cry of "heresy"? I think not. The intellectual package has changed, but the spiritual reality remains the same.

-el gato

Sagunto said...

@El Gato, @Chiu -

Thank you both for your truly enlightening and critically constructive comments. They add real value to the article.

Kind regs from / Amsterdam (clip) /,

Anonymous said...


Thanks. That was mighty nice of you. I was worried I had gone overboard.

-el gato loco