Saturday, July 4, 2015

All In Two Months' Time

Absurdity has a precise meaning in one of philosophy's "school of thought". And if you use it for whatever purpose, then its technical definition dwindles and becomes one of the varied meanings of the same word. The opposite person in the dialogue table now has to sift through its equivocal equivalents. Unlike in the "hard" sciences, in which one theory has an equivalent mathematical formula or set of formulae and governed by the relationship within the limits of the terms in a relatively closed system, in the world of vocabulary and terminology, its use becomes very specific insofar as its relative usage is concerned. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that the next person may interpret it otherwise. In the third level, a third party has the power to bend it in order to suit it along their own ideological lines. In the end, the original intent is lost in the view of the overgrowth of appended meaning in the series of time and space. 

But there is a growth that is hermeneutically viable in the lapse of history, only if it flows as a logical and natural expression of the original intent. Activism that is synchronous with verbal voluntarism may only lead to confusing cloud of misrepresentation that only the handful of an elitist power may hold sway.

It is really absurd if absurdity is itself not defined as being absurd in the first place. For how to arrive at a more complex application of the term begins with the basic notion of what the word represents. Just as one thinker in the Middle Ages said that all interpretation begins with the literal sense, so it is in this process that we can truly arrive at what the word originally means. - July 4, 2015.

Why such a nagging feeling that never goes away? I don't believe it lies in the gut, but in the upper recesses of the body - in the seat of the modes of thoughts, in the area where such things ought to exist and has its locus for life. It keeps on coming even when others which lie outside it would like to surpass it, exceed it, or unseat it. But this feeling does not go away, for it has a way of its own, where no one knows how. It knows me more than I know it, for it came before I came and it exists before I. It knows its ways when nobody knew it first. It is not foreign to anyone, for anyone has a knack of knowing its own claims. Everyone has a blood of it, which goes right to the heart, where the thinking has a depth that the mind is so weakly trying in the grips. Why? Only the mind knows its faults and its fragility before the face of its claims. It cannot face up to the standard of this IT. No matter the mind evades from its pervading eyes, it only shuns its own self, for it is it who is the fount - the key where to exist exists. - June 24. 2015.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The conclusion that the author has emphatically generated through the rigors of his arguments is negative: theology cannot stand intellectually as a metaphysical discipline, since it cannot satisfy the requirements of the canons of respectability as being embodied in the scientific reasoning. 

Is this conclusion justifiable?

There are several observations that have to be made on different levels of the arguments proffered by the Nicholaos Jones, the author of the paper, in the hope of answering the question.

First, the paper does not treat the respectability of theological methods of interpreting theological questions in the area of hermeneutics, but the respectability of these methods in answering metaphysical questions. It is the attempt made by some epistemologists in acquiring a place for theology in metaphysics through satisfying the criteria that made scientific reasoning respectable. Of the metaphysical question where the central problem lies is the following: Does God exist? To the author, it is not falsifiable due to the reason that theology treats the existence of God as immune to refutation.

Insofar as metaphysics in its most general sense concerns itself in its understanding and explicating the fundamental questions of being and the world, there is already an overlap of theology and metaphysics. Theological investigations treat questions that concern on two domains: the temporal and transcendental as far as questions of being is concerned. Also, theology is concerned of an entity whose being is treated higher than the scientific method can measure and justify. The tendency to delimit the questions to the verifiable is to narrow the world of metaphysics as such to the sphere of experience and quantifiable.

In the history of philosophy and with the advent of empirical science, metaphysics has since been judged against the rules of verifiability, and this has shifted metaphysics toward the domain of the non-empirical.

Therefore, the definition of respectability should not be encapsulated within the margins of the methodology of science, since metaphysics does not constitute itself by this delimitation but it surpasses this constricted definition.

Secondly, modern scientific method has come to be accepted as “arbiter of respectable reasoning” and is measured according to these two frameworks of understanding its methodology and epistemology: falsificationism and evidentialism. The first framework says that “its claims about the world are falsifiable: For every scientific claim, there is a logically possible circumstance that would count as a refutation of the claim.” While, the second is “the requirement that one’s degree of confidence in the truth of a claim be proportional to the evidence one has in support of the claim.” Therefore, for theology to become “relevantly analogous” to the criteria that justifies scientific reasoning as the standard of respectability, it has to pass the test of these two frameworks of judgment. For Nicholaos Jones, the unchangeable statement that God exists in theology alone renders theological reasoning untenably disreputable.  In this case, we have to go back to the first position, whereby theology does not fall within the limited view of reality that science imposes, and it may be viewed as warranted to appropriate faith as supplementing what is lacking of human rationality in its limited capacity on the condition that what extends beyond human reason is possibly true. Falsificationism and evidentialism can fall within theology's own methodological schema as far as faith has material substance to account for, as far as part of faith is subject to the time and space, but in the categories of being treated fully by theological investigation, science falls short.

Does this make theological reason disreputable, since it cannot refute the statement that God exists?

It is not illogical to acknowledge that there is a good reason to believe that there exists a difference between respectable reasoning and scientific reasoning vis-à-vis respectable reasoning and theological reasoning. Nicholaos Jones has delineated that “the canons modern scientific reasoning are constitutive of what it is for reasoning to be respectable”. However, within this sense, it is warranted to believe that the principle of respectability exceeds the canons of scientific reasoning and is not strictly identified solely to science. The content of what is intrinsically a respectable reasoning in itself is greater than science and cannot be hijacked by the two frameworks of the latter (falsificationism and evidentialism). It is helpful to understand what philosopher Dewi Zephaniah Phillips judgment that the statement in question – God’s existence – cannot be judged according to the logical categories of philosophy because religious belief has its own sense and meaning within its own domain. The philosopher’s job is to explicate the meaning of this belief. Science starts with a given that is already falsifiable, whereas theology presupposes the idea that God exists – that cannot be ruled out by any succeeding evidence – from which reasoning is applied for understanding. Reformed epistemologists have contended that there are properly basic beliefs which need no further help of arguments to buttress this conviction that we naturally hold. For example, seeing myself on the mirror does not need any argument to support the idea that I am seeing myself on the mirror. It is simply that seeing myself before me on the mirror warrants me to conclude that I believe that I am seeing myself on the mirror.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Critique of God and Quantum Cosmology

In his essay titled Arguments From Nothing: God and Quantum Cosmology, Lawrence Cahoon, a professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts has argued, in response to the recent complex theories of cosmology, that, indeed, the beginning of a finite-past universe, as we know it, and as new propositions in quantum physics suggest, might not as well be what most have expected – that the universe had been generated from nothing. In this paper, the author had brought forth two arguments: first of which, he had elaborated on a different concept of the usage of the word Nothing in relation to quantum cosmology; and second, that the position of these novel ideas, as far as these have metaphysical implications, are dysfunctional. The author was circumspect and careful to elaborate his argument on the basis of the current and sound hypothetical postulates and discoveries of physics considering that the beginning of the universe from Nothing has some religious influence.

Taking the thought of the Greek Parmenides as his initial point – “Why is there something rather than nothing?” – the author postulates that the word Nothing needs to be construed in a different light against the usual denotation, which is “in the sense of utter absence”. The proposition of Edward Tryon in 1973 of the “continuous emergence and disappearance of particles” in quantum vacuum and succeeding inflation theory and quantum tunneling has given the author a substantive ground to propose a different kind of conception of the uncaused cause, which was propounded by St. Thomas of Aquino in Christian Theology. It has been discovered that most of the content in the universe is energy (dark energy) and that space cannot be translated as nothing since it has “its own metric structure that causally interacts with mass-energy”. Therefore, the concept of Nothing is not the state of “no-thing” but in the varying degrees of determinateness.

Given the thrust of current cosmological theories and its direction to open discussions on the initial condition from which the universe came, the author, mindful of the methodological constraints intrinsic in science and its predilection “to build structure into the laws so as to leave nothing to initial conditions”, rightly said the following: “without reference to an outside, that (emergence of particles) is impossible”. Thus, for the author, considering that the “current physics claims that the ensemble of matter, physical energy, force fields, waves, particles, and spacetime, characterized by physical constants and governed by laws, started” and rightly and proper to Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason, to posit a reference on the initial condition, which current scientific consensus may consider as outside the purely physical and material grounds, is legitimate, valid, and rational.

As a point of departure from the theistic doctrine of ex nihilo but leaning more closely to the philosophical idea of Baruch Spinoza and panentheism, the philosopher-author speculated on what he termed as the Ground, the source of the physicality of the universe and whose attribute is also physicality itself.  In this, he has imagined that the Ground is like a predifferentiated Being, but not entirely indeterminate or without properties as to become nothing in equivalence. It becomes the source of laws and funds, initiates, and fixes the rules and constants that hold the universe together. Against the commonly-held attributes of God in Christian Theology and in the hopes of moving away from the inherent difficulties that the classical explication of God raises in relation to natural science, the author had concurred with another author’s (Hartshorne) denial of the Ground’s omniscience and omnipotence, and its limitation in power and knowledge.

From the outset, the author has been clear of his position regarding the properties, characteristics, and attributes of what he has postulated as the Ground of Being as that which is the source of the physical world, as against the cosmological argument hinging on theistic concepts generated from religious beliefs and divine revelation. The author is faithful to his intent in preserving a cosmological argument vis-a-vis Hume’s on the grounds of the purely scientific territory, building it up on the foundations of current advancement in theoretical physics, and freeing the limitations inherently imposed on his concept of the Ground and in consideration of a highly stochastic background of reality. The question, then, is asked on just how much does this opening of a self-enclosed metaphysical horizon of the world of science is to the question of Being given that the line of thought and the trajectory of physics, and contiguously in all sciences, is directed to some higher questions, which may overlap with the categories based on religion. The author has willfully consigned to limiting himself to the verifiable and the quantitative nature of reality and recedes from looking rational answers over the terrains of faith and revelation. Does this limit our goals of inquiry, then? After all, the author has said the following: “here looms a potentially unending debate about the aims of inquiry. My only short-term defense is that the censorship of that extra step can make no obvious claim to rational superiority”.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Tethering Darkness

The Tethering Darkness

Lately, darkness has filled me. The grappling reality of death overturns my little amount of positive and sunny disposition. With the death of Monsignor Antonio Ferreron left my mind contemplating on the existence of death. The macabre account of the cyclone that hit Myanmar early this month and the devastating 7.8-Richter-scale earthquake that leveled the Chinese province of Sichuan have all borne their mark in my mind.

There could be no question that the pending and hovering reality of death always awaits us anytime and anyplace. It is being said often that the moment we are born, we are also dying. In the last analysis then, what becomes stable in what we called "life" is death - the nothingness. However, should it be that we are engulfed in this total absence of being one after one ceases? Is it then the case that the transitory reality of human being means that we would truly pass only in this existence and no more? But in this scheme of things, one could not limited to the asking of our existential reality per se, as if the reality of existing is all that there is. Is it not valid also to ask that behind this existing is an existence of a greater kind? Is it not that the existence we have experienced is an existence to an existence before any existing exists? By this I mean that the meaninglessness of existing because it just comes about to be that way seems to me a grave concern lying flat before our eyes. It is saying in one sense that what we have in reality is only governed by the forces controlling the universe and no more. The sole fact that there is this existence is something that somehow we are not singularly bound to the laws of nature; but that, as you and me in this world are, we participate in the reality of an existence before the universe is. I could find no better answer before the Big Bang theory happened than the theoretical and philosophical basis of a reality before time and space began.

In this regard, the darkness of the night that is always leaving me patches of void and emptiness, which I think did not exempt anyone in this matter, since Mother Teresa, too, experienced a dark night of her soul that was even seen as more protracted than usual, does not lay me in the space of hopelessness but ushers me into the hope that, as Christians are, is tended to a goal - a goal that we all want to achieve in the end. What could be a better end than in the totality of what we have always longed for. Even the oriental idea of one with the being is a concept akin to our search of something that could pacify our restless hearts.

The encyclical of Benedict XVI is indeed a food for thought if one seeks the penultimate questions of life confronting our coming ends. This ugliness of death haunts everyone from the great to the least. Even our redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, suffered greatly in the garden of Gethsemane, as if to say that in that moment, he was not God, he greatly embraced His nature of being a man. Needless to say, His words of supplication to the Father, as if to ward the cup from Him, is saying to us today that we, too, avoid the cup of death - that is to say, we want to stay in this world that is always alien to us. We want to enjoy the transient happiness that this life could bring. It is funny to think that man does not cease to complain of his suffering of being in this world but seeks always to remain! What could be a worse place than being besieged with fear of imminent death, with diseases of all sorts, with catastrophes of every kind, with deluge and havoc of nature, with shame and failures, with responsibilies and deadlines, with increasing prices and uncertain future, with the waning of US primacy in the world stage and economy, with the rise of Islam and the east, and with all things that could ever happen in this world. And we still cling to our hopes in this world?

Do we then flee and seek refuge to the future because we are confronted with a barely habitable world? Or, have we found an "opium" to which we could idenfy our sighs, as Karl Marx would say about religion? Is our present living just barely living in itself because each one of us is escaping reality in our own little worlds? Is our attitude of indifference of what would be, like we could not care less if the world tomorrow ends? Some have escaped into an eschatological existence, be it in politics and religion: we put our trust into the future, which has been idealized, and rework ourselves backward by making changes in the present. This eschatological escapism is evident though subtle. This is not entirely negative in itself; since in the pattern of things, it is a given fact that reality has orientation in itself toward consequential ends. Cause and effect is a realism one could not avoid. However, this has been dramatically advanced and given priority in the way we follow and believe things. For example, we enroll in insurance policies by viewing things in practical terms on the moment of death. This may not sound bad; however, when this becomes our first priority over any spontaneous goodness that the present life could bring, then we hamper the good that is in itself possible in this present moment over and against that hoped-for goodness to come in the future. It is as if to align every thing to conform to that goal that lies beyond. It takes the slack off from therein to point it toward an orientation in the future.

Death, then, is no exeption. The overbearing reality of death orients our goals of making most of life: "let us eat and be merry for tomorrow we will die". This is a kind of passive eschatologial escape. We do not actively draft life to suit the future. We acknowledge the future existence of death, but taking it from our consciousness by saturating ourselves in the better things of the now and here, enrapturing ourselves in the pleasure of this precise moment.

In the realm of religion, there is no clearer fact than the mushrooming of the "feel-good" denominations. To render Jesus our Lord and Savior today and to verbalize it as accepting Him as a sole redeemer and savior does not render it invalid and valueless. However, the theological undercurrent of this kind of faith is troubling: setting out our faith through acknowledging Him in our lives is a one-time event, which has ramification of our salvation. It reads "once saved always be saved". The consequence of a voice acceding of Him as your personal Lord and Savior renders you saved and in now way unsaveable. The viewpoint here: the future salvation of a human being is re-orienting life today by structuring it through a precise-moment formula to make it saveable. There is no problem here anway, but what is untenable is the fact that from here and on it is a journey of constant and unwavering faith! The Will that you used in accepting Christ on that certain moment is the same Will that you will use in the coming days and months before death. What lies therein, in the view of Born-Again Christianity, does not matter because damnation has been salvaged by that one-time event in the past. This is an active eschatological escapism. The security of salvation is given more prominence than the virtual reality of life of persevering and enduring in faith and practice.

In all this, the effect is confusion in a world that knows no anchorage to clear truth. The looming fact of death is now given different shades of acceptance. We have come to accept it in different ways in which we situate ourselves by the belief that we hold. Then, a question then seeks to be answered bears out: what, then, to hold? what, then, to believe? and what, then, to follow?

When Pope Benedict XVI went to the United States in April, he met with some representatives of other religious faiths and other Christian denominations in New York. He was clear as he was referring to the reason why the apostles were successful in convincing the world to the yoke of Christ: "The ultimate effectiveness of their preaching did not depend on "lofty words" or "human wisdom" (1 Cor 2:13), but rather on the work of the Spirit (Eph 3:5) who confirmed the authoritative witness of the Apostles (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-11)." And in the later years of the growth of the nascent Chruch: "this proclamation had to be guaranteed by the purity of normative doctrine expressed in creedal formulae symbola which articulated the essence of the Christian faith and constituted the foundation for the unity of the baptized (cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5; Gal 1:6-9; Unitatis Redintegratio, 2)".

Then the Pope focused the problem of the world of today: "My dear friends, the power of the kerygma has lost none of its internal dynamism. Yet we must ask ourselves whether its full force has not been attenuated by a relativistic approach to Christian doctrine similar to that found in secular ideologies, which, in alleging that science alone is "objective", relegate religion entirely to the subjective sphere of individual feeling. Scientific discoveries, and their application through human ingenuity, undoubtedly offer new possibilities for the betterment of humankind. This does not mean, however, that the "knowable" is limited to the empirically verifiable, nor religion restricted to the shifting realm of "personal experience. For Christians to accept this faulty line of reasoning would lead to the notion that there is little need to emphasize objective truth in the presentation of the Christian faith, for one need but follow his or her own conscience and choose a community that best suits his or her individual tastes. The result is seen in the continual proliferation of communities which often eschew institutional structures and minimize the importance of doctrinal content for Christian living."

To which way we view the greater reality in our own little realities, and insomuch as we hold dear the Christian tenets that we have come to believe, then we do not have any other recourse than to believe in the historical unfolding of truth subsisting in the Church in which the ancient faith endures and to which Christ has given the power to teach. We could not cast aside the historicity of our faith without throwing away the Christian belief altogether. If only in the difficulty of our believing in an institutional Church we have come to terms of the gravity of not believing in Christ, then it follows then that so prized a treasure has been had in the long run. Accepting death as natural and inescapable is difficult, which is as difficult as accepting the truth in a Church marred by weakness and controversies. Death and Church run parallel to each other and each has a great relationship to follow through. Death does not become nihilistic in a person informed of his faith that the Church guards carefully. Only in the certainty of the truth taught laboriously by the Church could guarantee an eternal salvation beyond the grave.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Protestantism III

Protestantism III

The Age of the Enlightenment came at the hegemony of rationalism. The personalities of this age are described as one of the greatest exchange of ideas in the history of philosophy. The budding of scholars who tried to penetrate every possible question in reality had every mind of Europe gripped with confusion and in flux. The continental Europe whose exchange of ideas have been a singular source of its greatness and weakness created a traffic of development and expansion of theories, hypotheses, and exponents. The lasting effect of this will be felt until now, the Postmodern world.

The Catholic Church at the time found herself defensive against the ideas of the era. The Church had been attacked from within and without, even when some of these greatest minds had been Catholics or educated in Catholic schools themselves. Yet, the Church had to encounter, and, hence, She has to respond by turning inward and find the essence that She has been born out. France had not been kind to her. After the fall of Bastille, the Revolutionary forces who toppled the monarchy the graphic representation of it was by beheading the last Bourbon monarch, Louise XVI, usurped the government and became so hostile to the Church. The Catholic religion for the first time in France had been stripped off of Her patrimony that had helped the French populace in its advancement both in the material and spiritual benefits.

However, the encounter of the Church with the Kantian’s Copernican revolutionary and critical philosophy, empiricism that fell after skepticism from rationalism, the idealist thought that followed along in its wake, and the nationalist sentiments hovering over the whole of Europe made the Church conscious of Herself as ever. In one sense, the Church was made stronger in Her identity by the meeting of these solvent ideas. If She had been shaken with rationalism, which She helped foster, She, nonetheless, found the flowering of music in that age. The great masters of the day from Hadyn to Beethoven, and then to Mozart wrote voluminous musical masterpieces that would define the zenith of musical history in after years.

Here is the inverse relation of the beauty of reason and the beauty of music particularly in this time. Though reason which the Church did not expunge from Her apprehension of truth had been used through those years as a test against Her during the corrosive years of the Enlightenment, She still found the another way of magnificent presentation of truth in the form of melody and musical harmony. If the world becomes hostile through philosophy, then through music it can. This is the beauty of the Church. She does not express Christ only to certain modes of presentation but exhaust every means to offer it either to let it be discovered or make it as a constant sign for the world to hear and see.

The Age of the Enlightenment had been spurred in part by the coming of Protestantism. The view that disbelieving the perennial teachings of the Church could become legitimated by at least a credible person of the hour whose credentials at the very least could be the primary source of its validity. The outcry of Luther paralleled that of the fermenting ideas of the Renaissance and the growing sentiments of Europe toward its identity through national lines had given fertile grounds for pure Rationalism, whose primary characteristic was contemptuous toward religion especially Christianity, to fallout in the 18th century. Protestantism had become the vehicle of some of these ideas to prosper, and in the end, it too became its victim.

This is one of the reasons why Protestantism can never be a valid religion. The validity of this religion lies in its claim to purify the Church from the filth of its doctrine, discipline, worship, devotion, and life. And, because of that, they proposed sola scriptura and sola fidei as the fundamental criteria to which all things in faith had to be measured. The effect of this is 40,000 christian denominations in the world today and counting. The unity that was always at thoughts of Paul in his admonition to the different Churches from Rome to Philippi had been rendered impossible in human terms. Notwithstanding is the 1054 schism of the Eastern Churches we now called Orthodoxy. Thus, to each and every christian in today’s world, one has to feel the gravity spiritually of Christianity’s disunited fact. If certainly Protestantism can offer to the world Christ whose teaching is one and the same, then where is it? Its legacy is a total wreck and failure due to its natural predication: confusion.

Luther’s revolt against Rome could not be a cogent proposition for a renewed Christianity. Only by perfecting the Church inside can it be a valid recourse. The principles governing the Church are ancient and foundational for She drew it not from Her own accord but from Christ, the one essence with the Father and whose being is the visible truth that became man and whose teachings the Church has always protected and whose God-ness She has always proclaimed to the world. The founder did not promise the Church to be perfect in Her members. Albeit, He is inviting them to perfect themselves without cease in the world that tend to draw them against Him their master.

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Protestantism II

Protestantism II

Since 1517 of the pegging of the 95 theses of Martin Luther on the door of the Cathedral of Wittenberg, the western Christendom has been split into sects and denominations that up until now the evidence is quite seen vividly. One primary reason of Luther’s battlecry was on the reform of the Christian church as he saw fit. However, the reformers themselves had been divisive enough to cause in themselves differences in doctrine and discipline. The mayhem caused by the Peasants’ Revolt in Germany, by the rise of Calvinism in Geneva, and later, the coming into being of the Church of England brought about by Henry VIII’s quarrel with Pope Leo X, the succeeding founding of Anabaptism, and many others corollary to the initial dissent had led to more divisions, which has become the primary characteristic of Protestantism.

This is where arguments are brought to the fore: whence the rise protestantism which seeks to purify the Church has become itself the source of weakness within the religion professed by the reformers. It seems to me that Protestantism has defeated itself from the very beginning by its very nature, which is in itself instrinsically indefensible. The doctrines of sola fide and sola scriptura now becomes a havoc for the many who seek to interpret it on the appeal of subjectivity, as based on a said impulse of the Holy Spirit. The mere fact that what defines Protestants of today is already a great question to be posed against them when, indeed, what they protested about has been in existence since the time of the Apostles.

In my opinion, the Protestant reformers have failed by their temperament. Their attitude towards Rome has clouded their objectivity to root out what have been the non-essentials in the discipline of the Church. They had questioned the very existence of papacy when in fact, the office has been there even during the time of St. Ignatius of Antioch, a bishop under the tutelage of St. John, when he perfectly describes the Church of Rome as the one who presides with charity among churches. He has failed to notice that the Bishop of Rome is constitutive of the Church whose primary task it is mandated by Matthew 16. Luther failed to do his share of research and weigh things on by being constrained in the events of his day and the lure to change things in his own hands. He has become prey victim of the sovereigns of his time that only aggravated the precarious conditions, which the result is total breakdown of order in the society.

On one hand, it might be considered as beneficial for the Church to experience the reformation of the 1500s. Her identity became even more defined and the changes, though at the start slow in coming, came to a head as various popes have been adamant to enforce the Council of Trent’s decrees, which would eventually condition the Church for another 400 years until the Second Vatican Council.

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The founding of Protestantism saw the rupture of Christendom into fragments of denominations. This has become one of the sources of weakness and scandal in Christianity that today it has become even doubtful that union is possible. The rupture of the historic Church into many confessing churches has blurred the lines of beliefs that have held sway among Christians for 1500 years. Martin Luther may be a hero for some, but his name will continuously echo in the pages of history as one who stood for good or ill. Much in the debate about Luther centers on his personality at the crux in that part of history.

The events leading up to Protestantism is very much complex. The waning years of Scholastism and the gradual developing of humanism has caught the Church in the web of factors that She herself had need of integration. The seeming antithetical nature of humanism against the Christian faith need have to be synthesized within Her innate constitution, which She herself has received from Her founder. However, the Scholastism that had become identical with Catholic theology had found fertile grounds of abuses as it was becoming spent in itself. The inherent rationalism of Thomistic thought found no favor in a world, which was in flux of changes. Here Luther found his world as like others such as Calvin, Zwingli, and others.

The fomenting ideas that Scholastism had brought made a society that was dichotomized: a one class that has grown in itself that saw no meaning in the revealed religion because of continued abstraction, and theologians and priests who had become completely detached from the pew because of their continued fixation with beliefs that were far unreachable by the common people’s understanding. Therefore, it was inevitable that doubt would arise. The Church lost Her personal familiarity of Her believers in envigorating them for an existential change as a reaction to the Gospel. Indeed, the Church of the 1500s is marked by a clergy suffering from the laxity of discipline as a consequence of Christian rationalism.

At the backdrop of this event lies the looming influence of humanism that has brought the great Renaissance, the flowering of other ideas that has been sidelined by Aristotlean thought. Thus, the Church was caught at the midst of Her own agency: on one side, the reduction of morality, and on the other, the onslaught of secular learning that has found fertile ground in the 16th Century Europe.

Hence, Luther found distrust in the too rationalistic theology of his day and succumbed to a crisis that would recapitulate a disruption in the whole of Europe for two centuries.

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Charity A Nonconditional Issue

Charity A Nonconditional Issue

Is it wrong to give? Negative. I think the basic premise of the idea of giving does not stem from any condition that one attaches to it. Charity is intrinsically bound up in the command of Christ for gospel proclamation. Just as he was healing the wounded physically, emotionally, and spiritually, he did not restrict himself in any way to conditions imposed by circumstances and situations. Just when I give something to beggars does not in any way violate the rules of responsibility. The Savior did not choose the ones he healed, the ones he had given time with, and the ones he rose from death. The command to give is not something accidental where Christians find inadvertently in his following in the footsteps of the Master, but in itself is essentially a part of one’s conviction of following so.

We cannot relegate the concept of giving to the realm of the abstract. However, our faith should dictate our mind to do it concretely even in our midst. Jesus Christ did not remain as a hidden God, but He manifested Himself to the Jews as to be perceived in their senses and absorb in their cognition. We find Him at the epicenter of the life of Israel, working in their midst by liberating them physically from the binds of their disease and circumstances. Heretofore, we who call ourselves Christians should do likewise. We cannot remain consigned on a spot of just looking at our crosses at a distance, but must we take it upon ourselves and follow Him wherever He may lead us.

Therefore, our action of charity is an act of Christ wherever we choose to do it especially to the least of our brethren. A Christian who opts charity among other things does not acclaim himself for doing so, but by being called a Christian, he just follows the commands of the One whom he identifies himself with. "Whatever you do to the least of your brothers, you do it to me." How else can one interpret this except by doing it.

However, the one who gives may be accused of irresponsibility. But I think here we should find my disagreement. Firstly, the command of Christ is non-negotiable. The Gospel addresses these commands specifically without referring to any conditions of giving. The Lord did not state that we should give only until we find it abusive already. He did not put limitations in quantity and quality. Secondly, the admonition is an invitation in the one who receives the grace of faith. Now, the grace moves the man in his subjective capacity to extend help whoever is in need. The response of a Christian is the stimulus of the grace in the heart of the believer. Whoever, whatever, and whenever is the concerned, it does not take into account as to who receives the help.

The help one can give may not always be monetary. It may be in helping someone getting a job or illuminating someone in one’s prudential capacity as to the choices to be taken in a difficulty.

Many times we also fail to take note that giving something is a step to freedom. The liberating force of giving from the oppression of hunger and thirst is just a material example of a higher and spiritual battle each man strives to conquer. The emancipation from sin is both a temporal and spiritual warfare. That is why the Church has preferential option to caridad because giving is an act of love of God and neighbor which is antithetical to sin, the progenitor of slavery, of greed, and of hate.

So the next time you give, always think that you are conquering something which always invites us to act and think opposite to our true vocation as Christian.

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Another Quagmire: A Response

Another Quagmire: A Response

As I was reaching for comments with regards to what I have written in my "One of Days in Quagmire", I have found that most did not understand what I have written. At most, a colleague of mine says that it was complicated as a reading. Another had commented that I should be more to the point.

Firstly, as a writer of a topic one has to establish a "helipad" so to speak to make a point. A sentence topic if anyone is keen enough is the statement I made that there is in existence a uniqueness of every individual, and this is being implied by my statement, "You cannot suppress other people’s uniqueness, nor can you forego their similarities." This uniqueness can create tension because of the uniqueness itself. And, I have stated later in the same stanza that conflicts are not preventable and are bound to happen because of, well, uniqueness. And I suppose that everyone should have taken notice of the words thesis and anti-thesis, which are themselves philosophically meaningfull since we are beings that have differences, let alone similarities.

In the second stanza, I have underlined the inherent problem with everyone of us. What then is the problem? It is that anyone may tend to forget that what we hear, see, and feel can have objective reality (that such a thing exists outside yourself and in my example, gossiping) and subjective reality (our own interpretation of the thing that exits and in my example again, gossiping). Taking these NOT into account (the subjective and objective), one can have the tendency to oversimplify things: like making conclusions quickly that so and so has insulted me and judge the situation against your favor. Or, again to oversimplify things by interpreting other people’s minds (like so and so is guilty of insulting me because he is a friend of this). One becomes guilty because of association.

Now in the third stanza, I tried to explain that this is in no way simple since making sure everything is perfect in any interaction is an ideal thing. You cannot expect everyone to interpret a certain thing the same at all times, and our reactions vary from one to another based on our psychology or other factors at that point in time. However, consciously acknowledging this problem (tension in every interaction) may be of great help to construct for us a balanced view of life — that is why I said integrate.

I also point an important factor, which can be a helping hand for everyone who has the same problem: the religious beliefs. At times, our religious beliefs would help us to explain things and overcome by some sort of explanation. One such thing is that my religious belief teaches me to love my neighbor. This is a Christian commandment that is emphasized by Christ. By so doing, I am challenged to give my foe or otherwise a chance to explain herself or himself. But if things will turn out sour, I may likely say that this is some sort of test for my faith on how God will manifest His grace on me by stretching my patience in such unhappy encounter.

This and all is what I would have entailed everyone to understand. I can understand that I might be misreading my readers by thinking that they know the background knowledge that I have. I hope they will put some extra-time to read again and again. I do believe that words carry something that it represents. I do not want to delve this thing in this write-up, or else I will again be accused of being a complicated writer and incoherent at worse. No offense intended to anyone. I am open to suggestions and critiques from critics anyway.

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One of Days in Quagmire

One of Days in Quagmire

You cannot suppress other people’s uniqueness, nor can you forego their similarities. The tension that exists in the dynamics between the two is one of the learning experiences one can use to ratiocinate developing relationships. For almost two years, I have had quite a lot of these things before my eyes. Though the currents of emotion can carry you down the deluge of conflicts, I can hope for no better way than to exist seeing these things to happen as they should. I believe that there are things unpreventable to happen. Everyday people engage in intrapersonal and interpersonal communication, and it is inevitable that clashes would erupt anytime. The inherent uniqueness of every individual sets in itself a pylon of difference that is in principle a mark of peculiarity. So it raises questions of antithesis if thesis is there in the beginning. What could be an antithesis, but those whose existence itself is marked of his own peculiarity as an individual.

The danger of some individuals these days is to submerge this fact, which is in itself objective, into the domain of their own subjectivity without taking into account the subjectivity of other subjects surrounding them. Like for example, if I am presented with a problem of let us say gossiping, it is quite seldom for some to critically analyze and appraise the problem in question. We tend to subordinate the problem itself under our own subjective interpretation without assessing what could be other factors, which are variables of the problem in itself. The gossiping could after all be another opinion of someone else. Or, the gossiping could just be another emotional let up of someone, whose channeling of a burden inside is one’s way of ego protection.

However, this sort of practical example is an ideal in itself which hopes to be integrated by every individual. We do not make heroes in just twenty four hours. If need be, even a lifetime does.

Another thing that is far important for me is one’s religious beliefs. Somehow, when one is grounded with the positive tenets of one’s religion, it can mitigate potential disastrous effects of temper. More often, it palliates the ill consequence of a bad experience since the ego is open to a supernatural subsidy, which is in itself acquired by faith working through charity with hope.

Nobody ever says it is easy in any way, but how can one see this if this is not made in time and space.

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One Response to “ One of Days in Quagmire ”

  1. # 1 Lorvie Says:

    what is in the sentence up above the moon? can we see any capital letters there? in short, what’s the blah blah all about… coherence and more to the point please. a good writer gives life to the reader and language is not substance nor substance is language.

    in short, what is in the “story”? all that was said can be written in just one short paragraph.

    page 2 please…