Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Are You In League With the White Witch?

Some of you may have already seen the 'Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" which is showing in theaters even as I write. C. S. Lewis' story, though wonderful for children, awakens us to the necessity of Christian cultural symbols and celebrations. First, to waylay any confusion as to the origins of Christmas for you purists, read the following article below. I think you'll benefit at once.

Anti-Christ in the Manger?

Also, for a more in depth approach, see Christmas at New Advent.

The battle that is raging between Christmas and paganism is seen by some Christian sophisticates as beneath them, as a battle carried on by fundamentalist extremists who haven't learned to "properly" tolerate the beliefs of their fellow man and have forgotten that Christmas itself has pagan roots. Phooey to you sophisticates! Certainly it's possible to find an extreme example to justify this claim, yet there are a multitude of facts and examples that show that the war against Christmas is symptomatic of a greater war against philosophical realism in general in our culture, and Christian faith in particular.

Ever since the English Empiricists (Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Berkley) altered the philosophical landscape (only what you discover with your senses is real, and even with that, you cannot determine objective reality, which ultimately, is a rejection of metaphysics and ontology), a deep seated skepticism has blanketed our culture like a thick crusty blanket of snow. With the "White Witch" of skepticism, "it is always winter and never Christmas."

In the face of this deadening ideology, it is necessary for us to maintain the "warm" cultural traditions that keep our faith alive. They aren't optional; they are formative and transformative of our own lives and the lives of others. Consider the impact Christmas in history, if you had read the above articles.

Although the birthday of Christ cannot be determined, it's militant purpose is clear: instituting December 25th as the feast of Christ's birth undermined and destroyed the notion of "Natalis Sol Invicti" in Roman culture and transformed the lives of people who were under the sun god's spell. Reason: the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is the singlemost destructive concept to paganism, both in Church history and today. In addition, our celebrating it breaks the power of the "White Witch." (Oh, in case your wondering, the "White Witch" still doesn't like it.)

The fact is there is a battle for peoples' minds and there is an objective that is clear for both Christians and non-Christians: Christ is supreme, and not a collaborator with other religions. The false view of tolerance that is being preached today by the skeptics is done so to relieve the cultural pressure they feel to conform, which inevitably will cause a "thaw" in their winter of skepticism. They do NOT want this to happen.

The Church, on the other hand, shows proper tolerance by being patient and longsuffering with those who are in error. It is always ready to change, transform, and convert people who are willing, to faith in Christ. Non-Christians may not like this agenda, but, it's Christ's agenda given to his Church.

Paganism holds a false view tolerance that accommodates the beliefs of others and sees them as equally valid, siting this as a cornerstone right for humanity. Yet, they promote this "right" by squelching or removing the freedom of Christians from openly celebrating their customs. The Church values the freedom of men, but would never protect one's belief in a falsehood as a right: no one has the right to believe in error. We have a right to know and believe in the truth.

So, the difference in how we view tolerance is clear: if you reject the Christian message, the Church will tolerate you but it will never adjust its message to accommodate you or justify your belief. In addition, if in holding a position of power;, you seek to promote this "winter" at the expense of mankind's right to know the truth, the Church will oppose you. Paganism, on the other hand, continually seeks to be justified as valid, with no basis of validity other than the appeal to tolerance. If the Church validates paganism, it cease to exist as an agent of salvation to all who live. There is no win-win between Christ and Paganism.

So, to my enlightened and sophisticated Christian brothers and sisters who feel that they are above the fray, beware of the effects of skepticism. Your cavalier attitude to what is at stake may be that you have bought the pagan notion of tolerance and are trying to appease the wrath of the "White Witch." Be sure, that if you fail to please her and satisfy her every whim, she will turn you into stone.


26 Comments:

At 5:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friend, I could argue the merits and demerits of historical 'faith' until we were blue in the face and grubs in the ground.

Until proven otherwise, the sun and the earth rules both my life and yours.

 
At 5:26 AM, Blogger Davo said...

ooops, sorry UL, that 'anonymous' comment came from my 'alter ego'. Am just a bloke trying to survive.

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Davo:

Thanks for dropping by!

I don't mind if egos or alter egos comment here!

It may be, Dave, that what you have going on inside is really a type of dialectic response to my post. That isn't bad. We all do it a lot. Someone makes a statement, we cross-examine it too see if it stands up to reason. If it doesn't, we remake the statement and cross-examine it again. Dialectic is the method of Socrates.

Your statement, "the sun and the earth rules both my life and yours," is interesting and could be a starting point of a Socratic conversation. If you're interested, I would begin with you defining what you mean by 'rule,' pertaining to the sun's and moon's effect on us, and then ask what type of proof would you find acceptable that would replace them with historical faith. In other words, how would you know if the sun and moon ruling our lives is untrue?

If it is a matter of personal belief that you wish to keep to yourself, I understand. Then I won't push it. But as Socrates said, "A life unexamined is not worth living."

Your move, Davo. And, thanks again for dropping by.

 
At 3:57 AM, Blogger Davo said...

Hi again UL. Yes, I have to admit that am just beginning a search. Am not quite sure what for, just yet. Also have to admit that have no training in 'formal' discourse, so am sure that I would come 'unstuck' very quickly in this particular forum. Also have very little 'spare' time to follow up on research and writing at the moment. (um, if that looks like an excuse to wriggle out of this one, yes you'd be right.) However, give me a few more months, and will see what I can come up with. Will drop in from time to time.
As far as the reference to the sun and earth 'ruling', I meant that if there were no energy (cloud cover whatever)from the sun, there would be no plants, therefore no food. Conversely, if for some reason it became hotter, life on earth would be altered; perhaps to the extent that there would be no-one to 'think' about whether there should be 'religion', or even what brand.

Am saying this clumsily. Am writing up an 'essay' that will post some time next year. Cheers.

 
At 10:33 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Davo:

You certainly don't have to worry about being clumsy or not. Do what I do, say what's on your mind. If I get confused, which is often, I'll ask clarifying questions. If I disagree or agree, I'll say so.

Sometimes when I jump on a blog, say at wwww.unitedwelay.blogspot.com, I sometimes get too enthused and find out I need to back off or adjust. That's okay. I don't know people well enough to know what they can handle or how they will respond to what I say. Same here.

As to your comment of the sun, I agree that it is indispensable to our life on earth. It is amazing that if it were just a few million miles to close or too far, life on earth as we know it would end. Some call it the result of design, implying a Designer, or some say it just happened. I'm one to believe that there is a Designer even though there is no scientific evidence to prove it. On the other hand, there's no scientific proof to disprove it either.

Your thoughts on this? Again, you don't have write Pulitzer Prize stuff, just bumble along like I do!

Thanks again for dropping by!

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger Bhakti said...

The Truth can never be found through the intellect. Find God within yourself and then get back to me.

Merry Christmas,
Bhakti

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

bhakti:

You said: "The Truth can never be found through the intellect. Find God within yourself and then get back to me."

I copied it here so I don't have to keep scrolling down to review it.

I'm a bit puzzled as to what you are meaning. Call me slow. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

If so, here they are:

1. What is the intellect?
2. What is finding?
3. If looking within does not include the intellect, how can you identify it without the intellect, specifically without the use of judgement? Doesn't it involving discerning within between that which is the truth and that which isn't?
4. If the Truth can never be found with the intellect, didn't it take the intellect to make this assertion? I would think (oops, I'm a hopeless thinker!) in order to find something, one would not only need to "know" where something is, but "know" where something ISN'T, plus "know" how to find something as well as "know" how not to find something.

I see that you are a spiritual person, but I am a hopeless thinker. Call it the a "Western" approach to reality called reason, your statement doesn't make sense to me.

Do you mind helping out an amateur philosopher like me?

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

First of all, I would like to make some points:

I would hardly call you an 'amateur philosopher'. You have a great mind. Humble pie isn't very flattering, so trie not to eat it too often. You are not above or below me; we are the same.

Socrates has always been one of my favorites.

I, too, am a Westerner. I just happened to have been given a brain that tends towards Eastern Philosophy.


1. The mind. The Truth lies just beyond the mind. The Self/God is the great Knower; the Witness. God is That which creates everything, and that which Witnesses everything. Ask yourself: "Who knows I'm thinking?" "Who knows I'm breathing?", etc.

2. There is no 'finding'. I mispoke. I should have said 'discover'.

3. If looking within does not include the intellect, how can you identify it without the intellect, specifically without the use of judgement?

Herein lies the greatest paradox of all time. You need the mind to get to the space beyond the mind. That is why the mind is both friend and foe. Once one has the realization that everything that exists is a manifestation of God, and this life and everything in it is a great play of consciousness, then one can realize that that the mind is that which 'computes', so to speak, the world and all of it's drama. If we attach who we are to the 'mind' (our thoughts about ourself and the world) then we get caught up in the drama. If we can view the world from the Witnessing point of view, then we see the world for what it really is.

Of course we need the mind to function as human beings, but we can, through meditation, contemplation, Self-inquiry, reach that spot just beyond the intellect where you just 'are'. There's no conflict. It's pure bliss.

We are living in the Temple of God: that Temple is our body...and God resides in our Hearts (sounds cliche; however, this 'God' in our Hearts is exactly the source of Bliss and Joy that I am speaking of.)

4.I would think (oops, I'm a hopeless thinker!) in order to find something, one would not only need to "know" where something is, but "know" where something ISN'T, plus "know" how to find something as well as "know" how not to find something.


This is a wise, and sensible assumption. However, I can guarantee you (from MY experience) that what we are all looking for (happiness/Joy/Bliss...a.k.a. GOD) can only be found when the thinking falls by the wayside.

For example, I meditated for 10 years and only found fleeting peace. Then, I began to study meditation with a great master and I realized that it is letting go of the thoughts (not attaching ourselves to them)--sort of witnessing the thoughts as passing clouds, as the Buddhists and Zen masters would say--that we find the Truth.

I can't explain this away.

Sit quietly.
Relax.
Focus on your breath.
On the in breath you are filling your lungs with air, like a glass being filled with water.
On the outbreath, you are letting the air pour out of the glass.

Once you are relaxed in this state, ask yourself, "Who is breathing?" And just sit. Don't focus on any thoughts that come up" This is stupid! Why am I doing this? This is absurd!" or"This is wonderful!", "Oh, I think I'm bypassing the thoughts!" etc. Any thought, whether you label them 'good' or 'bad' are simply thoughts. Where do they come from? Where do they go to once they're gone?

Thoughts are just energy. They come from the source of pure consciousness, and they dissolve back into pure consciousness.

Look, I'm not a master, I don't pretend to be a master. I don't pretend to be anything. I just experience Jesus in my heart in such a profound way, that I wish people would drop the dogma and experience His love FIRST HAND.

Do we need the intellect to realize what we are looking for? I don't think so. I wasn't really looking for anything when I found it! My heart opened when I let go of the thoughts.

I'm not saying I walk around all day thoughtless; I'm a teacher! How could I do that??

I hope that answers some of your questions. Didn't mean to ramble on for so long.

BTW, one of my best friends is a great intellectual scholar AND a Master meditation teacher. She travels the world teaching both scholarly and spiritual elements. You don't need to let go of the intellect to realize God within your heart: You just have to realize the function of the intellect.

If this sounds confusing it is because there is no way to describe the experience beyond the intellect. It has to be experienced first hand. It's there for the asking. (and you 've probably felt it more often then you are aware.)

Happy Holidays to you!
Blessings,
Bhakti

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

Yikes! I didnt' mean to write a book on your comment section!

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

“Don't you believe that there is in man a deep so profound as to be hidden even to him in whom it is?”

--Saint Augustine

This is what it took me 10,000 words to try to say!!! :)

Peace,
Bhakti

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger Davo said...

UL, i'll have to thank Bhakti for bringing up an idea that I was heading toward. I once had an 'experience' that is difficult to describe in a few words. Some time ago was on my boat. and had to 'wait' for several hours. Was laying on the bunk, the sky was clear, the sun warm. Was not actually 'consciously 'thinking' of anything. The light created a pinkish haze on the inside of my closed eyelids. In the centre of the haze came a lighter patch. Inside the 'patch' was what looked like an out-of- focus branch of a tree. Without actually 'trying' i tried to see what the tree looked like. Suddenly I was 'outside' of the boat, or rather my 'body' and all 'physical' stuff disappeared, and I was a speck of 'conciousness', aware of the sky, birds 360 degrees. hard to explain. It lasted only a few seconds, and surprised me so much that I sat up and bumped my head, to then find that all was 'physical' again, and nothing had changed. Tried to 'recapture' it, but was not able, and not able since. My mind is too full of trying to earn a 'living'.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Bhakti:

Eating 'umbles aren't so bad, when cooked right! Thank you for the compliment, however, I know what's rolling around inside me and it's not that impressive. I'll just keep journeying.

No doubt, God is beyond our capacity to understand. Yet, if you read more of Augustine, he teaches that we can through abstraction of the concepts of the good, true, one or beautiful in the things around us, that we can come to some idea of God, and when we conceive the good, true, one or beautiful as identical to his essence, where He is Good, He is True, etc., we are perhaps as we are capable, properly conceiving of God, even if it is unclear. His goodness IS his trueness; his trueness IS his oneness, and so forth. Augustine believes that we already know what these things are since we are able to identify them. Call it his theory of the pre-existance of the soul. Now, that's Augustine, I don't think he'd agree with your conceptionless apprehension of God. It refutes itself, by definition.

Yet, as I believe, it is a proper aligning of our intellect with the truth. As it pertains to Christian revelation, God doesn't have a body nor does he change; hence any thoughts that we have of God that are according to that which changes or has a body is not thinking of God at all, but only an image or a phantasm. Even if we negatively see the Truth according to what it isn't, still presupposes that God is something other than these things. Our intellect is still involved in a negative sense, judging and identifying that which isn't God. I contend that if the intellect, through negation is conceptualizing God, it follows that God is other than the negative.

So much for my book!

 
At 4:47 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Davo:

I cannot refute, nor will I try to refute your experience. Sounds rather life changing!

Since Augustine is still fresh in my mind in that I had a course in his philosophy this fall, he sees the value of meditation, or better contemplation. However, it is a contemplation of God that is worthy of God. Augustine, prior to his conversion to the Catholic faith, was a Manichee, where he believed that God had a body of sorts, or, in other words, God was corporeal in nature. However, as he contemplated this concept, he ran into some snags. If God is a substance with a body, and God is infinite in size, and God only creates good, where did evil come from and where does it reside if God is infinite? And, if God occupies space, does that mean that an elephant contains more of God than say a man, or a dog, or a mouse? If this be the case, if God has parts, does this not mean that God be less than what he is? If he can be less than what he is, he can change.

Somehow, in Augustine's thinking, he just knew (which he later attributes to divine illumination) it was plausible that that which is superior doesn't change. That which is inferior, does change. For example, which is superior...an auto that wears out after five years, just prior to paying the thing off, or an auto that never wears out? The answer is obvious. As Augustine concludes, if God is truly God, then, he must not ever change, thus he is existence itself.

It is according to these concepts that Augustine began to meditate upon, and after time with much internal dialectic, and divine illumination, and a little help from St. Basil of Milan, came to believe that the Catholic faith soundly teaches the Truth of God.

All that I've said is to make a point, that we must use our intellect in a proper way so as to properly apprehend the Truth in a worthy manner, that which is actually True. Even if we cannot apprehend the True being that it is beyond us, we can know it in part, and know what it is not.

As to your experience, I can only say, maybe it raised your awareness to what is truly more important than beating ourselves bloody trying to earn a living.

I'd be interested in knowing what you do in the future. Phew! I'm done!

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

"God is in everything he is and does." Book of John.

What throbs at the nucleus of an atom? God. And atoms make up everything in the world.

God is everywhere at all times in all places. Time doesn't exist, that's just a figment of your limited mind.

I thank you for your indoctrination of St. Augustine, and I'm sure the course you took on his work was wonderful. I've been reading his work since I was 18--that's half of my life. I find different meaning to his work than you do.

I wish you much success with your Catholic dogma. I hope it leads you to Self-realization. It's the most beautiful place in the world to be.

Love,bhakti

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Thank you, Bhakti.

Knowledge of self is the key to knowing God. Knowledge of God is the driving objective of our lives, and knowledge of ourselves facilitates that. Our souls are like God in that they are incorporeal, although they exist in time. The more we know of ourselves, the more we know what God is not, for God is superior to us.

I am because He is.

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

We are a manifestation of God. Everything that exists is God; moreover, nothing exists that is not God.

This is my daily experience. I hope you come to see it, too.

Good night,
Bhakti

 
At 7:24 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

I agree with you, but happen to be one of the Christians who subscribes simply to the theory that if you're called, you're called. If you're not, you're not. I'm not going to go out of my way to argue my particular beliefs (for the most part).

However, do I? Sure! But some times it's not worth the struggle.

When it's worth the struggle is when someone else's beliefs impact mine. And yes (as you will agree, UL), a lack of belief is still a belief.

So, if someone doesn't care about the origins of Christmas, fine by me! Just don't get in MY way of celebrating it.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

No doubt the calling of God is involved in the birth and sustaining of our faith. I'm not sure what point you are making in light of my post, except that you're not buying into the false tolerance that this neo-paganism is trying to foist on us. Is this your point?

It sounds like you disagree with me, but I'm not sure. Could you clarify. I promise, I won't argue with you.

 
At 8:47 AM, Blogger Davo said...

When I said the experience was "some time ago"; was meaning some 25 years ago, so have done a bit of reading since then :-).

There is, of course, much more that I could have, and would like to have said, but wasn't kidding when I said have little time. Have had "the Elegant Universe" sittting by the bedside for about two months, but have yet to get past the first chapter.

Also, am slightly 'intimidated' by Samuel's style, in that I type very slowly, would need to spend time defining my/our words (am a 'pagan' in the original sense of being 'someone from the countryside', or 'outside of the city') and am the sort of person who prefers to write, edit, write, edit, so that what comes out is really what I meant to say. One or two sentence 'comments' are not really sufficient. I use Wombat Wol on my blog sometimes when am too tired (or drunk) to think coherently, as he can get away with some shocking mangles of the language English.

There is a great deal that I would like to write about 'christianity' as we know it today. Am extremely cynical, and disillusioned by it. It's a bit like looking at boxes of soap powder in the supermarket. Many different marketing strategies, different colours and fancy slogans. The ingredients are very similar, with minor changes to 'the formula', all proposing to 'wash the soul' whiter than white. Manufactured under the generic name 'christianity' by some Roman priests on 'mons vaticanus' some 1700 years ago. It's been a very successful 'product'.

On the other hand 'christianity' is also a bit like the English 'language'. A mishmash of aborbed ideas and words. Can be joyous if used well, or chaos if not.

If I had to "choose" a 'brand' of 'faith', would probably head off toward Buddhism.

 
At 9:11 AM, Blogger Davo said...

oops, 'absorbed'

 
At 9:19 AM, Blogger Davo said...

If nothing else, the buddhists don't run around killing each and every other 'faith'.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Bhakti said...

Underground Logician--Why do you worry so much about others beliefs? Why don't you focus on your own beliefs and let the love that is inate to your heart grow and grow? Every second you waste focusing on what you dislike/hate about others is an eternity you could have spent with God alone.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Davo:

Your humble approach is very welcoming! And, to clarify what I'm hoping to accomplish with you is first to understand you better, and not try to "change" you. I'm assuming that you see things that are very disconcerting that Christians need to address. I'm not going to use my writing ability to undercut you. If at any time you think I am doing this, alert me. Perhaps it's my passion that is coming through and maybe getting in the way. This is a drawback for me at times.

With that said, I'd like you to just consider at this point the nature of truth. I believe all people of good will seek it. As we seek it, we must understand that in seeking the truth, we must know what the truth is NOT as well as what it is. Since this is the case, then any attempt by others to dissuade us in being discriminating needs to be resisted, if in fact the truth is one and objective and good.

For those who think otherwise, that truth is not objective, but subjective, then it is immaterial to know what is the truth; what is sought is justification and validation within the arena of ideas, unless one could care less what anyone thinks.

The fact you see Christianity as like brands of soap on the shelf is a sad commentary on Christianity today. I agree with you, it is confusing, the backbiting and attacks that Christians have on each other are sickening. Allow me to let you in on a little secret. The arena of ideas affects the Christian world just like everywhere else. Moral relativism and subjectivism (truth is determined by the person) dissuades the honest seeker as to the truth of Christ. The ugliness of the battle seems more heinous within the walls of the house of God, yet in reality is the same anywhere.

My encouragement to you is to first, know yourself, in that determine what it is you are looking for: one, is it the truth you seek, or justification of what you believe, or to establish that what you believe is not up to the scrutiny of anyone? How you answer may determine the route you end up taking.

Again, thank you for jumping on board. Frankly, I think you express yourself quite well and have good insights.

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

Bhakti:

You said, "Why do you worry so much about others beliefs? Why don't you focus on your own beliefs and let the love that is inate to your heart grow and grow? Every second you waste focusing on what you dislike/hate about others is an eternity you could have spent with God alone."

I'm glad that you have the courage to speak to what you see might be a flaw or weakness in me that may be hurting me. Thank you! I need more people in my life to do this; it makes me a better person.

If in fact, my worry over what others believe is bad/wrong, you yourself are at risk doing the same thing. I know this is what happens when people care; they can empower the weaknesses of others in their own lives. So I recognize that you are sticking your neck out as well.

Apart from the risk, the question I have for you is, "What is love?" If in fact love for others is born from our seeing "The Good" as Plato's "Cave" analogy shows, we then wish for others to see "The Good" as well, if "the Good" is universally good for all. It would seem contradictory to the definition of love that actions of the lover who embraces the good for himself to refuse it for others.

What I would contend in contrast to what you call "focusing on what you dislike/hate about others," is really more than that. I use rhetoric like everyone else, with the hope that logic and reason are foundational. I want to persuade others. If I am a lover of mankind, then, like Marley shouts at Scrooge, "Mankind is our business." As you have seen in this blog, my persuasion is sometimes resisted by others who disagree. Sometimes my positions or even me, myself, is characterized negatively in the process. So be it. When you love the truth, which is good, and in turn love people, you want them to embrace the good and eschew evil; in this case, falsehood.

In your previous comments, you graciously defined for me what you mean, so that I may understand, in truth, what you believe. I appreciate that, for I don't want to assume anything that others believe that is untrue of them. In this dialogue, we have exercised our intellect to understand each other. Here, the truth is applied to the realities of what we each believe. This is in particular, characteristic of those who seek the Truth, captital "T."

Finally, my love for others juxtaposed against experiencing God is a false dichotomy. In fact, if God is love in essence, as his essence is Truth, my participation in loving others is a participation in the love of God.

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

my persuasion is sometimes resisted by others who disagree. Sometimes my positions or even me, myself, is characterized negatively in the process. So be it. When you love the truth, which is good, and in turn love people, you want them to embrace the good and eschew evil; in this case, falsehood.

Then perhaps our purpose in life is exactly the same, yet we have a different form of expression.

I can't tell, as the words are written and not spoken, whether your comment to me was sarcastic or not. I'm hoping it wasn't. Either way, of course, is fine. I'm reading it as a genuine expression of thought, and not as sarcasm. Please advise if this is not the case.

In any case, I wish you, once again, a Merry Christmas.

Much love and compassion,
Bhakti

(BTW...Bhakti means Love and Devotion in Sanskrit.

 
At 11:16 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I will assure you that I wasn't sarcastic to you, Bhakti. And, Merry Christmas to you, and peace.

Sam

 

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