Disputatio: On Man and Freedom

DisputatioThe late atheist Christopher Hitchens once articulated the view that God is an “unalterable celestial dictator” and this is not an uncommon argument to hear even to this day.   The problem is that this assessment gives rise to two separate errors, which will be set out and then shown why they fail to prove the alleged tyranny.

The first is simply an error in logical reasoning.  To see this error, it helps to understand a definition of atheism.  According to the American Atheists website, atheism is “a lack of belief in gods.”

Accepting this definition, the error committed becomes clear.  As an atheist, Mr. Hitchens asserted that God both does not exist and that He is a dictator. This error is so blatant that one need not be an expert in logic to recognize the problem. Specifically, this argument violates the law of noncontradiction, which states that something cannot both be and not be in the same way at the same time. Here, it must be that God cannot both lack existential import and be a dictator at the same time.

The second part of Mr. Hitchens’ argument is much more subtle and enthymematic. This argument claims that the existence of God is a hindrance to human freedom and dignity. This premise assumes a disjunctive, either/or dilemma. The assumption is predicated upon the belief that the will of God imposes itself upon, and thereby diminishes human freedom.

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The Threat of Velvet Nihilism and A Novel Response

flock of birds under blue and white sky
Photo by Binh Ho Image on Pexels.com

We are living in a time of extreme social fracturing.  The variables that have led us to this condition are multifaceted, but much can be discerned by observing the post-modern penchant to limit the scope of human flourishing–through exclusively materialist conceptions of man–by advancing a limited view of freedom that idolizes radical autonomy.

This two-fold circumscription of the human person has ultimately harvested the fruits of a culture that no longer remembers the purpose for which they were created.  Ultimately, the model representation of this counterfeit anthropology—advanced by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Casey v. Planned Parenthood—is the assertion that, “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”  This way of thinking neuters traditional cultural mores that enshrines the nuclear family, church, community, and solidarity by promoting a myopic view of human flourishing that enshrines the subjective views and experiences of the individual.

While fracturing is catastrophic on the micro-scale; there is little doubt such a state of affairs benefits those who manipulate it from the top.  Our anti-cultural overlords are what Rusty Reno has termed velvet nihilists.  This is a class of technocrats who take their moral relativism with a side of cappuccino and business casual.  They abhor the foundations of western civilization while also benefiting—to the extreme—from all it has handed down.  For them, a scope of the good life that transcends comfort and entertainment or wealth and pleasure must be dispensed with.  But what makes this velvet nihilism especially pervasive is how it has infiltrated the only earthly institution that provides the tools to stand against it.  In traditional Catholic circles, we call these Christians who are drunk on the poison fed to them by relativist elites Modernists.  They have divorced themselves both from the traditions and the metaphysical claims of the Catholic Church, and replaced it with saccharine laced pleas of inclusiveness and being nice.  They prefer the social activism of a non-governmental organization to the eternal Mystical Body of Christ.

What can we do about this moment? In 1969, in a broadcast on German radio, the future Pope Benedict XVI predicted a smaller and more devout church where “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit (John 15:2)” that will persevere through this current period of metaphysical confusion and rise from the ashes to stand in stark contradiction to the culture at large.  My peers and I, taking the prophetic tone of Cardinal Ratzinger seriously, have constructed this lay apostolate—the Traditian Order — and are composed of fellow traditional Catholics who feel called to take advantage of the new mediums available for evangelization through social media and the internet to revitalize western culture from the ground up.  Our mission could be described as Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society meets the Benedict Option.  That is to say we intend to become leaven for the culture by providing online resources by our members and for our members to help them reignite the faith traditions in their communities, which has long sustained western culture, while also providing them online refuge and camaraderie from the increasingly cold and venomous secular culture.

How does one become a member?  After identifying the will and desire to join the order you will simply fill out a small questionnaire and take the oath against modernism—crafted by Pope Saint Pius X—then begin a ninety-day period as a squire where you consider your specific set of talents and interests.  During this time, you will also pick a path of advancement within our order.  There are three avenues of participation within it.  The first option is Chaplain, only accessible to Priests, seminarians, and member of an established Catholic order.  The next is Commander, this is available to anyone willing to maintain and evangelize via the social media accounts run by the Traditian Order.  It is a limited option though since there are only so many platforms.  The final, and likeliest path to entry, is through our Guilds.

There are nine options for participation when pursuing the Path of Guilds.  Discernment is advised in contemplating entry through this route since we offer several options and each are generally designed to accompany particular sets of talents and temperaments.  The options for participation on this path include but are not limited to local political activism, writing critiques of newly published Catholic literature, building up resources for finding and/or introducing the Latin Mass into a local diocese, building the Order’s calendar, creating lists of businesses that are owned and operated by faithful Catholics within the member’s community, and offering grades for the effectiveness of various diocesan schools and chanceries in the promotion and advancement of the traditional Catholic faith.  Since the path of guilds is the most common way most members will contribute to building the order and within their local culture; it will be the most regularly developed and potentially rearranged dimension according to our stated needs.

I have heard this era described as liquid.  It is one that advances the values of velvet nihilists, inherently anti-foundational, by inverting the premises of our ancestors through a type of  “progress” which imprisons the individual in the same measures with which it liberates.  Its anthropological claims are counterfeit and pits man against the institutions– most specifically Holy Mother Church— that provide him the tools to receive her objective claims of truth, goodness, and beauty.  While modernism, advanced by latte sipping relativists, reigns down on the culture at large; it’s penetration into the walls of the church have created a sense of urgency among many traditional Catholics. This has ultimately inspired the collaboration of my peers and I on this new apostolate which will provide the tools to laymen in standing against the tide of liquid modernity.

The Traditian Order is a place for like-minded traditionalists throughout the connected world to find refuge among others ignited by the fire of Christ, and to offer the resources needed to engage local communities.  In this way, we hope to provide a strong foundation for our members to go out and preach the good news and resurrect Western Civilization—founded of Jesus Christ– that gave us the saints and scholars and made it a beacon for the world.  Please join us.

A (Small) Win for Christians

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Congratulations to Jack Phillips for finally having his case heard by judges who have not lost their damn minds.  Unfortunately, it had to make it to the Supreme Court before he would receive some retribution.  After six long years of litigation the justices ruled almost unanimously that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who forced Phillips out of the wedding cake business altogether, was clearly operating unconstitutionally by exhibiting anti-religious sentiment in their handling of Masterpiece Cakeshop.  This is a small win for Christians looking to live out their faith in the public square, but a win nonetheless.  The question still remains if artisans are constitutionally protected, against the intrusion of government, to follow the tenets of their beliefs when providing a public service.   Almost like magic, gay rights activists throughout the country have targeted and attacked Christian operated small businesses in their crusades to conscript their uncompromising beliefs onto the larger public.
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What’s A Traditian Order And How Does It Work?

helmet onlyThe Traditian Order has now been taking members for about six months, and has been developing its structures as it steadily grows.  If you’ve been curious what it’s all about, please take this opportunity to review our new How It All Works page to see what the Order is about, and whether our mission might very well be yours as well.

A Choice Against Creation

The events in Ireland this week have been much discussed. While there are a thousand perspectives on it, though, one truth cannot be denied: Abortion is an unnatural act. That is to say, it is literally an act against creation, and writ large it exposes a terrible failure of humanity itself.  We have so distanced ourselves from the nature of God that we, collectively, think we can deny it, blind ourselves to it, overrule it.  But we cannot, and the evidence of that fact is everywhere, if we care to look for it.

creation2God is ever creating the universe and we are all a part of that.  Creation, after all, was not just In The Beginning but is also now, right now.  The unmoved mover by His stillness keeps everything in motion, alive, creating, being.  From atoms to the universe itself, everything is in movement.  It is ingredient in the nature of things, ingredient in the world we live in, clear from the simple observation of creation.

God’s infiniteness cannot be constrained by His stillness, for it is infinite, so instead it drives all that is around Him, all that He has created and is creating now.  God Is.  He Himself said to Moses: “I AM WHO AM.  Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.” And that is the key point of the matter.  It is not central that He was Creator, it is central that His is Creating now.

In this whirlwind of motion, of being, of infinite infiniteness He created all of us, individually. Human beings are special. They are not like the animals, not even like the angels. We are a part of a great experiment called Free Will. Infused by God with a soul at the moment of our creation, we each represent a facet of the infiniteness of God. A unique sliver of the everything that God is, we were put into the world to cope, thrive, suffer and, eventually, exist forever. Every finite human being is connected to God in their soul, and by God to everyone else.

All of this is to say we are all children of God, he is the Father of Creation—not just the creation back then, but the creation of this moment. As such, in such a whirlwind of divine fecundity, how could we die?  Alas we cannot. We too are eternal, not infinite, but eternal.  We can return to our Maker during this life and recognize Him or we can freely reject Him.  All of our choices decide the matter. All of our attitudes. All of what we Will during this time we are given, this time we are tested.

It is in this perspective that the matter of taking an innocent life must be viewed. In the midst of a universe of creation, of motion, of love, of endless moments alive with life, it is a choice to end another’s earthly existence.  It is a choice to go against the movement of God, the instinct to create, to move, to dance, to live, to love.

The life ended, on this plane of existence, is violently treated but it is eternal.  But the simple fact that we can offer such a choice, given what we have been told and shown for so long, is even more unthinkable and unnatural.  It is a rejection of the God that Is. Nature is demonstrating to us how to be, hinting, prodding, revealing. To end an innocent human life is to reject these messages, to deny the nature of creation that moves like a wind around us.

The sad vote in Ireland last week shows we are much farther from where we are supposed to be than we can even imagine.

 

Printed simultaneously in the Traditian Order and Traditium.

The Crusades: Re-Thought Or Re-Written?

templarThe Crusades are like White Castle hamburgers. Either you love them or you hate them. Of course, given the secular, anti-Christian education most people are subjected to these days, the overwhelming majority of people hate them as “Eurocentric” imperialism.

However, on what basis were they bad?

First of all, what were the Crusades? They were wars in which the Crusade Indulgence was granted by the Pope.  While most people who hear the term think only of the Crusades to retake the Holy Land from the jihad, there were Crusades in other lands as well.  There were Crusades against the jihad in the Iberian Peninsula, normally referred to as the Reconquista. There was a Crusade preached against the Albigensian Cathari in Languedoc in the South of France. There were the Northern Crusades, including the Wendish, Livonian, Swedish, Danish, and Prussian Crusades, and a Crusade against the Bogomils in Bosnia.

However, since the average person with a modern, secular education only knows of the Eastern Crusades and, possibly, the Reconquista, I will be discussing only the Crusades against the jihad in this article.

It is important to remember that at the founding of Islam by Muhammad, the world looked like this:

All of the purple area (fitting, it being the Imperial color) was Christian. This was pre-Great Schism, so while all of the Empire was Christian, not all Christian lands were part of the Empire (an important point later).

Satan first appeared to Continue reading “The Crusades: Re-Thought Or Re-Written?”