Catholic vs. Protestant - 2018-07-14 - Thoth Harris Part 2

Author Recorded Saturday July 14th, 2018

There are 31 episodes in the Versus:Protestant series.


Thoth and I discussed cosmology, the nature and reality of political and religious authority, and, indirectly, theodicy, or the problem of evil. There is much unresolved philosophical tension between us, but it was nice to chat with my old friend, nonetheless.


Catholic vs. Protestant - 2018-07-14 - Thoth Harris Part 2

Author Recorded August 14th, 2016

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thoth harris part two so i'll let you take the floor and you can sort of introduce the ideas that you want to talk about yes in a 60s si Hayakawa is known for a work called language in thought and action and he's I'm gonna quote from here this is from page 33 we all inherit a great deal of useless knowledge and a great deal of misinformation and error maps that were formerly thought to be accurate so that there is always a portion of what we have been told that must be discarded but the cultural heritage of our civilization that is transmitted to us our socially pooled knowledge both scientific and humane has been valued principally because we have believed that it gives us accurate maps of experience the analogy of verbal worlds to maps is an important one and will be referred to frequently throughout this book it should be noticed at this point however that there are two ways of getting false maps of the world into our heads first by having them given to us second by making them up for ourselves by miss reading the true maps given to now that kind of encapsulates the problem with a lot of the rancor around religion and politics so what I find myself asking is how do we identify true knowledge and true Authority it cannot be merely ourselves that cannot be merely the societal influences around us and of course there are the people who have given us the gift of life directly including our parents then of course their schools and as you know most schools are run by the state and I'm not a huge fan of the state at this time of my life the state is something I see is trying to compete with the the notion of of the of true Authority the state is far too untrustworthy to be considered a useful advocate for our continued existence and this I would say extends to long-standing religious institutions what is true Authority and of course the true answer to some is that maybe there is no authority it's as atheists say and usually they're they're a very scientific minded at least on the surface they say that oh everything comes down to the Big Bang although I've heard that the Big Bang was theory developed by Catholic Logan but there was the biggest problem for me with the new atheist point of view that the ideology of scientism is that there cannot be an acquiring of material being and consciousness in or around MIT those material beings without a source what a theism does is it reduces this idea that the universe actually expands for me is an absurdity I see the universe as infinite and it just seems to me that if something is it just is and it always has been it always will be right the universe has a finite quantity of matter energy matter and energy are equivalent this is e equals MC squared this is a principle of equivalence of matter and energy and there is a finite amount of matter energy in our universe now some people propose and there's no evidence obviously for this hypothesis but some people have proposed multi universes string theory M theory and all these sorts of things mm-hmm but no scientist today would claim that there's an infinite amount of matter in our universe but I disagree with this notion that that is limited do you think that you are finite or do you think that you are infinite I'm not talking about me I'm talking about the universe as for this idea or thing or or essence called me it can be that I am simply a particle or like an atom or like a molecule like when you see it when you have a speck of dust flying about and we're all flexing dust just flying about like that but every piece is essentially somehow so it all just sort of fits together at some point it's not chaotic it's a pattern as for multiverses in string theory and so forth it's a very difficult subject to to grasp and if you if you go forth like in a spaceship for example and just keep traveling and traveling and traveling and traveling I think you'll just end up keep going further and further and further and further you and you could see planets like ours you could see it's just like but it would never end but do you know anything about the curvature of space-time no but imagine that you are a two-dimensional creature and the surface that you inhabit is the surface of the earth and so you move around you can go as far as you want north south east west you'll just keep spinning around on this sphere you understand so it's the same thing in in higher dimensions the universe itself you can go as far as you want but we are moving in three dimensions and we will always end up turning around and around and around on the curvature of space-time so there is no way to get beyond the three dimensions that were in and we're limited to that but we can keep going and going and going because of the curvature of space-time I just don't I just don't see that I just it's not easy to see there's no way we can actually ascertain that to be a fact like it's based on our own earthbound assumptions no it's based on the mathematics of cosmologists what I'm saying like math is earth counts we are people we live on earth so we I disagree well yeah are you familiar with the concept of infinity yes okay so you you're not earthbound your ideas are not earthbound your ideas are not finite our minds are not finite our minds are not natural our minds are supernatural we are made in the image and likeness of God Almighty so we go beyond we always go beyond and that's why we are restless until we repose in God who is truth this is what st. Augustine says we will always go beyond okay money and stream science today has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that every conceivable physical universe including a simple universe with a big bang like the one that seems most obvious to our observations all the way up to the most wacky and weird bouncing universes bubble universes the string theory universes multi universes every single universe that people have come up with every single one of them necessarily needs a beginning everyone this is mainstream science today it's been well established and it's not based on a lot of criteria there's only one criterion and that is that the coefficient of expansion what's called the hubble coefficient of expansion is greater than zero and our universe has a coefficient of expansion greater than zero and every universe that we can imagine that's conceivable it has a coefficient of expansion that's greater than zero so every universe has a beginning I think in some ways and what you're saying oddly enough might not completely contradict what I was saying because the source for that beginning is it's it like imagine you and I are children again and we're blowing bubbles and imagine each bubble actually don't just imagine perhaps those bubbles really are new universes and we just can't see I really think that there is something to this idea that each tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny thing within within within everything we are involved with that we are on we even just non-sentient and inanimate objects teeming with life that we just cannot see it was this whole universe is it could be just like like like our universe you know each area close just goes on and on right no but the salient point is a Christian if you're Christian then you must admit that Jesus Christ died for every human whether they're tiny and they're residing within the mitochondria of your DNA or whether they're humongous and made up of universes every human Jesus Christ died for their sins each one of those humans will end up either in heaven or in hell for all eternity so that is the most important thing to focus on and as marvelous and wonderful as the different issues of scale are and the limits or lack of limits of a physical universe as fascinating as it is the real salient point is Jesus Christ and availing ourselves of Jesus Christ and the sacraments of Jesus Christ's Church so that is what I would bring your attention to because it seems like you're drifting off into things that are interesting but not necessary for your salvation so can you bring it back to your Christian perspective I'm not saying it has anything to do with my salvation I'm saying it's a framework with it with with within which I am trying to explain our sense of who are where we are and our uncertainty as to we're authority lies on this earth I don't mean Authority as in the authority of Jesus Christ no but all authority derives from God all authority comes from God because there's only one author thought there's only one author and all authority comes from the author well I think there's a lot of fear and a lot of dread and a lot of uncertainty and along with that people will gravitate towards and gravitate away from religion or different religious authorities and so forth and the religious authorities we have to sort out who is acting properly and who isn't so perhaps I guess we could say go into another worry that I have about the head of the church that Roman Catholic Church I have a lot of misgivings about the current Pope and of course as someone who lives in Taiwan for many many many years now China has aimed 1,000 plus missiles at this island country and Pope Francis and his team have decided for whatever reason to negotiate to operate within China no one would on the surface think oh that's a good thing right but if the Roman Catholic Church and Beijing recognized each other it's a 99.9 certain that Taiwan will be kicked to the curb but China has been also known for making abortions for people who have too many children mandatory mandatory abortions this is not like simply state funded abortions this is mandatory abortions extraordinary don't you think so perhaps you can give me a few thoughts of your own annette and before we proceed to do some other ideas i can predict what's going to happen in taiwan the people of taiwan will suffer and die they will suffer and die so my advice to the people of taiwan my prayer for them is my prayer for myself unite your sufferings to the sufferings of the Godman Jesus Christ that's the only way it's the only way if you want eternal life you will have to die to self you will have to accept your sufferings patiently unite your sufferings to the sufferings of Jesus Christ and thank God always for the good the bad and the ugly thank God for the confusion thank God for the struggle thank God for everything if you stub your toe today thank God everything is an opportunity everything is grace if you're complaining about your situation that doesn't bode well for your eternal salvation if you are struggling for justice then you are doing what God commands you to do you have to strive for justice but when you fail and you will fail I guarantee you you will fail in your struggle for justice here on planet Earth I guarantee it sure but when you fail the suffering that comes with that failure you have to unite that suffering to the suffering of Christ it's God's power is made perfect in your weakness in your failure I really don't think that you and I disagree about justice and peace and love and goodness but you you seem disappointed in the Pope and you seem disappointed in me that I support the Pope because of your analysis of contemporary history but you know more about it than I do but I'm not I must certainly a lot less worried about it than you are because I know that God is allowing every evil that happens God is allowing those evils to happen and even if God forbid the Pope himself has ill will then God is allowing that evil and I rejoice I thank God for that you know I mean oh no I don't think like what look is that we really disagree with on that it no I think your main point of disagreement is about the Pope's Authority and to a certain extent I think that's just inconsequential I mean that I mean the difference is that we have our minut perhaps I don't know I don't know if you would agree or disagree theologically the differences between your worldview and mine I mean that's a that's a long conversation but but basically I mean I I see I see it as a spectrum and I always picture everything in terms of Noah's Ark the at the end of the day you're either in when the door is sealed or you're out and let's get in you know that's in a lot of people been saying things like that recently you know like that there is a coming apocalypse I mean it not you know literal source and suddenly it's going to be a nuclear bomb and some people are gonna be lifted up like like it's what you call it the rapture whatever no no no but more like dividing lines dividing lines exactly and and who's on his side of the angels who's on the side of the demons and hopefully we're both on the side of the angels yeah that's why don't lose too much sleep over politics and and I really do believe that everything that happens is for our greatest good and it's God's in control and have you ever have you ever used virtual reality with the headset no but when you put on that headset it's another world that you enter you know but when when there's life ends thought I think it will be like removing that virtual reality headset and there's Jesus Christ sitting beside you and all of the things that you thought would justify your sin suddenly have no value whatsoever suddenly you realize that oh my transgressions are objectively transgressions and all the justifications were just lies that I believed so everything will sort of melt away in all the fantasies and all the confusion will melt away and you'll suddenly be left with an understanding that you're a weak sinner in need of a savior and if you are to enjoy eternal life it's not by your own merits or your own goodness it's only by the grace of God and so here in this life I think it's all about submitting admitting our weakness being humble and saying I am nothing I need God yeah and I'm not gonna get too excited about other people's sin and I'm not even gonna get too excited about my own sin because what st. Francis DeSales famously said weakness is weak and insanity is insane like we are nothing we are weak we cannot do anything we can't win any battles we can't start any good projects we can't conclude any good projects without God's help so yeah we constantly need to I think we need to remind ourselves of that always yeah good good points another thing I wanted to discuss was some curiosity I have about the Old Testament when the enemies of Israel and the enemies of Judah are mentioned in the usually if they win it's only for a short time nor even if it's like for 200 years or whatever they won't keep their territory and of course it goes beyond territory it's God is always saying I favor your people my favor is real a favor Judah I'm always wondering what happens to those other tribes were they not created by God maybe certainly they are but I often wonder what happened to those tribes they're not God's people you know what God's people they don't go to heaven God called a certain tribe of people to be a priesthood the Levites know the entire chosen people were supposed to be the priesthood but because they worshipped the golden calf because they were such a stiff-necked people because they strayed and because they loved sin so much God reduced the role of priesthood to only the Levites and this was not his original plan of course he doesn't change his mind but the literary technique of condescension where God speaks in human language that we can understand God changed his mind quote-unquote and reduced the priesthood to the Levites so the the role of the nation's God has always in the Old Testament emphasized the fact that you're my chosen people all of the nations will come in to the true worship through the priesthood of the chosen people now it gets complicated because of the Golden Calf and because only the Levites stepped forward and they were designated as the priestly class within but through that conversion it's a rather bloody process isn't it like they are invaded and slaughtered and massacred for example and Joshua and just countless incidents no any evil that happens is the result of sin original and actual and God is not the source of any evil ever including smashing the heads of your enemies babies against brick walls and all sort of thing that's talked about in the Old Testament but God is allowing it for our greatest good it's very mysterious and we won't understand it till we're in heaven but it is all for the greatest good so I think that there are a lot of people in heaven right now that would have been burning in hell if God had not allowed the Jews to kill them and just slaughter them you understand yeah to wrap up I really what I really would ask of you is to speak from your heart only in terms of your relationship to God just leave us with a little positive note about what you're excited about in the next steps in your faith journey please I I think life is a daily struggle of just trying to decide what it's what is a good good decision each each thing we do how we act towards our our fellow human being towards our colleagues or towards people on the train or whether we smile or don't smile or look angry or don't look angry whether we should just let things slide or yell about something being unjust why not so it's it's a it's a search we're constantly searching for what is what is good for all and I think we can first look within ourselves push ourselves into a corner and push ourselves further into torture self torture grimy push ourselves into the darkest corner I don't mean looking into the abyss I don't mean stirring at evil so long that it tempts us no I think we have to see the darkness and then from that darkness we see the brightest light just like when we see dusk and we see dawn they're the two most beautiful times of day I think a lot of us feel that way and we listen to a voice talking to us speaking within the interest disis of our consciousness and we're always wondering we're always asking what is good what is not good and in our anguish we're constantly failing and that conversation this constant push and pull this maybe you could even say good and evil it's a conversation that is quite straining but it's very moving let me quote from John 5:24 I tell you the truth whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned he has crossed over from death to life I will tell you that the truth of time is coming and has now come when the Dead will hear the voice of the son of God and those who hear will live for as the father has life in himself so he has granted the son to have life in himself and he has given him authority to judge because he is the son of man so those are the words I wish to conclude with you like it will do some questions I'll tell all you got to do it is all you got to do to do