03 August 2009

H–1 / TOM HARPUR: VOYAGE TO PLANET RIDICULOUS


I don't have to make you believe in this. I have to let you know. St. Bernadette Soubirous, Lourdes, France, ca. 1860


PART ONE. BACKGROUNDER

I. IMMANENCE NOW. A popular author, journalist, radio commentator, writer of children’s stories, syndicated newspaper columnist, television personality, spokesman on religious issues, Rhodes Scholar, and one time professor of the New Testament and Greek at the University of Toronto Tom Harpur is a classical artifact in that museum of recusant Anglican clerics who have, in the previous four decades, altogether abandoned Christianity and ended up extolling, in their latter years, the most pathetic of theosophic bromides. The analysis below will plainly demonstrate that, after his denunciation of the heretical abomination inducted by Henry VIII, Harpur did not consider “the Roman option”. He did not get “Poped”. He did not take a Bellocian journey on The Path to Rome so as to “cross the Tiber”. Instead, a perusal of the facts convincingly evidences a rocket ship voyage to a binary star system in a remote sector of the Andromeda galaxy. Destination: Planet Ridiculous.
II. ANALYSIS RATIONALE. The Heresy Hunter has selected Tom Harpur for analysis (pardon pun) based on these associated reasons: Over an extensive career his writings have encompassed an ample assortment of topics, addressing many theological, philosophical, moral, social and cultural issues. His views and beliefs on these subjects are representational of, and in conformity with, that assemblage of North American popreligionists whose interests are of lesser topical scope, more particularized. Accordingly, this allows for three things: Firstly, conducting an analysis on Harpur’s published works will at the same time, and by implication, also be an analysis of his confreres with analogous mindsets. Secondly, the myriad of subjects tackled by him can each be given separate treatment in standalone mode. Accordingly, the reader can jump back and forth to any section of curiosity in the analysis below and not be required to read this article in its dreaded entirety. Thirdly, the following compendium of refutations, in their standalone modes, is a perfect format for detouring into Catholic apologetics which will be effected in this exercise.

III. LOCK’N LOAD LADIES. From 1970 to the present day, Harpur’s thought has devolved from Anglicanism to relativist pantheism and, finally (or inescapably), to the dregs of crass paganism. Why this declination occurred is an unknown. History is littered with such spiritual fiascos. To discard Christianity, and leave the circumstance at that, is one thing and thank Almighty God for freewill. Yet to afterwards denigrate it, to discharge a barrage of unsubstantiated defamations against it, and attempt to debunk it by insinuation under an expertly disguised fanaticism this is a different matter. In his writings, Harpur will insinuate this, and suggest that, to such a degree that the attentive reader apperceives an eerie malevolence floating within the text. It is not what he says, but what he does not say, what he quietly implies by subtle provocation, leaving everything in a state of suspended animation. This has the seeming effect of blotting out any possibility of counterargumentation.[1] It is quite evident that Tom Harpur is haunted by Christ, like his predecessor, Joseph McCabe (18671955) the apostate. For years Harpur has been affronting and vilifying Roman Catholics but now, unfortunately, it’s ZERO HOUR. Time’s up… Hold on tight peoples, this is going to be a rough ride because TH2 now provides a comprehensive exposition on the ideational fallacies of Heretic No. 1: Tom Harpur.


PART TWO. A MISCELLANY OF ILLOGIC

IV. ON GUARD. Many craftilyexpressed contradictions, if not plain dialectical acrobatics, are found in Harpur’s writings. A few are summarily explained at the outset before engaging into the guts of this analysis.

V. RELIGIOUS LABELS. Harpur does not like to be labelled. When queried on a radio program as to whether or not he was Christian (some years prior to his currently advocated neopaganism), the following repartee was discharged: What the questioner is really asking is whether or not you’ve had an experience (being ‘born again’ or ‘saved’) or are prepared to make certain affirmations. In other words, they are demanding to know if you fit the definition of being a Christian that the particular group they belong to endorses or accepts.[2] Obviously an avoidance tactic meant to slander after the fact. A presumption was imparted onto the questioner, and the drawn out rejoinder complicated an uncomplicated issue. If he was a Christian, that is fine. If not, then that is fine too. Therefore, the reluctance to answer was an answer. The question was innocuous. No defensive stance was necessitated. If sincerity was involved, the answer would have been “liberal Christian” and he likely was cognizant of the connotations thereof. If assuredness in the truthfulness of his beliefs was engrained into his psychology, hostility would not have manifested. A plain disagreement between human beings would have been the expected and natural result, void of condemnation by either party. Accordingly, the following is deduced: Harpur, not the questioner, was imposing strict stipulations; not only in a stalwart unwillingness to answer honestly and directly, but also by hypocritically defaming the questioner with labels: “born again” or “saved” (more so Protestant modalities), which possess their own connotations. The questioner did not consent to Harpur’s opinion, because the latter effectively says: “I presume where you are coming from, and my presumption tells me that you do not acquiesce to my view. Therefore I dispense with you altogether.” This is classic heretical behavior (cf. On the Identification of Heretics, para. IX).

VI. MYTHOLOGY / SYMBOLISM. Harpur writes: “One of the reasons that the myths of the JudaeoChristian tradition are losing their power for the masses today is that we have lost the ability to think symbolically that is, mythically... My concern is that the entire Christian myth is fast reaching [the]... point of unbelievability”.[3] The illogic endemic to this statement is conspicuous, and the last sentence, written in 1992, foreshadowed his current view. To designate religion as a “myth” is to automatically infer its irreality. Myths are stories, sometimes rooted in some obscure fact or event or principle from the distant past, but predominantly fiction nonetheless. One reason for the abatement of belief in contemporary times is due exactly to the consignment of Christianity as myth (i.e. pure symbolism) by renegade intellectuals. This is the bane of modern theological inquiry. Entomologically speaking, mythology and religion have different meanings. The word religion is derived from religare, meaning “retying”. The prefix re is an ablative of the Latin res, pertaining to the real or actual. If a symbol is unattached to any reality, it is a mere mental product. Thought is both symbolical and real/materialized (when vocalized or written in a language), not just the former. A bridge interconnects the mind with reality linking to an extramental/immanent physical world or, if a believer, to the spiritual/transcendent realm. G.K. Chesterton said: “there comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when man is tired at playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon is made to love man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere” [4].

VII. TRUTH / CERTITUDE. Harpur states that any person or group who exclaim “the truth” in religion forms the “greatest foe of true religion”. Is this a true statement on religion? Why subscribe to religion if not believed to be true? Proclamation of truth, he continues elsewhere: “stems from a single basic illusion: absolute objective certainty is impossible about eternal things.” “One of the more tragic seductions of religion... is the promise of total certainty.” Is he absolutely and totally certain of these statements? Now read this one: “The truth cannot be stated boldly enough: God is not a Fascist, and his followers are required to use their own minds, consciences and wills.”[5] The error? Blatant ignorance of the principle of contradiction. When Harpur speaks of religious truth that there cannot be one truth and inferring only a multitude thereof, he really means that no view matters, irrespective of its rational convincibility, and that what we think is irrelevant. Instead, belief must remain inwardly contained, disconnected from social intercourse. But our beliefs, religious or secular, do affect our behavior, actions and others. Truth by definition is singular, and he transmogrifies a normal and healthy religious certitude, expressed by a confident and open faith, into an enclosing, unimpeachable absolutism.

VIII. SEXUALITY / LIFE ISSUES. Harpur writes: “adultery is wrong”, it “is written in the human heart and conscience”. Yet elsewhere, commenting on the prohibition of fornication in the New Testament, he wrote the collocation “fornication [adultery]”, hinting at synonymous words, which they are not. Fornication means sexual intercourse between an unmarried man and woman. Adultery means a married person has intercourse with someone other than the spouse. This is a definitional manipulation to suit the antinomianism of modernity. In another book, he states that Christ “left us no specific wisdom on such matters as abortion, contraception, artificial insemination, or even premarital sex.” The premarital sex reference obviously links in with the adultery/fornication equalization. That Christianity, along with other religions, has forbidden abortion from their beginnings is of no pertinence to him. Abortion legalization is a judicial debacle in the recent history of the West. Harpur is just conceding with a pervasive radical liberalism extant since the 1960s. But artificial insemination! TH2 was oblivious to the fact that, two thousand years ago, prior to modern science, a medical technology was existent for the artificial inducement of pregnancy. Christ, it should further be noted, never sermonized on supercomputers, Brownian motion, Bessel functions, Markov chains, deoxyribonucleic acid, heart transplantation, dentistry or thermobaric detonation sequences. On euthanasia: “I believe they [doctors] are correct in doing so, and that they are fulfilling their total responsibility towards the patient’s wellbeing” [6]. What wellbeing? A person no longer has being after being killed in this manner. Corpses are beingless. The antinomian inanity continues ad absurdum, but there are other matters of concern…

IX. PRIESTHOOD / CELIBACY. Harpur writes: “The existence of a professional caste of clerics has become a major stumbling block to the Church really being the Church in and for the world.” Incorrect on two counts: Firstly, the Church the Roman Catholic one specifically is in the world, but not of or for the world. He proscribes the transcendental aspects of Christianity and overaccentuates its immanence, the latter to which his former Anglicanism has so pathetically succumbed. Secondly, if the priesthood is a “major stumbling block”, why comment elsewhere that the acceptation of women priests is inevitable and should be permitted? [7] Why advance the argument when the priesthood as such is enfeebling to religion? Furthermore, our planetary voyager avers that, today, celibacy is “the major reason for the decline in numbers of priests”, it is a “cruel obligation”.[8] True, the rule of priestly celibacy developed over time, based on, and emulated after, the life of Christ. But does the reader ever notice that only the celibacy of Roman Catholic priests is condemned and that Buddhist monks, absolutely bound to celibacy, are not in reception of any harassment? I do. But the real questions are these: Why the cacophonous opposition since the 1960s and not formerly when there was no shortage of celibate priests? Why are so many and here TH2 especially means those now aging, selfindulgent babyboomers upset by this vow? It is a rule of an institution, as there are rules in all institutions. If you do not like it, then do not become a Roman Catholic priest. It is very simple. No problem. If you still do not like it, then that’s tough. Have a cheese sandwich and start your own religion. Therefore, Harpur expounds his countering views against the priesthood and celibacy merely because they are unsuitable with his subjective convictions. He selfextrapolates, and thus the contentions are probably rooted in his personal failures as a cleric and/or his own sexual behavior. If a seminarian loves God so much, over anything and above everything; if he desires to be selfless and imitate the Love that is God; if he later takes a vow from a institution with doctrines of proven objectivity, benefit and goodness; and if he is willing to sacrifice as Christ did; then these evidence an exceptionally devout man who must be respected. Why is the attainment to holiness so much derided? Answer: The modernist attack against the Catholic priesthood/celibacy (including other religious) is a tacit refusal that a human being can attain holiness, to increasingly emulate the image of God, breaching through materiality to the transcendent while at the same time affirming as good and essential that same immanent materiality. Opponents focus on sexuality solely, i.e. on immanent aspects. Their first principle does not reside in the transcendent. Sexuality is the locus and thus argumentation starts from false premises. Then the disinformation begins, supplying media hatemongers the hackneyed formula that the Catholic Church deems the human body as evil. Is it ever noticed that advocates of priestly marriage incessantly proclaim “the priest will” act in such a way if not permitted release from the vow, that it is inevitable, that he will unavoidably wind up in a troubled psychological state? This is a negation of freewill. The human will is overshadowed by an inclination figured extraneous to personal restraint. Moreover, look only to Protestant pastors (e.g. Baker, Swaggart) and see that married religious men yield to temptation. Indeed, men and women, religious or not, have committed adultery from time immemorial. Of course celibate priests undergo temptations, an oblation undergone for Christ. Sure, the vow has been broken. Witness the notorious Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI, 14921503) “who could never keep his eyes off beautiful women”.[9] Does this mean that Catholic priests are so predisposed? Or, as the media and celebrities prefer to stereotype the situation (with a smirk to be sure), are celibate priests inclined to pedophilia? According to Philip Jenkins [10] clergy sex abuse is much less prevalent than what the media extols, it is not a problem particular to Roman Catholicism, and it is spread right across the denominational board. The number of abuses has been in the hundreds, not the thousands, and given that there are over 409000 Catholic priests throughout the globe (cf. Annuario Pontificio), the percentage of perverts thereof is infinitesimally small. Moreover, the abuse has mainly been committed against young boys and thus demonstrates that homosexuality is more at work. Therefore, the liberal Catholic advocacy for homosexual priests, which permitted for the population growth of homosexual seminarians from the mid1960s to mid1980s (the peak of the “Sexual Revolution”), is as much responsible for these abominations as those bishops who remained silent on the issue while knowing of their commission in their respective dioceses.


PART THREE. PANTHEISM: ERRORS AND COROLLARIES

X. GOD IN THE GROUND. The abovementioned is a scanty selection of Harpur’s theological maneuvers. They are, of course, evidential of a corruption in first principles. With Anglicanism jettisoned, and like many today who search for an “alternative” worldview, being “fed up” with Christianity (“What can religion do for me?”, goes the anthropocentric question), Harpur makes the big turn eastwards. With no affinity to atheism, and certainly with a belligerent disposition against traditional monotheism, the remaining option is only pantheism. That he is a quintessential pantheist is disclosed with the following: “God is [not] to be understood as a Being above or beyond or outside the cosmos, that is, in effect, a kind of dualism. Rather, matter is ‘in God’ and God is in matter... we have failed to see that the entire cosmos glows and shimmers with the embodiment, the enfleshment, of the Word of God. It is not just humans but every living stone, every flower, every insect, beast or fish, the mountains as well as the stars” [11]. Pantheism is thousands of years old, though Harpur’s glosses make it seem as if he is introducing some unique theological outlook. Many of his ideational fallacies follow from this pantheism. This is due to the chief error inherent to the pantheistic world picture, specifically: it disaffirms real distinctions between God, man and the world. As acknowledged, Harpur’s pantheism was inspired by the vulgar exCatholic priest and allaround creep Matthew Fox, from (not surprisingly) California.[12]

XI. SENTIMENTALISM. Bishop Fulton Sheen (18951979) said: “pantheism is materialism gone sentimental.”[13] Harpur surmises faith to be a bare spirituality without material association. It is an “internal matter, an affair of the heart”. This is pietism, and we can look to Jakob Spener’s Pia desideria (1675) or think of John Wesley’s (17031791) “religion of the heart” to see analogies, which were sentimentalist reactions to the unyielding demands of Calvinism. Harpur’s sentimentalism is exhibited with this piteous statement: “the pain of animals in the natural order [is a] great evil... a great cry of agony goes up from the animal kingdom night and day... The feet of a helpless frog sticking from the jaws of a swollen snake...” [14] Unbelievable! Excepting “animal rights” fanatics, how can anyone take this guy seriously?

XII. MORALIZATION OF NATURE. Since there is no real difference between a human and an animal or an inanimate thing, Harpur must necessarily affix morality to the natural realm by transposition. Regarding the environment, he degrades man to the level of a beast. Thus: “we are collectively the most virulent plague ever to affect this fragile ecosystem... like a monstrous cancer on the Earth.”[15] Classic misanthropy which works by the standard inversion: eliminate the dignity of man to a venomous biological predator by confusing his will and nature, while at the same time uplifting the animal to the level of man as a moral being.

XIII. GUSHING VERBOSITY. By trademark, the language of pantheists exhibits a melodramatic, flowery parlance. For example, Harpur writes of “the divinity that dances in the rocks and trees as in the distant stars” and that “perhaps even rocks talk” [16]. Perhaps they do. TH2 will try speaking to his pet rock Mr. Dolomite and attempt to validate. The popularization of modern pantheistic verbosity is to be found in works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (18811955), another big time troublemaker. On Christ, Fr. Teilhard wrote: “By perennial act of communion and sublimation, he aggregates himself to the total psychism of the earth. And when he has gathered everything together and transformed everything, he will close in upon himself and his conquests, thereby rejoining, in a final gesture, the divine focus he has never left”.[17] Whatever.


PART FOUR. EVOLUTIONARY GOD: FALSITY DEMONSTRATED

XIV. GOD ON THE RUN. Not only is Harpur’s God pantheistic, He is also in evolution. God is not actuality, but potentiality, and is therefore limited: “there are some things over which God might not yet have full control... God might be in a process of evolving; God too might have a ‘night’ or a ‘shadow’ side which He/She is struggling to be free.” Reference to God as “He/She” is a theological howler. Harpur neglects the fact that, when contrasted to ancient cosmogonies, the Old Testament stands alone in portraying the Deity to be genderless. Nevertheless, this pantheisticgodinevolution idea was also reinvoked by Fr. Teilhard, and currently runs under the tag “process theology”. That God “is so deeply involved in our evolution”, and that process theology “is one way to explain the otherwise horrendous deeds attributed to him” [18] is Harpur’s calling card. Arguments are now assembled to evidence this falsity [19].

XV. ERROR 1 / OVEREMPHASIS OF GOD’S IMMANENCE. The reason why proponents of an evolutionary God are able to argue for this theological schematic is that, with the pantheism necessarily involved, God’s transcendence is automatically neutralized. God permeates the world; He is in matter. Tilting to one extreme, the pantheist supposes God as totally and only immanently present. At the opposite extreme, the deist or Islamist contend God to be absolutely transcendent and not immanently present to the world (e.g. those who mistook Newton’s universe for theology, Allah in his distant unity). Roman Catholicism takes a midway stance, a via media. God is both outside of material existence and present to it (not in it).

XVI. ERROR 2 / MISUNDERSTANDING OF DUALISM. Now at this juncture immediately does the pantheist hurl the antidualist stance. Remember: matter as such is sacred to him. Because the traditional view affirms dualism, the distinction between body and soul, existent and essence, and so on, the pantheist presumes that dualism ascribes a negative or evil property to materiality. Here the distinction specified between the transcendent and immanent, matter and spirit or, metaphysically speaking, between the material existence of a thing and its immaterial quiddity, is misunderstood by Harpur the pantheist: “matter and spirit have so often been misunderstood as deeply opposed to one another. The resulting dichotomy has been disastrous to us all... The mindset that treats all of the Earth and its resources as an ‘it’ to be exploited, manipulated, and ultimately degraded beyond all recognition stems from a loss of the sense of the sanctity of matter itself. The socalled pagans knew better!” [20] Incorrect. The pagans were mistaken. Why? To the pagans, also pantheists, matter and spirit are fused into one unit. They admix, swirling with one another. No real distinction exists between them. In the traditional view, there is a real distinction, though the two aspects of polarity are not deemed as “opposed”, or as a “dichotomy” (for this suggests antagonism, incompatibility). Rather, it is seen as a composite unity in tensile balance. In the dualism, in between the poles as it were, there is no noncommunicative division, nor is there a confluent mixture of both into one (the latter applies to pantheism). The very reason why the traditional view is capable of seeing the physical world as a desacralized “it” is because a real distinction (in a positive context) is assigned between man and the totality of materiality.

XVII. NEGATIVE ATTRIBUTION TO MATTER IS A PAGAN NOTION. We are venturing into deeper metaphysical territory. Nonetheless, either out of nescience or connivance, Harpur misinterprets dualism, presupposing it engenders matter to be evil. But this is obfuscating traditional Christian dualism with Manicheansim (a gnostic variant) that contended matter and flesh to be innately evil. Manicheanism was a bitheistic religion, based on the teachings of Mani (A.D. 210276), who for some bizarre reason is often referenced as a “prophet”. It believed in two divinities, good and evil, coequal in power, in endless battle, i.e. an irreconcilable dualism [21]. From St. Augustine (354430), a former Manichean and later assailer of its tenets after his conversion, to St. Thomas Aquinas (12251274) and to the promulgations of today, matter has never been reckoned as evil by Roman Catholicism.[22] Augustine may not have been the most materialistic of fellows (his Platonic theology is the factor) and there have been Manicheanlike deviations in the recent past: Calvinism on the Protestant side, Jansenism on the Catholic. Both were fixated on human depravity; the latter was condemned by Pope Urban VIII (16231644) and the Jesuits. Undoubtedly, Harpur is unmindful of the historical fact that the negation of matter is a pagan or Eastern premise. Mani was a Persian. The Hindu mystic says that reality is an illusion. The Buddhist monk in meditation closes his eyes, curls his body into a ball, escaping from the suffering involved with living in a material world. Deceitfully, Harpur states the early Christians invented “a bodysoul dualism in which the body was seen as the prison of the soul, the originator of whatever was crass and evil.” Traditionally, evil is considered a privation of the good, related to freewill, a human attribute deemed distinct from the material body, not as some biologicallydetermined mechanism. Elsewhere Harpur contradicts himself once again by stating that dualism was “based on bodydenying Greek philosophical ideas” [23]. Which is it, then?

XVIII. ERROR 3 / GOD LOCKED IN MATTER NECESSARILY EVOLVES. Now by placing limitations on God, making Him wholly immanent, as the pantheist does, by situating God within the material realm, or by entraining Him into the dirt (if we are to be vulgar), then God must of necessity evolve. This is because matter or the world or the universe is in a deterministic state of flux, change, transformation, movement, becoming, or in Harpur’s case, evolution. As soon as one opines God to be as such, it also follows that God’s nature and traits must surrender themselves to the deterministic laws of nature (i.e. natural causation). God is posited to be a mobile entity, on the way to perfection, dependent on the constraints of the spacetime continuum. He faces the caliginous unknown, exerting, learning and questioning like the rest of weary humanity, perambulating forwards, thrusting forth into the future. Basically, God is made to be a function of time, space, matter, energy and our aprioristic postulations of him.

XIX. EVOLUTION = MOTION. All theologies extolling an evolutionary God, recent or past, relate to a mistaken understanding of the classical argument for proof of God’s existence as evidenced from motion, best explained by the Dumb Ox [24]. There is no disparity between motion and evolution in this situation. The difference resides in the explication. Both evolution and motion mean a changing or movement or becoming, not being. God, in Harpur’s view, is not Being, not a He Who Is.

XX. GOD = PURE ACTUALITY. How can it be known that God is in evolution unless there is some antecedent reference to that which is unevolved or immobile? How can it be known that God is in movement without assuming an anterior mover that moves God? Do we regress ad infinitum? But how can we know what movement is unless referral is made to that which is static? Movement would then not be movement. Right away the ancient dilemma is encountered. If God dwells only immanently in matter and time, He is thus necessarily subject to matter and time. The laws of physics then apply. Hence the necessitarianism of the pagans, to which Harpur accedes. The traditional view has it that God exists outside of time, space and matter; although He is present in an ontological or relational sense. Recall Exodus 3:14: God spoke to Moses “I AM WHO AM”. He did not say “I am in movement” or “I am in evolution”. He simply, omnipotently, irrefutably and unanswerably proclaimed that He Is Pure Actuality (Actus Purus).

XXI. “THE OTHER” VS. ANOTHER. Assume that God is locked within the confines of material existence, encased within the universe in its totality and moving with it [25]. Now if God is in movement, then it must be asked: What is movement as such? How do things come to be moved? (God must be a thing in this context because this is what Harpur’s pantheism attempts to establish). The answer is often overlooked because of its obviousness: Something which is moved can only be moved by another, something outside and really distinct from the thing that is moved [26]. If there is no real distinction between two existents, i.e. the mover and the thing moved, they would necessarily have to be merged into a singular component as it were. This, then, would mean that all things are coalesced into an indistinguishable “One”. Is the contradiction not noticed? In movement, one thing must be distinguished from another. There is difference in matter, but not in God as there can be no division in his Being, hence the “Immovable Mover”. A thing that moves sets another thing into motion. Thus the reason for a thing’s movement cannot reside within itself. That which was temporally prior set it into motion. One thing caused another to move. Thus the process works from potentiality to actuality.

XXII. EX NIHILO VS. ETERNALITY. For example: the oil stored in a tanker cruising across the Atlantic Ocean has the potential energy to explode if some agent is used to ignite the oil. If, say, some unthinking sailor decided to have a smoke near the storage tanks, and if he threw the lighted match into the oil container after lighting his cigarette, the vessel would likely detonate into a mushroom cloud. Now if we momentarily ignore the skywardsoaring bodies and metallic debris that result therefrom, what is further noticed? We must delve below the surface of apparent chaos. The lighted match (the cause) changed the oil’s potential for explosion into an actual explosion. That which was outside and distinct from the oil tank (the lighted match, the cause) was thrown (or moved) into the oil tank and made the detonation an actuality. Admittedly, this is an outrageous illustration, and perhaps our sailor was not exactly the smartest of fellows. Nonetheless, the example still stands as explained. A more downtoearth example is seen in the game of billiards. The player uses his cue and sets up to hit the white ball. The ball, presently stationary, has the potential to move. The player then lines up and shoots. The ball is set into actual motion (the thing moved) by that which was without and distinct from itself (the cue, the mover). To refute this explanation is to say that the movement of a thing requires no cause. It would also intend that both the mover and the thing moved are equivalent, but only formally, not actually. Some thing in evolution or movement (God, in Harpur’s case), then, is not entirely nothing as it is something. But nothing can come from nothing. Again we hit a wall. The traditional position declares that God created the totality of the material universe out of nothing (ex nihilo). If God, as pantheists assert, is entrapped within material existence, He would be eternal like the world (as the pantheists posit it to be) and be temporally concomitant with this eternal world [27]. However, if the world is eternal, if it is uncaused (assuming that a thing, is the cause of itself), then, according to this argumentation, God did not nor cannot create the world as He was always contemporaneous with it. But how can the universe be infinite/unlimited if it comes from finite/limited God?

XXIII. NO “FIRSTS” IN INFINITY. At this juncture the predictable counterclaim is put forward. It goes something like this: “This regression, of one thing moving another, goes on ad infinitum. I see that causation is in operation, that one thing is moved by another. Still, God is not the First Cause as he, too, can have a cause since both the universe and God extend infinitely back in time. An effect has a cause but a cause is no longer a cause because something that preceded it caused it.” This apparent problem has nothing to do with how far one can go back in the sequence. Why? It is impossible to compare an infinite sequence and a first cause as, quite evidently, there can be no first of anything in an infinite sequence. It is logical. The question submitted by the person who predicates that God is in evolution is this: Who set this God (cause) into motion? But the contradiction is manifest, for to ask this question is to make God a First Cause and a secondary cause at the same time. Two ideas, really distinct, are given as one. “Who created God?” and “Who created the universe?” are different questions.

XXIV. GOD YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW. Now another argument comes: “God, despite what you propound, is still in evolution because he is movement.” Recall that Harpur argues that God is “deeply involved” in our evolution. Though this, too, is impossible. If God evolves towards unity or perfection, this necessarily means that there is succession in Him. Motion cannot be an end in itself. God in continual evolution cannot be an end for Himself. A successional God who concurrently is is illogical. If the traditional notion of God as perfect, omnipotent and Pure Actuality is rejected, denying that He is the eternal "Unmoved Mover" outside of time, and if He is infixed with materiality, where there is no enduring or permanent substance (only movement, transformation, evolution), it follows that a minimal amount of change in materiality, equaling God, would also be a change in His entire being. This is because pantheism sets no real distinction between divinity and materiality. But why should God be something one day and something else another day? If there are continual steps in God’s evolution, then what He was in the past is exactly the same as He is now, which is to say: what God was (in an earlier stage of evolution) is also God now (in the present state). Yet another contradiction manifests.

XXV. OTHERWISE POWER DECIDES. Another counterargument goes: “There must be a new way of understanding God. God is what I say He is and also what you say He is and whoever contends what He is. No view or belief has priority. God is what we think Him to be.” A pantheon of mythical divinities is the inevitable result, making God’s nature and attributes to be a function of the mind, to be humanlydependent. If so, God becomes limited, finite, as is man. Eventually, as history demonstrates, some agency with an unquenchable desire to selfassert will arise, be it political or military or monetary or otherwise, claiming divinization to whatever degree, which by implication makes it superior to all, and it will accomplish its goals by brute force à la Nietzsche’s Will to Power and only because it is the strongest power. Rationality has nothing to do with this situation.

XXVI. ANALOGIA ENTIS. Yet another position: “If God and materiality are really distinct; that in evolution one thing is moved by another; and that the mover is distinct from that which is moved; if God is really and ontologically distinct from all that is it cannot follow that He created the universe out of nothing into motion because this separates Him totally from the world. If God is separated from the world, how can He be associated with it, be simultaneously present to it in an immanent way? This is wretched dualism.” To this the solution is discovered in the realm of the analogical, not the material. A cause and effect may be distinct from each other, and although the First Cause (God) is distinct from His creation (the totality of all that is), this does not also mean a total detachment without relation. If God was in the world, as Harpur believes, then the necessitarianism of the pagans reoccurs. Thus if the world moves or evolves, then God must move or evolve as He is irremediably enclosed therein. Moreover, if man, too, is undistinguished from the material order of being, he will, in the last analysis, relegate his freewill to the deterministic laws of nature. Note that the pagan Greeks encountered this predicament while attempting to reconcile freewill with their pantheistic necessitarianism. The presumption that God’s separateness from the world reflects a false dualism is explainable by understanding contingency, altogether unlike necessity. More specifically, to examine how an effect relates to a cause whereof this relation is expressed by nature: “it belongs to the nature of action that an agent produces its like, since each thing acts according as it is in act”, said Aquinas [28]. If a cause differs from its effect, the cause does not transfer its identity (i.e. essence), which establishes difference from one thing contrasted with another. If the essence or nature of the cause were relayed to the effect, then the cause would be different and the same as the effect at the same time, which is a contradiction. For example, a mother who gives birth to a child is, so to speak, the cause of the child. The daughter may physically look like her mother when she matures. They may have similar eye and hair colors, facial expressions and voices. This is a material relation. But it cannot be argued that they are alike in every manner, contradictorily meaning that both are one person. Each woman maintains uniqueness (say, in personality, interests). Both are individual human beings yet they have something that enjoins, an aspect that links the cause that is the mother to the effect that is the daughter. If this relation was nonexistent, relatives would be impossible.

XXVII. WRAPPING UP. Accordingly, there must be an ontological and real distinction between God and the totality of all that is (the cosmos). Otherwise Harpur’s pantheism (i.e. God and materiality intermixed, immanentized, cohabiting) would claim for there to be a union of God and the world without a reason for the union, and a distinction between the two without a purpose for one. In sum: God and the world become unknowable. Therefore, it is concluded that Harpur’s evolutionary pantheism is baseless.

XXIII. GOD IS. God is not Becoming. He is: “I AM WHO AM” (Ergo sum qui sum). An eminent medieval philosopher penned: “Beyond all sensible images, and all conceptual determination, God affirms himself as the absolute act of being in its pure actuality. Our concept of God, a mere feeble analogue of a reality which overflows it in every direction, can be made explicitly only in the judgment: Being is Being [I AM WHO AM], and absolute positing of that which, lying beyond every object, contains in itself the sufficient reason of object. And that is why we can rightly say that the very essence of positivity which hides divine being from our eyes, is nevertheless the light which lights up all the rest” [29]. God is present to the world ontologically, by His power. His very hiddenness, the Deus absconditus, reveals the Real Presence. One thing is moved by another yet the series of cause and effect cannot extend forever backwards in time, otherwise God cannot be the Creator. The totality of materiality cannot be its own cause. Hence, a First Being must be exposited that is transcendent to all that is. It therefore follows that this Being is none other than God Himself.

XIX. ATHEISTS CONSIDERED. The famous question of the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (16461716), coinventor of calculus, might be pondered: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” [30]


PART FIVE. SOCIAL REALITY / MORALITY & ETHICS / PRAYER

XXX. EASTERN WORLDVIEWS DENY OBJECTIVE REALITY. Correlative with Harpur’s pantheism is the retreat inwards, that escape into “the self” hallmark of all Eastern worldviews. Like many impressionable and unwitting persons, our planetary voyager has turned to “the East” for “new” knowledge, hopes and “spiritual healing”. “All healing is self healing”, he remarks [31]. But it is downright nasty that Harpur castigates traditional Christianity as attributing of evil to materiality and the body while at the same time underscoring and celebrating inwardlooking, antirealist provisos of Eastern philosophy. The Catholic may describe the world as wearisome and painful. Nevertheless, he confronts the world with open eyes and affirms its actuality the good and the evil. It is Buddhism, to offer one example, that negates materiality and the sorrow involved. Siddhartha Gautama desired to flee reality: “I teach only two things, O disciples, the fact of suffering and the possibility of escape from suffering” [32]. Do not affirm and maturely deal with the toil of being human: run away, evade pain, hide in a cranial prisonhouse. Pace Hinduism, we read in its chief text: “He whose mind is untroubled by sorrows and for pleasures he has no longings, beyond passion, fear and anger, he is the sage of an unwavering mind” [33]. Yet the cold blue facts of historical reality show that man does have sorrows, passions and pleasures. Otherwise he would not be truly human. Man does experience anger and, if honestly selfobservant, acknowledges his imperfections. Eastern philosophies are, at core, a refusal to accept our objective humanity as life and matter are deemed negative, figured to essentially entail physical discomfort, dejection and heartache. But man cannot successfully escape into a subjective mental void. He naturally seeks or relies upon some external and objective referent. If not, the despair of nothingness is the final consequent. Harpur disinforms when he wrote that Christ and Buddha “have made it clear that life is difficult. Neurosis stems from trying to deny or escape this” [34]. What he does not pinpoint and very deceptively it should be added is that Christ fully accepted suffering and dealt with it in all of its numbing pain by affirming objective reality, and ultimately so when nailed to the Cross; whereas Buddha could not deal with it and merely took flight into his subjective self. Only the latter is conducive to neurosis. Just look at Richard Gere. To be sure, TH2 often wonders why so many babyboomers, already suffering from neurosis, are flocking by the thousands to variously westernized quasiBuddhisms as it will only compound their condition. This is probably why Mr. Scampers says that Oprah might go to Hell (see MSS / No. 1). No question, there is a generic call for the retreat from the pain associated with the harsh realities of the world to “inner light of the self”, to garner “enlightenment”, and all the rest of it.

XXXI. MORAL AUTONOMY OF THE SELF. Harpur’s brand of ethics, too, are founded upon subjective inwardness: “selfknowledge is a primary ethical imperative”. Citing the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (17241804), he uses ambiguous logic in contending that God exists because of a “sense of the moral law within” [35]. This is a distant echo of the Kantian formula for the moral autonomy of the self: “The faculty of desiring in accordance with concepts is called the faculty of doing or forebearing as one likes... insofar as the ground determining it to action is found in the faculty of desire [within the self] and not the object [outside the self]” [36]. More recently, the Cambridge University thinker George Edward Moore (18731958), one founder of “analytic philosophy”, brought Kantian ethics to its horrendous conclusion. He argued that ethical judgments cannot be made on particular matters, and that goodness is indefinable. The conclusion: morals cannot be metaphysically based. The answer to the question “What is good?” can only be answered subjectively/formally, not objectively.[37] Thus the gateway is opened to moral relativism and, resultantly, judicial activism. Welcome to the twentyfirst century.

XXXII. ANTIAUTHORITARIANISM / MORAL RELATIVISM. Reflecting contemporary society writ large, Harpur holds any external rightful religious or moral authority in disdain: “Those who fanatically cling to the dogma that their particular tradition or religion has a monopoly on goodness are selfdeceived... One of the biggest stumbling blocks to the elaboration and declaration of this universal ethic [interfaith dialogue] is the arrogant exclusivity of those who refuse to even think about such a dialogue on the grounds that they alone already know and practice all that can be discovered about ethical truth. They believe that God has told them to stand apart and avoid all the fellowship with ‘sinners’ ” [38]. Firstly, how can persons be selfdeceived if they subscribe to external authority? Secondly, the aforementioned “selfknowledge is a primary ethical imperative” automatically cancels out the right to denounce opposing views. His own tenet explicitly states another person’s imperative is permitted to be dissimilar from his own. What this socalled “imperative” does is to engender a disparate set of ethics tailored to personal whim, as there is nothing extraneous to objectively gage right and wrong, good or evil. Therefore any or every justifiable claim to authority can easily be scored off. Not only is the principle of contradiction infringed again, it is seen how a subjective moral relativism leads inevitably to selfrighteous absolutism, as expressed in the quotation at the beginning of this paragraph.

XXXIII. GOAL TO UNDERMINE AUTHORITY. Moral judgments are impossible without an external standard. Harpur’s ethics, then, is a typical antinomianism wherein any subjective judgment is justified merely by emotional intensity and/or the exercise of power. His justification: “We don’t want to act on the dictates of some external, moral authority, in blind obedience. We want to act out of our own deepest convictions. If there are moral absolutes, we want to be persuaded, not forced to accept there existence.” The term “blind obedience” and such a wonderful, allencompassing catchphrase is to infer that believers are unintelligent, lacking common sense, sparked by faith alone. The drill goes like this: “I have always been opposed to the notion that in order to be a Christian you have to have a frontal lobotomy or put your intellect in cold storage you know, park your brain with your car and then go into church!” [39] Less euphemistically, believers are naively trustful of religious authority and should really question that authority, though not for the purpose of understanding or spiritual growth. Rather, with an aim to subvert that authority and perpetuate skepticism. Harpur projects his personal ethical laxity onto everyone else. What is most despicable is that he espouses moral autonomy of the self though has the audacity to reproach the moral relativism of contemporary society.

XXXIV. HYPOCRISY OF LIBERAL RELIGIONISTS. As quoted above, Harpur presumes that traditional Christianity tends to “stand apart and avoid all fellowship with ‘sinners’ ”. Is this so? Yes, the apartness is there, otherwise Christianity would be on par with all other religions, and then swept away into the smorgasbord of syncretism. Moreover, the smear with regard to sinners is a fiction. Do orthodox Catholics forget that Christ was at a banquet attended by not exactly the saintliest of characters and that, the Apostles, confused at Christ’s action, challenged Him on the matter? They do not. Have faithful Catholics, religious and lay, regularly/routinely helped and counseled criminals, alcoholics, prostitutes, the poor and the insane? Yes, they have. Is this to stand apart and avoid? No, it is not. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world. On the contrary, it is the liberal Catholic or any left wing religionist who “stands apart” from society. What orphanages, hospitals, homeless shelters, and other institutions of community care have been established and maintained by left wing intellectuals? TH2’s mind is now vacant. They do, however, have their “discussion groups” and “gatherings”, not to mention stimulating lifestyles. Their books will be famous, they will do the lecture circuit and crowds of fellow antinomians will flock to hear their squawking diatribes; they will assemble at a conference on the latest postmodern fad; they will rally with naïve student protesters; the press will dote them and request interviews; and the typically misguided celebrity of the day will certainly praise them. Just so long as he is “not one of them”, a phrase, by unknown reflex, verifies the apartness Harpur berates. The mind of the liberal religionist is incessantly ablaze with new ideas, yet his hands are never dirty with the reality of the world.

XXXV. PRAYER: “RELAX” = QUIETISM. If moral autonomy of the self is central to Harpur’s ethics, then we also see how this is reflected in his notion of prayer: “There is no essential need for a special place, special words, or holding the right images in our minds. Instead, prayer is a relaxed lettinggo of everything and claiming what has been already given... prayer is a bit like sitting on a beach and letting the warm surf roll over you. [We need] the kind of prayer that flows from love. And, as Coleridge once said: ‘He prayeth lest who lovest best’.” By reference to Christ’s message, Harpur notes that “Religion always wants to stress what we must do to gain wholeness or salvation. Jesus’ message is, Relax.” Like “sitting on beach”, a “warm surf”, a “lettinggo”, “like tuning the radio or TV dial in order to open the right channel to the infilling of his [God’s] spirit.” [40] Relax! What is being described here is what wealthy socialistic urbanites do on weekends in their manicured backyards over spring water spritzers and celery sticks. If Christ’s message is to Relax with a capital R, then please give TH2 a fiveounce Martini with a capital M. His idea of prayer is a sedate and shallow sentimentalism. Prayer is inactive, quiescent, noncommunicative with “the Other” just a nice quiet, therapeutic rainfall of feelings flooding the self inwardly. No rationality involved. The will is stagnant and nullified. Contemplation of higher things deemed irrelative a fine example of modern day quietism. In reality, a quietist is a lazy and irresponsible person. Today such people are called “free spirits”. In the Sixties they were called hippies.

XXXVI. QUIETISM DERIVED FROM LUTHER. It appears this quietism is interlinked with an interpretation of the chief declaratives of the Reformation. Elucidating on Martin Luther’s (14831546) proclamation of salvation without works (sola fide, sola gracia, sola scriptura), Harpur notes that “there [was] no ‘work’ required of anyone for God’s forgiveness and the gift of eternal life all is of God’s grace.” From this it follows that only admission of belief in Christ is the assurance of redemption. Works of charity are deemed worthless. That is all, and you “saved” hence the success and popularity of Protestant TV evangelists. Indeed, says Harpur, “the reformers were not Protestant enough.” A few pages later we encounter this profession: “We can cease our frantic striving and relax as we accept the truth that we have been accepted by God, and secure in this experience, we can go out empowered by His Spirit to accept others” [41] hence an equivalency to Luther’s notion of faith without works, plus a politically correct twist. Yet how can we “accept the truth that we have been accepted by God” when he maintains (above quoted) that “absolute objective certainty is impossible about eternal things”? More contradictions.

XXXVII. COLERIDGIAN PRAYER / DEVIL APPROVES. Harpur’s aforementioned construal of prayer, with his approval of the approach advocated by the poet Samuel Coleridge (17721834), reminded TH2 of a warning given in The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (18981963). It is fictional account of the correspondence between two devils working to obtain the soul of a man. The senior devil, named Screwtape, writes to a junior devil, a certain Wormwood, on how to manipulate someone from properly praying. Screwtape insists that Wormwood should encourage the human: “…to remember, or think he remembers, the parrotlike nature of his prayers in childhood [“special words”, according to Harpur]. In reaction against that, he may be persuaded to aim at something entirely spontaneous, inward, informal, and unregularised; and what this will actually mean to a beginner will be an effort to produce in himself a vaguely devotional mood in which real concentration and intelligence have no part. One of their poets, Coleridge, has recorded that he did not pray ‘with moving lips and bended knees’ but merely ‘composed his spirit to love’ and indulged ‘a sense of supplication’. That is exactly the sort of prayer we want; and since it bears a superficial resemblance to the prayer of silence as practiced by those who are very far advanced in the Enemy’s [God’s] service, clever and lazy patients can be taken in by it for quite a long time. At the very least they can be persuaded that the bodily position makes no difference to their prayers; for they constantly forget... that they are animals and whatever their bodies do affects their souls. Turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves. Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings...” [42] Surely, Harpur would agree, and it is also noticed that his “feelings” approach to prayer is a nonrational approach, reflecting his approach to religion in general.


PART SIX. RATIONAL VS. NONRATIONAL APPROACHES TO RELIGION

XXXVIII. REASON OR UNREASON? In an immanent context, there can only be two approaches to religion, viz. the rational or the nonrational. No exceptions exist, and those that claim otherwise are substituting explanations which are still nonrational, veiled merely with euphemisms and/or fashionable jargon to seem rationally consistent, which is a contradiction and automatically invalidates the nonrational approach. A selection of nonrational approaches is now provided so as to evidence as erroneous Harpur’s approach to religion and God, of which he admits: “Its content includes much more than intellect and reasoning; but it is never irrational. The word I would use for this aspect is ‘nonrational’ or intuitive.”[43]

XXXIX. FEELINGS APPROACH. Early in twentieth century, one of the most popular nonrational approaches was that of the American William James (18421910), philosopher, psychologist and lover of nitrous oxide. Straightforwardly, James admitted that he was “so bent on rehabilitating the element of feeling in religion and subordinating its intellectual part. Individuality is founded in feeling; and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinding strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we can catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done.” [44] This is from his The Varieties of Religious Experience. Professional theologians have found two major problems with this book. Firstly, James took only extreme, perverse or anomalous personalities as being representative of religion. His justification was that they yielded “profounder information”. Yet exploiting such personality anomalies, and concentrating only upon these, is like an alien from another planet visiting a candy store on Earth and concluding that humanity subsists on a diet consisting primarily of sugar. Indeed, the impression received after reading James’ lectures is that one must be psychologically imbalanced to be earnestly religious or holy (a commonplace presumption today, and an effective tool used by the Left to besmirch devout Catholics as being fanatical, morose, etc.). In reality, however, most people are not saints or religious fanatics. Further, James’ use of the word “varieties” is a misnomer. His case studies consisted of one personality type. Regardless of religion or philosophy, the “religious” persons James scrutinized were presupposed to be mentally offkilter. The second and more significant problem is that James’ book is purely factual and descriptive. His analysis is but tessellation of psychological cases without a pronouncement upon what the nature of religion is per se. “The divine can mean no single quality, it must mean a group of qualities.” [45] The falsity here is that a mere juxtaposition of observations does not constitute an explanation for religious belief. This is pluralistic factualism. What is it that connects this “group of qualities”? In other words, what is the cause or reason? Recall from the analysis above that something cannot be a cause of itself, i.e. one thing is moved by another. In this context, is it so wrong to say that someone cannot be moved by God’s grace? If not, then is a person’s reason for religious belief associated with some physical function of the mind? If so, then this is no longer psychology, certainly not religion, but biologic determinism. But how can a reason be a material thing? What happens to freewill? Not surprisingly, James, by reference to the English philosopher David Hume (17111776), denied causality, i.e. that intrinsic quality allowing for a contingency in the world. Thus we have an excuse and explanation for what was in actuality a superficial approach to religion.

XL. NEUROTIC APPROACH. Another psychological, nonrationalistic approach to religion and probably the most celebrated was that of the cocaineinduced Sigmund Freud (18561939), who very simply and serenely imputed religion to be the result of neurosis. There are “resemblances... between neurotic ceremonials and the sacred acts of religious ritual”. The “formation of religion seems to be based on the suppression, the renunciation, of certain instinctual impulses.”[46] So much has this attitude pervaded society that today we invariably hear clichés from that long line of media priapics saying that Catholics are cyclothymic, “sexually repressed”, “anal retentive”, “they always have that look”, and so forth with the damnifications. [47] The fact that modern, scientificallybased psychoanalysis (as opposed to Freud’s mystification of freely associated ideas) has clearly demonstrated him to be a charlatan, means nothing to our cultured despisers. In a wellknown book, the psychologist Hans Eysenck (19161997) exposed the utter inanity of Freudian psychoanalysis: “experiments were not needed to confirm his hypotheses, nor could they influence them. No other discipline claiming attention has so clearly and decisively cut itself off from experimental testing of its theories even astrology and phrenology make claims which are empirically testable, and have been tested, albeit unsuccessfully.”[48]

XLI. ACT OF WILL APPROACH. For Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900), the will played the dominant role in human existence. Not to comprehend religion, but instead for overcome and annihilate it. And when Nietzsche spoke of religion, he meant specifically Christianity. Effectively, he said: Forget about all other religions, disregard all other philosophies, sweep aside economics and politics and science and the great ones of history, and let us get down to business; ye people of the world, clear the playing field, scan all of the horizons and identify the real culprit Jesus Christ, heretofore figured to be the completely innocent and sinless victim of human history. “Wellnigh”, he writes in 1888, “two thousand years and not a single new god!” The Christian concept of sin, goes the broadside, is the “most important event in the history of the sick soul” and the “most disastrous trick of religious interpretation”.[49] Only a man so much attuned to Christianity, in terms of its monumental impact on civilization and its transformation of the human condition, could have penned those words that comprise The AntiChrist. Paradoxically, it could be argued that only a profoundly religious man could have written it. Nonetheless, Nietzsche the madman negated repentance and reverted to revenge.[50] He scoured into the very depths of man as man, ripped his soul out, omitted his capacity to reason, and proclaimed a boundless will rooted in biophysical instinct that must demolish things transcendent in aspect. [51] “One must shatter the all; unlearn respect for the all; take what we have given to the unknown and the whole and give it back to what is nearest, what is ours.”[52] Nietzsche grew to despise Christ, subsequently turning to AntiChrist. Hence, he consecrated himself to Dionysius, the Greek god of wine and ecstasy, symbolizing that corybantic and nihilistic hedonism at once mesmerizing to the distant onlooker upon its societal incarnation, and a portent of the surreal paganism of modernity. Like many hardened atheists, Nietzsche eventually went bonkers.[53]

XLII. DREAD APPROACH. Today, however, the popular admission is that the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (18131855) is the “father of existentialism”. Unlike Nietzsche, Kierkegaard was a Christian, but his approach to religion was subjective. He did not deny objectivity, and he did search for the connections between human existence and truth. However, he too far upraised the subjective aspects of personal existence and altogether rejected natural theology. Reason and religion were incompatible in his view. This parallels his obsession as a thinker tackling the paradox of existence as completely detached from the family life he would have experienced had he not broken off his engagement with Regine Olsen (18221904), a classically delicious Nordic cupcake. Nonetheless, for Kierkegaard religion had its foothold in dread. Man stands, as it were, like an ectopic singularity on a ubiquitously flat existential plane while under the direct gaze of God. From this arises the sense of sin and an awareness of guilt. One must grapple with, and dredge into, subjective personal experience and encounter Christ. But what was the nature of this encounter? Man, in this existential context, is always wrong and somehow marred under the solitary sight of God. Indeed, the encounter is comical: “Every isolated individual always becomes comic by stressing his own accidental individuality over against necessary development”.[54] Kierkegaard’s individuality is stressed, forced as it were, it is not really open to the “Other” because the assumption is that an exertion must be made by man when in the face of truth. Individuality does not acquiesce to necessity, which is correct, though the actual aspect of individuality is comical to Kierkegaard’s because it appears feigned, a dissimulation. Existence is not really assumed true, being is not being in openness and actuality. Kierkegaard transformed existential being into an inner becoming. There is an inward doing, so to speak, accidentally operating within man, making the self primary and God secondary. His existentialism has thus been described as a “dialect of inwardness”. Consequently, his Christianity was brutal. Fr. Rutler observes: “he is almost Manichean in his unaccommodating demands in the Christian summons.”[55] Existential man is frozen stiff, tense and distraught, unable to attune to that tensile duality endemic to all that is, as in his Either/Or, wherein a contrast is presented between aesthetical and ethical worldviews. Neither faith nor reason can ameliorate the dilemma. Kierkegaard makes no preference between the aesthetical and ethical. He sets man’s circumstance in a kind of Socratic stasis of undecidability. One is left alone to make a choice “existentially”. Granted, Kierkegaard was a sagacious thinker and rightly rallied against the religious liberalism of his day, being no friend of the vulgar Hegelians. He is one of the principal philosophertheologians of modernity in that, unlike most of his antireligious competitors, Kierkegaard headstrongly confronted man’s inner sense of sin and guilt, for which he will be lastingly remembered. The way he besieged his opponents was admirable and there was something very noble about him.[56] But this still does not detract from the fact that his approach to religion was nonrational.

XLIII. IRRATIONAL APPROACH. As for the theologian Karl Barth (18861968), himself influenced by Kierkegaard, man can do nothing at all. He cannot even approach God. Barth had reprised the Lutheran polemic of the total pollution of human nature, including its attendants. God declares his categorical “No!” to the world. As such Barth proclaimed “a God utterly distinct from men.” So ardent was he in this belief of a disconnection between a transcendent God and man dwelling in the immanent world that he delimited this breach as “the crevasse, the polar zone, the desert barrier”. Accordingly, Barth depicted himself as someone “with one foot in the grave, I am just an individual, grotesquely isolated and subject to chance, bounded by the grim processes of life and death”. These words comes from his Der Romerbrief, a commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, written in the midst of the First World War; of which later in life he recalled hearing “the sound of the guns booming away in the north.”[57] Indeed, the response upon the publication of this book was certainly analogous to that of an exploding bombshell.[58] The impact, however, was transitory, as are all explosions, and rejoinders by those with more level minds had to repair the ruins and refill the crater that Barth violently excavated. Not to once again conceal a vile human nature in a juxtapositional manner, but to implant into that emptiness something that would transform it, vivify it. There is a purifying aspect about dirt. This digression aside, when Barth’s thought is considered, the geist of his work definitely intimates that selfinduced hypertension emblematic of all immanentlytrapped philosophers, particularly the German brand, e.g. “I am subjected to a vast and vehement pressure” [59], and so on. Thus the approach to religion advocated by Barth, the younger one at least, can be classified as irrationalistic.

XLIV. INTUITIVE APPROACH. Noteworthy is the intuitional approach to God of the philosopher Henri Bergson (18591941). His was a sort of “mind’s eye” approach to deity, yet another hybrid of Descartes angelism gone ballistic. Man, he said, has some kind of immediate apprehension of the divine. But this has no relation to human reason: “an absolute can only be given in an intuition, whilst everything else falls within the province of analysis. By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible.” Bergson claimed that reason effaces reality, and echoes of Kant’s mentally projective subjectivism are detected: “it is necessary to proceed by a reversal of the usual work of the intellect. Thinking usually consists in passing from concepts to things, and not from things to concepts… To know a reality… is to take readymade concepts, to portion them out and to mix them together until a practical equivalent of the reality is obtained.”[60] Claiming that his philosophy was “frankly dualistic”, it can be strongly argued that, when it came to God, his proclivity was frankly pantheistic. It is well to remember that Bergson’s concinnity (like most pantheists) had seduced many into pardoning or overlooking errors, like his good friend, the aforementioned William James.

XLV. NONRATIONAL APPROACH ROOTED IN SCHLEIERMACHER. Considering the thinkers we have just reviewed above, let us now break things down and see what was substituted for a rational approach to religion:

----------------------------------------------------James / feelings (+ nitrous oxide)----------------------------------------------------Freud / neurosis (+ cocaine)----------------------------------------------------Nietzsche / will (+ madness)----------------------------------------------------Kierkegaard / dread----------------------------------------------------Barth / irrationality----------------------------------------------------Bergson / intuition

Notice: the locus is on immanent man, explainable by human traits and circumstances; not on the transcendent “Other” as primary, but as secondary. Mathematically given: God, religion = f (man). All these approach modes to religion that exclude rationality, including Tom Harpur’s, find their ideational prototype in the German theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (17681834). In his most famous text, we find the coefficients to the equation: “Religion’s essence is neither thinking nor acting, but intuition and feeling. It wishes to intuit the universe, wishes devoutly to overhear the universe’s own manifestations and actions, longs to be grasped and filled by the universe’s immediate influences in childlike passivity.”[61] Man is conditional to the universe, instinctively, without an excitant or cause. Says the romanticist: replace reason for intuition and, reacting to Kant who made religion dependent upon the will, substitute doing with feeling. It is in the Schleirmachean approach where Harpur can be categorized. This is confirmed by his assertion that “the natural world... is the primary source of revelation of the Ultimate.”[62]


PART SEVEN. AGAINST NONRATIONAL APPROACH TO RELIGION

XLVI. TALLY HO! Nonrational approaches to religion have been summarized to illustrate how Harpur’s method can be seen within a historical context. Arguments are now tallied to support the rational approach to religion.

XLVII. ARGUMENT 1 / NONRATIONAL APPROACH CANNOT “UNDERSTAND” RELIGION. Obviously, if the basis to religion is nonrational, then there can be no understanding of religion or God whatsoever. People believe because of an assumption of God’s existence. It is taken as a known. If one assumes, then one can understand, and understanding is a process of ratiocination. It is impossible for there to be an emotional involvement or an experience thereof without some prior understanding of God, however correct or fantastical it may be. There is a reason for belief, but the process of reason is not emotion, nor is it experience.

XLVIII. ARGUMENT 2 / EMOTIONS FOLLOW UNDERSTANDING. Emotions about God do not antecede the notion of God. They are not causal agents since an emotion is a response to some apprehension or awareness. Consider what has been presented above. The reader may angrily think TH2 is an eristic buffoon. Good. But why? “Why?” is a question, and a reason is an answer to a question. The reader first understood what was expounded and then reacted with whatever mode of emotion. The reader might be disdainful of TH2 since he believes in God with all of His unpleasant dictates. It does not follow, however, that unbelief on the part of the reader is a result of his disdain. Reason is prior to emotion. Thomas Aquinas: “The affective state begins when the intellectual operation is finished.”[63] This is not to mean, incidentally, that emotions cannot be factored into religion. Indeed, they can quicken one’s belief, fostering greater sanctitude and compassion, be utilized to inspire others, and they do reflect a belief intensity. For we do not want a stringent rationalism and squelch out feelings from the human condition, otherwise a radicalized emotionalism is the reflex action. Witness the reaction of the pantheistic romanticists (e.g. JeanJacques Rousseau) to the deistic rationalists (e.g. John Locke). A middle course is required. Nevertheless, the emotional approach does not have the spiritual as its end. It does not point to the transcendent. Emotions, a biophysical process, begin and center about immanent man, not God.

XLIX. ARGUMENT 3 / EXPERIENCE ONLY CONFIRMS THINGS AND EVENTS. Raw experience cannot be the basis of religion simply because it, too, does not cause things, but confirms their existence. Nor does it cause events, but validates their occurrence. You have an experience, something happens to you say a wind gust streams across your body. You have not created the event. Experience is the conscious perception of some reality external to the self. Observation and participation is involved. Something is undergone, encountered or “lived through”. Nothing is produced. If one has a “religious experience”, mystically or miraculously as examples, this does not necessarily mean that the self has caused these numinous phenomena.

L. ARGUMENT 4 / AFFECTATION IS SELFPROJECTION. If God is primarily intuitive or emotive, this makes religion an outgrowth of the self. The commonplace view today is that God exists in superabundant modes, sometimes in very contradictory ones, to various sects or denominations or cults or groups, and that none of these views are necessarily true because “we all have our own idea of religion”. This, again, infers that religion or God is dependent on man, therefore setting limits upon Him. It confers upon God multitudinous human characteristics, inclinations and weaknesses. For Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (17701831), God was not transcendent, an external spiritual reality outside of the mind and the universe but, in his typical verbalism, a “Notion in contrast to the actuality which it gives itself in the movement of its consciousness”.[64] For the sophist literary critic George Steiner, God “is not yet... He will come into being or, more precisely, into the manifest reach of human perception, only when there is immense excess love over hatred.”[65] God becomes a “geometer” to mathematicians,[66] a “woman” for the feminists, and so forth. In his Gifford Lectures, the American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (18921971) correctly observed that “Barth’s logic cannot hide the fact that, however imperfect human personality is in contrast to divine personality, he has taken the very concept of personality from human life and has applied it to the divine.”[67] Mutatis mutandis, this applies to all other nonrational approaches to religion.


PART EIGHT. CONSCIENCE / HELL / EVIL

LI. PRIMACY OF CONSCIENCE. Harpur’s aforementioned “inner voice” is a reference to the conscience. His claim is that Roman Catholics obedient to authority indicates of a form of repression. Thus in those anxious moments of indecisiveness, or in those quiet moments when the conscience solicits the mind, everything is surrendered to “blind obedience”. From the Catholic perspective, theologians have been insistent that a properly informed conscience overrides an order from an external authority if the demand of that authority is discordant to what the conscience communicates. This is not a license for defiance, nor is it an endorsement for the moral autonomy of the self, as postVatican II cafeteria Catholics presuppose. Neither does it imply that the conscience operate extraneous to the matrix of Church teaching. It has been a longstanding tradition of the Catholic Church that no person can be barred from acting in accordance to his conscience, particularly in religious matters[68] SS. Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure (John Fidanza, 12211274) and Robert Bellarmine (15421641), including the Canonists, have all similarly described the conscience as such. Aquinas: “conscience is nothing else than the application of knowledge to some action. Now knowledge is in the reason. Therefore when the will is at variance with erring reason, it is against conscience.”[69] So much is this subscribed to that when in the Middle Ages theologian Peter Lombard (11001160) denounced the primacy of conscience, he was at once reproved by his contemporaries. Even the apostate, if he really believes in his correctness on whatever doctrine, does not, according to the Catholic view, lose his soul to eternal damnation. Salvation is always a possibility. Only God knows the disposition of a soul. A Martin Luther or a Robert Drinan, now dead, are not deemed hellbound, despite what some illinformed Catholics contend [70], including the notorious Mr. Scampers (see MSS / No. 8).

LII. THE HELL THERE IS. The unbelieving reader should stop here, go elsewhere, and try to “rationalize” the Nazi extermination camps (and good luck), or else start consuming some antacid tablets. You will abhor the next few paragraphs. All religions, past and present – and, yes, even secular philosophies (see below) describe various forms of hell in their mythologies, doctrines and ideologies. To Tom Harpur, the actuality of Hell is absolutely unacceptable. Hell, he writes, must be “understood... in a symbolic way”. “Probably the most frightening example of what I’m talking about [God as Father] focuses on the traditional, religious concept of hell. If you believe in and worship a God Who is capable for whatever reasons of condemning billions of people to a place or state of eternal torture, you risk becoming like Him!... We will one day ‘see’ the full implications of all out thoughts and acts. To know that, even as we are known, will be judgment and ‘hell’ enough.”[71] Now to merely “know” the “full implications” alone would not satisfy the justice rightly demanded by, for instance, a mother whose child was murdered by an unrepentant and gleeful man, irrespective of jail time.

LIII. HELLISH SCENARIO. Harpur “cannot find any rational grounds” for belief in the doctrine. All we have to do upon death is to “realize just what we have been and done”. It will be a “terrible experience for the murderous tyrants and torturers of this age.”[72] In other words, mercy without justice. Consider this scenario of Hitler and Stalin at the gates of paradise as under the purview of St. Peter:

St. Peter: Gentlemen. I have reviewed your lives and it seems that both of your have been very nasty fellows. Now I want you to "realize" and "know" the "full implications" of what you have done before I let you enter.

Hitler: Achtung! I "know" that I was responsible for exterminating millions of Jews. However, this can be compensated for because I feel shame for the stupidlooking mustache that I had. How about you, Joe?

Stalin: Oh, yes, comrade. I humbly "realize" my murders and treacheries, especially for the starvation of those millions of Ukranians. Still, people are just statistics.

St. Peter: Okay, you two rascals... excellent realizations. In ya go...

This pathetic satire is submitted to illustrate the unallowable and resultant injustice should God be void of justice. Liberal Christianity shuns divine justice like a plague. Otherwise, it would have to admit the work of objective evil in the world, and thus Hell to account for the ultimate form of justice. Harpur employs the standard avoidance mechanism: “there are preachers in the tens of thousands and good, faithful Christians by the millions today who still subscribe to this grotesque and longoutdated notion.”[73] What he really means, of course, is that the antiChristian liberal establishment, to whom he grovelingly hopes to gain approval, does not believe in Hell and hence so must the rest of us unenlightened country bumpkins… cuz, chucks, wer not reely into book learnin n stuff.

LIV. DIFFICULTY CONTEMPLATING HELL AND EVIL. When faith is absent or when persons endistance themselves from Catholic teaching, Hell is frequently the first doctrine discarded. Admittedly, it is an excruciating subject to directly confront. The mystery of evil has not left a few theologians and saints distressed throughout the ages. St. Augustine: “I was searching for the answer to the mystery of evil but could not find it.”[74] St. John seemed mesmerized, paralyzed and totally dumbfounded at the same time: “…and I wondered a great wonder.”[75] TH2 confesses that the question concerning evil has given him not a few sleepless nights. Sometimes he wonders about the final destination of the most sinister characters of history, of their final answerability to God at the moment of death. When Stalin was on his deathbed his daughter recorded that his arm was uplifted, and he shook his fist in defiance at the ceiling. Clearly, rumination on such morose situations only drew TH2 deeper into territories to which he is completely unqualified to assess, due either to ignorance, intellectual limitation, or just plain stupidity. Still, there seems to be something natural in the human condition that incites such thoughts as just described. In the last analysis, as regards the "conditions" of Hell, the via media cautiousness of John Henry Cardinal Newman (18011890) is advised: “It is wrong to speculate; but it is safe to be alarmed.”[76]

LV. THE UNDERGROUND MAN SPEAKS. Intellectuals regularly proclaim the teaching on Hell to be terror mongering prompted by psychological derangement and/or socially conditioning. Or they argue as Harpur does: a God that allows souls to go to Hell is “to be shunned and abhorred as a sadistic monster.”[77] This scoring off of real and final justice to evil in the world with predictable catchphrases is easy, and is often such accommodations are made to neutralize one’s own moral failings. But, in contrast to mice forever squeaking about the nonexistence of Hell and evil, there is the superforce Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (18211881). In his Pages from the Journal of an Author we read: “It is absolutely evident that in mankind is lurking an evil much deeper than the socialist doctor supposed, that whatever the social organization is, evil cannot be eliminated, that the human soul will remain the same, that abnormal manifestations and sin are born in it, and finally, that the laws of the human spirit are still so little known, are still so much outside the reach of science, so mysterious, that doctors cannot be found yet to deal with them efficiently.”

LVI. DENIAL OF HELL RELATES TO NEGATION OF SIN. The reason why Hell is repudiated by liberal religionists is simply due to the denial of sin. Effectively, the human being is considered to be wholly or potentially perfect in will, action, thought and nature without requirement of external divine grace. Once limitations are placed upon God, as Harpur does, His omnipotence and omniscience are nullified. If these aspects of God are rebutted, then of necessity must Hell be rebutted. It tells of mercy without justice, and that human behavior is ultimately disconnected from responsibility. When Harpur denies the existence of Hell, what he is really communicating (though he would never admit) is a disbelief in freewill. Consequently, the distinction between what is good and what is evil dissolves. It is Harpurs endorsement of the moral autonomy of the self that fosters this relativism. It is one reason why he is so contemptuous of the Roman Catholic Church, whose doctrines are very specific on what is right and wrong, true and false, good and evil. Contrarily, liberal religionists are always inexact and pleonastic on such issues.

LVII. COMMUNICATING CONSCIENCE. Another reason why Hell is denied relates to that inacknowledged and unspoken fear felt as incited by the informingly distinct conscience at moments before, during or after a nefarious thought, word or deed. No matter how hard an attempt is made to blot out what the conscience relays, it will nonetheless quietly, or even loudly, speak depending on the gravity of the act “You ought not...” or just “No!” Consequently, the antinomian must contort morality to suit a form of socalled justice that is inexorably selfrevolving, consciencedenying and physiologicallydeterminative. Once morality turns subjective, individualistic and relative, the ultimate form of justice, Hell, must be rejected because no external power whatsoever can judge, save the internal self.

LVIII. FANTASTICAL / SADISTIC ANALOGUES. Interestingly, many repudiate the existence of Hell because of human descriptions and pictorial renderings are either laughable, repulsive and/or terrifying (i.e. pain torture, with emphasis on the biological/physical pain, minimally so on mental agony).[78] The happygolucky devil in the cartoon, pitchfork in hand, pointed tail, mustache and a snarl, evokes smiles or no reaction at all. A famous depiction by the Flemish painter Pieter Brueghel (15251569) of The Fall of the Rebel Angels (1562), with its grotesque demons, is certainly not agreeable to the sight. We hear of deafening fundamentalist preachers bellowing with a high degree of precision about “the temperature of hell”[79], and of the brutal torments that the damned will undergo for all eternity. Many saints have had terrifying visions of Hell [80] and, obviously, there is famous Inferno of Dante Alighieri (12651321). Canto XVII characterizes:

---------------------------------------Yet forward on the extremity I paced---------------------------------------Of that seventh circle, where the mournful tribe---------------------------------------Were seated. At the eyes gush’d forth their pangs.
---------------------------------------Against the vapours and the torrid soil
---------------------------------------Alternately their shifting hands they plied.
---------------------------------------The use of dogs in summer still to ply
---------------------------------------Their jaws and feet by turns, when bitten sore
---------------------------------------By gnats, or flies, or gadflies swarming round.[81]

Irrespective graphical depictions may be unpleasant and the descriptions may be loathsome, though Hell cannot be discounted because of poorly contrived human analogues. C.S. Lewis’ famous observation still stands when he said that Satan’s greatest deception has been to trick humanity into denying its existence.[82] Fr. Rutler insightfully identifies the modus operandi of this deception: “Satan does not haunt us with his ugliness. He does not smell of brimstone but of cologne, a charming figure who would later tempt Jesus in the wilderness with excruciating courtesy, one gentleman meeting another. We find him in the most polite places for the same reason. He is a neatly manicured mal vivant offering choice fare in exquisite taste to those who will have them... consistently smiling, polite, gallant, mannered and sincere.”[83]

LIX. GOD AS “ANGRY OLD MAN”. Another pretext commonly used by liberal Christians to disavow the existence of Hell to relates to affectation: making a personal projection onto God, transforming Him into an angry old man with nothing better to do excepting to dispense retribution onto the earth by means of wars, crimes, plagues, famines, natural disasters, including eternal damnation after death. The Bible often expresses God’s wrath in metaphors, as in the famous passage when He proclaims “vengeance is mine”.[84] Also, voluntaristic phraseology is periodically found in the Old Testament, where the will overshadows emotion and intellect, as if the human being stands alone, seemingly helpless and ruined, under the oppressive, incessantly watchful gaze of God. The Book of Job is a case in point. In an English translation by S. Mitchell we read: “For God has hidden my way, and put hedges across my path. I sit and gnaw on my grief; my groans pour out like water. My worst fears have happened; my nightmares have come to life. Silence and peace have abandoned me, and anguish camps in my heart.”[85] If anger is ascribed to God, it, rather, more so relates to a sense man has of His justice. Some earthly analogues: children are prone to think that their parents hate them upon punishment. The antisocial teenager bewails that “everyone against me”. The anarchist thinks that “the world” is against him. Someone with a bad conscience will also think that God is against him.[86]

LX. SECULAR HELL / PARADISE. The denial of Hell has disastrous theological ramifications. Firstly, passages in New Testament scripture very serious and insistent upon its reality[87] must otherwise be consigned as outright lies or, as is now trendy to articulate, textual distortions made by transliterators through the centuries. Just now, in the modern age, a 2000year old conspiracy has been uncovered to stagemanage, suppress and terrorize the masses. However, does not this argument, by inverse relation, appertain to revolutionaries and writers who have promised a heaven on Earth for humanity a collectivist utopia envisioned for the future, the Civitas Secularis? There is Vladimir Lenin’s (18701924) promise of the workers paradise: “Since the appearance of Marxism, each of the three great periods of world history has brought Marxism new confirmation and new triumphs. But still a greater triumph awaits Marxism, as the doctrine of the proletariat, in the coming period of history.”[88] There was the hell on earth scenario of H.G. Wells (18661946): “the stars in their courses fight for the new humanity. The reality of human history flows on beneath the troubled surface of these accidents... You have to kill and risk being killed... the new world of the AfterMan dawns upon the face of the waters.”[89] In both cases, promises are made. Indeed, doctrines are dictated as absolutely true for a heaven and hell on Earth. The difference in this context is only between the temporal immanentism of Lenin and Wells on the one hand, and the timeless transcendence of Christianity on the other. Pronouncements of hope and fear produced the same outcomes, viz. many believed and adjusted their lives in accordance with these worldviews. Thus the “fear” and “deception” hypotheses, in the final analysis, are superfluous in the debate over the existence of Hell.

LXI. OTHER THEOLOGICAL RAMIFICATIONS. If traditional teaching and Scripture are fallacious with respect to Hell, then automatically do other facets of the doctrine disintegrate. Divine revelation, that spiritual influx from without, is a nullity. If Hell is untrue, then who is to say that Heaven is an unreality as well? Others can be assailed on similar grounds once the domino effect commences. Most devastatingly, if there is no Hell and entry into Heaven is guaranteed following death, then Christ as Redeemer becomes a vacuous article of faith. What is the purpose of a Redeemer if everyone is already redeemed? Arianism soon follows. Christ instead becomes, to use Harpur’s words, a mere “unique revealer” [90] of God’s Word. Or He is decremented into a “great moral teacher” or a “political revolutionary” or whatever characterization harmonizes with the theological fashion of the day. Again, this is a negation of freewill. All enter heaven regardless of whether or not a person repents of the repercussions of their malevolent words or deeds. The distinction between good and evil smears into moral relativism and Christianity lapses into pragmatism, or a kind of eudaemonic fatalism.

LXII. HARPUR’S HEAVEN AND HELL. Our planetary voyager also maintains that, according to orthodoxy, entry into Hell involves (at death) a tabulation of sins placed on a weighscale, or that lists are drawn up of transgressions committed during a lifespan. This is the oftused quantitative error and is a dilettante identifier. Harpur even presumes heavenly admission is granted to exclusively good and holy people! If this were the situation, Heaven would be almost empty (and let us not forget the relativism and extreme leniency accounted for by Purgatory that’s right, TH2 will say it again: extreme leniency and the only relativism affirmed by Roman Catholicism). Since he sees no sin in man, Harpur dispenses with Christ’s message that He incarnated especially for sinners, not just saints. One does not go to Hell for breaking the Ten Commandments. The Commandments exist because their infraction is hurtful to the self and society. People go to Hell simply because of a refusal to love. It is the eclipse of negation, a freely chosen negation. Regardless, TH2 is certain that the aforementioned Screwtape would be quite delighted with Harpur’s exposition on Hell. Perhaps Harpur has forgotten the underlying meaning of a phrase that is often used in a casual manner when defending a position in any debate. The phrase is this: “The Hell there is.”


PART NINE. CHRISTOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY

LXIII. PREPOSTEROUS PRELIMINARIES. As above, the denial of Hell, in the last analysis, pilots to the denial of Christ’s divinity. Well, this is exactly what is ascertained after perusing Harpur’s journalistic stab at Christology in his book For Christ’s Sake, published in 1983. As a poptheologian, Harpur unsurprisingly adopted the redactions of liberal Christianity. They are wellknown: the relegation of Christ’s miracles to psychological conditioning; denying the end of the world (i.e. adoption of pagan notion of an eternal world); God characterized as “He/She”; sanctioning of “homosexual marriage”; frozen embryos not deemed as human life, but dehumanizingly as “clumps of cells”; refashioning the “spirit of Vatican II” to suit fashionable sentiments, and other calamitous whizbangers.[91] So much did Harpur delve into the preposterous that he defined Christianity as “a male chauvinist theology” since doctrine declares Christ to be fully God and fully Man. Retaliating against this “theology of hostility”, read this howler: “Jesus was a radical feminist.”[92] Indeed, we should also not forget that Pope John Paul II was an Arian deconstructionist with a high propensity towards Marxist panpsychism. In obvious contempt for tradition, Harpur maintained that “Jesus was not a Christian”. This axiom is very reminiscent of that blasphemy penned by Nietzsche in his Der Antichrist: “The last Christian died on the cross.” Both Harpur and Nietzsche are and were aware of the unparalleled influence of Christ upon humanity and world history. The fact that a humble Jewish carpenter from the distant past could actually be God is a scandal. Perhaps a great warrior or a movie star would be more palatable. Gives us Mohammed the caravan raider, show us the bizarre devotions of the Hindu mystic, let us give homage to the shaman as he guzzles down a gallon of cow urine, let us probe deep into the gnostic ambiguities of Buddha, and let us consort with Confucius. Show us the theanthropics of these personages, except for Jesus Christ… anything but… anything but…[93] AntiCatholic fanatics never realize that, by reacting in this manner (by inadvertently pointing to the singularity of Jesus) they automatically emphasize Christ’s actual divinity. But that is another story…

LXIV. NEFARIOUS PURPOSE. For Christ’s Sake was not only a smarmy, underhanded attempt to impugn Catholicism (very commonplace nowadays). It was also a venue by which Harpur employed to accost the then contemporary situation of the 1980s. Whenever he made some observation on the Gospels, immediately did he leap forward to the present to launch whatever calumny he had against the Catholic Church. It is not so much Christ that Harpur abhors. It is the modern day orthodox Catholic who affirms that Christ is really God that is abhorrent to him. Indeed, persons who take the time and energy to write books with the sole aim of deconstructing Christ’s divinity are very interesting subjects of study themselves. Anyone who effectuates such a project has obviously been distressed by the possibility of a creed pronouncing Christ as God in actuality. Why, then, endeavor to do such a thing? Scientific, unbiased, and scholarly analyses of the political, philosophical, religious, anthropological and socioeconomic conditions during the time of Christ are, of course, necessitated. There is nothing improper or biased if such a researcher is nonCatholic. To be sure, research from such a perspective is vital. But this is irrelevant to the issue. However with Harpur, clearly an amateur in Christology, the situation is completely different. His continual potshots and innuendos against orthodox Catholics evidenced ulterior motivations.

LXV. SILLY CHALLENGE TO ORTHODOXY. As will be evidenced below, Harpur’s investigation into Christology is given very short treatment with insufficient documentation to authoritative studies for or against his thesis, as must be done if a Christological study is to be seriously considered. Detail is severely wanting in For Christ’s Sake. Ask a scholar, regardless of religion, who has spent many years investigating theology to review Harpur’s book and do not be surprised when the response is a smirk and shake of the head. The tract is too predictable. The reader is presented with old errors hidden with a newfangled lingo. This book sold not because it posed a serious challenge to orthodoxy. In reality, it appealed only to seekers of easy Christianity and irreligious fanatics looking for ways to further justify their antiCatholicism. But if a challenge is to be submitted, it would be preferred that it be an overwhelming onslaught that kicks one in the face and knocks one to the ground a wideopen, allout ideational streetfight as it were. But none of the smart ass potshots and subverting “new ideas” approach, which are mere excuses for vilifying Catholics.

LXVI. DILETTANTE EXEGESIS. In the preface, Harpur warns the reader that his book is “not intended for those who are completely comfortable with the traditional version of the Christian faith.” The New Testament must be “released anew” because it has been “compromised to suit a range of political and other interests.” Harpur is “entertaining new ideas”. Entertaining indeed is the following statement: “Hell hath no fury like religious people who have been forced to rethink their deepest beliefs.” That Harpur speaks of Hell’s fury while disclaiming its actuality is yet more proof of buffoonery. That we must “rethink” traditional doctrine is a groundless contention as theologians have incessantly been thinking and rethinking doctrine for over two millennia. But get this, peoples: his book was “a call not just for some minor updating in modern Christianity but for a radically New Reformation based on the realization that the Church itself is largely to blame for peoples inability to hear and heed the Gospel in our time.”[94] Since its 1983 publication, the “radically New Reformation” has not eventuated (today Harpur claims that Jesus was not even a historical person). The book in question is now forgotten, and was one of myriad attempts at “reexegesis”, somewhat akin to the hilarious “Jesus Seminar”.[95] Harpur’s book is lost in the virulent antiChristian pandemonium of modern times. Its only objective was to promote skepticism of religion. Still, For Christ’s Sake can nonetheless be singled out as representative of that liberalist brand popreligion that is increasingly allowing for the seepage of pseudointellectual fads into the public mindset. Such journalistic exegesis leads many to dispense with religion altogether due the widespread confusion it incites (the general public will not be inclined to read scholarly books on Christology). The aim was not to enhance belief. Rather, it was to discredit doctrine after doctrine so as to compel the public toward that secular contempt for orthodox Catholicism, hence getting Harpur an approving wink from the intelligentsia of whatever prevailing ideology. It is an old story.

LXVII. ARIANISM REDUX. The main thesis is given at the preface’s end: “Jesus’ divinity lay in his being fully human”. But does this not infer that only God can be fully human? Does it not indirectly point to the fact that Christ was both totally divine and human? Elsewhere he questioned: “if he were not fully human, of what possible help could he be to our common race?”[96] True, but TH2 is human and as such has sinned and acted wrongly. Another person, with similarly embedded flaws, might be a guide or sage in moral and theological matters. Yet, in this context, this other person would only be potentially human, not fully so. Accordingly, there must be a single source or origin in actuality (not potentiality) upon which reference must ultimately be made. Contrariwise, says Harpur, we see in Christ the “total potential as a spiritual being”, “the bearer of divine revelation.”[97] Based on these circumscriptions, Christ has seemed to successfully completed Tony Robbins’ course on “Personal Power”. This Californiadreaming spirituality makes Christ to be potential divinity, not actually God. He is a kind of enlightened man of the new age, a great moral teacher but just a man in the final analysis. Is there newness in this perspective? No. It is a form of Arianism.[98]

LXVIII. PELAGIANISM, PART DEUX. According to Harpur, Christ’s proclamation as God is a sign of “schizophrenia”. C.S. Lewis’ celebrated trilemma saying that Christ was “Liar, Lunatic or Lord” is noteworthy here. Harpur, a former student of Lewis incidentally, makes reference to this and found the observation restrictive as it was “an unfair way of putting options.”[99] His avoidance here therefore evidences that he believed that Christ was liar. The New Testament is explicit in its recording of Christ’s divinity. The Apostles, especially St. Peter, recognized Him as such and Christ acknowledged.[100] Harpur retorts: “Peter did not view him as God in human form”. Rather, Peter was “forced, as it were.”[101] How? No answer is provided. The topic is swiftly dropped. But why did Christ dwell amongst men? “Jesus came in a very radical sense, to abolish religion and the ritualistic paraphernalia it puts in the way of knowing God.”[102] How? Please elaborate. No elaboration provided. Harpur is twisting a famous scriptural verse to make the situation compliant to an agenda. According to the Catholic interpretation of the Gospels, Christ came not to “abolish” but to fulfill the law.[103] Abolishment suggests elimination, instant termination, dissolution. Fulfillment means development from first principles, continuity and eventual completion, keeping the promise God made to the Jews. But to “abolish religion and… ritualistic paraphernalia”! How can this be? Common sense, a trait Harpur clearly lacks, says that Christianity was not even established as a religion when Christ came. How could He have abolished something not yet instituted? Or is he making reference to Judaism? GrecoRoman paganism? Obviously, he is alluding to Christianity as it has developed through the ages. But this is not the crux of the issue. Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ came to redeem man from his sinfulness. Harpur disagrees: “He proclaimed a message of love that was to save us not from sin but from fear.” This is because “fear is at the root of all human misery and hell”, “the underlying cause of war”. Christ “came to make known the inner secret of the cosmos: that there is a Creator God whose essence is forgiving, allembracing love.”[104] Forgiveness of what? Fear? This is bunny rabbits and moonbeams talk. The Angelic Doctor stated that fear “has reference to the evil that can threaten”, that “the object of fear is an imminent evil”.[105] If evil threatens, what is the cause of evil? Who commits evil? Man commits evil. Why? Because he is a sinner. Harpur is effacing objective sin with subjective fear. This is a form of Pelagianism.[106]

LXIX. NECESSITY FOR CHURCH THROUGH THE AGES. Harpur: “we must ask afresh what the death of Jesus... means for us today.”[107] But why must the meaning of Christ’s death be modified and restricted to “today”, “for us”? This is an expression of exclusivity. Why is Christ’s death not meaningful for antecedent generations? Was not Christ’s message and death for all time and for all humanity? Why must the Gospels be communicated “Not as we wish they were, not as they used to be, not as some ideal or abstract dream makes them to be, but as they are in today’s world”?[108] Why must a qualification be put on a particular time and place? Does this not temporalize the Galilean’s message, denying its eternality? But if God’s Word is eternal, time cannot override. Is this not why a Church was established by Christ on Peter the Rock? Would there, then, not be a need to appoint bishops and priests in later times? Would there not be a need for ceremony, dogma, saints and criteria to accommodate and aid societies as civilization developed and knowledge about the world increased? Is this not religion? If not, how could Christ’s message been relayed through the centuries? Should have Christ, instead, been some Apollonarian superman who lived on Earth for two thousand years and vocalized God’s Word continuously? But then He would not have been really human, but just some effeminate Greek god prancing through the ages and flaunting his selfconcocted superiority to underlings. If Christ came, as Harpur insists, to abolish religion, then we in the present would have never received the message transmitted at the source, long ago. If you demobilize the kinematics of the Word at its fountainhead, no message can be communicated. Only bare and vague “spirituality” would emerge, a lifeless remnant. Harpur refuses to acknowledge that it was the Roman Catholic Church with all its dogma, ordinances, doctrines, managing and planning activities that safeguarded the Gospel message and compiled the Bible (the Bible came after the Church and not vice versa). Following the fall of the Roman Empire during the barbarian invasions, it was the Roman Catholic Church that preserved Western civilization in its rural abbeys, while outside their domains mayhem, war and political conflagration were the order of the day. These are well known historical facts.[109]

LXX. BEWILDERMENT. Harpur affords a rumination illustrating his bewilderment over a Man who is God that came to redeem humanity: “The burden of guilt can receive healing from God, but he leaves us to work out the rest for ourselves. I find it immoral to suggest that one’s ‘sins’ are the responsibility of anyone but oneself... I fail to see... how his death could do anything to erase that heinous blot on human history [the Holocaust]: It seems morally outrageous to suggest that his death on the cross itself obliterates the sin of... any... act of genocide or mass torture let alone the ‘sin of the world’ ”.[110] Since, as outlined above, Harpur argues God to be limited, he must of necessity see Christ as limited, just a man. Because to him God is not allpowerful and infinite, it is impossible to believe that Christ’s death on the Cross, reconciling the world unto Himself, can have any meaning except as a feeble symbol of love or a means of evading fear. If man only acquires partial healing from God, and not full forgiveness of his sins, despair looms on the horizon. History has demonstrated all too grimly that man is totally incapable of healing himself. Take a good look at the state of society today. Would not man, in Harpur’s view, feel completely alone in his existence when, say, the incomprehensibility of evil and suffering reach their zenith? Would man not then lapse into a sort of naked voluntarism? So long as Harpur fails to admit of the reality of Christ’s divinity and the omnipotence of God (he has the right to contend so, but not to animadvert those who believe otherwise) he will be unable to accept Christ’s remission of sins for all. But such a sacrifice cannot be effectuated by natural man. The supernatural is necessitated. It requires a GodMan, sinless, totally innocent.

LXXI. CLOAKING THE SIN WITHIN. This description, of course, is sickening or else humorous in a postChristian world. Why? The emphasis on pleasure, frivolity and materialism impels modern man to focus on his subjective self. Self and sensation form the centrality of existence. Selfdivination has eclipsed the worship of God and love for neighbor the “other”, more abstractly. Harpur pens: “Our true humanity... lies... in our divinity.”[111] It is ironic that he deiforms man, hailing him as innocent and sinless, while rejecting the divinity and sinlessness of Christ. Today, innocence, goodness and virtue are ardently maligned. Why? The answer is simple: an allpervasive guilt exists in society. Why would people detest, deny and/or laugh at innocence and goodness if these persons, already drenched with guilt, have been continually told, and then later believe, that guilt cannot be expiated? When sin, which is a very specific and hardhitting word that makes one wince, is transmogrified into libidos, behavioral mechanisms, genetic predispositions, economic structures, lack of education, which are generalized terminologies and therefore can be interpreted in many ways, the situation becomes even more fantastical. These are superficial casings or euphemisms to conceal, to distort, or to rebuff the pain within. No matter how hard man has tried, no matter the mode of explanation, no matter the brilliance of the artifice, reading a treatise on world history or just a walk down a city street on a Friday night evidences that man alone is powerless to expunge or displace his guilt.

LXXII. GUILT SHIFTING: INWARDISM VERSUS OUTWARDISM. Past attempts at the dislodgement of guilt have bifurcated into two courses.[112] Firstly, there is the Promethean path, especially after Nietzsche, where guilt is abrogated by the power of an illimitable human will. We see manifestations of this everywhere. These types of people, whom TH2 calls inwardists, are customarily very arrogant and try so hard to hide this with feigned humility. Quite obviously, however, this dissimulation betrays an implosive spirit within. These people always look like they are about to explode. They are intensely sensitive and grow defensive when presented with ideas contrary to their own. They climb the highest mountain because “it is there”; they trek long distances in the wilderness to “challenge myself”; and often they will be followers of Ayn Rand’s (19051982) sociopathic radical egotism. After the ephemeral glory that comes after any type of victory or achievement, they invariably are the first to find comfort in despair and then wallow in it. In other words, the will to power becomes a selfserving mechanism, an end in itself, instead of a means to an end. Secondly, there is the Dionysian path, especially after JeanJacques Rousseau (17121778) and the Freudian school, where guilt is overshadowed by giving free reign to natural impulses. Hollywood, pornographers, the raucous social activist, the lazy hippy, the obnoxious nature worshipper, the “animal rights” tool are all representative of this, what TH2 calls outwardism. People who subscribe to this philosophy commonly have, in contradistinction to their outrageous lifestyles, very bland personalities. Because personal sacrifice is void in their lives, you will notice that these people don’t have “face”. Incidentally, TH2 does not excuse himself from outwardism and inwardism as perfect ambiversion is a difficult state of mind to maintain. TH2 makes these sweeping and casual comments based not only upon observation of others, but principally from selfexamination of his own faults, which are multitudinous.

LXXIII. SECULAR SUBSTITUTIONS FOR CONFESSION. Inwardist and outwardist responses to guilt, respectively give precedence to the will and sensation. The former is selfserving and aprioristic whereas the latter, if unchecked by moral restraint, is worldserving and organismic. Both nonetheless are immanent in aspect. What about reason? It is rendered irrelevant simply because to give priority to reason is to stipulate the transcendent essences of persons and things. Immaterial essences are equivalent to physical existents in a society that proclaims materialism and worships the natural world. Yet if the transcendent is dethroned, where is that relief valve that opens up the mind to that outside the self? Where is that forgiveness people invariably seek and need? Forget about that privacy of the confessional box, where the priest is sworn to absolute secrecy (an easy target for ridicule and contortion of its real meaning). Not even the psychologist, the secular priest, has jurisdiction over personal guilt anymore. There exists today is a new approach by which many have endeavored to attain redemption for their sins. It is called the television afternoon talk show. The most heinous, obtuse, abnormal, depraved and repulsive behaviors or states in life are confessed. Yet there is a significant difference between the talk show and the confessional. Everything is wide open for all to witness, and the confessor is some overpaid bimbo or male model with what appears to be the intellectual aptitude of a telephone pole. Most tragically, no forgiveness is imparted to the guest penitents, including the viewers themselves as their emotional involvement draws them into the swamp of collective guilt. If this is not religious in character, if this is not a scream for redemption, then color TH2 purple with yellow polka dots on a sunny day as he glances upwards into a sky of flying cows and cheese sandwiches for paganism is my name and nihilism is the game.


PART TEN. TRANSUBSTANTIATION AND ITS HISTORICAL ECHOES

LXXIV. DEONTOLIZATION. For the Roman Catholic Church, the Transubstantiation, namely the Real Presence of Jesus Christ actually represented in the Holy Eucharist, is the source and summit of all that is. The doctrine thereof is theologically complex and is not in the least unsophisticated, but not to Tom Harpur, the vilifier of all that is Catholic. He states that the breaking of bread at the Last Supper was a “sign and source of human unity”, it is “symbolism”. Christ only “ate a special farewell meal with his followers”.[113] This line of thought is a distant echo of the process of sacramental deontolization that commenced with Berengar of Tours (ca. 100088) in his De Sacra Caena, followed by John Wycliffe (132484), and given formal declaration by Luther and John Calvin (15091564). The Real Presence was claimed to be merely a “sign”.[114] Harpur is deeply appalled by the Transubstantiation. It is “cannibalistic”. He writes of the “idolatries connected with Transubstantiation and the Mass.” Considering his pantheism, which considers all matter sacred, this statement is a plain contradiction. How can believing in the holy material of the Eucharist be idolatrous when he divinizes all of material nature like a pagan idolater? Suckered in by pantheism, Harpur comments that “you can’t understand the Bible unless you look more deeply and realize that it is the natural world that is the primary source of revelation of the Ultimate.”[115] That for two thousand years Catholicism has denounced pantheism seems to be irrelevant to him.

LXXV. ARISTOTLEPASSOVERTOAQUINAS ARGUMENT. Harpur’s general position on the Transubstantiation is as follows: “...there is not a single piece of justification for the dogma of Transubstantiation in the New Testament itself... [it] only makes sense in terms of the philosophy of the pagan Aristotle as interpreted by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century... What concerns me here is the massive violence and bloodshed that has taken place over what began as a very simple ceremony of remembrance.”[116] Here we have the old AristotlepassovertoAquinas argument. When the contention is made that Aquinas used Aristotle’s philosophy to develop the doctrine of Transubstantiation, the assailer often forgets, or does not even know (as is probably the case with Harpur), that metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas (his philosophical explanation of being, related to Transubstantiation) is of an entirely different kind than that of Aristotle (BC 384322). Moreover, the rejection of the Transubstantiation that came with the Reformation had further reverberated beyond theological debate into philosophical, political, social, economic and cultural commentary ever since (see below).

LXXVI. EUCHARISTIC CONVERSION: BEING VERSUS BECOMING. Aquinas wrote the following on the conversion of the Eucharist: “Now the conversion can be considered in two ways: first, in becoming, secondly in being. But this conversion ought not to be signified in this form as becoming, but as in being. First, because such conversion is not successive..., but instantaneous... Secondly, because the sacramental forms bear the same relation to the signification of the sacramental effect as artificial forms to the representation of the effect as art. Now an artificial form is the likeness of the ultimate effect, on which the artists intention is fixed; just as the art form in the builder’s mind is principally the form of the house constructed, and secondly the constructing, in this form also the conversion ought to be expressed as in being, to which the intention is referred.” [117] Notice: being versus becoming. St. Thomas writes that the “sacramental forms bear the same relation to the signification of the sacramental effect”. Also, the conversion is “instantaneous” not “successive”. When St. Thomas says “the same relation” he infers that the Word (sign) is actually related to the Eucharist (thing). Instantaneously at the priest’s consecration does the host become the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, the Logos, as is told in the opening sequence of the Johannine Gospel.

LXXVII. LOGOS = JESUS CHRIST. For Roman Catholics, the Logos is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Mystery, the Word of God. For the ancient Greeks, logos was a referent for speech or reason, i.e. “the reason for all that is”. Of course, there has been much debate about this mysterious word. Most famously, there was the attack by Adolf von Harnack (18511930) in his The Essence of Christianity: “...the most important event which ever happened in the history of Christian doctrines, took place at the beginning of the second century, on the day when Christian Apologists laid down the equation: ‘The Logos is Jesus Christ’.”[118] For Harnack, it was the influence of Greek thinking that essentially stimulated Christian doctrine. In other words, he contended that Christianity is just an offshoot of Hellenic thought and has been buttressed by it for two millennia. It therefore followed that Christianity is more of a philosophy than a religion. This is one reason why Harpur and the intelligentsia claim the Transubstantiation to be a modified version of the philosophy of “Aristotle as interpreted by Thomas Aquinas”. But Harnack’s assessment was incorrect. So is Harpur when he wrote that the “equation was only elaborated later, in the church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries.”[119] Why? The apologists of Antiquity did not institute the “equation”. It was St. John himself who set down the formula: “the Word was made flesh”. God’s Word [transcendent] was made Human and “dwelt among us” [immanent]. John’s diction is not philosophical. He wrote not for the philosophers of the time, but for the common folk. To these philosophers, the claim that the logos incarnated into a man was unacceptable and scandalous.[120] In the Fourth Gospel, John meant that Christ is Being, is God, the Logos, instantaneously. That Christ “dwelt among us” means a Real Presence. Christ did not become God, for this infers time, potentiality and succession. Recall: during His ministry Christ did not say “Before Abraham was, I was an astronomical singularity comprised of superdense protons and neutrons”. He did not say “Before Abraham was, I was a chemical soup existing in an optimum climatic environment which had the potential to generate the first amino acid”. Neither “Before Abraham was, I was an ape soon to evolve into homo sapiens”. Nor “Before Abraham was, I was a dialectical process”. Neither a “historical force” or a “libido”. Christ spoke: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58), not “I am becoming”, and thus compliments God’s declaration to Moses in Exodus 3:14: “I AM WHO AM” (God is, Being). The proclamation is theoontological. Christian doctrine and morality do have relations with Greek philosophy. Yet Christianity as a religion its singularity or “essence”, to employ Harnack’s term, is wholly unique. The trend in thinking nowadays, especially by dabblers, is to assume Christianity is a syncretistic philosophy “purified” of pagan qualities. Thus it is thrown into the pot of comparative religion, a subject to be addressed below.

LXXVIII. CAUSALITY: FORMAL AND EFFICIENT. What, then, differentiates Aquinas’ metaphysics from Aristotle’s? Generally speaking, the answer is to be found in St. Thomas’ monotheism contra Aristotle’s pantheism. According to Etienne Gilson (18841978, a Catholic philosopher and medieval historian of the highest rank), what distinguishes them was St. Thomas’ new ontology (the study of being) in relation to causality. The two types of causality of concern here are the formal and the efficient. A formal cause relates to the intrinsic specificity of some thing. For example, Mary’s hair is black and not blonde, Diane is a woman and not a man, hippies are unhygienic and are not known for cleanliness, and so forth. It makes real distinctions between a this and a that. Once again: without setting real distinctions for materiality, all perception would blur and homogenize into one indistinguishable component, to speak abstractly. An efficient cause produces some thing. The efficient cause of a baby is his parents; of a book, the writer; of a mushroom cloud, the detonation of a thermonuclear device, and so on. But all these causes occur after some other cause. Specifically, they are secondary causes. However, in the matter of religion God is the First Cause, the Creator of all that is.

LXXIX. IMMANENT HYLOMORPHICS. Summarily, and very crudely then, M. Gilson’s argument goes something like this: formal causality is associated with the realm of the substance (materiality) whereas the efficient cause gives things their existence or being. Aristotle, pagan that he was, said that the world is eternal, without beginning or end. As such divinity and matter were considered coeternal. Also, his pantheism made matter itself divine and immediately the problem is identified. Aristotle’s formal causality belonged to the realm of substance, yet when it came to efficient causes, or the First Cause (God), this cause, too, was considered to possess a material aspect to some degree. Recall: the principle of causality says that all things have a reason for their being. Recalling also the aforementioned counterclaim to Harpur’s evolutionary pantheism, it was argued that a First Cause must be assumed transcendent to physical existence, otherwise the regression of searching out for that first cause would continue backwards ad infinitum, without giving a reason for a thing’s being. Aristotle’s reason for being of a thing cannot be traced back to an initial cause, as the universe is eternal. Accordingly, Aristotle was entrapped in a way. How did he resolve the predicament? Simple, it has already been mentioned. The efficient cause was effectively made equal to the formal cause. To him, divinity and the world are not only coeternal, they also comix (pantheism). Therefore, to Aristotle, matter itself is a kind of “First Cause”. But this is immanentism, and making matter itself a “First Cause” will, in the final analysis, lead to necessitarianism. Again: matter, a thing, the world, the universe, cannot be the cause of its own being. An assumption must be made of an extraneous First Cause.

LXXX. TRANSCENDENT HYLOMORPHICS. The situation is completely different with Aquinas. Monotheist that he was, the world had a beginning. Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created...” (the Catholic Church proclaims creation of all that is out of nothing and that there will be an end to it). Because he affirmed real distinctions, not only is there a distinct order of causality between one thing and another (secondary efficient causes, pertaining to physical existence), but also a distinction exists between nothing and something as created by a transcendent God. Outside of time, God created things in time, instantaneously. Yet this “nothing” cannot be envisioned to be a kind of bucket filled with the water of “something”. This would be a contradiction as nothing is given material attribution. Moreover, the water moving into this bucket would mean that the water’s (the thing’s) being is really a becoming (movement, flux, evolution). This indicates succession. But being, according to Thomas, is not becoming. Being taken in this substantive sense would make it merely a noun. A thing’s substantial being by implication would be equal to its immaterial essence. This is ontological materialism, contending that a thing has no intrinsic quiddity that transcends materiality itself. There cannot be a chain of causality without this intrinsic property. Being, rather, is a verbparticiple, a that which acts, it is the actuality of the thing; it is an instantaneous “that which is”. It is the “to be” of which we can mine no deeper. It is the “now”, indicating a Real Presence.[121]

LXXXI. CREATION / TRANSUBSTANTATION LINK. Keeping this metaphysic in mind, notice the connection between the Transubstantiation (upon the consecrating words of the priest) and the Creation. This “now”, the I AM WHO AM, the First Cause, is God transcendent come through immanently, instantaneously (as in Creation out of nothing), relates directly to the actual, substantive Body of Christ, the Really Present God. Note, however, that God’s Word at the Creation “In the beginning…” must be distinguished from the priest’s words at consecration. St. Thomas: “God’s word operated in the creation of things, and it is the same which operates in this consecration, yet each in different fashion: because here it operates effectively and sacramentally, that is, in virtue of its signification. And consequently the last effect of the consecration must needs be signified in this sentence by a substantive verb of the indicative mood and present time. But in the creation of things it worked merely effectively... expressed by a verb.”[122] The Roman Catholic Church proclaims the Eucharist to be a mystery “not in order to exclude reality, but to show that the reality is hidden”.[123] Faith is involved and faith acts as an assumption and is the perfective of reason.[124] The extreme importance of this issue warranted a discussion. Firstly, to illustrate that, contrary to Harpur’s claim, St. Thomas metaphysics was not an ulterior redaction of Aristotle’s; and, secondly, to highlight that, in the wake of Martin Luther, momentous metahistorical implications arose after the denial of Transubstantiation.

LXXXII. PETER = ROCK / TRANSUBSTANTATION LINK. Another argument issued against Transubstantiation is that the priest’s words at consecration do not represent Christ’s in actuality. This is claimed blasphemous, especially by Protestants. The priest, they say, idolotrously pretends to be like Christ, substituting himself for God. Inevitably, this subject leads to the singularity of papal authority, to which Harpur, unsurprisingly, states is a “major stumbling block to Christian unity”,[125] which is a contradiction given that the Reformation, in its rejection of papal authority, resulted in the burgeoning of innumerable heretical denominations, and thus religious disunity. Nonetheless, speaking in Aramaic, Jesus conferred upon Peter the name Kephâ, meaning “natural immovable bedrock”. In its Greek form Kephâ becomes Kephas and this association only makes sense when it is spoken in Aramaic. When translated from Aramaic to Greek, the word petra (rock, feminine noun) has to be changed to Petros (Peter, male). This, however, was not a mere transliteration, a rearrangement of symbols to adapt themselves to a particular language. Neither, as it has been claimed, is this a “Roman forgery”. In actuality does the equation apply: Kephâ = Petros = Rock.[126] A common noun is given a functionality, becoming a demonstrative pronoun, relaying a special identity to Peter, whose name, when compared to the other Apostles, is the most frequently mentioned in the Gospels. Thus Matthew 16:15: “And I say unto thee: Thou art Peter [the Rock], and upon this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, it shall be also bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” Christ had actualized Peter, a singular objective man, as a rock. The name Peter was made actually correspondent to a rock. Metaphysically speaking, the sign (a name) is actually representative of a specific person, an objective thing (a rock).[127] Hence “the scandal of the particular”, including the enmity against the papacy and Transubstantiation as in, for example, Hans Küng’s failed attempt to undermine the doctrine of papal infallibility, supported by Harpur.[128]

LXXXIII. SYMBOLIC BREACH. Given the aforementioned, Harpur is evidently oblivious to the philosophic and thus and sociopolitical ramifications that arose after the rejection of Transubstantiation. When he writes that he is appalled with the “massive violence and bloodshed that has taken place over what began as a simple ceremony of remembrance” Harpur’s observation is correct, superficial it may be. Though because of pseudointellectual shallowness, he lacks the ability to comprehend the seriousness of what is offhandedly considered. Could it not be that “massive violence and bloodshed” has occurred by the very fact of the reality of Transubstantiation? That it is indeed the Real Presence of Christ in the world, and not a symbolic one? How can Christians believe in the symbolic when it asserted that the symbolic does not breach through to some real external reality, let alone spiritual reality for the moment? Does not a symbol represent? Does it not “go through” or “go across” or “go beyond” (meaning of prefix trans) to a reality? If a symbol does not go through, interconnect and latch on to some reality, how can this reality be known in an objective sense? Otherwise, judgments become impossible, unreal and subjective. If “there is no objective truth” is the counterclaim, then automatically is the principle of contradiction overridden, i.e. you are arguing that it is an objective truth that there is no objective truth. If the thoughts we think, or language we speak, or the symbols we write, do not correspond to “some thing” or “some other”, how could some proposition be represented as real? Reality must be assumed, and words written must pertain to a reality distinct from the human mind. Without reference to some externality, a word becomes an empty sign and reality a raw thing; and if that sign does not represent that reality to the mind, then the human being is effectively shut out from the world, because “the thing” is exclusively derivative only from the mind. Sign and thing are made equal to each other, bungled together, and fuse into one unit so to speak. Subjectivism, both in the metaphysical and moral senses, is the consequence.

LXXXIV. PREPARE FOR LIFT OFF. When it comes to theology and Transubstantiation, however, a reality beyond the immanent is taken into account. The focus in this part of this analysis is on the aftereffects of the negation of the Transubstantiation, of how the rejection of a really transcendent divine reality echoed itself in the rejection of a physical reality as such, as something distinct from the mind, as we find it in modernist philosophy, including its metahistorical implications. For if the Real Presence of God is refuted at whatever time through history, if God was only yesterday, or if He is only tomorrow, or even if He is deemed to be symbolically present (without that real crosslinkage to an external spiritual reality), then just a mere perusal of the last 500+ years of history blatantly illustrates that the refutation of the Real Presence had real, spectacular effects on the course of Western civilization and the world. The Real Presence does not relate only to a “spirit”, a “feeling”, “a sense of…”, an intuition, a thought, or a mythological symbol disconnected from reality. It also ties in with the substantial. Not a substantial God of the past. Not a substantial God to come, but a substantial God now. If objective reality is distinct from the mind, and if this view of reality ultimately originates from the Roman Catholic belief in a transcendent God Really Present, what on Earth today NOW represents that Real Presence?

LXXXV. SET THE CONTROLS FOR THE HEART OF THE SUN. Now let us say that a sign does not really represent something, that a sign is just a sign, in and of itself, that it belongs only to the mind, that it does not interpenetrate a thing and go through to reality, that it does not intend or point to another really distinct from the mind. The consequence of this philosophy is explained next by analogical narrative.

LXXXVI. MAN IN A SPHERE / GOD NOT NEAR. Now assume the following scenario: say there is a man inside a completely enclosed glass sphere, with a diameter of four or five meters. Also, within this sphere, are a number of rubber balls. Further, let us suppose that the glassy sphere floats amidst a vast ocean and that the man inside can see no land whatsoever on the horizon. Though encapsulated as such, he can see the ocean surrounding him; he can hear the oceanic waves on the outside splashing against the sphere; and he can sense the sphere bobbing up and down as the waves flux and flow. Let us also say that this man appeared out of nothing inside this sphere, that he has the capacity for language, and that he is totally astonished at what his senses are now informing his mind (astonishment at selfexistence and the world is the spark of philosophy). Curious, he begins to think about what it is like on the outside of the sphere. He is interested in knowing how it really is. He wants to know what is happening “out there”. He sees this watery domain on the outside yet still, in strange way, feels circumscribed. There is something that limits, something that sort of blocks his view, namely the sphere. He notices the rubber balls in the sphere and begins to throw them against the curved glass walls so as they might break through his confines. Additionally, let us say that the balls represent thoughts given material ascription (vocalization, written words), that the glass sphere denotes his mind, and the ocean outside is the material world. But what happens when this man throws the rubber balls? What occurs when he thinks and materializes his thoughts with sign or voice? The balls bounce off the glass, rebounding a number of times, until eventually settling at the bottom of the sphere. Once again this man is astonished (incidentally, TH2 assumes this guy is a bit of a moron). Why does he react in this manner? The balls which materially connote his thoughts did not rupture the glass sphere and penetrate outside of it. He sees, hears and feels the ocean outside, though not with total acuity as he is limited by the sphere. The sphere mitigates the sound of the thrashing waves into pulsating drones and the glass is translucent, i.e. not absolutely clear. But this sphere also keeps the water from rushing in from the outside. Ever so gradually, then, this man begins to think that he cannot breach the sphere (his mind) nor that the ocean without (the world) can penetrate within.

LXXXVII. DISCOVERY. And now frustrated after many hours, days, years, decades and centuries of futile ball throwing, this man then notices something else. He is astonished again. He concentrates on the curved wall of the sphere, brings in his face to look closely at it. He sees that, at the interface of the glass inside and the water outside, there is border, a limit, i.e. the glass itself, that which forms a distinction between the inside and outside. But what kind of distinction is it? What is its nature? The water does not flow through into the sphere and thus he initially thinks himself closed off. However, his senses are still relaying information he sees, hears, feels, smells and tastes. Again, he notices something else: at this line of distinction, the glass and the water exists sidebyside. They are adjacently situated, juxtaposed. There is a smooth, slick and streamlined curvature that neatly separates his inner atmosphere (the mind) and the outer hydrosphere (the world).

LXXXVIII. CONCATENATION. At this point that our existential sailor is beginning to think that a sign is just a sign (locked within the mind) that cannot transverse the bridge leading to extraneous reality. The sign merely concatenates reality, like a coat of paint or a thin plastic veneer on a wall. His mind and reality do not intermix. Their relation to one another is like oil and water. The implication, then, is that this man is beginning to believe that his mind itself is the world. Unfortunately, this condition will get even worse, as we shall soon discover. In effect, this man assumes that he can only talk about reality, not as it is, but as if it is. And so long as he believes that a sign is only a sign (symbolical, mythical, and so forth), the downslide continues.

LXXXIX. So what happens?

XC. SIGNED, SEALED BUT NOT DELIVERED. This man can only take so much frustration at presuming himself unable to break through the glass sphere that is his mind. His air is now nearly depleted. The internal atmosphere is suffocating. The pressure builds, strains and stresses augment internally. He begins to ruminate in an evergrowing state of anxiety, and this time without even throwing rubber balls. Just thinking, without the material connotation of thinking via signs or speech: “A sign is only a sign”, he begins. “What I see is not real, it only seems so. I am trapped here inside my sphere for all eternity. No matter how many times I throw the rubber balls against the glass, they just bounce back. This is all routine, mundane, useless. No matter what I attempt, my will in doing does not appear to be free. I am constrained. No matter how hard I think in trying to find a solution to my condition, the paradox remains. My reason must therefore have some implicit quirk. Indeed, I must be going insane. For I cannot actually know or believe what is on the outside. There must, therefore, be something in my very nature that is wrong, something irremediably corrupt. But my senses still transmit to me an ‘out there’. For when I look into that expansive ocean, in whatever direction from within my glassy domain, all is blurry. And when I glance forwards into that distant horizon, I intuit something, though it is not fully perceptible. I cannot make a real distinction between the sky above and the water below. The firmament is leaden and these dreary, stormy, unstable, evermoving waters of the North Atlantic, pointing westward to the direction of the New World, leaves me in melancholy, even despair. Yet, despite the danger involved, this must be the way. Nothing is. Everything becomes. I no longer believe in the dictum 'esse quam videri'. All that I perceive within my glassy hell fluxes and transforms and changes and evolves. Therefore, my hope and my horizon must reside ‘out there’ in the future. For this is what I will, and I will powerfully! But since I cannot break through by silicon encapsulation, and since there is no objective reality, I will create my own subjective world, here within, alone, in the midst and in defiance to that absolutist hydrosphere on the outside that continually menaces me. I acknowledge my own existence and have no need of extrinsic confirmation. In my sphere, not only can I say ‘I am’, but I can even say more awesomely that ‘I am God’. That wretched external reference has only produced in me pain and suffering. For the circular shape of my sphere must be the universal sign. It gyrates and rotates endlessly, gloriously. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can shatter it. My circular sphere is a great engine and it will guide me along my way as I stream forwards, as I thrust and scream onwards, into that grey, nonspecific, unnamable, yet magnetic and mysterious unknown that unknown formed entirely of my own cognition where there are no limits. In here, I am a Titan, I am a Revolution, the master of all and in all. I am who I am... no! I am becoming!”

XCI. IMPLOSION IMMANENT. Obviously, our silicon sailor is having a bit of trouble. He seems not to be exactly the happiest of fellows, and TH2 doubts very much whether one of Fr. Greeley’s cornball novels would be able to allay his imploding inwardness of spirit. Our selfsegregating sailor is now going mad. His thoughts, feelings and actions are growing more despicable. The conditions inside the sphere are now deoxygenated, turning abhorrent, foul. This is because the once clear glass sphere is turned opaque, then murky brown, and then, at last, absolute black. He has defecated, vomited and urinated inside his sphere. He has expectorated and yelled at the glassy barrier in unconscious defeat and in vain selfassertion. The condition inside is now organismic, earthy, pagan. The air reeks with his hate.

XCII. RESCUE. But then something else happens. An occurrence intervenes from the outside, though our sailor is completely oblivious to it as his vision is totally occluded. He is blind as the glass sphere, his mind, is blackened. A mighty iceberg crashes through and completely shatters the sphere again to our man’s astonishment. He falls into the water. Pieces of glass tear and rip his skin and he begins to bleed. The blood and water mix. He feels a sharp yet still blunting sting of the saltwater. He is now cognizant of his breakthrough into the reality of the stormy hydrosphere. Strangely enough, although the saltwater on his wounds make him scream with pain, it has a cleansing aspect about it. His bodily grime washes away, his reason returns, his senses are more acute. One problem, however and once again to the sailor’s astonishment: he cannot swim! Again do the despair and defeat flood his being. He cannot save himself. He is alone again. This once unconquerable and unsinkable man, this Titan, this Revolution of a creature, begins to sink. The waves around him become larger and larger, more stormy and untamed… Yet at the moment upon final descent into the abyss, he sees, to his indescribable astonishment, a Ship on the horizon. It moves confidently, suredly, truthfully. It soars across the rough ocean as if were sliding downwards on a steep plane of ice. And the Navigator of this ship stands by a tall and directly upward pointing mast, in the one direction that the sailor did not look when in his glassy prison house. And in his direction, quickly does this Ship come...

XCIII. J’ACCUSE. What relevance does this narrative have with the Real Presence? What is its relation to Transubstantiation? Readers with keen eyes probably noticed the religious message conveyed. Those versed in the history of philosophy hopefully saw an analogical description of the philosophical implications of Martin Luther’s revolt. Whether it is acknowledged or not, the denial of God’s Real Presence which TH2 specifically takes to be the formal rejection of Transubstantiation has had a real and lasting impact on the history of the modern world. With this formal rejection, arising from the Protestant revolt against the Roman Catholic Church (which proclaims and safeguards absolutely this doctrine), then, effectively, Christianity becomes more so symbolical/subjective than material/objective in aspect, more so temporal than eternal, without interconnection, via material intermediaries (i.e. Holy Eucharist, Pope), to an external, transcendent reality. God therefore becomes more sign than substance. God becomes an endistanced “Totally Other”, completely outside the domain of human affairs, where, in the final analysis, it is held as fact that man as a rational being cannot know anything about God.

XCIV. POSTREFORMATION ATMOSPHERICS. It is a fallacy to attribute the shockwave to world history, actuated by the Reformation, as caused by “political factors” or “historical forces” or “economic parameters”. Prior to political frameworks or economic cycles or fashions of the day, always is there a religious or philosophical view of God and the world, undergirding that belief or disbelief in God, proclaiming His immanence and/or transcendence. There is also a view of man: his will, be it free or not; his reasoning power, be it able or useless; his inner nature, be it good or decrepit. When Luther declared that the “holy sacrament is nothing else than a divine sign” and not a Real Presence, and that Thomas Aquinas “invented transubstantiation” [129]; and when, a little later on, John Calvin organized all the precepts of the Reformers into a rigid system of belief, then, upon widespread acceptation of the Reformation’s chief philosophical precepts (no freewill, irremediably corrupt human nature, the ineptitude of reason), the formally declared utter externality of God provokes an immense loneliness in man. God’s grace cannot cure a vile human nature but merely conceal it like paint on a wall, and there develops a primacy of will and feeling over the intellect. The belief of a real God who works and is present in the daily lives of people gradually diminishes. The spiritual atmosphere that was borne of the Reformation resembled that of a vast and leaden emptiness, a miserable and gloomy sky without reference and solace, devoid of refuge, and only infinity lied within the range of human perception. The infinity once believed to reside in the realm of transcendence (God, Heaven) is substituted with a belief in the infinity of the immanent material world a world confined forever within the bounds of space and time. The atmosphere thus becomes heavy, negative and brutal. God’s omnipotence is overemphasized. He is presumed to be ironlike and dictatorial, like some brooding shadow weighing down upon the soul. Still, God is in a way gone, “out there”, cold and distant, aloof to humanity. A God not near.

XCV. VACUUM FILLING. If God’s Real Presence in the world is rejected, and if a man repeatedly told that he is entirely wretched in nature, and that he possesses no capacity whatsoever to contemplate or know about God, then he will eventually shift attention from his inward self to the exterior world. He cannot for too long withhold the inward strains of immanency. The vacuum created within will then soon be filled with another type of… indeed! a new order of understanding and knowingness. New, unexplored and uncharted vistas open up where the outside world is grasped primarily in its materiality. Immanent time, matter and space become these new vistas. The former pagan belief of an eternal, fatalistic world again emerges into the forefront. Since there is no transcendent locus to configure to keep balance between the transcendent and the immanent, so as to maintain ontological stability, or because there is no sustaining Real Presence (transcendent) in the world (immanent) that provides an uplink beyond the world as such, dualisms become unbalanced. Because the sign is confused with the thing, the mind with the world, man’s cognition of the world begins to seem peculiar, strange. Things begin to blur and fuse together. Everything is seen purely and solely in its potential, as movement in futuris. When man begins to increasingly focus on the outward material after the shift from the inward mental, and since materiality is not constant (it always changes), all is presumed to become and not to be. Actuality and the “isness” of things are thrown overboard on the Ship of Becoming which sails westwards over the cold and dreary waters of the North Atlantic to the yet undiscovered New World intuitively deemed to be in the midst of that grey horizon. Recall Aquinas on the Transubstantiation: “this conversion ought not to be signified... as becoming, but as in being.”[130]

XCVI. ORIGINAL SIN OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY. The philosophical ramifications are obvious. Mind and reality are confused and thus begins that excursion into danger, a metaphysical version of the Fall of Man. Said Jacques Maritain (18821973): “This reification of ideas, the confusion of the idea with an ‘instrumental sign’ and an ‘object quod’... is the original sin of modern philosophy.”[131] Man as a being is no longer open and directed to the theocentric. No longer is he compliant, trusting in answers given from authority above. Now he is in closure, disobedient and defiant. All is anthropocentric and internalized. Man now elevates questioning (once subordinate, humbling,) from below upwards into a virtue. Not to understand, but to overcome, to negate Being. Thus Martin Heidegger (18891976), the quiet Luther: “Questioning is the authentic and proper and only way of appreciating what by its supreme rank holds our existence in its power ... man should be understood, within the question of being, as the site which being requires in order to disclose itself. Man is the site of openness, the there.”[132] “Here I stand”, goes the famously concocted enunciation attributed to Luther.

XCVII. LUTHER’S WAKE: DESCARTES. René Descartes (15961650) will, under Protestant influence, dichotomize the sensible from the intelligible and thus inaugurate the “bodymind problem”. While in residency in Holland, he published his famous Discourse on Method in 1637, wherein we read: “...a substance whose whole essence or nature is simply to think, and which does not require any place, or depend on any material thing, in order to exist. Accordingly this ‘I’ that is, the soul by which I am what I am is entirely distinct from the body.” [133] Hence mind and body are not separable, but separated, like two juxtaposing sheets of glass in contact with each other. No interaction existed between the two, akin to the sphere narrative outlined above. Thus disappears the traditional (Scholastic Medieval) view which deemed the mind and body as two throughgoing yet distinct units. For Descartes, intellection is intuition, unassociated to material existents. Descartes further dissociated morality from knowledge and raised mathematics over metaphysics.

XCVIII. LUTHER’S WAKE: KANT. Enter the quintessential German Protestant: Immanuel Kant. From permanent home base in Königsberg, he tears away the will from the intellect, makes religion a function of the will, and (akin to Descartes) sets Newton’s physics over metaphysics. All philosophy after Kant is a footnote to his contention that “reality” is a subjective product of the mind a mind that has negated and shut out God’s Real Presence. Eventually, and not surprisingly, Kant declared himself to be God, as given in his posthumously published work.[134]

XCIX. LUTHER’S WAKE: ROUSSEAU. From Geneva, Switzerland and by inverse reaction to this center of fatalistic Calvinism, JeanJacques Rousseau (17121788) proclaimed that man’s nature to be absolutely good. Rather, he said, civilization is corrupt. His popularization of the “General Will”, including his “Lawgiver” and his famous attack on private property [135] certainly form the prelude to twentieth century Communist totalitarianism. By removing authority, individual success and privilege as an ordering factor in society, Rousseau opened up the floodgates to egalitarianism where everything was leveled out into a social plane that refuses acknowledgement of status, ability, innovation, intelligence, industriousness, personhood, and so on those things which differentiate one person from another, that would otherwise maintain some degree of order and civility. All citizens, abstractly taken, must submit to the “General Will” and anyone who challenges this notion is considered to be against “the people”. The State itself, acting as patriarch and highest authority to a citizenry now regarded as children, superintends action and thought, thereafter producing a sense of alienation as personal rights and freedom are debarred. With Rousseau we see the parturition of social engineering because a licensed and unlimited State is alone figured to instill goodness for all.[136] Rousseau’s ideational corpus formed the prelude to the French Revolution. Napoleon followed soon afterward.

C. LUTHER’S WAKE: MARX AND HITLER. Russian Communism and German Nazism emerge in the early twentieth century. Karl Marx (18181883) clearly saw the implications of Luther’s revolt: “For Germany’s revolutionary past is theoretical, it is the Reformation… Once it was the monk’s brain in which the revolution began, now it is the philosopher’s.”[137] A century prior, the poet Heinrich Heine (17571856) penned: “Praise be to Luther!... Yes, the third man will also come, who will complete what Luther began, what Lessing continued, and what the German fatherland needs so much the third emancipator!” [138] Heine also issued a prophecy that even today makes one shudder in its accuracy. There is that the spirit of the ancient Germans “which does not fight in order to destroy or conquer but simply for the sake of fighting. Christianity… has in some degree subdued that brutal Germanic joy of battle, but it could not destroy it; and when the cross, that restraining talisman, falls to pieces, then will break forth again the ferocity of the old combatants, the insane berserker rage whereof northern poets have said and sung. The talisman is rotten, and the day will come when it will pitifully crumble to dust. The old stone gods will then arise from the forgotten ruins and wipe from their eyes the dust of a thousand years, and at last Thor with his giant hammer will leap aloft and he will shatter the gothic cathedrals. When you hear the trampling of feet and the clashing of arms, ye neighbours children, ye French, be on your guard... Smile not at my counsel, at the counsel of a dreamer, who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans and philosophers of Nature. Smile not at the phantasy of one who anticipates in the realm of reality the same revolution that has taken place in the region of the intellect. The thought precedes the deed as the lightening the thunder. German thunder is of true character, it is not very nimble, and it rumbles along slowly. But come it will, and when you hear crashing as never before has been heard in the world’s history then know at last the German thunderbolt has fallen. At this commotion the eagles will drop dead from the skies and lions in the farthest wastes of Africa will bite their tails and creep into their royal lairs. There will be played in Germany a drama compared with which the French Revolution will seem but an innocent idyll.”[139]

CI. THE THIRD EMANCIPATOR. Ecstatically greeted by a large crowd on a visit to the countryside, Hitler will say this to his architect and confidant Albert Speer: “Hitherto only one German has been hailed like this: Luther.”[140]

CII. TRANSUBSTANTIATION = REAL PRESENCE OF GOD. The discussion above: Aquinas versus Aristotle, man in the glass sphere, the history Western philosophy, the rise of Marxism and its little brother Nazism these in intimate connection with the Transubstantiation evidences that Tom Harpur’s “concern” over the “massive violence and bloodshed” entails much more than he insouciantly reckons. He has no idea of what is involved here, of what has happened, of what is happening, of the real warfare going on right now. The supreme importance of Transubstantiation, the suffering and trials undergone by civilization in either the acceptance or rejection of it, cannot be scored off in a splenetic manner. The Transubstantiation cannot be picturesquely treated as “a very simple ceremony of remembrance”. Such remarks demonstrate a grave deficiency in historical, philosophical and theological penetration. Is it any wonder, then, that the Roman Catholic Church is resolute and must remain resolute! on the centrality of the Holy Eucharist? This is God really present to humanity. Period.


PART ELEVEN. COMPARATIVE RELIGION


CIII. IMMANENTIZING THE VIRGIN BIRTH. We start this part of the analysis with reference to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ’s birth. The high honor Our Lady receives from Catholics (including Eastern Orthodox) is revolting to Harpur. Indeed, it is “Mariolotry” and “a blasphemy against the Almighty.”[141] This is a common emotional reaction in the sense that it is oblivious to the fact that Catholics honor Mary, which is distinct from worship.[142] But instead of exploring Marian devotion, TH2 wishes to concentrate on Harpur’s view of the Virgin Birth in relation to Christ’s humanity and divinity. He observes: “To be human means, among other things, to descend from genetic material, with a specific ancestry, supplied by an earthly father and mother. For the genetic contribution of the male to be mysteriously created out of nothing and then added to the female ovum may be a miracle, but it is not the conception of a human being. The doctrine of the virgin birth demands that Jesus have no normal genetic traits of any forebearers whatever on the male side.”[143] Here we see a lurking physicalism. Do genes (a physical trait) determine one’s humanity, one’s worth? If God can create the universe out of nothing, why would it be so difficult for Him to override the laws of nature (genetic descent in this case) and make Himself incarnate out of nothing? Does not Scripture say that all things are possible with God? [144] If God can create the wonderment of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, if He can create the awesomeness that is the universe with its billions of galaxies why must He be excluded from having the unlimited power of making Himself incarnate in a Virgin and be both fully human and divine? Again, we notice the dire implications with Harpur’s idea of an evolving and limited God.

CIV. EGALITARIANIZATION OF RELIGIONS. In relation to Harpur’s denial of the Virgin Birth, he further writes that “birth legends are pious embroidery on the main story.” “As with all stories of the virgin births of great personages of the past,” he writes elsewhere, “the real meaning is symbolic or mythical.” Harpur also speaks of the “blood sacrifice myth” and “the myth of the god who descends to earth, bringing peace, prosperity and redemption, and then ascends in some miraculous manner.” The Resurrection itself is “mythology”. Obviously persuaded by Jungian thought, it “must be seen in the wider context of archetypes”, i.e. gnostic vagaries. Thus the Resurrection means “the transformation of the physical, mental, spiritual home that makes up a person, into a whole and new reality and into a whole, new dimension of living.”[145] Harpur also makes reference to the similarities of these myths with the gods Apollo, Jupiter, Mercury, Osiris, Serapis and Dionysius… and so we now enter the field generally known as “comparative religion”. But notice: when he compares world religions, Harpur aspires to occlude the uniqueness of the Christian world picture. If you can reduce Christianity to myth, and if all religion is muted down to myths, fables, legends, and so on, then all religion can be leveled down into a quasispiritual egalitarianism. Here some very revealing questions can be proposed. Do you ever notice that, although Christianity is equalized to the level of other religiosities, these others are still placed on a pedestal above Christianity? Harpur vehemently portrays devout Roman Catholics as bigoted, inculted, intransigent. But do you ever notice that mythologizers like Harpur set their targets only on Christianity, and particularly Roman Catholicism? I do. Never does he do this to Islam or Judaism, the two other monotheistic religions; or on Hinduism, the great pantheistic religion. Surely, an uproar would ensue if he attempted to debunk Mohammed or the Buddha. In the contemporary milieu this would be a contravention against the law of Political Correctness. Does not this specification of Christianity, this singling out for the purposes of farce and denunciation, evidence its singularity and distinction? AntiCatholic fanatics always forget their fatal error. Commenting on the antiCatholic mentality of those participants in the French Revolution, Abbé Augustin Barruel observed: “What fanatic rage must it be that blinds the Sophisters when, in contradiction with themselves, they applaud the toleration of the ancient Philosophers, who, though disbelieving the mysteries of Paganism, never attempted to rob the people of their religion; while, on the other hand, they incessantly conspire against Christianity under the pretense that it contains mysteries.”[146]

CV. SURFACE SIMILARITIES. The most popular method by which comparers of religion, like Harpur, attempt to exhibit the commonalities between Christianity and other religions/myths is by merely crosscorrelating extrinsically observable details. Material manifestations become the sole focus while underlying spiritual motivations for these manifestations are altogether neglected. For example, Harpur says that the Crucifixion is one various manifestations of the “blood sacrifice myth”. Now some anthropologist can go on an adventure into the jungles of South America to find that its indigenous peoples have a ritual whereby they impale or sever the head of a chicken or a wild bore. Or a tribe elder may retell the story of how the blood of some sacrificed humanoid creature was used to form the waters. This anthropologist might say in an epiphany: “Eureka! I see an unmistakable analogy when I compare the blood sacrifice narrative of these peoples with the Crucifixion of Christ. It must therefore follow that blood sacrifice is endemic to most religions.” Indeed, this is true. But this is only a surface analysis. Question: to what degree is the anthropologist correct in removing intrareligious distinctions? Sure, we can go through, for example, J.G. Frazer’s The Golden Bough (a famous anthropological work) to discover voluminous amounts of data upon which illustrate the similarities between Christianity and pagan mythology. No dispute, there are stories of the gods aloft descending to the earth, the birth of gods, their ascensions upwards into the sky after death, and so on. It could be, as Frazer states, that “the custom of eating bread sacramentally as the body of a god was practiced by the Aztecs before the discovery and conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards”. Between cultures, we would discover ceremonies that resemble each other. No contention here. Notice, however: Frazer reduced all religions to the level of primal savagery. For instance: “…the theory of a new birth and the remission of sins through the shedding of blood, have all their origin savagery... Their true character was indeed often disguised under a descent veil of allegorical or philosophical interpretation... which otherwise must have filled them with horror and disgust... The accumulated misfortunes and sins of the whole people are sometimes laid upon the dying god, who is supposed to bear them away for ever, leaving the people innocent and happy. The notion that we can transfer our guilt and sufferings to some other being whom will bear them for us is familiar to the savage mind.” [147] But are all these myths and rituals expressive of a singular idea with only dissimilar personalities, imagery and backdrops? Or is there a real distinction that is detectable between pagan mythology and Christianity? There may be similarities, but the intentions and purposes behind them are radically different. To only compare external physical aspects of mythology with those in Scripture, and make a final conclusion there, is an exercise in crass empiricism. Does not religion concern itself with that which is beyond the material order of being? Otherwise, it would not be religion, but materialism. What are the spiritual meanings behind these ceremonies and acts? Are there differences between external/material associations and underlying/numinous meanings? What is it that underlies? It is here where stark disparities arise. For the indigenous peoples, an animal is sacrificed to appease the anger of a god, or in some way to satiate it. Notice the humanistic, selfprojective attributions: to satisfy hunger, to hinder fury, to gratify an urge, to make happy, and so forth. These are immanentist, necessitarian and organismic characteristics. More plainly, they are mirror images of man’s inclinations and defects. All of these divinities are limited in some fashion and always are dependent on the thoughts, words and deeds of humanity. They are reflections of man, not God. For the Roman Catholic, however, the Sacrifice of Christ is an intimation of the infinite and unconditional love of God for man. The reverence given to God at the Holy Mass expresses man’s love for God; a God who is in no way limited, who is allknowing, allpowerful, with no reliance on man whatsoever. Christianity attests that men have freewill. Belief or disbelief in, love or hatred of, God is a free decision. It’s your choice, but it will not affect God because the sun will rise and fall on both the good and evil, it will rain on both the righteous and unrighteous.[148]

CVI. ASSIMILATION OF EXTERNALITIES. Moreover, there is no question that, for instance, missionaries of the past borrowed the physical aspects of pagan ceremonies and, for the purposes of conversion, enlaced them into Roman Catholicism. The Jesuits were particularly good at this when they ventured into unexplored domains. But there is nothing here to hide or be ashamed of. Why should there be? During Antiquity, for instance, the dates of the Nativity and Easter, it is said, were adopted by the Church to respectively accommodate for winter solstice and spring equinox festivals of the Mithraic religion.[150] So what? This does not disprove anything. Someone born on February 29, a leap year, has to celebrate his birthday on February 28 for most of his life. Does mean he is a real person only during the leap year? The same argument could be applied for feast dates of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. One difference, however, is noticed: Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and the saints are real persons (historical) whereas the pagan gods are not (mythological). Nonetheless, if the Catholic Church saw the latent dangers involved when “adopting” its doctrines to pagan rituals, why was there not effected in later times a better mode to conceal pagan ones? External material accretions are not coequal to inner precepts. Why must there always be a suspicion that some ulterior motive was involved, other than that which is the chief duty of the Catholic Church: to save souls? With its abbeys the Catholic Church storehoused and protected Western civilization during barbarian incursions. Why, then, did it not at the time destroy, say, all remnants of GraceoRoman mythology and ritual? The task would have been pedestrian. But to eliminate and slice away in this context would have contradicted that organic principle which undergirds the Roman Catholic Church’s structural makeup apartness and singularity though still cautiously open to that which is extrinsic to itself, assimilation and acculturation, the unhurried and filtered intake of externalities, patience, prudence, discriminating, gradual development, temporal durance in the midst of alien forces intent on its annihilation.

CVII. BODY LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES. Another intercomparison: contrast the Buddhist monk and the Monastic. Both live in isolation, both have withdrawn from the ongoings of the world. We can perceive this physically. Our eyes see its factuality. But why do they quarantine themselves? “Why?” is a question that anticipates an answer a reason. Can a material thing or its naked physical form and pattern as such be a “reason”? No. The Buddhist monk escapes into the self for the self’s sake. He believes that harmony, truth and meaning reside within himself. The Monastic, however, does not depart from the world inwardly to his self. His apex, that center point at which he looks and directs his life, exists outside of the self, so as to be in communion with a transcendent God. The Buddhist monk is an atheist, the Monastic is a monotheist. Is there no real difference here? But now let TH2 turn the table upside down. Look only at Buddhist and Monastic in their externalphysical details. Instantly, conspicuous dissimilarities are discernible. When he contemplates, the Buddhist sits down, crosslegged, arms brought in close to the abdomen, the eyes are closed. His whole body is curled up and tightened within the self as it were, cutting himself off from the world, escaping its harsh realities and suffering. Now look at the Monastic when he prays. He kneels on the ground, his arms are set outwardly from the torso, his head is tilted directly upwards, sometimes in kyphotic posture, his eyes are wideopen. He is open to both materiality and the transcendent.[151] Retreat into the self inescapably ends in despair. Thus the other option is to go through (trans) the material world itself, to interpenetrate the thing so to speak, to discover God “there” on the “other side” of immanency. Again, the great Medieval Scholastic dictum is verified: "matter is the condition of limitation". Being human, or real material beings, involves an encounter with, and affirmation of, physical reality. One cannot escape into the self to relieve suffering and pain. Therefore the great purpose and pain that is the Holy Cross.

CVIII. EUHEMERISM. With Harpur’s endorsement of Eastern spiritualism, for example, in his book The Uncommon Touch, An Investigation of Spiritual Healing, he does not highlight the differences here discussed. Also, he does not mention that, when Christianity does borrow from other religions, the acquisition of aspects is not total as prudent discrimination is involved. Otherwise, Catholicism would be on par with syncretism. If Christianity was not really distinct there would be no requirement to extract aspects from other religions in the first place. For example, Christian philosophy borrowed from Greek philosophy, mainly from Aristotle and Plato. Yet it in no way adopted Greek mythology. Why? Christianity is historical. It is not mythological. Modern scholarship has proven the historicity of the New Testament, despite what catchphrase mongers extol.[152] Ask a scholar if there are historical evidences for the physical existence of Apollo, Zeus or Ra? If he does, he is a euhemerist: namely someone who takes mythology for actual history. Such loonies are few and far between and get voice only on radio programs like CoasttoCoast AM.

CIX. FALSE TRANSCENDENCE OF FUTURISM. Harpur also fails to pinpoint those doctrines unique to Christianity. Like, for example, the Trinity (which he refutes since it is not named in the Gospels), or the idea of grace that changes man’s nature anew, or the idea of faith. Where are these in other religions? What about those spiritual truths acquired from revelation versus natural truths gleaned through reason? Spiritual truths are originate from a real transcendent source. Natural reason is an immanent thing, a faculty which needs not make reference to the theological when thinking, comprehending, forming deductions, and so on. True, there are similarities between Christian and pagan virtues notions of good and evil, punishment and retribution, morality, and so forth. Witness the orations of the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (10643 BC). What about the Fall of Man and the breakaway from a distantly remembered paradise, and thus that alienated attitude towards the natural world. What has been the secular response? How has eternal happiness and peace been sought after? What of that need for a real connection, for salvation? Where and how is this reconnection to be effectuated? With the “Workers Paradise” of the Marxists? In the “New Age”? From superior extraterrestrial beings at some remote planet in the galaxy? Or in Harpur’s gloss, which says that the Resurrection signifies, not the final end of man with God in Heaven, but “the beginning of a new humanity” in the future.[153] Here we have that old situation of squandered hopes on promises made for the future that never reach fruition. They are temporal, immanent, futuristic and forwardlooking. Perhaps salvation is to be found in the cyclical character of life as told in pagan myths? But this is not salvation. It is that dreaded weariness of eternal time, matter and motion. Reincarnation is an example. Should not this reconnection to the divine then be considered as that which is transcendent, to that which is now and present, immediate, breaching through and beyond time, space and materiality? When St. John Vianney (17861859, the Curé D’Ars) was asked by a lady how one gets to God, he bluntly replied: “Straight as a cannonball”.[154]

CX. FAITH = THE ECLIPSE OF REASON. Is there not, then, something innate in the human being that desires salvation, of which the remedy cannot be construed by pagan mythology? Might it also be that these myths and worldviews (emergent before Christ), with their intimations of the Fall of Man and his redemption, are in a way whispers from God, foretelling man what was to come? Does it not then seem logical that faith and revelation would come after the highest levels or stretches in the use of reason (minus revelation) by, say, Plato and Aristotle? Would it then be so wrong to think of faith as the eclipse of reason? Is there not a real distinction emerging here? It is ironic that, though revelation is vehemently denied as regards the Roman Catholic Church (hence giving it special status), not in the least is challenged the immanentist revelation of the “inner voice” taught at selfhelp seminars, or the selfmystification techniques expounded at lectures by some wandering guru from the Far East, or in the astronomer using a radio telescope to listen for signals emanating from distant alien civilizations, or for those who go to mediums wishing to contact dead relatives so as to receive revelatory messages from beyond the grave. A revelation from Elvis is surely helpful nowadays for the plight of poor humanity. This is not revelation, but surrogate, selfcontained adumbration. But if you have made “contact” with “the beyond” (with a dead sibling, an extraterrestrial being, or some poltergeist with a nasty temper) TH2 will say, as my Catholic beliefs inform, that you are not necessarily dealing with holy forces, and that you are encroaching into an extraterritoriality that is likely evil. In such a cirumstance, an exorcist should be called in to check things out. Specifically, a devout, welleducated Roman Catholic priest rather than some yuppie weirdo whose neurosis provoked him to “leave his comfortable job” and become a “psychic”, and whose education on the occult comes from paperback books purchased in the local shopping mall.[155]

CXI. PREVISION OF CHRIST. What about Jesus Christ Himself, as distinct from, say, Buddha or Mohammed? The historical record is clear that there was no foretelling of the arrival of Buddha or Mohammed, nor of any other prophet of the past or modern day cult leader. No mentioned prophecy was there made for Zoroaster. With the Galilean, however, the situation is different. The Old Testament, particularly the Book of Isaiah and the Psalms, bespeak of the coming Messiah. The fulfillment prophecies as recorded in the New Testament numerous times corroborate passages in the former.[156] The probabilistic likelihood of prophecy eventuation is some astronomicalfiguretoone. Mathematics as such cannot afford “proof”. It is better to take the probability as a side concomitant, a wink from God. Otherwise, we end up in the old trap of numerology and all sorts of esoterica. But now the expected counterblast comes. Generically: “The New Testament writers covertly penned their words to correspond with the Old Testament, or later transcribers refashioned the Gospels so as to keep the masses ignorant of historical actualities”. In other words, the conspiracy argument: political power, wealth, prestige, mass deception, critical errors in translation, and all the rest of it. Well, a very long conspiracy it has been, two thousand years now. But if, as myth mongers like Harpur claim, Christianity is no different from all other religions, why be so distressed? Would not these other religions, too, and by implication, have their own machinations? Why is no mention ever made of this? The reader can see where this line of thinking is going so TH2 will stop here. Once again, scholarship has evidenced the historicity of the Bible. Do not take seriously such preposterous conspiracy theories, never specific in their always twaddling hypotheses.[157]

CXII. “THIS IS” THE TRUTH VERSUS “I AM” THE TRUTH. What about Christ’s message? He spoke: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6), “Follow Me” (Mark 1:17). What have other prophets, religious and secular, spoken? They have said: this is the truth” or that is the way things are”. Ah!, but notice: they speak in modalities that are temporal and immanent. They always point outwards from themselves, through the span of time, within the material world as it were. They invariably direct their followers to that “out there”, that always imperceptible and unfocussed “something” which can never be apprehended in totality, either by reason, by experimentation or by science. The ideal or the divine or God are never really, physically and fully present in all of these cases. There are only messengers or prophets of God, elders and holy men, pious nomads and humanitarians, leaders of political parties and tribal chiefs, flags as symbols representing the glory of nationalism. That “other” by which man makes his reference becomes a bedizened organismic “other” for pantheism or animism, or it becomes the “Totally Other” of the deists or Islam’s Allah in his distant unity, absolutely transcendent and indifferent to human affairs. But what is the problem here? If God is not really present (deism) or if he is “too present” so to speak (pantheism), or if God cannot even be discerned at all (some undefinable abstraction, an “ultimate reality”, “the force”) then man cannot really focus his attention, he cannot be precise and “get a good hold” on God. Remember: the key word here is separable, not separated, nor indistinguishable. Separable means that two units are distinct yet contingent (dualism). Separated means a total, unconnected detachment of these two units. Indistinguishable merges these two units into one (monism). Distinction! Distinction! With Christ, however, we encounter something essentially different. His “I am the Truth” effectively says: “It is Me, God, I am really present with you, as the meaning of My name Emmanuel says. Do not look 'out there' anymore. I am not way up there in the sky. Nor am I deep in the ground. You cannot escape into the depths of your mind and you cannot wallow in the mud that is the material world. The pathway to heaven is as narrow as an arrow and, like an archer shooting at a target, be precise, focus in on Me. Do not follow this or that. Follow Me, a real human being, and shoot your arrow at Me so as to go through Me [PARADOX]. For ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ ”. At this point, the concept of equality of all religions is torn asunder.

CXIII. COMPARATIVE SYMBOLISM. Now contrast the symbolism and imagery of religions and other worldviews. Is there really no difference between Christianity and nonChristian religions or myths or secular worldviews? Look at the circularity of YinYang symbol of the Chinese, the Zen symbol, or of the snake swallowing its own tale in the eastern emblematic. Jumping to the modern era, see the astrophysicist who postulates on an eternally “oscillating universe”, on “escape hatches” to other dimensions. Look at the Nazi swastika, a kind of forwardthrusting rotor, revolving and screaming onwards into the future (being the symbolic consummation of German philosophy since Luther). Or what about the myths of aboriginal peoples that describe the world as undergoing continual cycles of birth, growth, death, and rebirth? Or of the condition known as “nirvana” in Buddhism and the Hindu belief in reincarnation? What is the commonality in the abovementioned? Answer: there is an assumption of an eternally immanent world, that man is forever locked within the confines of time, space and matter. The Hindu may be reincarnated, but only again and again as some material creature. The eastern mystic may achieve nirvana, but however this state is described, he is still selfencased. The idea of an oscillating universe is a fallacy as the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the universe will eventually run down. Black holes and other “portals” leading into “alternities” or “multiworlds” are reiterations of the pagan notions of infinite space, matter and time. The swastika is an ancient pagan symbol of eternal recurrence. Additionally, read the works of the famous Arab philosophers Avicenna (9811037) and Averroes (11261198) and it will soon be discovered that they, too, posited an eternal world, as did their Greek and Roman predecessors. Or look at any philosophy which is in now in vogue, or any New Age cult, or the sundry utilitarian views of the modern West. They are unanimous: the world, man, society, everything is eternalized immanently, moving either by cyclical time or by a continuous forward flux into the future. Man is for all time trapped within the spatialmaterial domain.

CXIV. SYMBOLISM OF THE CROSS. To all of this Christianity, and Roman Catholicism specifically, proclaims its paradoxical “No!” because two thousand years ago a slab of wood was injected into the earth, thereafter setting off an earthquake in human affairs. A great disturbance occurs, and the symbol of this disturbance is the Holy Cross, which, in its very configuration, veers through and shatters the eternalism of circular time and, by its very rootedness in the ground, halts that infinite forward flux into the future. This is the logic of the Cross: the horizontal shaft sets the distinction between the transcendent and immanent. The vertical shaft points to God without the world come as Man into the world. The horizontal shaft has its two ends, denoting a beginning and end of time (finite time), i.e. the beginning as in God’s creation of the world out of nothing and end as in the Second Coming. The bottom of the vertical shaft interfaces the ground, it ends in matter, indicating its limitation (finite matter). From the bottom, the vertical shaft proceeds upwards, goes through the horizontal shaft, and into the transcendent. But look upwards from the top of the cross and all is sky there are no perceptible limits. It is the really transcendent. It is the Body of Christ, nailed to the Cross, that acts as a support to sustain the structure of the intersecting vertical and horizontal beams, at once providing ontological stability between the transcendent/immanent, delimiting the beginning/end of time, while retaining real distinctions between them.

CXV. “AS IF” ANOTHER SYMBOLISMS. Other symbolism and imagery further evidence Christianity as being really distinct from other religions and worldviews. Look at the Hindu painting of the multiarmed goddess in her colourful yet gaudy attire, with fantastical creatures cavorting all about her. See the rendering of the allknowing and cuddly Confucius (551479 BC), with a beard and facial demeanor expressing the wisdom that comes with old age. Consider the painting of Guatama Buddha, young, effeminate and complacent, in strange adornments, postured in state of perfect peace and contentment after completely escaping the suffering of the world. Read the descriptions of the personality and actions of Mohammed, of the intensity of his compressing inwardness of spirit.[158] Look at the moody and effeminate Greek god with wings on his ankles as he prances through ultramarine skies on his way to the scene of the tragedy. Now jump again to the present. What do we see? Look at that kitsch painting of a goofylooking Hitler in a suit of armor on a horse. Go to Russia and glance at the statue of Lenin as he defiantly stands against the ominous currents of capitalism. Look also at the new gods of hedonism and mass consumerism. See the photograph of the selfhelp guru or CEO on the cover of his latest bestseller, with arms crossed, leaning against a wall, emanating a smile expressive of a false inward knowingness and selfsatisfaction, effectively saying: “I’ve got it all. You don’t”. Look at the Platonic goddess on the cover of a popular magazine. She is clean, pure and virginal, synthetic and spraybrushed. Many more examples can be provided: the vain bohemian artist, the Hollywood celebrity, the rock star, the mainstream media personality, the messianic politician. But what does all of this imagery have in common? Answer: they all portray individuals to be godlike, or additions, adjustments, accentuations and distortions are made to manipulate and conceal each person’s true humanity as if they have some secret or superior insight into the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Their flaws and their sins are hidden. They are made to be what they are not, more than natural, supernatural. They seem as if they were something else, to be another, some higher “other”. But at the end of the day we all must sleep, and in the morning when we wake up, we feel and look miserable, unwilling to confront the toils of another day in the harsh reality that is the world.


CXVI. THE VICTORIOUS CROSS. Now let us look at the terrible vision of the Cross…

…a Man is nailed to it. He is bloodied, battered, humiliated. He has been betrayed by one of his own. He is hated without reason. He has been mocked, flogged, laughed at and spat upon. He was an obscure carpenter. He does not triumphantly stand out amidst the vast oceanic mass of humanity. He was completely innocent of crime, though still accused as such. “What is truth?”, a Roman political god asked Him. The Truth Himself did not respond to this forever posed question. So the Man just hangs there, impaled at the intersection of two wooden beams. It is not a pleasant sight, but paradoxically and hence realistically, how common and plain a sight it is. Pain and suffering. For here is a Man, a real and total Man as He is in actuality, who hangs there on the Cross. No glorious posture, no enigmatic smirk, no modifications or emphasizations for the purposes of artificiality appear to those watching the drama in the distance. He wears but a loin cloth and His head is bowed downwards. His only glory is a crown of thorns that only intensifies the pain. In the Old Testament God’s name is “I AM WHO AM”.[159] During His ministry, Christ said: “Before Abraham, I Am.” He is, because God is, the Other. Christ did not act as another (asif) because He is the Other, the First Cause, upon which all that is was and shall be must ultimately be referenced. When you assume Him, you show faith, which corresponds to the transcendent. When you assume a First Cause, your epistemology is real, which relates to the immanent. Faith and an affirmation of objective reality a reality distinct from the mind must, from the Roman Catholic perspective, hang on nails.

CXVII. WHAT COMPARATIVE RELIGION CANNOT DENY. But how could a mere man be like this? Man has always acted and proclaimed to live "as if". Could there be, then, some inherent flaw in man? Is this not what is called sin? Sin is word which Harpur puts in quotations to indicate its irreality. If a mere man cannot be as such, who can? This Man would have to be infinitely holy, perfect, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, transcendent, completely selfless, faithful, humble, the Lord and Creator of all. It therefore follows that this can only be achieved by God. Thus the Logos, the GodMan. Comparative religion cannot obviate this conspicuous anomaly.

CXVIII. LIBERAL COUNTERARGUMENT. “This is all fine and well”, it might be retorted, “but all that you have described in your selfdelusional ecstasy is just another stage in the evolution of religion, of which, in your aforementioned commentary, you attempt to prove Christianity not to be. Your religion does have its theological and metaphysical depths, its logicality and nuances, and other qualities if you see it as such. I admit this. Nevertheless, Christianity is just another stage in the evolution of religion. The ‘Christ event’ is only one of many events to come that work to encourage a troubled humanity in its search for meaning. Moreover, Christianity is dead in the modern world, and this is easily shown by the widespread contempt it receives. Just say that you are a Christian, let alone a Roman Catholic, and immediately will your opponents, who are now an evergrowing majority, respond with laughs and looks of detestation. They will avoid you or stereotype you as an extremist. Or they patronizingly glance at you, thinking you an innocent, immature child who thinks fantasy is reality. Instead, we have our Tom Harpur’s to guide us along our way into the next stage of religion. Or should I say mythology? Harpur and the like are very popular, especially with the media, and therefore they must be right in their ruminations. Also, they make religion easy, comfortable, exciting and pleasurable. If I follow their new dogma, I do not have to worry about all of this silly nonsense about sin, suffering and morality. And I like that.” Well, from a personal viewpoint, TH2 would think this hypothetical fellow a condescending buffoon. As for the instantaneous hate received upon proclaiming the Catholic worldview that is part of the package peoples: deal with it. Christ never promised an easy life. He did not say “Relax”, as Harpur seems to think. One thought of Blaise Pascal (16231662) may act as consolation: “The more they point out weakness in my person, the more they authorize my cause.”[160]

CXIX. EVOLUTION OF RELIGION: ORIGINATORS. Returning, then, to the evolution of religion… What response can be made to this statement of Harpur?: “I don’t see how it is possible to call oneself a Christian, orthodox or not, without being... vitally interested in the preservation and further evolution of what it means to be human. There could be no higher basis for being human than the idea that God became man in Jesus, as traditional Christians have held for centuries.”[161] The notion of the evolution of religion, or of the “evolution of what it means to be human”, can be traced back to a few sources. Firstly, in the aforementioned English philosopher David Hume. Under a harsh Scottish Calvinist upbringing (i.e. fire and brimstone sermons), Hume came to fear and then hate Christianity.[162] Secondly, and more recently, in those popularizers of Darwin’s theory of evolution, who elevated a biological hypothesis to other fields such as society, ethics, history and politics. The most famous of these popularizers was Herbert Spencer who, incidentally, did not read books that presented views contrary to his own because they gave him a headache (seriously). One statement by Spencer: “the universality of religious ideas, their independent evolution among different primitive races, and their great vitality unite in showing that their source must be deepseated. In other words, we are obliged to admit that if not supernaturally derived as the majority contend, they must be derived out of human experiences, slowly accumulated and organized.”[163] Thirdly, and probably most influentially, in the writings of the French philosopher Auguste Comte (17981857), very much an intellectual child of the French Revolution, with his “religion of humanity”.

CXX. AUGUSTE COMTE: FRENCH WEIRDO. Comte set forth his view of the world grandly and systematically in his Cours de philosophie positive. The human mind, said Comte, underwent three stages in intellectual development. First, there was the theological or fictitious stage, whereby study and belief was directed towards the inner nature of things, of first causes, and of the finality of phenomena. In this socalled primitive stage of human existence, man was predisposed to his imagination, leading him to believe such and such a thing about the world. The universe was understandable by reference to the gods and occultic forces. There were three modes in this particular stage of the comprehension of the world: [i] animism, where material things are infused with divine forces; [ii] polytheism, where a multitude of gods, somehow disengaged from these material things, still in some way act upon them; and [iii] monotheism, where these various gods are given more structure, i.e. one being subservient to another. Second, there was the metaphysical stage whereby the supernatural aspects of study were substituted by the consideration of more abstract, though still personified, ideas and forces that work in phenomena. This stage is a hybrid of the first stage because men still endeavored to find a first cause or essence of phenomena. Third, there was the scientific or positive stage whereby “the positive philosophy represents the true and final state of human intelligence that to which it has always tended more and more.” Like any thinker who charms his reader into an infinite and unknown future, Comte, in reference to the human mind, wrote that “in all probability [it] will never attain such a [final, complete] stage.”[164] Said Comte: disregard origins and forget about the hidden natures and causes of phenomena. Reason and observation themselves can allow one to comprehend the actual laws of, and the interrelations between, phenomena, only in their external aspects, and no deeper. In other words, do not ask “why?” Instead, concentrate on the “how?” How was this to be done? By calculus and experimentation. However and this was Comte’s greatest teaser the positivistic stage cannot give a final conclusion for whatever topic under consideration. Thus knowledge is relative and subjective. Just look for the hypothesis that most explains the assemblage of observational data. That is all. The state of the human mind, Comte asserted, has progressed from the early stage of “infancy” and “the human intelligence had to make use of intermediate conceptions, which, being a hybrid character, were eminently fitted to bring about a gradual transition.”[165]

CXXI. OTHER RELIGION EVOLUTIONIZERS. For Thomas Henry Huxley (18251895), ethics, too, was in a Darwinistic process of evolution: “Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and evil tendencies of man may have come about... Social progress means a checking of the cosmic process at every step and the substitution for it of another, which may be called the ethical process; the end of which is... the survival... of those who are ethically the best.”[166] As regards Christianity specifically, one of the more popular theories of recent times was that of Freud, who had, like others, presented to the world a secularized, and hence surrogate, explanation of Original Sin. Christianity grew out of a tragedy that occurred in the distant past when the father of a “primal horde” was murdered “by the company of his sons” whereupon this “primal father” was later divinized and believed to be a totemic figure of atonement for humanity’s wrongs and evils: “A sonreligion displaced the fatherreligion. As a sign of this substitution the ancient totem meal was revived in the form of communion, in which the company of brothers consumed the flesh and blood of the son no longer the father obtained sanctity thereby and identified themselves with him.”[167] From this, conjectured Freud perhaps after a couple of cocaine hits developed the Catholic beliefs in God as Father and the Eucharist as the Body of Christ. It is from the explanations of the human mind and ethics of such men as Comte, Huxley and Freud that stirred others to translate this evolutionism into an evolutionary philosophy of religion. Actions and events are no longer (and specifically) good and evil, true or false, right or wrong, but only higher and lower, greater and lesser, i.e. gradualism where lines of distinction splotch into zones of grey.

CXXII. IS RELIGIOUS TRUTH A FUNCTION OF TIME? If religion does evolve, or if there is to be “further evolution of what it means to be human” as Harpur points out, does this mean that belief systems older than Christianity, say Hinduism, give lesser insights into the nature of man? Were the rituals of the Neanderthals the “essence” of all religion? From these socalled religious “origins”, can we extrapolate from these first principles, build a system around them, and then further extend this to prognosticate what religion will be in the future? There is a fallacy here. Should the question on the character of religion really be one of evolutionary change in time? Or should religion be considered as really different, independent of time? As Wilhelm von Humboldt (17671835) wrote: “The appearance of man’s spiritual power in its various forms is not connected with the progress of time and the accumulation of data.”[168] Remember: with Darwin’s evolutionary theory there is that “missing link”, that unknown factor which connected the anterior to the posterior, thus allowing for a smooth, imperceptible transition from one form to another. If this “missing link” is discovered be it for intellectual or ethical evolution, who is to say that it is the last link in the sequence? Can there not be another one? But this is a materialistic view. Do not evolutionists claim that matter is infinite? Thus their divisions and interpolations will continue ad infinitum (recall: there can be no “first” in an infinite series). Therefore, the situation is not one of evolution (the gradual transformation in the externalities of a religion). It is related, rather, to the actual essence of a religion so to speak, its inner character or nature. Here are some conventional examples in science for evidence of the principle presented here. Compare Ptolemy’s astronomical system of the universe with the Copernican (let us never forget that he was a priest). Is it to be to suggested that the latter was a mere evolutionary outcome or final stage of the former? No. There was a complete break away from an old system of the world. The scientific character of geocentrism is entirely distinct from heliocentrism. Or compare ancient alchemy with Lavoisier’s chemistry; numerology with modern day number theory; astrology with astrophysics; the foretelling of the weather with The Farmer’s Almanac versus the precision of computer model meteorological forecasts. Surely there are real differences here.[169]

CXXIII. SCIENCE DEVELOPED/FLOURISHED IN CATHOLIC CULTURE. More can be added to the uniqueness of the orthodox Catholic worldview with which Harpur so much gripes. For example, there is the birth, success and selfregulative enterprise of science within the Catholic cultural milieu.[170] Look at every other culture in the world, including the Hellenic, and what is it that found? The world and events are deemed to undergo eternal recurrences, the religions are pantheistic or animistic or deterministic. Yet with the Catholic mindset, real distinctions exist between God, man and the world. Freewill is insisted upon, and contrary to what is regularly expounded, the Schoolmen of the Middle Ages said that the natural world and the universe works by the laws of natural causation. There is no direct, divine regulation of phenomena. The universe was said to be finite, autonomously driven, and religious doctrine said that there was a specific beginning and end to the world. As such, the world can be examined as an “it”, of which Harpur writes in disagreement (see also article The Origins of Science in this blog). Thus the doctor can operate on a body; the marine biologist can dissect frog; the physicist can construct a supercollider so as to smash atoms into smaller components; the geologist can slice an igneous rock and analyze its texture, fissility and composition all of these because the world is believed to be an “it”, a thing devoid of magical or divine attribution. Human freewill and a world designated as really distinct from man allows him to investigate the natural realm without intruding on or compromising a Divine Will that, in other religions and world perspectives, is seen to directly sustain the world or be materially present in it. Effectively, because such approaches to the world do not consider matter as a depersonified or desacralized “it”, any intrusion with matter itself is determined, in the last analysis, to be sacrilege. Can science develop in such a cultural milieu? Modern science (e.g. Newton, Einstein) says and assumes that the universe is finite, not infinite. Other cultures, such as the Greek, Arab, Aboriginal, Egyptian, Babylonian, Hindu, Chinese, and even modern day Copenhagenist astrophysicists, with their “alternate dimensions” of reality, say that the universe is eternal, temporally and materially, and that time goes on forever.[171] Contemplating on the JudaeoChristian worldview in general, John Henry Cardinal Newman posed the following question: “Have the systems of Atheism or Pantheism, as sciences, prevailed in the literature of nations, or received a formation or attained a completeness such as monotheism?”[172] The question is not moot.

CXXIV. CONFUCIANISM / TAOISM. What about a simple comparison of religions as such? Can Confucianism be classified as a religion? It appears to be, rather, a social philosophy, and Chesterton pretty well summed up the matter with this beauty: “To compare the Christian and Confucian religions is like comparing a theist with an English squire.”[173] Confucianism (its name comes from a teacher, Kung Fu Tzu, 551479 BC) forms the pragmatic branch of Sino philosophy, being concerned primarily with utilitarian knowledge and common sense for the purpose of maintaining a congenial society. Its Siamese twin, Taoism, forms the mystical branch of Sino philosophy, best expressed by Lao Tzu, allegedly a contemporary of Confucius, in the Tao Te Ching, commonly called “the book of five thousand characters”. Two salient things are discerned when perusing this text. Firstly, reality is deemed a confused amalgam of inapprehensibilities. It is “shadowy and indistinct”, “dim and dark”. That which cannot be seen, heard or touched are respectively referred to as “evanescent”, “rarefied”, “minute”, and these “cannot be fathomed”. Reality is therefore taken subjectively. Secondly, Lao Tzu states that selfhood must be conquered: “I do my utmost to obtain emptiness” or “He who overcomes himself is strong.” Only the stoppage of desire can give peace to self and society:

------------------------------------------The nameless uncarved block------------------------------------------Is but freedom from desire,------------------------------------------And if I cease to desire and remain still,------------------------------------------The empire will be at peace of its own accord.[174]

In the Tao Te Ching we see the hallmarks of the Eastern worldview: philosophical subjectivism and a negative attribution ascribed to man and materiality.

CXXV. HINDUISM / BUDDHISM / ZEN. Hinduism is quite similar to Taoism. It declares that physical reality is an illusion. Sin is not at all grappled. There is no focus on redemption. Instead, pain, desire, and the escape from these, is the principal aim. The emaciated Mahatma Gandhi (18691948) spoke: “The man who casts off all desires and walks without desire, with no thought of a Mine and of an I, comes unto peace.”[175] In easier terminology, occlude your individuality. Buddhism, a Hindu heresy gone atheistic, also maintains the notion of selfnegation without allotting a proper and balanced value to individual personhood. This can be done by apprehending Buddha’s “Four Nobles Truths”: [i] the human condition is characterized by suffering (duhka), [ii] the cause of suffering is a clinging onto life (trishna), [iii] suffering can be halted by the striving for a personal emancipation that is beyond all human intellection (nirvana) and can be attained by following [iv] the “Eightfold Path” (the right understanding, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration).[176] Zen philosophy, traditionally Chinese, but more particular to Japan, Korea and Vietnam, is Buddhism in redaction, though its possesses elements of Confucianism, Taoism and Hinduism. The aim of this philosophy is to achieve intuitional enlightenment (satori), which is a kind of Asian angelism à la Descartes.

CXXVI. ADOPTION OF ZEN BY WEST COAST LIBERALS. Zen philosophy has become quite popular in the West in recent decades, commonly appealing to the irreligious from upper middle class backgrounds, baby boomers, celebrities, rock stars, environmentalists, Californians, people who watch HBO, and polyesterladen apostate nuns (the usual suspects). Specifically it has been adopted by those who have grown contemptuous of their Christian upbringing for whatever reason. It manifests itself in cheesy selfhelp books; in selfsearching travelogues of visits to the Far East; at “inner light” seminars on the weekend retreat in cottage country. It also reveals itself at Tai Chi classes in suburbia; in the successful businessman who abnegates the world to become a solitudinarian on the distant mountain top; in the disillusioned university professor who chooses the life of a hobo in the metropolis. These types of people are easily bamboozled by the enigmatic prankstering of a Deepak Chopra, the most successful scoundrel and charlatan alive today. To be sure, these poor wretches will think that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of the greatest texts produced by the human race. They will “see something” in the trashy books of that diddling deceptress Shirley McLaine. TH2 cannot help but stare in mesmeric fascination at these pathetic innocents. However, the literary critic George Steiner better summarizes this matter: “The flower children wend their way to Katmandu. The scalped, saffronrobed votaries of Hare Krishna bounce down Piccadilly jingling their tambourines. The matron and the entrepreneur contemplate their deliquescent physique in the mournful stretch of the Yoga class. The joss stick softly burns under the mandala poster, the Tibetan peace sign, the prayer rug in the bedsitter in Santa Monica or Hammersmith... a thousand students crowd to the Maharishi’s sandalled feet. We meditate; we meditate transcendentally; we seek Nirvana in suburban trances. Teenage butterballs descend upon us via Air India, proclaim themselves to be the Way and the Light, offer ineffable clichés on the healing powers of Love, and scatter petals from their pudgy fingers...[This] implicit idealization of values eccentric [is]... contrary to the Western tradition. Passivity against will; a theosophy of stasis or eternal return against a theodicy of historical progress; the focused monotony, even emptiness, of meditation and of meditative trance as opposed to logical, analytic reflection; asceticism against prodigality of person and expression; contemplation versus action; a polymorphic eroticism, at once sensual… as against acquisitive, yet also sacrificial, sexuality of the JudaeoHellenic inheritance: these are the terms of the dialectic.”[177]

CXXVII. THE MOHAMMEDAN HERESY. Islam is a Christian heresy that arose in the seventh century, evolving from regions dominated specifically by the Monophysite heresy.[178] Monophysitism held that Christ only had one nature, described with the position that Christ’s singular nature evolved from human to divine. This was against the Chalcedonian view that said Christ had two distinct natures, human and divine. Arab (Eastern) environs dominated by the Monophysites were soon overthrown by the followers of the heresiarch Mohammed (570632 AD). He developed a simplified theocratic religion comprised of an admixture of Arian, Judaic, Monophysite and pagan elements. Mohammed came from a background the nomadic shepherds who wandered through the harsh desert climates of Arabia. Grouped in clans and overlorded by sheiks, they subscribed to a pagan religion that worshipped animals and trees as deities (the crescent and star symbols of Islam originate from ancient Asian paganism, the worship of sun, moon and sky gods). Mohammed claimed to have a revelation from the Angel Gabriel in about 610 AD. His purported revelations came to be recorded in the Koran (or Quaran), meaning “reading” a text constituted of disconnected and rambling “suras” (i.e. chapters), arbitrarily divided into two sections. The first part (Iman) concerns itself with dogma. Mohammed is claimed to be the last of six major prophets, the first being Adam, Jesus as the penultimate and lastly: “There is but one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”. The Trinity is rejected; Christ is claimed to be a quasiangelic Son of God; the Holy Spirit is deemed a female angel; the human soul is considered to be an emanation from Allah; and, upon death, the immortal soul will enjoy ejaculatory pleasures with a cornucopia of virgins in paradise. Unless, that is, one is an unbeliever, wherefore you are hellbound (Islam is ambiguous as to the eternality of its hell). The second part (Din) deals with external morality and taboos. Some of these include the prohibition of wine, pork, gambling, the possession of images, including the limitation of four wives to each man, excepting Mohammed, of course, who had about thirteen of them, including a little girl of six or seven years old. Both the Koran and the Hadith (oral traditions concerning the life of Mohammed) strongly evidence that Mohammed was a hyperviolent, sadistic, selfserving, hedonistic sensualist and very likely a pedophile.

CXXVIII. ISLAMIC FATALISM. The human being in Islam is portrayed as a creature that sits alone in a windy and barren desert. Allah, in his insuperable and majestic unity, looks down from far above, transfixed upon man. He watches his human creatures with the mien of a nasty old miser, waiting for them to act and react, provoking uptightness, inducing a continual state of anxiousness. One passage in the Koran is illuminating and expressive of this: “It is God who hath created you, and hath provided food for you: hereafter he will cause you to die... Say, Go through the earth, and see what hath been the end of those who have been before you: the greater part of them were idolaters... for he [Allah] loveth not the unbelievers... It is God who created you in weakness, and after weakness hath given you strength; and after strength, he will again reduce you to weakness, and grey hairs: he createth that which he pleaseth.”[179] Islam overemphasizes the absolute unity and omnipotence of a God without personal attribution. The Koran is replete with voluntarism, puritanism, moralism and a disquieting fatalism, where the concept of freewill is nowhere to be found. It overenforces the life that is to come after death and attributes minimal value and dignity to life on Earth (hence the never ending supply of modern “suicide bombers”). It is a simple religion, not based on reason, but on a rigid prophetic revelation designed to keep nonbelievers outside its domain. Notice: the alleged revelations of Mohammed were dictated to him. Strictly from God to man, it was a oneway affair. The contrary is observed in whom Islam calls “the people of the book”, namely the Jews and Christians. In the Old Testament we see the Jews complaining to God about their difficult plight in the desert; the righteous Job, under unbelievably extreme pressures, can hold out no longer and eventually cries out to God for the unexplainable injustices and afflictions to which he has incurred. In the New Testament we see the Apostles arguing amongst themselves and asking Jesus which of them is the greatest; under Pilate’s scrutiny, Christ says to the Roman governor that the power given to him comes from God above. Notice again: there is an interplay between the divine and human. It is a twoway affair because God permits man, in effect, the freedom “to have his say”. This shows that God, the Creator and Lord of all that is, is conferring an exclusive dignity upon man, showing a special concern for him, elevating him above the beasts and materiality. It expresses and affirms God’s gift of freewill to man, even allowing sinful man to have the audacity to question and debate with the Almighty Omniscient Creator of the universe. It also corroborates the Roman Catholic idea that man is made in the image and likeness of God.

CXXIX. FROM MOHAMMED TO LUTHER. Unlike other heresies, Islam has maintained its vigor through the centuries, never really showing signs of abatement. Its combinatorial mode of expansion has always been through military conquest, sociopolitical suppression and hitandrun violence (Mohammed’s followers sustained themselves by raiding caravans, and one cannot help but see in this a precursor to what today is called “terrorism”, homicide bombers, etc.). Its reemergence in the modern era, particularly in its evergrowing Islamofascist variant (which is more true to the Koran, than are “moderate Muslims”) was, at last, recognized upon the commission of the abomination on September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, the momentousness of that metahistorical event has already been forgotten by the West. In 2008 the American people voted for a president so radical, so inexperienced, so socialistic, so antiCatholic and so nihilistic that nothing significant will be done by the US to check Islamofascism in the foreseeable future… and forget about Western Europe. Decades of leftwing egalitarian governance, demographic transition, and the pervasion of Political Correctness have permitted the crudest principles of Mohammedism to seep into nearly all aspects of European (once Christian) society. Soon, as Mark Steyn says, it will be “lights out”. The reasons for Islam’s durance is an unknown and a great mystery is happening here as to why God is permitting Mohammedism to once again expand geographically. If it is counteracted, TH2 ventures to guess that the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will play a large role here (recall: Our Lady is often portrayed with a crescent moon under her feet, symbolizing not only the triumph of Mary’s perpetual virginity over pagan fertility cycles, but also cosmic events). Could this crescent moon also represent the crescent moon of Mohammedism? Nonetheless, the brilliant Hillare Belloc (18701953) attempted to explain the persistence of Islam, albeit unsatisfactorily: “The causes of this vitality are very difficult to explore, and perhaps cannot be reached. For myself, I should ascribe it in some part to the fact that Mohammedism being a thing from outside, a heresy that did not arise within the body of the Christian community but beyond its frontiers, has always possessed a reservoir of men, newcomers pouring in to revivify its energies.”[180]. Minus 500 years: On the rise of Suleiman I (14941566), Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, the expansion of Mohammedism reached its pinnacle. With the Sultan at its head, Islam made its Hungarian influx in August 1526 and was displaying signs of an impending German invasion. The Mohammedan army reaches the gates of Vienna in 1529. Further invasion was averted by the army of Charles V (15001558), preserving a third of the unintruded part of Hungary, pushing the Turks back to Greece. Charles’ pursuit of the Turks was later called off when he was notified to return from the battlefields so as to coadjudicate on matters incited by the followers of an obnoxious Augustinian monk. Tellingly, at this juncture in history, the greatest Christian heresy of the first millennium, Mohammedism, had scoured its way from the Middle East to North Africa and to the European periphery. It threatened Europe just at a time when the followers of a German heresiarch, Martin Luther, were thunderously formulating the greatest Christian heresy of the second millennium, Protestantism. Like runners in a historical dash through the ages, the Mohammedans passed over the baton of heresy to the Protestants, from east to west, from Mohammed to Luther, and, like Pilate and Herod, passed between themselves the bloodied and battered body of Jesus Christ.

CXXX. THE JEWISH PEOPLE. Blaise Pascal wrote that Catholics and Jews have the same religion. Pope John Paul II referred to the Jewish people as our “spiritual descendents”. Just that next step...[wink]. The promised messiah prophesized in the Old Testament is Jesus Christ in the New Testament. A true Christian cannot be against the Jewish religion otherwise he is effectively a Marcionite.[181] Catholics must pray always for the Jewish people, as they must do also for all those inside and outside of the Holy Church, that they may come into the fullness of truth. Evidential of the JewishChristian continuity is the discerning statement of the German journalist P. Viereck: “Catholicbaiting is the antiSemitism of the liberals.”[182] Enough said.

CXXXI. GKC ON ROMAN CATHOLICISM. Said the Master of Paradox: “It looks at the world through a hundred windows where the ancient stoic or the modern agnostic only looks through one. It sees life with thousands of eyes belonging to thousands of different sorts of people, where the other is only the individual standpoint of a stoic or an agnostic. It has something for all moods of man, it understands the secrets of psychology, it is aware of the depths of evil, it is able to distinguish between real and unreal marvels and miraculous exceptions; it trains itself in tact about hard cases, all with a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald and breezy platitudes of most ancient and modern philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life... while it is local enough for poetry and larger than any philosophy, it is also a challenge and a fight. While it is deliberately broadened to embrace every aspect of truth, it is stiffly embattled against every mode of error. It gets every kind of man to fight for it, it gets every kind of weapon to fight with, it widens its knowledge of things that are brought for and against it with every art of curiosity or sympathy; but it never forgets that it is fighting. It proclaims peace on earth and never forgets why there was a war in heaven... It is simply not true to say that other religions and philosophies are in this respect its rivals. It is not true to say that any one of them combines these characters; it is not true to say that any one of them pretends to combine them. Buddhism may profess to be equally mystical; it does not even profess to be equally military. Islam may profess to be equally military; it does not even profess to be equally metaphysical and subtle. Confucianism may profess to satisfy the need of the philosophers for order and reason; it does not even profess to satisfy the need of the mystics for miracle and sacrament and the consecration of concrete things.”[183]

CXXXII. NEWMAN ON ROMAN CATHOLICISM. And now the majestic sweep of history by another great English convert (soon to be a saint): “There is a religious communion claiming a divine commission, and holding all other religious bodies around it heretical or infidel; it is a wellorganized, welldisciplined body; it is a sort of secret society, binding together its members by influences and by engagements which it is difficult for strangers to ascertain. It is spread over the known world; it may be weak or insignificant locally, but is strong on the whole from its continuity; it may be smaller than other religious bodies together, but it is larger than each separately. It is a natural enemy to governments external to itself; it is intolerant and engrossing, and tends to a new modelling of society; it breaks laws, it divides families. It is a gross superstition; it is charged with the foulest crimes; it is despised by the intellect of the day; it is frightful to the imagination of many. And there is but one communion such. Place this description before Pliny or Julian; place it before Frederick the Second or Guiznot. ‘Apparent diræ facies’. Each knows at once, without asking a question, who is meant by it. One object, and only one, absorbs each item of the detail of the delineation.”[184]

CXXXIII. Comparative religion, at the end of its logical sequence, must admit Roman Catholicism incomparable.


PART TWELVE. ON APPROACH TO PLANET RIDICULOUS

CXXXIV. TIMEOUT. Now TH2 assumes that Tom Harpur would be doing cartwheels if he were reading this analysis (if even he made it this far). For those fencesitters and bystanders mentioned in the Primer, well… glad you’re still along for the voyage to Planet Ridiculous. TH2 compliments your stamina and hopes you are enjoying the fray, and not too exhausted. Maybe it’s time to take a break. Perhaps a cheese sandwich or a beverage would hit the spot. Though we are not finished yet, peoples. So grab another antacid tablet and hold on tight as we continue on our approach.

CXXXV. BREAK’S OVER. The reader will recall that Harpur is a despiser of dogma and, in particular, Roman Catholic religious tradition. To him, dogma and tradition are unnecessary, ruinous accretions to spirituality. In For Christ’s Sake his disparagement against the Nicene and Athanasian creeds is obvious. What is peculiar however, though revealing, is that, after a hundred or so pages of a typical and hence predictable endeavor at refutation of the divinity of Christ, at the end of his exposition, he introduces the reader to a new creed of his own design a creed that mimics the ephemeral thought of the day[185]. Is he not constructing his own tradition by creating a creed? To assert that there is no tradition and dogma in religion, and that they cannot be helpful to man in any minimal way, is itself dogmatic. What would Catholicism be minus tradition? It would be like a naked person strolling in the Arctic during winter. He would walk in darkness. One must have layers and accretions for protection from the raging storm outside, to give comfort, to provide explanations and definitions for the nature of man, his origin, his final destination. Man needs answers to his questions. He needs things to authenticate what his senses inform him. He needs construals as to why he wills this and why he feels that. It is certainly fine for science and economics to have their dogmas. Why not religion? Dogma has structure, design and it is systematic. But most of all, it indicates thinking. If dogma has been persistent through the centuries, it therefore demonstrates that quite a lot of thinking has been accomplished. To rescind dogma, to ask for a return to a sanitized form of spirituality devoid of rules, modifications and additions to them, without sacrament and holy objects, books and vestments, absolute truths and theological principles, i.e. tradition to deny these things is indeed to deny material things. Some call this liberal Christianity. TH2 calls it puritanism.

CXXXVI. DOGMA AND TRADITION: AN IDEATIONAL STREETFIGHT. Now contrast the mindset of someone who abides by dogma and tradition versus the antidogmatism and contempt for tradition by the “religious” liberal. The word dogma implies group or community within an institution. Its aspect is social. Within its domain, there may be disagreement. Nonetheless, it is an interactive affair. Debate and controversy, kicks in the head, screaming, counterpositiong and strategies. Now this is very exciting. It is a kind of war and history is the battleground. The rules may sometimes be difficult, the intricacies are overwhelming, and the whole situation may seem like a ridiculous extravaganza to an outsider. Harpur may claim that the Catholic Church has distorted Christ’s message to humanity by overlaying “it with mystifications, traditions, dogma, rituals, and rules”.[186] But step inside the ring, put a little trust in the authority and the knowledge of others, and you will be thunderstruck at the understanding you will garner, not to mention the compassion you will instantly notice, a respect for others regardless of who they are, and an aura of faith which emanates from the faithful. A Lutheran theologian wrote: “There is probably no other Church which has the capacity for harboring so many widely divergent theological points of view as the Roman Church... There is a fixed dogmatic limit, but within this limit there is room for divergent and often contradictory opinions.”[187] Tradition is organic, extrapolative, even nonplussing and painful. Still, it grows and develops from a single life source that sustains the unity. Tradition and dogma is a family squabble. The affair is totally personal.

CXXXVII. THE DROLL ANTIDOGMATIST. Contrast this now with Harpur who states that a “mere repetition of old dogmas is not enough.”[188]. It is immediately noticed that the atmosphere promoted is antisocial, awkward and impersonal. It is too individualistic. Worst of all, it is boring. There is no authority, no accompanying first principles to assist and conduct as these are cast aside. There are no real places to officially or formally gather and debate, to catechize, simply because the antidogmatist does not want them. Yes, the “religious” liberal has his activist groups, his lecture podiums, his television interviews and his “gatherings”. Though in his radical individualism he can speak for himself and no other person, and therefore, by his very own precepts (e.g. moral autonomy of the self, denial of absolutes, cultural relativism), has no right to condemn others who do not subscribe to his outlook. He may afford some “new” or “alternative” idea, though because he does not possess that tradition for backward checking and reference, he is not cognizant of the repetition an old idea that has come and gone long ago. If he is apprised of these errors, then only the verbose and stylistic language he employs makes oldness seem new. Because the antidogmatist outfits himself with the latest intellectual fad, he will, like the fad, soon disappear into obscurity. The situation is totally mechanical, like the swing of a pendulum.

CXXXVIII. CRISIS SITUATIONS: LIBERAL RELIGION FAILS. Another factor to emphasize is that the “religious” liberal perspective mainly appeals to intellectuals and the glitterati. Today, it is a baby boomer phenomenon in many ways. Rarely, one will always notice, will it entice those outside of the clique. A plumber, a nurse, a businessman or a cop will more often than not find its terminologies, speculations and explanations, if so encountered, as unusual, arcane, even hilarious. Indeed, these people are much more intelligent than what the snotty, lattesipping liberal presupposes. For example, show a young girl of four or five years of age a display of the Nativity scene I tell you that her commentary thereafter will make the writings of a Heidegger seem like the babblings of a drunken baboon! The soldier in the trenches at the Somme before he is to jump out into the mesmerizing nihilism of No Mans Land… does he want to get security and hope from Teilhard de Chardin’s Christ as an “Omega Point” or Harpur’s “Jesus was a radical feminist”? TH2 thinks not. If a believer, he will want a Rosary around his neck, or consolation from a Fr. Capodanno, or perhaps some prayer pamphlets being forthright about the purpose and pain of the Cross. When death looms, the time for verbosity is over. Or what about the family fleeing their country in Africa because a tyrant wishes to eradicate their race? Can this family, as they wend their way all day long without food and water and shelter, identify with Harpur’s talk on “the divinity that dances in the rocks and trees as in the distant stars”? Or can they more so find solace in a remembrance of the suffering of the Holy Family as they fled from the terror of Herod? The Nativity scene, the Rosary, and devotion to the Holy Family all appertain to dogma and tradition.

CXXXIX. HARPUR’S VILIFICATION OF CATHOLICISM. The liberal religionist perspective always tends to paganism, or geographically speaking, it will look Eastward. With the rejection of traditional religion comes the eventual rejection of matter and selfannihilation. In the last analysis, to deny religion and transcendence as real will gradually make one to conclude that the world as such is unreal. Therefore, bare spirituality, naked faith, as advocated Harpur. Religion, since it is a traditional and hence material thing, becomes a hindrance to people like Tom Harpur. Materiality as such places a limiting or restrictive quality on human actions and life in general. Religion becomes a “problem”. Harpur: “The problem with religion is that in its all too human efforts to make peace with God it cleaves human reality right down the middle. It tears apart more than it heals. Above all, it divides life into the sacred and nonsacred: these things, actions, vestments, places, words, times and people are sacred or holy; the rest are secular or profane. Thus we have the disastrous bodysoul dichotomy in religious history, a dichotomy that even today shows its results in the negative ecclesiastical understanding of sex and the body. The obsession of the Church, especially the Roman Catholic Church, with sexuality; the rules about celibacy, divorce, birth control; even the issue of women’s ordination all these are the results of the split. The reason the church of the Middle Ages and later was able to do such cruel things to people in the name of Jesus lay in the belief that the body itself was either evil or worthless.”[189] Thus in a perfect clichéd form do we have a summarization, and in iridescence, not only Harpur’s antiCatholicism, but also of a dissimulated religiosity.

CXL. DUPLICITOUS DUALITY? Let us excerpt ideas from this quote so as to lay open Harpur’s disinformation and vilification. Notice first some words: “dichotomy”, “split”, “cleaves”, “tears apart”, “divides”. He sees dualism as an irremediable antagonism of two forces, principally the body and soul. But why should they be antagonistic to, or completely separated from, each other? If there is no dualism, only the body would remain (his soul would also effectively be a material thing), then man is trapped immanently. Did God create man without an immaterial soul? We can see, however, that Harpur is an extremist because he is oblivious to the nature of a distinction. The question to be posed is thus: In this dualism, is that border line which distinguishes have the character of that which makes separable, or does it absolutely separate? Again: the former means really distinct yet this contingency unifies the two poles of the dualism. The latter means total disconnection and, by implication, necessity. By not seeing this dualism in the correct light, Harpur has to remove distinctions between God, man and the world and merge them into an indistinguishable totality. Yet he mistakenly believes that this antagonistic dualism is implicit to Christianity, “especially [to] the Roman Catholic Church.” But is this true? It is not. Again: this class of dualism belongs to Manicheanism what the Catholic Church has always and most vehemently denounced. The contempt for matter is part and parcel of Eastern philosophy and religions that attempt to escape physical reality by ascribing this reality to illusion, and by retreating into the self.

CXLI. TOM HARPUR: ANTIMATERIAL AND ANTILIFE. Notice more: Harpur accuses the Roman Catholic Church his prime object, the main material thing to which he issues his disdain of proclaiming that matter and the body are “negative”, “evil”, “worthless”. See, however, Harpur’s objection to “things”, “vestments”, and so forth those material accoutrements of tradition. Does this not express puritanism? A revulsion of matter? He accuses the Catholic Church as deeming the body to be “worthless”. But how can this be when she insists on the sanctity of life? The Church says that abortion and euthanasia are evils. Is this a negation of life and the body? Was it not Harpur, as previously quoted, who referred to impregnated frozen embyro’s as “clumps of cells”?[190] Do not these dehumanizing words indicate that Harpur, and not the Catholic Church, sees the body and life as worthless? Harpur supports euthanasia, but is not the elimination of the infirm and elderly (however it is worded) suggest, not only a removal of suffering (which is an unavoidable aspect of human life from birth to death), but also a disgust of life? Abortion and euthanasia stop human life, kill it. This is a medical fact. Pretty and sentimental words cannot hide this actuality. Nor can complicated medical terms. Neither can philosophic verbiage. Harpur accuses the Catholic Church of a “negative ecclesiastical understanding of sex”, of its prohibition of artificial birth control. But does he not understand that it says this for the very reason for the propagation of life, because it deems the child a gift from God not to prevent life, stop it at the source, which artificial contraception does. Is this a “negative” or “evil” view of the body? No. This would seem, rather, to apply to the exponents of artificial birth control. It is they who negate life, who see it as negative, evil and worthless. Does Harpur not realize that, for example, the condom, which works to separate completely the transmission of semen into the woman’s womb is a modernized refinement of that Manichean dualism which segregated men and women from each other?[191] Does he not realize that one reason why the Church is redoubtably against abortion is because once there is a blurring in the distinction between being and nonbeing, no reference can be made between a this and a that? The debate of “when a child is a child” gravitates around this. It does not involve, as Harpur writes, “humanlifeinprocess” or an “as yet unformed, unknown life, in the process of becoming”[192] or how many months a woman is into pregnancy. It has nothing to do with the size of the fetus, for this implies that physical magnitude determines one’s personhood, instead of the person’s value as such.[193] Harpur sees only physicality: “clumps of cells”. Well, as a human being much larger than a fetus, I, too, am a “clump of cells”, only that I am comprised of more cells. Notice: “when”, “development”, size: these indicate time, change, movement, immanence, the material. A fetus in the womb, who is a person in actuality with inalienable rights, is, is being, a human being. Not “almost”, not “virtually”, nor “becoming” a human being. The reader will recall the previous discussion of being versus becoming, where the former belongs to the transcendent and extratemporal. The traditional belief says that human life comes from God, He Who Is, Pure Actuality. Harpur, conversely, says that God evolves, that He is a potential, in a process of becoming. Thomas Aquinas: “Wherefore the first indemonstratable principle is that the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time which is based on the principle of being and notbeing: and on this principle all others are based.”[194] Harpur further speaks of the Church’s “obsession” with sex. Yet that is all he wishes to focus on when he fires his criticisms, namely the Church’s stance on sexuality, which comprise only one part of its system of belief. To the contrary, it seems that Harpur is obsessed. Again TH2 emphasizes: notice how Harpur effectively does see the body as negative in his very subscription to the Eastern worldview its pantheism, its withdrawal from the world into the self. If you renounce the reality of religion, relegating it to symbol or myth, you eventually will deduce the same for the reality of the material world.

CXLII. HARPUR’S POPRELIGION CORPUS IS A FAILURE. At the beginning of For Christ’s Sake, Harpur notes that, in the matter of religion, we should “catch a new vision”[195] In actuality, his vision is constituted of an amalgamation of old heresies: Arianism, Subordinationism, Pelagianism, evolutionary pantheism, pietistic sentimentalism and quietism. As a former Christian humanist with Oriental, antimaterialistic inclinations, he rejected the divinity of Christ, presupposing Him just a man, not born of a Holy Virgin, achieving merely the status of a prophet incapable of redeeming humanity. In this same book Harpur also attempts to dissociate himself from “pop religion”, such as is expressed in lowgrade gnostic bestsellers as Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Theories presented in such texts (conspiracies, mockeries, historical distortions relating to the life of Christ and Christianity), he writes, are “very shallow”. Given the aforementioned analysis, Harpur cannot excuse himself from this clan of gnostics. Also, he seems to think that there is a “serious lack of qualified writers and commentators in religion.”[196] Guess who thinks Harpur is unqualified? You are correct. TH2 does. But why is Harpur is so impassioned in his relegation of Christianity to myth? And how can one really believe in a myth when myth itself bespeaks irreality? Accordingly, Harpur would be incapable of disdaining Roman Catholicism if it were a mere myth. His contempt is real because he despises the fact that others see and proclaim reality in it and this makes him climb the wall. Harpur himself does not believe in Christianity as a reality, and thus demands from everyone else a real belief in mythology itself, which is a contradiction. Roman Catholics should realize that Harpur is just another one of these flybynight heretics who will have his day today and be gone tomorrow. He is a perfect representative of that contemporary movement in North America which, under the banner of “liberal Christianity”, is headstrongly attempting to obliterate Roman Catholicism from the map, and thereupon substitute into the minds of people by newspaper articles or popular book sales or by whatever media pagan ideas in an ever growing pagan West. But Harpur does not realize that the One Holy Apostolic Roman Catholic Church is, as Cardinal Newman said, “a supereminent prodigious power sent upon earth to encounter and master a giant evil.” [197]. The views of Harpur and his ilk form a part of this giant evil.

CXLIII. GUILTY SECRET OF LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY. Professor James Hitchcock unlocked the secret by which Tom Harpur has worked since the early 1970s: “The guilty secret of liberal Christianity is that it has never really been an attempt to win converts from the secular world, but has always been aimed merely at winning nods of condescending approval from Christianity’s cultured despisers. Thus for most liberal clergy it is less important that their churches be full on Sunday mornings than that they enjoy a positive image among the kind of people whose opinion they value... As the liberal churches continue to hemorrhage and the conservative churches continue to grow, liberal religion now finds that its main effect is showing people that they do not really need religion at all. As layer upon layer of teaching and practice are stripped away, as it becomes clear that there are virtually no traditions that must be held sacrosanct, as the seat of wisdom is gladly conceded to lie with nonbelievers and even with the antireligious, as subjective ‘personal’ needs finally become the only accepted criteria of truth, many people in the liberal churches reach the point where they naturally become mere ‘alumni’... People often join churches because they experience vague spiritual longings for which they seek fulfillment... But the liberal cleric sees [this] precisely to ‘demythologize’ beliefs which to him are embarrassingly naïve. He actually dampens the enthusiasm of the seeker’s faith, and his guidance in effect tells the convert that ‘the world’ is after all correct in its skeptical judgments... the churches by no means function as magnets exerting maximum religious pull on their members, moving them back from the brink of unbelief. Often they do quite the reverse, and people become secular precisely at the bidding of their religious leaders. Spiritual authority is systematically used to undermine spiritual authority.”[198]

CXLIV. TOUCHDOWN: “MAGNIFICENT DESOLATION”. Alas, in Harpur’s most recent book, The Pagan Christ, [199] we have reached our destination: Planet Ridiculous. What is it that we discover in this strange realm? In summation, it is this: Jesus Christ was not a historical Person, the New Testament is a retelling of the myth of a dying Egyptian sun god, and these two “discoveries” have been kept hidden from humanity for two thousand years. According to Harpur, this is “the greatest coverup of all time”. Christianity, he contends, “began as a cult with almost wholly Pagan origins and motivations in the first century.” The coverup was instigated by “those who had swept in and grabbed control of policies” of the Church. Harpur bases this thesis on the ruminations of three selfassigned experts: Godfrey Higgins (17711834), Gerald Massey (18281907) and Alvin Boyd Kuhn (18801963). Yup, that’s about it a plain and simple conspiracy theory rooted in the obscure researches of three unqualified charlatans (a check by a reviewer of this book, W.W. Gasque, enquired 20 of the world’s leading Egyptologists, confirming this view). Like the The Da Vinci Code, The Pagan Christ is yet another “discovery” of a long hidden “truth” demonstrating that the Roman Catholic Church has been fraudulent for all these centuries. But this really need not be said as the scholarly community as a whole, religious or not, have known all along that Harpur is a mere swindler advocating cheezeball ideas stolen from pseudointellectuals and dabbling dilettantes. But what is especially pernicious about Tom Harpur the heretic is that his books are written directly to and for the general public. His intention is to corrupt minds by endorsing antinomianism and relativism, with the ultimate goal being to turn this unwitting populace away from the belief of the faithful in the divinity and personhood of Jesus Christ. It all comes down to that. After reading the works of Tom Harpur, and landing on Planet Ridiculous, TH2 cannot help but feel like the main character in Edgar Allan Poe’s tale The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Phaall. Upon his balloon descent to the lunar surface, he remarks: “I tumbled headlong into the very heart of a fantasticallooking city, and into the middle of a vast crowd of ugly little people, who none of them uttered a single syllable, or gave themselves the least trouble to render me assistance, but stood, like a parcel of idiots, grinning in a ludicrous manner, and eyeing me… with their arms set akimbo.”[200] Apparently, the followers of Thomas Harpur.

CXLV. SMOKE ‘EM IF YA GOT ‘EM LADIES. For this battle is over and another awaits. But now TH2 is tired and requires a smoke, and then… “To sleep, perchance to dream…”

NOTES / REFERENCES

1. For instance, Harpur retells the story of the good Samaritan, based on a reported incident: A foreign businessman was beaten by thugs and left for dead. Two clerics saw the victim, offered no aid, assuming inebriation, and drove away. However, a homosexual (archetypal leftist hero) passed by and assisted. Apparently, the church to which the homosexual belonged rejected him after making his disordered lifestyle known. Harpur’s underhanded message: traditional religious people are villainous. Notice: he did not focus on the good deed as such. Rather, an outlet was found to calumniate traditional religious persons with an innuendo of hypocrisy. See his Communicating the Good News Today, Thoughts on Religion in the Communication Age (Hansport, NS: Lancelot Press, 1988), pp. 6469. Hereafter referenced as CGN. Malcolm Muggeridge (19031990) provided a better interpretation of the story: “What he [Christ] was really saying was that the people who are professionally compassionate... [are] when it comes down to the crunch, often aren’t. And those who are not professionally compassionate, are.” Quoted in W.F. Buckley, Jr., Nearer, My God (New York: Doubleday, 1997), p. 210. Harpur regularly belittles Catholics, but is invariably quick to defend other religions: “one of the most unjust and harmful stereotypes of our time: to be a Muslim is to be an extremist devoted to terrorism”. See his column “All events have ethical dimension”, Toronto Star, November 3, 1996, p. A13. Most Muslims are not terrorists, although most terrorists are Muslims.

2. God Help Us (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Inc., 1992), pp. 6364. Hereafter GHU. Harpur may “dislike labels”, though he claimed to be a “Christian humanist”. See also his Harpur's Heaven and Hell (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1983), p. 16. Hereafter HHH. Allegedly, the latter book was used widely in church study groups, at schools and colleges.

3. GHU, p. 239.

4. The Everlasting Man (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993), p. 159.

5. HHH, pp. 16, 18, 25; Life After Death (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992), p. 259. Hereafter LAD.

6. GHU, pp. 41, 134; For Christ’s Sake (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Inc., 1983), p. 39. Hereafter FCS.

7. GHU, pp. 204, 231237.

8. HHH, p. 116; Always on Sunday (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 113. Herafter AOS.

9. See M. de la Bedoyere, The Meddlesome Friar, The Story of the Conflict Between Savanarola and Alexander VI (London: Collins, 1957), p. 156.

10. Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis (London: Oxford University Press, 2001). See also R. Shaw, “Deflating the Sex Scandal”, Crisis, vol. 15, no. 1, January 1997, p. 45.

11. GHU, pp. 163, 264. Compare now to a statement he made in 1983 (9 years earlier): “I believe in God… who is above all things yet in and through and under all creation transcendent or wholly ‘other’; and yet at the same time immanent, indwelling in the whole of the cosmos and in each member of humanity”, HHH, p. 5. Despite this phraseology, he does not assent to a really transcendent God, because God is posited to be immanently in, and not immanently present to, the material order of being. Otherwise, dualism is affirmed, though he flatly renounces the dualism as understood in its proper context.

12. See, for example, Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988) a book replete with pantheistic, pseudospiritual platitudes. Fox is also the author of the orgasmically entitled: Whee! We, Wee, All the Way Home. Such pathetically surreal, homely, hedonistic writings of exCatholic buffoons are invariably revered by liberal religionists.

13. F.J. Sheen, Philosophy of Religion, The Impact of Modern Knowledge on Religion (New York: AppletonCenturyCrofts, Inc., 1948), p. 123. Readers familiar with Sheen’s philosophic works will notice that TH2 applies some of his arguments in the refutation of Harpur’s views.

14. GHU, pp. 199, 58.

15. GHU, p. 163. Cf. also (CGN, p. 16): “Christ is a sign to us that the whole of matter matters and can glow with the illumination of the divine.” This statement equalizes man and materiality whereas the traditional position holds that man is separate from, and elevated above, the entire created universe, made to the image of God (cf. Genesis 1:2627).

16. GHU, p. 174.

17. The Phenomenum of Man (London: Fontana Books, 1971 [1955]), p. 322. What Fr. Teilhard was to Catholicism, Herbert Spencer (18201903) was to Darwinism a shallow and stylistic circumlocutionist attempting to exude the aura of deep intellectual insight.

18. HHH, pp. 3233. Harpur uses ideas of the expriest Leon Rivas and the Catholic writer Graham Greene (19041991, from his novel The Honoury Council) as justification for an “evolving” God.

19. Rebuttals against an evolutionary God will be based on argument put forward in F.J. Sheen’s God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy, A Critical Study in the Light of the Philosophy of Saint Thomas (New York: Longmans, Green & Company, 1925), pp. 218241. This is a classic work in Catholic apologetics, derived from Sheen’s Ph.D. thesis.

20. GHU, p. 162.

21. NeoManicheanism reemerged in the Middle Ages. Followers were known as Albigensians or Cathars (southern France), Bogomils (Balkans) and Paulicians (Armenia). It has remanifested in various forms in modern times, as in Marshall Applewhite’s Heavens Gate cult.

22. Cf. St. Augustine: De Civitate Dei, p. II, bk. XI, ch. 22; St. Thomas: Sum. con. Gent., lib. i, cap. 39.

23. GHU, p. 201; HHH, p. 107.

24. Sum. Theol., i, q. 2, art. 3.

25. It is important to stress that the universe is finite, not infinite, as Albert Einstein affirmed in his Special Theory of Relativity: “From the standpoint of epistemology, it is more satisfying to have the mechanical properties of space completely determined by matter, and this is the case only in a closed universe”, A. Einstein, The Meaning of Relativity, Including the Relativistic Theory of the NonSymmetric Field (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984), p. 108. From the Stafford Little Lectures of Princeton University, May, 1921. The Copenhagen School of quantum mechanics, including its journalistic popularizers (e.g. John Gribbin), consistently speak of “portals” or “trap doors” to “multiuniverses” or “hyperdimensions”. These are reiterations of the extension of matter and space infinitely, i.e. an unclosed, eternal universe, as advocated by paganism.

26. Sum. con. Gent., lib. i, cap. 13[3].

27. Some cosmologists, playing at philosophy, contend that the universe is eternal by reference to an “oscillating universe” (a universe that perpetually expands and contracts). However, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe will eventually run down to a condition of total stasis. Confutation of the oscillating universe theory, without getting into scientific details, is quite elementary. There is a popular toy called a “slinky”. Set the slinky into motion and the contraption with oscillate back and forth. Gradually, wavelengths diminish and oscillation halts. Deny this and automatically is the science of Newton relegated as useless. The idea of a perpetual motion machine is absurd, as Leonardo da Vinci (precursor to the mechanistic worldview) said long ago. See remarks on an oscillating universe by S.L. Jaki, God and the Cosmologists (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1989), pp. 7172, 7678.

28. Sum. con. Gent., bk. i, cap. 29[2].

29. E. Gilson, The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy, trans. A.H.C. Downes (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991 [1936]), p. 53.

30. “The Principles of Nature and of Grace, Based on Reason” in Philosophic Classics, ed. W. Kaufmann, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: PrenticeHall, Inc., 1968), vol. 2, p. 217.

31. The Uncommon Touch, An Investigation of Spiritual Healing (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1994), p. 11. Hereafter TUT. This work positively references such gnostics as Deepak Chopra, Carl Jung, and even the loony lady from Boston, Mary Baker Eddy (18211910). An appeal is also made to Zoroastrianism. Certainly, a book for those in search of an Oprahesque new age spirituality.

32. Quoted in H. Smith, The Religions of Man (New York: The New American Library, 1958), p. 102.

33. The Baghavad Gita, trans. J. Mascaró (London: Penguin Books, 1962), 2:56, p. 53.

34. LAD, p. 171.

35. GHU, p. 72; HHH, pp. 56.

36. The Metaphysical Elements of Justice, Part I of The Metaphysics of Morals, trans. J. Ladd (Indianapolis, IN: The BobbsMerill Company, Inc., 1965 [1797]), p. 12.

37. See G.E. Moore, Principia Ethica (Cambridge University Press, 1971 [1903]), pp. 136, 110141.

38. GHU, p. 42.

39. GHU, p. 40, CGN, pp. 5152, 40. Harpur is so much contaminated by moral relativism that he encourages childhood rebellion: “No prompting or coercion by natural parents is ever to take the place of duty to love one’s true inner self or obey the voice within”, GHU, p. 71. Two errors: the deprioritization of parental authority; ignorance to the familial/social implications of an improperly formed conscious.

40. GHU, pp. 4748; FCS, p. 67; HHH, pp. 14, 7.

41. FCS, pp. 111, 117. See discussion on this aspect of the Reformation in J. Dillenberger and C. Welch, Protestant Christianity, Interpreted Through its Development (New York: Charles Scrinber’s Sons, 1964), p. 30.

42. The Screwtape Letters, Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil (London: Fount Paperbacks, 1992 [1942]), Lett. IV, pp. 2425. Referring to a biography by A.N. Lewis (C.S. Lewis: A Biography), Harpur issues derogatory criticisms. Apparently the famous apologist/theologian C.S. Lewis (18981963) smoked heavily, sang dirty songs, and had a few beers with friends on a regular basis. Harpur states that Lewis “now seems at many points somewhat onesided even naive... He wasn’t a saint of some sort.” (GHU, p. 216). Allusion to such petty matters illustrates the harsh conditionality demanded by the heretic. The incidentally insignificant is extracted and stretched out it to be more than it is. This pettiness, of course, betrays a hidden jealousy for Lewis’ worldwide popularity and relevance. Indeed, smoking, singing dirty songs, and drinking a few pints with his chaps certainly constitutes a crime against humanity. Lewis never claimed to be a model of saintliness. Harpur also labels Lewis as a “fundamentalist icon”, i.e. compartmentalize all orthodox Christians into the stereotype of irrational fanatics. See HHH, p. 29 for another instance where Harpur misconstrues Lewis’ commentary on the purpose of pain in human existence.

43. AOS, p. 2.

44. The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1961 [1902]), p. 389. James explicitly stated the intellectual approach as having a “shallowing effect” (ff. 9).

45. Ibid., p. 378.

46. “Obsessive Actions and Religious Practices” in The Penguin Freud Library, trans. J. Strachey (London: Penguin Books, 1990), vol. 13, pp. 33, 39.

47. For example, read this very profound statement by journalist commenting on the state of contemporary religion: “The penis is the Achilles heel of the Roman Catholic Church”. From R. Graham, God’s Dominion, A Skeptics Quest (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1990), p. 152. This is the Neanderthal approach to religion.

48. H.J. Eysenck, Decline and Fall of the Freudian Empire (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2004), p. 150. Originally published in 1985.

49. Quoted in K. Löwith, From Hegel to Nietzsche, The Revolution in NineteenthCentury Thought, trans. D.E. Green (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 368369.

50. See M. Heidegger, What is Called Thinking?, trans. J.C. Gray (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1968 [1954]), p. 105. Whether Nietzsche’s psychosis was attributable to syphilis is still open to question. See C.M. Owen, C. Schaller and D.K. Binder, “The Madness of Dionysius: A Neurosurgical Perspective on Friedrich Nietzsche”, Neurosurgery, September 2007, vol. 61, Issue 3, pp. 626632.

51. Many commentators either overlook, attempt to justify, or distort the meaning of Nietzsche’s animalistic biologism, as Martin Heidegger (18891976) did, for instance, in his Nietzsche, trans. J. Stambaugh, D.K. Krell and F.A. Capuzzi (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), vol. 3, pt. 1, p. 40: “The characterization of a metaphysics as biologism... can only confer the highest distinction and bear witness to its unbounded ‘nearness to life’.” Reference to “nearness of life” reflected Heidegger’s quest to achieve a nearness to being as such, as advocated by his ontological gnosticism: “Dasein is an entity which, in its very Being, comports itself understandably towards that Being. In saying this, we are calling attention to the formal concept of existence”, M. Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie and E. Robinson (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers Inc, 1962 [1927]), pt. 1, div. 1, II, 12, p. 78. Martin Buber (18981965) better explained Nietzsche’s biologism: “he wants to understand man genetically, as an animal that has grown out and stepped forth from the animal world... he wants to explain by the fact of man’s breakaway from the animal world and his aberration from his instincts... give new life to his instincts... [he] undertook with passionate earnestness to explain man in terms of the animal world.” See Buber’s “What is Man?”in Between Man and Man , trans. R.G. Smith (London: Collins, 1973), pp. 189190.

52. The Will to Power, trans. W. Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale (New York: Random House, Inc., 1968), bk. 2, II, 5A, p. 181.

53. William Barrett (19131992) stated that Nietzsche the existentialist “was one of the loneliest men that ever existed”, Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy (Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1962), p. 180. In actuality and more precisely, Christ was the loneliest Man that ever existed, the first existentialist, who wandered forty days and nights alone in the nothingness of a desert, abandoned by those closest to Him on the night before His crucifixion. While nailed to the Cross: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). This single statement perfectly expresses the predicament of the modern existentialist.

54. Either/Or, trans. D.F. Swenson and L.M. Swenson (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959 [1843]), vol. 1, p. 140.

55. G.W. Rutler, Christ and Reason, An Introduction to Ideas from Kant to Tyrrel (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1990), p. 46.

56. The portrait of Kierkegaard (Archiv für Kunst und Geschichte) with top hat and cane in hand seems very expressive of this nobility. See embedded image in main text.

57. The Epistle to the Romans, trans. E.C. Hoskins (Oxford University Press, 1983 [1928] 6th ed.), pp. 28, 49, 208, v.

58. “He [Barth] compared his experience to that of a man climbing in a church steeple in the middle of the night, who reaching out for support discovers to his dismay that he has seized the bell rope and awakened the whole town.” Dillenberger and Welch, op. cit., p. 257.

59. Op. cit., p. 229.

60. H. Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. T.E. Hulme (New York and London: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1928[1912]), pp. 7, 40.

61. On Religion, Speeches to its Cultured Despisers, trans. R. Crouter (Cambridge University Press, 1988), Second Speech, p. 102.

62. GHU, p. 177.

63. De Veritate, q. 10, art. 11, ad. 6.

64. G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford University Press, 1977 [1807]), CC., VII, A, a, p. 418.

65. G. Steiner, Errata, An Examined Life (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), p. 189.

66. I. Stewart and M Golubitsky, Fearful Symmetry, Is God a Geometer? (London: Penguin Books, 1993), pp. 15.

67. R. Neibuhr, The Nature and Destiny of Man (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1964 [1943]), vol. 2, p. 67 ff.16.

68. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1782: “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions.”

69. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 19, art. 5, ad. 2.

70. Here it is worth pondering a remark by Bishop Sheen, Treasure in Clay, The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993 [1980]), p. 6: “How God will judge I know not, but I trust that He will see me with mercy and compassion. I am only certain that there will be three surprises in Heaven. First of all, I will see some people there whom I never expected to see. Second there will be a number whom I expect to be there who will not be there. And, even relying on His mercy, the biggest surprise of all, may be that I will be there.” Any Catholic who denies salvation to nonCatholics speaks the heresy of “Baptism by water only”. Witness the excommunication of Fr. L. Feeney, S.J. and his followers (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1953; gladly, he reconciled with the Church in 1972). The term “no salvation outside the Church” is often manipulated by the enemies of Roman Catholicism. The Catechism is clear on the matter: “Every man who is ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity”, Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1260.

71. GHU, pp. 7576.

72. LAD, p. 262.

73. AOS, p. 35.

74. Cf. Confessions, trans. R.S. PineCoffin (London: Penguin Books, 1961), bk. II, ch. 7, pp. 6264.

75. Revelation 17:6.

76. Selection Adapted to the Seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year from the Parochial & Plain Sermons of John Henry Newman (London: Rivingtons, 1878), Sermon XVI: The Individuality of the Soul, p. 137.

77. LAD, p. 141.

78. See, for example, the compilation of paintings and illustrations rendered through the centuries presented in R. Cavendish, Visions of Heaven and Hell (New York: Harmony Books, 1977), pp. 103123.

79. HHH, p. 49.

80. Catholic dogma is and always will be insistent on the truth of Hell, but Catholics are not compelled to believe in the visions thereof reported by the saints, as in, for example, the disturbing recounting of St. Teresa of Avila (15151582). See The Complete Works of St. Teresa of Avila, trans. E.A. Peers (New York: Continuum International Publishers, 2004), vol. I, pp. 215277.

81. Dante’s Inferno, trans. H.F. Cary (New York: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Company, 1890), Canto XVII, p. 89.

82. This observation is not originally C.S. Lewis’, as is often claimed. The saints have effectively said the same thing, like St. Teresa of Avila.

83. The Impatience of Job (La Salle, IL: Sherwood Sugden & Company Publishers, 1981), pp. 1314.

84. Romans 12:1921.

85. Job 3: 2326. From The Book of Job, trans. S.Mitchell (New York: HarperCollins Pub., 1992 [1987]), p. 14. Fr. Rutler remarks (op. cit., note 83) that the Book of Job describes the “anatomy of a man’s conversion”.

86. See also F.J. Sheen, Philosophy of Religion, pp. 291294.

87. Harpur disregards Christ’s explicitness on the reality of Hell. For example: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

88. “The Historical Destiny of the Doctrine of K. Marx” in Against Revisionism, trans. not indicated (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1972), p. 139. First published in Pravda, vol. 18, no. 50, March 1, 1913.

89. The Conquest of Time (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1995 [1942]), pp. 8081, 72.

90. HHH, p. 6.

91. FCS, pp. 7981, e.g. “power of suggestion”, “placebo effect”, “psychosomatic healing”; GHU, pp. 222, 179; “Graver moral concerns than ‘orphan’ embryo furor”, The Toronto Star, August 18, 1996, p. F5; “Catholics despair over church’s rigidity”, Toronto Star, August 28, 1996, p. A23.

92. FCS, p. 15.

93. More importantly, however, Harpur disregards the impact of Christ on the history of the world. William F. Buckley (op. cit., pp. 121122): “If Jesus had never existed as a historical figure, the great vacuity would long since have been isolated. If He had been... an illiterate but charismatic fanatic, He would not have inspired the perdurable faith He did among His followers. Seductive fanatics we know all about; but when they die, their shadows quickly dissipate. That of Christ soon enveloped the entire Western world... There were dozens, even hundreds, of startup religions during those centuries, all over the world. Those who reject the explanation of Jesus Himself, that not even the gates of Hell would prevail over His Church, will have to go on looking for an explanation of Christianity’s hold on great thinkers, and billions of disciples.”

94. FCS, pp. ix, xiii, xi, xiv.

95. See, for example, The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 1993)

96. HHH, p. 11.

97. FCS, p. xv.

98. Arius (d. 336), a theologian and presbyter of Alexandria, contested that God alone was the true and unapproachable Father. Christ was subordinate, a kind of emissary capable of sinning, not coeternal with the Father. The Son was subalterned to the first and highest created being, a discrete entity not sharing the divine essence. St. Anasthasius (299373) was the principal enemy against, and defeater of, Arianism in his time. This heresy was condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325. The best modern assessment of Arianism , of course, comes from the pen of John Henry Newman. See his Arians of the Fourth Century (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1890), pp. 201233. It is interesting how Newman described some of the “characteristic qualities” of Arianism as “unscriptural”, “shallow” and “evasive”. Harpur also wrote that Christ does not “anywhere explicitly claim to be the second person of the Trinity” (FCS, p. 111). The word Trinity is not even mentioned in the Bible. It is a doctrine that developed within the Church, as with many others, rooted in the Gospels when Christ commissioned the Apostles “to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:1620). By subaltering Christ within the Trinitarian configuration Harpur advocates the heresy of Subordinationism, an extreme form of Arianism. This heresy subordinates one Person of the Holy Trinity to the other two, usually making the Son subordinate to the Father. The Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, is a disjointed unit or mode without equivalency or unity to the Divine Essence. In general, the Son is considered completely different from the Father, fallible and predisposed to sin. Subordinationism has its origins in Eunomius (d. ca. 393), a deacon at Alexandria. Harpur’s position on the Trinity can further be categorized under what is known as Dynamic Monarchiansim (aka Adoptionism), advocated by Elipandus, Bishop of Toledo, Spain (ca. 782) and the theologian Peter Abelard (10791142). This heresy overemphasizes one of the three Trinitarian aspects, usually making Christ an “adopted” Son of God.

99. FCS, p. 16. C.S. Lewis argument ran thus: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” See Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1952), p. 55.

100. Matthew 14:33.

101. FCS, pp. 59, 84.

102. FCS, p. 65.

103. Matthew 5:17.

104. HHH, p. 14; FCS, p. 3, 22. Cf. also pp. 2325.

105. Sum. con. Gent., lib. i, cap. 89[11]; Sum. Theol., iii, q. 42, art. 5.

106. This heresy arose via the British monk and theologian Pelagius (ca. 360420), popularized by Caelestius, expounded by Julian of Eclanum (ca. 386455). Pelagianism denies original sin in man (Baptism unnecessary), alleging man can employ his own natural powers to avoid sin, attaining moral perfection and sinlessness. God’s grace was considered as a kind of external additive, merely assisting man to more effectually evade sin (i.e. no internal grace can transform the human will). Indeed, God’s grace was part and parcel of human nature and freewill was deemed to possess some inbuilt mechanism for sinful evasion. St. Augustine attacked Pelagianism vehemently, so much so that semiPelagianism later arose, a sort of compromised view midway between Pelagianism and Predestinarianism. See also D. ChristieMurray, A History of Heresy (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 8795.

107. FCS, p. 92. Harpur paraphrases Dietrich Bonhoeffer (19061945) for justification: “The most crucial question for the Church in a postChristian age is, who is Jesus Christ, for us, today?” Bonhoeffer, an orthodox Protestant of great faith who conspired to assassinate Hitler, never would have consented to Harpur’s spirituality. Harpur extracts one statement from Bonhoeffer and extrapolates its meaning to fit an agenda, e.g. “new vision of Jesus as liberator” (HHH, p. 15). Just a cursory reading of Bonhoeffer’s texts illustrates a contrary perspective. For example, see his Creation and Fall, A Theological Interpretation of Genesis 13, Temptation, trans. K. Downham (New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1959 [1937]), pp. 107128.

108. CGN, p. 12.

109. See C. Dawson, The Making of Europe (New York: The New American Library, Inc., 1974 [1932]), pp. 187201.

110. FCS, pp. 9192.

111. LAD, p. 163.

112. See essay by D. DeMarco, “Morality and the Abandonment of Guilt” in The Anesthetic Society (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1982), pp. 159177. Professor DeMarco is a top notch Catholic philosopher and his penetrating insights into contemporary culture are greatly underappreciated.

113. HHH, p. 9; FCS, p. 19. Bringing this logic to finality, Harpur could equally say that Christ went to the local sports bar with his buddies at the end of the hockey season to celebrate their championship. Christ, then, becomes a kind of backslapper because He spoke in “witty aphorisms” (CGN, p. 21). This remark, besides being a shrewd kind of mockery, makes Christ into some smartass, aloof butler on a popular TV sitcom who speaks in quips for incidental amusement.

114. Berengar claimed the Eucharist to be merely symbolic. His view was challenged by Lanfranc of Pavia (10051089), later officially condemned by the Church. See a synopsis of the controversy in N.C. Eberhardt’s very readable A Summary of Catholic History (St. Louis: B. Herder Book Company, 1961), vol. 1, pt. III sec. I, XIV, 106B, pp. 609610. For Wycliffe see H. Phillips, “John Wyclif and the Optics of the Eucharist” in From Ockham to Wyclif (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Ltd., 1985), Studies in Church History, Subsidia 5, pp. 245258. For Calvin see Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. H. Beveridge (WM.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1953), bk. IV, ch. xvii, sec. 1215 (vol. II, pp. 564569).

115. FCS, p. 111; GHU, p. 177.

116. FCS, p. 49.

117. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 78, art. 2c.

118. See A. Harnack, What is Christianity? Lectures Delivered in the University of Berlin during the WinterTerm 18991900, trans. T.B Saunders (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1908, second revised edition). Not to be confused with The Essence of Christianity (Das Wesen des Christentums) by Ludwig Feurbach (18041872). His view was that Christianity had an “anthropological” essence. Feuerbach influenced Marx and his moneysupply buddy Friedrich Engels (18201895).

119. HHH, p. 13.

120. Harpur correctly observes (HHH, p. 59): “It was not the Christian claims about Christ’s divinity that offended them so much as the idea that God had become the stuff of humanity”.

121. Proper treatment on this topic is given in Gilson’s, Being and Some Philosophers (Toronto: Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies, 1961, second edition), pp. 168170.

122. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 78, art. 2, ad. 2.

123. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 78, art. 3, ad. 5.

124. For a commentary on the relationships between faith and reason see Thomas Aquinas: Faith, Reason and Theology, trans. A. Maurer (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1987), pp. 6373.

125. See HHH, pp. 4347.

126. Petra and Petros (Greek words) are respectively female and male senses. This being so, some have contested that the Peter=Rock equation is a deceptive stratagem used by Rome to qualify papal infallibility. Christ, however, spoke to Peter in Aramaic, not Greek. Petra (feminine) was changed to Petros (Peter) simply because St. Peter was a man.

127. See K. Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism, trans. D.J. McCann (London: Sheed and Ward, 1931), pp. 8196. See also S.L. Jaki, And On This Rock (Manassas, VA: Trinity Communications, 1987 [1978]) and an insightful article by J.E. Tynen, “There’s no priest shortage”, New Oxford Review, October 1997, vol. LXIV, no. 8, pp. 58.

128. H. Küng, Infallible? An Enquiry, trans. E. Quinn (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971). See HHH, pp. 2324 for Harpur’s endorsement of this work. Küng’s argument rests on choosing the Gospels and the Church exclusively during Antiquity as the basis for attack against papal authority, rather than seeing Church tradition as a historically active organism. His thesis is thus founded on a subjective basis or, metaphysically speaking, on the sign instead of the thing. Such assaults against the papacy are not new and certainly commonplace today. The Bohemian John Huss (13691415), precursor to the Reformers, protested similarly. In a letter to a preacher in Bethlehem dated 21 June, 1415, soon before his execution while imprisoned at Constance, Huss wrote: “We ought not follow custom, but Christ’s example and truth”, The Letters of John Huss, trans. M. Spinka (Manchester University Press, 1972), Letter 83, p. 181. Similarly, the insistence of the Pope as a symbolic rock rather than the real rock of the Church: “For Rock Petra does not come from Peter Petrus but Peter from Rock... For what the Church is essentially in Christ, that Peter is symbolically in the Rock Petra by which symbolism Christ is understood to be the Rock and Peter the Church”, De Ecclesia, trans. D.S. Schaff (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1974), ch. IX, p. 7576. Huss’s thought was influenced by the English Churchman John Wycliffe. The medieval scholar E. Gilson wrote of Wycliffe’s view: “Everybody would understand the doctrine of the divine Word (John)... were it not for the general corruption of Scripture by the ignorance of grammar and the logic [then] prevailing... The logic to be followed is that of Scripture”, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York: Random House, 1955), p. 771 ff. 77iv. Wycliffe came to reject the doctrine of Transubstantiation, easily discerned in his metaphysics, e.g. “neither the possibility nor the fact of assigning a term can cause extramental things to resemble each other more or less. The specific resemblance or difference between this is based essentially on the constituents of the things and not on signs”, Tractatus de Universalibus, trans. A. Kenny (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), ch. 1, lines 420425, p. 9. Wycliffe also penned a phrase to become a calling card for all virulent antiCatholic Protestants in later centuries, used right up to the modern day by the likes of Ian Paisley: The Pope “is very Anticrist and not Cristis viker”, Wyclif, Select English Writings, ed. H.E. Winn (London: Oxford University Press, 1929), p. 69.

129. Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967), vol. 54, p. 12. See also vol. 35, pp. 4973.

130. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 78, art. 2c.

131. Three Reformers, LutherDescartesRousseau (London: Sheed and Ward, 1936), p. 77.

132. An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. R. Manheim (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987 [1953]), pp. 83, 205.

133. From Part 4, “Discourse on the method of rightly conducting one’s reason and seeking the truth in the sciences” in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch (Cambridge University Press, 1984), vol. 1, p. 127.

134. Opus Postumum, trans. E. Förster and M. Rosen (Cambridge University Press, 1995). pp. 218235.

135. The statement comes from his publication Discourse on Inequality: “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said ‘This is mine,’ … how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by … crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” Ironically, like Descartes’ Discourse on Method (1637), Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality (1754) was published out of Holland. The original title, translated into English, reads: A Discourse On A Subject Proposed By The Academy Of Dijon: What Is The Origin Of Inequality Among Men, And Is It Authorised By Natural Law?

136. See discussion in P. Johnson, Intellectuals (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1990 [1988]), pp. 2326.

137. “Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” in Karl Marx, Selected Writings, ed. D. McLellan (Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 69.

138. See H. Heine, Concerning the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, trans. H.H. Mustard (New York: Random House, 1973), bk. I, pp. 305358.

139. Quoted in F.J. Sheen, Philosophies at War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1943), pp. 3132.

140. Quoted in A. Bullock, Hitler and Stalin, Parallel Lives (New York: Vintage Books, 1993), p. 353. The direct linkage between Luther and Hitler the “Catholic” (e.g. will to power ideology, the Holocaust) is an open secret amongst scholars. Referring to Luther’s work On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), the English historian Paul Johnson said it was the “first work of modern antiSemitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust.” This is found in his A History of the Jews (New York: Harper Collins, 2001[1987]), p. 242. Compare also W.M. McGovern, From Luther to Hitler: The History of FascistNazi Political Philosophy (Boston: HoughtonMifflin, 1941); Peter F. Wiener, Martin Luther: Hitler’s Spiritual Ancestor (Cranford, NJ: American Atheist Press: 1999 [1942]); and W.L. Shier, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, A History of Nazi Germany (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1960), pp. 9097.

141. FCS, pp. 26, 30.

142. Before his conversion to Roman Catholicism, John Henry Newman addressed the issue of Our Lady in his An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, Sec. II, ch XI, pp. 425–426: “if we take a survey of Europe, we shall find it that it is not those religious communions which are characterized by devotion towards the Blessed Virgin that have ceased to adore her Eternal Son, but those very bodies... which hae renounced devotion to her... the tone of devotion paid... is altogether distinct [from Christ]... the question is one of fact, not presumption or conjecture.”

143. HHH, p. 12.

144. Mark 10:2628.

145. LAD, pp. 165, 170; FCS, pp. 26, 90, 107, 99; CGN, p. 40.

146. Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism (Fraser, MI: RealView Books, 1995 [1798]), vol. 1, p. 172.

147. J.G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, A Study in Magic and Religion (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1963 [1922]), abridged edition, pp. 566, 414, 624.

148. Matthew 5:45.

149. Cf. C. Dawson, op. cit., p. 179.

150. J.G. Frazer, op. cit., pp. 416417.

151. These facts were overlooked by Frazer (op. cit., p. 415). Consideration could be given to paintings of the Christian saints. In such renderings the saint’s eyes are agape, gazing upwards, receptive to that which is outside his or her being. The body is outstretched, with bloody wounds or impaled arrows. The stature expresses both confidence and humility, i.e. an openess to reality, physical and spiritual. Consider, for example, The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, its rendering attributed to Antonio (d. 1498) and Piero del Pollaiuolo (d. ca. 1496). See inset image in main text.

152. Echoing the exegesis of the Lutheran theologian Rudolf Bultmann (18841976), Harpur notes that the Gospels “are primarily the work of evangelists or preachers with a message to be believed” (HHH, p. 58). In contradiction to the theory that the Gospels were an amalgam of myth and political propaganda written many decades after Christ’s death (Bultmann School), recent examination of three small fragments of papyrus from St. Matthew’s gospel shows otherwise, evidencing that it was composed soonafter the Crucifixion, by an actual witness of Christ’s words. Other studies have supplied data showing that the three other Gospels were written before the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70. See P. Likoudis, “Authorities of Gospels put closer to Ascension”, Challenge, March 1997, p. 6. It is well to remember that Bultmann was very much influenced by the ontological gnostic philosopher Martin Heidegger (cf. ff. 50 and 51 above).

153. HHH, p. 97.

154. Quoted in Fr. George Rutler’s excellent biography on St. John Vianney, The Curé D’Ars Today (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988).

155. A popular English account of demonic infestation/possession is Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil, The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans (San Francisco: Harper and Row Publishers, 1992). Book originally published in 1976. Warning: Fr. Martin (19211999) was a sensationalist who often obscured the more boring facts of cases with his intrigue style of presentation. Be cautious and discriminating when reading this guy and don’t get suckered in like some latenight radio talk show hosts.

156. Prophecies in Old Testament accomplished in the life of Jesus Christ:

SUBJECT-------------------------OT PROPHECY----------NT FULFILLMENT
Born in Bethlehem----------------Micah 5:2---------------Luke 2:47
Born of a Virgin-------------------Isaiah 7:14-------------Luke 1:2627
Herod’s infanticide----------------Jeremiah 31:15---------Matthew 2:1618
Flight to Egypt--------------------Hosea 11:1--------------Matthew 2:1415
Precursor / John the Baptist------Isaiah 40:35-----------Luke 7:24
Called Son of God----------------Psalm 2:7---------------Matthew 3:1617
Ministry in Galilee-----------------Isaiah 9:12------------Matthew 4:1317
Rejected by Jews-----------------Isaiah 61:12------------John 1:11
Betrayed by friend----------------Psalm 41:9--------------Luke 22:4748
For thirty silver pieces------------Zechariah 11:1213-----Matthew 27:57
Silent when charged--------------Isaiah 53:7--------------Mark 15:4-5
Hated without justification---------Psalm 35:19------------John 15:2425
Pierced hands and side-----------Zechariah 12:10---------John 19:34, 20:27
Gall and vinegar given------------Psalm 69:21------------Matthew 27:34
No broken bones-----------------Psalm 34:20-------------John 19:32-22
Crucified with other criminals-----Isaiah 53:12------------Mark 15:2728
Buried with wealthy----------------Isaiah 53:9-------------Matthew 27:5760

157. One example of such gnostic dilettantes is Barbara Thiering, as in her book: Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Harper Collins, 1992). It is no surprise that this Australian cupcake was made a “Fellow” of the “Jesus Seminar”. It is an open secret among biblical scholars that Thiering is an unqualified charlatan.

158. Scholars have ascribed Mohammed’s “visions” as halluncinations attributable to mental issues, epilepsy, e.g. “some neurotic obsessional seizure”. See A.C. Bouquet, Comparative Religion, A Short Outline (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1964 [1941]), p. 267. Others, such as members of the Jungian school and the medievalist Norman Cantor (19292004), take psychological assumptions such as these (epilepsy is commonly used if a physiological explanation favored) and apply them to the conversion of St. Paul. However, no objective evidence is provided to validate these theories on Paul. A popular explanation says that Paul was subconsciously a Christian before he was struck down with blindness on the Road to Damascus. Now there are three errors in this explanation (according to the Fulton Sheen thesis). Firstly, it is assumed that Paul’s subconscious (Christian) and conscious (antiChristian) were mutually exclusive, i.e. unrelated to one another. Before his conversion, Scripture states that Paul, on the way to persecute Christians, suddenly heard a that Voice said: “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Paul thereafter converts, but this psychological irruption from the innermost recesses of his mind assumes that there was no connection between Paul’s subconscious and conscious. But do not psychologists emphasize that we act the way we do because of the workings of our subconscious? Therefore this means that there must be some association between subconscious and conscious actions. But if, as the conjecture insists, that Paul was a subconscious Christian, why did he so vehemently act antiChristian. If he was antiChristian consciously remembering the assumed connection between the subconscious and conscious this would also mean that he was also an antiChristian subconsciously, but this contradicts the theory in the first place. Secondly, others assert that Paul’s conversion was spontaneous, that it “just happened”, i.e. there was no cause. But as shown in the main text in my refutation of Harpur’s belief in an evolutionary God, a thing cannot be the cause of itself. Something can only be moved by another, and in the case of St. Paul, Christians believe that this mover was God’s transformational grace. If a cause is admitted, the psychologizer will state that it is either unknown or he will try to describe it in very obscure and verbose language, i.e. a nonintellectual approach to the situation (e.g. attribution to dreams, emotional instability, etc.). The third error links to the fact that the psychologistic explanation omits Paul’s reason and will from the conversion. A purely subconscious explanation only emphasizes religion as being the product of irrationality. But as regards Roman Catholicism, we need only consider its systematical and organizational character (e.g. dogma, creed, metaphysical speculation, canon law) to evidence that these could only arise by an adherence to rational thinking throughout the centuries. Reason, by its very activity, orders, structures and relays meanings. With respect to human will why did Paul (or any believer) act contrary to his natural inclinations? He did so because he willed so, as informed by reason and faith. The psychologistic theories in relation to Paul have their lineage in emotionalistic explanations of religion (as discussed in the main text, e.g. Schleirmacher, James).

159. Exodus 3:14.

160. B. Pascal, Pensées / The Provincial Letters, trans. W.F. Trotter and T. M’Crie (New York: Random House, Inc., 1941), p. 320.

161. HHH, p. 16.

162. When near to death in 1775, Hume spoke to his friend the economist Adam Smith (17231790) that his only wish was to stay alive a little longer so as to see the eradication of Christianity. Hume died peacefully.

163. A System of Synthetic Philosophy (London: Williams and Norgate, 1904 [1862]), vol. 1, First Principles , p. 10. Fellow Englishman Richard Dawkins has pretty well taken up where Spencer left off, as in his irrational The God Delusion (New York: Bantam Press, 2006).

164. Introduction to Positive Philosophy, ed. F. Ferré (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988), pp. 7, 3. An excellent analysis of Comte’s positivism is given by H. de Lubac, The Drama of Atheist Humanism (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995 [1944]), pp. 139267.

165. Ibid., pp. 6,7. Comte’s selfproclaimed “spiritual father” must be mentioned, namely AntoineNicolas de Condorcet (17431794), who, after rejecting traditional religion in early life, sought to understand the workings of human society by mathematics, a “calculus of probability”. See his Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind, trans. J. Barraclough (Westpoint, CN: Hyperion Press, Inc., 1979 [1794]), p. 159162. Condorcet modeled this work after Jean Le Rond D’Alembert’s (17171783) Preliminary Discourse of the Encyclopedia, which is sometimes referred to as the “manifesto of the French Enlightenment”. For example: “mathematical theorems... are reducible to a rather small number of primary truths... Probability applies principally to historical facts and generally to all past and future events that we attribute to a kind of chance because we cannot perceive the causes of them.” See Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot, trans. R.N. Schwab (Indianapolis: The BobbsMerrill Company, Inc., 1976 [1751]), pt. I, pp. 28, 44.

166. From “Evolution and Ethics” in Selections from the Essays of T.H. Huxley, ed. A. Castell (New York: AppletonCenturyCrofts, 1948), pp. 107, 108. For another explanation of moral evolution from a sociological vantage point, refer to Emile Durkheim (18581917), On Morality and Society, ed. R.N. Bellah (University of Chicago Press, 1973), pp. 63146. There is no lack of thinkers today, mainly in the sciences, that attempt “prove” the evolution of the mind by way of physics, chemistry, biology or, as in the case of W.H. Calvin, climatology. See his longwinded and unscientific The Ascent of Mind, Ice Age Climates and the Evolution of Intelligence (New York: Bantam Books, 1991).

167. Loc. cit., vol. 13, p. 217.

168. The Diversity of HumanLanguage Structure and its Influence on the Mental Development of Mankind, trans. P. Heath (Cambridge University Press, 1988 [1836]), Texts in German Philosophy, Sec. 3, p. 25.

169. On the innovatory and saving role of the Catholic Church in science, economics, international law, universities, art and architecture, see T.E. Woods, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2005).

170. For the birth of modern science see two books by Fr. Stanley L. Jaki (19242009): Science and Creation, From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe (Scottish Academic Press, 1986), and The Savior of Science (Washington: Regnery Gateway, 1988).

171. Even a scientist of the stature of Stephen W. Hawking’s posits an eternal universe by affixing quantum mechanics to Einstein’s theory of relativity. In his mostly unread coffeetable book, A Brief History of Time, From the Big Bang to Black Holes (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 173, it reads: “When we combine quantum mechanics with general relativity, there seems to be a new possibility that did not arise before: that space and time together might form a finite, fourdimensional space without singularities or boundaries, like the surface of the earth, but with more dimensions.” Regardless of Hawking’s use of the word “finite”, his suggestion of a universe “without boundaries” and “other dimensions” clearly infers an infinite extension of space, time and matter.

172. J.H. Newman, The Idea of a University (University of Notre Dame Press, 1986), disc. IV, 8, p. 50.

173. From G.K. Chesterton’s classic book The Everlasting Man, in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), vol. 2, p. 217.

174. Tao Te Ching, trans. D.C. Lau (London: Penguin Books, 1963), bk. I, pp. 78, 70, 72, 92, 96. There is contention amongst historians as to whether Lao Tzu (aka Laozi) was a real person (ca. 4th century BC) or just a mythical fabrication.

175. Quoted in K.M. Sen, Hinduism (London: Penguin Books, 1991 [1961]), p. 24.

176. See P. Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism, Teaching, History and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 6872.

177. Nostalgia for the Absolute (Toronto: CBC Enterprises, 1983 [1974]), pp. 4445.

178. Cf. P. Johnson, A History of Christianity (London: Penguin Books, 1990 [1976]), pp. 178179.

179. The Koran; commonly called the Alkoran of Mohammed, trans. D. Sale (New York: A.L. Burt, n.d.), Sura XXX, pp. 305306.

180. H. Belloc, The Great Heresies (Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1991 [1938]), p. 74.

181. At around AD 144, Marcion of Sinope extolled a heresy by his namesake that said Christianity was opposed to, and different from, Judaism. He rejected the Old Testament, claiming that the God of the Hebrews was but an evil demiurge that created the world. This view also betrayed Marcionism to be a kind of gnosticism. Cf. N.A. Berdayev, "Marcionism", trans. S. Janos, Journal Put', August 1928, no. 12, pp. 122124.

182. Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals (Boston: Beacon Press, 1953), p. 45.

183. G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man, pp. 183184.

184. An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, pt. II, ch. VI, p. 208.

185. FCS, pp. 710, 1234.

186. HHH, p. 9.

187. Quoted in E. v. KuehneltLeddihn, Leftism, From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House Publ., 1974), p. 595 ff. 202.

188. HHH, p. 16. It is deceptive that Harpur should be averse to repetition when elsewhere he wrote (CGN, p. 22) that Christ “used repetition a lot as most teachers do.” Is dogma, then, not a tool modeled after Christ’s teaching method?

189. FCS, p. 66.

190. This was written in 1996. A decade before Harpur wrote inversely to this dehumanization of the fetus (HHH, pp. 112113): “a fetus is not simply a lump of tissue. To say otherwise is to pretend that there are no moral values at stake... Encouraging people to think of a fetus, even in its earliest phase, as no more than a lump of jelly... is to trivialize human life.” Whether this fetus is in the mother’s womb or an embryo is frozen in a metal container is extraneous to the matter. Physical locality is irrelevant to intrinsic human value.

191. Does not natural birth control, which is open to life and permitted by the Catholic Church, maintain that separable quality of duality (man and woman in this case)? The antinomian health worker may laugh at this, yet if the sexual allusions are removed, the position is quite logical. Professor John Hartley makes an insightful observation: “When one thinks about it, widespread contraceptive practice among heterosexuals really means that genuine malefemale sexual intercourse has been replaced by what is equivalent to homosexual relationships.” See his “Richard McCormick as Critic of Proportionalism and the Ethics of Contraception” in Proceedings of the Second Convention of the Canadian Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Toronto, Ontario, 1993, p. 33 ff. 70.

192. HHH, p. 112.

193. Even with the physicalist approach alone, personhood can be illustrated by the objective scientific fact that the DNA of the human embryo is altogether different than those of the mother and father.

194. Sum. Theol., iii, q. 94, art. 2c.

195. FCS, p. 17.

196. HHH, p. 38.

197. J.H. Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua (New York: Image Books, 1989), p. 327.

198. “The Guilty Secret of Liberal Christianity”, New Oxford Review, October 1996, vol. LXIII, no. 8, pp. 1415.

199. The Pagan Christ (Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2004).

200. E.A. Poe, “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Phaall” in The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, With Selections from his Critical Writings (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1992), p. 192.


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7 comments:

THE HERESY HUNTER said...

1. Yes, it is a long article, but don’t consider it as such.
2. Look at each of paragraphs as separate posts done over time.
3. See how TH2 ideationally assaults a heretical enemy of the Holy Roman Church in step-by-step fashion. Lotsa fun.
4. Peruse wherever and whenever you want as there is a lot of stuff covered.
5. Bolded/uppercase paragraph titles will indicate/hint at topic.
6. Use zoom function in your browser if text too small.
7. Insults and castigations welcome.
8. Have a nice day.

Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

You lost me with words like "multitudinous" and "concomitantly", but got me back with Nuns With Guns.

THE HERESY HUNTER said...

You have something there. Changed to sound better. There are other grammar issues I likely will address as I re-read it. Thank you for the criticism.

Mary said...

I stand in awe, and I appreciate the illustrations, especially Mr. Scamper's appearances. I'd like to know how you became aware of Tom Harpur; I'm embarrassed that I've never heard of him.

THE HERESY HUNTER said...

Mary, thank you for the kind comments. Tom Harpur is a Canadian and is a prominent journalist / "intellectual" up here north of the border. No need to be embarrassed. He has done a lot of damage in my home country over the last few decades, as indicated in various places in the article. Though, there are many like him in the US, so my assumption is that, to challenge him, is to also challenge others with similar views, irrespective of location. The essay is also a work of apologetics.

The article was written a few years back (with some recent editing, and now, with blogs, I am able to "publish" this essay with easily accesible pictures, which (I hope) may make it a little interesting to some. The same applies for upcoming essays to appear on this blog, in addition (of course) to more appearances by the notorious Mr. Scampers.

Al said...

Wow,this is going to take some time to fully make my way through. But you clearly done your homework.

Harpur is a real piece of work. After reading a bit of the post, I decided to check out his website. This guy is definitely the "High Priest" of the New Age Movement. IMHO this guy is bucking for a whole wing of Hell to be named after him.

I just wonder what he will say when he stands before the Heavenlly throne for his judgement & he finds out Jesus isn't the "myth" he claims He is.

Sadly, this guy is only the tip of the iceberg. People need to be warned & you are doing your part.

Keep up the good work.

THE HERESY HUNTER said...

"...this guy is bucking for a whole wing of Hell to be named after him"... You're too cool, Al.

Thanks for the encouragement.

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