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Two more false oppositions
Tue December 31 2019  10:20amFaith/Philosophy

Here are a couple more examples of true and false opposition, in which a hyper or exaggerated version of something becomes its very opposite:

Distributism vs. Capitalism

mega economy
local control
Many small
state controls all
control all

In conformity with modern parlance, I'm using here the term 'capitalism' to refer to our current experience of large corporate capitalism, what some might call late-stage capitalism. This is but a perverse exaggeration of a small-scale and more reasonable capitalism, what is now called distributism.

Distributism has been championed by such diverse thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Thomas Jefferson. As the name suggests, distributism puts economic and political power in many small hands, mostly at a local level. I believe it was Chesterton who said, "The problem with capitalism is not too many capitalists, but too few capitalists". The original U.S. Constitution gave the vote to landowners, as these were seen as having a legitimate stake in setting government policies. Jefferson's vision was for as many small landowners and small businesses as possible, thus distributing economic and political power widely to many legitimate stakeholders.

Distributism, or small-scale capitalism, remains the most equitable and human alternative to the false opposition of socialism vs. late-stage corporate capitalism, both of which concentrate power in the hands of a few elite. In our present unwieldy system, the humongous state controls the corporations, and the humongous corporations own the politicians, so there isn't a nickel's difference between the two ideologies, opposite though they may seem. Either way, you're a slave, whether to Walmart and Microsoft, or to bloated government bureaucracy.

Love vs. Unconditional Love

& reciprocal
cold, unfeeling
unconditional love
makes no demands

Returning to a more specifically religious theme, we've all heard the seemingly inarguable axiom: God's love is unconditional. There are no limits to his love, and nothing we can do to increase or diminish it.

Since God's love is unconditional, one might surmise, it follows that he can never be displeased with any of us; his blessings are assured, no strings attached. Whether I seek his will or go my own way, God holds me in the same high regard. Even were I to deliberately commit grave sin, and willfully reject God, he would love and embrace me all the same. In fact, if God's love is all-encompassing, perhaps there is no such thing as sin. My consciousness of wrongdoing before God is just my over-scrupulous imagination; in reality I cannot offend God at all, since he loves me no matter what. Quite obviously, then, there can be no Hell, and I can be sure of enjoying eternal life hereafter regardless of how I may have lived in this world. Even Hitler and Mussolini must be in Heaven.

But wait - can love be thrust upon someone who doesn't want it? Would that be true love? It may be better to say that love, by definition, must be freely offered, not forced upon the recipient. And if freely offered, it must be freely received and reciprocated. This means it may also be freely rejected. This is what sin is: a rejection of God's love, and of the demands of that love. We must, in fact, be able to completely and finally reject God's offer of love. This is what Hell is. Jesus, the very embodiment of God's love, warned of eternal Hell more than any other prophet or teacher of the Bible.

Moreover, an unconditional love which makes no demands, which always accepts the recipient just as he is, seems quite passive. Neither participant is expected to do much of anything; it is an agreement to just let be, much the same as indifference. But God's love is anything but passive or indifferent. Jesus loves us to the point of dying on the cross to restore our broken relationship with the Father. He requires something from us as well.

If true love makes demands, God's love, being perfect love, demands everything in return. To be sure, God knows our frail nature, and his demands are very lenient. He offers to forgive and cleanse us of our sins and gather us into his eternal home. In return, we must agree with God that our sin is evil, repent of those sins, and join ourselves completely to the crucified and risen Jesus, holding nothing back. Is this unconditional love? I think it's the opposite, and immeasurably better.

  1 comment
true and false opposites
Wed December 18 2019  8:07amFaith/Philosophy

Patriarchy vs. Machismo

stable home
husband is head
wife is heart
woman is independent
false hyper-patriarchy
man is carefree

Patriarchy literally means 'fathers rule'. If you think 'machismo' means patriarchal, you've got another think coming. The machismo man may strut and crow like a banty rooster, but the last thing he is is a responsible father. The machismo spirit that some consider patriarchal is very compatible with feminism. If the man is cocky and irresponsible, it's probably because the woman is independent and responsible for everything, or because of socialist programs that undermine his paternal obligations.

So when feminists (or egalitarians) equate machismo with true patriarchy, they are equivocating. What at first glance seems like super-patriarchy is in reality its diametric opposite.

This pattern of false opposites shows up in a number of other interesting ways:

Freedom vs. License

to choose the good
drugs, etc.

Libertarianism or license may seem to be a sort of super freedom. But it is not. As the late Pope John Paul II advised, "Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought." As a matter of fact, the licentious giving of 'free' rein to all one's desires leads to an enslavement that is very akin to addiction, not its opposite at all.

Salvation vs. Universal Salvation

fear of God
& his righteous
hatred of God

Easy to recognize the rejection of God in one who blasphemes or curses God. But what of the increasingly popular notion that every one will be saved, that no one can possibly be alienated from God's love? Such super-salvation is not at all what it seems to be.

Salvation is understood and gained by the sinner who perceives his own wickedness, who understands God's righteous judgment, and who then cries to God for mercy and forgiveness. Psalm 103:13 and many other scriptures remind us that God is indeed merciful - - to those who fear him.

Besides being contrary to the clear message of the Bible, universal salvation makes no logical sense. Why would God make us suffer through this valley of tears if there were no final consequences, if everyone gains the same eternal reward? Such caprice would not befit a just and loving God.

Repentance vs. Presumption

hope in
God's mercy
no hope
false hope

This fourth example of false opposites is almost the same as the former one. The sweet deception of universal salvation leads inexorably to the deadly sin of presumption. The soul that despairs and the soul that presumes upon God's grace both face damnation for exactly the same reason: they do not repent and seek forgiveness. The one fails to seek God's grace because he thinks himself to be too bad, beyond redemption. The other fails because he thinks himself too good, with no need for redemption. Either way is a rejection of God's merciful forgiveness.

Let the honest Christian beware of false shepherds who speak in grand, majestic and comforting terms of God's everlasting love and infinite mercy, assuring their listeners that God will never allow them to suffer perdition. Such a comforting message may well lead the soul to presume upon God's grace. But remember: Mt.7:13,14 and other Scriptures speak of two opposite roads. When the preacher speaks of an all-inclusive, none-rejecting (and, above all, tolerant) religion, toward which road is he pointing his listeners? Please do not go there.

Massive flight away from reality
Fri July 19 2019  12:30pmFaith/Philosophy

A principal symptom of psychosis, especially of schizophrenia, is a profound disconnection from reality. The patient, for emotional or organic reasons, does not relate to his surroundings in a rational manner. He often constructs his own private reality quite different from the world in which more sane folks live.

We are in the midst of the modern Dark Ages, an epoch of human history marked by a mass departure from reality. An age in which certain psychoses become acceptable because believed in by so many, perhaps by the majority. But if everybody believes in an alternate reality, does that alternative therefore become true? I think not.

100 or even 50 years ago, it (read article)

Times and Seasons
No one knows When, or How
Sun June 2 2019  7:24pmFaith/Philosophy

Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  (Acts 1:6b)

Immediately before the Ascension of our Lord, and in the midst of his promises of the imminent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles ask Jesus this question. It seems irrelevant, and countless preachers and homilists have dismissed it as such, or as yet another example of the clueless disciples completely missing the point.

But there is nothing of a rebuke or dismissal in Jesus' answer, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons. . ." It sounds rather similar to other words of Jesus (read article)

rev. Jun 7 2019  1:33pm
Questions from Jeremiah and Romans 11
Tue October 2 2018  11:18amFaith/Philosophy

. . .and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled  (Lk.21:24b)
. . .that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  (Rom.11:25b)

An essential element of the Catholic Faith is the conviction that the Church will abide, that the Lord Jesus will never abandon his bride (cf.Mt.28:20b).

Likewise the chosen people of the Old Covenant knew that the Almighty would never forsake Israel (Is.44:21). But that firm (read article)

rev. Dec 3 2018  7:52pm
Empty Chair
Is there a Pope? Is the Pope Catholic?
Sat September 15 2018  4:38pmFaith/Philosophy

From previous 'Rant' posts it should be clear that this Roman Catholic no longer believes that the fellow they call Pope Francis can possibly be the vicar of Christ here on earth. (For this reason I may often refer to him as 'Señor Bergoglio', his proper name.) But how have we arrived at this point - where we have no Pope, or where the Pope is not Catholic?

One idea, popularly called Sedevacantism, theorizes that since Vatican II, the heresy of modernism has infected the Church and has rendered all recent conclaves invalid so that we haven't had a true Pope in 50 or 60 years. Thus the term 'sede vacant', which means the chair (of Peter) is vacant. Moreover, most sedevacantists (read article)

rev. Dec 3 2018  7:55pm
Riddle me this
Still puzzling over the crisis in the Church
Tue August 28 2018  5:06pmFaith/Philosophy

I revel in riddles and logic puzzles, especially the kind that at first seem nonsensical or unsolvable. I might puzzle and noodle for several minutes, or hours, to no avail. Can't write an algebraic equation or a computer program to solve it; there seems no answer. I put it aside; have things to do, a life to live. But the noodling continues as a 'background' process within my frontal lobe, perhaps for weeks or months or even years, as I go about my daily business.

--> The above explains why I am Catholic, and not Protestant nor pagan nor Buddhist nor atheist. Catholic theology simply makes more sense; it involves a rational system of thought that explains better than the others the (read article)

rev. Dec 4 2018  12:26pm
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
- Albert Einstein

12/31/19Versus-2 1
7/19/19Schizophrenia 4
6/2/19Times and Seasons 4
10/2/18Until 7
9/15/18Empty Chair 11
8/28/18Riddle me this 6
5/9/18Some Specifics
4/20/18Crisis of Authority 4
3/17/18Theocracy 2
3/1/18Self abnegation 1
Copyright (c) 2017-2020 Gerald DePyper - Jinotega, Nicaragua, C.A.
rev. 2020.01.17