I’ve had numerous conversations with multiple people over the years over a series of rules and regulations, doctrines and dogma, I regard as true and sacred and try my best to uphold, though of course my failings are numerous (and unnecessary to relate here!) Human nature and the obsession of our time being what they are, these discussions would as often as not get to the subject of sex. There is a general incredulity amongst my pagan peers, sometimes genuinely well-intended, on how, in the 21st Century, one as enlightened as I, could so slavishly adhere to the nigh-impossible sexual standards of The Roman Catholic Church.
On my own abstinence, a young woman, with respect, told me, “Just be sure you’re doing this for yourself, and not just for your church.”
This never made sense to me. I and My Church are one. I am her humble servant, as she is of our God. Not arbitrary, the rules were made a long time ago. They don’t change. I do this for the same reason The Church teaches it. It is The Will of God.
What I’ll try now is the explain why it’s okay to believe this, even when so many think it’s absurd.
The Catholic sexual standard, by the way, is as logical and consistent as it is strict. That the primary function of the sexual facility is procreative is Prima facie in nature itself. Sexual intercourse leads to offspring, okay. We can observe that in every encounter, intrinsic if not incidental, in every sexual species from the cheetah to the tsetse fly.
So sex as procreation is the course of nature, fine. But what ethical reason is there to regulate it so stringently? If it feels good and seemingly doesn’t hurt anyone, why not do it? Well to get to this, and thence to my larger point, is to address the larger objections. The Roman Catholic Church? How can you listen to that out-dated institution? What relevance do their stale ethics have in today’s society and our modern morals? Why worship a humble Jewish carpenter as The King of Kings? Isn’t it the height of ignorance and obliviousness to say the answers to the universe’s great mysteries could be found in a dusty man-written tome from thousands of years ago? Hasn’t science answered all the questions?
That last first, because it is infinitely telling that man innately has those questions in the first place. Where we come from, why we are here, how we got here, and how we should act are questions that have been with humanity from The Beginning. Notably, questions that no other fauna or flora has the capacity or inclination to even ask. And man without God can never answer.
Cosmology, however, is a secular attempt to answer these very questions, a self-defeating thesis. For starters, Cosmology is almost a purely theoretical science, if it can even be called that. Let alone for a moment the fact that the Positivist aspiration may only point to suppositions and secondary observations (the amount of radiation, the age of a star) to support its dubious theorems, it cannot begin to answer why man has these questions in the first place. Furthermore, Cosmology is not a practical science. It has no pragmatic application in everyday life. It will not advance technology, further medicine, or improve the quality of life. Keeping atheists up at night has no visible purpose. Hypothesizing about what may or may not have happened epochs before the first man drew his first breath and what will become of the space once the last candle has burnt out is as useful as speculating on the songs of angels or interpreting the shapes of clouds. It’s the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Wisdom itself, an attempt anyway. Something to celebrate. Something only man dares to dream, because man is special. Yet more often than not, trying so desperately to explain a creation without a creator, its practitioners are blind to the implications in the fact that they are asking these questions.
Isn’t Cosmology then, ultimately religious in nature? The very attempt of man to understand the physical universe is an attempt to transcend it, for a part of a thing cannot begin to understand the whole it is itself but a part of. And the notion of understanding the universe in an objective sense (with relation to what?) implies there is an objective external to put in context. The very fact that atheistic cosmology exists contradicts its intentions. Yet Cosmology treads on, attempting to answer the same questions as all religions, with little visible evidence and philosophical implications about those who ask.
But let’s give Cosmology a chance. How does it’s most celebrated adherent (Stephen Hawking) answer its most frustrating question (How did the universe begin?)?
One goes on to read the rest of this thesis and similar dodges and finds a consistent theme. Time can be finite, with no borders. The beginning of time is like the North Pole. And that most dubious of concepts:
Very scientific, I’m sure. What this all boils down to, I’m afraid, is our most revered of secular minds throwing up their hands and saying, with sophistry and prevarication, “I’m frustrated I don’t know, so let’s make some things up.”
For their godless purposes, they imagine in a flight of fancy too long entertained by supposedly reputable academic consensus that time does not exist. It’s an illusion. But Of course Time exists. There’s cause and effect, plainly observable in each and every aspect of life, the universe, and everything. Time dilation, the twin on the speed of light flight, etc, do not negative the simple fact a child could tell you, that one event follows another. This fixation on explaining a cause, existence, or “Imaginary Time” outside of “Real” Time is ultimately a conclusion that there does exist something outside of time, something that precedes and surpasses it. And that, my friends, is God. Because to say this theoretic four-dimensional space-time came before the real time universe that came from it is to return to the creation ex nilho of the Greek Chaos. And that just won’t do!
To remain in Hellenistic terms, the Achilles Heel of the unguided Big Bang Theory has always been the senseless, chaotic nature of entropy itself. The Entropic Principle dictates that everything gets less organized. Atoms drift apart without purpose. The teacup does not reconstruct itself. Matter does not collide in a manner that produces beings who will ask these questions. Philosophers, priests, and atheistic scientists who only exist to answer these questions due to a billion billion dumb coincidences. And Imaginary Time never starts the whole process.
Being that advancement of the human race into people who can ask and attempt to answer these questions contradicts entropy, and Imaginary Time leading to Real Time leading to everything else is just silly, what then? Organization requires an organizer. Let Go, Let God.
“Well I don’t want to call it ‘God’. You know, I don’t believe in some white guy in the clouds. It’s like, I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious, you know?”
No, I don’t know, and neither do you. (http://brianzwriter.com/index.php/2016/11/04/you-are-religious-not-spiritual/).
I’ll just ask C.S. Lewis’s question:
Does this “Universe”, this Life-Force, what have you, have a mind, a purpose, a consciousness? Are you waiting to see what The Univere plans? If so, then it’s God.
Great, you now believe in God! The rest is easy!
On to the next objection then. We’ve attacked the atheists, placated the pseudo-spiritualists, now let’s take the universalists. Death to deism. Why believe in this religion or that religion? Wouldn’t an eternal and universal God be, you know, universal? Why make The Jews his Chosen People? Why so tribalist?
Why should the God of everything and everyone have but one son, who incarnates in one time and one place, to form one church that all must follow? And how do we extrapolate such strict and specific sexual standards from all that?
Before I go on, I should have clarified early, you cannot convert through pure reason. Faith in God requires faith, and that something no words of no mortal can provide another. But open your hearts and open your minds. What I am attempting in this essay is simply to show fellow believers that the faith they cherish and the rules they obey are not absurd, that there is a logical juxtaposition for everything about it, and while that may not convince any non-believers, perhaps the door might be left open to accept that it makes at least as much sense as believing in anything else in this world, let alone nothing at all.
Back to those questions.
I’d counter that it is precisely because God is eternal that he is timely. Because he is infinite he is local. Because he is universal he is tribal. After all, that is how he made us. What use would a pantheistic, impersonal God be to a mortal man limited by time and space? What purpose would such a man have to such a God? Where’s the sense in creating sentient beings who strive to understand their place in his creation, but not allowing them any personal opportunity to understand in any accessible way. Why make us and never directly communicate. It is an incontrovertible contradiction. God made us in his image, for his purposes. Thus, he relates to us in a way we can understand. Why shouldn’t he speak to us through prophets?
The only question then, is which people God chooses, which prophets he speaks to. I would argue it was Abraham through John, with Christ his son in between. Again, this is a matter of Faith.
But I can continue to demonstrate that it is not absurd.
The ways of The Lord are mysterious and his infinite wisdom beyond the minds of mortal men. I cannot tell you why God choose this childless old man in the Middle East and said that his descendants would be like the stars in the sky. I can only reason that it makes a great deal more sense than choosing no one and saying nothing. Having his Son incarnate as one of these Chosen People logically follows, if indeed he has a son, as I simply believe. And if said son choose these apostles, as The Bible says (we may also believe The Bible as the Word of God, for such a communicative God as I described would surely leave his Word), then we can accept that he choose Peter. Peter, the first Pope, then leaves behind The Church. If it is all as divinely enshrined, entrusted, and inspired as The Bible indicates, we may then take catechism and dogma as just as infallible as they claim to be. So ease up on the hanky panky.
Therefore, in conclusion:
If this senseless imaginary time seems senseless to you, you might as well go looking for reason. That reason coming you can find your way to believing in God, you can find your way to Jesus of Nazareth, The Christ, his son, The Lord and Savior of Mankind. This comes from reasoning that a God who creates beings with minds and hearts would then be a personal God with a mind and heart, rather than a blind watchmaker, and that he would reveal himself to his creations. If not nothing, then something. If something, then someone. If someone, then God. Here is where reason and faith overlap, and why shouldn’t they, being the facilities which we as sentient creatures enjoy and employ.
Then Jesus? From there it’s a simple and direct path to accepting he appointed Simon Peter the rock on which he built his Church. And then it’s just a matter of history to see the direct lineage from the first Pope to all the rest, the innate infallibility of this ordained institution, and all the rules it conveys.