Shambler wrote:Of course violence is necessary to defend oneself against violence but in any other context it is wrong.
Not necessarily -- I'd call consolidation of power a good reason. Kind of 'preventive defence'.
Shambler wrote:The western world has been becoming 'nicer' e.g. we don't think cruelty to animals is a good thing anymore...
We've never done so. Unless you're talking about sacrifices, which can't be called 'cruelty to animals' anymore than a butcher can be called cruel to animals.
Shambler wrote:...and we are working our way to a utopian society, though we have a long way to go.
* cough, cough, cough
* Forget it. In all these long years, man hasn't changed one whit -- still irrational, prone to laziness (remember the Soviet Union, where mediocrity was encouraged?) and destructive. The years haven't changed it and they won't do so in the future. Am I a pessimist? No. As Dr Aalders was fond of saying, 'The situation is hopeless, but not grave' -- because I do not have to found my hope on humans.
As Peter Kreeft says in his excellent article Darkness at Noon
P. Kreeft wrote:Socialism's dream is naive because mere equality does not automatically destroy oppression. Egalitarianism can be as oppressive as any tyranny. De Tocqueville pointed out long ago that democratic totalitarianism is not a contradiction in terms, and that Americans are naive if they think that the sheer political structure of democracy will protect them against totalitarianism. For democracy and totalitarianism are not opposite answers to the same question, but answers to two different questions, and thus can be compatible. Democracy is an answer to the question: In whom is the social-political power located? The answer is: in the people at large. Totalitarianism is an answer to the question: How much power are the social-political authorities to have? The answer is: total power, power to reshape human life, human thought, human nature itself.
Here are three examples of democratic totalitarianism: in theory, Rousseau's "General Will" (vox populi, vox dei); in fiction, Huxley's Brave New World; and in fact, the American media establishment.
Only the Tao can ensure freedom. Only when we are bound to a higher law of permanent, unchangeable, objective moral absolutes, are we free from being determined by the lower laws of animal instincts, selfishness, sin, and propaganda. Only conformity to the trans-social Tao can make nonconformity to a decadent society just, or even possible. For we do, and must, conform to something, or else we are formless. The only question is: To what? There are only two possible answers: to what is higher than ourselves or to what is lower, supernature or nature, the Bible or MTV, Jesus Christ or Norman Lear, the Crucified or the crucifiers.
Let's take a time-out and take stock for a moment. How far down the slide have we slid? How much of the Tao is already lost? How many of the objectively permanent things have become subjectively impermanent?
I count at least 33: silence, solitude, detachment, self-control, contemplation, awe, humility, hierarchy, modesty, chastity, reverence, authority, obedience, tradition, honor, simplicity, holiness, loyalty, gentlemanliness, manliness, womanliness, propriety, ceremony, cosmic justice, pure passion, holy poverty, respect for old age, the positive spiritual use of suffering, gratitude, fidelity, real individuality, real community, courage, and absolute honesty (the passionate, or fanatical love of truth for its own sake). That's one lost value for each of the years in Christ's life.
We could, of course, profitably spend hours, days, perhaps lifetimes exploring each one of these 33 lost values; and we could probably add 33 more. But in this age of progress and time-saving devices we have no time for such important things any more — things like conversation, debate, meditation, prayer, deep friendship, imagination, even family. (If the sexual revolution doesn't do the family in, it will die for lack of time.)
But, you may think, this gloomy picture I have painted of a spiritual Dark Ages is only half the picture. What of all the progress we've made?
Well, let's look at the progress we've made. It can be divided into two kinds: spiritual and material. Let's take spiritual progress first. I think there has been some significant spiritual progress in modernity in at least one area: kindness vs. cruelty. I think we are much kinder than our ancestors were, especially to those we used to be cruel to: criminals, heretics, foreigners, other races, and especially the handicapped. I think this is very real progress indeed. I wonder, though, whether one big step forward offsets 33 steps back, some of them also big, some medium sized, but none small.
The essence of modernity is the death of the spiritual. A modernist is someone who is more concerned about air pollution than soul pollution. A modernist is someone who wants clean air so he can breathe dirty words.
A modernist cares about big things, like whales, more than little things, like fetuses; big things like governments, more than little things like families and neighborhoods; big things like states, which last hundreds of years, more than little things like souls, which last forever.
A modernist, thus, is one who puts his faith and hope for progress in precisely the one thing that cannot progress: matter. A traditionalist, on the other hand, is one who ''looks not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (II Cor 4:18) A traditionalist believes in "the permanent things," and the permanent things cannot progress because they are the things to which all real progress progresses.
Perhaps I should modify my stark statement that matter cannot progress at all. Perhaps matter can progress, but only with and in and for spirit. If your body and your tools and your possessions serve your spirit, make you truly happy and good and wise, they contribute to progress too.
But this modification does not help the progressive at all, since it is pretty obvious that modernity's technological know-how and power has not made us happier, wiser, better, or more saintly than our ancestors. When we speak of modern progress, we do not mean progress in happiness, in contentment, in peace of mind. Nor do we mean progress in holiness and moral perfection or wisdom. We speak readily of "modern knowledge" but never of "modern wisdom." Rather, we speak of "ancient wisdom." For wisdom is to knowledge what kairos is to kronos: the spiritual and purposive and teleological and moral dimension.
Shambler wrote:It is the sociological and political evolution that the western world has gone that has drawn us out of our dark age, if all of us still adhered so vehemently to the biblical texts then we would still be back there, burning witches and occasionally relying on the testaments of children to do so.
Emperor Nero didn't adhere to any religious text and burned Christians anyway. It was more the need for a scapegoat than religious teachings put into practice. And anyway, what if there really were some witches engaged in diabolical practices which harmed people?
Shambler wrote:It stems from a time when little was known about how things actually work and the answers that these primitive peoples obviously would arrive at are that the earth is here because someone 'made' it and we must therefore worship them. These thoughts must go the way of offering human sacrifices and believing that diseases are caused by witches if we are to have any hope of reaching a utopian society.
Except the worshipping part, this argument is still very much in power among modern, enlightened, educated philosophers. The statement 'Matter is eternal' is pretty asinine, and because everything with a beginning has a cause, there must be an uncaused cause. Aristotle said the same. Worship or no worship, positing a creator is philosophically quite sound.
Shambler wrote:Can you give me an example of this 'true' Christianity? Where does one find it on this earth?
Have a look at the New Testament.