Ipsane Res Loquitur?

My atheist buddy Peter (who long-time readers might remember as Theomorph) has provided a lot of food for thought recently. I’d like to know what my theist readers think of his ruminations.

Atheism & Charity

From Sam Harris‘ new book, Letter to a Christian Nation, page 46:

“Countries with high levels of atheism are also the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world…”

…Why is the United States alone among the developed Western nations both in its religion and its violent crime rates? Why do the so-called ‘red states,’ where Christianity is more popular, have higher violent crime rates? Why are the percentages of atheists in prison so low? Just something to think about.

Classed with Fables

Thomas Jefferson once wrote,

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

What if it were today?

I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis wrote.

“If I met the idea of sacrifice in a Pagan story I didn’t mind it at all: again if I met the idea of a god sacrificing himself to himself I liked it very much and was mysteriously moved by it. Again, that the idea of the dying and reviving god similarly moved me provided I met it anywhere except in the Gospels. The reason was that in the Pagan stories I was prepared to feel the myth as profound and suggestive of meanings beyond my grasp even though I could not say in cold prose what it meant. Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened. One must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God’s myth where the others are men’s myths; i.e. the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of the poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call ‘real things’ namely, the actual incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection.” – C.S.Lewis letter to Arthur Greeves, October 18, 1931

Perhaps it’s not directly relevant, but it came to mind and I wanted to share it anyhow.

Catholic Sexism

The discussion in the comments after a previous entry leads [me to] pose this question to Funky Dung (or anyone else who has an answer):

How can you justify completely excluding from the priesthood a class of persons for which there is no other reasonable, objective definition outside of biological sex, but claim that such exclusion is not sexist?

Be obscurely theological if you need to be, as I am confident in my ability to sort out the subtleties as they are presented to me.

Until now, the only argument (presented in the comments at the link above) has been that there is some ontological difference between men and women that makes the former eligible for the priesthood and excludes the latter. Is it mere coincidence that this alleged “ontological” difference is one hundred percent coextensive with the biological sex difference? If you plan to suggest as much, be forewarned that you will have a serious credibility problem to overcome.

Thoughts?

Comments 3

  1. Daniel Morgan wrote:

    Nice article. I am glad you are in dialogue with your friend. There needs to be more of it “across the aisle” of faith.

    Where did the numbers come from about nations and people—Christian and atheist?

    Try Zuckerman’s compilation, for one. Or my own look at things, and here.

    Posted 19 Oct 2006 at 12:47 pm
  2. BV wrote:

    “Until now, the only argument (presented in the comments at the link above) has been that there is some ontological difference between men and women that makes the former eligible for the priesthood and excludes the latter.”

    This statement seems illogical to me: as if ontology weren’t sufficient reason. Ontology, by definition, deals with “what is”–the “truth of being”. And if “what is” isn’t sufficient reason, I’m not sure what else to say.

    The flaw I see with some of the arguments in the comment thread is that they confuse biology for reality. Biology is not reality. This is not to say that biology is not real, but rather that it does not pronounce the whole of reality. Consequently, you cannot argue that one’s chromosomes or particular bodily features are what define them as male or female (else you’re left with the confusing mess so well described).

    I hope there’s no disagreement that men and women are different, and that maleness and femaleness are different. As Stuff said, the fact that He created them ‘male and female’ suggests that they aren’t the same (otherwise there wouldn’t be a distinction). We see echoes of this in the natural world, though they do not give us the answer, but merely help us to recognize the question.

    In understanding the difference between maleness and femaleness, I think meditating on our Lord and Lady can be a guide for us. This conversation has already started to tend in that direction. We can truly say that Jesus is male, and Mary is female. I might even go so far as to say that Jesus is what it means to be male, and Mary is what it means to be female.

    The Church recognizes that all are called to share in some way the priest, prophet, and king role of Christ. She also recognizes that in God’s design, the ministerial priesthood is connected to maleness, in imitation of her High Priest. It is not the Church which institutes this practice, but God, as can be seen in the person of Christ, in the Apostles he chose, in the revelation he has given the Church, and through the Spirit which has guided the Church.

    As Stuff has mentioned, this in no way degrades the role of women. It is wrong to argue that differences imply inequality. The Church is a family, and we necessarily each have different roles to live out to get this ark to heaven.

    Posted 19 Oct 2006 at 11:01 pm
  3. Mary wrote:

    The reason females are excluded from preisthood is that Jesus Christ, the founder of our religion, was a male.

    There is also reson for him to be a male. A major point of our faith, if not the major point, is that God sacrificed his only son to save us. In the time period where Jesus lived it was much worse to lose a son than to lose a daughter. That is becuase a son could help you when you were older, and would carry on your family name. A daughter, however, would only be married off to someone else. When a son died, it was a extremly sad event. If he was an only son, it was worse. That is sexist, but that is how it was back then.

    Not to mention, if you asked, you would find that most women don’t mind not being able to be ordained. I certainly don’t, if I want to devote my life to God I can become a nun. That is what they are there for. The few women that are upset mostly just want to become a preist becuase they think it will bring them power. This is wrong, becoming a preist is a life-changing, humbling expeirience. I do think that before you try to change the roles of women in the Church, you should ask them if they WANT change.

    Posted 20 Oct 2006 at 6:24 pm

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    […] been posting much lately because I occasionally have to get some work done. Did notice this interesting item over at Ales Rarus. Here’s a more complete answer courtesy of Richard Dawkins […]

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