In Defense of Things

There’s an adrenaline surge available to the essayist (a “bum under the conviction that writing 1000 word segments makes him or her a productive member of society, see: Unemployed, Oddities of Evolution“), that rivals that of Bruce Wayne as he climbed out of the Lazarus Pit. It’s the thrill of an Impossible Title.

I’m told that others enjoy crystal meth, car chases, the coming apocalypse, or some healthy combination of the three. The essayist gets his head-rush by waking up at 11:23, drinking an absurd amount of coffee, and writing “The Nature and End of the American Man” on top of a blank sheet of paper.

The fact that he will fail to live up to his title is inconsequential. It’s the journey, not the destination. The fact that The Nature of the American Man will, by the end of the essay, remain obscure as his End — if it does not become absent from the piece entirely — is irrelevant. A working thesis would destroy the fun. Coherent paragraphs miss the point. What matters is the pleasant delusion of writing Something Big. What matters is that shining moment in which the bum (see: essayist, or liturgist) feels important enough to have a Wikipedia page.

I bring this up only to defend the fact that I intend to defend Things, fully aware that I’m in over my head, and that I’ll probably just rip off Chesterton at the end of all this and pass it off as an original thought.

Now then. This dire need for a rousing defense of Things was set off by something very concrete: A certain New Age group proudly asserting themselves as an “ever-evolving” religion. My reaction to reading this superlative was to choke with laughter. I then had to seriously asess my reaction. What, after all, is wrong with an ever-evolving religion? Let’s break it down:

What is a religion? A religion is, at its most fundamental level, a series of beliefs. Very well. What, then, is evolution? Evolution is, generally speaking, the process by which one thing becomes another — by which a microbe becomes a man, a democracy a fascist state, (or a Pikachu a Raichu (or your Gameboy to a pile of broken scraps following the revelation that you idiotically let your Pikachu evolve into a Raichu. (OK, not quite evolution, but Raichu still sucks.)))

What kind of Trainer let’s this adorable yellow ball of love become an overgrown rat?

Ahem. What then, is an ever-evolving religion? An ever-evolving religion, taken at its word, is a series of beliefs forever changing into other beliefs. Now I may be wrong here, but I’ll nevertheless stake my claim: A belief forever changing negates itself. One cannot hold an ever-changing conviction that something is true, or else it is by definition not conviction. It is a non-Thing.

If you were to say “I am a square forever becoming a circle”, one thing is absolutely certain — you’re not a square. Similarly, if you were to say that “Our ever-evolving religion holds that God(s) should be referred to as She as often as He,” one thing is absolutely certain: Your religion does not hold the belief that God(s) should be equally referred to as She. It holds the conviction that God should be referred to as a She, which is forever changing into another conviction, and therefore isn’t a conviction at all.

Not to say I believe these New Agers think this, or that they’re deliberately negating their beliefs. They’re more than likely just trying to be all hip and non-dogmatic (a dogma in itself, of course). But by their own flatteringly modern definition, they’ve unwittingly staked themselves as a non-Thing, saying: “We hold beliefs that by their nature cannot be held.” “We believe in things that are becoming what they aren’t.” In short, “We believe in Nothing.”

And this is what made me choke. The problem — or the genius — of rallying around a non-Thing is that it can never be criticized. How is a man supposed to take into intellectual consideration a series of beliefs that are ever-evolving? He cannot, no more than he can grasp the wind.

Thus I hereby unabashedly promote and defend Things. Things idiotic and brilliant, dull and shiny, (even good and evil, for I would rather have an evil Thing that can be demolished than an “ever-evolving” evil that grows like an evasive, indefinable and incurable cancer.)

(Oh Lord, Isengard has been unleashed): I hereby spit upon (and I did spit) the use of non-Things, like that awful term “I feel like,” which never precedes a statement of feeling, but always seems to precede a statement of belief, a belief negated and non-Thinged by the absurd claim that it is in fact a feeling! And Open Marriages! A marriage is specifically and at the very, very least a commitment. To “open it” is to rid it of commitment. Thus we are left with a commit-less commitment, to which I shout “Principle of non-contradiction! Open Marriages aren’t Things!” Neither, therefore, are Open Relationships, and I don’t care if they’re an option on Facebook! And the modern use of the word Progress, forget that too! To say an idea is progressive is to say that it is moving in a direction, which makes it a moving (changing) idea which means it’s not a damn idea at all! As Chesterton said ‘”progress” is simply a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative. We meet every ideal of religion, patriotism, beauty, or brute pleasure with the alternative ideal of progress–that is to say, we meet every proposal of getting something that we know about, with an alternative proposal of getting a great deal more of nobody knows what.”

Alright, I need to take a break from the coffee. Seriously though, and for the love of all that is true, good and beautiful, I want Things. I want a religion that makes absurd, dogmatic claims for me to reject or accept, for I’d rather be wrong in an existing belief then floundering with a non-existent one. Thankfully, I’ve got that.

This post is dedicated to my good friend Ryan Adams, a fellow blogger and Byzantine in the habit of screaming THESE ARE NOT THINGS in the midst of our conversations. If there are any non-Things you are sick of being treated as things, now is the time to voice your concern. If you’re merely concerned about my health, don’t worry, I’m going to go take a nap.

  • Brian Sullivan

    “The Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things”
    http://youtu.be/1f-kfRREA8M

  • musiciangirl591

    “Seriously though, and for the love of all that is true, good and beautiful, I want Things. I want a religion that makes absurd, dogmatic claims for me to reject or accept, for I’d rather be wrong in an existing belief then floundering with a non-existent one.” nice, also Raichu does suck, its the pokemon that was created because the pokemon creators were stumped in creating an evolved form of pikachu (thats just my theory :P)

  • Cal-J

    Light Ball Pikachu FTW. Look out for Earthquake.

    And the bit about couching things as feelings is dead on. (I like when the conversation moves in that direction, because I apply a set of manners that don’t prevent me from calling my associates out on it).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

    God bless you, Marc Barnes.

  • http://backoftheworld.com/ Ryan M.

    A nihilist, huh? That must be exhausting…

  • Iapetus144

    Very nice. You’re no Chesterton, but I imagine that reading this defence of common-sense would nevertheless greatly please that wise old soul.

    But take back what you said about Raichu! D:< He's the best! …the best! …*sniffle* ;_;

    • AeroAg2012

      Your Raichu reference made me think of this:

      • Marc Barnes

        hehehe

  • Paul O.

    What do we want? Married bachelors!!
    When do we want them? Square root of -1!!!

    • Joseph Belland

      But square root of -1 is a thing! It’s i!

      Natural log of 0, of course, is not a thing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/neal.l.meyer Neal Meyer

        if I’m right, and I’m no mathematician , i does not exist in itself, it’s imaginary, so it’s a non-thing…but is a think in so far as it has logical being. Like imagine a unicorn…it has logical being, in that you are thinking about it, but unicorns don’t exist.

        • msmischief

          “Imaginary” is a technical term in mathematics. It’s real in the same sense as any other number — (not, mind you, just the real numbers, which is another technical term).

          • Xemnas

            How about the future? Technically, that doesn’t exist, right? Nobodies don’t exist either, if you’re one of Organization XIII.

          • Kyle Anderson

            This is getting complex very fast.

        • Patterrssonn

          Yes but can you prove that unicorns don’t exist.

          • Josh

            No you can’t. You can say they have never been found in the natural world.

          • Patterrssonn

            I think you’ll find that in many historical records unicorns were actually used as mounts for virginal princesses.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/OZPJEEH6OQKV5FAKVDLURDK7DA Joan

        I could be wrong but doesn’t the natural log of 0 have an imaginary value too?

  • David

    As nihilists, though, we have nothing to fear from them. Or something like that.

  • Kjfries27

    spewing the lukewarm into the fire!

  • http://www.thecatholicbeat.com/ Gail Finke

    I wish I knew someone who would frequently shout, “THESE ARE NOT THINGS!” I may have to start doing it myself.
    I’ve been in a lot of conversations that are supposedly about marriage recently, but they’re really about nothing. Because the other people refuse to admit that marriage is a thing. Marriage, they say, is whatever they want it to be. For instance, I like to argue that marriage per se does not have anything to do with love, because people who do not love each other — even people who do not know each other — can get married. Yet the people I have been discussing marriage with do not even acknowledge this point, because it has nothing to do with what they want marriage to be about, even though it has everything to do with what marriage actually IS about to millions of people around the world even as we speak. Marriage is a thing with a universally acknowledged definition. In a Thomistic/Aristotelian sense it has an essence and the love part (though nice) is NOT intrinsic to it. Therefore, you can’t go around making love the main or only part, or you are talking about something else other than marriage. Because marriage is a thing!!!!!!! People drive me crazy.

    • http://thismamaneedscoffee.blogspot.com/ Jenny U

      yes! thank you, you’re spot on.

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      Nah. Marriage is a cultural construct. That’s a thing, but it’s a changeable thing.

      TRiG.

      • Patterrssonn

        I think around here the definition of a “thing” is that which doesn’t change, ever. Therefore since marriage is a thing, it never changes. Hard to argue wih logic like that.

  • Goblin Lord

    I traded my Pikachu from Yellow to Red just so that I could evolve it. Of course, this was before the Light Ball made Pikachu relevant as the ultimate glass cannon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kickintheface Jacob Timothy Michael Hughes

    I want a religion that makes absurd, dogmatic claims for me to reject or accept, for I’d rather be wrong in an existing belief then floundering with a non-existent one.

    *than

    • InvictusLux

      You found the embedded morsel and took the bait. He was fishing for the compliment that he had been read that far… how generous.

    • Guest

      There are too many assumptions here for anyone to respond to. You have to prove that all dogmatic claims are absurd in order to be right that they are.

  • http://psalm28v7.blogspot.com/ Sharon R

    Forgive me for addressing your introduction and not the substance of your article, but I completely identify with your writing-induced euphoria. I recently started a blog, and I marvel at the ease with which writers can self-publish in the information age. Resisting…the…urge…to…add…my…blog URL…to…this…comment! I’ve got some great upcoming titles there!

  • Chris

    As a blogger, I agree with the euphoric feeling of having found The Perfect Title. I would prefer, instead of lobbying for Things, to lobby for Words and Phrases. Many people seem to suffer the delusion that some not-words (irregardless, supposably, etc.) are in fact Words, and the same goes for many colloquial Phrases which are often misstated and/or misspelled. As the child of a Grammar Nazi, this is simply unacceptable, and I would like to officially declare that I am a defender of Words and Phrases.

  • Guest

    YOU TAKE THAT BACK ABOUT RAICHU, MARC, YOU TAKE THAT BACK NOW!

  • Sketchdoll

    But…but….I like Raichu ;_; I’ll forgive you’re Raichu bashing because you wrote such a great post ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/neal.l.meyer Neal Meyer

    should I be afraid? No Donnie, these men are cowards.

  • daggnir

    Raichu is awesome- all credibility gone!

    Otherwise good stuff.

    • InvictusLux

      “Thunder is good thunder is impressive but its lighting that get’s the work done”. — Mark Twain

      I don’t know if its a thing or merely a wild stroke of ethereal genius but I’m libel to extend the benefit of the doubt to both if Marc can strike me dumbfounded twice…

  • Ben Knopf

    The really sad part is that I think that I have gone on this same exact rant before. Maybe verbatim.

  • BeckettFan

    Samuel Beckett’s already written the response to your post here. It’s called “Waiting for Godot.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

      facepalm

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

        Red is red. Blue is blue. If not for our purposes, than for whom?

  • Ryan

    “THESE ARE NOT THINGS!”

  • InvictusLux

    I am not so comfortable with the notion here that religion is a series of fundamental beliefs. That is more like artistic composition than the real essence of the “thing” that is not merely and only a “thing”. Religion ought not to need anyone to “believe” anything – it should exist onto itself as an expressionable aspect of a Divine Principal – a mystical bridge between heaven and earth that is timeless yet can and must span forward and backward in time in the eternal “now”.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

      But heaven and earth must be things; balance is nothing if it does not balance two weights. Union between two nothings is a nothing. Only something that is can be timeless. A thing that changes is absolutely dependent on time.

      All reason depends on fundamental beliefs, for example, that logic works, that reason is good, that there are things to be rational about… If we live without fundamental principles, “religious” or not, we cannot live at all. Even castles in the sky depend on things like “sky” and “castle”.

      Mysticism depends even more on fundamental principles than reason; it differs from reason only in that it intuits them and thus needn’t take the time to arrive at the conclusion.

      • InvictusLux

        Of course. I did not say anywhere nor mean to imply that religion and the objects of religion are not things. In fact I said they are MORE than mere things since as you correctly surmise, things, as we conventionally experience them, are material and are subject to time whereas heaven is timeless and the new earth will also be (at the end of time). Absolute truth is timeless since it does not change but might to a time-bound creature appear to glimmer and modulate different aspects of the truth in a cascade along facets in the manner a gym is rotated and observed in the ever-steady light. Perfection is never stale and must express itself in endless ways. What I am saying is that religion is an aspect of a Divine Thing and is mystical as both a living sign of The Divine in the corpus of believers as much as it is in the burning bush before Moses discerned it or beckoned to its call.

  • http://liturgicaljunkie.blogspot.com/ Anna

    If non-things are to be avoided, what do we do with religion? A religion is a series of beliefs… except when a series of beliefs isn’t a religion. A series of beliefs about the best way to play golf isn’t a religion. But a series of beliefs that Confucius proposes about the best way to order a society is. Could someone consider a religion the set of beliefs that a genre of music writes about? Or the Declaration of Independence? The best I could find in Dr Kreeft’s Handbook of Christian Apologetics is that there is no satisfactory definition that covers everything currently commonly described as religion, but that implicit knowledge of what a religion is is sufficient to continue conversations… Are some self contradictory things still things? Chesterton has a brilliant way with paradoxes…

    • Cord_Hamrick

      Anna:

      A religion can be more precisely defined than merely “a series of beliefs.” The more precise definition wasn’t pertinent to Marc’s “Defense of Things,” but since you raise it, we might as well get it out there:

      A religion is a set of beliefs (or creed) coupled with actions advocated or prohibited (a code), coupled with a “cult,” or set of distinctive practices intended to reinforce and perpetuate the beliefs, where those beliefs include positions on most or all of the following topics:

      - How we know truth
      - What exists and where it all came from and where’s it going to, and whether there are different kinds of existence
      - Whether there exists a supernature as well as a nature, and what it is like
      - What humanity is like and whether mankind is distinctive and in what ways
      - What are the cause and best solution of man’s problems (especially sin, suffering, and death)
      - How ought we treat others
      - How ought we reinforce these ideas in ourselves
      - How ought we spread these ideas to others

      Now one thing worthy of note about this definition is that it’s pretty much the only approach broad enough to encompass all that is popularly understood to be a religion. You can’t incorporate Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, the Mormons, Catholicism, and Scientology under the same heading without taking an approach like this which targets specific areas of belief, but doesn’t insist on a religion having particular views in each category.

      So, there you go: That’s a religion.

      But here’s another thing worthy of note about this definition: It means Christopher Hitchens definitely had a religion, as do the other popular Atheism Evangelists. For of course they had passionate epistemological and cosmological and ethical opinions, and opinions about the nature of man, and advocated that the populace be educated in like opinion.

      In fact, the best way to describe a person who doesn’t have a religion according to the above definition is: “A person leading a wholly unexamined life, ignoring all consideration of life’s bigger questions; a sort of trousered ape eating, sleeping, and defacating his oblivious way through life.”

      Now I’ve no doubt the Hitchens/Dawkins crowd would object to people characterizing their beliefs and practices as “a religion” because they have such a strong emotional aversion to that word. They can use the term “life philosophy,” perhaps, if “religion” makes them itch. But these are very much instances of the same species, for the issue is the role these beliefs and practices play in the life of the person who holds them. Hitchens and Dawkins functionally practice a religion inasmuch as they hold certain ideas about the topics listed above and try not only to live in accord with them but even to spread them to others.

      It also may be helpful to distinguish between “brand-name buyers” and “hobbyist tinkerers” in this regard:

      Most folk buy their desktop computers with a brand name stamped on them. But some buy parts and piece together their own. But buying your own parts and assembling them doesn’t mean that the final result isn’t a computer.

      Likewise with religion. Some folks go with a brand name faith like Catholicism or Islam: Something with a long history and a known set of advantages and disadvantages. Others reject the brand names, but then they piece together scraps of popular psychology and logical positivism and campus “take back the night marches” and political advocacy and quotes from famous authors and opinions expressed by favorite professors.

      The religion assembled by the tinkering hobbyist has the advantage of being customized to his tastes. In many cases this means the individual may have considered the meaning of its various elements slightly more deeply than individuals who buy their religion off-the-rack.

      But it has the disadvantage of not having been field-tested by millions of persons in diverse cultures over centuries. There may be incompatibilities between the pieces which do not immediately present themselves.

      At any rate, that is a pretty good approach to the question “What is a religion?” To call it “a series of beliefs” is too vague; one has to at least specify the categories of beliefs which are typically covered.

      • http://liturgicaljunkie.blogspot.com/ Anna

        In a post about clarity of thought I thought it ought to be mentioned that religion, as described, was (as you have said) too vague. I agree entirely with you on what you have said about religion, and I think I was unclear by what a definition of religion is. A description of religion is entirely possible, and the Handbook for Christian Apologetics has three ways of summarizing what you have said as well: beliefs, morality, and liturgy; creed, code, and cult; or words, works and worship. “(This) may help us to recognize the thing when we find it; but it does not define its essence by genus”. For normal purposes, the description you provided looks complete and useful to me, but I think in creating a philosophically sound definition of religion (for people who have the degrees to do such things, which I definitely don’t lol), it sounds like doesn’t go far enough.

    • Sky

      Have you read The Everlasting Man? If not, do, right now.

      • http://liturgicaljunkie.blogspot.com/ Anna

        It’s one of my favorite books :) I haven’t read it in a while though, so I should probably re-visit it sometime soon. Thanks!

    • CatholicMinnesotan

      You are not makikng much sense here. basically, you are making the following observation: A lake is an accumulation of a lot of water, but an accumulation of a lot of water is not necessarily a lake, thus lakes don’t exist?
      There are types of water accumulations, and charactaristics of them, that make them lakes, such as volume, salinity, presence of life, location, shape of cavity, and motion. For religion, there are also charactaristics of series of beliefs, such as veracity, continuity, size, consistency, claims, rules, and dogmas. there is a tolerance for these that, while maybe not inherent in any definitions, is implied when referred to as a religion.

  • Reluctant Liberal

    I would point out that most people know what they mean when they say progress. Different people might disagree over the proper meaning, and others might have ideas that are incoherent, but they aren’t talking about something nobody knows about.

    I’ve been rereading Chesterton lately and that seems to be a real flaw in the way he operates. He says things things that are true in one sense (there is no inherent superlative in the idea of progress), but there are usually other senses that it he doesn’t consider (like “progress” can have implied ideals based on context).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=674332165 Mark Toffler

      Context is not a principle. Ideals are based on principles. You’re referring to notions and sentiments.

      • Reluctant Liberal

        I am not referring to notions and sentiments. I am referring to grammar. Tell me, can Catholic Charities make progress towards their goals? Can the Bishops make progress towards their goals? The implied ideals (the ideals of Catholic Charities or the Bishops) in my questions are called context, and it can be a useful thing to take into consideration on occasion.

    • Bridget

      Maybe a quick look at the context in which Chesterton wrote would help give a little extra foundation to his ideas. Chesterton was writing in the early part of the twentieth century, when “Progress” was treated as an end in itself. People wanted Progress, but never really stopped to consider to where they wanted to progress. Essentially, newer was better because, well, because it represented Progress and Progress meant going somewhere better because, well, it was newer. Or something like that. So, during his time, the word “progress” carried a connotation that was basically nonsensical: It was the worship of all things new for no other reason than that they were new.

      Now, maybe modern progressives can define what they mean by “progress” in a much clearer way. In my limited experience, this has not been the case. But, regardless of whether the philosophy of Progress has solidified in the last hundred years or so, Chesterton’s take on it was spot-on at the time.

      • Reluctant Liberal

        In the august words of my seven year self: Nuh-uh.

        Chesterton also had the problem over over generalizing to an absurd degree. He lumped all his opponents in together, which was quite convenient for making them look foolish. I’m sure there were a few people (as I’m sure there are now) who liked new and shiny ideas because they were new and shiny. But characterizing a movement based on these people would be like characterizing Catholicism based on the lowest denominator of Catholics.

        In reality, I’m quite sure H.G. Wells and G.B. Shaw and all the other determinists and socialists Chesterton criticized had very definite ideas of what they meant by progress. If Chesterton really wanted to attack the notion of progress, he should attack as it applied to them individually.

        And to save us all some time, I am familiar with Chesterton. I have read all of his most popular works, the entire Father Brown series, and a goodly number of his less popular works as well. In all, I’ve read well over twenty of his books. I’ve also read several of Hilaire Belloc’s books, so I know a bit about what I’m talking about

        • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

          Being so familiar with Chesterton, you would know he was very familiar with Shaw and Wells – even engaged them in public debate several times over his life, both in print and on stage. So don’t accuse him of not being familiar with their more nuanced positions.

  • Escalonn

    Amen!

  • Randy Gritter

    What about development of doctrine? Catholicism can be fairly described as an ever-evolving religion in that context. We get deeper and deeper into the same truth. We don’t evolve, like Barak Obama, into the very opposite of what we once believed. But we do evolve. We didn’t always know about the Imacualte Conception like we do now. We didn’t always know about the trinity like we do now.

    • Daniel Hessels

      I would describe the development of doctrine in the Catholic Church as a form of growth; Things previously held are not eliminated, but expanded and added to.

      Evolution is change beyond growth, it is one Thing becoming another, separate and distinct, Thing.

      I’d probably sound more thoughtful if I looked up the definitions of growth and evolution, but this is what first came to mind.

      • Deven Kale

        Evolution is (in very very simple terms) something adapting to it’s surroundings in order to better survive. In a biological sense it’s a population (plants or animals) adapting so each organism can live longer and/or reproduce more. In an ideological sense, it’s an idea or belief adapting to new knowledge and understanding in order to stay current. Randy’s comment seems pretty fitting to me.

        • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

          Not at all. Evolution in a biological sense posits speciation, that is one species coming to exist from a prior species – and these two are fundamentally, mutually infertile. One is not compatible in an ongoing sense with the other. So a thing becomes another thing, mutually exclusive to and with the first.

          • Deven Kale

            Actually, they’re both true. Over generations adaptation can eventually lead to speciation. For example, a small group of organisms ends up geographically isolated from the main population: they slowly adapt to their new surroundings over many generations, most likely spanning decades or even centuries. Eventually the DNA of both groups end up different enough that it’s no longer compatible and, were two individuals from those groups to meet, they can no longer produce viable offspring- the very definition of speciation.

            Speciation from one generation to the next, or one species immediately giving birth to another viable species as you imply, is impossible. If something like that were to happen, not only would the new species become almost immediately extinct because it would have no mate to breed with, but it would actually be evidence against biological evolution.

          • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

            Geographic banding is also temporal banding. As mutations occur in a given species over time, separated from predecessors by generations, new species emerge as a consequence of temporal isolation from previous generations. In other words, because one mutation doesn’t make me incompatible with my ancestor, multiple mutations passed down generation-to-generation makes my multi-great-grandchild incompatible with me.

            A space-time continuum, as it were. As time passes, you are also increasing distance. So, yes, you’re right, one generation isn’t going to be isolated. But several generations may be.

          • Deven Kale

            Yes, over time one species may evolve into another even without moving to a different geographical location, that’s true. I thought about mentioning it myself, but decided that geographical was easier to understand and made more sense. My point is that speciation isn’t the primary purpose of biological evolution, but more of a by-product caused by the changed DNA.

            I’m deliberately trying to keep things as simple as possible to avoid a lengthy debate about the specifics of biological evolution, which I imagine would be highly contentious here. It seems you and I agree on the facts of evolution, but you didn’t like how I said it. I’m sorry if it was overly vague, but that was kinda the point. ;)

          • http://indefinitecrisis.wordpress.com/ Michael H

            Evolution isn’t contentious on a Catholic blog. The Church is generally in stride with the modern synthesis; they’re just not materialists. God’s mechanism for creation could well be evolution.

            But more to the point, I don’t care that temporal or geographic isolation is part of speciation per se. It’s more that as an idea evolves, a few generations of a given idea – especially separated geographically, providing different cultural contexts for different congregations of believers in this pseudo-religion – can become incompatible. So idea evolution leads to idea incompatibility, which is Marc’s point. The belief is not a fixed thing; it’s a belief in something that is not a thing.

  • Mstanzo7

    Marc, Can I encourage you to an article on the book “50 shades of grey”? Everywhere you turn people are talking about it. Obviously it is directly opposed to the Gospel but what puzzles me is feminists don’t seem to alarmed.

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      Should feminists be any more alarmed by Fifty Shades of Grey than they are by Lolita?

      TRiG.

    • Patterrssonn

      Not sure what feminists your talking about but there’s been plenty of concern from the feminists I know.

  • Marsha

    Yes, the man is back! I thank GOD for you and the talent he has given you. Stay His.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

    Vegeta is wrong: there are not evil things #Aguustine/Boethius

  • Corita

    The anti-Hegel!

    Yay!

    • Corita

      Also, Marc, the mother in me is saying, “Get yourself a hug and get tucked into bed for some rest!”

  • Thom

    Say what you will about the tenants of atheism, at least it’s something!!

  • Jen

    Wanna maybe do a post about the Chick-fil-a scandal? And the definition of judgement and hate and al those words people keep throwing around? You have a much bigger audience than me. Just a thought.

    • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

      I don’t care (much) about what people think: I care about what they do. (This applies less to people I actually know. I care a bit about what they think.)

      The chairman of a company is a bigot/deceived/whatever. Does it matter? Should I care? Nah.

      A company gives tons of money in corporate donations to groups which exist for no other purpose than to make life for gay people worse. Should I care about that? I think so.

      TRiG.

  • Guest

    Whatever new truth the sincere human mind is able to find, certainly cannot be opposed to truth already acquired, since God, the highest Truth, has created and guides the human intellect, not that it may daily oppose new truths to rightly established ones, but rather that, having eliminated errors which may have crept in, it may build truth upon truth in the same order and structure that exist in reality, the source of truth. -Humanæ Generis, Pope Pius XII

  • Charles Page

    “like that awful term “I feel like,” which never precedes a statement of feeling, but always seems to precede a statement of belief, a belief negated and non-Thinged by the absurd claim that it is in fact a feeling!”

    THANK YOU! I try very hard to say, “I think that…,” or, “I believe that…,” before I attempt to make meaningful statements.

  • barefoot cinderella

    please please write about post-theism, spiritual atheism, and Christian atheism.. yup..!

  • Patterrssonn

    So a thing is whatever Marc Barnes says it is. As if we didn’t know that already.

  • Deven Kale

    I’ve been having trouble understanding this post ever since I read it days ago, and I finally realized why. At no point does he specify what he means by “thing.” He’s calling both physical objects “things,” as well as non-physical ideas and abstractions like marriage. There seems to be no continuity throughout this post so it reads to me like the incoherent ramblings of a lunatic. Could somebody please explain to me what he means here by “thing” or is this just something that really is insane and I won’t understand it unless I join him?

    • Patterrssonn

      Seriously that’s what passes for logic around here, silly word games. If you challenge them on it they end up redefining their premises to absurdity. If you thInk the argument is incoherent now you should see them try to defend it.

  • Kingj1243

    Marc my name is Jacob King I am the Catholic Campus Minister @ West Virginia University, we would love you to come down and speak to our students sometime. We meet every Wednesday, let me know what you think.

  • Phillip J Jedlovec

    “Principle of N0n-Contradiction!” Haha, I love it. Unfortunately, as absurd as it is, some nihlists, atheists, etc. are starting to question the principle of non-contradiction itself. How do you argue with someone who doesn’t believe in the principle of non-contradiction or universal truth at all? Definitely one of the most frustrating things in my experience.

    • Patterrssonn

      There has to be a logical fallacy that describes the innapropriate use of logical fallacies. All Marc is doing is defining marriage as whatever he says marriage is, just as he’s defined a thing as whatever he says a thing is. Actually he doesn’t define them at all, except that a thing is something that doesn’t change and that a marriage requires commitment but doesn’t define commitment. Or at least doesn’t explain why the commitment involved in an open marriage doesn’t meet his definition of commitment, whatever that is.

      • Deven Kale

        “There has to be a logical fallacy that describes the innapropriate use of logical fallacies.”

        argumentum ad logicam.

  • Cepankus

    Cracking up and yes…a bit of unladylike sorting going on here as well…Thanks!

    • Cepankus

      Snorting….geesh, more coffee please.

  • kristin

    WHAT. sir, I must inform you that Raichu is the BEST pokemon, and you probs should rewrite your post. And by probs I mean DEFS.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X