Brandon's Notepad

May 22, 2013

Conversations With God, Book 1, Chapter 2

Home > My Research > Eastern Philosophy & New Age > Conversations With God > Book 1, Chapter 2


Overview

Building upon Chapter 1, a lengthy primer on New Age thought written to appeal to a Christian audience, Walsch employs logic in the second chapter to dismantle the reader’s faith (trust, or belief) in organized religion, traditional Christianity in particular. His logical constructs, however, are based on his own system, so the underlying assumption is that Walsch’s God is real, and that he is what he claims to be. It is popular in modern times to claim to be spiritual but not religious, and if this text hasn’t contributed directly to the popularity of this idea, it certainly benefits from it.

Summary

Walsch begins by expressing concern about the revelation he is receiving, that it doesn’t feel like it ought to feel, even stating explicitly that the words he is transcribing sound like blasphemy (i.e. grossly irreverent). God’s explanation is that these feelings are more or less the product of conditioning. People perpetuate a vision of God that is very narrow. This prevents them from seeing God in everything (i.e. pantheism), and thus, they miss much of his message. “What gave you the idea that God is only ‘reverent’?” God challenges. (p. 60)

Being all things, God is both one thing (e.g. hot, left) and its opposite (cold, right) simultaneously, giving preference to neither. “Everything is ‘acceptable’ in the sight of God,” he explains, “for how can God not accept that which is? To reject such a thing is to deny that it exists…and that is impossible.” (p. 61) As was explained in the first chapter, this negates a belief in sin altogether, for how can one disobey or act out against God if God has no absolute rules or expectations? Please recall that, according to Walsch’s God, the only purpose is to help God re-member through experience: “Evil is that which you call evil. Yet even that I love, for it is only through that which you call evil that you can know good…it is all relative. […] I do not love ‘good’ more than I love ‘bad’. Hitler went to Heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.” (p. 61) Our values are not right or wrong, but only judgments prescribed by others in whom we trust. These values should only be retained as long as they are useful. (p. 66)

One primary purpose of this chapter is to shake that trust by instilling fear in the mind of the reader, paranoia that all of society has purposefully deceived you.

“Everything your heart experiences about God tells you that God is good. Everything your teachers teach you about God tells you that God is bad. Your heart tells you God is to be loved without fear. Your teachers tell you God is to be feared, for He is a vengeful God. You are to live in fear of God’s wrath [and] tremble in His presence. Your whole life through you are to fear the judgment of the Lord.” (p. 64)

In contrast, Walsch’s God does not want obedience at all, nor does he want worship or service, for these are the needs of men, not a deity.

The only sin is to choose not to experience, to accept the experience of others as our own and be satisfied with that, to deny our own experience in favor of what we’ve been told to think. He states that our happiness is the gauge of sin: “Only you can say of your life — ‘This is my creation (son), in which I am well pleased.'” (p. 62) This is a no-holds-barred approach to morality.

Walsch’s God promises that when one achieves total knowing (i.e. enlightenment, nirvana), one takes on the Five Attitudes of God (p. 65):

  • Joyful
  • Loving
  • Accepting
  • Blessing
  • Grateful

Being perfectly happy with the Self one has created, one has reached perfection.

At the end of the chapter, Walsch states that writing this dialogue makes him feel presumptuous, maybe a little crazy. His God attempts to extinguish these feelings by reminding him that the authors of the Bible were also mere men. In this discussion, Walsch’s God makes several misleading statements about Christianity:

  • He claims that, “Most of the New Testament writers never met or saw Jesus in their lives. They lived many years after Jesus left the Earth [and] wouldn’t have known [him] if they walked into him on the street.” (p. 67) Of the eight known authors, five were his Apostles (Matthew, John, Peter, James, Jude), and one met Jesus in a vision (Paul), leaving two who were associates of the Apostles and may or may not have actually known Jesus in the flesh (Mark and Luke).
  • He goes on to imply how the “churches” edited the writings of the original authors (both NT and OT) because the “Jesus Story” had power, and that a “High Council” approved the official version, which only contained revelations that weren’t “unhealthy” or “premature”. (p. 67) It is true that the OT books were originally passed on as oral tradition, and that some of the texts went through the redaction process. It is also true that the canon of Scripture was sealed (and confirmed as such) by the decision of several ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church. And it is also true that some texts were hidden away (apocrypha) because they were not considered inspired or were altogether heretical (e.g. the Gnostic Gospels — which is undoubtedly the specific texts Walsch would prefer in his Bible). However, there is no evidence that the (one) Church was trying to harness power. There is much more evidence based on extant copies that the Church was indeed fulfilling its mission to preserve Scripture. There is also little or no direct information regarding the selection process for establishing the canon (especially the NT), save that the selected Scriptures themselves do not conflict with each other when understood in the context of the Church’s teaching and the writings of the Early Church Fathers.
  • His God ensures that Walsch’s writings (the dialogue in which he is engaged) are indeed holy scripture, but that they are unlikely to be considered as such, because the language used is too casual and not (yet) outdated. It would not meet the expectations that people hold of what holy scripture is supposed to sound like.
  • To hear God reply to prayers, one must consider oneself worthy or deserving of dialogue with God. There is a fine line here between having faith and putting oneself on par with God.

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April 3, 2013

Humani Generis

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Home > Religion > Selected Papal Writings > Humani Generis


Synopsis

Humani Generis (“Of Mankind”), the encyclical published by Pope Pius XII in 1950, is a response to opinions that threaten Catholic doctrine, specifically, new thoughts in the realms of theology, philosophy, and science.

Resources

Observations

  • The teaching on papal infallability is made in ¶20. In Encyclical letters, “the Popes do not exercise [supreme] Teaching Authority [but only] ordinary teaching authority [regarding things that] already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine.” [Luke 10:16] “But [when they] purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute…that matter…cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.”
  • That evolution is (generally speaking) not contradictory to the faith is explained in ¶36; however, there is no distinction made between the different theories, such as Darwinism (now considered incompatible with the faith) and other competing theories of the day.

Summary

  1. Sadly, the Christian culture is under attack.
  2. Reason and natural law can lead to knowledge of God, but reason is often obstructed by many things. (e.g. senses, imagination, evil passions, etc.)
  3. Therefore, divine revelation is morally necessary in the modern age.
  4. Man can refuse/resist rational evidence for the faith as well as actual grace to to prejudice or other reasons.
  5. Though unproven, men accept and promote the theory of continual evolution for gain. (e.g. Communism and dialectical materialism)
  6. Evolution, etc. denies the absolute essence of things, giving rise to the existentialism philosophy.
  7. This allows man to selfishly reject law, Christian or otherwise.
  8. While some people use Scripture to learn and preach truth, they go too far, diminishing human reason and rejecting the need for a living teaching authority (i.e. the Church).
  9. Defenders of truth must understand these errors in thought. Even the erroneous opinions may contain some elements of truth.
  10. Fearful of appearing ignorant, though, Catholic philosophers can and sometimes do depart from the Church’s teaching authority.
  11. Some even advocate that the Church should renounce its teaching authority to gain souls for the faith. (Ecumenism)
  12. Such tactics may indeed bring unity, but also destruction.
  13. Such theories begin small or with good intention, only to grow bold and uncontrollable as they are disseminated.
  14. By eliminating dogma, they hope to assimilate it anew based on primal Church teachings.
  15. They claim that true dogma is masked by old ideas and expressions that should be replaced with ones that appeal to the senses of modern man.
  16. The teachings of the Church are not based on weak foundations, however, and it would be wrong to simply dismiss them.
  17. To reject refined truth in the hope of gaining accuracy by establishing a new and unproven philosophy is highly imprudent.
  18. They often appeal to writings (i.e. opinions) of the Early Church Fathers under the notion that more modern Church teachings must necessarily be precedented on them.
  19. However, some things once open for debate need not be debated any longer.
  20. Encyclicals usually speak to matters already expounded upon in doctrine; however, should the Pope pass supreme judgment on a disputed matter, it should be considered closed for discussion.
  21. Divine revelation was given by God as guidance for the Church to exercise her living teaching authority, not for private deterministic interpretation.
  22. Some dispute the divine authorship of Scripture in part or in whole and interpret it on the basis of exegesis, looking for hidden meanings, instead of on the Church’s teachings.
  23. They claim that a new exegesis of the Old Testament would replace literal difficulties with symbolic/spiritual truth.
  24. Their claims oppose the norms of interpretation explained in previous encyclicals.
  25. Doubt regarding revealed truths is a result of this way of thinking. (e.g. Creation out of love, God’s eternal foreknowledge of men’s free choices, etc.)
  26. Angels, essence, the supernatural order, original sin, sin in general, the efficacy of Christ’s sarifice, and the Real Presence or all debated.
  27. The necessity and value of the Church and the faith itself is questioned.
  28. These errors are being pointed out herein because Catholic thinkers are commiting them.
  29. The Church relies on reason to understand the faith, God’s law, the mysteries, and even the existence of God. Reason comes with training and leads to truth.
  30. Teaching Authority only covers matters of faith and morals. “New” truth cannot overturn established truth, but it can correct errors.
  31. Priests must learn philosophy and Aquinas’ method is tried and true.
  32. Opponents claim that the traditional philosophy used by the Church is adequate for basic instruction but not for practical application, and that all other philosophies, albeit evolving, are ultimately compatible with Catholicism.
  33. They claim that the Church’s philosophy appeeals to intellect and ignores the will and emotions; however, this is clearly and historically false, for the Church teaches that the will can see truth beyond what the intellect can deduce on its own.
  34. Theodicy and ethics (philisophical sciences) are threatened by these new opinions. Not only are they themselves debased, but so is the protection provided by the Church’s Teaching Authority.
  35. Discussion of theories not yet proven scientifically but merely hypothesized must follow. Theories can only be considered if they do not oppose Church teaching.
  36. Human evolution (origin of man from pre-existent and living matter) is up for discussion, but cannot contradict that God is the immediate creator of souls.
  37. Polygenism (origin from two or more distinct ancestors) is irreconcilable with the doctrine of original sin.
  38. The first eleven chapters of Genesis may not fit the modern concept of history, but any inclusion of folklore was done under divine inspiration.
  39. Thus, these are not imaginative myths but expressions of truth. Ancient sacred authors were clearly superior to secular (“profane”) authors of the same period.
  40. Most Catholic doctors (teachers) do not hold these erroneous opinions (at the time of writing), but the errors do appeal to incautious thinkers.
  41. Bishops and heads of religious orders are charged with preventing the spread of such erroneous opinions.
  42. Teachers cannot, in good conscience, teach that which diverts students (and themselves) away from the Church’s teachings.
  43. They must teach, research, and discover within the limits established for the protection of the faith.
  44. Apostolic Benediction.

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