Friday, July 16, 2021

Good thing the infallible Pope is able to correct the mistakes of the former infallible Pope so Catholics can be certain of their traditions

 Pope Francis abrogates Pope Benedict's universal permission for Old Mass

“Previous norms, instructions, permissions, and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present Motu Proprio are abrogated.”

I stand along with the Traditionalists in faith that sometime in the next thousand years a Pope will instruct us that Pope Francis is abrogated, so you can go ahead and get the jump on that future proclamation by ignoring Pope Francis now.  Imagine being a Protestant and not having such certainty.  I shudder to think.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Loving God More Than Others Improves Our Love For Others

Here's a good collection of quotes from C.S. Lewis on the subject. It's something that ought to be discussed more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

An Important Book On Near-Death Experiences

I recently read Gregory Shushan's Near-Death Experience In Indigenous Religions (New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), which is an important book in many contexts. You can watch an interview Shushan did with Alex Tsakiris here. The video will give you an overview of the book and a lot of other information about it and some related issues. When I cite the book below, my references in parentheses will be to an approximate location in the Kindle version.

Shushan has argued that near-death experiences (NDEs) and some related phenomena have had a large role in originating and shaping religions. The book under consideration here focuses on three groups of indigenous religions, ones in North America, Africa, and Oceania. He doesn't limit his examination to NDEs as typically defined, but instead includes a broader range of phenomena, such as shamanic activity. You can watch his interview with Tsakiris for an explanation of what he included and why. Since he covers multiple centuries of material, you can see developments over time, such as what these indigenous groups believed prior to coming into contact with Christianity and other movements, how they interacted with Christian missionaries, how their beliefs persisted and changed afterward, and so on.

He provides examples of testimony from these indigenous people that their religious beliefs originated in or were influenced by phenomena like NDEs. On some occasions, these indigenous groups told Christian missionaries that they knew Christianity was false because of their experiences with such phenomena. Some NDEs were of a broadly Christian nature, and some were of a partly Christian and partly non-Christian nature, but it seems that most were non-Christian or even anti-Christian.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Many Reasons For Naming The Gospel Authors

I've mentioned that the early Christians had a need to distinguish among the gospels and similar documents and that the names of the documents' authors are the most likely means by which they made those distinctions. I want to expand upon an aspect of that situation.

It's important to recognize the number and variety of circumstances in which distinguishing among the documents would have been relevant. I often mention the use of the documents in church services and the storing of them in libraries as examples. But the need to distinguish among the writings in question would have been present in other contexts as well.

For example, anybody studying the gospels - reading them, looking up passages in them, comparing one gospel to another, or whatever else - would have need to distinguish among the documents. They would need to be distinguished in conversations, oral or written, as well. I've discussed the early Christian practice of distributing copies of the gospels, presumably often involving more than one gospel. They would need to be distinguishable in that context also. So, the need for distinguishing among the gospels and the opportunities for and appeal of placing titles on them, attaching identifying tags to them, and so forth would have existed early and in a large number and variety of contexts.

We should consider the early gospel authorship attributions in light of that background. Not only does that background tend to be overlooked or underestimated, but so do many of the earliest authorship attributions. The combined effect is that people tend to think the evidence for the attributions is much weaker than it actually is. Here are some comments I posted at another blog several years ago about some of the early attributions that are often neglected. Familiarize yourself with that evidence (and there's more like it, which I've discussed elsewhere) and the surrounding context I addressed above.