Category Archives: Christianity

Renowned Catholic philosopher warns Pope Francis is ‘destroying the foundations of faith and morals’

Dr. Josef Seifert rebuked the cardinals of the Church for failing ‘to proclaim those many truths of the faith that the Pope openly or tacitly contradicts by words and also deeds.’

Writes Andreas Wailzer:

A Catholic professor blasted Pope Francis, accusing the Pontiff of “destroying the foundations of faith and morals.”

Renowned philosophy professor and intimate friend of Pope John Paul II, Josef Seifert, published an open letter addressed to the cardinals of the Catholic Church, in which he called the bishops of the Church to resist Pope Francis’ his heterodox actions, like the signing of the Abu Dhabi document.

“Pope Francis – I say this with a bleeding heart – is not the ‘guarantor of the faith’, but is constantly increasingly destroying the foundations of faith and morals with this and many other statements and pronouncements,” Seifert wrote.

Continue reading here.

Regarding unjust weights

A biblical rule that should prohibit inflation

From Deuteronomy 25:

13 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. 14 Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. 15 You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.

(I first learnt this when I read Guido Hülsmann’s book “The Ethics of Money Production“)

Choice of ruler in the Old Testament

God set some rules for that person

The prophet Samuel warned the people of Israel not to have a king. Essentially, he said: “Beware what you wish for.”

From 1 Samuel 8:

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plough his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’

Interestingly however, in an older book (Deuteronomy), God seems to have anticipated that the people will want a king. So he gave some instructions as to what that person was to do once in office:

From Deuteronomy 17:

14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, ‘Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,’ 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, ‘You are not to go back that way again.’ 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.

Thinking and Thanking

Are etymologically related

Listening to a discussion led by Jordan Peterson about Exodus, I heard someone point out (they were talking about prayer) that “thinking” and “thanking” are etymologically related.

I found that confirmed in the online etymology dictionary, here and here:

Old English þencan is the causative form of the distinct Old English verb þyncan “to seem, to appear” (past tense þuhte, past participle geþuht), from Proto-Germanic *thunkjan (source also of German dünkendäuchte). Both are from PIE *tong- “to think, feel” which also is the root of thought and thank.

(PIE I assume stands for “Proto-Indo-European“.)

So, maybe the first thoughts we became aware of were thoughts of gratitude.

Decline of Christian faith during Covid

Some proof from the US

Chuck Baldwin is a conservative American Christian who has been heavily involved in politics in the past. He has recently written a piece commenting on a survey showing a sharp decline in faith among nominal Christians in his country: “America’s Pulpits Under Indictment: Let the Adjustments Begin!

The findings of that survey confirm something I predicted based on what I learned from Gary North. When I saw how churches throughout the world, but particularly in the Western world, reacted to Covid, I predicted a further decline of faith. The clergy’s reaction was in principle identical to what they did, according to North, during the Plague or Black Death. Back then, they fled the towns for the countryside instead of ministering to the sick and dying. This cost the church a lot of credibility and paved the way for the Renaissance. The Renaissance was an intellectual movement that delved into the writings and philosophies of pre-Christian ancient Greece and Rome, looking for sources of truth other than the Bible. This ultimately led to thought centred on the human being instead of God.

The Renaissance in turn led to the enlightenment which first relegated God to a role of disinterested and distant Creator (so-called “Deism“), until essentially discarding God entirely. The “death of God” (Nietzsche) then led to the horrors of the French Revolution which, after having been defeated and staved off (just about) for a century (in which time the Industrial Revolution brought untold blessings to untold millions), led to the various horrific, ideologically driven mass slaughters by the millions in the 20th century, a phenomenon which essentially has to this day not yet abated.

During Covid, the clergy didn’t flee the towns. Instead, they locked the churches, implicitly declared their services “non-essential” and fled into cyberspace and Zoom services. They thus relinquished spiritual space, so to speak, which will now be populated by alternative beliefs of all sorts. They had been seeping in for some time, but this seepage is now becoming a torrent.

It will be interesting to watch how the churches recover from this blow.

Addendum: There is an interesting other recent survey with a somewhat contrary message: “Surprising Surge Of Young Americans Turn To Religion“.

Zero Hedge writes:

The story of religious trends in America has been one of increasing disaffiliation among younger generations. But a new study reveals an unexpected resurgence of faith among youngsters in a post-Covid era. 

Some young adults had an awakening during Covid as the entire world crumbled around them. They were in search of a higher power to get through the government-forced lockdowns and controlled demolition of the economy, as well as watching loved ones and friends contract Covid-19 that some federal government agencies believe leaked from a Chinese lab.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, a new study commissioned by Springtide Research Institute found about one-third of 18-to-25-year-olds believe in a higher power, up from one-quarter in 2021. The findings were based on polling data from December. 

Continue reading here.

However: Will the churches be able to offer these young people a long-term spiritual home?

Good short summary of Gary North’s theology

"which is anti-apocalyptic. It is in favor of slow, steady work in the fields, helping the poor, starting businesses, starting Christian schools, opposing foreign wars -- that sort of thing"

Article by Gary North of September 28, 2019:

Pope Francis was in Mozambique earlier this month. He was talking with Jesuit priests on September 5. What he said was published on September 26. This is my response.

The Pope was in Africa to promote his view of theology: liberation theology. It argues for wealth redistribution by the state.

A question came up.

Next came a question from Bendito Ngozzo, chaplain of the Santo Inácio Loyola High School: “Some Protestant sects use the promise of wealth and prosperity to make proselytes. The poor become fascinated and hope to become rich by adhering to these sects that use the name of the Gospel. That’s how they leave the Church. What recommendation can you give us so that our evangelization is not proselytism?”

What you say is very important. To start with, we must distinguish carefully between the different groups who are identified as “Protestants.” There are many with whom we can work very well, and who care about serious, open and positive ecumenism. But there are others who only try to proselytize and use a theological vision of prosperity. You were very specific in your question.

Two important articles in Civiltà Cattolica have been published in this regard. I recommend them to you. They were written by Father Spadaro and the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor, Marcelo Figueroa. The first article spoke of the “ecumenism of hatred.” The second was on the “theology of prosperity.”[3] Reading them you will see that there are sects that cannot really be defined as Christian. They preach Christ, yes, but their message is not Christian.

Specifically, he was talking about my father-in-law, but since I have always been the economist, he was talking about me. I followed his footnote. There were links to both articles in the footnote. I clicked on the first one. You can, too. Click here. We read the following:

Pastor Rousas John Rushdoony (1916-2001) is the father of so-called “Christian reconstructionism” (or “dominionist theology”) that had a great influence on the theopolitical vision of Christian fundamentalism. This is the doctrine that feeds political organizations and networks such as the Council for National Policy and the thoughts of their exponents such as Steve Bannon, currently chief strategist at the White House and supporter of an apocalyptic geopolitics.

“The first thing we have to do is give a voice to our Churches,” some say. The real meaning of this type of expression is the desire for some influence in the political and parliamentary sphere and in the juridical and educational areas so that public norms can be subjected to religious morals.

Rushdoony’s doctrine maintains a theocratic necessity: submit the state to the Bible with a logic that is no different from the one that inspires Islamic fundamentalism. At heart, the narrative of terror shapes the world-views of jihadists and the new crusaders and is imbibed from wells that are not too far apart. We must not forget that the theopolitics spread by Isis is based on the same cult of an apocalypse that needs to be brought about as soon as possible. So, it is not just accidental that George W. Bush was seen as a “great crusader” by Osama bin Laden.

Rusdoony and I started Christian Reconstruction in the late 1960’s. I was his recruit. Neither of us is remotely apocalyptic. We hold a view of eschatology called postmillennialism, which is anti-apocalyptic. It is in favor of slow, steady work in the fields, helping the poor, starting businesses, starting Christian schools, opposing foreign wars — that sort of thing. Our view has always been this: shrink the state.

The article is a hatchet job. The author clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But that didn’t stop the Pope from recommending the article. The author may not have known about me, but he knows about my position: Rushdoony’s. He has misrepresented this position.

Continue reading here.

The intimate, Edenic moment of Easter

Today, I learnt something new on John 20:17

Today is Easter. I learnt something new.

I am of course aware of the various accounts of how the disciples, or rather, at first, some female followers of Jesus find the empty tomb on the first Easter morning.

This morning I heard someone talking on the radio about the version according to the Gospel of John. For some reason, what I remembered prior to that was that Jesus, once Mary recognises him, says to her: “Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father”. (John 20:17)

And that’s how it’s written in an older Bible I have, based on the King James translation.

That always struck me as a bit odd. Not Jesus-like at all.

It turns out that most newer translations say something slightly different, with huge consequences in perception. They are, e.g.: “Do not hold me”, “Do not hold on to me”, “Do not cling to me”.

The transliteration from the Greek in my interlinear translation of the New Testament says: “Is saying to her Jesus Not of me be touching, not yet for I have ascended toward the Father.” Even this version has as “proper” translation of this verse: “Jesus said to her: ‘Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father.'”

The speaker on the radio also used a “Do not cling to me” version. Which implies that Mary was not just touching him, but clinging to him, probably as intensely as she possibly could, as if she’d never let go of him again. This is a much more likely scenario.

And much more befitting Jesus, the God of Love. Jesus, who allowed the children to come to him when the disciples wanted to shoo them away. Jesus, who talked to the Samaritan woman at the well, when talking to a Samaritan, and a woman (known to have had five “husbands”) was scandalous for a man, especially a religious teacher. Jesus who healed lepers. Who healed a blind man on a Sabbath. And so on.

Such a Jesus wouldn’t say to someone, overjoyed to see him alive, “don’t touch me”, as if he were a Pharisee trying to avoid a leper.

The speaker went on to say that in this moment paradise is restored. Mary thought at first she was talking to the gardener. The “gardener” (as in: the Garden of Eden) then names her: “Mary!” I have long thought that this moment, this calling of Mary by name, is one of the most intimate and deep expressions of love in all the Bible.

And now, this moment has been enhanced for me by the image of an intense embrace.

However, Jesus does have one more task to do. He has to ascend to heaven and from there to send the Holy Spirit. In this world, we cannot hold on to his (or anyone’s . . .) physical appearance forever, as much as we would like to. We need to receive the Holy Spirit and fulfil his command to love one another. That way, we recreate the body of Christ on earth, the Church, which is eternal.

Happy Easter!

The Bearable Heaviness of Being

Setting the mind on the things of God

Today is Good Friday.

I’ve been reminded lately of the novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera. I remember reading the book and watching the film, many years ago. Trying to remember the story, I realise how unremarkable it is. A doctor in Czechoslovakia, in the then Eastern Bloc, receives a lot of favours from people so that they can get treatment earlier. He loses his job because he criticises the regime and has to work as a window-cleaner, but people still come to him for health advice. The women offer their special favours, and he takes a lot of advantage of that.

The story ends with the doctor and his wife dying in a car accident, and someone remarking: Well, they were happy together so it’s good they died together, on a trip they had both looked forward to. Or something like that.

A shallow story. A nothing story. No lesson can be drawn from it, except: Life is short, so try to have fun.

Recently I’ve been watching Jordan Peterson discussing in-depth the biblical Exodus story with a number of eminent scholars (on the pay-for-use video platform Daily Wire). It’s a mind-blowing experience. Someone there mentioned the “unbearable lightness of being”.

We live in an unbearably “light”, i.e. shallow time. People just don’t want to look at the really deep, “heavy” issues pertaining to current affairs. Even when these issues stare them in the face, such as during the Covid crisis and the war in Ukraine, they just pretend that nothing is happening. They shuffle off their thinking and responsibility to people who pretend to have authority and knowledge, even though it’s glaringly obvious that they don’t. They accept measures that are obviously harmful to them. They pretend they have never heard of something like a cost-benefit analysis. They just go along to get along, and then rationalise that they are “doing the right thing”. People thus conditioned are likely to believe other scare stories, such as those around “man-made, catastrophic and imminent climate change”.

The reason for all this is that for some generations now people in the West have been guided away from God. God showed them that, in order to live, they have to “take up their cross and follow me“. Jesus, the Son of God, said this, according to Matthew, straight after Peter exclaimed that something as terrible as Him being killed “will never happen”. Jesus severely reprimanded him, saying: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Psychologists know that if we avoid looking at that what frightens us, this thing will just get bigger and worse, at least in our minds. To “get rid of it”, or overcome it, or master it, or at least not allow it to govern our lives, we need to face it. It’s terrifying and difficult. In other words: it’s “heavy”. (In German, there’s a word that in English means both heavy and difficult: “schwer”.)

If we don’t face the terror that is inescapably part of a limited life in a “fallen” world (a world full of scarcity, e.g. a scarcity of doctors; a world that breeds maliciousness), our coping mechanisms are likely to be unhealthy: Drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, other distractions. Meanwhile, in the background, the terror just grows.

Facing the terror full on is the mark of true power and and expression of true life. That is what Jesus did on Good Friday. If we follow Him thus, we need not be afraid. For, as Matthew wrote at the end of his account of Jesus’ time on earth, He promised: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.