Thursday, August 21, 2003


  • Jeffrey Collins had some kind words regarding yesterday’s post on Carnal Christians. He did, however, disagree with this statement on free will. I wrote:
    No model of the free will is, in my opinion, completely satisfactory. However, as an explanation of the gross features of free will I follow, as I have written about many times, the basic Augustinian, Lutheran, and Edwardsian (and hence Reformed) notion that free will means not only are we free to choose what we want, but in fact we always choose what we want most.
    To which Jeffrey responded:
    I would agree with David that no model of free will is completely satisfactory, but I question the statement that we always chose what we want the most. I have certainly done things which I didn't think was what I most wanted at the time. Was that just an illusion?
    In short, yes it was. If I am presented with ice cream and I choose to eat it, it is because I want the ice cream more than the benefits of self-control. If I choose to pass on the ice cream, it is because I want the benefits of less fat and less calories, or maybe the image of self-control before my family and friends, more than I want the ice cream, even though it will "feel" like self denial. C. S. Lewis once wrote that he never had a selfless thought in his life. I think this is what he meant.

  • Mel Gibson is taking a lot of heat for his movie The Passion. Amazingly, the criticism is not so much that the movie is anti-Semitic but rather it will incite anti-Semitism. This is insane, but we must avoid becoming angry at all Jews because a few prominent Jews (and some useful idiots) do not recognize the stupidity of their argument. There can be no doubt that on a legal basis some Jews were complicit in the murder of Christ. Anybody that watches Law and Order knows that. Jack McCoy would go after Caiaphas with more venom than he would the Roman soldiers who pounded the nails. This is in the same sense that David was guilty of the murder of Uriah. Perhaps truth can incite anti-Semitism among the deranged. It can't be helped. No doubt a realistic portrayal of the holocaust would incite some hateful phone calls to the German embassy, but that is no reason to suppress it.

  • World Magazine in its August 16 issue points out a couple of those useful idiots. One is Boston Globe columnist James Carrol who wrote "A faithful repetition of the Gospel stories of the death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred texts carry the virus of Jew hatred." This is, of course, utter nonsense. Paul's writings in particular are filled with love and concern for the Jews. The only anti-Semitic aspect of the Gospel is its focus on Christ as the only way to salvation. Jews cannot be saved as Jews, they must accept Christ. If I were a Jew I would consider this to be wrong but not hateful.

  • A more idiotic useful idiot is BU religion professor Paula Fredriksen who, according to World described The Passion as an "anti-historical, anti-intellectual, anti-Semitic film about the crucifixion". To Professor Fredriksen it is anti-historical by definition, because it is faithful to what she takes to be inaccurate, namely scripture. I don’t know why she considers it anti-intellectual, most likely because it conflicts with her theories and those of her tweed-jacketed colleagues. It is anti-Semitic because it depicts some Jews as killing Christ even though some Jews killed Christ. (Technically we Christians killed Christ, but we are speaking here in a purely secular legal sense.) Like a former professor of mine wrote: "If you want an atheist for a debate go to the philosophy department (or religious studies). The physics department is useless."

  • Mel Gibson should arrange for a showing of The Passion to Christian bloggers. Hey Mel, are you reading this? I invite other bloggers, especially Catholic bloggers, to encourage Mel to orchestrate a blogger preview. The benefits are self evident.

  • There has been spirited and mostly civil debate, involving yours truly, on the doctrine of Eternal Security, in the comments section of this post on Mark Shea's blog. Go jump in, but please be civil.

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