20110221 The Ontology of Evil

Shownotes for 20110221


Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.  For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. (1 Timothy 4: 1-2, 7-9)

Holiness and the Ontology of Evil

Mail Call:

Remember: you can e-mail me at father.anthony@yahoo.com or call and leave a voice mail at 401-405-116!

Kudos and support from new listeners: thanks!  Also requests to investigate astrology and transhumanism; will do!

We also got this response (which a encouraged her to also leave as a voice mail) from Dr. Demetra about the NYTimes article on marriage, sex, and the self-sufficient woman.  Thanks, Dr. D!

News from the segment that used to be called The Onion Dome

  • First, let me reiterate that this is satire.  For example, on the last show, I poked fun at the ecumenical movement by making up an article that claimed to describe exactly how much grace there was outside Orthodoxy.  I also poked fun at the ultra-Orthodox who elevate cultural norms (like a strong negative opinion on the ritual purity of dogs, probably inherited from the Muslims) into dogma.  FWIW, I know of Orthodox who share that opinion that clergy should not own dogs.  It was also a chance to poke at clergy who are willing to doubt the faith of their hierarchs based on their own false opinions (and lack of charity/obedience).
  • Second, I just found the REAL Onion Dome, renamed “Is Outrage” and “19th Century Russia“.  Brilliant.  And don’t forget to buy the book.  But what am I supposed to call this segment now?  Suggestions?
  • There is a new show airing this Spring on Anaxios Entertainment channel. In the tradition of the  Deadliest Warrior series, we are happy to bring you The Arena of Asceticism, where Prayer Warriors duel their way through a double elimination tournement.  Rather than using computer simulations and pitting warriors of different traditions against one another, we use the newest technology in neuro-imaging to determine which have achieved the highest levels of purity and enlightenment.  Watch and see who can light up their brains – and thus illumine the world – the fastest and brightest.  Nor is it a simple case of prayer vs. prayer.  As in the Colosseums of old, we will be throwing all kinds of tortures at these contestants to challenge their peace: rap music, oscillating lights, sleep deprivation, nasty smells, even water-boarding.  Who will prevail?   Will it be the masters of Tantric Yoga?   The Jesus Pray-ers of Mount Athos?  Spirit-slain Pentecostals?   Possessed Voodoo priests?  Tune in and find out!  You can also look forward to a future spin-off, currently under development, where we take average Americans, have them participate in the worship and prayer of different traditions, and monitor their brains to determine which tradition is the most efficient path to perfection.  As they say in the Christian scriptures: “Come and See!”

Paranormal News

  • Just a reminder:  why should a priest be talking about the paranormal?  Why should Orthodox Christians care about the paranormal?
  • Here is how David Briggs explains “The Complicated Connection between Religion and the Paranormal“.  
  • Many religious people I know segment their belief in the paranormal (either way) from their Christian faith.  But if the world is one and perfectly described by Holy Orthodoxy, how can we do that?  Shouldn’t the Christian worldview (informed, of course, by science!) be used to interpret ALL phenomena?  For instance, isn’t it bizarre that a Christian would visit a medium?  Trust their own revelations?  Etc.?  What do you think?
  • Scientists are piling on more studies that undermine the spiritual dimension of OBE’s.  The avatar experiment is pretty weak, but I’m convinced that most numinous experiences are false, and that trusting in them to say anything whatsoever about reality (e.g. life after death, the existence of the soul, etc.) is prelest.  Most of us have had such experiences, and they can be comforting – some may even be real – but one of the things we have to remind ourselves is that WE CANNOT TRUST OUR PERCEPTIONS, especially when comes to important things (and this includes everything from who to marry to how to conduct war, to theology).  Orthodoxy is an experiential faith, and that is wonderful; but that doesn’t mean that our experience drives our acceptance of it.
  • Are you scared yet?  The poles (magnetic, NOT axial) are wandering faster and further.  Solar flares may affect the weather (and have delivered EMP-like effects (not just in the Carrington Event, but as recent as 1989), destroying power grids and frying electronics (not to mention mess with animals – and we ARE animals).  And moving poles may make us more vulnerable.  This gets lumped in with 2012 Mayan nonsense, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.  It’s not a reason to be scared, but you’d be foolish not to be prepared for disruptions in normal services.
Science News

Crunchy Culture News

  • OCF Chaplain’s Retreat.  Souls in Transition, by Christian Smith.  How can we best witness to post-modern “emerging adults”?  Should we use the Jesus Stick or introduce them to the Great Physician?  Should we baptize or demolish “Moral Therapeutic Deism“?
  • Experimental Theology:  How Facebook Killed the Church.  What are we to do with this?  How do virtual communities relate to real ones – and the Most Real One know as the Body of Christ (i.e. “The Church”)?
  • Gabe Lyons’ The Next Christians provides some much needed visible reason for hope regarding the future of the Christianity (at least for those of us who need such reassurances… and, alas, I find myself in this category all too often).  The Jesus Creed explains how this generation has a yearning to bring beauty and healing to the world… the Church just needs to get back to its real work of equipping the faithful for this mission!
  • Augmenting Dr. D’s commentary, we have this wonderful bit of advice from Tracy McMillan at The Huffington Post, “Why You’re Not Married“.  Brilliant.  The best equivalent advice for men is to grow up, man-up, and stay away from porn!
  • Do you take supplements?  Dr. John Gray (Men are from Mars, etc.) has been hyping the use of small doses of lithium.  This new study suggests that he is right.
  • Maybe Pawlo Amerikanchuk was right about flush toilets, too!  He argues that we should use softer lights at night so that we participate more fully in the world’s liturgical, solar, and lunar cycles.  This study lends credibility to his argument.

Religious News

Other News

Vol’ya Moment

More on the development of the Assembly of Bishops and the move towards canonical regularity:  the need for humility and trust… and the danger of buying into your own press.  The UOC-USA was strong enough to do it (but lost some parishes in the process), the ROCOR was strong enough to do it (but lost some parishes in the process), will the OCA be strong enough to do it?  Let’s pray that there is enough charity – and humility – from all involved to make such a thing easier for them!