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The Wrath

The Pope's Legacy

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Mister Swig,

I'll post this in the possibly vain hope that it will be admitted.

The Catholic Church pre-dates (be a few hundred years) the collection of writings that it later gathered together and defined as what you know as the Bible. Therefore, it can't logically be the foundation of the Church, which was the claim advanced by some which I denied.

As for "Catholicism"---the teaching and practices and creeds of the Catholic Church---that implies doctrine, does it not? The Bible is part of the doctrine of Catholicism, but it is not the sole foundation. Look again at the Catechism quotes which you yourself provided---a stool has more than one leg.

This isn't as difficult as you are making it out to be.

AqAd

I'm not interested in playing word games with you. You have just admitted now that the Bible is part of the foundation of Catholicism. We are in agreement.

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Well, if he agrees with the Bible, then his political ideal is the absolute dictatorial rule of Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings. But I'm sure he would settle for the absolute dictatorial rule of Christ's representatives on Earth. (More on this in my forthcoming paper on Billy Graham and Christian fundamentalism.)

Hi Mr. Swig,

Excellent article again! I see that you hail from LA. I live in Tustin near Santa Ana in Orange County. One of these days we should get together and chat over a couple of beers.

Yours in liberty,

Ed Williamson

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In contrast, the Church has always taught that while man's nature is not evil, it is flawed---that is, man does not always choose rationally.

Mr.Swig,

Can you not see the difference between doing evil and having an evil nature (being, not doing, evil)?

AqAd

Again, I'm not interested in playing word games with you, AqAd. Is man's nature evil, or is it not? Pick one and stick with it.

The simple fact is that Christianity teaches that man's human nature is evil, because of Adam's sin. God cannot tolerate your evil, human nature. This is why you must be born again and get a new divine nature, a supernatural Holy Spirit-filled nature, one without the trait of sin. If you don't do this--if you don't renounce your human nature--you will go to hell.

Is this, or is it not, what the Church teaches, AqAd? Surrender to King Christ or go to hell! Aren't those my two options?

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Mr Swig,

I haven't varied from my position. You asked, "Is man's nature evil, or is it not? Pick one and stick with it." No, man's nature is not evil. You are confusing Catholicism with Protestantism: Protestant founders such as Luther and Calvin did in fact that teach that man's nature was evil: Luther viewed man's nature as a "dungheap"; Calvin taught "total depravity", which pretty much explains itself. However, Catholicism teaches that man's nature is flawed (which is verified by watching the news), not evil. Catholicism does not believe or teach that man's nature is evil.

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[M]an's nature is not evil ... Catholicism teaches that man's nature is flawed ... not evil.

Catholics teach that man's nature is concupiscent, by which they mean man has a "tendency toward evil actions."

AqAd, around here we don't separate a man's identity from his actions. We believe that A is A. You are what you do. If you tend to commit evil, then you are evil. If you tend to do good, then you are good. Each individual human must be judged accordingly, because all humans have the capacity to be good or evil. All humans have free will and have the capacity to choose their own actions.

Catholics teach that man, as a race, tends to do evil, because of Adam's sin. Thus man, according to Catholicism, is evil.

Now, some Catholic folk try to squirm their way out of this logic by replacing the word "evil" with "sin." They say that man's nature is inherently sinful. But what they really mean is that we are inherently evil.

AqAd, you call human nature "flawed." But this tells us nothing. This advances the debate nowhere.

What is the "flaw?"

You have just given us an empty, unsupported term to describe human nature. Do you expect us to forget that Catholicism teaches that human nature is inherently sinful and bent toward doing evil? Do you expect us to nod our heads in unthinking agreement with this arbitrary notion that human nature is "flawed?"

What is so "flawed" about our human nature, AqAd? Could it be our reason and self-interest? Do you really believe that man is "flawed" because, as you said earlier, he "does not always choose rationally?" Wasn't it God who allegedly gave us our mental faculties, which include the ability to choose rationally or irrationally--to make choices, right or wrong? Thus, wouldn't that make God responsible for such a human flaw? Why would God hold us responsible, and send us to hell, for a flaw he himself created in us?

Edited by MisterSwig

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Great reply, MisterSwig. I've already learned a great deal by reading your posts in this thread since I left the discussion with AqAd. Thanks.

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Mr. Swig,

Please show me a quote from the Catechism which defines concupiscence, as you claim the Catholic Church teaches, as a "tendency toward evil actions".

I don't think you understand the difference between "inclination to sin", which is how the Catholic Church defines concupiscence, and actually committing evil acts. I may desire, in a passing moment of anger, to hit an especially stupid person in the head with a brick if he is insulting. This is because I am not perfect, and is an indication of concupiscence in my nature. However, if I control my anger, I have not committed evil.

You do not understand Catholic theology. Thus, it is not surprising that you state, "Catholics teach that man, as a race, tends to do evil, because of Adam's sin. Thus man, according to Catholicism, is evil", in complete contradiction to Catholic teaching. I'm not interested in giving you a dumbed-down version of Sunday school: you will have to do your own homework and at least back up your statements from actual Church documents such as the Catechism.

Since you are clearly ignorant of Catholic teaching, then reason would suggest that you restrict your comments to areas that you might have some familiarity with.

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What is so "flawed" about our human nature, AqAd? Could it be our reason and self-interest? Do you really believe that man is "flawed" because, as you said earlier, he "does not always choose rationally?" Wasn't it God who allegedly gave us our mental faculties, which include the ability to choose rationally or irrationally--to make choices, right or wrong? Thus, wouldn't that make God responsible for such a human flaw? Why would God hold us responsible, and send us to hell, for a flaw he himself created in us?

Most of the Catholic priests and teachers that I had growing up taught that we are of a sinful nature. The greatest of those sins was the use of our divine gifts of reason and intelligence to question our god. Thus, there was reward in heaven for denying our will or desire to question that which was accepted by the church as law. We were taught that only a faith based belief in the one true god, as defined by the church was the path to salvation.

Thank god I'm an atheist now :lol::(

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Catholics teach that man's nature is concupiscent, by which they mean man has a "tendency toward evil actions."

AqAd, around here we don't separate a man's identity from his actions. We believe that A is A. You are what you do. If you tend to commit evil, then you are evil. If you tend to do good, then you are good. Each individual human must be judged accordingly, because all humans have the capacity to be good or evil. All humans have free will and have the capacity to choose their own actions.

Catholics teach that man, as a race, tends to do evil, because of Adam's sin. Thus man, according to Catholicism, is evil.

Now, some Catholic folk try to squirm their way out of this logic by replacing the word "evil" with "sin." They say that man's nature is inherently sinful. But what they really mean is that we are inherently evil.

AqAd, you call human nature "flawed." But this tells us nothing. This advances the debate nowhere.

What is the "flaw?"

You have just given us an empty, unsupported term to describe human nature. Do you expect us to forget that Catholicism teaches that human nature is inherently sinful and bent toward doing evil? Do you expect us to nod our heads in unthinking agreement with this arbitrary notion that human nature is "flawed?"

What is so "flawed" about our human nature, AqAd? Could it be our reason and self-interest? Do you really believe that man is "flawed" because, as you said earlier, he "does not always choose rationally?" Wasn't it God who allegedly gave us our mental faculties, which include the ability to choose rationally or irrationally--to make choices, right or wrong? Thus, wouldn't that make God responsible for such a human flaw? Why would God hold us responsible, and send us to hell, for a flaw he himself created in us?

Mr.Swig, you nailed it perfectly! Listening to the pontifications of Ratzinger as he ranted on about the evil of relativism really demonstates not only supreme temerity and unmitagated gall on the part of the RCC, but just how ingenious the teachings of revealed religion - particularly Catholicism really are. Of course truth is absolute, A is A, good is good - evil is evil. For the Catholic Church to claim that they believe this is intellectually dishonest at best. The human is flawed? They teach that? Flawed is a very subjective word. In other words people are partly good, but sometimes evil. The two traits are diametrically opposed. It all but assissinates the already tenuous credibility of Ratzinger's pronouncements. The overwhelming silence of the RCC leadership on the clerical sex abuse scandals gives evidence of selective morality rather than absolute morality. What nonsense that is - and what a contradiction in terms, absolute morality subjectively applied!

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edward j williamson,

If human beings are not flawed, then why are they not all Objectivists? Don't you claim an objective standard to which man should aspire to, yet very, very few people accept the standard? If a person has perfect understanding, yet rejects Objectivism, is that person then evil or sub-human? If we have perfect intellects, how could anyone reject Objectivism? If we have perfect understanding and intellects, why would there be a Holocaust, or torture, or cruelty, to either man or animal? If we are perfect (unflawed), then there would be no reason or impulse to do anything evil. Catholicism recognizes that the flaw---the inclination to sin---is there, affecting our judgement, and does not therefore condemn everyone who rejects Catholicism as necessarily evil. Objectivism, by rejecting that the intellect and emotions are flawed in any way, rejects as evil those who understand Objectivism yet reject it. After all, if we have perfect intellects and wills, then we won't misunderstand Objectivism once exposed to it, right? If we're perfect, why aren't we all "naturally" Objectivists? Why wouldn't everyone naturally gravitate towards truth, if we are perfect? Ayn Rand's works sell by the thousands and have for many years, but Objectivism is fading after its heyday in the seventies, and despite all of those copies sold, atheists still make up only a small fraction of the population, and only a fraction of those are Objectivists. Clearly, then, Objectivism has been rejected by vast numbers of people: are those people all just evil? If they simply didn't understand Objectivism, why not? Aren't our intellect and wills unflawed? If someone understands Objectivism and rejects it, wouldn't that indicate a serious "flaw", since a perfect intellect and will would perfectly choose truth?

BroncoBobby, you clearly were poorly taught. Perhaps your priests were unfamiliar with Church teaching: not an unknown occurrence, unfortunately, especially if those priests were educated in the 60s and 70s. However, since what you say is so far from orthodoxy and is such a caricature of Christianity, I have to suspect that you are exaggerating. I would request of you and others that you back up your subjective interpretations with quotes from the Catechism, the "official" document of Church teaching.

You asked, "Why would God hold us responsible, and send us to hell, for a flaw he himself created in us?" I don't understand: who is going to hell? I didn't say anything about hell, so I'm wondering where this comes from. As to God creating us "flawed"---this statement reinforces my suspicion that you were not truthful in relating what you were taught by Catholics, as this is such kindergarten-level understanding. But no, we weren't created as "flawed"---we have free will. Authentic free will must carry the potential to reject that which is offered.

I find it interesting that my posts must be approved by a moderator. I have not used the insulting and vulgar language that my "opposition" has, but apparently foul language and illogical "arguments" are perfectly fine as long as one's target is a self-made caricature of "mysticism". I suspect that the real reason I'm being subject to censorship is that I do not fit your convenient and childish caricature of a theist, and so represent, I suppose, a potential threat.

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I don't think you understand the difference between "inclination to sin", which is how the Catholic Church defines concupiscence, and actually committing evil acts. I may desire, in a passing moment of anger, to hit an especially stupid person in the head with a brick if he is insulting. This is because I am not perfect, and is an indication of concupiscence in my nature. However, if I control my anger, I have not committed evil.

You do not understand Catholic theology. Thus, it is not surprising that you state, "Catholics teach that man, as a race, tends to do evil, because of Adam's sin. Thus man, according to Catholicism, is evil", in complete contradiction to Catholic teaching. I'm not interested in giving you a dumbed-down version of Sunday school: you will have to do your own homework and at least back up your statements from actual Church documents such as the Catechism.

So, according to what you say, human souls are vicious beasts that need to be restrained. They want to tear apart everyone and anyone who gets in their way just because they feel a bit angry. But in these "passing moments of anger," you say, they need to be tied down to the ground and silenced (speaking metaphorically). Human souls need to be restrained from action, because they are so brutal and sadistic.

I haven't read the Catechism and I don't care about it. I don't need to know the details of an evil morality in order to know it is evil. But I'm sure it offers enough rationalizations in order to evade (or hide) the fact that Catholicism is inherently evil, even when this evil is as bluntly pointed out as you have pointed it out in your last post. And I'm sure that you will probably use this rationalization in your next reply, or you will touch none of the relevant points in any of the above arguments, including mine, like you always do (as a proof of this claim I put forward your last reply to Mr. Swig).

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If human beings are not flawed, then why are they not all Objectivists? [...] why would there be a Holocaust, or torture, or cruelty [...] If someone understands Objectivism and rejects it, wouldn't that indicate a serious "flaw", since a perfect intellect and will would perfectly choose truth?

You answer your question yourself:

Authentic free will must carry the potential to reject that which is offered.

Man's free will means that he can choose to be flawed--or he can choose to be perfect. If an individual is flawed, it is not humanity's fault, it is not God's fault, it is his fault.

but Objectivism is fading after its heyday in the seventies

I wouldn't bet on that.

I suspect that the real reason I'm being subject to censorship...

Everyone on this forum is subject to "censorship." Initially, we presume that you are going to abide by the Forum Rules, and your posts appear without preview, but WILL be deleted if they are found inappropriate. If we find that you post inappropriate things too often, we put you on preview so we can delete your inappropriate posts even before they appear.

...is that I do not fit your convenient and childish caricature of a theist, and so represent, I suppose, a potential threat.

LOL, sorry to disappoint you, but that is not the case at all. This is a forum for serious students of Objectivism, and you are not one, so you could have been banned after your first post. We just keep you for your entertainment value.

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I find it interesting that my posts must be approved by a moderator. I have not used the insulting and vulgar language that my "opposition" has, but apparently foul language and illogical "arguments" are perfectly fine as long as one's target is a self-made caricature of "mysticism". I suspect that the real reason I'm being subject to censorship is that I do not fit your convenient and childish caricature of a theist, and so represent, I suppose, a potential threat.

Speaking of childishness, complaining about the administrative actions taken against you in public is like Johnny complaining to the Joneses about how his parents never let him watch late-night TV. If you have a bone to pick about your "censorship," take it up with the admins and/or mods, don't discuss it in a thread.

And stop flattering yourself by claiming that your "arguments" are a threat to us--only the use of force threatens rational thinkers. The only threat you pose is the same as any other user might pose: violation of our terms of agreement.

Speaking of your presence here, you've not defended either of two major claims you've made during your stay--that faith does not contradict reason and that God exists--instead you've chosen to discuss the details of Catholic doctrine for days on end.

I've told you through PM that if you leave out all outside sources, such as Church doctrine and Aquinas, and base your defense on logic and valid premises, then you will not be punished. I think it would be of great value to many here to face a slippery debater such as yourself in combat. What do you say? Have the courage to defend your principles, else you are of zero value to us.

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Mr. Swig,

Please show me a quote from the Catechism which defines concupiscence, as you claim the Catholic Church teaches, as a "tendency toward evil actions".

Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit." Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a9.htm

According to the Catechism, of which you are so fond, concupiscence "inclines man to commit sins." Do you now want to debate over the meaning of "sins?"

Sin is an offense against God: "Against you [God], you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight." (Ps 51:4) [emphasis mine]

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s1c1a8.htm#II

Hence my description of concupiscence as a "tendency toward evil actions." Are you going to argue with the Bible? Sins are "evil" in the sight of God.

I don't think you understand the difference between "inclination to sin", which is how the Catholic Church defines concupiscence, and actually committing evil acts. I may desire, in a passing moment of anger, to hit an especially stupid person in the head with a brick if he is insulting. This is because I am not perfect, and is an indication of concupiscence in my nature. However, if I control my anger, I have not committed evil.

I fully understand the Catholic view on this matter, and I addressed this issue of separating one's identity (one's nature) from one's actions in a previous post, which you have ignored entirely.

So allow me to take this opportunity to make some more general points:

1. First, it seems that to the Catholic our perfectly natural ability to think about rejecting God (or disobeying God's word) is an indication of Original Sin. The mere fact that we can think in opposition to the Bible is a sign of concupiscence. But that is pure fantasy. There are absolutely no facts supporting this view. It must be taken on faith.

I personally believe concupiscence is a viscious fantasy designed to combat free will and reason. I would be willing to bet that the concept of "inherited sin" was a planned fraud originally invented to trick those who through the use of common sense and scientific findings were contemplating rejecting the myth of God, and thus were about to deprive the God-pushers of their blood money. When the rational thinker started on the path toward atheism, the God-pushers invented a new scheme. They started telling people that their inclination to reject God was a sign of their inherently flawed nature. And, thus, the concept of concupiscence was delivered unto man.

2. Another point: Catholics love to observe the evil in the world and say: Look! That is evidence of our concupiscent nature. Again, this is pure fantasy. Why not say instead: It's evidence of a little devil living inside of us? Or: It's evidence of an invisible alien master race that controls all of our actions from outer space.

There's no such thing as concupiscence. It's a myth. It is most likely an attempt to demonize our human nature of reason and free will.

3. Nobody has a supernatural inclination to commit evil--or good. We are conceptual animals, born with moral blank slates. Throughout the course of our lives, we must think for ourselves and choose what we believe and do. We must discover and accept facts and decide on our own how to act. As a babe, we start morally neutral in life, and it's up to us, through our own freely chosen actions, to create our own moral status, which is based not on our obedience to some dictatorial fantasy, but on our personal relationship to reality.

4. I also want to point out--very briefly--that even if we did have a concupiscent nature, it would prove nothing about the existence of God or Original Sin. One could still invent a million other equally fantastic and unrealistic explanations for concupiscence.

The most likely purpose for the continued promotion of the idea of concupiscence is the attempted demonization of human nature--the attempt to pit man against his own self. Promoting the idea of concupiscence is evidence of a true, deep, and sinister hatred of man.

May God have mercy on your soul, AqAd.

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Mister Swig,

Thank you for your quote from the Catechism, which conspicuously lacks the teaching that you say it does, namely, that the Church teaches that man's nature is evil. You're doing my work for me.

I find this comment of yours curious: "According to the Catechism, of which you are so fond"---why do you suppose I am "fond" of it? I refer to it because it is the "official", if you will, compilation of Church teaching. My feelings, whether of fondness or some other emotion, are not involved. Why do you suppose emotions of "fondness" are involved?

You stated: "I fully understand the Catholic view on this matter, and I addressed this issue of separating one's identity (one's nature) from one's actions in a previous post, which you have ignored entirely."

First, there is nothing in any your posts which indicate an informed knowledge or evidence of serious study of this or any other Catholic doctrine. You are simply criticizing what you do not know, which is not a proper use of reason. And no, I did not ignore your post regarding the separation of action from identity: I disagreed with it, which is not the same thing.

You are mistaken when you state, "1. First, it seems that to the Catholic our perfectly natural ability to think about rejecting God (or disobeying God's word) is an indication of Original Sin".

No, it's an indication of our having free will.

You wrote: "I personally believe concupiscence is a viscious fantasy designed to combat free will and reason. I would be willing to bet that the concept of "inherited sin" was a planned fraud originally invented to trick those who through the use of common sense and scientific findings were contemplating rejecting the myth of God, and thus were about to deprive the God-pushers of their blood money. When the rational thinker started on the path toward atheism, the God-pushers invented a new scheme. They started telling people that their inclination to reject God was a sign of their inherently flawed nature. And, thus, the concept of concupiscence was delivered unto man."

Ahh, it's a conspiracy! Now that explains everything....Frankly, I don't have a lot of respect for the intellects of those who indulge in such things.

Nor does this make much sense: "There's no such thing as concupiscence. It's a myth. It is most likely an attempt to demonize our human nature of reason and free will."

Reason and free will are goods. To demonize them would be to go against Catholic teaching. If you're going to make such claims, then back them up with quotes from the Catechism which say that these goods are, in fact, evil.

"We are conceptual animals, born with moral blank slates."

Perhaps you don't know many parents of large families, which might explain a comment so easily disproved. No parent of a large family would agree with you, based on their observations of reality. Some kids are more difficult than others (and yes, in the moral arena) despite consistent upbringing.

You wrote: "I also want to point out--very briefly--that even if we did have a concupiscent nature, it would prove nothing about the existence of God or Original Sin"

I never claimed that it did. Next straw-man, please...

"Promoting the idea of concupiscence is evidence of a true, deep, and sinister hatred of man."

Hardly, but since you clearly have not studied this to any great depth it is more understandable that you would think this. And as for "hatred of man"---one of the remarkable traits of the Objectivists on this forum is the palpable hatred and contempt for theists. Since that basically means the vast majority of the human race who have ever lived and are living now; and keeping in mind your earlier posts regarding man's nature and man's actions; then it would be reasonable, using your logic, to conclude that Objectivists hate man.

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And as for "hatred of man"---one of the remarkable traits of the Objectivists on this forum is the palpable hatred and contempt for theists. Since that basically means the vast majority of the human race who have ever lived and are living now; and keeping in mind your earlier posts regarding man's nature and man's actions; then it would be reasonable, using your logic, to conclude that Objectivists hate man.

There is a difference between hating man for being man and hating men for what they have chosen to be.

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Capitalism Forever,

You made my point for me: man is not evil, though he can choose to be so. This is what Catholicism teaches.

Felipe,

You stated: Speaking of childishness, complaining about the administrative actions taken against you in public is like Johnny complaining to the Joneses about how his parents never let him watch late-night TV."

That's a fair charge---my apologies for whining. Won't happen again.

You wrote: "Speaking of your presence here, you've not defended either of two major claims you've made during your stay--that faith does not contradict reason and that God exists--instead you've chosen to discuss the details of Catholic doctrine for days on end."

I've been asked a number of times what is my purpose here. In addition to my main purpose which I have already stated, I also stated that I was not here to argue against Objectivism (which would indeed be a violation of forum rules), but would correct mischaracterizations that I see of Catholicism. That is the only reason why I have chosen to discuss "details of Catholic doctrine for days on end." If forum members here would not state mischaracterizations regarding Catholic doctrine, I will not have to discuss those details.

As for the two topics you wish to discuss: I am curious: why do you wish to exclude Aquinas? I see no reason to, as it was my study of Aquinas (among others) that made a theist out of this atheist. Nor have I seen any reason to assume, as you do, that faith and reason are in opposition: they are simply two ways of discovering truth, and truth cannot contradict itself. Perhaps a better way of starting such a discussion would be for you to give me an example of what you perceive to be such a conflict.

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Reason and free will are goods. To demonize them would be to go against Catholic teaching. If you're going to make such claims, then back them up with quotes from the Catechism which say that these goods are, in fact, evil.

Let me give you an example of what kind of error you are making here. I will tell you that your behavior corresponds neither in form nor in character to the basic truths which are right or just. Of this sentence, you can make whatever you want. However, if you fail to conceptualize, you will come to a flawed conclusion. What is this sentence actually saying? I will synthesize it in order to come back to the same sentence I had in the beginning, before I applied the process of reduction to it (reduction means bringing concepts back down to percepts - the credit for my success at doing so should go partly to dictionary.com).

"Basic truths" is how the dictionary defines the principles. To correspond in form and in character means to conform. At this level of conceptualization the sentence goes thus: "Your behavior does not conform to the principles which are right or just." To conform to principles which are right or just means to be moral. Therefore, "Your behavior is immoral." In other words, you are morally bad, or to state it in the form of my original sentence, "You are evil."

So, what is the error you are making in the above statement? You fail to conceptualize that which is written. Now I'm not saying that things in the catechism are written in such form on purpose, in order to confuse people; I'm not talking about the catechism at all. What I'm saying is that to understand something fully, yours is not to follow the commands to the letter, like some sort of a machine, without ever stopping to look at the broader context. And this is what you do - your asking for a quote where reason and free will are "demonized" explicitly is exactly that. Only machines work solely by executing explicit statements. By blindly following orders, a machine can be an asset to total destruction and the same goes for man. By blindly clinging to that which is stated explicitly, you don't see what is said implicitly. And if you don't stop, and think and judge, you won't see the error you are making.

So books or other texts (this includes the catechism), do not always explicitly state everything they stand for. It is as you said when we still discussed Tolkien's books:

Not everyone needs everything spelled out plain as day for them to "get it".
Only while you were making the flaw of conceptualization from non-essentials then, now you are making the flaw of not conceptualizing at all! Using the quotes that MisterSwig provided (from the catechism) as the premises, there can be only one conclusion.

Edited to explain the thing about following explicit statements.

Edited by source

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You made my point for me

I also refuted your points below:

If human beings are not flawed, then why are they not all Objectivists? [...] why would there be a Holocaust, or torture, or cruelty [...] If someone understands Objectivism and rejects it, wouldn't that indicate a serious "flaw", since a perfect intellect and will would perfectly choose truth?

And as for "hatred of man"---one of the remarkable traits of the Objectivists on this forum is the palpable hatred and contempt for theists. Since that basically means the vast majority of the human race who have ever lived and are living now; and keeping in mind your earlier posts regarding man's nature and man's actions; then it would be reasonable, using your logic, to conclude that Objectivists hate man.

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Mister Swig,

Thank you for your quote from the Catechism, which conspicuously lacks the teaching that you say it does, namely, that the Church teaches that man's nature is evil. You're doing my work for me.

You know full well I wasn't trying to prove that "the Church teaches that man's nature is evil." The quotes I provided in my last post were in answer to your challenge regarding the definition I gave of concupiscence as a "tendency toward evil actions." My full case for Catholics teaching that man's nature is evil is found across two or three posts, in which are found several points that, to this day, you have completely ignored.

And now you ignore the fact that I just answered your pointed challenge with references and reason. Rather than admitting defeat--now that I've proven my case--you instead slyly try to reinvent the original challenge so that my quotes seem inadequate.

Notice also your consistent appeals to authority. In this example you claim that my quotes don’t prove my case, yet you offer zero evidence of this. I suppose we should take your word for it?

I spent a lot of time studying parts of the Catechism. I used quotes from it and the Bible to define "concupiscence" and "sin" for you. And basically all you have in response is the ability to say, "You're wrong!" Do you have any facts to back up your beliefs?

I find this comment of yours curious: "According to the Catechism, of which you are so fond"---why do you suppose I am "fond" of it? I refer to it because it is the "official", if you will, compilation of Church teaching. My feelings, whether of fondness or some other emotion, are not involved. Why do you suppose emotions of "fondness" are involved?

This is only your second paragraph and already you have strayed away from the real issues and straight into the realm of non-essentials.

Whether you are truly fond of the Catechism has nothing to do with the definition of concupiscence or the logic of my argument. Did I make the issue of "fondness" a major point in my case? No. It was a side comment--a tiny rhetorical device. Now you want to make it a bigger deal? I don’t think so. I have no interest in debating--at length--exactly how much you like the Catechism. I don’t care if you pee on the Catechism daily. My comment was based on the plain fact that you have a clear desire to visit ObjectivistLand and defend Catholicism by pointing at the Catechism.

The fact is: You have no argument against mine. This is merely another attempt to divert further attention away from the real issues at hand. I have provided quotes and reasoning to support my case--and you have, once again, not dealt with this evidence. You would rather nitpick over non-essentials, word choices, and phrasings.

There is nothing in any your posts which indicate an informed knowledge or evidence of serious study of this or any other Catholic doctrine. You are simply criticizing what you do not know, which is not a proper use of reason. And no, I did not ignore your post regarding the separation of action from identity: I disagreed with it, which is not the same thing.

You appeal to my ignorance of the Catholic doctrine, rather than actually showing how my posts indicate a lack of knowledge. This is a fallacy. Does it bother you that my ignorance does not prove your case? Does it bother you that my ignorance does not cause reason to appear in your posts? Have you countered my analysis of two quotes from the Catechism? No. Have you proven the existence of concupiscence? No. Where is your case? Is it caught up in my ignorance?

And I guess we'll just have to be content with your mere "disagreement" over the issue of separating identity from action, since you didn't bother to tell us why you disagree. Did God tell you to disagree? Do you have a shred of evidence to justify your disagreement?

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You are mistaken when you state, "1. First, it seems that to the Catholic our perfectly natural ability to think about rejecting God (or disobeying God's word) is an indication of Original Sin".

No, it's an indication of our having free will.

Of course it's an indication of free will! That was one of my points.

But what about the real point of that specific sentence: that, to the Catholic, this ability to think in opposition to God is an indication of Original Sin? You conveniently bypassed that part.

Does your argument consist of anything more than a simple "No"?

You wrote: "I personally believe concupiscence is a viscious fantasy designed to combat free will and reason. I would be willing to bet that the concept of "inherited sin" was a planned fraud originally invented to trick those who through the use of common sense and scientific findings were contemplating rejecting the myth of God, and thus were about to deprive the God-pushers of their blood money. When the rational thinker started on the path toward atheism, the God-pushers invented a new scheme. They started telling people that their inclination to reject God was a sign of their inherently flawed nature. And, thus, the concept of concupiscence was delivered unto man."

Ahh, it's a conspiracy! Now that explains everything....Frankly, I don't have a lot of respect for the intellects of those who indulge in such things.

I didn't claim that it was a conspiracy. I claimed it was a "fraud."

To explain further, a single priest could have invented the idea of concupiscence. He then could have spread this fraudulent idea down through his church or congregation, claiming it as the truth. This would be similar to how parents pass on the lie of Santa Claus to their children. Parents don't generally tell you it's a lie. You have to discover the truth on your own. Similarly, the inventor of concupiscence wouldn't have told his flock that it was a lie. He would try to convince them it was the truth, in order to keep them around to support his ministry. This is only a theory, of course. It is a theory to explain the existence of the concept of concupiscence.

You may not believe that such evil, scheming people could exist in the Church. I do. You may not believe that Christianity is a deliberately evil system. I do, and I'm trying to prove it.

Your simple disbelief, however, is not an argument. You have done nothing to prove my theory impossible. Thus, it stands as a theory. I don't claim to have proven it yet, but I do claim to have presented some evidence to support it--evidence which you simply refuse to consider.

Also, I don't care if you lack "respect" for my intellect. I'm not seeking your respect. I hope to gain the respect of people who use reason and logic, not faith and fallacies.

Nor does this make much sense: "There's no such thing as concupiscence. It's a myth. It is most likely an attempt to demonize our human nature of reason and free will."

Reason and free will are goods. To demonize them would be to go against Catholic teaching. If you're going to make such claims, then back them up with quotes from the Catechism which say that these goods are, in fact, evil.

AqAd, you are the one claiming the existence of concupiscence. Yet you have offered no proof of its existence. I have countered your weak attempts at proof, such as pointing to the evil in the world. And you have offered no response.

Rather than focusing on proving anything remotely connected to your case for concupiscence, you instead jump on my theory for why someone would spread the fantasy of a sinful nature.

You, AqAd, are falling behind in this debate. You have literally given up trying to prove concupiscence. I am now offering evidence and theories for your Church's evil nature, and still all you can do is demand more quotes from the Catechism? Why don't you deal with the quotes and reasoning I've already provided? You give me no incentive to return to the Catechism, only to pull out more quotes for you to ignore.

"We are conceptual animals, born with moral blank slates."

Perhaps you don't know many parents of large families, which might explain a comment so easily disproved.

Appeal to ignorance.

No parent of a large family would agree with you, based on their observations of reality.

Appeal to authority.

Some kids are more difficult than others (and yes, in the moral arena) despite consistent upbringing.

First of all, no kid has the same upbringing, if that's what you're trying to imply. Every kid has different personal experiences and is exposed to different ideas. To determine why a kid is acting a certain way, you should first look into his personal history of experiences and perhaps what he was taught.

The fact that some kids are "more difficult" than others is just more evidence to prove my case: that we are born with moral blank slates. Each kid develops his own moral status, through his own use of free will and his own chosen actions. Thus, due to the nature of human choice, it is expected that you'll see some bad kids, especially if they learn and accept bad ideas or mimic bad actions.

If, as you say, we were born with concupiscence, then you should expect every kid of "consistent upbringing" to be equally problematic, due to inheriting the same sinful nature as Adam. In your scenario, we wouldn't get much variation in moral status. However, if kids are born with a moral blank slate and free will, moral differences would be normal.

Before leaving this topic, I just want to point out that, though you gave us a fact, you did not connect this fact to your conclusion. How does the fact that some kids are worse than others show the existence of concupiscence? How does it show that we are not born with moral blank slates?

You wrote: "I also want to point out--very briefly--that even if we did have a concupiscent nature, it would prove nothing about the existence of God or Original Sin"

I never claimed that it did. Next straw-man, please...

I didn't say this was your personal position, did I? I was merely making some general points, as I indicated in my post.

"Promoting the idea of concupiscence is evidence of a true, deep, and sinister hatred of man."

Hardly, but since you clearly have not studied this to any great depth it is more understandable that you would think this.

How many times are you going to tell me what I haven't studied? I'm eagerly anticipating any evidence you have for this claim.

And as for "hatred of man"---one of the remarkable traits of the Objectivists on this forum is the palpable hatred and contempt for theists. Since that basically means the vast majority of the human race who have ever lived and are living now; and keeping in mind your earlier posts regarding man's nature and man's actions; then it would be reasonable, using your logic, to conclude that Objectivists hate man.

I see, so promoting concupiscence is not evidence for a deep hatred of man, because why? Because Objectivists hate theists!

Talk about ad hominems.

Whether Objectivists hate theists has nothing to do with whether Catholics hate man.

Besides, your characterization of us is a straw man. I can't speak for all Objectivists, of course. But personally I hate Christian fundamentalists, not all theists. I get along with some unorthodox Jews and Deists, and even some unchurched, non-political Christians. But that is beside the point.

Catholics hate man as a rational animal, because rational animals tend to use perception and reason to uncover the evil of Christianity. They call us lost sheep, sinners, unbelievers. Our nature they label sinful, concupiscent. They tell us we are going to hell for not having faith in Jesus and surrendering our lives to his dictatorial rule.

Humans use reason to discover the facts--to reject the fantasy of God--and ultimately to reveal Christianity's evil nature. This is why, in the Christian world, reason must be villified, while faith is glorified.

Edited by MisterSwig

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Mister Swig,

Let me try to address your assertions one by one---this might take a while, so try to be patient.

You wrote: "But what about the real point of that specific sentence: that, to the Catholic, this ability to think in opposition to God is an indication of Original Sin? You conveniently bypassed that part."

I didn't "bypass" it, I disagreed with the premise that Catholics think that. You might forget: I am a Catholic. The "ability to think in opposition to God" is not, as you claim, an indication of Original Sin but is a logical consequence of free will. Free will entails the freedom to reject God.

You stated, "You may not believe that such evil, scheming people could exist in the Church. I do. You may not believe that Christianity is a deliberately evil system. I do, and I'm trying to prove it."

Well, you'll just have to try a bit harder, as I'm not persuaded. But I'm enjoying your efforts. As for the existence of "evil, scheming people" existing in the Church, why, I believe that. It's a fact of life. But to suggest that these people are responsible for "concept of concupiscence" is not plausible. The Church has existed far longer than any other institution in the West, and false concepts tend to fall away with the passage of time. In any case, the concept of concupiscence pre-dates the Church, coming as it does from Judaism.

You wrote: "Your simple disbelief, however, is not an argument. You have done nothing to prove my theory impossible. Thus, it stands as a theory. I don't claim to have proven it yet, but I do claim to have presented some evidence to support it--evidence which you simply refuse to consider."

You can propose any theory, no matter how fantastic, and it's likely that no one could "prove" that it's impossible. So that particular "argument" doesn't say much. History, however, doesn't support your theory: as I mentioned, the concept of concupiscence predates the Church, and is a concept shared by many of the world's religions. Thus, the idea of a few evil and scheming Church members concocting this concept is not plausible.

You wrote: "AqAd, you are the one claiming the existence of concupiscence. Yet you have offered no proof of its existence."

Humans do not have perfectly strong wills and perfect intellects, but instead show a range of capabilities in those areas. The idea that people are perfect, and always choose rationally, is not supported by observation. Concupisence is simply the recognition that man is not perfect in these areas: his concept of what is good and wise is not always in accord with reality, and man tends to pursue lesser values in his search for happiness, for a variety of reasons that correspond to defects in will and intellect. This is simply what is called "concupiscence". Observation of man indicates its existence.

You wrote: "I am now offering evidence and theories for your Church's evil nature, and still all you can do is demand more quotes from the Catechism? Why don't you deal with the quotes and reasoning I've already provided? "

You haven't offered any evidence, but have simply given your opinion. The quotes you have provided (thank you) don't say what you claim they do, and I don't see "reasoning"---I see your opinion. This does not constitute a reasoned, logical argument.

I've got to run--I'll answer more later if I have time.

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Humans do not have perfectly strong wills and perfect intellects, but instead show a range of capabilities in those areas. The idea that people are perfect, and always choose rationally, is not supported by observation. Concupisence is simply the recognition that man is not perfect in these areas: his concept of what is good and wise is not always in accord with reality, and man tends to pursue lesser values in his search for happiness, for a variety of reasons that correspond to defects in will and intellect. This is simply what is called "concupiscence". Observation of man indicates its existence.

I am not arguing that people "always choose rationally." So I don't know who you're arguing against with that attack. I think you are concocting a straw man so that your fantasy seems plausible.

Observation of man does not indicate the existence of concupiscence. It indicates the existence of free will.

Free will enables man to choose rationally or irrationally, right or wrong, good or bad. That's why it's called free. We have choice. None of this indicates that we have inherited a supernatural sinful nature.

Again, you are not recognizing the connection between identity and action. An entity's identity determines its actions. A human being has free will. Thus he can choose the correct path or the incorrect path. He can make mistakes or hit the bullseye.

You want to label a certain set of human actions "mistakes" or "sins." Then claim that these sins prove that he has a concupiscent nature. That's ridiculously evasive of man's very nature as a free-willing creature.

Edited by MisterSwig

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