To be clear, this is not a heresy as defined by the Catholic Church, but rather one that I observe to be so insidiously pervasive in society that whole nations and their Judeo-Christian moral compasses have been recalibrated based on a new North. It is the old standard of Idolatry with a relativistic twist.
This is what prompts my thoughts. Because of how I understand original sin and the Genesis narrative on what it means to be human and to use God’s help to fulfill my human intelligent progression, the default for humans is not good, but rather what I think fulfills my urges and animal tendencies inherited from my DNA and animalistic tendencies (sex, pain, domination, all those things in Galatians 5 that come from the flesh).
Humans are created good, like butterflies and honey bees, but unlike animals, they have reason, and most importantly the ability to choose each moment of their lives. Human memory can store some of these choices, and we remember what is good or bad for us so we don’t do it again. The problem comes when God becomes one of us to tell us we must go against those needs and die to these ideas that emanate from our humanity to actually step up to the next level of our evolution, one that requires a choice that seems to contradict nature, reason, and how I feel. Human nature does not possess the power to raise itself up to that next level, just as it had to have help in the transition from animality to rationality. That power is from the source of life outside of matter or mind and is incorruptible. It is pure energy from the source of pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service. We dare not look upon the face of this energy directly, like looking at the Sun without protection. Our protector, our transformer, our mediator, our kinsman is none other than God the Son (Philippians 2:5), who bought us back from having only one option (to learn how to be human using only what the individual mind can assimilate as what is real and what is true about what is real) to that of tapping into what God has revealed to humans about how to reach that next step in the evolutionary intelligent progression of our species. (See Teilhard’s Perspective below to view the “spine of reality” or a cosmic pathway in which we get to choose our individual pathway and achieve the fullness of our human nature. We must work for it. We must endure pain and suffering for it. We must die for it.
IDOLATRY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MIND: The rise in the pro-life approach to life as excluding God in favor of humans being the ultimate decider of life. This is the anarchy of the individual mind to hold whatever they want to believe (which I support), but also its assumption that just because I have the right to believe something makes it suitable.
Heresies are those thoughts that are not authentic regarding the Tradition of the Catholic Church. They are not authentic because the Church has judged them to be shallow and inconsistent with the flow of Faith and its concomitant belief in each age. I am not talking here about a one-time disruption in the chain of logically held principles of morality from the Judeo-Christian tradition (e.g., the ten commandments, Beatitudes, and Scriptures). This is strictly a twentieth and twenty-first-century phenomenon based on intellectual anarchy and the ever-increasing atheism of the world. Check out this site about the rise of atheism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfnw6sOj8ao I don’t challenge these statistics at all but rather ask the question, “If it is true that a-theists or a-gnostics are on the rise, and this is true, is there a correlation between this and the rise of movements that permeate legislatures and thus laws in all counties and have won the PR battles on media that one has the right to believe in whatever and society must allow them to do whatever they choose as reality and no one may challenge them or stop them? These opinions have coalesced into prominent and dominant movements to the extent that they have co-opted both lower and higher education in every part of the country and have become the new dogma that no one may challenge without being shamed or blacklisted.
THE PRIMACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MIND TRUMPS THE PRIMACY OF GOD: If life today is a football game, God is losing. We have Presidents, Congressmen, Congresswomen, and Supreme Court that make daily decisions based on what is easy versus right. Why is that? The notion that God is the one immutable principle against which all are measured is related and degraded to that of your personal opinion that should not be forced on anyone. But, that opinion, strangely enough, is foisted on me in the name of fairness and justice.
Humans don’t want to be told what to do. I don’t. This trait, no doubt inherited in our collective DNA, informs my decision-making. I choose what interests me at the moment. Counting out every other human being on the planet, I make decisions of YES or NO based on my needs. Ironically, this is how our species adapted to being human. No one tells me what is good for me if I don’t want to listen to it. In that, I am different from all other reality. This is one of the reasons I suggest that there is an entirely separate universe, although contained in the physical one that is the basis for our existence.
THE PERSUASION OF PAIN
B.F. Skinner, at least when I studied him at Indiana Universe School of Business, as one way (cognitive is the other) to manage people, stresses the behavior with stimulants and responses (pain or the lack of it). He used rats as proof of operant conditioning, or how we set up situations where we go if there is a treat, and don’t go, if it causes pain. That sounds like what is going on, not only in our society with the moral questions and their individual behaviors but also on a global scale, with some counties bullying others just because they can inflict pain on others to force others to do what they say. This is economic and agricultural blackmail to have others conform to your will. If this sounds familiar, I would argue that it is the default of all behaviors based on Original Sin. Animals, if you recall, don’t have the reason and freedom to move outside of their nature to choose what is unnatural (an aardvark wants to be a butterfly, for example). These behaviors, pain, and avoidance typify what it means to be human without God, without an alternative.
There may be more instincts to move humans to make choices (good for them or bad for their nature), but two that I think “boiled over”the line from animality to rationality are the sex drive and pain. “Boiled over” comes from Teilhard de Chardin’s notion of progressive movement from simplicity to complexity. http://www.teilhardforbeginners.com/ I call this movement intelligent design because I assume that God created all and left fingerprints (DNA) in the matter based on their respective nature; below is a chart that I find helpful. I don’t have an attribution for it, but it is perfect for understanding the progressive nature of being.
In its search for meaning, humanity, over the centuries, flirted with various taxonomies of what it means to be human, a significant component of which was the notion of gods or something, not them, to which they could make sense out of sexual promiscuity, procreation, sexual deviation, and how humans should act. Pain, no less, was part of the human experience and continues today. We have physical pain, pain that comes from childbirth, pain that comes from cancer, just plain getting old and losing control of our bodies and minds, and aches and headaches. Additionally, there is depression, mental illness, the results of wars and separation, earthquakes, and floods that inflict suffering of a different type than personal pain.
Read the blogs on pain to gain a profound awareness of what it means to be human.
Societies try to deal with these two (and many more) unintended consequences of our “bubbling over” from animality to rationality. Into this crucible of human progression, I am born of parents who nurture me and give me the tools to survive the martyrdom of ordinary living. Being human, although a tiny one, I can and do say YES or NO to what I don’t like because it doesn’t taste good, makes me feel embarrassed, or hurts. I don’t like going to the dentist. This is an excellent example of how humans don’t want pain but need to fill the decay in their teeth with something that does not hurt.
Operant conditioning works well with animals who don’t have human reasoning or free choice. We are the only species I am aware of that can actually choose pain or the contradiction of our nature. If I want to have goodness or what God tells me is good for me (Ten Commandments and Galatians 5), sometimes I must endure pain (physical or psychological) to choose something that is ultimately good for me that my humanity says doesn’t make any sense. If I want love to be there, I must put it there intentionally.
Within the confines of my personal life, I must try to answer three cosmic questions that influence how I move forward in my quest to become more like what my nature intended me to be as a result of intelligent progression.
Both the questions and answers to these three questions come from our Father, who does not want to see humans floundering in their own inability to move forward in their evolution of knowledge, love, and service. Jesus came to give us The Divine Equation, the six questions and answers God provided to humans for them to become adopted sons and daughters of the Father. This inheritance means you have the questions and answers to The Divine Equation. This equation does not tell us who God is, for we have neither the capacity nor the capability to assimilate into our consciousness even if we knew it, which we don’t. Jesus came to be a ransom for the many so that we could appreciate The Divine Equation and begin to see our destiny “as through a foggy window.” We all are challenged to use our reason and choices for THE TRUTH to begin to appreciate the meaning of adoption by the Father. All we can say in response is “Thank you,” (the Eucharistic sacrifice of Christ to the Father with us tagging along in fear of the Lord). We know God gives us what we need to survive this sometimes rocky road of Faith by giving us seven gifts of Faith that increase God’s energy and re-establishes our covenant with God.
The Church are those in heaven who have braved the temptations of the world and are now in heaven, those who have died but are given a second chance in Purgatory to do penance and reparation for their sins, and those of us on earth, still trying to stave off the influences of the World and live in the toxic atmosphere of the earth until we reach the next level of our humanity, but in heaven.
Until then, each day, I use Lay Cistercian (Cistercian) spirituality to place myself in the presence of Christ and soak up the energy of the Holy Spirit as I am able (capacitas dei), converting myself to be what I think an adopted son (daughter) is.
MY PENITENTIAL PRACTICES