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Why the church should eliminate all holy days of obligation and apologize for ever having such a dumb idea in the first place

by Crowhill on 9 December 2016

Yesterday was the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which is a “holy day of obligation” for Catholics. That means Catholics have to go to mass (unless they have a valid excuse) on pain of mortal sin. If a person commits a mortal sin he’s in danger of Hell. This whole scheme is dumb and the church should eliminate all holy days of obligation.

I realize there are all kinds of excuses and exceptions and caveats to the obligatory part here, but when it comes right down to it the church created one more way for people to go to Hell.

That is ridiculous, and to illustrate why, consider this.

Let’s say that when my kids were little and I made rules for them, I had the option of making two types of rules. A Type 1 rule was just a regular rule that kids were supposed to obey, but a Type 2 rule was a mortal rule. If they violated a Type 2 rule they were in danger of going to Hell — unless they followed my rules and procedures about how to get pardoned for violating a mortal rule.

If I had that power, do you think I would ever create a Type 2 rule? Ever?

Of course I wouldn’t. Because no matter how many exceptions I make, or how easy I made it for them to get back on the good side, the bottom line is still the same. I have put them in mortal danger.

I’m leaving aside the (perfectly valid) question whether the church even has the power to impose such an obligation. I’ll take that as a given (for the sake of argument) and simply say that if the church does have such a power it should never use it.

It reminds me very much of other people who “tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders ….”

Should the church declare holy days? Of course. Should the church encourage people to go to church on holy days? Sure. But this “obligation” stuff is too much and they need to get rid of it.

21 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-09  ::  Crowhill



Freedom of religion is more than freedom of worship

by Crowhill on 9 December 2016

There’s a dangerous notion going around today that freedom of religion is the same thing as freedom of worship. I’ve read many stories where people complain their religious freedom is being attacked, and the responses are often along the lines of “nobody’s stopping you from going to church.”

Confusing those two concepts substantially lowers the bar on freedom of religion. It limits freedom of religion to the right to attend worship, which is not what it’s about.

Religion is more than belief or worship. It’s also practice.

I saw this concept in an unlikely place today — an article about Neanderthals.

Anthropologists have long wondered if Neanderthals were religious — mostly because of burial customs. But … it’s hard to say. There are non-religious reasons to bury the dead, to bury certain things with them, and to have other burial customs or rituals. IOW, ritual is not the same as religion.

Raising the question about Neanderthals and religion shows that religion is more than belief. When we ask, “were Neanderthals religious,” we look for evidence of what they did.

But how do we know if something is a ritual or just a custom, or whether some religious belief lies behind it?

The military does a lot of things that could be described as rituals, but that doesn’t make them religious rituals.

So while ritual actions might not indicate belief, there are clearly ritual actions that are tied to belief. And it’s not just a matter of going to church on Sunday or bowing in a certain direction five times a day.

Religion affects what and when people eat, how they dress, how they handle their money, what words they must or must not say, and many more things. Limiting “freedom of religion” to worship or belief opens the door for restricting lots of religious activity.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-09  ::  Crowhill



Trump looks like a conservative so far

by Crowhill on 8 December 2016

A lot of conservatives opposed Trump because they didn’t think he was a real conservative.

Time will tell, but based on his picks for cabinet positions he looks like the most conservative president I’ve ever seen.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-08  ::  Crowhill



“Post-truth”? Word of the year for 2016?

by Crowhill on 6 December 2016

The Oxford dictionary has chosen “post-truth” as its word of the year for 2016.

Def: “an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.'”

Well enough. But you know how this is going to be used.

The boys at First Things discuss it in a recent podcast. (Skip past the boring stuff about Castro.)

“Post-truth” is part of a package that includes “fake news,” “denialism,” and “voting against their own interests.” It’s liberal self-congratulatory talk. They know the truth, the real news, what is objectively true and what’s in everybody else’s best interests. Of course.

Not that there isn’t fake news. Not that people don’t deny reality or misunderstand where their interests lie. But the preening, “we so smart” smugness from the left is hugely irritating. And not based in reality.

Note that the NPR story on the selection of the word points out Trump’s falsities (as it should!) but doesn’t mention Obama’s lie of the year (“if you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan”) or any of Clinton’s audacious lies.

Yes, Trump is a nutty liar. Yes, his supporters didn’t seem to care. But the same can be said of Obama and Clinton. (Without as much of the nutty part. They’re calculating, high-minded liars.)

So … “post-truth” it is. We seem to have given up caring whether a story is true or false, only whether it supports “the narrative” we want to push.

Along those lines, it’s rather funny that leftist academics are worried about “post truth,” since they’ve been telling us for a long time that “truth” is a malleable concept and is more often than not just a ruse to exercise power.

In any event, welcome to the era of post truth.

Now, the big question. How can we make money from it?

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-06  ::  Crowhill



God bless this man

by Crowhill on 5 December 2016

I don’t care if he’s right or wrong. It doesn’t matter. This is what the military needs to hear, and this is what commanders need to be saying.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-05  ::  Crowhill



Are universities criminalizing what guys do? Have thin-skinned feminists taken over?

by Crowhill on 4 December 2016

Has the world gone crazy, or is it just the hyper-liberalized universities that are criminalizing the way guys have always behaved?

I’ve seen several stories along these lines recently.

Harvard Men’s Soccer Team Sidelined For Rest Of Season Over Sexist Emails

I thought women were supposed to be tough. And what about “sticks and stones” and all that? These are just words, after all. And from what I hear, when women get together the conversation isn’t always Sunday School material either.

The thing is, I can see it both ways. I can imagine behavior that is so crude and over the top that a suspension would be appropriate. OTOH, I can imagine a feminist witch hunt against guys being guys. Since this is at a university, I suspect the latter. And there are indications of that in the article.

Among the horrible crimes these fellows are guilty of is that they ranked women’s attractiveness with numerical values. Wow. That’s pretty awful. Calling somebody an eight is now a hate crime.

This is something that activists and extremists often do. In their desperate search to find the bogeyman, they start to criminalize normal stuff. They might even have a decent case if they focus on actions and words that sane people can agree are over the top. But they need a never-ending supply of ideas for new doctoral theses, so they start looking around for the hidden, subtle problems that nobody else can see. They start talking about dog whistles and code words and secret motivations, and how systematic racism / sexism has taken over. It becomes racist to give a black man directions, and it’s sexist to open a door for a woman, or to sit comfortably on the subway.

The universities have taken their dudgeon so far that normal folk don’t trust them anymore. They seem like crazy people.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-04  ::  Crowhill



Go ahead, Democrats. Fight.

by Crowhill on 1 December 2016

This is a confusing bit of work: It’s time for Democrats to fight dirty (As if they haven’t been?)

He accuses Republican leaders of “pouring sand into the gas tank of representative democracy” by opposing Obama.

No. That’s what representative democracy is all about. There is no king. Obama wasn’t king, and Trump won’t be either. We want divided government. We want opposing views. We want there to be fights and disagreements. We absolutely don’t want any party or any political perspective or any group of any kind or description to get everything it wants.

Mr. Faris (the author of the article above) goes on to list a few of the alleged sins of the Republicans — like, for example, not giving Merrick Garland a vote.

They were entirely within their rights. Nothing in the constitution requires that we have nine Supreme Court justices, and nothing requires Congress to consider a president’s nomination. Absolutely nothing.

Faris hopes voters will …

… remove [Republicans] from office, and replace them with people that at least care whether the U.S. constitutional system is able to function as designed.

This is crazy talk. It’s functioning precisely as designed. He’s just sore that things aren’t going his way.

And now it will be the Democrats’ turn to fight and resist and oppose.

At long last, Democrats must learn from their tormenters: Obstruct. Delay. Delegitimize. Harass. Destroy. Above all: Do. Not. Help. This. Man. Govern.

I don’t agree with the Democrats’ agenda or goals, but I say go for it — because nobody can be trusted with power. If I could find a politician who agreed with me on every little thing, I would still not want him to be an unopposed ruler and get his way all the time. We need an opposition party. When a leader emerges we have to have other people snapping at his heels.

American government is designed to be a political game of “kill the guy with the ball.” Or “King of the Hill,” or whatever version of that game you played as a kid. Knock down the guy on top.

So, yes, Democrats. Fight. Fight dirty. Do whatever you think you need to.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-01  ::  Crowhill



On seeming fair and feeling foul

by Crowhill on 1 December 2016

The Tolkien fans among you will get the reference. It came to mind as I was listening to some George Harrison this morning. Specifically, “Give Me Love.” (Which is a cool song with some very weird Hare Krishna lyrics.)

Anyway, when you think of a song like that — or any other peace and love sort of song — you naturally think of the political left. They’re the ones who glom onto that stuff as if “all you need is love” is some sort of wise political philosophy.

Never mind that you’re sleeping around, spreading STDs, making children outside of wedlock, etc. You feel good because it’s all about love, man, and you’re not judging anybody. (Or so you tell yourself.)

The left has captured that “love and peace and tolerance” angle in the popular imagination, but not because they deserve it. It’s a case of seeming all peace and love, but not living up to it.

It’s like your two uncles. One of them is always laughing, telling you not to worry, to have a good time, to hang out with fun people, to not be so uptight, etc., while the other one is always telling you to invest, to do your homework, to make good friends, etc.

Which one is the loving one? Which advice sounds like “peace and love,” and which advice actually is “peace and love”?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-01  ::  Crowhill



Haunted by your own creation

by Crowhill on 1 December 2016

A long, long time ago I wrote a story about John Matthews and Jillian Collins. I worked on that story for years. Writing, rewriting, revising, changing things around. Then I set it aside and wrote a completely different story — about the same two characters. Then another. Then two more.

I thought I had them out of my system, but recently another John and Jillian tale grabbed onto me. I just finished the first draft this morning.

Will these two haunt me my whole life?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-12-01  ::  Crowhill



Online radicalization of young white men? (Oops!)

by Crowhill on 30 November 2016

(Apparently the story on which this post is based was a wildly successful troll. See Jeff’s comment below.)

This is absolutely hilarious. You have to read this article about the online radicalization of young white men.

‘Alt-right’ online poison nearly turned me into a racist

The guy — uh, wait. I assume it’s a guy. He refers to his wife, but that doesn’t prove anything these days.

So the author started listening to Sam Harris and Milo Yiannopoulos and was so afraid of the ideas that he revolted in terror and scrambled back to his safe, progressive rabbit hole.

But the funny part is at the end.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Online radicalisation of young white men. It’s here, it’s serious, and I was lucky to be able to snap out of it when I did.

Yes, he’s so brave.

But this is such a classic reaction.

Islamic lunatics do crazy, evil stuff, so to maintain their feeling of fair-mindedness the left has to search around for somebody on the other side who does equally crazy, evil stuff. And they latch onto Christians. Yeah, that’s the ticket. They also do crazy, evil stuff. Or at least they did six centuries ago. Aha! (All’s fair in delusional moral equivalency.)

In a similar way, we have this on-going problem of people being radicalized by Islamic rhetoric, so the left has to desperately hunt around for some right-wing equivalence. And this is what they come up with? People who listen to Milo and Sam Harris?

Sure. Because Milo is telling people to attack innocents with knives, and Harris is encouraging people to fly planes into buildings. And both of them want women in the hijab — preferably at home, and never driving a car. And Milo has been known to push homosexuals off the roofs of buildings. Or … at least to consider throwing himself off of one. Or something like that.

Amazing.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-11-30  ::  Crowhill

2016-11-22 :: Crowhill // General
The Pareto Principle
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