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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fresh Pope!

When The Pope drops new science I suggest reading it straight from the Vatican website. Consider the following conflicting (and in some cases misleading) headlines:

Pope writes: Sex without love deceives
Pope: Church must influence political leaders
(note:  this headline is simply false; the Pope said the exact opposite.)
Pope defends marriage while eschewing politics (he actually avoided the marriage debate in this encyclical.)
Pope: Church must help the poor
Church must fight injustice through charity, pope writes

The point being that people of varying degrees of cognitive capabilities from a broad spectrum of morality will interpret the Pope's message in different ways. His message is too important to be filtered through the media. Without further adieu, fresh Pope:

"3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient  Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the  three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather  infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples.

The tendency  to avoid the word eros, together with the new vision of love expressed  through the word agape, clearly point to something new and distinct about the Christian understanding of love. In the critique of Christianity which began with the Enlightenment and grew progressively more radical, this new element was seen as something thoroughly negative. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, Christianity had poisoned eros, which for its part, while not completely  succumbing, gradually degenerated into vice.[1]

Here the German philosopher was expressing a widely-held perception: doesn't the Church, with all her commandments and prohibitions, turn to bitterness the most precious thing in life? Doesn't she blow the whistle just when the joy which is the Creator's gift offers us a happiness which is itself a certain foretaste of the Divine?

4. But is this the case? Did Christianity really destroy eros? Let us  take a look at the pre- Christian world..."

Posted by Anonalogue on January 26, 2006 | Permalink


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Tracked on 2006-03-03 8:52:15 PM


All aspects of our humanity have been corrupted by the fall, including our sexuality. The Bible speaks of the honorable estate of marriage, yet warns, "let the marriage bed not be defiled". The devil seems to take particular delight in taking this gift of God and corrupting it. Pure, holy, chaste -- not exactly what passes today as "Canadian values". Instead, these values are more likely to be mocked.

Posted by: Richard Ball | 2006-01-26 2:44:58 PM

I'll try for a third time, after having received an email from Mr. Levant (thank you, Ezra), indicating my original comment(s) should not have been deleted.

How can the Pope know anything about eros?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 5:14:28 PM

Another point as well.. the "Christian" belief about various forms of love is actually taken from Greek philosophy. If from a Christian perspective, one wants to discuss "love" in "Pre-Christian" days, it seems to me that focussing on Hebrew tradition would be more important than focussing on Greek Philosophy.

But then, it is true that much of what Paul wrote was taken from Greek philosophy (as well as other non Hebrew philosophies).

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 5:25:12 PM

Luckily, the Pope doesn't depend entirely on his own intellect or experience. Thus, through 2000 + years of Christian life and experience, reflected through revelation and tradition, he has more than himself to turn to to draw conclusions. A very good education is also helpful.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-27 6:40:28 PM

"Luckily, the Pope doesn't depend entirely on his own intellect or experience."

In other words, belief. Not "knowing."

"he has more than himself to turn to to draw conclusions."

Ah, the experiences of others, which can only be communicated through words - I bet the Pope would NEVER be able to KNOW what a state of "eros" for me, is in reality.

Unless of course, he knows the Palm Sisters.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 6:48:34 PM

All protestant Christian churches should often back the Pope in most case's. Be great protestant churches have the Pope something such as the Arch-Bishop of The Church of England is.Christ wants Christians united plus this way Christianity would have more of a good effect upon society.Especially to smarting the liberal ideology up or away from it's non-good ethical push on society.

Posted by: Larry | 2006-01-27 6:49:40 PM


Right, wrong, truth and reason exist AND ARE KNOWABLE. Because someone 'believes' something does not mean he doesn't know it. Man has reason.

An excellent exercise in logic would be to read some Peter Kreeft, (Univ.Boston) an excellent contemporary philosopher, and very 'logical'.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-27 6:53:22 PM

"All protestant Christian churches should often back the Pope in most case's."

Really? On some issues, I agree. Such as former Pope's beliefs about abortion.

".Christ wants Christians united plus this way Christianity would have more of a good effect upon society."

Seriously? Ever hear of the what terrible things occured during the Medaeaval ages because a Pope ordered those things to happen? It was supposed to be "good" for unity. Unity is always good when there are very few who question.

"Especially to smarting the liberal ideology up or away from it's non-good ethical push on society."

Ah, yes. The Protestant Reformation be damned! Those Protestants, who encouraged learning for all, not just a priestly class, were far too much "liberal."

Of course, burning at the stake could still be a punishment for those who might have their own mind, and who question "The Doctrine."

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 6:56:09 PM

"Right, wrong, truth and reason exist AND ARE KNOWABLE"

So you KNOW that man walked on the moon, how, exactly?

I agree that believing something does not mean that one does not also know something. However, there is a difference between believing something that one does not have personal knowledge of "knowing."

Please tell me how you "KNOW" man walked on the moon. You MAY have a preponderance of evidence that leads you to a belief; in fact, the belief may be so strong that you'd ridicule others who do not share the belief, but how do YOU KNOW?

You don't KNOW, unless you were there, on the moon, yourself.

Eros, being what it is, is UNKNOWABLE by anyone who has not experienced eros. Anyone not experiencing it can only IMAGINE it. Imagine and knowing are not the same.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 7:00:15 PM


History aside (and i 'believe' you've been reading the wrong books) if you read anything Benedict xi or John Paul ll have written-anything- you can't miss the fact that they have a great love for all of humanity. That's why many protestant leaders and believers have a great respect and admiration for them. Even non-Christians.

Read something worthwhile and FEEL the love. (of course its difficult to read non-fiction while watching horror flicks...)

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-27 7:04:33 PM

"fact that they have a great love for all of humanity."

You mean a love for the concept of loving humanity?

Can you point to "humanity?" Are you suggesing that these Popes were so omniscient that they could point to me, Ian Scott, and say, "I love Ian Scott?"

I think you've been reading the wrong books, if you are incapable of differenting between reality and silly mysticism.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 7:10:00 PM

Another thought crossed my mind, seeing as this article was originally posted by Anonalogue. I wonder what the Pope would think of Anonalogue's actions of "love" toward others. I wonder if the Pope would approve of this sort of "love."

Just my rambling thoughts here....

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 7:32:29 PM

The pope DOES love you Ian. He loves you because God made you , and he loves God. That would be -agape.

I love you too. I don't know if I like you, but For the sake of God, whether you like it or not, many Christians love you.

Is that silly or what?

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-27 7:34:01 PM

Yeah, that's silly. Do you have kids? Do you have a wife? Do you have parents?

Hell, I could be a computer program that has been programmed to type out responses to comments. You think you could love that? You don't even KNOW I exist. You only imagine I do.

Do Christians also love members of Al Qaida? If so, what does this mean as far as a response to them?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 7:45:14 PM

Tell me something, lwestin.. do you "love" Osama Bin Laden, love him so much, enough to try to bring him to justice, to such a degree, that 5 children were killed in Pakistan last week, trying to kill Bin Laden's deputies?

Is that the kind of "love" you're talking about?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 7:50:12 PM

I have husband (eros), and 8 kids. 2 in college, the rest still homeschooling. I'm talking to you while chatting online with the college boys.

Christians do love Al Quida . Everybody. That's what Christian means. It isn't easy to love your enemy, or even your family for that matter. So I'm happy to leave the response (to Al Quida) to the guy who has the responsibility, while taking care of my responsibilities in a Christian manner, raising my own tribe of Christians.

Posted by: lwestin | 2006-01-27 8:39:57 PM

" It isn't easy to love your enemy, or even your family for that matter."

Really? I've never had a problem loving. Especially my family.

"So I'm happy to leave the response (to Al Quida) to the guy who has the responsibility,"


Yup, give someone else responsibility for the "reaction," regardless of your "love."

Are you sure you really want to continue in this direction?

Imagine if "Jesus" had said that before dying on the cross.

You people are hillarious, the way you can finaggle your way out of being responsible for your own beliefs, thoughts, and of course, "loves" as well.

So may I infer you don't expect responsibility from those "above you" to have Christian love for others?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 9:11:10 PM

Anyhow.. back to the original comment. How can the Pope know about eros?

Merely by what others have written? Therefore, he can only imagine?

I'm off to bed, been a long day watching a human being slowly waste away, as God's "love" watches over him.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-27 9:13:27 PM

This is why I deleted his comments and will delete all future Ian Scott comments. I and many other bloggers have found his argumentation to be of breathtakingly poor quality in virtually every engagement.

For what ever reason, this chap appears to be obessed with me and extremely angry in general; it is said he is fond of the drink. Anyhoo, I won't let him use my posts here to continue his childish chat-room antics and launch personal attacks, even if he feels he is "entitled" to do so.

Posted by: Anonalogue | 2006-01-28 9:27:45 AM

Well, I've been following this discussion with a great deal of interest, and I have to say, Anonalogue, that I don't understand what you are talking about when you accuse Ian of being obsessed with you.

He has mentioned your name in exactly one comment -- by referring to you as the author of this post (which, since it has your name on it, would seem to be correct). I see nothing "angry" about his comments. I see no childish comments, and I see no personal attacks.

And for someone who is accusing another of being "fond of the drink" (and eluding responsibility by passing it to a third, unknown party, who "says" it), you are being remarkably incoherent, yourself.

Personally, I have been enjoying this discussion, and watching the thought processes that bring different peoiple to their own conclusions. It would be nice if this were allowed to continue.

It seems, however, that Anonalogue has decided to limit discussion. Is this a logical thing to do? I would assume that posting an article is meant to encourage discussion. But if all you want is a Greek chorus, so to speak, why post in a commentable form at all?

"If two people always agree, one of them is redundant." I don't know, offhand, who said it; but does it not apply?

I'm going to take a warning from what Anonalogue has said above, and assume that he may also decide to delete this comment. I'm therefore making sure I have a backup copy, and if need be, I will send an e-mail to Ezra and ask him if it is his practice that only certain people with opinions within prescribed boundaries are allowed to post comments. Perhaps we should all do the same?

I really am looking forward to a continuation of this discussion.

Posted by: Chimera | 2006-01-28 10:34:32 AM

Ian has a "history" beyond the comments here.

Posted by: Kate | 2006-01-28 7:52:12 PM

Ian has a "history" beyond the comments here.

Posted by: Kate | 2006-01-28 7:54:50 PM

And what exactly do you mean, Kate?

Care to tell us what this "history" is?

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-28 9:19:08 PM


how does a doctor know anything about living with a disease (HIV for example, or even a specific strain of something) if he has never had it himself? He might know about it indirectly from his training or his practice, but he won't know it like his patients do. He might have to imagine. I doubt even his patients would agree they know EXACTLY how the others felt. And yet doctors have helped people without ever sharing their disease.

The Pope may not have experienced "eros" the way you have or anyone else has, but that doesn't mean that his conclusions aren't relevant.

Given the definition of "eros", who's to say that the Pope hasn't experienced it? He is human, after all. He didn't enter the seminary as soon as he was born. I daresay he, like many people who have been called to the religious life, struggled over the implications of his vocation.

Posted by: etwas | 2006-01-28 10:11:37 PM

False analogy, etwas. Eros is an experience. To use your analogy correctly, we would then ask, has the Pope observed Eros in others, directly?

Regardless, I was not questioning the Pope's conclusions. I asked how he could know anything about eros. See, there is a difference between "knowing" and "believing."

"Given the definition of "eros", who's to say that the Pope hasn't experienced it?"

Hey, that's a very good response! So I'm wondering if he has experienced it.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-28 10:30:52 PM

So now I'll try again, with my comment directed to Anonalogue, which keeps getting deleted:

Personal attacks? Point to them, Anonalogue. I have made no personal attacks against you on this thread or on this blog, indeed, anywhere. I don’t even know who Anonalogue is other than a handle.

On the other hand, you are making insinuations about me on this comment thread, as well as false generalizations.

Posted by: Ian Scott | 2006-01-28 10:32:17 PM

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