The Gospel Truth

A Priesthood of Unbelief | September 7, 2015

I don’t know how many people are aware of it but atheism — make that militant atheism — has been on the rise in the United States for years. Perhaps it was all the years of the religious right and the strident battles over abortion and the separation of church and state. Whatever the case, they are angry and they are on the march. They have shelved their public indifference and are confident that God and His faithful are in certain retreat.

Like their forebears from the French Revolution, they see the Church as an institution founded on unreason and superstition. It is their mission to chase such foolish ideas from the public marketplace. Since nature abhors a vacuum, they have found their god in science and a religion of man. Or what the intellectuals calls secular humanism.

While Charles Darwin was not an atheist, his theory of evolution later became the adopted intellectual child of atheists around the globe. The leading Darwinian atheist is Richard Dawkins, author of the 2006 bestseller, The God Delusion. Another godless priest is Sam Harris. In his 2004 book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Religion, Harris takes more of an apocalyptic approach. He believes that people must renounce religious faith or it will mark the end of civilization, conveniently ignoring the destruction of more than 175 million people at the bloody hands of atheistic governments during the 20th century.

However the debate has not been the same since the priesthood of unbelief lost its presumptive leader in 2014. For much of his adult life, Christopher Hitchens, the author of What’s So Good about God? waged a take-no-prisoners war on faith and its believers.   His energy and quick wit knew no boundaries nor took any prisoners. He was probably the only man in history who had the temerity to publicly lambaste Mother Theresa.

I have had very little personal experience with atheism or atheists. When I had a weekly radio program on WGNU in St. Louis, one of my most frequent and memorable callers was a man who sometimes used the handles Gunboy Jim or Jim from Ferguson, Jim was very bright, more of a library autodidact philosopher who proudly proclaimed his atheism.

He was also ardently pro-abortion. For obvious reasons the two often walk hand in hand. He would come up with the most creative arguments that justified in his mind a woman’s right to choose to kill her unborn child.

One time in the late1980s in an off-air phone conversation he said that abortion was a noble act. So great was my visceral reaction that I could not restrain my contempt for him and his ideas.   Despite my rage, Jim continued to call and challenge me.

In doing so he made me a much better talk show host. I eventually put away my anger and tried to understand him and his atheism. I realized that he was my neighbor and he needed something more than my righteous indignation.

One time in an e-mail he casually mentioned how he had been doing the dishes and the housework for his mother who was been seriously ill. I told him in a near apologetic tone that what he was doing was the work of sainthood. I was taken aback when he thanked me for seeing some good in him. I told Jim I would pray for him. He continued to call and write me. Jim was a seeker who wanted to know and understand the reality of life but had been looking in all the wrong places.

While he still occasionally writes long missives to my blog, the pretentious, Gospel Truth, I often wonder if he ever filled the void or spiritual vacuum in his life that the absence of God leaves. I continue to pray that he find that inner peace or what Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called peace of soul. It is something we all strive for whether we know it or not. The same is true for all the militant atheists in this country. Like my friend Jim they also need our kind thoughts and prayers.

 

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for your continuing prayers Professor and I take them in the same spirit in which you offer them. But as to finding inner peace I’m starting to view that as something that can wait until I’m enjoying it as a side-order to go with my dirt-sandwich. But I know it’s a desire I have a better existence which motivates you to pray that.

    “I often wonder if he ever filled the void or spiritual vacuum in his life that the absence of God leaves.”

    Well Sir,

    Let me attempt to answer your question. I hope it makes some sense.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that we were called into being by an inanimate intelligence which rules most of the universe ( which so far as we know is inanimate matter and void ) because the inanimate universe in “crunching it’s numbers” realized at some point that animate matter was possible and needed to reassure itself that inanimate was better than animate.

    And so there was life.

    And life was created as a sort of semi-scientific experiment or to create a “control” to the main experiment of the inanimate universe so that it could be reassured that to be inanimate is “better”. If it turned out otherwise then the inanimate universe would have no other choice than to convert itself all to animate matter.

    So I think we’ve been “set up” to live horrible lives where the second-most-frightening event ( birth ) is suffered utterly alone and the most frightening event ( the re-conversion to inanimate matter, mostly ) is also suffered utterly alone. I think we were set up to live lives of frustration and ( in many cases ) unremitting agony both physical and emotional and that’s our job and primary purpose in being here—to reassure the inanimate intellect that it’s condition-of-existence is superior.

    So I think that every time I suffer one more outrage or collect one more ache or pain that never quite goes away I’m serving the purpose for which I was created. I suppose there’s some satisfaction in that and some sense of fulfillment.

    That is not to say that the subjects of the not-quite-really-scientific “experiment” I describe are without their resources and that’s certainly got to be part of the experiment too.

    In our existence we have competing philosophies of life which vie with one-another for supremacy. You’ve mentioned the communist/atheist vs xian conflict.

    I really don’t accept the pairing of atheism with communism. Communists claim to be all sorts of good things and just one of these is to be rationalists. But any rationalist worth his salt would realize that in order to motivate men you have to “sweeten the pot”. Therefore a true rationalist who bases his ideas of how the world should be set-up would be an advocate of the type of capitalism found in the United States where a base human instinct ( greed ) is harnessed to the greater good. Communists claimed to be rationalists but they used the same sort of BS ideas which have poisoned our sociology in this nation since WW II to run their agriculture for awhile. That was called Lysenkoism. It argued that one cow was just as good as another and that their milk production was solely t he product of their environment. They found this to be untrue in a very real and tragic manner and eventually Lysenkoism came into ill repute–there. Here it was applied to humans. How’s that working out for us? And gosh—a lot of the same sorts of people as brought us communism have advocated human Lysenkism here.

    The point at which I’m trying to get is this: Communists have claimed to be everything from the world’s greatest true philanthropists to rationalists. But the facts are that they were just a competing world-view to our form of harnessing base human instincts to the ox-cart of the greater good in order to create a conflict in the world which could be exploited to a variety of ends by those who created communism and bankrolled our revolution. That’s all communists ever were–a “foil”.

    Our nation considered the issue of “infidels” ( what they called atheists ) when the final clause in article 6 of our Constitution was under debate—-; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or position of trust under the United States”.

    It was argued that inclusion of this language would “open a door” to “jewes, mohammedens and infidels”. But as you can readily see the delegates decided to chance having a society which might come under the influence of jews, muslims or atheists. So we use arabic numerals and study astronomy with a sky full of stars with arabic names, allow Old Testament principles to continue to influence our laws and listen to the counsel of scientists who base their recommendations on facts instead of fairy-tales. *This* then is the nation of atheists—and others.

    That conflict is really between liars who ignore human nature in the system they advocate and those who seek the truth wherever it is proved by performance and recognize the essential necessity of recognizing human beings for what they are–imperfect. Their model requires everyone to be a saint in order for it to work and ours knows you’ll find very few saints and better learn to work with what you’re given. If you get lemons, make lemonade. Our society knows it’s given mere humans so we made a human society. That’s not the same thing as a “humanist” society. One essence of being human is the tendency to be susceptible to religiosity. We recognize it and elevate it to a self-evident right of man to be protected from the depredations of Congrefs and any other body deriving it’s authority therefrom.

    It probably would have been far better if, instead of using the terminology of the “communists” to talk about them, we had simply cut to the root and called them Anti-Americanists. That’s really what they are and why they were set loose on the world. If you intend to exploit a conflict isn’t it better to define the terms of the conflict and create it rather than just waiting for one to occur naturally and trying to exploit something you may not completely understand?

    But you mentioned “that conflict”.

    It’s my personal belief *that* conflict is modulated on top of another more fundamental “carrier”.

    A more fundamental carrier is the 6,000 year old world-view of a certain tribe who were riven of their ancestral ( meaning where they developed before there *was* human history ) homeland by a natural catastrophe–or “act of God” if you insist. Most of the time when such a catastrophe expels a people from their homeland there isn’t time to do much more than grab the nearest passing python and hope it knows the way back to shore ( or whatever ).

    In their case they were given 300 days to figure out a plan. They came up with a rather amazing plan to remain a people and a nation as refugees—most often not the case. Assimilation is more the rule.

    We know that now as a religion/nation. It’s been in continuous existence for 6,000 years as a distributed borderless/landless state existing within various other traditional states and which has developed a variety of “coping skills” with which it pursues it’s 6,000 years out-of-date national agenda. This agenda was developed when men had no inkling that there was any greater universe in which their whole world was little more than the most insignificant mote. So naturally that national agenda does not make accommodations for the idea that there are an unlimited number of uninhabited-but-habitable worlds out there for-the-taking if we have the perspicacity to reach outward and take them.

    In the petri dish of our experiment animate vs inanimate other forms of life have come into being whether you believe they were planned out that way and designed or just happened.

    One thing is pretty plain. In the entire vastness of interstellar/intergalactic space we can apprehend so far with our puny instrumentalities no other instance of living matter has been proved beyond our one little dust mote. Many great thinkers far more intelligent than I have come up with reasons to believe that it’s an almost certain proposition that other such instances must exist. They say things like “we’ve detected the spectral emissions of complex molecules necessary to build proteins and other such essentials necessary for the development of our type of carbon/nitrogen-based life so it’s inevitable that other such life exists and possibly a host of other chemical schemes of which we can barely guess but the vastness of so-far observed space nearly demands that other life exists”.

    That’s fine. That also begs the issue that no other life has been observed. No evidence of it has been observed/proven.

    So on the one hand we have what we know–that in the vastness of existence we know only one instance of living matter. In the other corner we have Big Bad Speculation, heavyweight champion of the entire world weighing in at 900lbs of pure banana-fed BS.

    How would you react if someone pointed out a cesspool and told you that all the essential elements to create the paradise we find in Bali or Tahiti are present there so it must follow that the cesspool is, essentially, equivalent to those two nice places?

    That’s the same with Big Bad Speculation. BBS is devaluing the value of what we know we have here. One instance in the entire vastness we can observe. Where I come from the value of things is often calculated upon their rarity. Never mind the speculators in chunks of mostly worthless carbon xtals which are kept valuable by controlling access to them and making them artificially “rare”. I’m talking about gold and other such true precious substances or conditions ( like the condition of enjoying large amounts of personal liberty ).

    The 6,000 years out-of-date worldview has many coping skills. One is to ( seemingly ) insure that no other competing national entity ever gets any more mature than several hundred years. Wars and ethnic conflicts can take care of that need nicely.

    You could take a classroom full of the most intelligent children and if their brilliant instructor gets sick and a substitute is called in even an intellectual mediocrity of mature years can easily control the classroom–if not profitably educate it.

    And that’s the situation in which we find ourselves currently. A 6,000 years out-of-date world-view whose coping skills depend entirely on keeping the rest of us fighting over finite scraps of crap meddles and moils and insures that we are all kept “tractable” by never maturing to the point we could ever hope to challenge their maturity and continuously-operating agenda of the highly-experienced mediocrity which controls us.

    You could describe this agenda quite usefully as preferring to rule in hell than serve in heaven, if you’re given to such allegory.

    The bugs in the petri dish want what they see as good and pleasant to them. That’s part of the nature of the state of being a member of the animate as opposed to the inanimate universe. We tend to want to see that which struggles to live continue in it’s struggle and be successful because we identify with that struggle through our own struggles.

    Geology, paleontology, archaeology, physics, astronomy and history have given us ample reason to fear that all the life of which we are aware ( with any certainty ) can and quite possibly will be destroyed. It’s just a matter of time. There are a number of even purely terrestrial concatenations of tragic happenstances which could unleash a conflagration wherein the entire atmosphere of the planet would burst into flames so hot and sustained that it would roast virtually every drop of living protoplasm to death–even that known to exist in deep sea trenches. Possibly even the newly-guessed-at “extremophiles” which seem to confer a whole new dimension to the concept of the “living rock” often spoken of by speleologists and that of the “living planet” often bandied-about by the conservationists and ecologists. Remember the part of the earth’s crust which can sustain even the extremophile life-forms is relatively thin and beneath it lies a molten mass heated by the breakdown of radioactive elements with which the magma is laced.

    That’s a purely terrestrial catastrophe not even dependent upon the rest of the cosmos to exterminate all living matter of which we *know*. It involves any event which could shake up the earth strongly enough to release all known deposits of “methane ices” known to exist in offshore muck at certain depths in the sea covering the slopes of the continental shelves. If all these deposits were sufficiently disturbed enough sufficient methane ( cooking gas or farts–whichever you prefer ) would be liberated into the atmosphere to release sufficient thermal energy when it would be inevitably detonated to sterilize the earth.

    It’s thought that one or more of the “great extinctions” in the fossil record may have had such a genesis.

    And that doesn’t even include some of the things which can happen if one of the many non-terrestrial “scraps of crap” should happen to strike the earth at ( literally ) meteoric speeds.

    Then there’s the spectre of the results of a nearby supernovae occurring. Yes, a tiny little speck of light so distant that it ( so far ) cannot be resolved by human instrumentalities into anything more than a geometric point-source for photons *could* explode with such violence that it could roast all life off the earth.

    The “crown of creation”, as we’ve deemed ourselves at times, are the only known example of the earth’s children who have ever looked up at the tiny specks of light in the sky and wondered “what if?” and who have plotted a course towards those specks to see what’s out there and what riches or benefits might be gained if we went. At the same time we’re also the only ones who have the physical equipment and intellectual abilities and longevity to do anything about such inclinations.

    Had it not been for the conflict between the United States and the Anti-Americanists we might have a mission already far along the way to the nearest star. But the type of vehicle we could have launched was rendered illegal due to the Cold War and it’s fears of nuclear war fought from bases circling the earth in low orbit. A large shield with human explorers on one side and nuclear munitions being detonated on the other would be accelerated towards a distant target. The mass of the shield would smooth out the accelerations to the bearable level. This is an actual vehicle design which was in early planning stages when made illegal. That’s the sort of thing a Cold War type conflict can effect for those who want no part of anything that wasn’t dreamed of in ancient philosophies.

    Who or whatever conferred upon us the great gift of the state of being animate, we have something which can only be thought t o be of tremendous value if only by dint of it’s extreme rarity.

    Curling up in a special fetal position and down-sizing our expectations of the wonders the profligate utilization of huge amounts of energy can bring us will not get manned exploration of extra-solar space accomplished. Only a high-energy civilization using every scrap of energy it can get it’s hands on can accomplish manifesting our destiny as a space-faring species. If we go, when we do, we will carry within ourselves all that is necessary ( with the proper application of the science of genetics ) to reconstruct a fully-functional ecosystem on any raw dead planet we may encounter which has the requisite conditions and raw materials. Have you ever heard the phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”? Well, it’s true. At one point you had a tail and gill arches. Before that you resembled closely a lot of plankton that forms the basis of the bottom of the pyramid of life in the seas. It’s all there and we take it with us when we go. I wouldn’t even doubt for one second that the mitochondrial DNA we are all given solely from our mothers could serve as the basis of a whole new flora to compliment the fauna which could be brought forth from our nuclear DNA—and that’s assuming we extinct every other form of life on the planet in the pursuit of the high-energy “rape of our planet” which would be necessary to produce a technology which could even begin to dream of going forth into the cosmos. But I don’t find that a likely proposition. We like our animal companions too much. Further there are more cells in each one of us which are not even related to us dwelling in our guts than our cells in our bodies and they represent many different forms of life. It’s possible but highly unlikely that we would divest ourselves of these before going forth into the cosmos. We’d have to subsist on i.v. feeding then. I suppose it might be deemed advisable to support certain types of suspended animation which might be needed…

    This, to me, is our purpose. I have no “void” because any such void would be filled by a crusade to undo and deactivate a 6,000 years out-of-date world-view which currently rules our planet and which doesn’t consider or see any need to take into account the existence of anything beyond the atmospheric envelope of Planet Earth.

    One of the aforementioned “coping skills” of this out-of-date ruling world-view, IMHO, is religion. I think you will admit that for a long long time the most powerful religion on earth refused to brook any suggestion that there was anything of any importance going on beyond our atmosphere and even threatened freethinkers with dire consequences if they dared suggest that the earth wasn’t the center of all creation.

    Yes they’ve since apologized hundreds of years after-the-fact when all such throttled/oppressed thinkers are long-since dead and cannot even enjoy the spiritual victory of being able to say “I told you so”.

    This particular religion is ( what a surprise ) an offshoot of that one nation/religion which grew out of having 300 days to figure out how to remain a distinct people in the face of a natural catastrophe which made them all refugees 6,500 years ago. They used to live on what is now 2/3rds of the bed of the Black Sea.

    It’s my mission, now that I’ve figured all this out, to impart this worldview I’ve developed to the rest of my fellow humans and get them going on it. Certainly I’m not the only person who has realized this reality and struggled mightily to bring about our ability to save the precious life-eggs from the danger represented by the one basket/gravity-well in which they developed and still resort. I could fill every second of every one of the days remaining in my life struggling to get the rest of humanity to see this. Fortunately I’m not the only voice crying out in this particular wilderness.

    There is a sort of polarization within that realm of endeavor which studies the skies. One camp wants to do everything by remote-control robotic probes and increasing refinement in our ability to use optical and other interrogative technologies to see into greater and greater distances and further and further back in time.

    Another camp insists that we must go and see for ourselves. How do you think it would have worked out for us if when Columbus approached his backers to mount a manned expedition they would have, instead, insisted on a campaign of putting pictograms in bottles and launching them into the sea designed to elicit a reply from remote lands as-yet-unknown where the clever nature of the pictograms sent would establish a form of communication with the rest of the peoples of the earth and to discover what they knew without subjecting weak injury-prone humans to the vagaries of the world’s oceans and shoals?

    Columbus thought he was going to discover a cheaper way to get to the precious spices and silks of the far east. In going forth to find it on a manned mission he discovered many things far more valuable.

    If we go into the cosmos trying to find a solution to finite resources vs increasing population we’re sure to discover things of far greater import and at the same time indemnify the most rare and precious commodity in the known universe—animate matter( at least so far as we *know*)—against being destroyed before it has it’s fair chance to prove whether it’s superior or inferior to inanimate matter.

    Meanwhile we all must suffer because it was set up that we should so that inanimate matter which doesn’t suffer can reassure itself of it’s superiority. It’s mostly inanimate matter and the physics and chemistry which govern it’s behavior which are trying to exterminate us at every turn. Remember that the next time you get “the shingles”—it may help…

    Back when I was a frequent caller to that radio station the Professor mentioned I heard many voices with many competing and seemingly mutually-inimical viewpoints. But I always maintained that all voices needed to be heard because every one of them had at least one tiny little piece of the larger puzzle.

    The people who revere human life and the people who revere the natural world to the point where they would even sacrifice some human life to preserve it both seem to realize the value of *life* as a rare commodity in a vast universe of inanimate matter which seems largely dedicated to the proposition of exterminating animate matter. Even the people who only want to recognize what goes on within our atmospheric envelope and who once insisted that we were the center of all things must have been influenced by a foreshadowing of realization that this was the only known place where anything that could be recognized as “life” existed. With rare exceptions nobody in the history of observation of the greater universe has pretended to have seen evidence of the action of living matter at work anywhere else ( with the notable exceptions of Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell… ). But my point is that even though some “sides” are obstructive or even destructive you must examine their viewpoints instead of just completely oppressing them. Those who cling to the creation myth and utilize the “irreducible complexity” argument do us a very good turn by reminding us that, despite the vastness of space and time, the occurrence of life here *all by itself* was an exceptionally rare ( and thus valuable ) event. You can read that “created by an inanimate intellect to reassure itself of the superiority of it’s state of inanimate being” because being created by the inanimate universe and “just happening” is the same thing to me. By definition the creative activities of an inanimate awareness or intellect would be through the action of happenstance just as there just *happens* to be a concept of -1,0,+1 whether there was someone around wearing a dishrag and some bungee cords around his head to notice it or not.

    So when dealing with the putative inanimate self-awareness perhaps we can also posit that the improbability of the spontaneous occurrence of life is the same as the inanimate self-awareness limiting a potentially-dangerous study-subject to one small controllable region rather than spreading it all over the place–the same way we might study Marburg virus in some highly-isolated facility preferably on some uninhabited island. Marburg “wants” to go out and conquer the universe and so does life. It’s counter-“life” to want to send inanimate matter ( robots/probes ) out to study itself rather than going ourselves to see it up-close-and-personal.

    Both sides in the manned/unmanned exploration of the cosmos debate still realize we need to find out about “what’s out there”. People have made many sacrifices from the test pilots to the people who have been poisoned in labs by using exotic materials to create the technology that can go forth “for us”.

    Wernher von Braun is a good example. You could make a good argument that he “sold his soul” to accomplish the goal which truly motivated him. While he’s famous as the creator of horrible new weaponry which can rain down massive destruction from out of the sky on people with scant time to prepare any defense or even take cover, that is not what motivated him. Upon the first successful use of the V-2 nazi terror weapon—the first ICBM—he is reputed to have said “the rocket worked perfectly, except for landing on the wrong planet.” That’s a clear indication of what was really on his mind and that he was willing to serve an evil master in the present to bring forth a great good in the future. It’s an unfortunate truth that many of the advances in human technology have come from the pursuit of war.

    And meanwhile some of his greatest critics will be found in the middle-east marching to the tune of “any means necessary”.

    So really I don’t experience this void of which you speak Bill. When I suffer I don’t cry out for some sort of supernatural intervention to restructure the universe so that the end result is me being removed from whatever suffering it is I now truly believe is my very reason to exist ( not that I don’t try to do what I can myself to avoid it! ). It’s what happened and then I have to do what I can myself to try to make it better. But in the meanwhile while you may find comfort in the endeavor of trying to bring everyone to some sort of “salvation” through belief in and acceptance of one you consider to be your personal savior I find comfort and purpose in attempting to get people to begin to comprehend that what occurred in Chelyabinsk in the former CCCP two years ago was just a tiny little slice of what we could get served-up at any instant and with very little warning. It was formerly thought such a small meteor represented little threat of damage but that one did quite a bit and didn’t even strike anything. So what can the larger ones do?

    I try to do what I can in my own small way to promote an interest in things beyond those scraps of finite crap a certain 6,000years out-of-date world-view would have us all fighting over so they can sell us the weapons ( check out who’s selling what will soon be the largest economy on earth weapons of mass destruction right now ) and then become the wardens over the massive global funny-farm which will eventually result. As this goes on far too long no matter how bad it gets on earth, they’ll always have the satisfaction of knowing they have the least bug-ridden bed or the least-rotten scrap of potato.

    I know what I’m embarked upon and why.
    I know from the experience of Columbus that when we embark upon such a project even if it doesn’t bring what we thought it’s likely to bring much greater boons than we ever dreamed we’d be achieving.

    I’ll let the supernatural take care of itself because I don’t see any profit in trying to comprehend that which, by definition, cannot be understood. Whatever you believe created us as we are it’s clear to me I was not created to try to short-circuit reality and that attempting to do so can only bring trouble. For years and years those who listened to my calls to various radio stations will attest that I opposed the air travel industry because they were unwilling to make accommodations to those of us who suffered the negative consequences of their highly profitable endeavor in the form of being unable to quietly enjoy our homes and near environs. I won’t say I “prayed” against the air travel industry but I certainly wished it would learn to chart some more extreme take-off paths that, while they might cause a little more mal de mer in a few of their passengers, would let us live in peace a little more. Others probably did the praying. Some probably painted themselves blue and danced around an oak tree naked in the full moon.

    Well, we got our wish. But in getting our wish 3,000 people had to die—and interestingly-enough through the use of the main instrumentality of the air travel industry as a weapon of war. Air travel was halved subsequent to 9/11 as a temporary ban on air travel quickly taught corporate America that teleconferences were possible and cheaper than sending people to remote locales to meet in person.

    Lambert was already struggling after Icahn destroyed TWA but it’s never recovered from 9/11. Now the noise-buyout areas surrounding Lambert are quieter than my non-buyout location was during the heyday of air travel.

    It’s fine getting your wish but did I want that wish realized on the graves of 3,000 innocent people who never did anything to me in one short morning in some most-horrible ways?

    I’ve been a critic of the town in which I dwell for a long time. It’s always seemed it was led by a lot of chowderheads for decades. They got rid of the animal control officer and kept the police instead of keeping their own animal control officer and relying on the county for police. Well, look at them now. For all the supposed benefits of having their own police do you suppose they’re real happy with the results? They’ve always sought out ways of “putting the town on-the-map” and thus making it an attractive destination for those seeking a place to settle down. It’s “on the map” now alright–as an international pariah. I’m not Sunday-morning-quarterbacking the actions of Officer Wilson. It’s just that it could have been the much-larger entity of the county absorbing the focused wrath of the thug-lover community and their knee-jerk supporters and if it had been the county that whole scenario might very-well have never unfolded.

    This town has visited numerous indignities and injustices on me and others of my personal knowledge. I won’t even go into details but I can assure you I wanted revenge. Likely I’m not alone in that. Revenge is a dish best served cold. So I waited. It’s been my experience that if someone screws me over it’s only a matter of time before something “bad” happens to them or it. So I ( and many others too numerous to mention ) were served their best-cold dish. But when we were the servers had to go and spit “thug-lover” in our otherwise delicious dish of revenge. Who wants to eat something that’s been spit in?

    So you see I don’t even concern myself with what you might call “prayer of intercession” or wishing anymore. It’s too dangerous. Whatever you get there’s a price paid whether you know that price or not. It’s best to just wrangle for what you want as best you can through the mundane means we’re all given to use as our natural heritage and to realize when we can’t do anything about it that it’s our basic purpose in existing to suffer and thereby to prove that the state of animate existence is, in the end, inferior to that of the state of inanimate existence. Recently I was giving a ride to a fellow who lives in Wright City and he pointed out a church at exit 200 and told me the guy who wrote a well-known prayer about that very issue once was born in Wright City and attended that church. “—and the wisdom to know the difference”. Well, I’m not so sure I’m “holding hands” with Herr Neibuhr ( reportedly our current sitting President’s favorite theologian ) but suffice it to say after you try to do something and find out you are insufficient to the task *then* you are ordained with the wisdom to know you couldn’t make that particular change…

    Anyway this world-view “gets me through the night”. I always have something to do if I’m bored. There’s always something more to be done. It’s a positive goal toward which I work and it’s the sort of larger issue that takes the focus off our small parochial issues which might otherwise tend to turn us into sour foul-tempered creatures who ultimately come to a state where we’re of little use even to ourselves. I’m not obsessed with it as a cause but when I see an opportunity I take it.

    Half the battle when there’s an unresolved issue confronting you is to be able to feel as if you at least have some plan-of-action. It’s better than sitting there thinking “I was created to suffer” which sometimes is where I end up but in the meanwhile we do have our resources as animate beings.

    Unlike most I’m a great admirer of snakes. Anybody who doesn’t have any arms, legs or friends but gets up every morning and goes out to “beat the world” anyway has my vote. I think they’re a good example to us. I doubt they spend a lot of time wishing their way through life or looking out for someone/thing else to help them out. I’m not trying to say I live up to that ideal but it’s just a good ideal toward which to strive. It’s the sort of outlook that will eventually get spacefaring humans through some of the near misses which will undoubtedly be frequent occurrences of such a life, if we ever “go there”.

    We should.

    thu

    Comment by James Stenzel — September 9, 2015 @ 2:02 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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