Thu 30th Oct 2014 | Last updated: Thu 30th Oct 2014 at 16:43pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Comment & Blogs

Christian formation is the very opposite of indoctrination

Richard Dawkins’s latest outburst reveal a lack of understanding about religion

By on Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Richard Dawkins has been usurped by a new breed of nuanced atheists

Richard Dawkins has been usurped by a new breed of nuanced atheists

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and the enfant terrible of religion, is at it again. According to a report in the Daily Telegraph for Monday 22 April, in a speech at the Chipping Norton Literary festival last weekend he told his listeners that he was “passionately against” the teaching of religion as fact. “I’m not against the teaching of religion” he stated; apparently what he dislikes intensely is “the indoctrination of religion”. The good professor thinks that “What a child should be taught is that religion exists; that some people believe this and some people believe that. What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore this is what you believe. That’s child abuse.”

He went on to say that “there is a distinction between fact and fiction”, agreeing that “there is value in teaching children about religion. You cannot really appreciate a lot of literature without knowing about religion. But we must not indoctrinate our children.”

I understand that Dawkins is a very good scientist. Scientists deal in facts as he likes to put it; they might start with a hypothesis which they then test, making experiments that lead to certain conclusions; these can be charted, measured, examined and the results laid out. Religious truths aren’t like that; you don’t “measure” the activity of prayer or its results – though you can witness how religious belief can change a person’s life for the better. It provides an inner light, or conscience (not to be demonstrated in a test tube) that informs moral decisions and behaviour. In other words, the inward life of faith and the actions that flow from it are simply of a different order from the intellectual processes involved in the study of science. They are not “fictions” merely because they don’t pass the laws of scientific scrutiny.

It has been said that Margaret Thatcher’s early training in chemistry gave her a love of facts. This might be true; but as Damian Thompson’s blog post on her Christian faith argues, her actions were also influenced by the Methodism of her childhood: for her, faith meant you should act in a certain way; Christian charity had to be seen in action, in acts of kindness towards others. Thatcher had to attend the Grantham Methodist chapel three times on a Sunday; she also accompanied her father during his lay-preaching activities. Certainly, in the Roberts household you could not have been a freethinker.

Dawkins would see all this as “indoctrination.” I would rather see it, not unlike in some ways the Catholic childhood I experienced, with its regular Mass-going, Benediction and the celebration of liturgical feasts, as parents wanting to impart to their child’s imagination and understanding the consciousness of a wise and loving creator personified in the Gospels by the life of Jesus. As you grow older, you either incorporate these realities and the doctrines that flow from them into your adult intelligence and understanding – or you are free to reject them.

“Indoctrination”, as Dawkins should know (if he were not so exercised by his antagonism towards religion and the publicity he receives whenever he pronounces on the subject) is not the same as forming a child’s mind and heart towards spiritual truths that will, one hopes, help to make him a better, more loving and self-sacrificial person; it is to brainwash him with a particular political ideology such as is evident in North Korea today or which was practised in Russia under the Soviet system. Indeed, indoctrination is the antithesis of Christian formation; it leads the mind, not to wonder, mystery, beauty or love, but to rigidity, mindless control, propaganda and slogans of hatred towards one’s enemies.

  • $20596475

    You obviously missed the hint!

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    I make a statement, which you don’t like, so you then claim all it does is prove what you said originally

    No — I pointed out to you that claiming that I’m wrong to say you think ABC because the truth is ABC is a bit weird.

    Something which is intrinsic relates to the essential nature of a thing.
    It captures the essence but does NOT have to capture the whole. It is
    NOT therefore absolute

    You cannot have read what I wrote — though AGAIN you claim that I’m wrong to say ABC, because the truth is ABC.

    I have NO IDEA what weird definition of “essential” you’re using, though.

    The root of essential is esse, Latin for “to be/exist ; being/existence”. An essential property is one that is a part of the very nature of the thing itself. This is exactly what I meant by intrinsic in the first place ; so that FAR from my playing about with definitions as a discussion avoidance tactic, YOU are.

    It is NOT therefore absolute

    Well that would be all fine and dandy IF I had said that any intrinsic property “is” absolute ; oh but ; I didn’t, did I.

    (though I must admit to being not 100% happy with my phrasing)

    I said that a statement of any intrinsic (or essential, makes no difference) property of a thing is necessarily an absolute truth about that thing — because if it were devoid of that property, then it would be something else instead.

    (this is basic scholastics, basic logic, and basic dialectic BTW)

    Every human being is a mammal — this is an absolute truth about human beings, because it is not possible for a human being not to be a mammal. Mammal-ness is an intrinsic property of the human species.

    The existence of absolute truths is not hard to demonstrate ; nor is it hard to demonstrate that (true) statements describing the intrinsic properties of anything must then necessarily be absolutely true statements about them.

    Therefore, the teaching of absolute truth is not as problematic as you claim it to be.

    Nor is the nature of any absolute truth divorced from the essential or intrinsic qualities or properties of the things being described.

    This is why not only your statement that there are no absolute truths that could be taught by religions is demonstrably untrue, because such absolute truths do actually exist, but also that your denial of this fact is itself therefore incompatible with your suggestion that “intrinsic evils” can be factually demonstrated.

    You cannot have it both ways — denying the existence of absolute truths is deeply incompatible with the statement that the existence of intrinsic evils is a matter of factuality. Either both exist ; or neither of them.

    Of course — a statement of “I don’t know” or etc. would be a third option.

    I berate them for claiming certainty, when others disagree.

    But haven’t you realised yet, that the whole point of this is to point out that this is what YOU are doing — “claiming certainty, when others disagree”.

    You claim as a certainty that absolute truths do not exist, despite making use of absolute truths in your own arguments. If people disagree, you accuse them of being “indoctrinated”, rather than making any real effort to try and make any honest comparative assessment.

    Teaching one religious view, to the exclusion of all others, and none, is indeed child abuse

    This is a bald assertion, for which you continue to have provided ZERO evidence.

    Child abuse is “the physical or emotional or sexual mistreatment of children” — inculturation is NOT an abuse, it is a BASIC function of parenting, including when the resources of parenting are provided collectively via schooling.

    especially when that teaching includes fear as a motive force

    This nasty little comment is completely alien to the discussion topic.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    “Neurolinguistics”? Wikipedia describes this as ” the study of the
    neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the comprehension,
    production, and acquisition of language”

    An incomplete definition — Neurolinguistics certainly includes the study of the
    neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the comprehension,
    production, and acquisition of language, but it also studies the comprehension, production, and acquisition of language in their mechanical aspects, as well as the neural structures themselves that contain and produce and receive linguistic information — bearing in mind that “language” is being used here in the broadest possible sense, so that it includes memory, thought, belief systems, etc etc as they exist within the central nervous system.

    Well, fair enough I suppose if you know nothing about the discipline, but it’s odd then that you are so keen to discuss your opinions on the contents of people’s minds with no reference to the material science that describes the structures that these contents are obedient of, whilst maintaining that any disagreement with those opinions must be “irrational” and “indoctrinated”…

    .If you cannot make the distinction between a religious belief and an opinion held about it

    I have very clearly pointed out the distinction that exists between an opinion and a belief, including an opinion about religion and a belief about religion, and that this distinction is FAR less relevant than you claim that it is — I have even gone to one of the primary sources for the definition of these terms, and their proper usage in dialectic, as a manner of providing clear supporting evidence for my statements. Though I suppose that this, too, must be “irrational” and “indoctrinated”, eh ? Because these sources disagree with your presentations.

    I don’t have a “belief system”

    The only human beings that are devoid of a belief system are toddlers and the severely mental handicapped.

    A functional belief system is an essential part of any fully functional human mind.

    No you aren’t a lobby, but you contribute to one, knowingly or not

    The discussions pass by along with the days of our lives, but the strawmen soldier on eternally…

    It is my opinion that religious belief ought to be much more a private matter than it is today

    Activities of several billions of people (the great majority of the world population) are, by definition, not “private”.

    You want the impossible — try not to be too disappointed.

    It is my opinion that some actions by some Catholics do amount to indoctrination

    This is not the point of my argument with you — the point of my argument is that you yourself, and indeed anyone in this world who adheres to any philosophical creed or sect, must of absolute necessity have been indoctrinated into acceptance of the tenets of that ideology.

    Otherwise, the contents of this ideology would not exist inside the cerebral cortex of such persons in the first place.

    some types of religious education

    This continual shifting of goalposts by you is depressing.

    It is my opinion that the whole of our society would be better if it were organised on a secular basis

    This utopian desire is of an intrinsically totalitarian nature, as has been pointed out to you multiple times by more than one person.

    My moral preferences are no more relevant than yours. I think both need to be put into the mix, treated equally and then to let the majority
    view prevail.

    Such moral relativism is based on the denial of absolute truth despite its own absolutist nature. The deep incoherence of this, basically post-modernist, relativism lies in its absolute inability to provide any substantial truths that morals and ethics themselves must be based on, if they are not to be dysfunctional.

    The rest of your post continues to equate “religious belief” with opinion so neither needs, nor deserves, a reply

    You claimed that “there is no logical reason why religion cannot … be taught factually” — again, you cannot have it both ways !!

    Either you have only opinions about religion, in which case you could not be able to provide facts about it ; or you can provide facts, and then you do not have mere opinions, but beliefs.

    I honestly have NO IDEA why you get your knickers in such a twist about the word “belief”. It is a very innocuous word, and your rejection of its application to your personal belief system is very weird.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Meanwhile, it is MOST odd that you describe others as “irrational”, but then outright refuse to examine any rational counterarguments presented to you as a challenge to this rather forcible characterisation of yours.

  • $20596475

    Another over long repetitive post in which you again accuse me of failing to understand you. I don’t not understand you. I don’t agree with you.

    You clearly don’t actually read what I say. I have not denied the existence of “absolute truth”. What I take issue with is any one group deciding what they are. If other opinions exist, and are held by rational thinking people, then they cannot be claimed as “absolute truths”. They remain opinions.

    I used to work in the essence industry, which used essential oils. Indeed I was the National President of one of the trade associations. I think that enables me to understand the meaning of the word. The essence of anything is its heart, its primary character. No matter how much you protest it does NOT mean the whole. In my industry it meant the flavour of something, and that is a very good way of considering it. It cannot be considered “absolute” because some of the minor ingredients can be very important contributors to the overall. in fact we used to use “absolutes”, which were extracts of the whole, rather than just the essence. You can extract the essence from two different materials and find it almost impossible to tell them apart. It is the minor ingredients which set them apart. Capturing the intrinsic nature of anything means determining it’s essence. It need not be its exclusive, and is certainly not its absolute, character.

    If you don’t “get it” now, then I can help you no more.

    To fail to ensure that children get a balanced religious education, to instruct them that one view is superior to another, or to use fear, are all capable of being considered as child abuse. Your own description includes “emotional” in the list of abuses. You decide if the cap fits.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    You clearly don’t actually read what I say

    It seems that you fail to realise the consequences of the facts that I am pointing out and detailing as concerns the validity of your statements — I am explaining why I disagree with you on the basis of the fundamental questions that you are discussing, and all on the basis of evidence provided.

    It is annoying to see you put up such a resistance to this evidence-based rejection of your statements.

    Anyway, carrying on…

    I have not denied the existence of “absolute truth”. What I take issue with is any one group deciding what they are. If other opinions exist, and are held by rational thinking people, then they cannot be claimed as “absolute truths”. They remain opinions.

    This is a bald attempt to arrogate to yourself and to those thinking like yourself the sole ability to determine what is and what is not an absolute truth, as well as who does and who does not have permission to teach such truths to others.

    Your suggestion that such absolute truths are just opinions is also in clear and direct violation of absolute truth in its very nature.

    Given the existence of absolute truths, absolute truths can therefore be taught to others.

    And though it is clearly possible to dispute the absolute truth of any teaching A, or B, or C — the right of challenge of such teachings therefore does not provide that you are therefore availed of any rights of restriction whatsoever against the providing of such teachings to others ; but this could only be achieved on the basis that any such teachings are either false or that they can be demonstrated not to be of an absolute nature.

    Your personal disagreement with such teachings is insufficient cause for them to be forbidden in children’s education. Your personal disagreement is NOT a demonstration that they are false, nor is it a demonstration that they are not absolute in nature.

    Therefore, your desire for the restriction of such teachings into the privacy of a non-schooling environment can be seen to be for what it is, as an attempt to support the universal teaching of your own (secularist) creeds and the notion that religious teaching could be banned, at least in public, as a form of so-called “child abuse” — although when challenged on the question of why and how it might be such “child abuse”, you provide NO rationale for this claim, NO evidence, and NO form of any support whatsoever for the statement.

    Though of course, the simpler truth here is that you are just shifting the goalposts — AGAIN.

    Case in point :

    I used to work in the essence industry, which used essential oils. Indeed I was the National President of one of the trade associations. I think that enables me to understand the meaning of the word.

    So, here you are AGAIN directly violating line of the basic principles of dialectic that I have pointed out to you, using one of Aristotle’s more seminal works concerning Argument for that purpose.

    You are just playing with definitions in order to avoid discussion of the flaws in your argument.

    So, I’ll just have to repeat the relevant passage for you :

    Aristotle, Topics I,18 :

    It is useful to have examined the number of meanings of a term both for clearness’ sake (for a man is more likely to know what it is he asserts, if it has been made clear to him how many meanings it may have), and also with a view to ensuring that our reasonings shall be in accordance with the actual facts and not addressed merely to the term used. For as long as it is not clear in how many senses a term is used, it is possible that the answerer and the questioner are not directing their minds upon the same thing: whereas when once it has been made clear how many meanings there are, and also upon which of them the former directs his mind when he makes his assertion, the questioner would then look ridiculous if he failed to address his argument to this.

    Having provided the definition of “essential” as it pertains to the intrinsic properties of things, you now claim to challenge this on the basis of information pertaining to the perfume industry.

    This, according to Aristotle, makes you look ridiculous — as you have failed to address your argument to the point in question, and to the specific definition that is part and parcel of this question.

    I would tend to agree with the Philosopher.

    The essence of anything is its heart, its primary character. No matter how much you protest it does NOT mean the whole

    Why not try and engage with the points I am making, instead of with these strawmen of your own invention.

    At NO POINT have I suggested that intrinsic or essential qualities of something might be “the whole” of that thing — cripes, and then you have the nerve to ask me to “read” your statements…

    It cannot be considered “absolute” because some of the minor ingredients can be very important contributors to the overall. in fact we used to use “absolutes”, which were extracts of the whole, rather than just the essence

    Thank you for this demonstration of the fact that you in fact have NO UNDERSTANDING WHATSOEVER of the meaning of “absolute”, “intrinsic”, and “essence/essential” as they are used in philosophical discourse.

    Of course, this therefore reduces the value of your contributions in this philosophical discussion to exactly NOUGHT.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    It was either write the above, or mention “cheddar-cheese-eating surrender monkeys”.

    Seeing as how you insist, though …

    If this was a comment that you imagine as somehow pertinent to myself, I grew up mostly outside the UK in the first place. Ooops.

  • $20596475

    I have better things to do than fully answer your ever longer and repetitive posts, which I guess only your most devoted acolytes will be reading, and I am only skimming. As much of what you say is self contradictory it needs no answer from me anyway. You answer yourself quite well enough. I will just pick out a couple of points:-

    “The only human beings that are devoid of a
    belief system are toddlers and the severely mental handicapped.”

    Not in my terms. The “belief system” I am referring to is the sort held by those with a defined faith. No-one else has a “system”. They just hold opinions. For instance humanists might often hold similar opinions to each other, but they are free thinkers. There is no “system” involved.

    “Either you have only opinions about religion, in which case you could not be able to provide facts about it or youcan provide facts, and then you do not have mere opinions, but beliefs.”

    This is distorting nonsense. It is perfectly possible to provide facts about the importance of religion, and its place in the world, without having to express any personal opinion on them. You can explain what it means to some people, and that it has no meaning to others. That is the duty of a teacher. It is NOT necessary to believe yourself.

    I don’t get “my knickers in a twist” over anything, and certainly not the word belief. What concerns me is when people with a religious belief seek to suggest that those who don’t, also have a “belief”. They then try to deflect criticism on the basis that the foundation of that criticism is also built on the sand of belief. It isn’t true. and it needs to be rebutted every time it surfaces. The criticism of the non believer is based on reason, and not on belief.

  • $20596475

    Where-ever you grew up is irrelevant. The point is that we all have a choice to either accept and work within our democracy, or go live somewhere else. It applies to me just as much as to you. What we cannot do is try to create a “state within a state”, where the rule of law doesn’t somehow apply to us. It does. To me and to you and every other person. Campaign for change all you like but until it happens accept the law as it stands.

  • TreenonPoet

    I’m sorry, I had somehow not seen your comment earlier. Was it moderated away?

    In what way have I admitted that will is, or can be, free? In other threads, including some on this site, I have always denied the existence of free will (unless you consider random influences to be ‘free’), and if you have somehow read differently, then you have not read what I intended to convey. Consequently I reject the whole of your comment.

    You do not offer any evidence for the existence of free will. In other threads I have noticed that you have a tendency to invent your own physics, or to propagate the equally baseless inventions of others (such as the soul), without justification. Some arguments against free will are (1) there is no known physical process that could explain it, (2) there is no evidence for its existence, (3) there are no phenomena that can only be explained using it.

    EDIT: Typo corrected

  • $20596475

    I will now ignore this type of reply, which merely seeks to discredit the writer through the use of pseudo intellectualism. When you actually engage with the issues I will respond.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    When you actually engage with the issues I will respond

    You have done NOTHING but avoid them.

  • http://jabbapapa.wordpress.com/ Julian Lord

    Campaign for change all you like

    You’re the one campaigning for change.

  • $20596475

    In the matter of religious education I am. The point is that in our democracy it is open to us all, but unless and until we succeed we have to abide by the law as it stands.

  • $20596475

    No Mr JP. In most cases I have raised them, whilst you prefer to introduce all kinds of diversions and other ways of avoiding them. Your favourite tactic, not just with me but with any critic, is to attack the poster’s intellect.

    I am not avoiding the issues. I am avoiding nonsense.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    If you read what I have written you would know that I have never suggested that all sins were evolved animal behaviours. My point on this has always been that much of what we call ‘sin’ stems from evolved animal behaviours and emotions. Do you dispute this point?
    If the definition of ‘concupiscence’ which I provided (‘The Raven’ sent that link to me) does not suit you, please point me to one that does. However, concupiscence is not a kind of sin, as you can find stated in Catechism 1264.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    I’m sorry for the late answer, Daniel.

    Angry, aggressive and violent behaviour can be justified in the face of injustice, they are not automatically sinful in a human context.

    You would have been better off quoting the whole paragraph from the catechism, Daniel, which makes it clear that concupiscence is, fundamentally, an inclination to *sin*; those living in a sinless state (animals and man before the fall) can’t be inclined to something that they cannot do, no matter what carnal urges they experience.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    No worries Raven! Thanks for the late answer, although I’m a little concerned that you may have ducked the question yet again. Angry, aggressive and violent behaviour may sometimes be justified, but, as you must be aware I was trying to give you an example of an instance when they are not (as is often the case in everyday life). So, with that in mind, what would be the source of the concupiscence which leads them to behave in such a way? What is causing these ‘inclinations to sin’?
    According to The Church, man did not sin before the Fall was because he had ‘Original Holiness’, was free from concupiscence. As the name suggests (desire), ‘concupiscence’ is described as “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life” or “the triple concupiscence that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods”

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    You need to work a little harder at this, Daniel: I may feel a yearning for intimacy for my wife – that would not be concupiscent, as it is a licit desire – but I might also feel a yearning for my neighbour’s wife, which would be concupiscent: same evolved behaviour, different result.

  • whytheworldisending

    Same applies to Homophilia and Atheistic Dogma. If you don’t indoctrinate it into children in schools, and constantly bombard them with propaganda in the media (largely run by gaytheists) they will grow up with a normal healthy attitude.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Your definition of concupiscence appears to be at odds with the Catechism’s i.e. it is the behavioural drives themselves – not whether or not you choose to ignore them.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    No, Daniel, a behavioural drive may incline us to an action that is licit or that same drive may incline us to an action that is sinful – only the latter is concupiscent, irrespective of whether we actually commit either act.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Yes, sorry Raven, you are quite right on this point – I was up early, in a hurry and had clearly confused myself.
    However, you must surely see that your views on concupiscence evidently conflict with those of the Church:
    As you have stated, the source of a sexual desire for one’s wife is the same as for the desire for a neighbours wife i.e. evolved behavioural drives. In which case this clearly conflicts with the Church’s teaching that concupiscence (the desire) originated from the work of the devil, and had nothing to do with God.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    No, Daniel. Your reading is far too narrow and you are conflating animal desire (which the Church teaches is in our natures) and the imperfect subordination of those desires to reason, (which is what the Church teaches us concupiscence is).

    It’s a fine distinction to draw, but an important one, as it goes to the heart of the teaching, and I am sorry if my responses to you have not been clear enough in making it.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    By their very nature, all our instinctive mental influences suppress our powers of reasoning to some extent; those leading to ‘ilicit’ desires being no exception then.
    As we are both well aware, the Church teaches (or has done for the past several centuries) that concupiscence is the desire (hence the name) that leads us to lust after our neighbours wife, for example. In such a case, what is the origin of this desire? According to the Church, it is the Devil’s work, and has nothing to do with God – a claim you know to be completely false, but continue to avoid addressing.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Again, you are failing to draw the distinction between the animal desire itself and the concupiscent inability to make that desire subordinate to reason.

    The Church has always acknowledged that desire itself is part of our God-made animal nature (look at Aquinas); it is desire’s mastery over reason that is the product of the Fall.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Can you show where in the Catechism it upholds your definition of ‘concupiscence’ over mine (i.e. a behavioural drive may incline us to an action that is licit or that same drive may incline us to an action that is sinful – only the latter is concupiscence)?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    I’ve already pointed you to Aquinas, Daniel: the catechism is only intended to be a summary, a start-point.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Seems I’ll have to take that as a ‘no’ then.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Take it as you wish, Daniel, but I’m pretty sure of my ground. You’ve claimed that the Church has taught that our base desires are the work of the Devil, not of God, this just isn’t the case. This is from the Catechism of the Council of Trent in the articles about the ninth and tenth commandments:

    “Concupiscence, then, is a certain commotion and impulse of the soul, urging men to the desire of pleasures, which they do not actually enjoy. As the other propensities of the soul are not always sinful, neither is the impulse of concupiscence always vicious. It is not, for instance, sinful to desire food and drink; when cold, to wish for warmth; when warm, to wish to become cool. This lawful species of concupiscence was implanted in us by the Author of nature; but in consequence of the sin of our first parents it passed the limits prescribed by nature and became so depraved that it frequently excites to the desire of those things which conflict with the spirit and reason.”

  • Daniel_Borsell

    “Take it as you wish” how else could I take it, Raven?
    “You’ve claimed that the Church has taught that our base desires are the work of the Devil, not of God” No, I have told you that the Church claims that the ‘illicit’ desires originate from the work of the Devil, and not from God. We both agree that this claim is false, don’t we?
    But why are you quoting from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and not the CCC? – and the sentence you highlight merely agrees with my first point. But seeing as you have quoted this whole paragraph, let me point out a glaring error within it:
    “Concupiscence, then, is a certain commotion and impulse of the soul, urging men to the desire of pleasures, which they do not actually enjoy” – you clearly cannot believe this to be true, as you understand such desires have evolved through our animal ancestors, and of course, animals have no souls.
    “Original sin – an essential truth of the faith” – not according to The Raven.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    This is sloppy reading on your part, Daniel.

    “I have told you that the Church claims that the ‘illicit’ desires originate from the work of the Devil, and not from God.”

    Read the extract from the Roman Catechism again, Daniel:

    “This lawful species of concupiscence was implanted in us by the Author of nature; but in consequence of the sin of our first parents it passed the limits prescribed by nature and became so depraved that it frequently excites to the desire of those things which conflict with the spirit and reason.”

    The desires of the Flesh are part of our nature, original sin has made distorted something inherent within us: remember that this document is 500 years old and it contradicts your assertion that the Church teaches that God did not create our desires or that the devil created our wicked desires; the proper teaching is that desires are a part of our God-created nature and that the consequence of the Fall is that our desires have gained mastery of us.

    “But why are you quoting from the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and not the CCC?”

    Because I am more familiar with the Roman Catechism, which I think is rather better written.

    I note that you are struggling with the language of this translation of the catechism, the phrase “which they do not actually enjoy” simply means that they want for things that they do not have.

    You will need to explain your last two paragraphs, as your conclusions look like non-sequiturs to me.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Your quote from the Council of Trent states “Concupiscence, then, is a certain commotion and impulse of the soul, urging men to the desire of pleasures, which they do not actually enjoy” – you clearly cannot believe these desires are “of the soul”, considering you understand such desires have evolved through our animal ancestors, and animals have no souls.

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Who says animals don’t have souls? Different types of souls to those possessed by humans, but souls nonetheless:

    http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/do-animals-have-souls-like-human-beings

  • Daniel_Borsell

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the soul as “the innermost aspect of humans, that which is of greatest value in them, that by which they are most especially in God’s image: ‘soul’ signifies the spiritual principle in man.”

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Come on, Daniel, quote the whole thing if you’re going to make a point of it:

    “363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.”

    The passage is talking about *human* souls: animal souls are not (as far as I’m aware) addressed positively or negatively by the CCC.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    “”soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.” – are animals spiritual too?
    ““”soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.” – so why, according to your quote from the Roman Catechism, is the soul concerned with earthly desires of the flesh?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Daniel, you’re a bright chap, surely you recognise a dead-end when you see it? It’s pointless trying to score points using the Catechism when it is only a summary of a far larger corpus of teaching (and I note that you’re focussing on the narrow part-quotation, even when the full quotation has been pointed out to you).

    What was your killer argument? What were you hoping to show?

  • Daniel_Borsell

    So you believe the CCC to contain erroneous information? – you have already said as much when you chose to refer to the Roman Catechism earlier.
    so why, according to your quote from the Roman Catechism, is the soul concerned with earthly desires of the flesh? Can you not answer this?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    Come on, Daniel, this is hopeless: I’ve already told you that I often find the presentation of information in the Roman Catechism clearer than the CCC and, in this case, the CCC simply doesn’t address the specific question that you’re asking.

    The answer to your second question is explained by the quotation from the Roman Catechism: we are things of flesh, our souls, the spark of lif within us, is naturally concerned with the maintenance of our earthly forms.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Well, I do have one or two more questions to ask you, if that’s OK?

  • http://catholicismpure.wordpress.com The Raven

    I’m enjoying the conversation, Daniel, but you might want to show your hand a little more.

  • Daniel_Borsell

    Yes indeed, but as you may have noticed, I find the topsy-turvy world of religious thinking a little confusing at times. As far as I understand, you appear to believe the following:
    At a point in the evolution of hominids, God implanted “spiritual souls” into some, by which they became human – the ‘soul’, giving them the capabilities to acknowledge God & to appreciate & create art.
    God also altered the minds of these first humans in a way that made them resist, or override their instinctive behavioural inclinations. He also altered their physiology so that they did not die, or feel pain (this could have proven very hazardous if they had already invented fire at this point in time??) They also became monogamous, remaining that way until the Fall.
    Now, this is where I get lost. What part did the devil actually play in turning these people away from God? If they knew God, how could the devil have seduced them away from him?