How to Give Atheists the Chance to Give God a Chance

Posted March 9, 2015 By John C Wright

Below is the written version my remarks to the Society of Patrician’s meeting held 9 March 2015 at Saint Veronica’s in Chantilly.

Do you believe in Santa Claus? Most adults do not. When addressing the question of how to give atheists the chance to give God a chance to save them, we look to them like adults who believe in Santa Claus, for they dismiss our faith as being as childish and irrational, and far more dangerous.

The question before us this evening is a hard question, for that degree of skepticism we face.

Before I address the hard question, I should like to say why I am qualified to answer it.

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Book Bomb Time!

Posted March 4, 2015 By John C Wright

An announcement from Larry Correia, the Mountain that Writes. The words below are his:

Sad Puppies BOOK BOMB! Best Related Work and Campbell Award for Best New Writer

BOOK BOMB!

This is our last Sad Puppies 3 Book Bomb. Remember, you’ve only got a few more days to get your nominations in for the Hugo awards.

If you are just joining us, a Book Bomb is where we get as many people as possible to get a book on Amazon on the same day, in order to spike the sales rating as high as possible, so that it will end up on some bestseller lists and show up in front of all new readers who wouldn’t normally see it.  Success breeds success, and the author gets new fans.

The Sad Puppies bombs are special because these are the works in the different categories that the Evil Legion of Evil has put forth as suggestions for our Hugo nomination slate. The last two we did went amazing.

Note, not all of these are available on Amazon. If that is the case then we put a link to where you can get it, or something else, so that the author can GET PAID.

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The Archbishop and the Morlocks

Posted March 2, 2015 By John C Wright

A Catholic Archbishop named Cordileone asks Catholic schools to uphold Catholic teaching, by asking the schools to insert a morality clause in their contracts with teachers, so that those who openly violate Catholic teaching on morals, particularly sexual morals, cannot be placed in a position of authority over impressionable youngsters.

But sexual immorality somehow became a constitutional right while no one was looking, and so the the Morlocks, the same degenerate cannibal troglodytes who ruined comic books, are ruining science fiction, and trying (unsuccessfully) to ruin gaming, are also trying to ruin the Catholic Church, and are trying to gin up their tried and true zombie army of brainless shriekmonsters to harass, threaten, accuse, sue, vex and slander Emmanuel Goldstein.

Your enemies are my enemies, friends:

http://www.catholicvote.org/sanfrancisco

Here is the opening of the letter. Please click through the link and read the whole thing, and sign it:

Your Excellency,

We’ve been monitoring the recent controversy surrounding your decision to insert morality clauses into teacher contracts in schools in your Archdiocese.

Given the hostility to the teachings of the Church and growing attempts to coerce our institutions, your decision is perfectly reasonable. As you know, such clauses are nothing new and represent a commitment to fulfill a basic promise to those families who entrust their children to the care of the Church.

We want you to know that we are praying for you and support you 100%.

As the Archbishop of San Francisco, you are responsible for insuring that all schools including the children in their care are taught the faith. To avoid any confusion, it’s indeed crucial that all those involved in the care of these children act in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

Our country’s tradition of religious liberty has enabled generations of Americans to benefit from the rich tradition of Catholic education. Catholics are rightly proud of the academic, spiritual, and moral education offered in our schools. This is why so many parents sacrifice to send their children to Catholic schools.

Parents entrust their children to Catholic schools for a reason. Pope Francis recently said: “We need to provide an education which teaches crit­ical thinking and encourages the development of mature moral values.”

Mature moral values are, of course, thoughtcrime. Big Whiner, the sister of Big Brother, is well on her way to wiping them out entirely.

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Podcast Catholic and Enjoying It!

Posted March 2, 2015 By John C Wright

In which I tell my conversion story, and also urge Mark Shea to finish writing his novel.

http://radiomaria.us/february-18-2015-john-c-wright/

 

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Brainstorming and Blogbegging

Posted March 2, 2015 By John C Wright

I’ve taken on the task of doing a series of columns for EveryJoe called ‘Help for the Historically Impaired’.

The conceit of the column is that every new idea is a bad idea in a new coat of paint, and that those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it. I plan to start each column with some popular bad idea of the present day, to point to the misunderstanding of history on which the bad idea is based, and give the true account to set things in their proper light.

An example might be to point out that Truman’s decision to drop the atom bomb on Japan was not based on racism, as is commonly asserted by the ignorant, but was a decision made in the light of the ferocity and dishonorable barbarism of the Japanese resistance on Okinawa.

Other examples: The Church’s opposition to abortion or human experimentation is not based on her enmity to science, and the examples so often bruited about, as Galileo, Hypatia, or Bruno, are not examples of Christian hatred of science, but examples of jealousy among scientists, of the tumultuous nature of politics in Alexandria, of the Church’s hatred of witchcraft and heresy. (This kind of column has already been done, and done better, by Mike Flynn, but since he is a friend of mine, I hope to steal all his ideas and examples.)

Of the Middle Ages in general and the Crusades in particular, the popular errors are so rife that such columns practically write themselves. The idea that the founding fathers of the United States, or, indeed, any other them aside from Thomas Paine, were Deists or Pagans is another popular error begging for refutation.

If any of my dear readers would like to volunteers an idea or an example, it would help me flesh out my list.

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Live Long and Prosper

Posted February 28, 2015 By John C Wright

Leonard Nimoy has passed away. By portraying Mr Spock on Star Trek with such even tempered humor, so convincingly, he had an effect on me greater than any other imaginary character has had. He was the model I followed and still do, the example of how a rational man should act.

We have now seen other actors and actresses play Vulcans, a race that represents the paragons of logic, and Leonard Nimoy was the sole actor who carried it off convincingly and delightfully.

color_nimoy_headshot

Contemplate for a moment how much acting craft it takes to portray a cold, reserved, remote and dignified person, not even a human, while wearing make-up that gives one an appearance either elfish or diabolical, and make the character one of the best beloved in the television.

Because I loved Spock. The concept of a man utterly devoted to reason, to truth, to matters of the intellect, battling forever his human side that tempted him into emotion, passion, confusion became the core concept of my childhood, and, I say without a blush, of my life.

A philosopher is nothing more or less than a Vulcan, that is, a man who puts human emotion aside to cleave to divine reason as if to a cold but beloved bride, forsaking all others. He lives by the icy light shed by his intellect alone, where all things are seen clearly and in proper proportion. A philosopher is someone who uses reason to ponder the nature of duty versus self indulgence, or of virtue versus vice, and, rejecting the false allure of vice, cleaves to virtue.

Every soldier and every saint has a bit of philosopher in him, because he also must put aside cowardice and doubt. The soldier puts aside the cowardice his discipline tells him is irrational and deadly, even as the saint puts aside the doubts his discipleship tells him is irrational and damnable. Both of them, in part, in this little way, are Vulcans.

Consider the shape of the world when Star Trek came on the scene. Self discipline was for squares. Philosophy was word games and rubbish. Logic was a swear word, because gushy and infantile emotions were the order of the day, and arms were for hugging and all you need is love (usually with a tilted heart for the letter o).

Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock was the only portrayal in popular media of what a man of virtue, a man of logic, a man of reason, was supposed to be. And, unlike some robot, his was portrayed as a constant struggle.

Now, the cold and utterly heartless scientific genius was a stock character ever since the days when Jules Verne penned Robur the Conqueror, or E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith introduced Blackie DuQuesne to the universe, but such dispassionate logicians were always a stock villain character, a bad guy. To make a cardboard blackhat into a living and three-dimensional hero takes not only good writing, but great acting, even genius.

The show intended Spock to be the foil and counterpart to Dr. McCoy, who was meant to represent the conscience and passion of the human race, all the parts that Mr Spock lacked. Be that as it may, I mean no disrespect to DeForest Kelley, but he had the easier task of it as an actor, because his role was to portray a doctor with compassion. That is a side of life most of us understand, and we have seen in many other shows and tales, science fictional and otherwise.

But Nimoy’s genius was to put across the human warmth, the loyalty to ship and friends, and especially to his commanding officer, James T Kirk, and make this alien monstrosity of logic humorous and human and lovable.

Spock was the only figure representing logic in a world filled with illogic, and the difficulty of the portrayal, and the brilliance of the success, cannot be explained only admired.

When we see a light too bright to see, we call it blinding, and there little else aside from that word we can use to depict it.

Likewise, when we see an actor take what could and should have been a trite and cardboard concept for an alien character, and turn him into a beloved icon and exemplar which will live in the hearts of fans and admirers for generations, that we can call genius, and there is little else to say beyond that: the light is too bright, and a tear must be in the eye of anyone who sees how dark this world is, now that that light is gone from us.

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If you were curious about my voice, or what my basement looks like, or why my video account uses a pokemon icon, all these mysteries can be deepened by listening to this podcast by Geek Gab, where I talk over people, refuse to answer questions, and make many remarks so odd that a team of psychologists are discussing the matter now, as well as a team of psychohistorians, irked that this one podcast may disrupt the Seldon Plan.

 

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The Vacant Forever Village

Posted February 27, 2015 By John C Wright

I offer this as a vignette for my readers. It is a scene that was removed from VINDICATION OF MAN for reasons of space. Whether any fan of the work will find anything to entertain him, I do not know; which is, of course, a second and stronger reason why it was removed. I proffer it as a curio only:

The Vacant Forever Village

1.       He Laughs

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And, as suddenly as that, he knew what nagging fear and hidden error had been bedeviling him.

He laughed at himself and laughed for joy, and the noise was so like the braying of a donkey that Trey danced back in a swirl of blue-gray films, startled, and the eyes on the hat of Mickey grew wide in shock, but, off to one side of the field, Blackie del Azarchel scowled and rose up and threw his uneaten half bag of popcorn to the grass.

That made Montrose laugh all the more.

He resolved not to break off any more subsections of himself to watch himself sleep or keep wary eyes Del Azarchel on. What could the man do, now? It was so close to the happy ending that would crown the epic of lonely longsuffering waiting with love and victory. What could he do?

Just as suddenly, Montrose felt sober, and even slightly sick.

Mickey, seeing the look of nausea in his face, asked him what was wrong.

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The Needs of Drama and the Needs of Culture

Posted February 27, 2015 By John C Wright

The eternal war between Vesta and the Muses:

http://www.ljagilamplighter.com/2015/02/25/superversive-blog-the-needs-of-drama-vs-the-needs-of-culture/

My beautiful and talented wife pens a column which identifies a clear and simple idea absolutely crucial to be understood before any discussion of the merit of a work begin:

It takes a superb writer to make the process of painting a landscape interesting to an outsider. It only takes a writer of ordinary skill to bring excitement to a chase scene with a thief and the Company assassin on ski mobiles in the midst of the Winter Olympics.

… We would like to teach our children to be peaceful and chaste, but violence and sex sell. They draw readers. But this does not keep those who would be the guardians of culture for criticizing our entertainment for the places where it falls short of the demands of culture.

So What Are These Needs of Culture?

What are the values those favoring improving the culture wish to put across? Currently, they fall into two categories: traditional cultural values and modern cultural values.

Traditional culture covers the kind of thing listed in the Ten Commandments or the Boy Scout’s Law. It wants people to be honest, upright, brave, clean, etc. The needs of traditional culture require that good guys be upright, bad guys always get their comeuppance, and that the line between the two remain crisply defined.

Modern culture, too, has needs, things it wants drama to portray as good and to encourage in its audience. This desire is so prevalent in our society that it has its own name: Political Correctness. Races must get along. All people, regardless of rank or birth, must be treated as equals. The old taboos are to be laid to rest, no one needs them any more. Nobility and grandeur are to be sneered at, and women must be the equal of men—or better.

What About The Needs of Drama?

The needs of drama are quite different from those of culture. They are ruled by the desire to entertain. Whatever enthralls the audience most, that is what drama requires.

Unfortunately for those who would use stories to teach cultural mores, what makes a story entertaining is often directly at odds with what is good or virtuous or politically correct.

Drama is about conflict. It is about breaking taboos, the more shocking the better! Thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, alcoholics, adulterers – all the things that traditional culture does not wish to glamorize make for entrancing drama. But it is not just traditional culture that get trampled. Bigots, class struggles, and inequality among the sexes also makes for excellent storytelling!

Are the people who fear the effect of drama on society starting at shadows?

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Reviewer Praise for FEASTS AND SEASONS

Posted February 26, 2015 By John C Wright

Yard Sale of the Mind has a fulsome and flattering review of BOOK OF FEASTS AND SEASONS. I had the odd sensation of wanting to read the stories thus described, they sounded so fascinating.

The reviewer makes the unintentionally funny comment that I might mislike being compared to one of the most famous writers of the century, Flannery O’Conner. I also might mislike being told I am as handsome as Adonis, strong as Sampson, and as logical as Spock, but then again perhaps I might not.

https://yardsaleofthemind.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/book-review-the-book-of-feasts-and-seasons/

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