What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

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December 2020 Archives

December 5, 2020

Youtube series on the Virgin Birth

In case it seems that I'm not being Christmasy enough, in actual fact I've gotten pulled into quite a bit of conversation about the Virgin Birth. I've just started a Youtube series about the Virgin Birth, and the first video of that is out, here. Please consider subscribing to my Youtube channel and hitting the bell so that you get notifications.

Recording on it may be somewhat slow, though, because I've agreed to a debate on the Virgin Birth and infancy narratives (I usually refuse debates), which will be recorded on December 11. Plus I'm indexing The Eye of the Beholder--a huge and rather boring task. I did an interview yesterday about some objections to the birth narratives. That link is here.

Triablogue has a roundup of some great resources on the veracity of the infancy accounts and the Virgin Birth. See that link roundup here. Jason Engwer has done some stalwart work there. Theological blogger Steve Hays of Triablogue passed away from cancer during 2020. He was a great soldier for the faith.

So a blessed Advent to everyone, and if you don't hear from me again for a while, a Merry Christmas.

By the way, I heard a new Gospel Christmas song on the radio yesterday that Mr. Google does not seem to know about. It was mostly about the lost sheep. Here, from memory, are a few fragments of the words:

"Mary gave birth to light." "...the darkness we mistook for the light."


O what love the Good Shepherd has shown
To leave the ninety and nine
To go back for that one sheep, lost and alone.
I'm the one he came back to find.

December 23, 2020

The weary world rejoices

IMG_1470.JPG I don't need to tell you that the world is weary. And anybody who has been reading my posts here and on Facebook can figure out some of the reasons why I think the world is weary. There are, of course, plenty more. I don't need to start listing all the evils of the world, some of which you can agree with me about even if we disagree about others.

Those of us who are Christians and also "literary types" know of a certain kind of literature in which the characters have big epiphanies about the eternal import of their smallest actions. You might call this the Charles Williams trope. Williams has a scene where a woman is being annoying and a guard announcing the trains at a train station is entirely polite to her. Williams goes into rather purple rhapsodies about the eternal value of his two words, "Yes, lady." Similarly, in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength, Mark Studdock is ordered to desecrate a crucifix. He's an agnostic, so the symbol means nothing to him, and he can't figure out why he's being told to do it. His wicked employer Frost tells him that they have found this to be necessary to the training of people in their organization. Studdock finally says, "It's all nonsense, and I'm damned if I'll do any such thing." Lewis, of course, means the reader to realize that Studdock's words have far more literal meaning than he intends. Like Caiaphas, we all sometimes speak prophecy without knowing it, and everything means more than we can possibly realize.

But this creates a bit of a problem in its own right for imaginative types.

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December 29, 2020

Opposite indignations

I just posted this set public on Facebook:

A big part of the reason why we are so divided over Covid is that different groups have widely different opinions about what sufferings connected (directly or indirectly) with this virus are properly blamed on someone. One group treats catching the virus itself as presumptively blameworthy. Someone, somewhere must have been careless, must have not worn a mask, must have been disregarding what the speaker regards as mere reasonable caution. Perhaps the sick person himself. Perhaps someone he came into contact with. In contrast, this group tends to regard tragedies that result from virus restrictions (suicides, loss of business, lack of social contact) as either the inevitable results of the virus (hence not blameable or a proper cause for indignation) or as *also* blameable on people who don't follow other restrictions: "If we'd all just worn masks or if we all would just wear masks, be reasonably cautious, etc., this would all be over." The other group (in which I openly include myself) thinks this is about as opposite and incorrect as it gets. Catching the virus itself is *normally* not anyone's moral *fault*. The proposed cautions and rules are *far* beyond mere "minor caution" (partly because we disagree with the first group about what counts as mere "minor caution"), and there is no reason at all to think that some particular person's death was the result of someone's failing to abide by some kind of obvious prudence. And the restrictions, especially *but not solely* those imposed by fiat/law (some are imposed by officials of particular organizations, some imposed by relatives and parents, some imposed by insurance companies, etc.) are rightly to be blamed for the harms they cause because they are unnecessary, are caused by human choice, and ought to be able to be *seen* to be doing more harm than good. Therefore they are a rightful target of righteous indignation, and people's getting sick with a highly contagious virus is not.

Once we recognize the vast differences between these perspectives and realize that people like me think that people like someone else have literally *reversed* "what/who should be blamed" with "what/who should not be blamed," we can recognize that it's futile and will probably do more harm than good to tone-police each other, to ask each other merely to feel sorry for people, to tell each other not to "politicize" the matter, etc. However these differences of belief arose in the first place (and I, for one, hope that I would have held the beliefs here that I do even if that had meant aligning myself with "the left"), they are a combination of deep differences both about the empirical realities of the situation and about who is to blame and what is important. Unless you can change those, we're going to be indignant with each other.

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