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Flannery O'Conner: Wise Blood
The Acadamy ^ | Jeanette Rylander

Posted on 07/03/2002 9:26:05 PM PDT by JMJ333

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Good black comedy.
1 posted on 07/03/2002 9:26:06 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: EODGUY; LarryLied; PA Lurker; *Catholic_list
*
2 posted on 07/03/2002 9:26:40 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: jlogajan
A bizarre and twisted read. Thought you'd enjoy it. Cheers.
3 posted on 07/03/2002 9:35:32 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333; YaYa123
How well known is she? Southern writers have such a following I'm surprised no one has told me about her until this post.
4 posted on 07/03/2002 9:38:18 PM PDT by LarryLied
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To: LarryLied
Flannery is very UN-PC. Some colleges have banned her because of her use of the "n" word, and branding her a racist, but anyone who reads her work can't help but notice that its just the opposite. I think she would have been very surprised at that label. She wrote about what she observed in a morose picture that grabs the brain in early 50s south. Enjoy! =)
5 posted on 07/03/2002 9:44:57 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
I LOVE O'Connor and own everything she wrote. She used to keep a copy of The Summa on her nightstand and read it every night.
Asked to explain why she wrote as she did, she explained (paraphrasing here) to the hard of seeing you write large and to the hard of hearing you yell. She described the south as Christ haunted. She was fantastic...
6 posted on 07/04/2002 1:09:08 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
The church of Christ without Christ. Well, she was a prophet. John Huston was going to make a movie of WiseBlood. Did he? V's wife.
7 posted on 07/04/2002 5:12:49 AM PDT by ventana
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To: JMJ333
Dear JMJ333,

"'Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead,' The Misfit continued, 'and He shouldn't have done it. He thown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but thow away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can - by killing somebody or burning down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness,' he said and his voice had become almost a snarl."

sitetest

8 posted on 07/04/2002 6:10:21 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: sitetest
Forgot the attribution: A Good Man is Hard to Find
9 posted on 07/04/2002 6:11:09 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: Catholicguy
I agree. She was fantastic. Her quirkiness and brilliance are unbeatable. =)
10 posted on 07/04/2002 8:23:41 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: sitetest
I read "A good man is hard to find" last night while putting this post together. It's about her only work available online that I could find to read. Thanks for the quote!
11 posted on 07/04/2002 8:25:50 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: ventana
Sorry to poke in, but...he did indeed make a movie of it, and it is very true to form.

John Huston read the novel in 1978 - he received a copy of it from Michael Fitzgerald, whose father was O'Connor's literary executor. Against all odds, Michael Fitzgerald got the money for the production, some $2,000,000; the screenplay was written by Michael and his brother, Benedict, and everyone worked for a minimum wage. Most of the film was shot in Macon, Georgia. "There were seven outstanding performances in Wise Blood. Only three of those seven actors have any reputation to speak of: Brad Dourif, Ned Beatty and Harry Dean Stanton. The other four are unknowns. They are all great stars, as far as I'm concerned. Nothing would make me happier than to see this picture gain popular acceptance and turn a profit. It would prove something. I'm not sure what... but something." ( John Huston in An Open Book, 1988)

12 posted on 07/04/2002 8:31:54 AM PDT by JMJ333
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"Does one's integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man, Freedom cannot be conceived simply." (from Wise Blood, 1952)
13 posted on 07/04/2002 8:39:13 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: LarryLied
Mr. Head stood very still and felt the action of mercy touch him again but this time he knew that there were no words in the world that could name it. He understood that it grew out of agony, which is not denied to any man and which is given in strange ways to children. He understood it was all a man could carry into death to give his Maker and he suddenly burned with shame chat he had so little of it to take with him. He stood appalled, judging himself with the thoroughness of God, while the action of mercy covered his pride like a flame and consumed it. He had never thought himself a great sinner before but he saw now that his true depravity had been hidden from him lest it cause him despair. He realized that he was forgiven for sins from the beginning of time, when he had conceived in his own heart the sin of Adam, until the present, when he had denied poor Nelson. He saw that no Sin was too monstrous for him to claim as his own, and since God loved in proportion as He forgave, he felt ready at that instant to enter Paradise.

The Artificial Nigger, by Flannery O'Connor Taken from The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor" Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; New York, 1971

Her personal favorite.

14 posted on 07/04/2002 8:57:51 AM PDT by Romulus
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To: Anamensis
You'll like this! =)
15 posted on 07/04/2002 8:59:36 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: LarryLied
The title in 14 and "A good man is hard to find" are the same book. The other was the name it was published under in England. =)
16 posted on 07/04/2002 9:44:50 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
Hey JM happy 4th:>)
17 posted on 07/04/2002 9:48:12 AM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
Thank you! To you also! =)
18 posted on 07/04/2002 9:49:18 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: Romulus
From "The Habit of Being" an insightful bit of analysis about Faith by the incomperable O'Connor;
"I think thatthis experience you are having of losing your faith, or as you think, of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this.
I don't know how the kind of faith requireed of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience you are having right now of unbelief. This may be the case always and not just in the 20th century. Peter said, "lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." It is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith.
AS a freshman in college, you are bombarded with new ideas, or ratheer pieces of ideas, nw frames of reference, an activation of the intellectual life which is only beginningt, but which is already running ahead of your lived experience. After a year of theis, you think you cannot believe. You are just beginning to realize how difficult it is to have faith and the measure of committment to it, bt you are too young to decide you don't have faith just because you feel you can't believe. About the only way we can know whether we believe or not is by what we do, and I think from your letter that you will not take the path of least resistance in this manner nad sinply decide thatyou have lost your faith and that there is nothing you can do about it.
One result of the stimulation of your intellectual life that takes place in college is usually a shrinking of the imaginative life. This sounds like a paradox, but I have often found it to be true. Students get so bound up with difficulties such as reconciling the clashing of so many different faiths such as Buddhism, Mohammedanism, etc, that they cease to look for God in other ways. Bridges once wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins and asked him to tell him how he, Bridges, could believe. He must have expected from Hopkins a long philosophical answer. Hopkins wrote back,"Give alms." He was trying to say to Bridges that God is experienced in Charity (in the sense of love for the divine image in human beings). Don't get so entangled with intellectual difficulties that youfail to look for God in this way."

Timeless advice. O'Connor is amasing
19 posted on 07/04/2002 10:09:36 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
Re Mr. Head and the action of Grace;
"About the novel of religious conversion. You can't have a stable character being converted, you are right, but I think you are wrong that heroes have to be stable. If they were stable there wouldn't be any story. It seems to me that all good stories are about conversion, about a character's changing. If it is the Church he's converted to, the Church remains sstable and he has to change as you say - but why do you say the charcter has to remain stable? The action of Grace changes a character. Grace can't be experienced in itself. An example: when you go to Communion, you receive grace but you experience nothing; or if you do experience something, what you experience is not the grace but the emotion caused by it. Therefore in a story all you can do wwithgrace is to show that it is changing the character. Mr. head (in the Artificial Nigger) is changed by his experience even though he remains Mr. Head. He is stable but not the same man at the end of the story. Staable in the sense that he bears the same physical contours and pecularities but they are all ordered toa new vision. Part of the difficulty of all this is that you write for an audience who deons't know what grace is and don't recognize when they see it. All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless, brutal etc."

That last sentence is the KEY to "getting" this magnificent artist.
20 posted on 07/04/2002 10:24:10 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: ventana
The church of Christ without Christ.

Alas, the article didn't quote this character's full description of his new religion; he declared "I'm going to found the church of Christ without Christ, where the lame don't walk and the blind don't see and what's dead stays that way."

21 posted on 07/04/2002 11:44:55 AM PDT by Dumb_Ox
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To: JMJ333
Excellent post, BTTT.
22 posted on 07/04/2002 6:54:52 PM PDT by EODGUY
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To: Catholicguy
Great quote. Here's one for you:

"All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful...Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace [I don't think she means this literally; I think she means "a little or quite a lot"] and most of the time it does."

In my early adulthood, it was my discovery of O'Connor's letters that brought me back to the Church.

23 posted on 07/04/2002 7:59:35 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: JMJ333
Well, I've never liked Flannery O'Conner. I thought she was a creepy woman who wallowed in mental illness and buzzed over sores like a fly. She's the perfect example of what Catholicism will do to a potentially logical mind, and her thesis (which seems to give the false choice that there is either God or apathy) is just an example of the limitations placed on the mind by religion. There is an objective truth, and it has to do with the physical world. People who cannot accept that end up either emeshed in religion as a self-protective device, or flailing against it because they hate what they perceive to be the only alternative. It's pretty tragic.
24 posted on 07/05/2002 5:07:25 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
"Well, I've never liked Flannery O'Conner. I thought she was a creepy woman who wallowed in mental illness and buzzed over sores like a fly."

To each his own. Clearly, she was a brilliant woman whose fiction was centered on the action of Grace based uppon real characters she kne or knew about. She did read St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa every night (like you do, no doubt)and she was the sanest of all Georgians at the time.
Flannery handled her own debilitating illness with a grace your post indicates you can't even begin to understand. Too bad...
25 posted on 07/05/2002 5:33:12 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Romulus
Another great quote. You know, I had better restrain myself or I will simply start typing out all of her words. I have always sited her "Mystery and Manners" quote re writing large to the nearly blind and shouting to the nearly deaf (in explaining why she wrote as she did)to defend my florid rhetoric; but, I really shouldn't do that as she was so much more understanding of Grace and the way she lived proved that.
An amasing woman and I hope she is rediscovered by today's youth.
26 posted on 07/05/2002 5:38:27 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Catholicguy
I see no evidence of anything I'd call "grace" in a woman who churns out short stories wherein every character is so warped, damaged, and bent that when I read the story I think death would be a mercy for them all. I had to read some of her stuff in my undergrad years and just came away incredibly grateful that I wasn't raised Catholic. It obviously does long-lasting damage to twist a mind that hard for that long. Even as adults they have a Pavlovian response to anything that caresses the poison oak like itch coating their psyches from years of brainwashing.
27 posted on 07/05/2002 5:52:15 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
"I see no evidence of anything I'd call "grace" in a woman who churns out short stories wherein every character is so warped, damaged, and bent that when I read the story I think death would be a mercy for them all. I had to read some of her stuff in my undergrad years and just came away incredibly grateful that I wasn't raised Catholic. It obviously does long-lasting damage to twist a mind that hard for that long. Even as adults they have a Pavlovian response to anything that caresses the poison oak like itch coating their psyches from years of brainwashing."

LOL I suppose the irony will escape you; but, your posts could have been lifted from the dialogue of one of the warped, damaged or bent characters in one of her novels that you so despised.
Sir, goodbye.

28 posted on 07/05/2002 6:13:07 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Anamensis
Dear Anamensis,

"a woman who churns out short stories wherein every character is so warped, damaged, and bent that when I read the story I think death would be a mercy for them all."

I understand your points about Miss O'Connor. When I first was forced-fed her work in college, it seemed abhorrent to me.

Of course, in paying attention only to the warped, damaged, and bent nature of the characters, one also misses the beauty and the response to grace of the same. In re-reading A Good Man is Hard to Find yesterday, I was (again) struck at how these "warped, damaged, and bent" characters were admixed with kindness, nostalgia, curiosity, joy, and other qualities.

Miss O'Connor certainly exaggerates the "warped, damaged, and bent nature" of characters, but perhaps she does so to hold up a mirror to the reader. Perhaps the revulsion we naturally feel is because we would prefer that we have only qualities like kindness, nostalgia, curiously, joy, and the others, and recoil in horror and indignity when the "warped, damaged, and bent nature" of our own souls is exposed to us.

However, it is the conceit of the current time to deny that we are warped, damaged, and bent.

sitetest

29 posted on 07/05/2002 6:30:44 AM PDT by sitetest
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To: Anamensis
As always, thank you for responding. I enjoy debating with you.

Well, I've never liked Flannery O'Conner. I thought she was a creepy woman who wallowed in mental illness and buzzed over sores like a fly. She's the perfect example of what Catholicism will do to a potentially logical mind, and her thesis (which seems to give the false choice that there is either God or apathy) is just an example of the limitations placed on the mind by religion. There is an objective truth, and it has to do with the physical world. People who cannot accept that end up either emeshed in religion as a self-protective device, or flailing against it because they hate what they perceive to be the only alternative. It's pretty tragic.

The human mind, or what small percentage we use of it, is incapable of imagining the size of the universe, its origin, or even where it is, which is why I disagree with you assessment that everything should be viewed in concrete physical temrs. It simply isn't logical to believe that science is capable of unlocking every mystery in the unviverse and of understanding everything in a pure material way. There are certain things we were not meant to understand...are not capable of understanding.

I do not think her choices were faith or apathy alone, as Motes demonstrates rebellion. I wouldn't call faith self-protective either. I would call it a love affair [Stop rolling your eyes!]. If a person hates love, I would have to ask...why? The stubborn will that enjoys the easiness of subjectivive reality is my answer. =)

30 posted on 07/05/2002 7:35:46 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: Anamensis
What I like most about Flannery is that she shows how mankind has lost its natural religious instinct to respect something greater than ourselves. And outlines how moderation or temperance have been thrown out also. She shows the continual drumbeat of western thought of divinizating man-- the religion of man as the new God. Everything is situational and pragmatic, and that Modern religion is de-mythologized, de-miraclized, de-divinized. God is not the Lord but the All, not transcendent but immanent, not super-natural but natural.

To me it outlines wishful thinking on behalf of the followers of modern atheists who champion "new morality," the subjectivity of Truth, the sexual revolution, and absurdity in thinking everything material.

31 posted on 07/05/2002 8:15:53 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: sitetest
Perhaps it was the conceit of Miss O'Conner to hold up these pitiful characters and say they are a mirror of all humanity. They are a mirror of the religious view of humanity, which likes its victims full of self-loathing. For after all, people don't need "salvation" if they feel good and straight and whole already. Religion must tear down self-esteem, remove confidence and pride, and inject self-hatred and fear into the psyche to tenderize the meat enough in advance that when "salvation" is offered, the tortured victim is ready to confess to anything in order to make it stop. That morsels of kindness can be found in these wreck-heaps is akin to finding kernels of undigested corn in feces. Sure, you can, but wouldn't you rather just have a nice, fresh ear of corn? I would.
32 posted on 07/05/2002 4:35:08 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Catholicguy
Since I never addressed you in the first place and our conversation began when you responded to a post meant for another, your "sir goodbye" huffiness is only amusing. You step in uninvited and then stalk out in a huff when you can't convert someone to your way of thinking. Oh well, as you said, goodbye.
33 posted on 07/05/2002 4:38:23 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
Religion must tear down self-esteem, remove confidence and pride, and inject self-hatred and fear into the psyche to tenderize the meat enough in advance that when "salvation" is offered, the tortured victim is ready to confess to anything in order to make it stop.

I fear you have been reading too much Nietzsche. =)

34 posted on 07/05/2002 4:48:46 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
You are always so good-natured I will try to follow suit.

The human mind, or what small percentage we use of it, is incapable of imagining the size of the universe, its origin, or even where it is.

There was a time the human mind could not conceive of higher math, either. And some minds (like mine) still aren't terribly good at it. It doesn't mean that we should shrink back from trying.

It simply isn't logical to believe that science is capable of unlocking every mystery in the unviverse and of understanding everything in a pure material way.

Sure it is. What's illogical about it? And remember, the word is "illogical," not "intimidating" or "overwhelming." Because I understand that the massive amount of things we do not know can be overwhelming. But so?

There are certain things we were not meant to understand...are not capable of understanding.

That's what people say when what they want to do is make a space for faith, and say that through faith we can "know." Well, if we can't "know" then we can't "know" and "knowing through faith" would still be "knowing," according to your worldview. Wouldn't it?

I do not think her choices were faith or apathy alone, as Motes demonstrates rebellion. I wouldn't call faith self-protective either. I would call it a love affair .

I wasn't going to bring this up, but religion is definitely a love affair with the self, in a very unhealthy way. How can I describe this... let me start with this: a world view that holds that humans are the one creature with a spiritual existance that will go on forever, specially created by a god so enamoured of them that he slaughtered his own son so that he could love their flaws and still respect himself in the morning (as long as they acknowledged the sacrifice it meant) has no business calling "arrogant" the atheist world view that we are just another animal and when we die, we rot. It's the religious world view that has an arrogant and inflated view of man.

BUT the religious view of man is still a cruelly unhealthy one. It reminds me of a relative I have who is nothing but one hard luck story after another. This person always has something wrong with them, one injury and illness after another, their life is a saga of jobs lost because the boss was a jerk, friends who betrayed them, relatives who hurt their feelings, unjust landlords and conniving authorities, all scheming to injure the already-set-upon victim who is always hunting for a fresh audience to sit and listen attentively to their extremely lengthy tales of woe.

You may wonder where I'm going with this. It's just this: this person is actually utterly self-absorbed. The evil stacked against them as well as the betrayal of their own weak and defective flesh fascinate them to no end. They are the never-ending heros of a never-ending drama. In conversation they bore their captives because they have no capacity to consider that the story of their life is NOT the riveting drama they think it is, and they cannot read restless body language. It's all about them, as the cosmic good-n-evil story is all about man.

But they have no pride. They lay their sores out for all to see. See me! Pity me! Commiserate with me! Listen while I run through my long list of grievances and agree with me that my luck is worse than most peoples, my hardships more plentiful!

If they had any strength and self respect they would not wallow in this litany of lamentations. But they don't have self-respect. They have self-love of the most pitiful yet obsessive variety. So no, I'm not rolling my eyes at the statement that religion is a love affair. It most certainly is.

What I like most about Flannery is that she shows how mankind has lost its natural religious instinct to respect something greater than ourselves.

That's another thing. Why do you suppose this is? What is the first few months of every human life like? Think about it.

She shows the continual drumbeat of western thought of divinizating man-- the religion of man as the new God.

Well, if you are making the point that what she is doing is pointing out the differences between Catholicism and Communism, that's fine. I considered saying that myself when I said that she offers the false choice of religion vs apathy but I was mentally saying "communism" where I put apathy. I refrained for fear it would sound paranoid, but since you've said it for me I'll go ahead and say sure: but those are not our only two choices. It's a false choice like "Coke, or Pepsi?" Neither! I want water!

To me it outlines wishful thinking on behalf of the followers of modern atheists who champion "new morality," the subjectivity of Truth, the sexual revolution, and absurdity in thinking everything material.

Again, there is another option. There is an atheist stance that is respectful of objective truth.

35 posted on 07/05/2002 5:03:34 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: JMJ333
I've never read Neechee. I can't even spell Neechee.
36 posted on 07/05/2002 5:06:52 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
You are always so good-natured I will try to follow suit.

Appreciated. I would rather butt heads with you than be on a thread where everyone agrees. I enjoy a mind challenge.

Since your answer was in depth, I'll break this post down into 2 parts so its easier on the eyes.

There was a time the human mind could not conceive of higher math, either. And some minds (like mine) still aren't terribly good at it. It doesn't mean that we should shrink back from trying.

I am all for higer learning, I just think that we are incapable of understanding certain aspects of our existance and of the universe. I am not advocating that we stop trying to research, only that our intellect can only penetrate so deep.

It simply isn't logical to believe that science is capable of unlocking every mystery in the unviverse and of understanding everything in a pure material way.

Sure it is. What's illogical about it? And remember, the word is "illogical," not "intimidating" or "overwhelming." Because I understand that the massive amount of things we do not know can be overwhelming. But so?

There are certain things that the mind of man simply cannot discover or ascertain. For example, the placement of the earth. If it were a little farther away from the sun the entire planet would be an antartica; if it were a little closer, it would be a continuous Sahara desert. The placement is precise, and that is not by chance. There is no way to scientifically unlock this mystery in material terms.

There are certain things we were not meant to understand...are not capable of understanding.

That's what people say when what they want to do is make a space for faith, and say that through faith we can "know." Well, if we can't "know" then we can't "know" and "knowing through faith" would still be "knowing," according to your worldview. Wouldn't it?

Actually, I am of the belief that we can know about faith, since I believe in a personal God. I am referring more to the above paragraph on mysteries of the universe, or the conditions necessary for life on this planet.

37 posted on 07/05/2002 5:27:47 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: Anamensis
I wasn't going to bring this up, but religion is definitely a love affair with the self, in a very unhealthy way. How can I describe this... let me start with this: a world view that holds that humans are the one creature with a spiritual existance that will go on forever, specially created by a god so enamoured of them that he slaughtered his own son so that he could love their flaws and still respect himself in the morning (as long as they acknowledged the sacrifice it meant) has no business calling "arrogant" the atheist world view that we are just another animal and when we die, we rot. It's the religious world view that has an arrogant and inflated view of man.

It is precisely a science of love and mercy, though. Our view is sometime falsely misrepresented as a bargain with God, or a dry series of do not's with heavy sanctions. Its not. Its just a simple surrender of the creature to its creator. God's revelation enters through the heart. Even at the crucifixtion it was our Lord's purpose to leave us in such balanced uncertainty that belief in His divinity still required an effort of faith; And faith is not in understanding alone, nor in instincts..it is also in the will. The intellect presents the target, but the will shoots the arrows.

Faith cannot be embraced except by an act of will to which intellect gives fully conscious approval, and it is an act of will that implicates the whole personality. That you are not willing or able to make that step is understandable given your worldview.

BUT the religious view of man is still a cruelly unhealthy one. It reminds me of a relative I have who is nothing but one hard luck story after another. This person always has something wrong with them, one injury and illness after another, their life is a saga of jobs lost because the boss was a jerk, friends who betrayed them, relatives who hurt their feelings, unjust landlords and conniving authorities, all scheming to injure the already-set-upon victim who is always hunting for a fresh audience to sit and listen attentively to their extremely lengthy tales of woe.

You may wonder where I'm going with this. It's just this: this person is actually utterly self-absorbed. The evil stacked against them as well as the betrayal of their own weak and defective flesh fascinate them to no end. They are the never-ending heros of a never-ending drama. In conversation they bore their captives because they have no capacity to consider that the story of their life is NOT the riveting drama they think it is, and they cannot read restless body language. It's all about them, as the cosmic good-n-evil story is all about man.

But they have no pride. They lay their sores out for all to see. See me! Pity me! Commiserate with me! Listen while I run through my long list of grievances and agree with me that my luck is worse than most peoples, my hardships more plentiful!

If they had any strength and self respect they would not wallow in this litany of lamentations. But they don't have self-respect. They have self-love of the most pitiful yet obsessive variety. So no, I'm not rolling my eyes at the statement that religion is a love affair. It most certainly is.

Yes, but you and I have a totally different version of that love affair. I do not know the person you describe, but surely there are plenty of them as human nature is so very flawed. However, quiet suffering is a virtue. I do not mean parading it around for all to see. I mean that suffering quietly and offering it for another person is a way to attain grace. It strengthens character.

One more post to follow..

38 posted on 07/05/2002 6:03:01 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: Anamensis
Dear Anamensis,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. You certainly have gotten to the heart of the matter. There is a difference in world view. Miss O'Connor believes that we arrive on the scene already marred by original sin, and that as we grow and mature, we make more of a mess of it.

You believe otherwise. And if you're correct, then her fiction is worse than grotesque, it's morally odious.

However, Miss O'Connor might cite in her favor the fact that much evil is done in the world by human beings. They are not the actions of good, straight, and already whole human beings.

sitetest

39 posted on 07/05/2002 6:13:19 PM PDT by sitetest
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To: Anamensis
What I like most about Flannery is that she shows how mankind has lost its natural religious instinct to respect something greater than ourselves.

That's another thing. Why do you suppose this is? What is the first few months of every human life like? Think about it.

Precisely! It is in the innocent baby that humbles me! And how do you explain so many people who suffer mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual need for supernatural consolation? The source of their grief goes to the core of their being, and has no superficial remedy. This spiritual vacuum, though very often easy to ignore, is like groping around in darkness. So, it comes down to trust in ultimate goodness--souls are won by words, example and above all..sacrifice.

To me it outlines wishful thinking on behalf of the followers of modern atheists who champion "new morality," the subjectivity of Truth, the sexual revolution, and absurdity in thinking everything material.

Again, there is another option. There is an atheist stance that is respectful of objective truth.

But concrete truths do exist! On this we will forever disagree!

40 posted on 07/05/2002 6:15:37 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
I have found O'Conner to be hilarious. When Mr. Head sees the artificial nigger his response is laugh-out-loud funny. Simultaneously,it is tragically sad. That is when I realized O'Conner should be someone visited more often.
41 posted on 07/05/2002 7:24:54 PM PDT by St.Chuck
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To: St.Chuck
Agreed, and good to see you!
42 posted on 07/05/2002 8:32:29 PM PDT by JMJ333
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To: JMJ333
Precisely! It is in the innocent baby that humbles me! And how do you explain so many people who suffer mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual need for supernatural consolation?

Like this: the first year of our lives we are helpless. The first experiences we have are of being hungry and crying out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being (mommy) comes and feeds us. We are wet or dirty and we cry out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being comes and changes our diapers. We are frightened or angry or upset and we cry out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being comes and comforts us. In other words, mammals are imprinted early with a template for crying out for help and being helped. I've seen kittens do the same thing, do you think they believe in god? No. They just know that when they cry, someone comes. Things that are hatched from eggs and then slither away, like snakes, have no such early experiences. So when you talk about the "instinct" to look beyond ourselves for aid from an omnipotent force, all you are talking about is the residue left from our earliest experiences of dependency.

Again, there is another option. There is an atheist stance that is respectful of objective truth.

But concrete truths do exist! On this we will forever disagree!

We aren't disagreeing! Read what I said, please. You'll never understand who you are arguing with as long as you try to shoehorn me into the little category you have carved out for post-modernists and commies, which you have labeled "atheist".

43 posted on 07/06/2002 7:11:49 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: JMJ333
There are certain things that the mind of man simply cannot discover or ascertain. For example, the placement of the earth. If it were a little farther away from the sun the entire planet would be an antartica; if it were a little closer, it would be a continuous Sahara desert. The placement is precise, and that is not by chance. There is no way to scientifically unlock this mystery in material terms.

You are looking at this 100% backwards, like the man who marvels that his mouth is just big enough to fit a spoon into, and how miraculous it is that our mouths are just the right size for spoons. Well of course they are, the spoon was built for the mouth, not the other way around.

44 posted on 07/06/2002 7:15:53 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
Like this: the first year of our lives we are helpless. The first experiences we have are of being hungry and crying out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being (mommy) comes and feeds us. We are wet or dirty and we cry out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being comes and changes our diapers. We are frightened or angry or upset and we cry out... and a large, seemingly omnipotent being comes and comforts us. In other words, mammals are imprinted early with a template for crying out for help and being helped. I've seen kittens do the same thing, do you think they believe in god? No. They just know that when they cry, someone comes. Things that are hatched from eggs and then slither away, like snakes, have no such early experiences. So when you talk about the "instinct" to look beyond ourselves for aid from an omnipotent force, all you are talking about is the residue left from our earliest experiences of dependency.

Yes, we are helpless, but I cannot reconcile our helplessness with that of a reptile or animal because of our unique and intrinsic dignity. Further, once animals are weened of their mothers, they do not pine for the supernatural. The human soul [for many] yearns for the love of God.

We aren't disagreeing! Read what I said, please. You'll never understand who you are arguing with as long as you try to shoehorn me into the little category you have carved out for post-modernists and commies, which you have labeled "atheist".

I understand, but I am nit-picking because their is a strict definition on what concrete truth is. I am not trying to disrespectfully pigeonhole you into a corner--but I have to make the distinction between our belief systems on the subject of objective reality. I do not think you are a communist. A post-modernist? Yes, simply because of your stances on the value of human life and the lack of unimportance you place on "higher things." That isn't a slap at you--just an observation.

Modern because non-believer before Machiavalli still held a sense of piety, the natural religious instinct to respect something greater than yourself, the humility that instinctively realizes man's subordinate place in the great scheme of things. Moderation or temperance went along with this, especially in classical civilization. You would agree then that you philosophy is certainly more post modern?

45 posted on 07/06/2002 7:32:36 AM PDT by JMJ333
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To: sitetest
Thank you for not biting my head off. As for the evil in the world, evil is a human construct. We only apply it to humanity. If a lion kills and eats a gazelle, do we call the lion evil?
46 posted on 07/06/2002 7:35:03 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: JMJ333
Yes, we are helpless, but I cannot reconcile our helplessness with that of a reptile or animal because of our unique and intrinsic dignity.

I know some people with dignity, but I know plenty without a shred of it. "Unique and intrinsic human dignity" needs to be further defined and verified if I'm going to accept it as a given starting point for our purposes.

Further, once animals are weened of their mothers, they do not pine for the supernatural. The human soul [for many] yearns for the love of God.

They don't "pine for the supernatural" but if they are in trouble, they will cry out and I'm sure they don't know to whom or to what they are crying out. They just do it because they can't do anything else and it worked once before. As for the "human soul" that's another fiction to me so I don't think I can start with you there either. What you call a "human soul pining for the supernatural" I call a Emma Bovary like yearning for Romanticism to fill the void left when learning is abandoned as useless because our minds aren't capable. This is probably why women were traditionally considered more devout. Empty brains, full hearts, so to speak.

Modern because non-believer before Machiavalli still held a sense of piety, the natural religious instinct to respect something greater than yourself, the humility that instinctively realizes man's subordinate place in the great scheme of things. Moderation or temperance went along with this, especially in classical civilization. You would agree then that you philosophy is certainly more post modern?

Well, I certainly have enough respect for the laws of nature to be quite respectful of its force and I know that no matter how subjective a truth I think gravity to be, if I stepped off the top of a 40 story building I would go splat whether I believed in gravity or not. As for my assessment of the value of human life... its value to whom? Sheep? Do sheep value human life? Do sharks value human life? No, of course not, you mean "the value of human life to humans." That is why the value of human life is relative. It has exactly the value we place on it, no more, no less. I don't think this makes me post-modernist as that is a very recent phenomenon and you have indicated that the break happened just after Machiavelli. I'd rather think of myself as Machiavellian than post-modernist! (-:

47 posted on 07/06/2002 7:47:17 AM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
Dear Anamensis,

I usually don't bite. ;-)

"As for the evil in the world, evil is a human construct."

Is each human entitled to his own construct?

sitetest

48 posted on 07/06/2002 2:28:57 PM PDT by sitetest
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To: sitetest
Is each human entitled to his own construct?

Entitled by whom?

49 posted on 07/06/2002 3:35:33 PM PDT by Anamensis
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To: Anamensis
I know some people with dignity, but I know plenty without a shred of it. "Unique and intrinsic human dignity" needs to be further defined and verified if I'm going to accept it as a given starting point for our purposes.

I do not mean dignity defined by behavior. I mean life itself is indowed with intrinsic value define at conception--a topic you and I have hashed about repeatedly and have never come to an agreement on.

They don't "pine for the supernatural" but if they are in trouble, they will cry out and I'm sure they don't know to whom or to what they are crying out. They just do it because they can't do anything else and it worked once before. As for the "human soul" that's another fiction to me so I don't think I can start with you there either. What you call a "human soul pining for the supernatural" I call a Emma Bovary like yearning for Romanticism to fill the void left when learning is abandoned as useless because our minds aren't capable. This is probably why women were traditionally considered more devout. Empty brains, full hearts, so to speak.

LOL, I would feel insulted if I didn't know you better! I consider myself many things, but empty-brained isn't one of them! And I disagree with the assertion that men are less pious or devout, as the number male saints in the Catholic church is plentiful.

I have enjoyed the debate, as usual, and will see you again next round. Cheers. ;)

50 posted on 07/06/2002 4:13:55 PM PDT by JMJ333
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