Re: Pre-existence and afterlife in politics
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "elfuncle" <coolvibes@...> wrote:
> In his final debate with McCain, Obama said: "Nobody is pro-abortion."
There was something else that Obama said during his campaign that I liked: When Hillary Clinton or John McCain came with personal attacks, he would smile and call it "silly-season in politics."
Over in the hole, they have a habit of running silly-season about anthroposophy almost non-stop, side by side with the hate-season that dominates their agenda.
So my follow-up post was also quoted in full and seems to have led to a thread down there. Which is curious. Diana entertains the notion that anthroposophists in general are endeavoring to convince others that they are political progressives while they're in fact conservative hawks. Furthermore, she appears to opine, or at least she implies, that one's take on when the life of an individual human being begins, say whether it's at birth, when the newborn takes the first breath of air, at conception, or prior to conception, in the flow of time past, in the spiritual world, -- this position or opinion or understanding should be dictated by politics, because the first of these notions, namely that the life of an individual human being (the telechy I think the ancient Greeks called it -- check out this page about Aristotelian metaphysics) begins with the infant's first breath at the earliest, is the only one compatible with a politically correct progressive position. Any other position, any notion that the life of the telechy begins prior to birth, would in effect -- so it seems to be believed -- lead to a ban on abortion.
Anyway, the Roman dictator makes declarations, decrees, about what kind of conduct is acceptable or unacceptable in Catholic bedrooms, and although the official position of the church is that it's entirely compatible with modern science -- well, except for all those miracles that are supposed to be divine aberrations from natural laws -- no explanation is ever given for why Catholics are not permitted to use condoms, for instance. And when no explanation is given, it remains an irrational rule apparently to test the blind and unquestioning irrational obedience of its faithful flock.
At the same time, the Roman dictators, one after the other in recent years, have condemned the death penalty, capitalism, wealth (hurling bricks from a glass Vatican, of course), invasions, wars, violence etc. -- a much longer list, one would conclude, on the progressive side than on the conservative side, which is restricted to abortion, gays, female priesthood (in principle, a non-public topic), and dirty dancing. So regardless of what you say about His Popeness, God's Rottweiler, he's a conservative hard-liner but not a political hawk. His pro-life view at least has consistency.
But let's go back to the curious phenomenon of the Catholic ban against all birth control, including but nor limited to condoms. His Dictatorial Popeness throws out this absolute ban without any explanation, and at the same time the Catholic Church claims to be scientific except when it comes to miracles.
Catholics can, of course, do some literary digging and discover some explanation or other for this. The church claims that the works of Thomas Aquinas represent their scientific profile. If you browse studiously through all his works and look for certain buzzwords like fornication, propagation, marriage, adultery, semen etc. etc. -- you should stumble across something I once read under the title "On Fornication."
I've looked for it in Summa Theologica without luck, so it may be in one of his other works; they're all listed at the wikipedia . The bottom line is that in the quote I've been looking for, Aquinas argued that every voluntary emission of semen that is not an endeavor to procreate, is a sin against nature. At least, that's how I remember it, and I've mentioned it in this forum on a few occasions, the first time being March 25, 2004:
This quote may easily get lost in the shuffle of Aquinas' long discussions and polemics, and it may easily seem to contradict several of his other arguments. Aquina's works are lessons in disputations and ironclad logic, not science per se. So in order to find anything scientific about Aquinas' argument, one would have to dig into the Spiritual Science of Rudolf Steiner. In one lecture, the Doctor mentioned that the union of marriage was never intended as a licence for two people to engage in unlimited sexual activities, but once again I can't locate the source. If we go to the RS archives online and do some searches on "sexual" and "sensuality," lots of interesting and relevant stuff comes up, but not that.
But the point is that unlike his medieval and ancient predecessors, Rudolf Steiner never moralized or pontificated on any subject. For instance, he never told his audiences to become vegetarians and refrain from meat-eating, and he never advocated total abstinence from alcohol. But he did describe the occult effects of foods, including meat, and the effects of alcohol, and many listeners and readers may have been inspired to become vegetarians and teetotallers because of these descriptions, but Steiner himself always left such life style decisions to the freedom of the individual. And the same is the case with sexuality. He echoes the descriptions from the other side of the threshold that have been made in mainstream traditional religious literature, namely that after death, unmastered sexual urges are transformed into burning fires. Anyone is free to accept or reject this sort of thing, to figure out if it resonates with the inner knowledge of the soul, just like anyone is free to believe or disbelieve in any existence after death or before conception and birth.
If we go back to Thomas Aquinas' extremely strict limitations on sexual activity, that one should not have sex unless one is attempting to procreate, there's one good thing about this: Namely that nobody, or at least extremely few people, can criticize anybody else's sex life at any level without being hypocrites, and this should especially mean thumbs up for gays. Because if having sex for the sake of pleasure alone -- or romance alone -- is a sin against nature, it is a tall claim for His Popeness to make, in spite of his own celibacy, that gays are sinning but all the married heterosexual Catholics are not. This goes to show that no church has any business in anyone's bedroom.
But let's return to the political scene like I promised. Regardless of when one believes that life begins -- before conception, at conception, or at birth -- it is self-evident that a legal prohibition against abortion in our day and age would be folly, with chaotic, tragic, and disastrous consequences, including illegal amateur abortions in back alleys and in back woods, causng deaths to women whose bodies the amateur surgeons will have to get rid of in the middle of the night like in horror movies. On the other side, there is the case of the conscientious hospital surgeon who may feel that aborting a healthy unborn child from a healthy woman violates his Hipocratic Oath, and his or her refusal to perform such an act should be understood on the same level that one understands conscientious objection against military service, refusal to go to wat, refusal to kill. Certain groups among Catholics, Quakers, Anthroposophists, Buddhists and others may appreciate this valid comparison, but on the political scene in the US, the Religious Right in particular, applaud the conscientious surgeon while cursing, discrediting, and ridiculing the war resister. And that, my friends, is hypocrisy at its very worst.
All of the above has been written in the light of Christian thinking, and this is something the hole-creatures have a very deep problem with, especially because they desire to keep fundamentalist Christians onboard. Here is one very telling quote from Dan Dugan:
Mon Jul 7, 2008 8:07 am
Re: [wc] The Jews Crucified Christ
Ted Wrinch, you wrote,
> Well, the passion play obviously follows the account in the gospels.
> So what I describe is the standard account of Christendom. If we look
> further afield there is the account by Josephus Flavius, but he does
> not contradict the gospel accounts. What is your understanding that
> differs from these accounts?
It's pretty clear from the style that the passage in Josephus was
inserted later. That leaves the count of historical documents of Jesus
at -zero-. I treat the Bible as literature.
Of course, Dugan's statement above is actually corroborated by Rudolf Steiner on several occasions when he emphasizes that what the Mystery of Golgotha is concerned, documentary or historical evidence is not to be found, because it is primarily a supernatural event, although enacted on the physical plane.
That the Mystery of Golgotha actually took place cannot be authenticated in the same way as other historical events. There is no authentic, documentary evidence even of the Crucifixion. But there is good reason why no proof exists, for this is an Event which lies outside the sphere of the general evolution of mankind. The Mystery of Golgotha and this is its very essence is an Event transcending that which has merely to do with the evolution of humanity.
( -- Rudolf Steiner: The Festivals and Their Meaning, II: Easter, III: The Death of a God and its Fruits in Humanity, Dusseldorf 5th May, 1912, GA 130)