Monday, November 27, 2006

God On Tour, Comic Strip #12

God shows his support for Peter Jackson directing "The Hobbit"...

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Check for more about New Line seeking another director and the actions of fans to bring back PJ for "The Hobbit" film/s.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Third Light: Humility


May we take comfort in the meek
And all that is not great and grand;
To be so is not frail or weak -
We need not always make command.

May we at times learn to let go,
To step down off our lofty horse;
It is not always dark below,
We need not meet all trials with force.

May we not always speak of I
Or stare at our reflection
We do not need to sit on high,
Nor do we need perfection.

May we always be alert
For when pride is fully fed;
Should we give it a dessert,
Then ego rears its ugly head!

May we learn to embrace
The modest and the humble;
It is not always a disgrace
To let that ego crumble!

Celebration of the Four Lights: Day Three

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Second Light: Compassion


May I never grow so cold
To shun a friend (or even foe),
Not one young or even old,
Even those I do not know.

May I offer my own heart
To every being upon this earth;
May I never grow apart
From my fellow kin since Birth.

May I kindle kind concern
In my soul for every man,
Even those who’ve yet to earn
A place within the wider plan.

May I take some time to give
To those who really need;
Without such love I cannot live
A life not ruled by greed.

May I pause and now reflect
On those who have less luck;
That I can change in some respect -
A helping hand when stuck!

Celebration of the Four Lights: Day Two

Monday, November 20, 2006

The First Light: Inquiry


May I never grow to love
The comforts of a placid life,
With no search for that above,
Even if that comes with strife.

May I always question all,
Even that which I hold dear;
Every matter, great and small,
Even that which I may fear.

May I examine what I believe
To be what I would call “the truth”,
And question all that I perceive,
The grooming I received from youth.

May I always look and seek
For what is really right and real,
To try my claims with cool critique,
To hunt what’s actual, not ideal.

May I respect that I inquire,
And that many others do so too -
My probing mind shall not retire
As I search for what is truly true.

Celebration of the Four Lights: Day One

God On Tour, Comic Strip #11

God gets lonely. God gets horny. God sometimes cannot avert his godly gaze. One day God met Mary Magdalene...

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Controversial? Feel free to comment, and don't forget to check back next week...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Celibacy & Married Priests

RTÉ, the main Irish TV station here, hosted a program from the "Would You Believe?" series called "Last Judgement" this week, dealing with the issue of mandatory celibacy and married priests in the Catholic Church.

The issue was raised that there is no theological backing for mandatory celibacy, that such a rule was only introduced around a thousand years ago (i.e. not actually from the beginning of Christianity), and that we have actually had many married Popes, including Peter himself, the first pope, who Jesus chose as the Head of His Church. Obviously there's something wrong here - obviously this isn't the message of Christ, so what the hell are we doing still obeying these man-made rules that have been proven, by experience and observation, to not work, at least not for all who attempt them? Indeed, why should a priest have to choose between his Vocation to God and his Vocation to Marriage?

As a Gnostic, I don't have to address these archaic leanings of Catholicism, as the Greater Gnostic Church (i.e. the main collective bodies) don't have a rule of mandatory celibacy, and, of course, allow married priests, as well as female priests. There's nothing wrong with celibacy, of course, for those who can uphold it, and for those who choose to uphold it - it can be a fulfilling life for them (like other forms of abstinence, which work for those who choose to uphold them), but if we force anything like this upon someone, it is bound not to work, and this, I feel, is part of the reason why we have such a corrupt and abusive Catholic Church. If God chooses a man to become a priest, then that is all that should be required of him. Yes, study and practice ritual and learn to minister effectively, as these are all essential aspects of a good priest, but if we make celibacy a requirement to be a priest, then we are overriding God's rule and banning good men (and women, of course, but that's another issue) from what has become a political institution, devoid of the real meaning of Ekklesia, which is the people themselves, priest and layman alike, who merely choose a different way to do God's Great and Infinite Work.

Now, we all hear about the many parish churches that are closing down nowadays due to a lack of priests, and this program asked parishioners how they'd feel if a married priest was to fill the vacancy, to which, quite rationally, those parishioners said they wouldn't mind, that, indeed, changes would have to made, and that they hoped these changes would be made before it was too late (i.e. before half the parishes have no resident priest).

So if there are so many people wanting this change made, then why is it not even being debated in the Church, let alone being changed to reflect the wishes of the parishioners and the survival of Catholicism in Ireland? Firstly, there are a few Bishops here in Ireland who support the idea of married priests, but their voices have been met with silence by the Vatican, which says enough, and these are Bishops, who we usually think of as having the power. It was asked, however, if the people should voice out about this, if the change should be enforced by the people, as it were, but the parishioners in question just asked: "Sure what power have we got?" It's true, they don't have the authority of the Pope or Cardinals, but they do have power. I can just imagine what would happen if the Church was faced with protests from people in Catholic countries on the scale of the Iraq protests, or even much smaller. It mightn't equal immediate change, but I think it would let the Vatican know just who they're messing with: the Church itself. Because, frankly, the Vatican is not the Church. The people are the Church, and the Pope will mean nothing if there are no Catholics left in the world.

Of course, it's not as simple as just changing this, which, I feel, has many sympatizers in the Church. I think the Catholic Church is very aware of the reality that if they make any change of this magnitude they will have to follow through with making other, even more radical, changes, such as the acceptance of female clergy. I support and encourage these changes, of course, but I am not naive enough to believe that the world won't pressure the Church into more and more changes, changes that the Vatican obviously don't want to make, changes they are afraid to make.

The second part of this two-part series on the challenges facing the Catholic Church is to be aired on next Tuesday (21st November) at 10:10pm, and shall be dealing with the even more hotly-contested issue of female priests. I'll make a post on that afterwards.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

God On Tour, Comic Strip #10

There was no temptation from a Serpent, no eating of a Forbidden Fruit - just Vandalism in the Garden of Eden.

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The Meaning Of Life

When asked what the Meaning of Life was/is, I have used the following answer since my mid teens or so:

What is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is to live.

The meaning of human life is to go beyond just living.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Does God Exist?

“The existence of God can be proved in five ways. The first and most obvious proof is the argument from change (ex parte motus). It is clearly the case that some things in this world are in the process of changing. Now everything that is in the process of being changed is changed by something else, since nothing is changed unless it is potentially that towards which it being changed, whereas that which changes is actual. To change something is nothing else than to bring it from potentiality to actuality, and a thing can be brought from potentiality to actuality only by something which is actual. Thus a fire, which is actually hot, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, thus changing and altering it. Now it is impossible for the same thing to be both actual and potential in the same respect, although it may be so in different respects. What is actually hot cannot at the same time be potentially hot, although it is potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that, in the same manner and in the same way, anything should be both the one which effects change and the one that is changed, so that it should change itself. Whatever is changed must therefore be changed by something else. If, then, whatever is changing it is itself changed, this also must be changed by something else, and this in turn by something else again. But this cannot go on forever, since there would then be no first cause to this process of change, and consequently no other agent of change, because secondary things which change cannot change unless they are changed by the first cause, in the same way as a stick cannot move unless it is moved by the hand. We are therefore bound to arrive at a first cause of change which is not changed by anything and everyone understands that this is God.”

- The Five Ways, Thomas Aquinas

The above is a cosmological argument for the existence of God, from roughly a millenium ago, and one that still holds some weight today, even if its specifics are argued. This is based on the principle of Cause & Effect (which is both a scientific concept and one that has been espoused by various schools of philosophy for millenia), and the argument goes somewhat like the following, with my own (half-formed) musings added in for good measure:

Something is caused (and must be caused) by something else. We know this from observation alone, as an effect cannot exist without a prior cause for that effect, such as a ripple in a pond requiring some cause, perhaps a stone being dropped within it, or an earthquake being caused by the plates beneath the earth shifting, and the earthquake is in itself the cause of buildings collapsing, and the buildings collapsing are in turn the cause of people being injured, etc. So, the cause of one effect is the effect of a prior cause, and so on, ad infinatum. However, Aquinas postulates that there must be an initial cause of all these subsequent causes, and this he terms "God". I agree with him to some extent here, in that I feel there is indeed one First Principle from which all others are derived, even if that First Principle is indescribable, infinite, and eternal. Some argue against this by asking why there cannot be a series of infinite causes, and to this I say: there is - and this series of infinite causes is God, who is infinite and the Cause of All (and also the Effect, by extension [or emanation], but that's a different topic entirely). If there is a series of infinite causes, and we call this "God", then, by logical conclusion, "God" is the First Principle, which is this series of infinite causes while simultaneously being an initial (infinite) cause, thus the reality of God as I always find him: a paradox.

To illustrate this better, let us use the following example:

A = God/Big Bang
B = Cosmos
C = Earth
D = Humanity

D is the Effect of Cause C, which is the Effect of Cause B, which is the Effect of Cause A. Logically, we have a First Principle, even if it is merely postulated due to our lack of understanding or inability to grasp anything beyond that. Since humanity exists, we know that its existence is the effect of some cause, which we can possibly generalise as "Earth", since without this planet none of the life forms here could exist, and humanity could not have evolved from them. The Earth, likewise, must be the effect of something else, which is, let's say, the Cosmos, or the Universe at large, through the various workings of the Solar System and the formation, etc. of stars. This, likewise, was established by some other cause, which Science currently calls "The Big Bang". We can call this "God", for now. If we accept that "The Big Bang" was the cause of our universe, then we have a First Principle. We can effectively label this "God", as he is generally conceived of as being the "Source" of All, or the First Principle (a label like "God" and "Big Bang" remains a label).

If we find out, however, that there was something before the Big Bang, the Big Bang ceases to be the First Principle, becoming a Second Principle to whatever new information we found created that effect (God, perhaps?). Likewise, recognising that there is indeed a Demiurge, who is not the First Principle (even if he thinks he is) means that this conception of "God the Creator" is not the First Principle, but the Second, and the First Principle remains "GOD" as he truly is. God is, in effect, the First Principle in actuality, even if the subsquent principles are rearanged constantly to fit the arising of new information. God is the Source of All, the Primal Cause, the Fullness, the Centre from which everthing Emanates and Radiates, and there cannot be anything beyond or above him, because if there was, then whatever he is ceases to be "GOD" (or "the First Principle") and becomes a secondary principle to that which is above him, which is "GOD" and "the First Principle". So, even if we wrongly label something with these terms (such as the Demiurge), it doesn't defeat the reality that there is one Origin to which all of this goes back to (and all of this goes forward to in the End), and we label this: God.


A = God
B = "God" [i.e. Demiurge]
C = Cosmos
D = Earth
E = Humanity.

These thoughts are not full-formed in my head, so I am still musing at this point, but feel free to comment and add your own thoughts.

[Note, considering a comment here, that I am not in any way saying that God's existence needs to be proven. I find that most of science is based on theory and not "fact" or "proof", and just as we cannot see an atom, but believe and/or know that it exists, likewise with God. My post on Aquinas' argument here is a theological musing on the idea of God's existence, and I have avoided using the term "proof" (in any of its forms) within my own argument here, as I feel ultimately nothing can be "proven". Please take this into consideration before jumping to conclusions.]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

God On Tour, Comic Strip #9

"And, lo! God did stoop a while from the weight of his chunky "GOD" pendant, and verilly, I say, did he evolve, and go walking upright, and lo! he was called Deus Erectus."

- The Gospel of God

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On The Father

Below is a section from the Tripartite Tractate, dealing with God the Father as he truly is, beyond those Veils of Negative Existence - not a man on a cloud with a thick white beard, held aloft by an entourage of angels, but that which is inexpressible, yet not unknowable. Its poetic potency reminds me why I love such works so much:

2. The Father

"He existed before anything other than himself came into being. The Father is a single one, like a number, for he is the first one and the one who is only himself. Yet he is not like a solitary individual. Otherwise, how could he be a father? For whenever there is a "father," the name "son" follows. But the single one, who alone is the Father, is like a root, with tree, branches and fruit. It is said of him that he is a father in the proper sense, since he is inimitable and immutable. Because of this, he is single in the proper sense, and is a god, because no one is a god for him nor is anyone a father to him. For he is unbegotten, and there is no other who begot him, nor another who created him. For whoever is someone's father or his creator, he, too, has a father and creator. It is certainly possible for him to be father and creator of the one who came into being from him and the one whom he created, for he is not a father in the proper sense, nor a god, because he has someone who begot him and who created him. It is, then, only the Father and God in the proper sense that no one else begot. As for the Totalities, he is the one who begot them and created them. He is without beginning and without end.

Not only is he without end - He is immortal for this reason, that he is unbegotten - but he is also invariable in his eternal existence, in his identity, in that by which he is established, and in that by which he is great. Neither will he remove himself from that by which he is, nor will anyone else force him to produce an end which he has not ever desired. He has not had anyone who initiated his own existence. Thus, he is himself unchanged, and no one else can remove him from his existence and his identity, that in which he is, and his greatness, so that he cannot be grasped; nor is it possible for anyone else to change him into a different form, or to reduce him, or alter him or diminish him, - since this is so in the fullest sense of the truth - who is the unalterable, immutable one, with immutability clothing him.

Not only is he the one called "without a beginning" and "without an end," because he is unbegotten and immortal; but just as he has no beginning and no end as he is, he is unattainable in his greatness, inscrutable in his wisdom, incomprehensible in his power, and unfathomable in his sweetness.

In the proper sense, he alone - the good, the unbegotten Father, and the complete perfect one - is the one filled with all his offspring, and with every virtue, and with everything of value. And he has more, that is, lack of any malice, in order that it may be discovered that whoever has anything is indebted to him, because he gives it, being himself unreachable and unwearied by that which he gives, since he is wealthy in the gifts which he bestows, and at rest in the favors which he grants.

He is of such a kind and form and great magnitude that no one else has been with him from the beginning; nor is there a place in which he is, or from which he has come forth, or into which he will go; nor is there a primordial form, which he uses as a model as he works; nor is there any difficulty which accompanies him in what he does; nor is there any material which is at his disposal, from which creates what he creates; nor any substance within him from which he begets what he begets; nor a co-worker with him, working with him on the things at which he works. To say anything of this sort is ignorant. Rather, (one should speak of him) as good, faultless, perfect, complete, being himself the Totality.

Not one of the names which are conceived or spoken, seen or grasped - not one of them applies to him, even though they are exceedingly glorious, magnifying and honored. However, it is possible to utter these names for his glory and honor, in accordance with the capacity of each of those who give him glory. Yet as for him, in his own existence, being and form, it is impossible for mind to conceive him, nor can any speech convey him, nor can any eye see him, nor can any body grasp him, because of his inscrutable greatness, and his incomprehensible depth, and his immeasurable height, and his illimitable will. This is the nature of the unbegotten one, which does not touch anything else; nor is it joined (to anything) in the manner of something which is limited. Rather, he possesses this constitution, without having a face or a form, things which are understood through perception, whence also comes (the epithet) "the incomprehensible. If he is incomprehensible, then it follows that he is unknowable, that he is the one who is inconceivable by any thought, invisible by any thing, ineffable by any word, untouchable by any hand. He alone is the one who knows himself as he is, along with his form and his greatness and his magnitude. And since he has the ability to conceive of himself, to see himself, to name himself, to comprehend himself, he alone is the one who is his own mind, his own eye, his own mouth, his own form, and he is what he thinks, what he sees, what he speaks, what he grasps, himself, the one who is inconceivable, ineffable, incomprehensible, immutable, while sustaining, joyous, true, delightful, and restful is that which he conceives, that which he sees, that about which he speaks, that which he has as thought. He transcends all wisdom, and is above all intellect, and is above all glory, and is above all beauty, and all sweetness, and all greatness, and any depth and any height.

If this one, who is unknowable in his nature, to whom pertain all the greatnesses which I already mentioned - if, out of the abundance of his sweetness, he wishes to grant knowledge, so that he might be known, he has the ability to do so. He has his Power, which is his will. Now, however, in silence he himself holds back, he who is the great one, who is the cause of bringing the Totalities into their eternal being.

It is in the proper sense that he begets himself as ineffable, since he alone is self-begotten, since he conceives of himself, and since he knows himself as he is. What is worthy of his admiration and glory and honor and praise, he produces because of the boundlessness of his greatness, and the unsearchability of his wisdom, and the immeasurability of his power, and his untasteable sweetness. He is the one who projects himself thus, as generation, having glory and honor marvelous and lovely; the one who glorifies himself, who marvels, honors, who also loves; the one who has a Son, who subsists in him, who is silent concerning him, who is the ineffable one in the ineffable one, the invisible one, the incomprehensible one, the inconceivable one in the inconceivable one. Thus, he exists in him forever. The Father, in the way we mentioned earlier, in an unbegotten way, is the one in whom he knows himself, who begot him having a thought, which is the thought of him, that is, the perception of him, which is the [...] of his constitution forever. That is, however, in the proper sense, the silence and the wisdom and the grace, if it is designated properly in this way."

- 2. The Father, Tripartite Tractate

Saturday, November 04, 2006

NaNoWriMo MadNess

I (madly) decided to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, even though I've got alot of work due for completion this month, haven't gotten my laptop yet (which I'm quickly coming to find I need if I'm to get to the same quantity of writing I used to do a few years ago), and am suffering from a severe bout of the flu (3 weeks and counting!), which has assailed Dublin all October.

I managed 742 words on Day 1 (01 Nov), but nothing since, due to a filming preparations and a photography shoot. Pray for me and hound me with encouragement - you never know, I might get to 750 words soon!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Have You Seen Father Ted?

At the request of an Anonymous commentor, here are some samples from the Irish TV series "Father Ted". All are in three parts, though I have imbedded the first part of the first episode for easy viewing pleasure. Enjoy! ;)

Father Ted - Good Luck There, Father Ted

Part Two
Part Three

Father Ted - Tentacles Of Doom

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Father Ted - Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

P.S. I noticed an odd bit of footage here and there cut out (I didn't upload them myself), but for the most part, these clips should be okay.