Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Scandal and the modern world

“To the glory that comes from God, invisible in this world, the majority [of people] prefer the glory that comes from humankind, a glory that multiplies scandal and it makes its way. It consists in gaining victory in mimetic rivalries often organized by the powers of this world, rivalries that are political, athletic, sexual, artistic, intellectual … and even religious.” – RenĂ© Girard

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


“Religion is something we belong to, not something that which belongs to us; something that has got hold of us, not something we have got hold of. IT is something which determines our whole approach and our whole relation to life; if it is not that, if it is to be a mere fad or a mere pose, it had better be cut out altogether.” – Ronald Knox

Monday, November 07, 2005


Progress. What does that mean? It implies some sort of goal or destination, therefore it implies a beginning and an end. In order to measure progress, must one know the goal? Take technology for instance. Do we know what the end goal is? I would say that we have a general idea, but not an exact knowledge. But still, we say the we are making technological progress. I think that this idea a progress comes from the notion that technology is improving. Yet once again we are forced to answer the question, “How do we measure improvement?” We would answer this by saying that computers are faster than they used to be. They can do more things. They (hopefully) make less mistakes and are (hopefully) easier to use. But how about the rest of technology? I think that we can apply the same reasoning. But nonetheless, we do not know what will be the final version of any piece of technology.
One of the first principles of progress is that there is a end. Another one is that we have hope/faith that we will attain this end. This is a very Christian idea. Christians believe that there is an end (heaven), and we have hope/faith that we will attain this end (through Christ).
Is it correct to apply this principle to humanity without considering religion? I don’t think so, but it seems to be happening all over the place for the last hundred years or so. If we take away religion, how do we measure progress? Our secular society seems to attempt to measure it by ‘freedom.’ Of course without religion, how do we define freedom? It seems to me that a lot of non-Christian people define it as: “being able to do whatever I want to do, within agreed upon boundaries (laws)” The boundaries are necessary to avoid all out chaos and survival of the fittest wars.
I content that this is not progress at all. Of course I speak from my Catholic perspective. Without religion, people have no real idea of what the human person is, and what it is to become. They cry “freedom” in order to make progress, but by my definition of freedom they are becoming more enslaved to their desires and passions. This is not true freedom. This is not progress, its regress.
Progress of the human person is measured in how well they love and serve and become more like God. It means embracing the reality that we are made in God’s image and we are meant to become more and more like Him. That is true progress.