Big News!!!

I ran into a couple of articles recently that I think are just great.  So, I’d like to share them with a few comments.  One’s about the Church and Evolution.  The other’s about masturbation.  And there might be a connection.

The Vatican claims Darwin’s theory of evolution is compatible with Christianity.

I’m several months behind on this first one, and I’m not sure how I missed it back in February, but I’m glad I’ve see it now.  Apparently the Vatican is now suggesting that mean ol’ Chuck Darwin could actually be “saved.”  Can you believe it?  It might actually be that the pesky idea of evolution can actually be reconciled with the great Abrahamic faiths.  Well, it’s good to know that Rome is on board with centuries and centuries of biblical commentators and interpreters.  In this article, it even seems that the Vatican thinks some of Christianity’s most important early fathers might have been easily on board with the whole evolution train – at least from a theistic point of view of course.  I personally wouldn’t doubt at all that men such as Augustine and Aquinas had a more “liberal” understanding of the earliest parts of scripture than do so many today.  Given that even the Bible itself makes rather clear that its account of creation should not be understood as taking place over six literal 24-hour periods, I don’t think we should expect those two men – and many more I’m sure – to have had trouble reconciling an idea of evolution with their religious faith.  And even beyond the indicators the Bible gives us, the philosophical prowess of a man such as Aquinas – especially given all he probably learned from the Rambam – must certainly have been able to understand the first chapter of Genesis as, for instance, retelling the process of creation from an entirely different perspective than we could ever have, making it essentially impossible for any discovery within creation itself to contradict the biblical account.  Whatever Augustine and Aquinas thought, I’d like to say, “Welcome to The Club, Rome.”  We’re all glad you could join us.  (In reality though, I suspect you’ve been a secret member for quite a long time.)

 But what about the implications?  I suspect we might see some environmental benefit from this because when Josh McDowell publishes his next redundant book, he can probably save the paper and ink for the sections where he explains how all those crazy animals fit on Noah’s Ark and where he explains away that annoying fossil record.  Maybe when they print new copies for his “Evangelism 6-Packs” they’ll just remove those sections too, so we can get a jump on this.  Trees around the world must be letting out a sigh of relief.  Now, there is a potential negative to come from this as well.  If this place goes out of business, I will be very sad indeed – my VHS of Jurassic Park is wearing out.

 

Daily ejaculation improves fertility and reduces sperm DNA damage.

Well, that’s some pretty darn good news…unless you don’t want kids…or if you’re one of those liars.

 Here’s a nice piece on the subject that makes the prof-life case for masturbation.

 I must say I’ve never understood the revulsion surrounding things like masturbation – male or female.  I can respect the consistency of the Vatican’s position on it though.  But here’s the thing, in light of the news above on evolution and the Church, it’s worth drawing the connection between the benefits of consistent masturbation and evolution.  It seems that those species that have evolved beyond others must be those that have produced the most and healthiest offspring.  Well, it seems reasonable to conclude then that if masturbation will improve fertility and sperm DNA issues, that those species (or individuals) that masturbated the most throughout time would be those that produced the most and healthiest offspring.  Although unscientific, it seems reasonable to loosely conclude that religions that condemn things that result in frequency of ejaculation (i.e. wanking it or having sex without the intention of procreation), are condemning their adherents to be lost to time as other groups of people enjoy not just the beauty of the pleasures God created, but also the evolutionary benefits that result in more and healthier offspring?  (Of course, the rise of various contraceptives could be God’s ingenious way of leveling the playing field.)  Also, could it be that the nocturnal emission is an evolutionary reaction to such moral regulation?  Is such a spontaneous midnight occurrence the species trying to save itself from overreaching moral regulation?

 

 

 PERSONAL NOTE: There seems to me to be no reason to single out the Roman Catholic Church as a subject for these issues.  I’m sure many faith groups in many different faiths would apply to this just as easily.  My guess is that the hierarchy and history of the Roman Church plus the clarity of its Catechism, etc. simply make it easier for the press to cover, and thus easier to blog about.

-GCC 

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Big News!!!

  1. John

    Ravasi does not speak for the Vatican. He can opine however he likes, but he neither creates nor defines doctrine. His comments were merely prelude to an upcoming conference. In any case, the church has been open to evolutionary ideas since Pius XII’s 1950 _Humanis Generis_ (as the article states further down).

    As for masturbation, I suspect that Lutherans will be most interested in your theory, given the proclivities of their founder in this regard.

  2. GCC

    Thanks for the detail, John. I am not at all surpised at what the clearly authoritative wikipedia entry for Humanis Generis describes as the encyclical’s “nuanced position with regard to evolution.”

    I must lean more about Marty “in this regard.”

  3. czf

    An aside: Nothing can evolve beyond anything else. There is simply evolution of species.

  4. Peachey Carnehan

    I believe the “revulsion” surrounding masturbation comes from our sin nature. That is, although the act itself is not an explicit sin, we have a hard time separating the act from the sin of lust.

    Christ said- “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

    So I don’t know about you, but thoughts of things like cheese pizza don’t really get me going, you know what I’m saying? Sex, or more specifically, sexual pleasure may be part of “the beauty of the pleasures God created”, but it now exists in a fallen world and we have to live with the consequences of that.

  5. Christopher

    Hmmmm, good questions which beget others.

    So does this mean if one masturbates but lusts for their own spouse, then the spilling of seed is not sinful?

    And speaking of spillage of seed, does the “sin”of masturbation not apply to women since no seed is spilled?

  6. Joseph

    The answer to both questions would have to be yes. We are discussing one of many “thought sins.” I think (fancy that) that these types of sins are the strangest out there.

    The evil thought is only identified by the thinker. The thinker is the one who has to decide a) that he has thought an sinful thought, b) that he is capable of judging it as sinful, and c) that he is now listening to the voice of God (“conviction”) when he feels this judgment against himself, and not some other 4th party thinker in his head. After all, how do we know that it’s God telling us what to do? Some part of us decides that we’re listening to God and not some other force. And how do we know if that part of us is making the right judgment? Does God tell us that it’s God telling us about our sinful thought?

    How do we determine that it’s God telling us that it’s God telling us? Does God tell us that it’s God telling us that it’s God telling us about our sinful thoughts? This all gets infinitely recursive pretty quickly. Perhaps there is a bible verse someone can reference on how to undo the recursion aspect when diagnosing and repenting “thought sin.”

  7. GCC

    It seems to me that the idea of “thought sin” is closely connected to the idea of humans having a “sin nature.”

    It’s easy to dwell on “thought sins” if we think that sin is our nature. Suggesting a “sin nature” seems to completely blur the lines between thought and action. Whether one thinks good or bad, or acts good or bad, seems irrelevant because no matter what we are sinful by just being. But, if we think that sin is an event, then “thought sins” become much less significant, possibly even non-existent. From that point of view, one might even suggest that “thought sin” (arguably not a sin at all) is precisely the sort of thing that gives us the opportunity to not sin.

  8. Brandon

    I don’t necessarily see “thought sins” and sin nature as being intertwined. I can have a sin nature– that is, I’m predisposed toward sinning, but I can control my thoughts.
    Is not thinking a thought an internal event that God witnesses?

  9. GCC

    I suppose the first question is, What is “sin nature?” And I’m certainly not the one to give an answer because I think it’s a useful fiction.

    I also suppose a thought can be viewed as an event. But that doesn’t make thoughts sins.

    Going more to what Joseph was asking about, from what I know there’s not a lot in the Bible regarding “thought sins.” There’s the coveting thing, but when it comes the Law of Moses, I think that’s about it. And when one considers the all-encompassing nature of that code (up to and including bathroom needs while away from home – Deut. 23:13), it seems that if God held that thoughts could be sins in and of themselves, there’d be a few more things that God would’ve commanded the Israelites not to think about. And those commandments that are a bit more thought-like (e.g. love God) have been interpreted throughout the ages as meaning something much more tangible (i.e. expressing love as opposed to merely feeling love.)

    Indeed, if thoughts were as important as deeds, we wouldn’t need to do anything for God, a spouse, or a child but simply feel love for them. If thoughts can’t be as strong as deeds on the positive side of things, I don’t see how thoughts could be as strong as deeds on the negative side. Let me put it this way: if I can think my way into adultery, I should be able to think my way into marriage and fidelity. But things just don’t seem to work that way.

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