Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day on Hallowe'en

Quite why Martin Luther chose to protest against Tetzel and his sale of indulgences on All Hallows' Eve is unknown - unless it was simply a marketing decision to ensure that his 95 Theses were read by as many as possible on one of the busiest Holy Days of the year. But on 31st October 1517, the world was introduced to what became known as 'Protestanitism', and Christendom was torn assunder.

Luther railed against the extravagences of the Pope, 'whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus', and repudiated purgatory and indulgences, insisting that salvation is by faith in Christ alone: it was certainly not for sale, and the Pope of Rome had absolutely no authority to absolve buyers from anything they justly had coming to them. The protest, as we know, spread throughout Germany, and reached France, Italy and England. Thanks to the advent of the printing press, tens of thousands would go on to read On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and On the Freedom of a Christian in Luther's own time.

And today we remember this.

Or perhaps not.

One might hope that the United Kingdom will commemorate the 500th anniversary of this momentous event in 2017 (if, indeed, the Kingdom is still united in five years time), but until then we're stuck with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and trick-or-treating. Hallowmas has been stripped of its Christian origins and the festival has returned to its Celtic pagan roots. And yet the collecting of 'soul cakes' and the ringing of bells for the departed in purgatory are as pointless as Tetzel's indulgences. One wonders what Luther would now make of it all.

The Christian response? Well, you could ignore it, like most Christians do All Saints' Day. You could tell the trick-or-treaters that salvation is to be found in Christ alone and they're going to hell if they continue to consort with the Devil and watch Harry Potter. Or you could participate in the cultural phenomenon, for a candle in a pumpkin is not an invocation to the demons of hell.

Father Gabriele Amorth, exorcist-in-chief at the Vatican, has said: "If English and American children like to dress up as witches and devils on one night of the year that is not a problem. If it is just a game, there is no harm in that."

One wonders if he holds the same generous view of those children who like to dress up as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox or His Grace to celebrate Reformation Day..


Blogger Neil Robbie said...

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31 October 2012 at 09:05  
Blogger The Vicar's Wife said...

In our Vicarage, we view Halloween as a great opportunity for easy door to door evangelism. We barely have to leave the sofa and noone slams a door in our face!

Instead people knock on our door and we tell them about our pumpkin (this year carved with "Jesus", a heart and a flame), we give them sweeties and also a short tract about Jesus, the light of the world. Our pumpkin carving skills aren't up to a picture of Luther, alas.

31 October 2012 at 09:07  
Blogger Phil Taylor said...

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31 October 2012 at 09:38  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

My previous experiences have included various forms of "Light Party" held as an alternative. They have generally been successful in and of themselves and often get people of other faiths (notably Muslims) attending too. The event is a lot of fun and games and, at some point (usually near the end) a "God slot" is done on the Light of the World.

The real shame is that the reason for All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day the following day, is well and truly forgotten by the vast majority of the churches in Britain. A day to remember those who have passed over the previous 12 months and give thanks to God for the impact their lives had on us and the world around them is as important now as it ever was in a world that increasingly devalues life.

31 October 2012 at 09:40  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Well, you could ignore it, like most Christians do All Saints' Day.

It's still a holy day of obligation in the Catholic Church. As for Hallowmass returning to its Celtic pagan roots, that's pretty much an inevitable result of Protestantism - as (ultimately) is atheism.

31 October 2012 at 11:17  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

Hows that reformation going for you Bish?

Just admit it - it was a failed experiment. Now that forced conversion, persecution of Catholics and "special" taxes are outlawed its just become a glee club for weirdy beardies.

31 October 2012 at 11:59  
Blogger Chantry Priest said...

Of your charity....

O merciful God, take pity on those souls who have no particular friend or intercessor to recommend them to Thee, who either through the negligence of those who are alive or through length of time, are forgotten.
Spare them, O Lord, and remember Thine own when others forget to appeal to Thy mercy. Let not the souls that Thou hast created be parted from Thee, their Creator. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

31 October 2012 at 12:07  
Blogger Kirk Haberman said...

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31 October 2012 at 12:19  
Blogger kirkegaard7 said...

I write this in the least snarky and most genuinely collegial manner possible; are you lost? I don't think this is the blog you think it is.

Of the various head-meets-palm moments I have throughout my week, a great many are precipitated by obnoxious papal triumphalism.

31 October 2012 at 12:35  
Blogger David B said...

I think it important to remember Luther's entirely justified criticism of the RCC.

Equally, though, it is important to remember his views on Jews.

And then to consider a line from a writer who far exceeds the literary merit of any translation of the Bible.

"A plague on both your houses."

David B

31 October 2012 at 13:24  
Blogger non mouse said...

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31 October 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Wellards Academy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 October 2012 at 13:52  
Blogger John Chater said...

I'll be off to church tomorrow morning - we have three Masses for All Soul's and they are all well attended.

If anyone is out trick or treating and wants to do something a little different (Christian) they could always try singing the Souling Song (various versions in use since the Middle Ages).

Here's one:

Souling Song

A soul, a soul, a soul cake
Please, good missus, a soul cake
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry
Any good thing to make us all merry
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all

God Bless the master of this house, the mistress also
And all the little children who around your table grow
Likewise your men and maidens, your cattle and your store
And all that dwells within your gates

we wish you ten times more
The lanes are very dirty and my shoes are very thin
I've got a little pocket I can put a penny in
If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do
If you haven't got a ha' penny, then God bless you

Music also available from:;ttSOULCAKE.html

You never know – it might inspire more treats than tricks…

Best of luck

31 October 2012 at 13:54  
Blogger non mouse said...

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31 October 2012 at 13:54  
Blogger non mouse said...

One wonders if he holds the same generous view of those children who like to dress up as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox or His Grace to celebrate Reformation Day. Or Wycliffe, Your Grace.

After all, he and his Lollards were at least century ahead of the foreigners. In addition, I see no reason why we should be expected to adopt the German-euro approach to Holy Days.

In a similar vein: I thought Hallowe'en was an American deal; though I gather the roots are Scots/Irish. But we didn't have actual pumpkins around Britain, originally.

I've always preferred Guy Fawkes Night, myself -- and will do especially now that I've turned so anti-RC. However, the suggestion that Burning the Guy is another manifestation of syncretised paganism is getting really boring: it happened nearly a thousand years after England had become Christian.

The novelty of 'bringing back Paganism' has worn off anyway. The ideas really just feed the deconstructionist/AntiChrist ploy, even as the enemy attempts to syncretise our culture into theirs.

Certainly, it's true that the barbarism behind Your Grace's fate (and those of the other martyrs) is essentially unChristian --- However, perhaps another way of looking at the ceremonial burning of the "Guy" is that it parallels Christian symbology in the Mass. That is to say, it shows that we don't go in for the actual sacrificing any more: but we memorialize what the situation was about.

As the Pagans assert themselves further, though ... and as recognition of the Christian principle declines... maybe the politicians had better watch out.

31 October 2012 at 14:02  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Beautiful prayer Chantry Priest.

Thank you John Chater for the souling song...lovely!

31 October 2012 at 14:44  
Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

I may keep the house lights on tonight in hopes of seeing children who like to dress up as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox or His Grace to celebrate Reformation Day!

31 October 2012 at 14:52  
Blogger John Chater said...

Non mouse,

As an anti-RC have you ever been to the spectacular bonfire night celebrations in Lewes, East Sussex. It marks the uncovering of the Gunpowder Plot and also commemorates the seventeen Lewes Protestants burnt at the stake for their faith. Effigies of Guy Fawkes and Pope Paul V (Pope in 1605, when the plot was uncovered) are burnt down by the river.

Catholic though I am, I've been to the Lewes show a number of times and it is always a blast.

31 October 2012 at 15:14  
Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

I am dressing up as my Dad for reformation day ( all in black but with no underpants) and urging everyone to abuse and harrass the Queen.

I am then writing to a hostile foreign power to ask them to interfere in my country's business.

When done with that I will ask the rich and powerful to rob local charities and then I will hunt out a women 30 years my junior to "marry".

31 October 2012 at 15:28  
Blogger John Chater said...

John Knox lovechild - Sign me up - sounds like a hoot, especially the no pants rule!!

Cressida - I hope you will be singing the Souling Song this evening.


31 October 2012 at 15:42  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Laws against witchcraft were also first enacted in Babylon, so the inspiration for the witch hunts came from those same Babylonians which Luther loathed

It is interesting in these uncertain times to note that the festival was representative of a primative state of chaos, before order was established

A primordial chaos before any boundaries existed, we seem to be living in a time of chaos, when all taboos are thrown to the wind and the results are coming to haunt us


31 October 2012 at 17:19  
Blogger William said...

Your Grace

Happy Reformation Day!

31 October 2012 at 18:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

…children who like to dress up as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox or His Grace…

What a gruesome thought. Miniature THEM running around splitting the western church, what !

31 October 2012 at 18:14  
Blogger Matt A said...

When I read the accounts of the lives of such great men as Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, Foxe, Huss, Knox and Cranmer, I feel very small, and wonder if I am really a Christian at all.
Then I remember that being is Christian is total dependence on Christ alone for my salvation, and although I still feel small, I also feel a real sense of wonder.
Maybe OIG is right, I am a loon after all.....

31 October 2012 at 18:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Matt A. Chin up that chap. Thanks to you, the Inspector may have to re-evaluate born againism. You see, until you came along, he was viewing it as a dripping corrosive poison, courtesy Len’s postings. So carry on as your are...

Len, you remain a small minded despicable sham Christian. With NO redeeming features.

Right, chaps, any questions from either of you ?

31 October 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger Matt A said...

Is it me getting old, or are the Halloween decorations and masks especially evil looking this year?

31 October 2012 at 19:28  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Dress up as Luther? Nah!

All Saints Day, (All Hallows or Hallowmas_ the day on which Christians celebrate all the saints, known and unknown. It arose out of the Catholic tradition of celebrating the martyrdom of saints. When martyrdoms increased during the persecutions of the late Roman Empire, a common feast day was introduced to ensure that all martyrs, known and unknown, were properly honoured.

Was Luther inviting martydom?

The day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven.

Maybe he believed this was his immediate destiny thereafter?

In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls' Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven and are in Pergatory.

Catholics celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the 'church penitent' and the 'church triumphant', respectively), and the 'church militant' who are the living.

Luther certainly chose his moment for a reason. Pity he'll be remembered for dividing the Western Christian Church.

Many of his biographers, protestant and Catholic, identity that he was driven by fear and uncertainty and suffered melancholy and excessive scrupulosity.

31 October 2012 at 19:30  
Blogger John Magee said...

I believe the Czech Jan Hus who was a contemporary of John Wycliff in his old age is considered the first Reformer. Jan Hus was a RC priest burned at the stake for his views on the papacy and also the Eucharist. He wanted communion given to the people in both forms, bread and wine. For these views and many others the Church didn't appreciate he was declared a heretic at the Council of Constance (a German city on the Swiss border)in 1415 and ordered to be burned at the stake. Before the fire was lit in the presence of many bishops who had attended the Council Huss fell upon his knees and asked God with a low voice to forgive all his enemies. He died on July 6, 1415.

After his death the Czech people in Bohemia moved rapidly away from the RC Church and Pope Martin issued a Papal bull that all Czech followers of Hus's and Wycliff teachings be killed. A century later at the time of the German Reformation 90% of all Czechs were still Huss's followers.

During the the Counter Reformation the RC Church gradually converted (forced) most Czech's back to to the RC Church. many Czech noble families fled to Protestant areas in next door Germany. Today about 20% of all Czech still consider themsleves followrs of Jan Huss and belong to the Church of the Czech Brethren a union of Hussites, Lutherans, and Reformed believes in Bohemia and Moravia which is today the Czech Republic.

Most Christians today in the Czech Republic are Roman Catholic but the first "protestant" nation in Europe was in what is now the CR.

31 October 2012 at 19:36  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hmmm. All so very interesting. Pulled my youngest out of school...a private non-denominational one with mostly secular Jewish and Christian kids... at lunch today because she and we wanted to skip the Halloween party. My reason's that I always thought Hallowe'en to be a Christian event, while our kid gets freaked out over the gore that seems to be so popular now in US and here, in Canada. I mean, we're not talking about pumpkins, bedsheets-as-ghosts and scarecrows anymore, but life-size replicas of ghastly corpses in bridal gowns on swings, decapitated heads with bloodied spinal columns hanging off, fake stomachs oozing real-looking viscera and many other such delights.

My kid's teacher was offended that I'm depriving my youngest of a wonderful cultural experience which both Christian and Jewish kids can enjoy tohether. A true secular celebration for a new century of amity or something maudlin like that. She laughed at the notion that Halloween has anything to do with Christianity or Pagan traditions anymore. It's just a fun time, a big party for for kids of all backgrounds...just like Christmas and Easter. So, there you have it.

Anyway, a happy holy day for those of you who observe the genuine Christian or Animist celebrations. An equally happy non-celebrations for those of you who want to sit the day out for whatever reason. And those of you who have turned the the day into a psychopathic visual orgy of gore and supernatural terror, please think about what it might be doing to your poor kids' heads, will ya?

31 October 2012 at 19:54  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

John Magee, when I was a kid in Prague, Jan Hus was a national hero even in the days of communism. Of course, we weren't told anything clear about the Reformation or such, but were taught that Hussites were early communists, while the Church represented capitalism and imperialism.

31 October 2012 at 20:02  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...


Interesting point about your kids

We do not allow our kids to celebrate Halloween for similar reasons to you

However, a number of people have suggested that the prevalence of occult in the media is a deliberate attempt (or has the net result of) desensitising the kids to the occult. We all have a inbuilt revulsion to the occult so anything that reduces this natural reaction to evil makes it easier for suggestions made elsewhere (say at school) to make further progress with young minds.

I still have a strong natural revulsion to Homosexual displays/behaviour in public. When Gays get irritated at me about this I claim I cannot help it because I truthfully say “I was born that way” !


31 October 2012 at 20:38  
Blogger len said...

If I were to hazard a guess at the timing of Luthers protest against the 'Roman religion' it would probably be to highlight the pagan origins of the' Roman Religion' which had attempted to 'devour Christianity'.

Christendom was never' torn asunder'the Truth was liberated from under the piles of debris deposited upon it by Rome.Christianity separated from the' Roman Religion'.

Satan has thrown all he can at the Reformation aiming to 'divide and conquer' and he has had an amount of success to this end...
Satan has left Catholicism alone presumably because he has no more work to do?.

We (Christians) owe an enormous amount to these brave men who glimpsed the Truth and pursued it at the cost of their lives.They didn`t get everything right (in the case of Luther) but they saw through the errors of Rome and strove to remedy them.

31 October 2012 at 20:44  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

One can’t think of a better answer to children who demand on celebrating Halloween than a trip to an abattoir. Show them what horror is all about, then a trip to Macdonalds to enjoy the fruits of such establishments...

31 October 2012 at 21:27  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Hi Phil,

We don't do Halloween because we're observat Jews and we interpret Halloween as a synchretized Christian/Animist celebration in which we shouldn't take part. Add to this the recent occult twists and the macabre and sexualized vampire stuff that's really big now and it's just not on for us. Twenty years ago when it was a mild event focussed on the smaller kids I would have taken a much more lenient approach.

The other part is that it is a religious holy day for some Christian denominations and apart from the prohibition to participate in others' religious celebrations, there is the issue of insulting others' beliefs and traditions by mocking or trivializing them. As is usually the case with such things, I find that religious Christians have little trouble understanding such a position, and that it's the secular folk, including fellow non-observant or lightly observant Jews who get genuinely angry. They see our non-participation as a personal insult, a form of intolerant fundamentalism, making a big deal out of a little bit of harmless fun, an aggressive rejection of community and universalism or a value judgment against them. Not much we can do about that, though.

31 October 2012 at 21:39  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Inspector, I took one of my kids to witness a sh'hita, a kosher slaughter, not long after his Bar Mitzvah. It used to be a tradition with some. He met one of the slaughterers afterwards, who explained the laws and the rituals and impressed us with his advanced learning and dedication to his task which we view as one of grave responsibility and holiness. We witnessed the skinning, the butchering and the processes unique to kashrut, such as the salting and rinsing of the cut portions. As a result my son gained a respect for an animal's life and the value of that hot dog or burger on the table. He did not get turned off, but has moderated his meat consumption and no longer wastes the meat portion on his plate.

Now, if I had taken him, a six foot something eating machine, to see how hot dogs and sausages are made, I would have created a vegetarian and saved a grand or two per year.

31 October 2012 at 21:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Before you "hazard a guess" about Luther, I'd advise you read academic accounts of his life and his personal struggle to understand Christianity. It makes interesting reading.

31 October 2012 at 23:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

There have been many, many, "reformers" since Christ established His Church. The first Council of the Church in Jerusalem records one such example and a model. All reformers sought to clarify doctrine, right what they perceived to be theological error or ecclesiastical corruption.

Some reformed the Church within and sought to keep it on its path. Others broke ranks with Rome, yet retained the essential theological truths. Yet others spread disobedience and heresy.

In my estimation, the first 'protester' against Jesus Christ and His plan for the salvation of mankind was Judas Iscariot.

31 October 2012 at 23:16  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

31 October 2012 at 23:24  
Blogger Demetrius said...

My ancestor, John Rogers, might have suggested that All Souls was the appropriate day to recognise our duty to our forebears in prayer and right thinking.

1 November 2012 at 11:52  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace tweets

"His_Grace Lost a follower today because she believed George W Bush showed lots of emotion. Will now have to leave 8040 sheep to go in search of the 1 "
*Gulp* So, leaving us to the tender mercy of the RC Wolves eh?? Now where did Len and I leave those extra long reformation barge poles with 10 inch nails through them. ;-)

E S Blofeld

1 November 2012 at 14:20  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

10 inch nails filed at the points
..not nice Ernst. Not a good look for Christians. There have been complaints made about the vileness and aggressive behaviour of Christian commenters by atheists

1 November 2012 at 15:23  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...


What would they know about humour, it hasn't evolved in them yet.
There is a major difference between mere sarcasm for the heck of it and rib tickling chortles?



1 November 2012 at 16:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Cressida: "There have been complaints made about the vileness and aggressive behaviour of Christian commenters by atheists

Lordy, you're thick as well as unstable. There hasn't been complaints, just observations. I'm actually quite happy to see supposed Christians behaving badly. Duh.

1 November 2012 at 19:01  
Blogger len said...


'In my estimation, the first 'protester' against Jesus Christ and His plan for the salvation of mankind was Judas Iscariot.'(end of quote)

In my estimation it was the' High Priest'.... religion (the' flesh' fuelled by religious pride ) always opposes the Spirit.

1 November 2012 at 19:45  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Yes but the High Priest wasn't a Christian, was he? He hadn't followed Jesus during His Ministry. He wasn't a Apostle with the grace of the Apostolate and the familiar friendship of Jesus.

Judas approached the Temple authorities to arrange Our Lord's betrayal.

"And Satan entered into Judas, who was surnamed Iscariot, one of the twelve. And he went, and discoursed with the chief priests and the magistrates, how he might betray him to them."
(Luke 22:3-4)

Not "organised religion" No, Judas' "protest" and betrayal was the very first - an act of a single man.

"When Jesus had said these things, he was troubled in spirit; and he testified, and said: Amen, amen I say to you, one of you shall betray me ... He it is to whom I shall reach bread dipped. And when he had dipped the bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the morsel, Satan entered into him. And Jesus said to him: That which thou dost, do quickly."

Do you see any lesson in the fall of Judas?

1 November 2012 at 20:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


It is you this time getting your gold lame pants in all in a twist and missing the point! My, you are a humourless pharisee.

And calling another person "thick and unstable", when there's no evidence for neither, just reinforces this.

Why do you focus all your angst on Catholics? Generally, as we all know, its older Catholic men you are drawn to. Is this attack on cressida simply a diversionary tactic?

1 November 2012 at 20:48  
Blogger outsider said...

@ Avi Barzel
A young Jewish friend went, if you can believe it, to a Jewish Halloween party. I told her it was like a Christian going to a voodoo festival.
To me, the modern version of Halloween in the UK is a meretricious example of "US cultural imperialism" to fill in a retail gap now that sales of Bonfire Night fireworks are restricted.

1 November 2012 at 21:19  
Blogger John Magee said...


I am sure if you look at the labels on the Halloween costumes and the rest of the paraphenalia used to celebrate the modern version of this holiday you will find "Made in China" or some other 3rd world country. The candy is probably made in the UK or a EU country. The jobs created by the sales of these items are jobs for people in the UK. Halloween, from the economic aspect, creates jobs where you live.

By the way. According to many scholars, Halloween was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain (pagan Celtic rituals held on this night include wearing costumes and masks "guising" and knocking on doors demanding food for the Samhain festival or face mischief. In fact in Ireland it used to be called "Mischief Night"). Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

So the ghoulishness and death aspect of modern Halloween is 100% Celtic paganism.

1 November 2012 at 21:55  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Lordy,humourless dumb danjo is not getting enough attention. Inspector where are you? He needs his humiliation fix.

1 November 2012 at 22:41  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Crikey, that's harsh!

1 November 2012 at 23:57  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

A song for conflicted DanJ0 who spends his time seeking rejection from older Catholic older.

Close your eyes
Have no fear
The monster's gone
He's on the run and your daddy's here

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy

Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better

2 November 2012 at 00:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

"Older Catholic men."

2 November 2012 at 00:03  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Dodo your tedious refrain of my responses being harsh is just a transparent ploy to reinforce your negative image of me. I have got the message and so has everyone else!
You're being a tad hypocritical as your posts are very vicious when you are in assault mode,sweet thing!

2 November 2012 at 00:47  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Actually, Cressida, it was meant ironically.

I enjoy your posts and your observations, finding them amusing and insightful. My image of you is positive - always has been and always will be.

Okay, so I accused you once of being cruel towards a confused and somewhat naive young woman. You spoke your mind and I respect for this. However, not everyone is resilient.

Poets are complex and passionate people.

God Bless.

2 November 2012 at 01:52  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


"assault mode"? Me? I always stive to be gentle and kind - well, most of the time.

2 November 2012 at 02:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm still wondering if Cressida is yet another one of Dodo's sock puppets.

2 November 2012 at 07:00  
Blogger len said...

Judas was never a true 'follower' of Jesus. Judas was' the keeper of the purse 'and regularly stole from it.The 'purse' was more important to Judas than Christ or the Gospel.

Judas 'followed Jesus' for what he could get out of it(as so many do today)

Judas rebuked the woman with the 'Alabaster box' because he wanted the money for the purse(himself)which sums up Judas`s whole attitude to Christ and the Gospel.
Judas loved self more then he loved christ.

The High Priest must have known the true identity of Christ but his position , his religion was more important to him than submitting to Christ.The High Priests motive for rejecting Christ was purely pride and the fear of loss of position.

The thing that connects Judas and the high Priest is that they both loved 'self' (themselves) more than Christ.

2 November 2012 at 08:04  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Dream on Danjo boy. There is more likehood of my being the Bishop of Durham than Dodo's sock puppet.

2 November 2012 at 08:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Cressida: "Dream on Danjo boy. There is more likehood of my being the Bishop of Durham than Dodo's sock puppet."

Oh I think it's entirely possible. Probable, even. Look at what looks very much like sock puppetry up there.

2 November 2012 at 10:21  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Archbishop of Canterbury, more like!

What a strange and troubled mind you must have DanJ0.

2 November 2012 at 11:36  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


For someone who adheres to sola scriptura there's an awful lot of assertion and speculation in your last comment.

Judas - never a follower of Jesus?

Ciaphas - must have known Jesus was the Messiah?

References if you will.

2 November 2012 at 11:42  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

Cressida ain't Dodo. Plain and simple as that.

2 November 2012 at 14:27  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

How do you know? Are you interacting with or tracking her off-site?

2 November 2012 at 15:11  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

It is none of your business how he knows. He happens to be correct.

You are either being malicious or you are mentally ill.Stop stalking communicants.

2 November 2012 at 15:31  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Cressida, it's you who brings up my name explicitly, or obliquely alludes to me as above, on these threads. I've been more than happy to just write you off as mentally unstable and avoid you so far but you can't seem to help yourself. Go bay at the moon or pull the wings off flies or something. Jeez.

2 November 2012 at 15:51  
Blogger AnonymousInBelfast said...

I've never tracked anyone off-site. I click on people's profiles occasionally, on the assumption that they don't mind that information being pared with their posts, and sometimes follow the links to their blogs (if applicable).

I'm sure that answers your question.

2 November 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger John Magee said...


Here's something to consider. Is it possible both Jesus and Judas Iscariot had a secret understanding what Judas's necessary role had to be in the events leading up to the Crucifixion? Someone had to do the "dirty work" to help fulfil prophesy. I've often wondered if at that last Passover Feast Jesus the night before Jesus died on the Cross He silently had sympathy for Judas as the may have secretly talked before hand and come to an understanding about the role Judas had to play in the events of that night that resulted in the death of Jesus on the Cross the next day.

If so perhaps Judas didn't hang himself but gave the 30 pieces of silver to the poor and vanished obeying Jesus's wishes and with His blessing.

It's a thought. I know it is the opposite of what the Gospels say yet if Jesus knew Peter would betray him three times and the other Apostle's would abandon him the night before the Crucifixion He obviously knew Judas's role and may atcually forgiven him before hand for what he had to do.

Please don't put me on trial for heresy and start gathering the wood to burn me at the stake until you think seriously about this possibility.

2 November 2012 at 16:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

For what it’s worth, there is definitely a woman’s hand behind Cressida. {AHEM}

2 November 2012 at 18:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

There has been considerable speculation about Judas down the centuries. One has to rely on biblical accounts. His betrayal and guilt is so mind numbing it passes all comprehension.

There is no bar on you specualting but absolutely and categorically NO I do not think Jesus played any hand whatsoever in manipulating events leading up to His death.

Have a read of the article on Judas in the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia.


You might also want to explore other questions of faith there. The articles are dated - but sound and a good basis for further study.

2 November 2012 at 20:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Do get a grip and concentrate on the matter in hand - All Saints Day and Luther.

(Oh dear, now what might that turn of phrase have revealed about my subconscious opinion of you?)

2 November 2012 at 21:02  
Blogger John Magee said...


Thank you for your kind understanding and direction.

It wouldn't surprise me if Judas knew his role as part of the greatest event in human history and played his role accordingly with Christ's blessing.

We will never know.

Deo Gratias

2 November 2012 at 22:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John - it would stun and shock me!

Remember the bible, which does not contain falsehood, clearly states in several passages that Satan entered Judas. Because Jesus knew of the treachery does not mean he was a party to it.

Origen believed Judas, in utter despair and remorse at what he'd done, committed suicide so he could hasten his meeting with Christ.

Wonder what Christ said to him?

2 November 2012 at 23:05  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


John, and of course we'll know one day.

2 November 2012 at 23:07  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

For what it's worth the hand behind the Inspector is definitely not that of a woman's ( AHEM)

3 November 2012 at 02:32  
Blogger John Magee said...


Here's another "if" question for you. "If" Hitler had requested a priest to come to the Bunker in Berlin in early May 1945 with the Red Army a few blocks away shelling the place and had a priest been able to make his way to the Bunker. Would Hitler, as a baptized RC who never went to Mass after the age of 15, asking the priest to give him his confession and receive Holy Communion before his suicide later that day have been barred from going to heaven?

I say yes. Suicide is self murder and a mortal sin.

BUT if he hadn't killed himself and been captured alive and after being put on trial at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 and found guilty for the war he caused and the crimes his ideology inspired and was ordered to be hanged and he then publically admitted his guilt and sorrow and again confessed his sins to a priest and received communion would he have gone to heaven?

I say yes.

Because even the most miserable sinner is redeemed by Christ's blood on the Cross if he or she is truly sorry for their sins.

What is is your answer?

I have no background in theology. Only an opinion.

My opinion is that Jesus's blood washes away the sins of all those who are truly sorry for their sins. Even repentent instigators of mass murder and on a smaller scale serial killers who repent and are truly sorry for their sins in 2012.

Keep in mind, I said truly sorry for their sins. We can't lie to God.

This scenerio also applies to Joseph Stalin who was a baptized Orthodox Christian (but never went to devine Liturgy as an adult and denied God existed) who was responsible for the lives of tens of millons of Christians and others.

3 November 2012 at 02:57  
Blogger len said...

Some of the Patriarchs commited pretty 'big sins' by anyones standard..Abraham, King David... Solomon...none were' perfect people'..King David was implicated in a murder...I think genuine repentance and throwing oneself on God`s mercy and relying totally on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ at Calvary is the only hope any of us have.

3 November 2012 at 09:12  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


The Cathecism of the Catholic Church answers your questions.

Anyone who dies having sincerely repented of their sins either through confession to a priest or having made a perfect of contrition, will be received by God.

As for suicide, the Cathecism teaches:

- Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
(C.C.C. # 2280)

- Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbour because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
(C.C.C. # 2281)

- If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
(C.C.C. # 2282)

- Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

- We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.
(C.C.C. # 2283)

As for Judas, Hitler and Stalin, God alone knows the answers to your speculations.

3 November 2012 at 11:37  
Blogger John Magee said...


When I first read Dr Raymond A Moody's book "Life After Life" almost 40 years ago and a myriad of other books and articles by him and others, including scientists and medical doctors, since then about this phenomenon of people surviving accidents, heart attacks, and other experiences when they were declared clinically dead and were later revived there is a pattern in almost all these cases. People go through a dark tunnel, meet a being of of light who envelopes the person with total love and compassion, an amazingly fast life review occurs in great detail and often the person sees dead relatives who communicate with them or "angels". Most people recall leaving their bodies, even seeing the scene of the accident or viewing themselves on operating table from above and remembering the conversations of the rescue workers or doctors and other things that happened. Others have reported they even were with relatives in another room or miles away and heard their comversations. The one thing I gathered from these reports is that the "being of light" call it God and many do or call it Christ and many say that too the "being of light and love" did not care a fig about how we worshipped on earth. No mention is made of what we ate, our religious rites, how special we thought ourselves, the special status of the clergy, what religious garments we wore on our backs or on our heads, or if we were circumcized or baptized, the prayers we said and how we said them, and all the rest we associate with organized religion on earth. All the "being of light and love" cared about was how we treated each other here, even in the most miniscule way, during life here on earth and if we helped others when they needed us.

It appears that Jesus's message that we unselfishly care for others is all that matters when we die and meet God and judge ourselves. In fact that is what people of all faiths who come back from this experience say. We face God and our life is totally laid out for us to review by ourselves in front of this all loving presense. Many people report seeing the terrible things they did to others and how that hurt them and the ripple affect of that hurt on others. We we judge our lives and everything we have done to hurt people in front of God and there is no lying to God is there?

To me this is Christ's message personified and must be His fathers concern too. I don't think the God of the Universe really cares about 99% of the man made rules and traditions we have incorporated into our religions.

All these externals do is make us feel comfortable here on earth and give is a sense of continuity but really are not at all importat as caring for others especially strangers which is the essential emssage of Christ in the Gospels is it not?

Are you familiar with all this?

This is not New Age nonsense. There are numerous historical accounts of this "life after life" phenomenon which represent people of all religions and races..

3 November 2012 at 17:14  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

Interesting experiences but all these people returned to life.

I'm interested in the term you use:
"God of the Universe". I take it you mean the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob revealed to us in the Old and New Testaments and through Jesus Christ.

What are these " ... 99% of the man made rules and traditions" you've referred to that God doesn't care about? His commandments? Church teaching? What?

Of course we will be judged on how we love one another - that is the Gospel message. The point is that without the grace of Christ we cannot do this.

What you've written may not be "New Age nonsense" but it does lack a theological foundation and is not consistent with Catholicism. Indeed, it's close to
Free Masonry.

Are you a genuine Roman Catholic?

3 November 2012 at 22:24  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Magee

about this phenomenon of people surviving accidents, heart attacks, and other experiences when they were declared clinically dead and were later revived there is a pattern in almost all these cases.

"Clinically dead" doesn't mean you are actually dead. It means some doctor has declared you dead according to his observables. Those observables aren't fool-proof as demonstrated by the difficulty men have in precisely identifying the boundary between life and death. Thus it will always be since death is first spiritual and second biological. If a man can be brought back to life, then he wasn't dead in the first place. By definition, there is no returning from death. Which means that all this 'tunnel and bright light' stuff is devoid of metaphysical meaning. There is no truth in it.

It appears that Jesus's message that we unselfishly care for others is all that matters when we die and meet God and judge ourselves.

This is clearly as assertion of works-righteousness. You might as well have said "Do good and God will accept you." That is an out-and-out denial of the Gospel. The first part of the Gospel is that man cannot be accept by God through good works. God's standard is perfection and we all fail miserably by that standard. If you think you can be accepted by doing good, then perfectly keep the whole of the law. But you have already sinned, and so you will not be accepted in such a way.

Tell, John Magee. Will the man who denies that Jesus is God come in the Flesh be received into heaven? Or will the being of light only "ask how we treated each other here, even in the most miniscule way, during life here on earth and if we helped others when they needed us."


3 November 2012 at 23:12  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2012 at 00:04  
Blogger John Magee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2012 at 00:08  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

John Magee

That assertion has no more substance than any other assertion associated with 'near death' experiences. The fact remains. If you are now alive, then you were never dead. If you weren't dead, then you cannot claim any experiential knowledge of an after-life experience. This stuff is by definition all nonsense.


4 November 2012 at 00:14  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Well ... um ... I have never before responded to a comment that was subsequently deleted by the author. I guess I could claim that the force of my arguments have swept my opponent from the field.


4 November 2012 at 00:16  
Blogger John Magee said...

carl jacobs

Here is a personal testimony by a neurosurgeon, Dr Eban Alexander, who taught at Harvard Univerity in the USA giving his own brush with death experience which was featured in a recent Newsweek Magazine cover issue story:

"Very early one morning four years ago, I awoke with an extremely intense headache. Within hours, my entire cortex—the part of the brain that controls thought and emotion and that in essence makes us human—had shut down. Doctors at Lynchburg, General Hospital in Virginia, a hospital where I myself worked as a neurosurgeon, determined that I had somehow contracted a very rare bacterial meningitis that mostly attacks newborns. E. coli bacteria had penetrated my cerebrospinal fluid and were eating my brain.

When I entered the emergency room that morning, my chances of survival in anything beyond a vegetative state were already low. They soon sank to near nonexistent. For seven days I lay in a deep coma, my body unresponsive, my higher-order brain functions totally offline.

There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.

But that dimension—in rough outline, the same one described by countless subjects of near-death experiences and other mystical states—is there. It exists, and what I saw and learned there has placed me quite literally in a new world: a world where we are much more than our brains and bodies, and where death is not the end of consciousness but rather a chapter in a vast, and incalculably positive, journey."

His near death or after death experience when the brain stopped functioning for minutes without oxygen and enabled people to leave their body and see what was happening to them and then enter a NEW DIMENSION is just one of thousands now being collected by researchers. Science and religion may at last meet and conclude there is life after death.

Isn't this a possibility?

Consider the hope that science could at last agree that something else exists after our body ceases to exist and our brain dies.

If you want to do your own research look up Dr Raymond moody and the late Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She was a Swiss American doctor who dedicated the last 30 years of here life to the possibility that science will prove our mind (soul) exists after we die.

Although I considered myself a faithful Christian, I was so more in name than in actual belief. I didn’t begrudge those who wanted to believe that Jesus was more than simply a good man who had suffered at the hands of the world. I sympathized deeply with those who wanted to believe that there was a God somewhere out there who loved us unconditionally. In fact, I envied such people the security that those beliefs no doubt provided. But as a scientist, I simply knew better than to believe them myself.

In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after de

4 November 2012 at 02:06  
Blogger len said...

John Magee,

Jesus came from another World(another dimension?)and He said He was 'the Gateway' into that other World(Heaven) Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."(John 18:36)

When we are' born again'we become one spirit with Christ...connected spiritually to Christ. 'But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit'.(1Corinthians 6:17)

4 November 2012 at 08:34  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

You don't have to be in a coma to experience these 'out of body' states. Just drop some LSD or another hallucinogen. Mankind, in particular shamanistic cultures, have been doing it since time began to 'encounter' this other 'dimension'.

4 November 2012 at 14:26  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

A disruption in the Matrix there I think, Dodo.

4 November 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

So good I said it 3 times!

4 November 2012 at 20:20  
Blogger John Magee said...


How many people who take LSD "trips" have been declared clinically dead and come back to tell about it? These "life after life" experiences by people who have either been declared clinically dead or close to it are always about OTHERS and not SELF. Seems to me an LSD trip is all about self and "self understanding" is this not true? Life after life expriences report people claiming to leave their bodies and looking down on the wreck, operation, or the scene of a heart attack that "killed" them and hearing conversations ambulance medics, doctors, or relatives in nearby rooms. Even hearing relatives or friends talking about the victim miles away. These conversations have been documented. Other reports have people meeting dead relatives they never knew existed until they saw photos of them by relatives after they recovered.

The life review is discribed as a fast moving movie yet every detail of their lives is seen in detail especially when they hurt or harmed others. They claim to experience the pain or sorrow they caused another person exactly as they other person felt it. The life after life "viewer" feels tremendous sorrow knowing how they hurt others because they now suffer that hurt. Sort of like Scrooge's life review of his Christmas's Past in Dickens "Chistmas Carol".

The "life after life" experiences cross all religious and non religious backgrounds and are reported by people from all ethnic groups.

I am open to every possibility that will allow science and religion to meet and prove this isn't the only existence there is.

Please reasearch the Newsweek magazine article on line written by the neorosurgeon Eban Alexander. He was former teacher at Harvard Medical School and is not a new age crank. Of special interest to Catholics and others is how he views the Eucharist after his fantastic "life after life" experience.

Please don't ignore over 40 years of reseach by Dr Raymond Moody and Swiss American Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. They may also help enlighten you and have the curiosity to take a peek out of your box and see a bigger picture that may await us when we die.

What makes organized religion feel uncomfortable with these life after life reports is that the being of light they meet on the other side says nothing about how we worshiped God on earth. All the being of light cares about is how we helped and cared for others we had contact with during our ordinary daily lives while living on this planet.

Isn't that Jesus's message in the Gospels?

It's not theology Dodo. But it may transcend theology. One thing is almost certain. The experience is not about dying cells in the brain.
Dying brain cells can't transport a persons "soul" out of the body to "visit" places and return and documented later.

You and the other Biblical scholars and experts here will know more about all this then I can ever hope to understand. Simple minded me finds it all very interesting.

4 November 2012 at 20:32  
Blogger non mouse said...

John Magee is right on this... the Eben Alexander article*** is worth reading; presumably his book Proof of Heaven is too.

At the very least, it is fair to observe that personal experience of near-death phenomena tends to change individual outlooks on what is otherwise difficult to credit. Alexander's special contribution is that he speaks with knowledge of the neurology involved.

It is also hardly logical to claim that such experience is necessarily drug-related; some people have never touched the stuff. Besides, the sense that we are spiritually linked to a greater universe is at least as old as the known records. Even pagan Greeks (and later NeoPlatonists) suggested that we forgot our spiritual origins at the River Lethe ... so that we would not remember past lives if we were re-incarnated.

From the Hebrews however, we have derived:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust* of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Gen. 2:7 KJV)

I can only ask, then, if this "Breath of God" is not the source of Faith. We can, in this view, wilfully block our spiritual component; or we can open our conscious minds so that they learn ways of applying Caritas to life "in earth."

In later texts, the word "spirit" = Latin spiritus: "breathing, breath, breeze."
Further still, the Anglo-Saxons used their term sawel; sawle also to mean "spirit," as well as "the soul, the intellectual and immortal principle in man."

From them we have: brǣð = "breath, or exhalation (expiration)." So that far, at least the concepts seem consistently related ... and also to the Hebrew (through the Greek).

Old English also provided halgian= "to hallow or sanctify," which might suggest something about the relationship between Hallowe'en and the neglected All Saints' Day.

*Douay-Rheims has: *slime; **face.

***[[Also, it's rather sad that Newsweek will cease 'Print' publication towards the end of the year]].

4 November 2012 at 23:04  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Mage?

My faith doesn't depend on scientific truth. Why would I want to spend hours reading all this?

4 November 2012 at 23:09  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

as it is written...

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Heb 9:27-28

There is no such thing as a 'near death' experience. You can't die and come back. You are either 1) dead - in which case you aren't around to talk about it, or 2) not dead - in which case your experience must by definition have nothing to do with post-death metaphysical reality. The fact that people testify to some experience while close in proximity to death does not mean that the experience itself is objectively real. It could demonstrate nothing beyond the fact that people are extremely suggestible.


4 November 2012 at 23:20  
Blogger John Magee said...


Like you I don't need science to prove there is an after life either. Yet science admitting there could possibly be an after life when we die would be the most astounding event in the history of the human race.
after the death of Jesus on the Cross, His Crucifixion, His Resurrection, and His Ascension. Through those events in the the life of Jesus in Gospels we Christians already know there is an after life.

All I am saying is doctors and others in the medical field have observed this "life after life" phenomenon for a long long time and today some are stepping out and having the courage to study what their patients have been telling them. Most people who have this phenomenon happen to them after a life threatening crisus are shy to talk about it for fear of being rediculed. What the patients are saying is consistent with with others have said and a pattern is being established. I don't know anything about science but I do know when a pattern is starting to take place and is noticed by scientists they want to look at it and study what is happening.

Maybe what happens in the "life after life" exeriences is people are coming back from brief visit through a portal to another dimension at the moment of death we understand is heaven. Aren't other dimensions a possibility? I think our resident mathmaticians and physicists could enlighten us about his matter.

As I already mentioned. The people who have these experiences during a life threatening crisus or are declared clinically dead and revived are from all religions, some are atheists, all racial groups, and economic backgrounds.

The real case studies since the mid 1970's by the people I mentioned, Dr Raymond Moody and Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, are fantastic enough without New Age types sticking their noses into all this and lowering it to nonsense like ghosts and weegie board fantasies.

5 November 2012 at 01:25  
Blogger non mouse said...

Oh good. That nice. So I should know my place and understand that "close in proximity to death" has nothing to do with being near-death. We're either dead or alive, and there's no such thing even as 'living death.' [[Forget about "I am a vegetable" ... that was just a bad racist joke about someone who didn't know the word "vegetarian."]] I'm sorry I have such an inferior take on all the things I ever saw in hospitals and homes.

Perhaps that's why I'm disinclined to tell other people what interpretation they should derive from their own minds, souls, observations and experiences. I think one of the reasons we're here in earth, as individuals, is to learn. If we will, we can do so by acting, experiencing, remembering and thinking. And we can do that while remaining open to the Breath of God: which affords us both Faith and Grace.

Part of the openness allows us to consider what writers, throughout the centuries, have learned from others or remembered on their own.

Here's how Plato saw it:
SOC. Now I want you to suppose, for the sake of the argument, that we have in our souls a block of wax, larger in one person, smaller in another, and of purer wax in one
case, dirtier in another; in some men rather hard, in others rather soft, while in some it is of the proper consistency . . . We may look upon it, then, as a gift of Memory, the mother of the Muses. We make impressions upon this of everything we wish to remember among the things we have seen or heard or thought of ourselves; we hold the wax under our perceptions and thoughts and take a stamp from them in the way in which we take
the imprints of signet rings. Whatever is impressed upon the wax we remember and know so long as the image remains in the wax; whatever is obliterated or cannot be impressed, we forget and do not know.

The context of this reference, in The Theaetetus contains what Myles Burnyeat
identified as a “puzzle” about man’s abilities for perception of truth and true judgment.”

I suggest that all those people who have had near-death experiences through the ages may indeed not have remembered everything they witnessed. But they knew one thing for sure: they had to come back and keep on, in earth, until their time was up.

*Burnyeat, Myles. The Theaetetus of Plato, with a translation of Plato’s Theaetetus by M. J. Levett and revised by Myles Burnyeat. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1990, 190c-191e, 325.

5 November 2012 at 01:25  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Well, whatever, we'll all know for sure one day.

Until then I'd sooner rely on the Gospels and what they tell of us God and His plans for us, rather than the unverifiable accounts of people who tell us God wants us to love one another. Something we know as Christians already.

And as for setting aside " ... 99% of laws and traditions", you still haven't clarified what you meant by this. Are you suggesting Christianity should be set aside? If not, what 1% do you suggest we keep?

5 November 2012 at 01:44  
Blogger non mouse said...

largely in response to the flying American communicant. And I did not, in fact, make any claims for re-incarnation; my point was that pagans interpreted life near death in that way.

After all ... not until Hemingway would they have flying machines to take corporal identities anywhere. All medieval poets had was dreams of flying, and words (ever airy) that re-presented the iconography of predecessors like Augustine. Such rhetoric can manifest images in two aspects, as B.G. Koonce explained: “one glorifying God and following the testimony of the conscience, the other glorying in itself and seeking the praise of men.” **

In House of Fame, this type of duality informed Chaucer’s depiction of Venus; however, it is more explicit in Fame, who is wrought in air and seems to move continually between the “sterres sevene” (1376) and her perpetual foundation (1364). The 'goddess' processes words though, so her polarity reflects the Boethian suggestion that “we should follow Plato in saying that God indeed is eternal, but the world is perpetual.” Boethius indicates that this is because the fallen world tries to regain the completeness of its eternal present by emulation, and by moving towards the wholly eternal.** I hope that might be what our fallen souls also try to do.

Even a young woman, who told me on Friday that Thomas Aquinas is just a load of something I cannot repeat, is trying to move towards something. She's the smartie in this place and time though, so I'll bet she's had plenty of drugs but no near-death experience.

One never knows, however. She might eventually wrap some of her passively-resistant brain cells around Aquinas, Aristotle, and their like; she could one day realise how Greek culture informed modern science and technology. Meanwhile ... so long as they keep the cell-phones working and the aircraft flying ... they'll keep bringing in those synthetic Hallowe'en costumes from China.
**Koonce, B. G. Chaucer and the Tradition of Fame: Symbolism in The House of Fame. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1966.17; n 9 cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei. XIV, 28.

***Boethius Consolation of PhilosophyBook V, Prose 6; 116. Refs. Plato: Timaeus 37d ff.

5 November 2012 at 02:08  
Blogger John Magee said...

non mouse

The common denominator in everyone's story who has "come back" from a life after life experience is that they return with mission to fulfil helping family members or others who need help. One man wanted to return to help his alcoholic wife until she died because he knew she could not stop drinking without his love and care. Most who had young children was of course their desire to raise them. Almost all have a new thirst for to enrich their lives by learning and making new discoveries. Perhaps going back to school as an adult not just to aquire a college degree to advance themselves materially in a job but to simply to gain knowledge there in subjects that interest them. Caring for others and love of knowledge are the two things most people remember from their experience.

Incidently none of these people want to die soon but none have the slightest fear of death because they've "been there"...

5 November 2012 at 02:29  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

non mouse

Oh good. That nice. So I should know my place and understand that "close in proximity to death" has nothing to do with being near-death.

A 'near-death' experience as described on this thread involves a situation where a man ostensibly dies (and therefore starts the transition from this world to the next) but is not so completely dead that he cannot be brought back to life (and so is prevented from completing the transition). It postulates some 'mostly dead' state in which a man is in reality dead but is still capable of being medically resurrected. Except men don't have that kind of power over life and death.

We have trouble defining the point of death because we don't know what life is. It is not simply a biological process. Materialists say there is no ghost in the shell because their world view does not allow for it. But a Christian knows better. A man is both body and spirit. Death involves the severance of the spirit from the body - the immaterial from material. That's why we struggle with understanding it. That's why it is irreversible. That's why all this alleged testimony of lights and tunnels is so much nonsense.

I will say it a third time. There is no such thing as mostly dead. A man can only be sustained in his life. He cannot by definition be restored from the dead.

Here's how Plato saw it:

And so in response to the testimony of Scripture you give me the metaphysical speculations of a pagan philosopher. Perhaps you could make an argument from Scripture? No, you won't be able to do that. I wonder why?


5 November 2012 at 05:26  
Blogger len said...

'There is no such thing as a 'near death' experience. You can't die and come back.'

Try telling that to Lazarus.

The Apostle Paul (if you read between the lines) was stoned to death went to Heaven and was restored to life.

There have been others.

5 November 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger rallentanda said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5 November 2012 at 09:11  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Try telling that to Lazarus.

Try telling what to Lazarus? There was no 'near death' experience involved. He was dead four days. There were witnesses who saw him dead, and then subsequently alive. Besides, all you have said is that God can raise people from the dead. Well, yes, we know that. My point is rather that a man cannot raise other men from the dead. That is what all this 'near death' experience implicitly involves. We would be forced to conclude that these 'near-death' experiences are therefore all miracles of God. You would have to establish such an assertion from Scripture, and you will manifestly not be able to do it.

Men peer at the workings of a feverish mind close onto death and say "Look! We have proof of the after life. My faith has become sight!" And that's why people find it so fascinating. But it's all vain illusion. It is impossible for you to separate this man's experience from his dreams. His perception of events is no more reliable than the perception of a man who wakes from a dream. It may appear real to him. But it was never real. And you have no way to establish otherwise.

The Apostle Paul (if you read between the lines) was stoned to death went to Heaven and was restored to life.

If I read between the lines, I can establish that the Lord Jesus was an Eastern mystic yogi who learned to heal in India. This is an exceedingly bad way to do exegesis.

Something else about Lazarus. The first and obvious question everyone would ask of him is "What was it like to be dead?" And yet Scripture gives not even a hint of an answer to that question. The secret things of God are kept secret for a reason.


5 November 2012 at 12:26  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Well said.
There's no more to add.

John Magee
Are you able to answer my earlier question:

"And as for setting aside " ... 99% of laws and traditions", you still haven't clarified what you meant by this. Are you suggesting Christianity should be set aside? If not, what 1% do you suggest we keep?"

5 November 2012 at 12:43  
Blogger John Magee said...


The 1% which must be kept? As a Catholic I would say the The New Testament, the seven sacraments, the priesthood, Apostolic Succession, the Pope as "first among equals", and the Magisterium are the few things that are necessary for the Catholic Church to exist.

All traditions and sacramentals accumulated since Pentecost could easily be dismissed by the Pope if he chose. Including a celibate priesthood.

I remember a time when RC's made an issue about not eating meat on Fridays. Fasting and not eating meat on Friday was made Church law out of respect for Jesus's sacrifice for us on Good Friday. That was a good idea but made a sin?. Suddenly, overnight, Vatican II said it was "OK" to eat meat on Friday.

Suddenly the Church proclaims a sin is no longer a sin?

Why would the God of the Universe care what we eat here on earth and make it a "sin"?

I love and respect traditions but I also realize they are not essential for The Catholic Church continue it's existence.

The Catholic Church is a humane organization and wants it's children to feel comfortable in God's House so the Church allows celebrations, traditions, art, music as a link to our past and give us the safety of continuity and the comfort of familiarity.

The 25,000 Protestant denominations, sects, and cults, each supposedly having their own version of the "truth" have lots of stuff they could dump too if they were true to the Reformation. But that's their problem not ours and none of our business.

5 November 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

The 1% you would keep:

"The New Testament, the seven sacraments, the priesthood, Apostolic Succession, the Pope as "first among equals", and the Magisterium are the few things that are necessary for the Catholic Church to exist."

How about the infallible and unchangeable doctrine and dogma of the Church? Could these be swept aside too? Do you regardthe Pope ex-cathedra statements as infallible? Or his final authority to decide in Ecumenical Councils?

You have referred to two non-doctrinal matters. These are not the essentials of Catholicism but matters of Church discipline and obedience.

Is the Cathecism of the Catholic Church to be made redundant for the sake of this 'God of the Universe' you are promoting?

5 November 2012 at 19:35  
Blogger John Magee said...


Scroll back pease and reread what I posted. I said I would keep the Magisterium and what is the Magisterium?

The magisterium is the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The church holds that this authority was given to it by Christ himself. It uses this authority to explain to the faithful what God expects of them. The teachings of the magisterium have been recorded since the beginning of church history. The Catholic Almanac notes that it has been documented in creeds, decrees, councils and other kinds of doctrinal instruments. The magisterium is infallible because Christ promised to protect the teachings of the church, according to Catholicism.


Don't start gathering the green logs to give me a nice slow burn at the stake as a heretic yet.

5 November 2012 at 22:50  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee

Oh, I do understand your comments.

So ... in conclusion, this 'God of the Universe', and his message, is in direct contradiction to Church authority. I mean, he supposedly said to disregard 99% of Church law and tradition and you supported this!

You can't have it both ways!

You are either a Catholic or not.

6 November 2012 at 00:02  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

John Magee said ...

"The magisterium is infallible because Christ promised to protect the teachings of the church, according to Catholicism.

Here's what a Catholic would say:

"By the Magisterium we mean the teaching office of the Church - the Pope and Bishops. Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church: "He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects your rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me" (Luke 10. 16).

"Now of course the promise of Christ cannot fail: hence when the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible. The day to day teaching of the Church throughout the world, when the Bishops are in union with each other and with the Pope, and present something as definitive, this is infallible.

"It was precisely by the use of that authority that Vatican I was able to define that the Pope alone, when speaking as such and making things definitive, is also infallible."

Can you spot the differences?

6 November 2012 at 00:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Let me just spell it out for you:

"The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."
(Vatican II)

6 November 2012 at 00:14  
Blogger John Magee said...


Good grief! I'm beginning feel as though I am in the presence of a modern day Torquemada with these questions you are hurling at me. I'm a total illiterate. I don't know the difference between theology or geology. All I know is Jesus Christ asks us in the Gospels to love (care) for others, especially strangers, as we care for ourselves.

Don't put me on the rack yet and please be careful putting those plyers too close to my fingernails!

You need a hobby to help you relax and calm down.

May I suggest stamp collecting?


6 November 2012 at 00:46  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Ummm... Magee, this levity about heresy and this caricature of the Office of the Inquisition (now the Magisterium) isn't really helping matters.

Why are you intent on ridiculing the Church?

6 November 2012 at 01:11  
Blogger John Magee said...


If you had a sense of humor and could read between the lines you would understand I am on your side.

6 November 2012 at 03:30  
Blogger len said...

I see Dodo donning his' witchfinder generals outfit' and searching for his thumbscrews.

If Catholicism IS God`s Word then you have nothing to fear Dodo but if it is not then perhaps you DO?.

Anyone searching for the truth of God`s Word(especially in religions which owe more to man than God)will come up against a 'wall of intimidation' intended to 'keep them in line'.God on the other hand invites questioning and reason because He has nothing to hide!.

6 November 2012 at 19:21  
Blogger len said...

IF you were reading a book and didn`t understand the plot or had other questions the best person to ask would be the author.

The 'author' of the Bible is the Holy Spirit who 'breathed' upon men who wrote the Scriptures.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us into all Truth (this is a direct promise By Jesus Christ!)

All we have to do is ask the Holy Spirit and He will guide us into ALL Truth exactly as Jesus promised.

6 November 2012 at 20:31  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Yes but you "read between the lines"!

Saint Paul stoned to death and restored to life? Yep, that's in scripture. And Saint Paul having been converted to Christianity by Lucifer! Yep, very sound. And you hop around between monergism and synergism (good words them) like a Scotsman on Hogmanay.

The Holy Spirit was promised to the Church. It was the Church who was given the responsibility to lead the faithful and the teaching authority - not individuals.

Just look at the history of placing bibles in the hands of the unsound.

6 November 2012 at 20:45  
Blogger William said...


"Jesus said the Holy Spirit would guide us into all Truth (this is a direct promise By Jesus Christ!)

All we have to do is ask the Holy Spirit and He will guide us into ALL Truth exactly as Jesus promised."

Dodo does not believe that this applies to us (or even him) - only to the leaders of his church. Hence the impasse. Thank God for the Reformation.

6 November 2012 at 20:54  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Jesus said:

"But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning."

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you."

"And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you."

This Spirit of Truth was promised to the persons of the Apostles, and to their successors - not everyone in the Body of Christ.

Saint Paul writea:

"Now you are the body of Christ, and members of member.

And God indeed hath set some in the church; first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly doctors; after that miracles; then the graces of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues, interpretations of speeches.

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all doctors? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the grace of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?"

It would seem you, along with len, would answer in the affirmative and so directly contradict scripture.

"And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith; or ministry, in ministering; or he that teacheth, in doctrine; he that exhorteth, in exhorting; he that giveth, with simplicity; he that ruleth, with carefulness; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness."

6 November 2012 at 22:47  
Blogger len said...

OK Dodo... So the promise Jesus gave to Peter was for him alone?.

You cannot have it both ways.Your Church you claim was built upon Peter would have died out when Peter died?.

And Jesus was speaking ..exclusively to Jews.

7 November 2012 at 07:56  
Blogger len said...

The Holy Spirit guides the believer into all the truth.

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

This promise was made in the first instance to the Apostles, but the Apostles themselves applied it to all believers.

1 John 2:20, 27 [20] But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. [27] As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit -- just as it has taught you, remain in him.

It is the privilege of each of us to be "taught of God." Each believer is independent of human teachers -- "you need not that any man teach you."

7 November 2012 at 08:08  
Blogger William said...


Jesus was telling His followers that the Spirit of truth would come and guide them in all truth. Well, I am a follower of Jesus. Are you?

Paul on the other hand was explaining the different gifts of the Spirit to the various nascent churches so that they would not be ignorant of them.

The Spirit of truth is for every Christian. Jesus said "I am the truth" so it can be said that the Spirit of truth is the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus said "I am with you always". However, Jesus is at the right-hand of God, how can that be? It can be because His Spirit is with us.

There are, however, different gifts of the Spirit, and different gifts are given to different people.

Thank God for the Reformation.

7 November 2012 at 09:39  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

len, cannot you not read?

This Spirit of Truth, that would reveal all things, was promised to the persons of the Apostles, the appointed leaders of the Body of Christ until His return, and to their successors - not universally to everyone in that Body of Christ.


Are you really claiming to know all things - as an individual? You're a leader, a theologian, a teacher, a prophet, a miracle worker, a minister, a preacher?


7 November 2012 at 11:44  
Blogger William said...


"Are you really claiming ..."

Do sixty-year-olds get free prescriptions for glasses?

Thank God for the Reformation.

7 November 2012 at 12:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Well are you? It was a clear enough question.

That's the implication of your 'reformation' - depending on which sect/cult you decided to join.

Of course, you may be an Anglo-Catholic and hold/cling to Apostolic succession and the Nicene Creed.

One gets so confused with the term 'protestant reformation' as all it really means is, well, protestation. The tricky bit is being clear what you actually believe in and what you actually reformed.

500 years on from the protest is surely sufficient time?

7 November 2012 at 16:25  
Blogger len said...

Dodo I can only assume that your religion has not only given you 'blinkers' but has somehow blocked your ears?
I think that your adherence to Catholicism has had a profound affect on your ability to perceive spiritual Truth..

Paul puts it more elequently.'But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.'(2Corinthians 3:14)

7 November 2012 at 19:48  
Blogger len said...

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 says, "Because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth."

Perhaps this is you Dodo?.

If God sends' a strong delusion' then you certainly will be deluded perhaps hopelessly so?.

How do you know that Catholic 'theologians' have got it right if you cannot even check what they are telling you Dodo?.
The bible was given to the 'common man'so that he could know the Word of God for Himself and the Holy Spirit could bear witness to the Word of God.
But you Catholics seem to prefer the [unverified] word of men to the Word of God .

7 November 2012 at 20:01  
Blogger William said...


"Well are you? It was a clear enough question."

Nope. Is that a clear enough answer?

"That's the implication of your 'reformation' - depending on which sect/cult you decided to join."

Fortunately, I have decided not to join any sects or cults.

"500 years on from the protest is surely sufficient time?"

Fortunately again, there is no time limit to protesting. Protesters tend to protest as long as there is something to protest about, which neatly brings me to the following:

If your sect/cult tells you that you do not have the Spirit of truth, then why the blazes should I listen to a word you say?

7 November 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Now you're misrEpresenting me!

This Spirit of Truth that would "reveal all things" was given to the Apostles at Penecost. Christ said He would not share it with His followers beforehand. I do not claim it for myself. It was promised to the Church as the Body of Christ.

Catholics, of course, accept each of us has a relationship with the Holy Spirit that, through Grace, unites with us with Christ.

As an individual I know my limits I'm not a leader, a theologian, a teacher, a prophet, a miracle worker, a minister, or a preacher.

That's my point. Each of us has a part to play as a member of Christ's Church.

7 November 2012 at 22:01  
Blogger William said...


This Spirit of Truth that would "reveal all things" was given to the Apostles at Penecost.

Does anyone in your sect/cult have the Spirit of truth now? If so, then have all things been revealed to them as individuals?

"As an individual I know my limits I'm not a leader, a theologian, a teacher, a prophet, a miracle worker, a minister, or a preacher.

That's my point. Each of us has a part to play as a member of Christ's Church."

How do you know what your limits are? Did someone from your sect/cult tell you what they are? If everyone has a part to play then what is your part? You've only said what it isn't.

7 November 2012 at 22:29  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Nope, the Holy Spirit has guided my life thus far. God has a plan for all our lives.

My part in the Church is to attend worship, receive the sacraments and contribute to parish life in a variety of different ways.

My "calling" in life was to be a husband, a father and a professional in the mental health and social care field.

Other than that, I study the bible, consider Church theology and follow Church teaching. I do not "protest", though I may from time to time question and seek clarification.

7 November 2012 at 22:49  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


"The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."
(Vatican II)

7 November 2012 at 22:51  
Blogger William said...


"The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."
(Vatican II)"

So your sect/cult has the authority to interpret Scripture because your sect/cult says that it has the authority to interpret Scripture.

How wonderfully circular!

7 November 2012 at 23:11  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Yep - but not because the Catholic Church says it.

It's in the Bible - if you look and understand the words of Jesus.

And you William:

"How do you know what your limits are? If everyone has a part to play then what is your part?"

8 November 2012 at 01:49  
Blogger len said...

Dodo(7 November 2012 23:11) why do you not quote the Words of God but use instead the word of men.

You have elevated the word of man above the Word of God and this is the key to your whole problem and the problem of every Catholic.

8 November 2012 at 08:06  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

Because len, as a Catholic I believe these words of men were inspired by the Holy Spirit who is always guiding the Church.

8 November 2012 at 09:56  
Blogger len said...

Dodo but you do not believe the Word of God when he says ALL believers will know him?.

'No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.'(Hebrews 8:11)

8 November 2012 at 19:04  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...


Here's some other passages from Hebrews:

"But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called 'today,' so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end."


"Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

(4:14, 16)

"And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."

"Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,... let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


Hebrew's 12–13 contains thirty explicit commands and exhortations, especially calling for perseverence in running the race, endurance in disciplinary suffering, steadfastness in faith, harmony among believers, mutual love, care for prisoners, hospitality to strangers, morality in sexual relationships, respect and obedience for leaders, the sharing of goods, prayer for one another, and the praise of God.

Do read it!

8 November 2012 at 21:05  
Blogger len said...

Dodo I will read 'Hebrews' when you promise to read 'Galatians'.

Do we have a deal?.

10 November 2012 at 11:51  
Blogger len said... still there?.

11 November 2012 at 08:25  

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