Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Unbroken Thread, Discovering The Wisdom Of Tradition In The Age of Chaos

The book was of course irresistible to me. While the Bible talks of the foolishness of building your "house" (life) on sand, the modern West has decided that building lives on materialism, pleasure, career, technology, etc is a worthy goal. Solomon knew this is vanity long ago, and we are just proving it yet again. (Eccl 1:2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.He who has eyes can see that Solomon is still right) 

If you are only going to read one of the Sohrab Ahmari books, this would be my pick. If you think you want more, or if your objective is to come to faith rather than save the culture, I'd go with "From Fire By Water" which is a prequel.  

The Chinese, even in a Communist state, respect their elders and their tradition. Even in the US, those of Asian, Indian, Korean, etc are vastly surpassing those raised in the desolation of American "culture". The fact that ivy league schools have to limit their admission of these nationalities or the schools would be primarily "minority". Such has been the case for Jews forever ... they have been discriminated against because they were successful, because they had a specific culture, passed on from generation to generation that included a tradition of reading, education and adherence to religion. I also believe they are especially blessed because they are Gods chosen people -- and time has verified that. 

On page 78 he quotes rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel: 

"He [man] must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man". Today, we must add, ANY work ... worship, study and reflection on our creator are required to be human. 

Page 97, "... rather ritual and religion are really at the core of the human matter",  As "Moral, Believing, Animals" makes clear ... we all have our morality, beliefs and religion, even though Western civilization is in tragic denial of this obvious fact, and the denial is causing painful breakage - in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in our cultures. 

Page 140, "Augustine provided the Catholic church with what in future centuries it would need so much: an oasis of absolute clarity in a troubled world ..."  "City of God" is a timeless treasure. 

Page 173, Related to John Henry Newman, "The individual soul was called to submit to the authority of an apostolic body tracing to Christ's first followers, and that body's judgements couldn't be wrong". 

I could spend and likely will spend a lot of text on this statement in the future. It comes down to "the Bible or the Pope"? Given the history of the church, it seems impossible to accept that the pope/church is "infallible".  Just on the issue of celibacy alone, which was not a requirement until the Second Lateran Council held in 1139, one can only assume that the church was wrong for a thousand years (Peter was married), or God changed his mind. Based on the homosexuality of priests, abuse of children, and inability to get priests, one tends to look to the Apostle Paul saying it is better to marry than to burn, than to the "infallibility" of the church.  

We need authority, and it is critical that the authority be correct and eternally reliable. As Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever." 

So is our authority the unchanging word of God, or that of a human pope? 

The Bible is a much better foundation than even tradition. As the book makes clear, tradition is VERY important, however it is not God. 

My biggest concern with the book and with Catholicism is that "whatever the church says" is dangerously close to "whatever the culture says".  The church is seems close to approving abortion, gay "marriage", and who knows what else on that slippery slope. 

It is thorny if you are Catholic. Do you follow tradition or the Bible? 

Matthew 10:34-35 "Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law ..." 

The Christian church, and Christians are to be "the salt of the earth". Matt 5:13 You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people."

Going along to get along is really not an option. Can a pope allow Joe Biden to strongly support abortion, gay "marriage", and transgender, yet still be the salt of the earth? 

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