Tainted sources

Something adapted from him is another aphorism, based on his “To think is the only moral act” and  "the whole drama of voluntary life hinges on the amount of attention, slightly more or slightly less, which rival motor ideas might receive.… Effort of attention is thus the essential phenomenon of the will”:

“We make a continuous moral choice in what we pay attention to.” (Maybe I got that from David Brooks?)

I find Brooks frequently interesting too. Good quote regardless but if James is in there too all the better.

I am particularly drawn to C Pierce, Making ideas clear:

“But the soul and meaning of thought, abstracted from the other elements which accompany it, though it may be voluntarily thwarted, can never be made to direct itself toward anything but the production of belief. Thought in action has for its only possible motive the attainment of thought at rest; and
whatever does not refer to belief is no part of the thought itself.
And what, then, is belief? It is the demi-cadence which closes a musical phrase in the symphony
of our intellectual life. We have seen that it has just three properties: First, it is something that we
are aware of; second, it appeases the irritation of doubt; and, third, it involves the establishment in
our nature of a rule of action, or, say for short, a habit. As it appeases the irritation of doubt,
which is the motive for thinking, thought relaxes, and comes to rest for a moment when belief is
reached. But, since belief is a rule for action, the application of which involves further doubt and
further thought, at the same time that it is a stopping-place, it is also a new starting-place for
thought. That is why I have permitted myself to call it thought at rest, although thought is
essentially an action. The final upshot of thinking is the exercise of volition, and of this thought
no longer forms a part; but belief is only a stadium of mental action, an effect upon our nature due
to thought, which will influence future thinking.”

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Here is a recently aired “Crossroads” - an hour long conversation between Bishop Barron and Larry Chapp. If one doesn’t mind (or is interested in) Catholic church movements over the last century - there is a lot here. But even beyond that, there is much that should interest any theist generally - Catholic or not.

For those on this forum who love to focus on (even if just to deride) Universalism, these gentlemen speak to that, and they make it clear just where they fall within that tradition. I’ll leave you in suspense for now, to go and listen for yourself if you must know. But they cover a lot of ground (not just about Hell), but about worries and hopes for this generation. Enjoy it - and then come back here and share your thoughts.

I was trying to find a thread where we gave lists of the philosophers we liked and disliked… might have been in another forum, I suppose…

For example… me?

Particularly Like
C. S. Pierce
C. S. Lewis
Albert Camus

Particularly Dislike
Thomas Kuhn

There are a few I have rather mixed feelings about such as: Nietzche, Sartre, and Richard Dawkins. And I suppose there are many more which I generally do like but not as much.

I think we’ve occassionally had author throw downs … like this one that was a few years ago. Seems like we’ve probably had more recent things too.

Unlike the last one where I knew a lot of the thinkers referenced I really felt like an ignoramus listening to this. (I’m about half way through.). But two points strike me as interesting regarding: what universalism is about, and, the idea that it isn’t about going to hell but rather getting out since salvation like eternity very much includes now.

I’d always thought universalism was about there being many traditions or ways to make a good life. But apparently everyone else thinks of it as the doctrine that everyone will be saved (not a term ive used a lot). I don’t think any approach is guaranteed. Merely picking the right view is not enough. Human nature is such that it is very difficult to strike the right balance between personal responsibility and proper respect for what is greater. I think there needs to be a recognition of the limits to how far our cleverness will take us before we are willing to focus less on generating answers and more on asking the questions with sufficient patience and humility. Recognizing ones real nature and need isn’t fundamentally about a particular metaphor or ritual. So I was confused before about what universalism was about. This helped.

The idea of evangelizing by focusing on the need to escape hell here and now almost seems Eastern. It is way to late to worry about avoiding it for most of us. But if we want to get started I do think humbly recognizing our limitations is key. Adopting a swagger about which path one is on is counter productive. All the temptations that lead us to project a victory we do not and really cannot own are pointless.

Had to stop it to go do ballots for the recall election in California with Lia and then go drop them off and run some errands. Great conversation even just for the few nuggets I can catch.

One of the quotes I really liked from the discussion (which may have been one of them actually quoting someone else) was to this effect: Hell isn’t something you’re going to stay out of by believing certain correct doctrines. It is a present state that you are already living in, and the good news is that you don’t have to. Christ provides the way into God’s kingdom. Here and now already.

I also liked it when Chapp declared he had no interest in any “escatalogical census-taking of Hell”. Despite people fixating on those issues, they are of little interest to those who just want to live into their humanity in Christ.


So you probably don’t care for the thought (can’t remember who said it) … that pretty much all western thought is a “footnote to Plato”?

Footnotes can include disputations. So I suppose you can credit Plato with asking good questions even if you disagree with his answers. Though in general it is safe to say that this was said by people who like Plato such as Alfred North Whitehead whom I also despise.

Part of it, I guess, is whether you believe Socrates existed and make the distinction between him and Plato, as I do. So by Plato I mean the Platonic school of thought founded by him which fed right into Gnosticism, works like “The Republic,” and Platonic realism.

This is also an oft-crossed line to selling something and manipulation, and if the Good News is True, this approach should be unnecessary. I haven’t listened yet, so maybe this is addressed.

Edwards, was not afraid to use the picture of hell to wake up his spiritually dead congregants. Jesus also used it in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Many of his parables had references to hell, fire, punishment and destruction. How dare Jesus do this!

Having discussions on what the Bible says about hell is appropriate. Using hell as a scare tactic as a part of a method instead of discussing what the Bible says requires discernment.

I thought it was a very interesting conversation, thank you for sharing @Mervin_Bitikofer !


All I am saying is that we need to be biblical and if Jesus forced the point about hell, destruction, fire etc. then in my evangelism style I will also use it. The fact is there is a hell and if people don’t accept Jesus as their Lord and savior then they will experience hell too. It is no joke, so if we really love people, we too will present the gospel to the people around us telling of the love of God but also the justice of God, which includes hell and damnation.

I understand what you’re saying, and I agree with that perspective of following Christ’s example. My concern are the people I’ve talked to who’ve heard about hell but haven’t had their questions about the Bible or God addressed. It can be difficult to share all we want to say in one conversation, and while I’m sure some people haven’t heard what the Bible says about hell, some haven’t been shown why the alternative is actually good either. Faith is a process, and sometimes so are the gospel conversations, and in conversations I’ve had at least (which is all I can speak for) sometimes that takes more listening and less presenting.


I think you have some wisdom in working individually with people adapting as you go, but my pastor always reminds me of this:

Rom. 10:14

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

His point is that at some point we do need to speak and a lifestyle evangelism without words will only lead people to hell.

If I have not charity.

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Not as effectively as pious words without love does.


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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