Cogito, ergo sum – a conference on perspective and reality

Transcript of the Domestic Church conference broadcast LIVE on Tuesday November 29 2022 on the Old Roman TV YouTube channel.

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So, lets recap briefly…

Beate mundo corde blest are the pure in heart

God is love and that love which binds the Trinity in Unity is made manifest in Creation

Thus, we are extensions of God’s love – created in His love, to share in His love and to become His love

His love should reside in our hearts, influence our minds, and direct our behavior

Sal terrae salt of the earth

That rather than judging others in sin we are to have compassion for them, loving them to righteousness

Just as Jesus, having compassion for our human condition, loved us to death on the Cross for our redemption – not losing our “savor” for the sake of our Savior!

So then should we love one another as Jesus loves us

Vos estis lux mundi you are the light of the world

By radiating the brightness of Christ’s Truth into our world of confusion and ignorance

Living CHRISTIAN lives bearing testimony to the restoration to perfection begun in our salvation

Proving that CHANGE – even radical change – IS possible and true happiness

verbum reconciliationis the word of reconciliation 2 Cor 5:17-20

[17] If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. Si qua ergo in Christo nova creatura, vetera transierunt: ecce facta sunt omnia nova.

[18] But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Omnia autem ex Deo, qui nos reconciliavit sibi per Christum: et dedit nobis ministerium reconciliationis,

[19] For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins; and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation. quoniam quidem Deus erat in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi, non reputans illis delicta ipsorum, et posuit in nobis verbum reconciliationis.

[20] For Christ therefore we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God. Pro Christo ergo legatione fungimur, tamquam Deo exhortante per nos. Obsecramus pro Christo, reconciliamini Deo.

Cogito, ergo sum – I think therefore I am

We reflected last week on what it means to be an ambassador of Christ – that as Christians we have a mission to speak words of reconciliation to the world – to speak the truth of the Gospel which is the objective truth, the reality of things – seeing through the eyes of Faith we can perceive the reality of the state and condition of the world around us.

St Paul prayed a powerful prayer for the Ephesian Christians — a prayer I encourage you to pray for yourself and your loved ones:

[18] illuminatos oculos cordis vestri, ut sciatis quae sit spes vocationis ejus, et quae divitiae gloriae haereditatis ejus in sanctis, [19] et quae sit supereminens magnitudo virtutis ejus in nos, qui credimus secundum operationem potentiae virtutis ejus,

[Ephesians 1:18-19]

[18] The eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what the hope is of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. [19] And what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us, who believe according to the operation of the might of His power, [Ephesians 1:18-19]

There’s an important principle here, for in order for faith to rise in your life, you need to have the eyes of your heart enlightened to God’s calling and “the surpassing greatness of His power.” When you see things through the eyes of faith, God always is bigger than your problems. Fear, anxiety, and hopelessness melt away in the light of His glory.

The reason why so many fall despairingly into sin, is that without Faith – without the knowledge of God and without the understanding of life, the universe and everything – that God’s Word enables together with God’s grace – people are unable to cope with the cruel and harsh reality that is living in a fallen world. If you have no idea about The Fall, if you have no concept of Redemption, if you have no knowledge of God’s love and the Saviour He gave us in Jesus – then you have no actual hope – you cannot conceive of possibilities beyond the limitation of your mind, experience and existence.  Most of the people we know are experiencing life in this way.

So many seemingly turn to science because they think science explains the limitations of their mind, experience and existence – after all, science only deals with observable facts – things are limited to cause and effect. Yet any true scientist knows, science is not limited by subjective appreciations of limitations and observability – quite the opposite – science works on a system of logic that yes, observes facts, the cause and effect of things, but is certainly not limited nor constrained by them – experimentation for example, deliberately pushes the boundaries of “what’s what” in order to discover more – this is sometimes the problem with science – as much as it has discovered good things, its also discovered not so good things – Small Pox vaccines are great – atom bombs not so much. Science is not of itself “objectively moral” – how it is applied determines whether it is ethical or not.   

But this faux appreciation for science – the limited appreciation – is how the majority of people perceive it – and this is the cause of the pseudo-scientific attitudes so prevalent in our society today. Because we generally benefit from the inventions and discoveries of science, most people think it something “good” for society – but of course, this isn’t always the case. Few know that the advances in genetic science today were founded upon knowledge gleaned from Nazi experiments.

To say that identity politics are dangerous for perspectives on reality is an understatement. Identity politics have long been a tool of oppression, and they’re not going away any time soon. In fact, they’re coming for you—and your children.

This is what history tells us.

The Nazi party used genetics as part of their plan to create a “master race.” They started with the idea that Jews were inferior, but then they went further: they wanted to make sure that Jews couldn’t reproduce by sterilizing their women and killing off their men.

This was called “racial hygiene,” and it wasn’t just limited to Jews: it also included people with mental illness, people with disabilities, and other groups deemed “undesirable.” Genocide was a way of life for the Nazi regime until they were defeated in World War II by Allied forces. But the legacy of their work lives on today in our society’s attitudes toward gender identity. The Nazis were not the only ones who believed in the idea of a “master race.” Many other countries have attempted to create their own. The United States had its own eugenics movement, which was popular in the early 20th century. Eugenics is a social philosophy that encourages people to select mates based on their genetic traits. It also supports sterilization and abortion for people with disabilities or mental illnesses.

In the 1920s to ’40s, the Nazi Party launches the racial hygiene movement to try and ensure they cleanse the human race of genetic infirmaries. They try to identify anyone who has a suspected hereditary infirmity: the deaf, the blind, or those with congenital illnesses of various sorts. There’s a whole series of propaganda films, in which they try to describe how horrible the lives of these people can be, in order to justify that the right thing to do is to exterminate them. This forms the training ground for the much wider extermination program of the Holocaust. By the 1930s, Jewish men and women are already disproportionately being targeted as part of this racial hygiene movement.

The pseudoscience of eugenics reached its apotheosis in Nazi Germany. But much of the groundwork was actually done in America. Carrie Buck was one of the first women in the U.S. to be sterilized by court mandate. She was suspected of having hereditary mental illness and, in the 1920s, in order to cleanse the population of her genes, was confined to a place called the Virginia State Colony. One of the superintendents of the colony was a man named Albert Priddy, who was one of the great proponents of eugenics through selective sterilization. Priddy applied to the Supreme Court, and Oliver Wendell Homes’ very important judgment said, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough,” and thereby mandated the sterilization of Carrie Buck. We now know that the chances of Carrie Buck having the kind of hereditary mental illness Priddy was trying to eradicate by sterilization were actually pretty slim.

More and more, we are sequencing the genome of eggs and embryos and beginning to use technology that will potentially allow us to alter the human genome. The potential benefit might be to eliminate diseases with strong genetic components, like Huntington’s disease.

The dangers are that there will be unintended consequences. All of a sudden we may find ourselves making decisions about which human genes are more preferable than others. In doing so, we risk making wrong decisions about what variations are and are not allowed to exist. Though human genome technologies are highly regulated, it is unlikely that there’s going to be a government mandate that says, “You are only allowed to have this kind of baby.” And when individuals make that decision it is still, ultimately, a eugenic decision.

We’ve seen the danger of such applied science as this before. Take the founder of Planned Parenthood, the eugenicist Margaret Sanger, who – though many deny she was a racist – developed Planned Parenthood and deliberately placed her “clinics” (which later became abortuaries) in inner-city areas populated mainly by non-white populations.

In promoting birth control, she advanced a controversial “Negro Project,” and wrote in her autobiography about speaking to a Ku Klux Klan group and advocated for a eugenics approach to breeding for “the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

In an article titled “A Better Race Through Birth Control,” she wrote, “Given Birth Control, the unfit will voluntarily eliminate their kind.”

“Birth Control does not mean contraception indiscriminately practised,” Sanger wrote. “It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society.”

In the 1970s, when the Supreme Court’s Roe V. Wade decision legalized abortion, polling showed that Blacks were “significantly less likely to favor abortion” than whites. Yet in New York City, more black babies are aborted than born alive each year. And the abortion industry think tank, the Guttmacher Institute, notes that “the abortion rate for black women is almost five times that for white women.”

Like everything in this life – it’s the decisions we as people make about our use of knowledge rather than things – that determines whether something is right or wrong – not necessarily the knowledge itself… Nazi scientists, Margaret Sanger and the scientists who used their knowledge to explore and develop the science that now allows the manipulation of the human genome, DNA and prevention and the termination of life inside the womb – it is the application of such knowledge that is potentially evil. Likewise, an inanimate object e.g. a gun, is not of itself “evil” its just metal fashioned into a weapon – it takes the knowledge a human may possess to create it, use it and apply it as a killing instrument that will create “evil”.

Few people know that it was an Augustinian monk in the 19C who the acknowledged “father” of genetics is – Gregor Mendel discovered gene traits in peas! By experimenting with pea plant breeding, Mendel developed three principles of inheritance that described the transmission of genetic traits, before anyone knew genes existed. But see how this knowledge was subverted and manipulated in the ways just described…

Now, if those who possess actual knowledge, effective knowledge, can do incredibly evil things with it, what about those with only a little knowledge… Consider the pseudo-science behind so many trends in contemporary society that has and is altering the way people think and perceive truth. For example, how often have you heard reference to a “gay gene” or that there are differences in brains between “normal” people and trans people?

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a professor of medicine at Columbia University who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies about cancer and The Gene: An Intimate History. He says, “We know that genetics has a powerful influence on sexual identity. We also know that there is no single gene that determines most sexual identity. Much remains undiscovered about the exact genes that influence sexual identity but we know that there is an influence, based on twin studies. There is no such thing as a “gay gene,” though. There may be multiple genes that interact with environment to produce different variants in human sexual identity. But no single gene has been identified as the “gay gene.”

Nearly half a million genomes reveal five DNA markers associated with sexual behaviour — but none with the power to predict the sexuality of an individual. The findings, which are published on 29 August 2019 in Science and based on the genomes of nearly 500,000 people, shore up the results of earlier, smaller studies and confirm the suspicions of many scientists: while sexual preferences have a genetic component, no single gene has a large effect on sexual behaviours.

“There is no ‘gay gene’,” says lead study author Andrea Ganna, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “This is a solid study,” says Melinda Mills, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who studies the genetic basis of reproductive behaviours.

The idea that children are born with an innate ‘gender identity’ which develops pre-natally and is impervious to environmental influence is not supported by any credible science either.

Body and brain are interconnected; scientists have found no separate innate ‘gender’ area of the brain which is fixed at birth. Children’s brains are very plastic; they develop through interaction with people and the environment and they are constantly absorbing information and influences which shape them.

Research in neuroscience consistently confirms that although sex-based differences exist in regions of the brain, there is no 100% ‘male’ or ‘female’ brain and that all children are born with the potential to develop their own unique characteristics of behaviour, interests, talents and personality, regardless of their biological sex.

Although we often hear that transgender people are trapped in the wrong body this is a myth and not based on any credible scientific evidence. There is virtually no clear or reliable difference between male and female brains structurally, let alone evidence that transgender people have a brain that does not match up with their natal sex. It is currently unknown whether there is a biological basis to the transgender phenomenon.

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing” and that is precisely the situation today with the pseudo-science prevalent in contemporary ideologies politicized to affect change in the way society appreciates those living alternative lifestyles.

In Biblical theology two terms, “exegesis” and “eisegesis” refer to how you read the Bible. At the most basic level, exegesis relies on the original context of a biblical passage to determine that passage’s meaning, while eisegesis uses things other than the original context of a biblical passage to determine that passage’s meaning. Exegesis tries to listen to the text and let meaning come from the text itself in its original, historical context. Eisegesis brings meaning to the text and does not concern itself with the original historical context of a biblical passage. Likewise, this subjective proof reading of information is prevalent among those seeking to justify progressive societal attitudes – bringing subjective meaning to data and research that will suit their theory, like progressive theologians do with the Scriptures.

This of course distorts and obfuscates the truth – indeed, it relativizes it – so that we hear the phrase “well that’s your truth” as if anyone is the final arbiter themselves of what is or isn’t true – and this leads of course to confusion. We all subjectively respond or react to things we’re told or things we read, etc, even when reading Scripture, there will be insights and appreciations that differ between anyone of us – but those subjective appreciations aren’t necessarily true simply because they are own responses – its not until we study the Scriptures through the lens of 2’000 years of scholarly study and collective appreciation – that we may come to know the actual truth. That’s why for centuries theologians have studied Biblical languages, and indeed Latin, to read the commentaries and explanations of the earliest Christians who may themselves have received knowledge from the Apostles and those who immediately followed them, so that we can get to the objective truth and meaning of a passage or teaching.

Cogito, ergo sum – I think therefore I am

Descartes’s statement became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to provide a certain foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

Today of course, for certain ideologists, the meaning of these words has been altered to mean “anything I think is true” – and by thought is meant the subjective appreciation – what I perceive, what I see, what I conceive, what I believe – held together with the pseudo-scientific approach we’ve already discussed – this brings about the very dangerous situation in which we find our society today.

Consider transgenderism – because somebody feels, thinks, believes they are the opposite gender to their biology and physiology – they are supposed now to be considered and accepted by everyone else as they identify themselves – so a man, as a woman, and vice versa, etc. Whereas social convention generally is that for everyone to believe or accept something is a fact – it has to be objectively verifiable and proved to be – on the balance of probability – true. Now remember we reflected before how humanity is a social species. That we experience life collectively – no man is an island etc? The issue then here is about TRUTH held collectively not personally.

A way to understand transgenderism is to look at detransitioning testimonies: the stories of people who have transitioned from one gender to another but then changed their minds. It’s easy for us to forget about these people because we hear about celebrities who transition from male to female, but we rarely hear about people who transition from female to male. This trend makes it easy for us to assume that transgenderism is a one-way street: transgender people can only transition from male to female or vice versa but never back again. But this is not true. In fact, many transgender people do detransition and then transition back again. And these people have a lot to teach us about the way we understand gender identity. But these testimonies reveal that this assumption is false. More and more people are detransitioning from one gender to another because they realize that transitioning was a mistake. For example, in August 2018, the Australian journalist Patrick Strudwick published an article titled “I thought I was transgender but now I know it was all just a phase” (Strudwick). This article features interviews with seven detransitioners who transitioned from female to male and then back again. The detransitioning testimonies are very important for several reasons:

1. They provide a counter-narrative to the stories of celebrities who transition from one gender to another and then publish books about it. This can make it easier for us to see transgenderism as something that is not inevitable, but rather a choice that people make based upon their own life experiences. But detransitioners are a real phenomenon and their testimonies should be taken seriously. They challenge our assumptions about transgenderism, and they provide a powerful counterpoint to the rhetoric that surrounds the topic.

2. Their stories can provide hope for those who are currently struggling with gender dysphoria or are considering transitioning. They show that people can have their dysphoria alleviated through other means, like therapy and medication. They help us to see that gender dysphoria is a real phenomenon and should be taken seriously. This can be especially helpful for parents whose children are experiencing it, as well as those who are being pressured by trans activists to affirm the feelings of children with gender dysphoria (even though there is no evidence that doing so helps these kids).

3. Their stories can help us understand the factors that lead to transgenderism. The accounts of detransitioners provide a window into what is going on inside the mind of someone who has gender dysphoria and is considering transitioning. They can give us insight into why these people have this condition, as well as how it affects them emotionally and mentally. These stories also show that not everyone who has dysphoria will transition. Some people find ways to cope with it and still lead happy, fulfilling lives. 

4. Detransitioners can provide a voice for those who are currently being excluded from the conversation about transgenderism and its effects on our society. In many cases, detransitioners have been silenced by the trans community, which doesn’t want them to provide any information that might challenge the idea that transitioning is always an appropriate response to gender dysphoria. Their stories can also provide hope for those who are currently struggling with gender dysphoria or are considering transitioning. They show that people can have their dysphoria alleviated through other means, like therapy and medication.

5. Detransitioners challenge us to consider the role of socialization in determining our identities. It’s more than just hormones: it’s also about how we learn from parents, teachers, peers and others how to behave as boys or girls from a very young age. They also offer reassurance that it’s possible to live a happy, healthy life without taking drastic measures like hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery.

Finally, detransitioners can help us understand what actually causes transgenderism in the first place so that we can better serve those who are experiencing dysphoria. They also show that gender dysphoria can be alleviated without transitioning, which is an important point for those who are considering making this difficult decision. After all, studies show that 60-90% of young people suffering with gender dysphoria change their minds before they reach adulthood.

Detransitioners also provide a different perspective on the issue of gender identity. Instead of being told that trans people have always existed and have always been persecuted, they show us that this is simply not true. In fact, there is no scientific evidence that anyone has ever existed who was born male but identified as female from birth (or vice versa).

The detransitioners’ stories show us that we need to be careful when using the label “trans.” We need to recognize that there are a number of different ways people can experience gender dysphoria, and not all of them involve transitioning from one gender identity to another. There are many people in the world who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and who believe that they need to transition. These people deserve our compassion and support, but detransitioners can help us understand why so many people struggle with their gender identity. They also show us that there are ways to alleviate this painful condition without making permanent changes to one’s body.

In short, detransitioners offer hope for those suffering from dysphoria while also helping prevent others from making a decision that may cause more harm than good. The fact that detransitioners exist is powerful evidence that transgenderism is not a one-way street. It shows us that gender dysphoria can be alleviated without transitioning, which is an important point for those who are considering making this difficult decision.

It is also worth noting that detransitioners are often demonized by the transgender movement and their stories are often ignored or dismissed as lies. Some of them even receive death threats for speaking out about their experiences. This is because the transgender ideology has become so powerful in today’s culture that it can silence anyone who challenges its narrative.

Detransitioners are also important because they show us that the transgender narrative is incomplete. It’s one thing to talk about how difficult it can be for a person to come out as transgender, but it’s another thing entirely to acknowledge that there are people who regret their decision. This reality flies in the face of those who insist that transitioning is always the best course of action for someone suffering from gender dysphoria.

It is also important to note that detransitioners are not at all a new phenomenon. In fact, there have been many detransition stories throughout history, including one of the first transgender people ever written about in literature. This was Thomas Jakob, who lived from 1812-1882 and was born as Charlotte Doberman. Detransitioners also help us understand why transitioning may not be the best option for everyone. While some detransitioners are happy with their decision to transition in the first place, others regret it. It’s important that we listen to these people and learn from them so we can better serve those struggling with gender dysphoria.

Let’s face it: identity politics are dangerous.

They’re dangerous because they don’t take into account the fact that reality is objective and constant, and that what we perceive as “real” is simply our perception of it.

And they’re dangerous because they encourage us to accept a world that is constantly changing, rather than to see the world as it really is—and then change ourselves accordingly.

I think a lot of people don’t realize how much power they give up by adopting this approach to life. If you believe that your ideas are inherently right just because they’re yours, then you’ve surrendered all responsibility for making sure they match up with reality. You’ve given up your ability to critically evaluate your own thoughts and beliefs in order to make sure they’re consistent with one another and with outside sources of information. And so when something comes along that challenges those beliefs—like detransitioning testimonies or Nazi experiments in genetics—you have no way to respond other than by denying those testimonies or dismissing those experiments.

You can’t say, “Oh, my gosh! My beliefs don’t match up with reality after all! I need to change my mind.” You’re stuck defending an idea that doesn’t work anymore because it’s your idea. And so you twist and distort the evidence until it fits this new version of reality that you’ve constructed. If you’re not willing to examine your own beliefs and see whether or not they are consistent with reality, then you will never be able to effectively argue against the damaging pseudoscience that’s currently making its way into mainstream politics. You’ll just end up doing what most people do when they hear a new idea that contradicts their current worldview: feeling threatened by it and attacking it instead of trying to understand it.

What makes something true is that it can be recognized collectively; if enough people agree to it, then it must be true.

When I look at the world around me, I see that there are many things that are not true but are widely accepted as true. For example, when a person says something, they have no way of knowing whether or not they’re telling the truth, because they cannot read minds. The only reason why we would believe someone when they say something is because we know them and trust them—and even then we might be wrong!

So how can we tell whether someone is lying or not? We don’t know for sure until we find out who else said the same thing and whether or not their story matches up with our own personal experiences. That’s why it’s so important to listen to other people’s stories: if we listen carefully enough and empathize with what they’re saying, then maybe—just maybe—we’ll start finding commonalities between our own experiences and theirs. And then maybe—just maybe—those commonalities will lead us closer towards discovering what’s actually going on in this crazy world of ours.

It’s easy for me to see this type of recognition happening all around me. For example, I know that if I ask my friend “Should we go out tonight?” and they respond with “Yes” then we will go out together. We have shared values and goals which cause us to make similar decisions. These decisions are just two examples of how we can come together as a collective group and create an understanding of what truth is in our lives.

But when these types of decisions are not being made collectively they become dangerous because they allow people’s personal perspectives on reality take hold instead of what is actually happening in the world around them. This can lead people down paths where they believe things about themselves or others that aren’t true because those beliefs don’t match up with what other people think about themselves or others either.

I think that contemporary identity politics are dangerous for perspectives on reality. If we look at things from a perspective of the collective, then we can see that our current system doesn’t work. Our society is built on the idea that individualism is the way to go. But what if we were all more connected? What if we could recognize each other as equals and treat each other with kindness and respect? It might sound like a dream, but I believe that it’s possible.

We live in a world where people are separated by race, gender, sexual orientation and many other factors. We see these divisions everywhere: in our workplaces, our schools, even our families! But how do these divisions help us? I don’t think they do anything positive at all—they just make people feel like they don’t belong because of something they can’t control. In fact, I think this feeling of not belonging can actually cause some pretty serious mental health issues—like depression or anxiety—for some people who feel like they don’t fit into this system at all (even though there are plenty of people who do).

I am a person who is constantly aware of the reality that I live in. My sense of reality is shaped by my relationships with my friends and family, my work, and the media. I am also a person who is constantly aware of the fact that I live in a society that is shaped by its relationship to power. My sense of reality is shaped by my relationships with my friends and family, my work, and the media. This awareness causes me to question whether or not my reality is real—because it’s not possible for me to see everything that exists in this world at once (a very basic concept).

So I am constantly aware that my perception of reality is not the same as reality itself. This means that when I interact with others, there is always a chance for me to be wrong about what they are saying or doing.

The reality that I live in is constantly evolving. It changes from day-to-day and year-to-year based on the decisions that I make and the actions of those around me. My relationships with other people are fluid—they change depending on who I’m talking with and what’s happening in our lives at any given moment.

The Gospel helps us to recognize this dilemma seeing with the eyes of faith – to understand ourselves within the context of lived experience and collectively as the human race – by showing to us why the world is confused, chaotic, unpredictable, etc, because of The Fall and by helping us to rely not on our own intuition and judgement, but on God’s. For sure the Gospel can’t explain every minute of why I feel the way that I do – nor even why I think the way that I think – but it can tell me how I should think, what I should feel from the larger perspective of God’s plan for the universe and me in it.

My perception of reality is constrained by myself – the Gospel enables me to perceive, through the gift of Faith that assures me of God’s love for me and for others – that there is an objective standard, an objective morality, an objective way of being – outside of myself, that if I follow it, trust in it, allow myself to be guided by it, will enable me to cope with this crazy world we live in. From this perspective I can have compassion, begin to understand the prison others are experiencing trapped within themselves and their self-perspective.

Descartes’ dictum was not to prove his own existence but God’s – realizing that he had existence helped him to realise that God must exist objectively – because existence is better than non-existence – it necessarily follows that God must exist – and if God exists, so must Descartes because he has consciousness, perception. The Cogito was not about his own existence being dependent upon himself – he had deconstructed his own perception of his existence by stripping away all that he knew about himself – he knew he hadn’t created himself, or had the knowledge to create himself, let alone the ability – in doing so he effectively deconstructed the universe to come to the singular point that God must have created it all and therefore must exist.

Now the rights or wrongs of Descartes ontological argument for the existence of God aside – the point here in contrast to contemporary concepts of perception of reality – is that our existence is ultimately dependent on external forces from ourselves – so it follows our perception of reality then is only “real” if it is held by others too who can objectively verify what we perceive.

Whether we think or feel that we are attracted to the same sex, or that we are the opposite sex to our biology and physiology – we see in the Scriptures that the reality of our existence is dependent upon a pattern for living that God has revealed that desires what is ultimately good for us. As we said last week, just because something appears “natural” doesn’t mean that it’s inherently good – much that is “natural” in our fallen world is not good but disordered, chaotic, confusing. We can’t appreciate from our self-perspective the bigger and wider picture of existence – and we shouldn’t dictate the situation of our existence to others from our own self-perspective.

The Gospel then is itself something that cannot be limited nor constrained by our own subjective perspective – it is something instead that must be appreciated and understood from a collective experience. Yes, we are individually saved, redeemed, just as we are in one sense uniquely created as individuals by God to exist – but our existence is dependent not on ourselves, our salvation is dependent not on ourselves. We receive Faith and salvation from the Church collectively – we don’t baptize ourselves, we don’t instruct ourselves – we receive these from the Church and ultimately of course from God. We exist not because we think we do – but because objectively the world around us affirms that we do – our perception of the world around us should influence the way we think – not the other way around!

With regard to those suffering from exclusionary self-perception – unable to comprehend reality – we need to be patient, kind, forbearing, gentle, even long-suffering and definitely compassionate – if we are to make a positive impact on their realization and self-acceptance of reality. We need to ensure “the eyes of our hearts are enlightened” allowing God’s mercy and kindness to work through us, enabling our perception on reality to be worked on theirs that they may come to “know what the hope is of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” – meaning us, the mystical body of Christ, who “though we are many, we are one body” by virtue of our confession in the “one Lord, one Faith and one baptism” that enables us to live “the way, the truth and the life” God desires for all those He has created and calls into true knowledge through relationship with Him.

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