Tasty Tidbits 10/27/11

  1. Mormonism less Christian than is Islam?
  2. Unique writings, unique reading.
  3. This story could change your life.
  4. Spitzer nostalgia.
  5. Kophos
  6. Saving capitalism from cronyism.
  7. 28,000 youth suicide attempts.


Eric Greider at the Economist says Mitt’s Mormonism mustn’t matter, but then gratuitously goes on to volunteer that Mormons are Christians anyway:

It’s always been my understanding the necessary and sufficient condition of being a Christian is that you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour. (Romans 10:9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”) Many people cite an additional criterion, that Christians must be baptised. (Mark 16:16 quotes Jesus saying the following, post-resurrection: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”) But that has been debated for centuries and most Christians will allow at least some exceptions. Beyond that, most Christians have additional beliefs and the denominations may set their own standards for membership, as indeed Mormons do. But under the standard given above, Mormons are clearly Christians.

He should have stopped while he was ahead. The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison, an Orthodox Christian who normally focuses on foreign policy, takes up the challenge with a bit different emphasis than usual:

I suppose it is “provocative” to teach a modern form of anthropomorphism and to hold that God is material rather than immaterial, and it is also radically different from the theology of virtually all professing Christians since the beginning. It is so radically different that Islamic theology is closer to Christian orthodoxy on this question than is Mormonism, so, yes, it’s “provocative.” It’s also what orthodox Christians would identify as false. Understanding the Trinity as “three distinct entities” has precedent in the history of doctrine. This was a tritheist teaching that Christians of all the ancient post-Nicene confessions flatly rejected as the antithesis of Trinitarian doctrine.
If one takes the Nicene Creed as the statement of what defines the core of Christian doctrine, as the main Christian confessions do, tritheists believe in something profoundly different and incompatible with Christian teaching. There seems to be no point in dismissing radical differences in the two teachings. When adherents of both know it isn’t the case, it doesn’t show any respect for either of them to pretend that they are just slightly different versions of the same thing.


The Bible is not God’s revelation to man: Jesus Christ is God’s revelation to man. The Scriptures bear witness to Him and are thus “true” as a true witness to the God/Man Jesus Christ.

As others have noted, the Scriptures are true as they are accepted and understood by the Church that received them. They are Scripture as recognized by the Church and cannot be removed from the Church only to turn them against the Church. They are unique writings, and must be read in a unique way. That way is found in the liturgies of the Church and the commentaries of the Fathers.

(Father Stephen Freeman, Is the Bible True?)


For the second time this week, I find myself linking to Michael Hyatt’s blog, which is a bit unusual (since Hyatt often blogs on branding and publishing and lots of stuff that I’m not too keenly interest in).

This story, which Hyatt introduces with “are you living your own dream or someone else’s?,” could be linked to Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class As Soulcraft. Crawford explicitly asks what’s the intrinsic value of work, while Hyatt’s (borrowed) story asks what’s the goal.


I never thought I’d for one moment sorta kinda wish Elliot Spitzer was still a prosecutor. (The investment bankers may have broken the country without breaking any laws, but subtle niceties like that never stopped Spitzer.)


“But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”  The Evangelist Luke records that the Lord Jesus cast a demon out of a man, and that the demon was ‘kophos’ (vs. 14).  The Greek word, unlike the English ‘mute,’ may mean either ‘deaf” or ‘dumb’ or both. Blessed Theophylact understood that the man who was exorcised was “…mute in both tongue and ear” – he was both deaf and speechless.  Understanding this, the Archbishop saw the deaf and mute man as a perfect symbol of  “…our human nature…possessed by demons and…not [able to] endure to hear the words of God.”  And this surely was our condition until “…the Lord came and drove out the demons…of passion, and caused us to speak and to proclaim the Truth.”
Grasp the depth of Blessed Theophylact’s point: “While the activity of the demons operates, even though we appear to be speaking, we are not.”  Consider what assaults us through the channels, airwaves, and other media of contemporary life: the messages appear to be human speech but actually they are demonic chatter and lies.  Think of the distortion of truth that claims to be communication in the modern world, but actually is an assault on our hearts and souls ….

(Dynamis, 10/27/11, commenting on Luke 11:14-23, especially vs. 20)


[I]n recent years, some financiers have chosen to live in a government-backed featherbed. Their platform seems to be socialism for tycoons and capitalism for the rest of us. They’re not evil at all. But when the system allows you more than your fair share, it’s human to grab. That’s what explains featherbedding by both unions and tycoons, and both are impediments to a well-functioning market economy.
When I lived in Asia and covered the financial crisis there in the late 1990s, American government officials spoke scathingly about “crony capitalism” in the region. As Lawrence Summers, then a deputy Treasury secretary, put it in a speech in August 1998: “In Asia, the problems related to ‘crony capitalism’ are at the heart of this crisis, and that is why structural reforms must be a major part” of the International Monetary Fund’s solution.
The American critique of the Asian crisis was correct. The countries involved were nominally capitalist but needed major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.
Something similar is true today of the United States.

(Nicholas D. Kristof)


28,000 youth suicide attempts! We have to do whatever it takes to stop school bullying! Expel any privileged child who says anything perceived as mean by a child who perceives him/her/itself as a victim! Zero tolerance!

Oh, wait! Those 28,000 youth suicide attempts were the result of divorce, not school bullying!

Well, we must keep things in proper perspective. Divorce is very important because, unlike freedom of speech, the freedom to get your rocks off with a new mate right to pursue happiness by any means necessary is important!

Nothing to see here. Move along now.

* * * * *

Bon appetit!

Having become tedious even to myself, I’m Tweeting more, blogging less. View this in a browser instead of an RSS feeder to see Tweets at upper right.

I also have some succinct standing advice on recurring themes. Maybe if I link to it, I’ll blog less obsessively about it.