Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
["Sen. Robert F. Kennedy Interview- Civil Unrest, Vietnam (Merv Griffin Show 1967)"]
Fortified by this knowledge against heathen views, let us rather turn to the unworthy reasonings of our own people; for the faith of some, either too simple or too scrupulous, demands direct authority from Scripture for giving up the shows, and holds out that the matter is a doubtful one, because such abstinence is not clearly and in words imposed upon God's servants. Well, we never find it expressed with the same precision, “You shall not enter circus or theatre, you shall not look on combat or show;” as it is plainly laid down, “You shall not kill; you shall not worship an idol; you shall not commit adultery or fraud.” [Exodus 20:14] But we find that that first word of David bears on this very sort of thing: “Blessed,” he says, “is the man who has not gone into the assembly of the impious, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of scorners.” Though he seems to have predicted beforehand of that just man, that he took no part in the meetings and deliberations of the Jews, taking counsel about the slaying of our Lord, yet divine Scripture has ever far-reaching applications: after the immediate sense has been exhausted, in all directions it fortifies the practice of the religious life, so that here also you have an utterance which is not far from a plain interdicting of the shows. If he called those few Jews an assembly of the wicked, how much more will he so designate so vast a gathering of heathens! Are the heathens less impious, less sinners, less enemies of Christ, than the Jews were then? And see, too, how other things agree. For at the shows they also stand in the way. For they call the spaces between the seats going round the amphitheatre, and the passages which separate the people running down, ways. The place in the curve where the matrons sit is called a chair. Therefore, on the contrary, it holds, unblessed is he who has entered any council of wicked men, and has stood in any way of sinners, and has sat in any chair of scorners. We may understand a thing as spoken generally, even when it requires a certain special interpretation to be given to it. For some things spoken with a special reference contain in them general truth. When God admonishes the Israelites of their duty, or sharply reproves them, He has surely a reference to all men; when He threatens destruction to Egypt and Ethiopia, He surely pre-condemns every sinning nation, whatever. If, reasoning from species to genus, every nation that sins against them is an Egypt and Ethiopia; so also, reasoning from genus to species, with reference to the origin of shows, every show is an assembly of the wicked.
~ Tertullian (c.160–220 AD), The Shows
It being Good Friday today, and coming up as we are on Easter, I thought I would share some thoughts on what I have come to believe are the best and most proper ways to approach Christianity and fellow Christians. So often it is heard in the church how it is the secular world that is at fault for the rejection of the faith. And yet historically and in our own personal experience Christians themselves can, in given instances, be unintentional dissuaders and promoters of unbelief. For example, let's say, the would be Christian advocate is persistently and unduly childish and irrational, or else, in another case, secretive and dissembling without good reason. Now an intelligent person can make the distinction of saying that the fault lies simply with the individual or individuals and not with the faith itself. And that of course is how one should react. With this in mind, there are it seems three types of response one can avail oneself of in dealing with other Christians; as follows:
1. Accept Gladly
You like what they say and do, so you have no problem accepting and willingly working with and or accommodating them. This would include what might be matters of core doctrine, which though you may yourself be somewhat unsure about, are willing to give the church otherwise full benefit of the doubt and as a matter of faith.
2. Endure Patiently
In this case you don't quite agree with the person(s) (say, on a given point), but you see they are genuinely sincere and mean well. So you go along even if you don't quite agree.
3. Reject Politely
In instances where the person (s) is, say, utterly arrogant, inconsiderate, and incorrigible, perhaps flagrantly hypocritical, and or less than sincere on a very important point, one has the right (it seems to me) to politely stay away from them. If they are intelligent and mannerly enough to engage in cordial debate, you could try that and try to resolve a difference or misunderstanding this way. But if not, you are justified in politely avoiding and else simply praying for them.
By these criteria and means, one can participate and mix with a Christian or Christian community without feeling they always have to agree with you or you have to always agree with them; and thus all the better keep the peace; as, by definition, it is necessary for us as Christians to do.
... Yet you choose to call us enemies of the human race, rather than of human error. Nay, who would deliver you from those secret foes, ever busy both destroying your souls and ruining your health? Who would save you, I mean, from the attacks of those spirits of evil, which without reward or hire we exorcise? This alone would be revenge enough for us, that you were henceforth left free to the possession of unclean spirits. But instead of taking into account what is due to us for the important protection we afford you, and though we are not merely no trouble to you, but in fact necessary to your well-being, you prefer to hold us enemies, as indeed we are, yet not of man, but rather of his error.
...We renounce all your spectacles, as strongly as we renounce the matters originating them, which we know were conceived of superstition, when we give up the very things which are the basis of their representations. Among us nothing is ever said, or seen, or heard, which has anything in common with the madness of the circus, the immodesty of the theatre, the atrocities of the arena, the useless exercises of the wrestling-ground. Why do you take offense at us because we differ from you in regard to your pleasures? If we will not partake of your enjoyments, the loss is ours, if there be loss in the case, not yours. We reject what pleases you. You, on the other hand, have no taste for what is our delight. The Epicureans were allowed by you to decide for themselves one true source of pleasure— I mean equanimity; the Christian, on his part, has many such enjoyments— what harm in that?
~ Tertullian (c.160–220 AD), Apology
"Mirror, mirror on the wall..."
There are foolish people, but quite naturally no one is surprised by this. Forgiving is easy, but it is the continuing to put up with someone that is actually the hard part.
He thinks the purpose of the movies is primarily so that a person can be liked, rich and famous, and really has no conception of them beyond this other than as a way to fill up empty time. Criminal spirit subsequently came and informed him that the way to success in star and filmdom is through us. O.K. he said, and that essentially is how he turned out to be one of the top ten greatest and most lauded directors and producers in all Hollywood history; little realizing that ghostly riches are wealth founded in illusion.
And so what has happened since? Well, pretty much they spend most of their days and hours bothering people. It is necessary to "get" people; particularly such who do not cooperate and go along with what they are doing.
"But if we leave people alone (and let them just live their own lives), they will ignore and forget us completely."
Well, there then you have it.
Divide and Conquer
The most fundamental of serious threats criminal spiritual people pose is that they will pretend to be authority, and when you consider their expertise at mind control, illusion creation/magic (ala such as of David Copperfield and Blackstone Jr. sort -- but done by spirit people), unknown (to us) spirit world technologies, (what we might call) the spirit people scare factor, and how impressionable and given to unreason many are and would be to all of these powers, it is no wonder how phenomenal the hold criminal spirit persons have over regular (flesh and blood) people is and can be.
It is necessary to understand also that so much of bad behavior including hostility and viciousness has its origins directly or indirectly in the machinations of criminal spirit people, that in a sense is their business. Such devises are fully calculated and intended to bring about the shocking, aggravating, angering, and or tragic results; while in the process cause confusion and have blame transposed and shifted with egregious injustice on different persons and levels among those who might involved. It is one of the most lamentable and completely absurd failures of would-be modern psychology to be unaware of or ignore this fact; finding causes and explanations for behaviors that are deliberately incited and orchestrated by veteran criminal spirit person; whose purpose in short and as much as anything else is to corrupt people, and by this means weaken them; thus making it easier for such to at last enslave and take over the lives of individuals, families, associations, communities.
Spiritual, intellectual, rational, thoughts are shared, traded, transmitted, communicated through writing, and in a detailed way not possible with other mediums. It comes then as no surprise to learn that they, and their followers, disparage and or generally don't like people reading and writing in any serious and or properly thoughtful way; preferring instead the hooting, howling and sophistry of oral rhetoric.
People in secular history are, except in our romantic imaginations, generally strangers or at best tentative friends, while the Bible -- or other bona fide religious tradition -- makes it seem as we ourselves are part of what went on in history beyond mere race and recent culture. And for Christians, through Christ we are part of this both godly and natural family. Godly because it is moral and insists on due justice (and mercy.) Natural because it survives physically in sacred or most beloved scripture, but that, even so, is only a shadowbox or private theater of the divine. And granted, let's say it is not a scientific vision but only a wishful one. But what more could be wished but that with life we could be (at least for efficiency and pragmatic purposes if nothing else) brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughter? Secular brotherhood by comparison reaches it nadir in arts and in warfare but ultimately these will not hold when we are not actual brothers and sisters. And even if we lose a lot of the Bible's details, it is still and as more important to imbibe and retain its spirit of devotion and continuity. The words of the Bible itself are just words or better than words for only so long -- until those words are brought together in the deeds of Christ -- which deed transcends all scripture and scientific history (or if it does not then no history can be trusted for much.) But a Christ who is and of the truth, and no other, and which apodeictically implies honesty, forthrightness, and sincerity.
Of course, this higher understanding in turn has a major bearing on to how you treat someone royally, and that is what you are supposed to do if you love (as opposed to use) someone. And on such a basis all manner of nobles and aristocracies (including such as are possible to conceive of for and in the plant, animal, geological, and celestial realms) can be created -- yet only such as are consistent with the love, sincerity and trustworthiness of a Christlike person; that is to say a person of deeds that are, above all humane, truthful and courageous. And similarly, with other religions, when they have a viable vision that is aesthetic, upright, graceful, and heart supported (and which heart is persevering in these things) then I can adopt and be beholden to and respectful of that vision as well.
Moreover, if sorcerers call forth ghosts, and even make what seem the souls of the dead to appear; if they put boys to death, in order to get a response from the oracle; if, with their juggling illusions, they make a pretence of doing various miracles; if they put dreams into people's minds by the power of the angels and demons whose aid they have invited, by whose influence, too, goats and tables are made to divine,— how much more likely is this power of evil to be zealous in doing with all its might, of its own inclination, and for its own objects, what it does to serve the ends of others! Or if both angels and demons do just what your gods do, where in that case is the pre-eminence of deity, which we must surely think to be above all in might? Will it not then be more reasonable to hold that these spirits make themselves gods, giving as they do the very proofs which raise your gods to godhead, than that the gods are the equals of angels and demons?...
...If, on the one hand, they are really gods, why do they pretend to be demons? Is it from fear of us?
In that case your divinity is put in subjection to Christians; and you surely can never ascribe deity
to that which is under authority of man, nay (if it adds anything to the disgrace) of its very enemies.
If, on the other hand, they are demons or angels, why, inconsistently with this, do they presume to set
themselves forth as acting the part of gods? For as beings who put themselves out as gods would never
willingly call themselves demons, if they were gods indeed, that they might not thereby in fact
abdicate their dignity; so those whom you know to be no more than demons, would not dare to act as
gods, if those whose names they take and use were really divine. For they would not dare to treat with
disrespect the higher majesty of beings, whose displeasure they would feel was to be dreaded. So this
divinity of yours is no divinity; for if it were, it would not be pretended to by demons, and it would
not be denied by gods...
~ Tertullian (c.160–220 AD), Apology
These people not only interfere and sabotage our relationships, business transactions, and correspondence, but it is SO ridiculous that they eat literally into our physical beings as well, and this in a multifarious variety of ways; some spiritual, some biological, some cultural, some technological. The thought that occurs often to me, time and again, then is am I the only one who sees all this as (as much as anything else) an inexcusable and unconscionable waste of time? All this for the beloved ghoul; so that he can be the center of attention: he gets attention, he wants attention, ad nauseum, etc. etc.. The master of megalomania. I told him I do not relate to this, but it is simply impossible to get these people to understand that minding one's own business makes sense; in this way they are incorrigible.
And we affirm indeed the existence of certain spiritual essences; nor is their name unfamiliar. The philosophers acknowledge there are demons; Socrates himself waiting on a demon's will. Why not? Since it is said an evil spirit attached itself specially to him even from his childhood— turning his mind no doubt from what was good. The poets are all acquainted with demons too; even the ignorant common people make frequent use of them in cursing. In fact, they call upon Satan, the demon-chief, in their execrations, as though from some instinctive soul-knowledge of him. Plato also admits the existence of angels. The dealers in magic, no less, come forward as witnesses to the existence of both kinds of spirits. We are instructed, moreover, by our sacred books how from certain angels, who fell of their own free-will, there sprang a more wicked demon-brood, condemned of God along with the authors of their race, and that chief we have referred to. It will for the present be enough, however, that some account is given of their work. Their great business is the ruin of mankind. So, from the very first, spiritual wickedness sought our destruction. They inflict, accordingly, upon our bodies diseases and other grievous calamities, while by violent assaults they hurry the soul into sudden and extraordinary excesses. Their marvellous subtleness and tenuity give them access to both parts of our nature. As spiritual, they can do no harm; for, invisible and intangible, we are not cognizant of their action save by its effects, as when some inexplicable, unseen poison in the breeze blights the apples and the grain while in the flower, or kills them in the bud, or destroys them when they have reached maturity; as though by the tainted atmosphere in some unknown way spreading abroad its pestilential exhalations. So, too, by an influence equally obscure, demons and angels breathe into the soul, and rouse up its corruptions with furious passions and vile excesses; or with cruel lusts accompanied by various errors, of which the worst is that by which these deities are commended to the favour of deceived and deluded human beings, that they may get their proper food of flesh-fumes and blood when that is offered up to idol-images. What is daintier food to the spirit of evil, than turning men's minds away from the true God by the illusions of a false divination? And here I explain how these illusions are managed. Every spirit is possessed of wings. This is a common property of both angels and demons. So they are everywhere in a single moment; the whole world is as one place to them; all that is done over the whole extent of it, it is as easy for them to know as to report. Their swiftness of motion is taken for divinity, because their nature is unknown. Thus they would have themselves thought sometimes the authors of the things which they announce; and sometimes, no doubt, the bad things are their doing, never the good. The purposes of God, too, they took up of old from the lips of the prophets, even as they spoke them; and they gather them still from their works, when they hear them read aloud. Thus getting, too, from this source some intimations of the future, they set themselves up as rivals of the true God, while they steal His divinations. But the skill with which their responses are shaped to meet events, your Croesi and Pyrrhi know too well. On the other hand, it was in that way we have explained, the Pythian was able to declare that they were cooking a tortoise with the flesh of a lamb; in a moment he had been to Lydia. From dwelling in the air, and their nearness to the stars, and their commerce with the clouds, they have means of knowing the preparatory processes going on in these upper regions, and thus can give promise of the rains which they already feel. Very kind too, no doubt, they are in regard to the healing of diseases. For, first of all, they make you ill; then, to get a miracle out of it, they command the application of remedies either altogether new, or contrary to those in use, and straightway withdrawing hurtful influence, they are supposed to have wrought a cure. What need, then, to speak of their other artifices, or yet further of the deceptive power which they have as spirits: of these Castor apparitions, of water carried by a sieve, and a ship drawn along by a girdle, and a beard reddened by a touch, all done with the one object of showing that men should believe in the deity of stones, and not seek after the only true God?
~ Tertullian (c.160–220 AD), Apology
Not long ago, I discovered Medieval Ghost Stories (2006) by Andrew Joynes; which is a both useful and entertaining book; whether from a historical or literary standpoint. Some may find it of interest to learn that many of the plots and characters of the Hammer horror films have their origins in Celtic, Scandinavian and related medieval lore.
Now are some of these stories possibly based on true occurrences? It is hard to say, it may be so, but the given tale as related distorts the original facts -- or perhaps doesn't. Yet if they are all simply imagined -- what imaginations they had! (5 stars.)