Full Disclosure: There are people who think I’m crazy. They’re not a majority…yet. But I would be remiss were I not to mention their existence. “But why?” I hear you ask. Well, mostly because I’m a libertarian-conservative Catholic patriot, with emphasis on Catholic. “How,” they ask, “could anyone so devoted to freedom simultaneously embrace a creed with so many rules? It’s nuts!”
These folks are entitled to their opinions, just as I am entitled to mine. And, as I’m known to be heavily armed – including multiple Area of Effect weapons – and tend to shoot first and fuss about the paperwork later, they tend to leave me alone. It all works out.
Nevertheless, I grasp their difficulty in resolving the seeming contradiction. Here, in two sentences, is the resolution:
- Everyone needs rules to live by.
- A free and self-respecting man chooses those rules for himself.
As usual, the great Gilbert Keith Chesterton put it even more eloquently:
“I find life with these rules to be sensible and workable. I find it senseless and unworkable without them.”
Still, there are some who:
- Differ with my choice of rules (once again, my choice of rules for myself);
- Think our difference on these things makes me “crazy” (and by implication, them “sane”).
I submit that there’s more at work here than a difference in tastes or perspectives.
I’ve already received some feedback about In Vino, my latest novel. And yes, some of it is along the lines of “You’re BLEEP!ing crazy!” Apparently a Catholic isn’t supposed to use fiction to present a properly integrated view of his faith, which is one of the major motifs of the novel. But then, much of that feedback comes from people who thought the Futanari Saga was an insane project from the very first.
I smile and let it roll off my back. I knew what I was doing the whole way.
People have attacked the Church many times, for many reasons. One of the most deceitful such attacks is the assertion that the Church is “anti-science.” The attackers start with Galileo – whose tale is almost always incorrectly told – and proceed to Darwin without drawing another breath. The kindest thing I can say about them is “Forgive them, Father, though they know exactly what they do.” (Cf. the conclusion of The Rainbow Cadenza.)
I shan’t trouble to refute the lies. If you’re interested, you can look into the facts of the matter yourself. My point is that the Church, as any honest man or institution must, accepts facts once they’re established as facts. The Church does not claim, for example, that the Sun revolves around the Earth, nor does it deny that the Earth has a fossil record that appears to go back more than a billion years. Contrast this with the postures of those who claim that a fetus in the womb isn’t a human being, or that a human being doesn’t possess an inborn, innate sex.
The Church deals with facts and discoveries as they arise. The rest of us should do the same…though all too frequently we don’t.
One of the major points of the Futanari Saga was to show the Church “in action:” i.e., dealing with a wholly new thing and integrating it into its doctrines. To miss that is to lose much of the value of the series…however much that may be.
What triggered such a rant on a glorious Tuesday morning in summer, I hear you ask? Oh, nothing much, really; just an article that illustrates an old maxim beautifully. Have a snippet:
Where does one begin with an overview of starseeds?
The answer to this question is more complicated than you might first imagine. It’s tempting to view starseeds as one of modernity’s many freakshows, a ridiculous-seeming subculture that arose out of a stew of ahistoricism, New Age spirituality, and Ufology. There’s a lot more to the story than that. But first, let’s start with a definition.
Starseeds (also known as starchildren, star people, lightworkers, crystal children, et al.) believe that they’re human bodies inhabited by advanced extraterrestrial or interdimensional souls.
It’s difficult to estimate just how many starseed believers there are and even more difficult to estimate how many people self-identify as one. We know there’s at least one—the “Q Shaman” who stormed the Capitol on January 6th—but who else?
The number might be anywhere from the tens or hundreds of thousands (assuming everyone who subscribers to YouTube channels like kloee taylor, Zoey Arielle, and Moon Omens, which have 47,000, 143,000, and 29,000 subscribers respectively, is a genuine believer) to as high in the millions, with a startling 12 million Americans reporting to believe in a reptilian alien race, a core component of starseed thinking which we’ll get into in more detail below.
While there’s no unified starseed religion or doctrine, there is a general belief among the starseed community that they’re here to help earth undergo a paradigm shift, from the 3rd dimension to the 5th dimension. Sometimes, this may be couched in terms like “raising the earth’s vibration,” or even more mundane descriptors like “authenticity” or “living your truth.” Where you see references to vibrations, frequency, or ascension, typically starseeds aren’t far behind.
Please read the whole article…though you might find your own sanity cracking by the time you reach the end. If you haven’t guessed the old maxim I referred to by now, here it is:
Will believe in anything.
Alternately, we have C. S. Lewis’s formulation: “Without God, all things are possible.”
It’s stunning, really. The will to disbelieve Christian teachings – this usually starts with Christian theology, though much of the impetus for rejecting Christianity stems from a dislike of Christian morals and ethics — seems to run full-tilt into an equally powerful need to believe something, anything that will raise oneself above the mud and dust of mundane existence. It’s the sort of vacuum-filling Nature does without being asked – and Nature, be it said explicitly and without apology, is lawful.
God made it so.
Don’t think the “starseeds” are unique in their eccentricities. There have been many cults and movements just as strange, all of them founded on the rejection of traditional faiths – principally Christianity. Remember Jim Jones’s People’s Temple? Remember “Heaven’s Gate” / “Higher Source?” Some such groups have centered on a quite human figure who proclaimed himself a god, and whose followers accepted his claims without protest.
I put it this way at the conclusion of Shadow Of A Sword:
Well met yet again, Father Altomare.
—Nag? What news of the Realm?
All is well. If you were wondering, Tiran is not among us. It appears that you banished him to some other plane.
—But you don’t know where or how?
We know quite well how, Father. As do you.
—Nag, you might have a hard time understanding this, but when…whatever happened, I wasn’t really myself.
It is quite comprehensible, Father. You were temporarily possessed by a greatly superior power. You are not the first to experience such a possession. You are unlikely to be the last.
—You sensed it, then?
—But what was it?
We do not know. It bore a striking resemblance to an event far back in your history, when a comparable power illuminated the group that had witnessed the Ascension.
—The Pentecost. The investiture of the Apostles with the gift of tongues, in service to Christ’s Great Commission.
—Then it’s all true!
We do not know.
—WHAT? But you said—
We are limited beings, Father. Our limits are not yours, but they bind us just as tightly. No more than any human are we capable of verifying a claim to omnipotence or omniscience. Surely we are neither of those things.
For eons, we believed that our Brother Evoy, who dreams greatly, had created your world. The events of the past two millennia have left us unsure. Evoy himself has concluded that, while he may have contributed to the specific laws of your universe, he was not the true cause of its coming to be.
We observed the life, ministry, Passion and Resurrection of Christ just as we observed your own, more recent adventure. It was plain that he was of an order superior both to Mankind and to the Brothers of the Realm. His passing rewrote laws of Creation so fundamental that we had never previously suspected their existence. We believe that it was his power that you invoked to expel Tiran from Creation. It was a match for the forces he commanded in every observable way. We cannot prove it…but we believe it.
—That’s faith, isn’t it?
Indeed. Be grateful.
—Hm? How so?
Your psyches are built to require it. An emotionally healthy man with no faith is the rarest of creatures.
Do you begin to see, Father Altomare?
—I see that all my life, all my passion for my faith, and all my thought and study and efforts at explaining it to myself and others, has been but a beginning. A beginning that will last until God calls me back to him.
Your philosophers have said that the journey is what matters, have they not?
—Indeed they have, and it is so. Nag…Areth, Brother of the Realm of Essences, we are at last truly well met.
How so, Father?
—As brothers in faith.
A most appropriate brotherhood for two such as we. Be well, Father Raymond Altomare, vicar of Christ. May the Son of God and Redeemer of Mankind hold you close, guide your heart and hand, and guard you from every harm.
—And you, Areth.
It is to be hoped.
And that, broadly speaking, is my reason for writing. Particularly for writing three novelettes and four novels from the premise of a “third sex” I called futanari. How would a faith founded on a combination of historically attested miracles, plus a rigorous examination of the laws of Nature and how the Commandments comport with them, cope with such a development? Would its teachings be revealed as irremediably inconsistent, or could it do so and remain true to itself?
May God bless and keep you all.
I just finished the Starseed article. Oh holy cow, I was nearly two thirds of the way through before I realized this was NOT a send up. How sad. I mean, sure, who wouldn’t want to be a trans-dimensional unicorn on a secret mission to save the world? It beats the hell out of working swing shift at Target.
“Apparently a Catholic isn’t supposed to use fiction to present a properly integrated view of his faith…”
Yep. I got nuthin’.
Jeez. One review after nearly two years in circulation, Clayton? I shall do no more complaining about a paucity of reviews henceforward!
What a fine screed, O Mighty Curmudgeon Emeritus. I understand the confusion of non-believers. I was raised by them, and still remember my astonishment when I discovered my Maker right under my nose, in plain sight. I grew up conditioned and indoctrinated NOT to see Him or His works. It was one of the most profound moments of my life. God does not talk to me or give me signs or anything… but I know He’s there. I can feel it, and that is good enough for me.
My second epiphany came from the wife’s country church. I expected to meet weirdos and simpletons and other cretins because often on TV and in pop culture… that is the way they are portrayed. I met strong, thoughtful men and warm intelligent women… and happy, grounded kids. You may take such things for granted… but for me it was humbling and left me ashamed. People don’t know what they don’t know. King Arthur applies: in service to each other, we set ourselves free. I can see how that galls many libertarians. It is a concept that lies within their blind spot and leaves them at odds with the faith. I can see libertarianism running parallel to the faith easily, if it is framed and understood correctly.
I have just finished the last book (In Vino). The previous ones grabbed me by the nose and wouldn’t let go until I’d finished. This is a wonderful tale; thank you for sharing it. My, so many aspects of this spoke to me that I hardly know how to start. Perhaps brevity is best, but I must mention a few aspects of this series (and indeed your other Onteora books) that endeared them to me and lent power to the tales.
Having a Christian author write from a position of love, yet also of orthodoxy is so refreshing to my soul. I’m a conservative Christian traditionalist, but the Gospel is nothing if it does not love those who are different.
I’m also a retired soldier, and have lived most of my life with the possibility of extreme violence for the sake of the innocent. So many authors fall either in the “violence is always evil”, or the “Let’s see how bloody we can make this!” camps that one who clearly has known, faced, or seriously considered violence and it’s justification is very welcome.
Finally, and most significantly, your beautiful bringing out of God’s goodness and law inherent in everything in creation through Fountain’s insight into food was both fascinating and enlightening.
Perhaps by God’s grace we may someday sit and discuss these things over drinks.
Yours in Faith,