I remember a long time ago seeing a bumper sticker that said something like the above title. Now I confess I am Windows user, primarily since it was the “tradition” that I received. But I recognize that in many ways Macs are better systems. With that I don’t mean to enter into that fracas that is the ongoing war between these two groups. But the bumper stick made an important point. MS users wanted to think of their way as being better until Windows essentially popularized the same general idea. Then the Mac idea was the cat’s meow.
Psychologically it is interesting to me that in theology and philosophy this kind of thing happens quite often, especially if you are Orthodox. Make a criticism of Augustine, and you are labeled a pariah, an ignoramous and your mother was a hampster. But if you’re Catholic, well then, things are much different! This seems to be the case over at Kimel’s blog at his most recent post.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am glad that Fr. Kimel has come to see the truth regarding Augustine’s error on predestination and how serious the influence of that error was on western Christianity. But the point is, I made essentially the same claims years ago. There was no shortage of insults thrown my way, not to mention fist pounding protests that I had been reading Romanides, that I was Western-phobic and suffered from “convertitis.” If I would have just “shut up” and read Augustine, the problem would disolve. I suspect or rather would argue that this posted judgment by Fr. Kimel was due in part to his reading of Farrell’s Free Choice in St. Maximus the Confessor. He seems to have had a similar experience to Scott Carson as can be seen here and here.
Curiously, those who decried the same claim made by me are quite silent in accusing Kimel of being unCatholic, anti-Western, and simply ignorant of Augustine. More specifically, Kimel appears to quite strongly reject the idea that God selects persons in a deterministic fashion for salvation while passing over others. This is quite strange since this is exactly the same position as can be found in lots of Catholic doctors and theologians albeit in a variety of nuanced ways. (Aquinas, Scotus, Anselm, Albert) At bottom, it is still essentially the same view. How Kimel is going to reconcile this fact with current Catholic teaching would be worthwhile to consider. Even more curious is the fact that against the Orthodox claim that I have advanced regarding the Augustinian and Scholastic position, Kimel is silent on criticising Michael Liccone’s endorsement of this position. Liccione is quite clear that the reason why some are elected and some are not is that God loves some persons “more than others.” If such a view is repulsive to Kimel, how strange it is to find that Kimel doesn’t extend this repulsion, charges of serious error, etc. to Scotus, Aquinas or Michael Liccione. It is also strange that Kimel finds such a view repulsive and damaging and yet it is quite an acceptable view in Catholicism, holding a very high theological status and long pedigree. A difference of opinion is one thing, but repulsion, heresy and such things are quite another.
In any case, I think people who read Kimel’s entry with approval should be mindful of the fact that this claim was made by myself and then Daniel years before Kimel and readers of Pontifications would even take the claim seriously, let alone admit the point. Perhaps Kimel could be “corrected” by talking to David Bently Hart? Physician, heal thyself.