Thursday, 5 May 2016

An Anchorite's Advice II

When Gratillonius declares that he follows the Lord Mithras, Corentinus comments:

"'It's well for you that you didn't dissemble, my son. I don't matter, but God doesn't like false pretences.'" (Gallicenae, p. 151)

This strikes me as sanctimonious:

Gratillonius has just said that he does not worship that God;
he is not Corentinus' spiritual son;
he has very practical reasons to dissemble -

- his faith is outlawed and he has already been tortured on the orders of a Christian Emperor. In these circumstances, it is inappropriate to make moral judgments about any man who did lie about his religion or conceal his beliefs.

Corentinus continues:

"'...I'll not ask that you pray for guidance. You couldn't, if you're as true a worshipper of Mithras as you seem to be.'" (p. 152)

Gratillonius can pray for guidance - to Mithras or to whatever God may be! Some Christians assume the truth of their own belief so that it is impossible to find any common ground for dialogue. A Mormon missionary was confident that, if I prayed to God in the name of His Son, then I would receive the truth. So I did, before meditating. Since I did not discern any overt answer, I interpreted this to mean that I should continue to practice Zen at least for the time being.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I didn't think Corentinus' remark about God disliking false pretenses sanctimonious.


  2. Paul:
    I agree with Sean on this one. Corentinus is humble in saying, "I don't matter." And God, as the saying goes, believes in you whether or not you believe in Him.

    1. Hi, David!

      Thanks! Interesting way of putting it, that God believes in you whether or not you believe in Him.

      I'm sure you know of the expression about there being no atheists in foxholes. I simply wonder how true that is. I mean about the dangers and perils of war inclines soldiers to believe in God.


    2. Sean:
      Well, as I said earlier, I'm a veteran of the service, but NOT of combat, so I was never close enough to actual danger to see if it changed my fellows' attitudes in the direction of faith -- genuine faith, that is, as opposed to simply yelping, "Help me, Jesus!" as an expression of fear.

    3. Hi, David!

      Even an expression of fear like that can be genuine, at least at the moment it was exclaimed. At least as a start God can accept imperfect motives for faith.