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The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...

This fascinating series is a combination of historical seafaring, swashbuckling adventure, and high technological science-fiction. Join us in a discussion!
Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:04 am

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I ran across this in my re-read of the series. Clyntahn and Rayno are watching the circle receive the Punishment and discussing Rhobair's absence.

“Rhobair, unfortunately, is one of those people who believe man actually has a better nature. He genuinely thinks he can appeal to that ‘kinder, gentler’ side he’s sure most everyone really has. He doesn’t recognize that the reason God gave Schueler authority to decree the discipline of Mother Church is that, thanks to Shan-wei, man has no better nature. Not any longer, anyway. God and Langhorne tried Rhobair’s idea of loving gentleness, of begging men to do the right thing, and mankind repaid them by embracing Shan-wei’s foulness. What? Rhobair thinks he’s greater than Holy Langhorne? Greater than God Himself? That mankind is going to suddenly discover a ‘better nature’ it hasn’t had since the very dawn of Creation just because he, the great Rhobair Duchairn, is determined to appeal to it?” The Grand Inquisitor’s lips worked as if he wanted to spit on the ground, but he made himself draw a deep breath, nostrils flaring. “Whatever may be going through his mind, he’s simply incapable of understanding that man won’t embrace God’s will and accept God’s authority without the iron rod of discipline. Humans have demonstrated again and again that unless they’re made to do what they know God wants them to do, they won’t do it. They have neither the wit, nor the will, nor the understanding to do it, and they’re too dull-witted even to recognize their own stupidity without us to make God’s will plain to them! “That’s why Rhobair doesn’t understand the Inquisition’s job, its responsibilities—its duty. He’s not willing to admit what has to be done, so he pretends it doesn’t have to be.

Weber, David. How Firm a Foundation (safehold Book 5) (p. 424). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.


This illustrates the salvation by works alone doctrine that permeates the CoGA. There is no Grace involved in Clyntahn and the Inquisition's understanding of Salvation. They believe that God's offer of salvation is His Plan and actual salvation depends on individual human beings following that Plan. In other words, following the Plan is all that's required. Understanding the Plan doesn't matter. Motivations revolving around following the Plan doesn't matter. All that matters is following the Plan and by extension the Law enforced by the CoGA.

This doctrine is embraced by the part of the CoGA that governs. Its imbedded in the part of the Writ which deals with the Church's authority over the secular governments. This view is incompatible with much of the teachings that raises moral standards for humanity to willingly embrace. Raises those standards and teaches why those standards should be willingly embraced.

If individuals are not punished for outwardly following the standards but harboring strong disagreement internally, why bother embracing anything? Just go through the motions like unthinking sheep. If the government believes that individuals are incapable of understanding enough about the standards to willingly embrace them, why educate individuals about those standards?

Absent any idea of Grace, these two parts of the CoGA will ever clash. The opportunity for the CoC is to focus on those parts of the Writ that describes the moral standards. Encourage the CoGA to focus on moral teaching and not forcing compliance. The internal conflict that will engender in the CoGA will be further erode the ability of the CoGA to secure Langhorne and Bedard's grand vision.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:45 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I ran across this in my re-read of the series. Clyntahn and Rayno are watching the circle receive the Punishment and discussing Rhobair's absence.

“Rhobair, unfortunately, is one of those people who believe man actually has a better nature. He genuinely thinks he can appeal to that ‘kinder, gentler’ side he’s sure most everyone really has. He doesn’t recognize that the reason God gave Schueler authority to decree the discipline of Mother Church is that, thanks to Shan-wei, man has no better nature. Not any longer, anyway. God and Langhorne tried Rhobair’s idea of loving gentleness, of begging men to do the right thing, and mankind repaid them by embracing Shan-wei’s foulness. What? Rhobair thinks he’s greater than Holy Langhorne? Greater than God Himself? That mankind is going to suddenly discover a ‘better nature’ it hasn’t had since the very dawn of Creation just because he, the great Rhobair Duchairn, is determined to appeal to it?” The Grand Inquisitor’s lips worked as if he wanted to spit on the ground, but he made himself draw a deep breath, nostrils flaring. “Whatever may be going through his mind, he’s simply incapable of understanding that man won’t embrace God’s will and accept God’s authority without the iron rod of discipline. Humans have demonstrated again and again that unless they’re made to do what they know God wants them to do, they won’t do it. They have neither the wit, nor the will, nor the understanding to do it, and they’re too dull-witted even to recognize their own stupidity without us to make God’s will plain to them! “That’s why Rhobair doesn’t understand the Inquisition’s job, its responsibilities—its duty. He’s not willing to admit what has to be done, so he pretends it doesn’t have to be.

Weber, David. How Firm a Foundation (safehold Book 5) (p. 424). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.


This illustrates the salvation by works alone doctrine that permeates the CoGA. There is no Grace involved in Clyntahn and the Inquisition's understanding of Salvation. They believe that God's offer of salvation is His Plan and actual salvation depends on individual human beings following that Plan. In other words, following the Plan is all that's required. Understanding the Plan doesn't matter. Motivations revolving around following the Plan doesn't matter. All that matters is following the Plan and by extension the Law enforced by the CoGA.

This doctrine is embraced by the part of the CoGA that governs. Its imbedded in the part of the Writ which deals with the Church's authority over the secular governments. This view is incompatible with much of the teachings that raises moral standards for humanity to willingly embrace. Raises those standards and teaches why those standards should be willingly embraced.

If individuals are not punished for outwardly following the standards but harboring strong disagreement internally, why bother embracing anything? Just go through the motions like unthinking sheep. If the government believes that individuals are incapable of understanding enough about the standards to willingly embrace them, why educate individuals about those standards?

Absent any idea of Grace, these two parts of the CoGA will ever clash. The opportunity for the CoC is to focus on those parts of the Writ that describes the moral standards. Encourage the CoGA to focus on moral teaching and not forcing compliance. The internal conflict that will engender in the CoGA will be further erode the ability of the CoGA to secure Langhorne and Bedard's grand vision.


There is something to that. Growing up in Israel, I was exposed to a great many types of religious individuals, all of whom had similar (but still different) notions about the End of Days, specifically where the worship and understanding of God were concerned. And as an inquisitive child with a contrarian personality, I sought to poke holes in their arguments, specifically about whether or not people in this more "godly" society would sin and if not then why not. And all the conversations/arguments would eventually devolve into them telling me that in this more divinely guided society, God's will would be so obvious to everyone that no one would ever sin nor dare sin. I therefore asked them what does that mean? That God would make his will known by striking a sinner dead on the spot as an object lesson to all other would-be sinners? Does that mean that by some divine magical influence people would simply behave like sheep? And whether by coercion or by suppression, what does that mean about the concept of free will? Can there be free will in a world in which people cannot sin for fear of divine retribution or sheepishness?

So when applying this argument to Safehold, Duchairn is in a similar predicament. Say the Church of Charis, in one of its annual convocations, opens a workshop/seminar on "Life After the Coming of the Day Awaited" where the attendants can discuss how they imagine Safehold after Langhorne returns (if at all). Imagine if some of the ideas thrown out include a rejection of any divine sanctioning if said sanctioning means an effective end to free will? In many respects, the story of the expulsion from paradise is a bit of two-edged sword - On the one hand, it is a morality tale about the wages of sin (i.e. losing one's divine status) but on the other it is a story of rebellion against authority and the loss of innocence or even the end of childhood. So is the CoGA's version of the End of Days a supposed restoration of said divine status but at the cost of free will? Is it an existence that involves a loving God demanding obedience at gunpoint? The latter of course is all too close to Clyntahn's vision of the Church for Duchairn's comfort.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:59 am

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That is the key issue. Paradise lost is a story of rebellion and Grace. Humanity rebelled but God so valued the love of His children freely given that He allowed us our rebellion. He could have compelled our love from us, but did not desire that at all. We deserve His rejection for our rebellion, but received His understanding and love.

The CoGA must reconcile why God gave humanity free will. If the CoGA using God's authority does its best to limit the free will, is it doing God's will? Is the CoGA following God's Plan? If the Writ asserts God gave us free will and then asserts God's will that we NOT exercise that free will but instead thoughtlessly follow God's authority, why was that gift given in the first place? If God truly wants unthinking sheep as worshippers, is He worth worshipping? If God agrees with Clyntahn, is he.a god worthy of one's belief?

How will Duchairn or those that follow him deal with that dilemma? For as sure as the sun rises, the story will be headed there.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by Bluesqueak   » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:22 pm

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PeterZ wrote:This illustrates the salvation by works alone doctrine that permeates the CoGA.


To state the obvious: 'Charis' is NT Greek for 'Grace'. ;)
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Thu Nov 23, 2017 1:51 pm

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The message from the Key pretty much agrees the CoC's interpretation is one shared by the Schueler who recorded this message. The original charge of the Church of God was to teach and guide. That charge was altered when the archangels deviated from God's plan. This may well be understood to mean that Schueler came to believe the command crew deviated too far from their original charter for Safehold Colony.

Either way the message supports the more limited view of CoGA authority. In context to the current discussion, it supports a view that God wanted His gift of free will to be used by His children. In many ways, Schueler is arguing that both sides in the War of the Fallen failed in the charge God set for them. That both the Church and the Archangels have been corrupted away from God's plan/original colony plan.

If there are personalities stored beneath the Temple and Schueler's personality stored in the Key, there may well be an interesting argument brewing in the next story arc.

Like a Mighty Army: Prelude- Schueler's message to the Wylsyns wrote:“It’s not the world we intended, the one we were charged to create, but even Archangels can be touched by evil and twisted, bent and broken. The war which raged here on Safehold after Shan-wei’s Fall is proof enough of that. Yet God has His true plan for all of His work, and especially for all of His children. You who see this message, know that you are God’s children. I charge you in His name never to forget that. Always to remember that however we Archangels may have failed of our charge, however we may have permitted His world to be marred, it’s your task to remember His love and to show a reflection of it in yourselves. It won’t be an easy task. It will bring all too many of you to grief and to loss, and there will be far too many times when it seems a thankless, bitter duty. But it is the most important task any human being could ever assume. I leave you this message because I leave you as my watchmen, my wardens, the guardsmen upon the wall. The purpose of God’s Church is to guide, to cherish, to love, and to serve His children. Do not let her stray from that high and holy charge. Do not let her slip into the errors of pride and arrogance, of the pursuit of earthly power or wealth, of forgetting the destiny for which she was created. Be faithful, be vigilant, be valiant, and know that the purpose and the task you serve is worth the sacrifice I call upon you to make.”
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:01 pm

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PeterZ wrote:The message from the Key pretty much agrees the CoC's interpretation is one shared by the Schueler who recorded this message. The original charge of the Church of God was to teach and guide. That charge was altered when the archangels deviated from God's plan. This may well be understood to mean that Schueler came to believe the command crew deviated too far from their original charter for Safehold Colony.

Either way the message supports the more limited view of CoGA authority. In context to the current discussion, it supports a view that God wanted His gift of free will to be used by His children. In many ways, Schueler is arguing that both sides in the War of the Fallen failed in the charge God set for them. That both the Church and the Archangels have been corrupted away from God's plan/original colony plan.

If there are personalities stored beneath the Temple and Schueler's personality stored in the Key, there may well be an interesting argument brewing in the next story arc.

Like a Mighty Army: Prelude- Schueler's message to the Wylsyns wrote:“It’s not the world we intended, the one we were charged to create, but even Archangels can be touched by evil and twisted, bent and broken. The war which raged here on Safehold after Shan-wei’s Fall is proof enough of that. Yet God has His true plan for all of His work, and especially for all of His children. You who see this message, know that you are God’s children. I charge you in His name never to forget that. Always to remember that however we Archangels may have failed of our charge, however we may have permitted His world to be marred, it’s your task to remember His love and to show a reflection of it in yourselves. It won’t be an easy task. It will bring all too many of you to grief and to loss, and there will be far too many times when it seems a thankless, bitter duty. But it is the most important task any human being could ever assume. I leave you this message because I leave you as my watchmen, my wardens, the guardsmen upon the wall. The purpose of God’s Church is to guide, to cherish, to love, and to serve His children. Do not let her stray from that high and holy charge. Do not let her slip into the errors of pride and arrogance, of the pursuit of earthly power or wealth, of forgetting the destiny for which she was created. Be faithful, be vigilant, be valiant, and know that the purpose and the task you serve is worth the sacrifice I call upon you to make.”


I don't know if there's any room to forgive Schueler, even if he had an end of life attack of conscience. Yet one think has been clear from the start and that is Bedard's part in crafting the psychological profile of the Safeholdian society they sought to create. When she died, Chihiro and Schueler were flying blind and basically did created the top-heavy establishment that we see in OAR. RFC pointed out that the original plan was to allow the clergy to operate with only moderate supervision from the "Archangels". That plan obviously went out the window without Bedard's psychological knowledge and guidance. So while their intentions might have been pure (in their eyes certainly), Chihiro and Schueler still created the Church in its format prior to the end of AtSoT.

Moreover, I am convinced that the Key was intended as a weapon of last resort against the one threat they still thought was left out there: The possibility that they missed some of the rebels or that some technology remained behind that would be used by normal Safeholdians a generation or two after the war upon the orders of the "Fallen Archangels". If we assume that they had no idea about Pei Shan-wei's sleeper cells or Nimue's Cave, they could only prepare for the threats they could think about. While that might have included a hopelessly corrupt church, they don't seem to have provided sufficient thought on how to counter that potential problem.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by PeterZ   » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:41 pm

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I am not looking to forgive or reasons to forgive. I am looking at evidence the Safehold layman will accept for the CoGA being a mistake by the archangels.

To your second paragraph, I believe the Key is indeed a weapon against the only enemy/potential enemy Schueler knows about. Think about it. Schueler warns his progeny about the Return. He further gives them a weapon to use when the Church is in grave danger. Sammyl Wylsyn didn't believe the G4 rose to the level of threat Schueler warned of or else he wouldn't have sent it out with Payter.
I suspect that Schueler wanted to have the Key used if the CoGA was threatened by outside forces. Yet since there was a planned millennial return, why give the Key to folks outside the hierarchy? Why not leave the hierarchy the tool to bring the Return early, if needed? That suggests to me that Schueler wanted to take advantage of a threat against the CoGA in ways different than whoever set up the Return. If Schueler achieved is epiphany was a result of what happened to Khody, the Key may well be his attempt at redemption. Much like we saw with Duchairn.
thanatos wrote:I don't know if there's any room to forgive Schueler, even if he had an end of life attack of conscience. Yet one think has been clear from the start and that is Bedard's part in crafting the psychological profile of the Safeholdian society they sought to create. When she died, Chihiro and Schueler were flying blind and basically did created the top-heavy establishment that we see in OAR. RFC pointed out that the original plan was to allow the clergy to operate with only moderate supervision from the "Archangels". That plan obviously went out the window without Bedard's psychological knowledge and guidance. So while their intentions might have been pure (in their eyes certainly), Chihiro and Schueler still created the Church in its format prior to the end of AtSoT.

Moreover, I am convinced that the Key was intended as a weapon of last resort against the one threat they still thought was left out there: The possibility that they missed some of the rebels or that some technology remained behind that would be used by normal Safeholdians a generation or two after the war upon the orders of the "Fallen Archangels". If we assume that they had no idea about Pei Shan-wei's sleeper cells or Nimue's Cave, they could only prepare for the threats they could think about. While that might have included a hopelessly corrupt church, they don't seem to have provided sufficient thought on how to counter that potential problem.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by Bluesqueak   » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:26 pm

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A wild thought just occurred to me.

Schueler is supposed to be the person who betrayed Kau-Yung's people to Chihiro. Suppose he knew about the PICA?

After all, Jerry Knowles knew some hints about it. And Schueler was one of the command crew; he'd know who 'Nimue' was and he might even know that she'd owned a PICA.

So then we might have a situation where Schueler feels he has to stop the rebellion, because Safehold can't resume a technical society yet. But he knows that there's a back-up plan that's going to come to fruition somewhere down the line - and creates his own back-up plan, leaving his descendants with instructions to activate it when the COGA is 'under threat'.

I presume he thought his descendants would consider Nimue a major threat. He probably didn't imagine they might join her. But whose side he's really on - that's something we won't find out until the Key is activated. :)

PeterZ wrote:I am not looking to forgive or reasons to forgive. I am looking at evidence the Safehold layman will accept for the CoGA being a mistake by the archangels.

To your second paragraph, I believe the Key is indeed a weapon against the only enemy/potential enemy Schueler knows about. Think about it. Schueler warns his progeny about the Return. He further gives them a weapon to use when the Church is in grave danger. Sammyl Wylsyn didn't believe the G4 rose to the level of threat Schueler warned of or else he wouldn't have sent it out with Payter.
I suspect that Schueler wanted to have the Key used if the CoGA was threatened by outside forces. Yet since there was a planned millennial return, why give the Key to folks outside the hierarchy? Why not leave the hierarchy the tool to bring the Return early, if needed? That suggests to me that Schueler wanted to take advantage of a threat against the CoGA in ways different than whoever set up the Return. If Schueler achieved is epiphany was a result of what happened to Khody, the Key may well be his attempt at redemption. Much like we saw with Duchairn.
thanatos wrote:I don't know if there's any room to forgive Schueler, even if he had an end of life attack of conscience. Yet one think has been clear from the start and that is Bedard's part in crafting the psychological profile of the Safeholdian society they sought to create. When she died, Chihiro and Schueler were flying blind and basically did created the top-heavy establishment that we see in OAR. RFC pointed out that the original plan was to allow the clergy to operate with only moderate supervision from the "Archangels". That plan obviously went out the window without Bedard's psychological knowledge and guidance. So while their intentions might have been pure (in their eyes certainly), Chihiro and Schueler still created the Church in its format prior to the end of AtSoT.

Moreover, I am convinced that the Key was intended as a weapon of last resort against the one threat they still thought was left out there: The possibility that they missed some of the rebels or that some technology remained behind that would be used by normal Safeholdians a generation or two after the war upon the orders of the "Fallen Archangels". If we assume that they had no idea about Pei Shan-wei's sleeper cells or Nimue's Cave, they could only prepare for the threats they could think about. While that might have included a hopelessly corrupt church, they don't seem to have provided sufficient thought on how to counter that potential problem.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by Hildum   » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:14 pm

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n7axw wrote:
shayvaan wrote:
About the closest we get to a historical precedent is the way the Roman Catholic Church dominated Europe during the middle ages over a time span of about 1100 years. By the time Rome, like the COGA, had become thoroughly corrupt. And like the COGA, Rome could make or break secular rulers. Remember Henry, the Holy Roman emperor, as a barefoot penitent in the snow covered Alps groveling before Gregory begging absolution. Of course, Rome's domination was not quite so absolute as the COGA's. The long term consequences of that confrontation didn't work out so well for Gregory, after all. But still, there was a lot of symbolic imagery in that event.
-


Funny how no one mentions the reason that Henry was in trouble with the church. Kind of gets swept under the rug in the story. He was in trouble because he was trying to prevent good Christians burning down synagogues and killing Jews.
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Re: The way Duchairn’s salvaging the Church...
Post by thanatos   » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:53 pm

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PeterZ wrote:I am not looking to forgive or reasons to forgive. I am looking at evidence the Safehold layman will accept for the CoGA being a mistake by the archangels.

To your second paragraph, I believe the Key is indeed a weapon against the only enemy/potential enemy Schueler knows about. Think about it. Schueler warns his progeny about the Return. He further gives them a weapon to use when the Church is in grave danger. Sammyl Wylsyn didn't believe the G4 rose to the level of threat Schueler warned of or else he wouldn't have sent it out with Payter.
I suspect that Schueler wanted to have the Key used if the CoGA was threatened by outside forces. Yet since there was a planned millennial return, why give the Key to folks outside the hierarchy? Why not leave the hierarchy the tool to bring the Return early, if needed? That suggests to me that Schueler wanted to take advantage of a threat against the CoGA in ways different than whoever set up the Return. If Schueler achieved is epiphany was a result of what happened to Khody, the Key may well be his attempt at redemption. Much like we saw with Duchairn.


For two reasons I can see off the top of my head. The first is probably his assumption that his descendants will remain part of the hierarchy and in charge due to their "lofty" pedigree (regardless of whether they could go public with it). The second though is that Schueler was in this with Chihiro, and such alliances tend to be precarious and fleeting at the best of times. Schueler might have been Chihiro's equal in the eyes of the church and the common Safeholdian, but it's entirely possible he didn't trust him either, especially where policy making after the War Against the Fallen was concerned. Textev proves that Clyntahn had prepared to deal with Duchairn and Magwair once the war ended because he could not risk having them around as a threat to his power base. They same sort of reasoning might have applied for Schueler and Chihiro.

Also remember that without Badard's expertise, Schueler and Chihiro would only have a general understanding on how to arrange the Church and the potential pitfalls such a top-heavy institution might encounter. So it would make sense that he would try to place safeguards in order to ensure the Church's long term survival in the face of such problems. It was simply that he probably could not imagine that the Church would turn on his descendants in the way Clyntahn did or that he assumed that his descendants would be equal to the task 1,000 years into the future. The Wylsynns might have been able to check Clyntahn's rise to power had they been willing to be as ruthless as he was. Or rather, if they had been willing to sacrifice at least some of their principles for more practical concerns, to make deals with members of the clergy who were at least a little dirty.
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