“Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” Paul Ryan told the National Review. “Give me Thomas Aquinas.” Okay, I shall. Ayn Rand, for those playing catch up, was an eastern European Atheist who was pro woman’s rights, anti-government in the extreme and the author of several books that touted her world view called “Objectivism.” In simple terms it is a philosophy of self to the exclusion of all others. Think of it as the anti-religion in the purest sense. You can understand why Catholics were confused by Mr. Ryan’s embracing of that particular philosophy, especially since he claims, often and loudly, to be a devout Catholic. But, hey, he’s grown and moved on. To St. Thomas Aquinas. Also known as “Doubting Thomas.” Or, as millions of devout Indians will attest, the purported founder of the Church of Thomas. This is another fascinating development since the majority of St. Thomas Christians have nothing to do with Catholicism and, in many cases, vehemently disagree with the church’s dogma and liturgy.
A simple example, St. Thomas believed that an embryo did not get a soul for 40 days. Longer if it was going to be a female. That’s about 5 weeks. So, according to an apostle who walked with Jesus, it’s not a living being until then which would seem to imply that first trimester abortions are just skippy okay.
Nice to see Mr. Ryan relaxing his stance on this delicate subject.
Another example – kind of important too – the Gospel of Thomas is a major part of the Gnostic tradition. Those would be the same Gnostics who were hunted down and killed by St. Dominic for being heretics. Yes, the same St. Dominic who founded the Dominican order. Those would be the fun loving folks who held a little party called The Spanish Inquisition. And that party was lovingly lauded by the Catholic church.
So, by embracing the tracts of Thomas Aquinas he is directly in conflict with 2,000 years of dogma. I’m okay with that but I wonder how his family is taking the news. After all, they still attend his local church.
Additionally, Thomas Aquinas is the alleged author of The Acts of Thomas. Just as Acts was the story of Saul who became Paul, as written by the physician Luke (who couldn’t be an apostle since he wasn’t Jewish), the Acts of Thomas recount his journey into India first as a slave and then as a prophet.
There’s a whole lot of history in just that sentence.
And, just for fun, I should note that Thomas never once refers to Jesus as the Son of God. Instead he just calls him by name or uses the generic “Son of Man” that permeates the New Testament in all the conversations the apostles have with Jesus. That has led many to believe that Thomas was in line with the Gnostic belief that Jesus was a divinely inspired prophet but not the son of God.
That’s more than a discussion point for Catholics and contemporary Christians, them’s fighting words.
Also not mentioned is the Virgin birth, which makes sense since the actual Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus. After all, when was the last time you discussed your birth?
But, more importantly, the Acts of Thomas set the tone for the entire structure of the Church that bears his name. It wasn’t until the Catholic church tried to assimilate the Church of Thomas in the 16th century that people really started to notice the glaring differences in beliefs. The writings of Thomas detail the childhood of Jesus, as supposedly told to Thomas by Jesus during his ministry, which contains miracles and historical accounts not found in any Catholic text.
Now, obviously, I am having a little, historically accurate, fun at Mr. Ryan’s expense but all of this does beg a simple question; “Has this guy actually read any of the works of the people he claims to follow?”
And, if not, who the hell is feeding him his talking points?
Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.