Will the meek inherit the earth? Do they want it?

Peter Weiss wrote a play entitled,  THE INVESTIGATION,  which is described on the book cover as “a dramatic re-construction of the Frankfurt War Crimes trials, based on the actual evidence given.”    Weiss took the evidence given at the trials for those running the Auschwtiz Nazi death camp and formed it into a play where the characters  – judges, witnesses and defendants- are reciting verbatim things he extracted from the documents.  

I could not help but be struck by the stunning contrast between what Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount  (Matthew 5:3-5):

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted  

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

And what Female Witness Number 5 said about who did not survive the horrors of Auschwitz:

The unfit

The dull spirited

The gentle

The bewildered and the impractical

The grief stricken and the self-pitiful

Were crushed underfoot  

The Proof of God’s Existence: our own behavior

A friend asked me to watch the The Privileged Planet.  This DVD was produced by the Creation Discovery Project, a group promoting the ideas of Intelligent Design.  It is a good presentation of the anthropic principle from the point of view of Intelligent Design.    It also is as persuasive of an argument as Intelligent Design proponents can make using scientific knowledge to bolster their claims.    Whether it can shake the beliefs of atheistic scientists remains to be seen, but so far these non-believing scientists have not seemed impressed by the arguments of scientists who have embraced Intelligent Design.   The inability and unwillingness of scientists to consider other points of view surprises me to a degree, since the very basis of the scientific method is skepticism and scientists make names for themselves by challenging existing theories.   But it seems when it comes to the questions of the origins of the universe (and even all atheistic scientists who accept the theory of the Big Bang accept a notion of the origin of the universe) the positions are hardened and polarized and not much happens in terms of really considering the possibilities which others are promoting. 

Originally the anthropic principle was not a God/Creator principle but as the name implies a principle regarding humanity’s existence (Greek:anthropo = human) and suggesting we are here to observe the universe whose precise characteristics are observable only by creatures like us.    Some came to understand this principle to mean it is as if the universe had called us into existence in order to introduce conscious awareness of itself.    Which of course is a non-sequitur since that would imply the universe had some conscious ability to determine what it wanted to come into existence, which thus suggests intelligence in the universe both before and beyond human intelligence.  Atheistic science which has basically rejected all sense of purpose or teleology in the universe has rejected the implications of the anthropic principle that there is purpose in the universe.  For believers in God on the other hand, purpose in the universe suggests intelligent design. 

 The proponents of Intelligent Design take a much more scientific approach to the universe than do pure biblical literalists and creation scientists.   But what is interesting in all of their approaches is the emphasis on “proof” which implies that empirical knowledge is considered superior to revelation.   Since the 18th Century  Age of Reason, the human approach to God has been increasingly founded in evidence and proof rather than in revelation; humans need or want to establish the existence of God from their own rationality.   And since rationalism is based in the individual rather than in some “objective” source such as the Bible or the Church, each individual must establish the truth for himself or herself.    Believing in God is apparently not very satisfying  for some, they  need to be able to prove their beliefs to others. This no doubt results from the tension caused between embracing radical individualism and the absoluteness of empirical objectivity.   Revelation and faith cannot satisfy both ends of the individualistic versus empirically objective polar opposite continuum. 

Interestingly enough, saints and monks (of just about any religious persuasion) traditionally argued that we prove our faith by the way we live.  Christian monks would say we have given up everything to follow Christ, because we believe in Him.  The proof of our faith is in our willingness to surrender everything in our lives in order to follow Him.  Martyrs give witness to their sincerity by their willingness to sacrifice their own lives rather than give up their faith.  By their sacrifice they “prove” that they believe in the teachings of Christ.  Such martyrs, saints and monks would have been astounded that people would try to prove the existence of God by scientific proofs.  They would have said the proof is in our willingness to sacrifice, to deny the self, to love even one’s enemies, to forgive all by the resurrection, to be willing to serve everyone, to be willing to give everything away and to possess nothing.   This certainly represents a totally different kind of proof, but one they felt would be more convincing to the non-believer: my willingness to live by the teachings of Christ and to die for Him is the only proof I can offer that I believe in His existence.   In this sense they don’t prove the existence of God, but they show by their lives, priorities,  and their sacrifices,  their own conviction and certainty as to the existence of God and His love.  In their discourse with others they would show that they are rational and totally sane, but are guided by a faith that comes from the heart, mind and soul, that is based in experience but not in empiricism.

Empiricists might conclude they are simply crazy or deluded.  But the serious skeptic would have to consider the unwavering sincerity of such disciples of Christ.   Is it possible that they know something which is somehow hidden from those who rely totally on empiricism as a way to know the universe.  Are there other ways of knowing than empirical knowledge?   Is there truth in the universe which is revealed only in ways which aren’t scientifically verifiable?   The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle or the Theory of Relativity or Quantum Physics suggest that empiricism has its limits.  We need other ways of knowing to totally understand the universe.   Mystery is thus not the enemy of science but has also been discovered by it.  Mystery forces us to keep searching not just for a better truth/theory, but for additional ways of knowing, and for a more full concept of what truth consists.

While the Creation Discovery Project’s findings are comforting to believers who want proof from science for their biblcial beliefs, the skeptic will still say, none of that proves the existence of God.  It only proves that the chance of human life existing in the universe is incredibly remote, yet here it is.   The Christian should say, all I can prove to you is that I believe in God, in His love and in His promises, and by my sacrifices and way of life I am witnessing to everyone how seriously I take my convictions.   The proof we have to offer is the example of our own lives.  Being human is far more than being the result of random events in physics, or the creative development of genes.   Being human also entails both discovering meaning in the universe – in the events of physics and genetics – and also being capable of giving meaning to all of these events.  Even atheistic scientists are involved not just in discovering the truths of nature, but also of giving meaning to these events and then using that meaning for further discovery and invention.  They are in fact testifying to the truth that the most random and unguided collisions in the subatomic world can be “understood”, interpreted, used and harnessed for purpose.   The scientists are thus giving meaning and purpose to a world which they say is purely random.  So they are doing on their level exactly what Christians do who interpret history as being useful for understanding the universe.

Sunday of the Blind Man 2008

Sunday of the Blind Man,           John 9:1-38

Note the appellations applied to Jesus:

Disciples (vs. :2)  call Jesus Rabbi.

The Blind man refers to Jesus as  “The man called Jesus” (:11), “He is a prophet” (:17), “a worshiper of God” and doer of God’s will (:31), “from God” (:33), “Lord” (:38).

The Pharisees say of Jesus, “This man is not from God” (:16),  “this man is a sinner” (24:), “we do not know where he comes from” = he is a stranger/foreigner (:29).

The crowd refers to Jesus as “the Christ” (:22).

Jesus refers to himself: ” the Son of man” (:35).

Note who who is blind in the lesson:

The man born blind (:1).

The disciples can’t see the cause of the man’s blindness (:2). 

The neighbors can’t recognize the man born blind and who used to beg (:9). 

The blind man cannot see where Jesus is (:12).

The Pharisees can’t see how the man could have gained his sight (:15). 

The Jews can’t see how the healed man could have been the one born blind (:18). 

The parents can’t see how their son is not still blind (:21). 

 The Pharisees cannot see how the man’s sight could have been given to him(:26).

The cured man can’t recognize the Son of  Man(:36).    

The man born blind’s full sight is given to him.   [:37-38] Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.

 [:39-41] Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

 Note how the references to the man born blind change:

At the beginning of the Gospel lesson, he is “a man born blind”(:1) but at the end of this lesson he is referred to as a disciple (:28 ) and a believer (:38).

The neighbors see him as a beggar (:8).

He is  called “the man who was formerly blind” (:13) and “the man who received his sight” (:18).

The Pharisees tell his parents: “your son, born blind” but the parents call him “our son who now sees” (:20).

The Pharisees see him as “a blind man” (:24) and “a man born in utter sin”(:34).

Free Will and Belief or Genetic Predeterminism

As our knowledge of humanity grows through the human genome project, it is increasingly recognized that there may be some genetically verifiable influence on much of our thinking and behavior – perhaps more than might have been popularly realized.  Scientists are finding a genetic connection for example to who votes and who does not.   This information was recently addressed in a 27 May 2008 NY Times editorial, “It’s the Genes, Stupid” which concludes with the words:

“Of course, these findings don’t have to mean that we are robots. They merely suggest that genes affect how susceptible we are to social and environmental stimuli.”

Some geneticists do think they will eventually find the genetic link which will predict who believes in God and who does not.   This no doubt will set up a clash between Calvinistic Christianity whose belief in the omnipotence of God leads them to accept total divine predestination for each human, and those who reject God and think humans are purely genetically pre-programmed  and thus predestined by accidents of history.

All that the genetic connection suggests to me is that everything which humanity experiences, from the external physical world, to emotions,  to the spiritual or to the divine, eventually have to be turned into some kind of signal which effects the human body.  We are embodied creatures – or some prefer to see us an ensouled.  Whatever the case may be, the emotional and ideas and the spiritual and the divine are all experienced by us in and through our bodies at some level.    The physical and spiritual worlds are connected as is the body and the soul and the spirit.   Whatever it may mean, Genesis 2:7   tells us that God breathed into the dust of the earth and that combination of God’s breath and the physical dust allowed the soul (Greek: psyche) to form; the soul is the very place where the divine and the spiritual interface with the physical.   The soul experiences all things including God through the human body with which it shares existence.

Surely everything we experience – including the experience that comes into our person through the genetic combination of our parents genes  – have some impact on our lives.  This isn’t predestination, but tells us that we do receive from birth a great many factors over which we have no control but which do influence us all our lives – genes, nationality, temperament, the year in which one is born, material wealth, environment, nurture, parents, family, location.   

At least the traditional Christian concept of being human is that we can aspire to become something more than our genes and our nurture.  We can get beyond all types of determining factors in our lives through fasting and self denial, through love, through repentance, through forgiveness, through faith, through hope and through endurance.   The history of humanity is one in which we have proven how resourceful we are to adapt to every climate and condition and season and problem.   Humans are capable of self sacrificial love which goes beyond the instinctive desire to survive.

What the human genome project will demonstrate as it makes genetic connections to all manners of human behavior and ideas, is that the tangible and intangible, the spiritual and the physical, the divine and the created, are all interrelated and there is an interdependence of all these factors in what it is to be human.   God intended our bodies to be the very way in which we experience the past and the present, the physical and the spiritual, our neighbors and our God.


The Samaritan Woman: Seek First the Kingdom of God

The Samaritan Woman   Sermon notes 25 May 2008   John 4:5-42           

This Gospel Lesson follows a similar pattern also seen in John 3 (Nikodemus), John 5 (the paralytic, and John 6 (Christ teaching about eating his flesh).  In all of these cases, the over-literalism of Christ’s interlocutors prevents them from understanding the deeper, spiritual meaning of his words.   This case of the Samaritan woman is interesting, because she, a non-Jew, actually grows in the understanding of Christ’s words. 

Christ starts the conversation by asking for a drink of water from the woman.  Knowing that John carefully constructs his lessons about Christ, we do need to ask questions like “What is water?  What does water represent?”   and “What is a well?  What role does the well play in the story?”

Jesus asks the woman for a drink.  Despite His being Christ and Savior, the water he needs to refresh himself is out of his reach.  He needs human help to meet his human need. 

Notice the women’s changing and progressing understanding of Jesus during the lesson.  In verse 9, he is just a Jew, certainly a negative term for her.  In verses 11 & 15, she has become more respectful calling Jesus “sir” (Greek:  kyrie,  lord).   In verse 12 she questions whether Jesus is greater than the Patriarch Jacob.  By verse 25 she is talking about “Messiah” and in verse 29 she is beginning to believe Jesus is the Christ.  In verse 42 Jesus is acclaimed as “the Savior of the world.”   It is somewhat interesting that Jesus personal name is not mentioned in the lesson, only various titles are assigned to him, including the disciples calling him “rabbi” in verse 31.  So she grows in understanding from seeing Jesus as a Jew (enemy) to recognizing him as lord, Messiah/Christ, and Savior.  

Though Jesus says, “salvation is from the Jews” (:22), it is the Samaritans that recognize Him as the Savior, but not just the Savior of the Jews, but rather the Savior of the world!

The disciples come on the scene and want Jesus to eat something.  But Jesus speaks to them on this higher spiritual level as well.  “My food is to do the will of him who sent me.”   We might think back to Eve in the garden of Eden standing before the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.  She sees this food and reaches out and takes it for herself.  But if only she had realized her real food was to do God’s will – that is what was truly nurturing her!  But Eve did not understand the spiritual either, and sees what is before her as mere food and so takes it and eats and in so doing losing the full understanding of and communion with all food.

Jesus clearly taught us to seek first the Kingdom of God and that all the other things we need would be given to us as well.  But too often we seek from Christ all kinds of things that we might get in other ways, and the very thing He has to offer us – salvation, forgiveness of sins, God’s love, eternal life – we don’t even value.  Rather we only want the things of this earth and things to make our life here easier and more comfortable:   food, health, wealth, power, material blessings.

Jesus does stretch the woman’s thinking immediately when she jousts with him about his being a Jew.  He tells the woman he could have given her “living water.”  He offers her something that is beyond her reach – she might be able to give him water from the well but he can give her something more than mere water.  She does catch that he is talking about something more, though she reminds him he hasn’t even got a container to get the well water, so how in the world can he get or give “living water”? 

Jesus unfolds his meaning – water is a symbol of something greater, in this case water is a metaphor for the Spirit which will flow into, through and out of those who accept it.  The woman wants that water.

In :28, the woman leaves her water jar behind.  The very thing she came to the well for – water – is not even remotely important to her because she has found something even greater – her thirst on a much higher level has been slaked.  Jesus who asked for the drink never receives his request either.  He has thirsted for something, in this case the conversion and salvation of the Samaritan woman, and his thirst for this goal is satisfied even though she never gives him a drink.

We Christians need to think about our own relationship with Christ and what we want from him.  Are we really seeking the Kingdom first, or do we want all our needs and wants to be met first?   Do we lose sight of what is important and ultimate because we are too eager to get what we want immediately?   In what ways do we need to change our own thinking like the good Samaritan Woman in order to understand what it is Christ is telling us and offering to us?

Do we thirst for the water which only Christ can give? 

Do we allow ourselves to be nurtured by doing God’s will?

The Kingdom of God can be found through our seeking as the Samaritan woman discovered.

Archbishop Dmitri: Overcoming the World

The head of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America ARCHBISHOP DIMITRI  gave a commencement address to the MOSCOW THEOLOGICAL ACADEMY on  May 23, 2008.

This is an excerpt from that address:

 Finally, what we offer as medicine for the world is not simply a model of words about Christ, but a model of words and life and faith that make Christ present in every place we go.  In this way we offer the total Christ, the genuine Christ. 
But to communicate the authentic presence of Christ, we must unswervingly follow the model of His teaching, we must follow in His steps (cf. 1 Peter 2:21).  And His steps lead to the Cross!  For the fires of hatred that burn in a world where everything is permitted, these fires are not extinguished by retaliating in kind.  Only by absorbing hatred and showing love in return can the follower of Christ join Him in overcoming the fallen world.  Obedience to this teaching conveys the authentic presence of Christ, and establishes the true faith on a firm foundation. In this sense, we can understand the triumphal declaration of Saint John the beloved disciple: This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith (I John 5:4).
When Saints Cyril and Methodios came to the Slavic people, did they not by their words bring healing to the society they encountered?  Prince Vladimir himself is one of the chief examples of the healing power of their ministry.  Before baptism he was a man of large appetites, bold in battle and oftentimes ruthless and bloodthirsty. After baptism he opened the gates of his palace to the needy and shared his banquets with the poor.  Torture and capital punishment were abolished in his realm. He built nursing homes for the aged and weak.  His sons Boris and Gleb became Passion-Bearing Saints through their resolve to abide in the healing love of Christ.

DNA: Another Scripture Revealing What God has Wrought

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made”  (Romans 1:19-20).

The notion that there exists a two-fold revelation about God’s actions and about God Himself – namely nature and the Scriptures – is as St. Paul revealed in his Letter to the Romans an ancient and biblical idea.  We can study the natural world to learn about God, and in that sense scientists are every bit as much interpreters of God’s revelation as are theologians preachers.  All are endeavoring to reveal the truth which God contains in His created universe and reveals through it.

When I read James Watson’s book,  DNA: THE SECRET OF LIFE, I was struck by the fact that if DNA is anything like Watson and others think it is, then it too is a written record of what God has been doing in and through His chosen human creatures.  It is another record of our past and of the mixing of genes that has occurred for as long as humans have been sexually reproducing.  It is in that sense another scripture which has now been opened to our reading and understanding through the human genome project.   Watson suggests in a chapter at the end of the book that genes in fact tell us who we are.  But that is only true if all humans are is an accumulation of past sexual encounters in which genes were exchanged as each new human being was formed.   If genes were the only record of our past, we could say, yes that is all we were and all we could ever be.  But genes don’t tell the full history of humanity – of inventiveness, of love, of war, of encounters with the divine, of travels, of meaning, of adventures, of encounters with beauty, of successes and failures, of nations and societies, of justice, of artistic genius, of  discoveries, of human aspiration and of sin.  Genes cannot give a full answer to the question, what does it mean to be human?

The infinite universe of the cosmos and the infinitesimal universe  of genes, protein, molecules and sub-atomic particles, both reveal something about our role and relationship to the universe, about us as beings capable of understanding the universe, and about the God who created the universe just so.

Ecclesiology and the Resurgance of the OCA

In coming to terms with the leadership scandal and failure in the OCA, some have suggested it is a matter of ecclesiology – a wrong understanding of the nature and role of the bishop.  This is probably true, but to some extent makes it sound like it’s just a wrong idea which has hurt the OCA, when in fact it has been more the practice – how things are done – than simply the ideas governing behavior which have so hurt the church.  It is rooted in the long history of Christianity in which the bishop as shepherd, rule of faith, and overseer of his flock became more the hierarch, the despotin, the primate, and ruler over his diocese.

In their book, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, authors Brafman and Beckstrom offer thoughts and some history lessons about how having power diversely spread through an organization allows institutions to survive and even thrive through times in which leadership breaks down or is forcefully eliminated.   This is like a starfish which when its arms are cut off from its head regenerate and form new starfish.  Though they don’t use it as one of their examples, certainly the early Christian Church fits their starfish model.  Despite persecutions, despite the imprisonment and executions of the bishops, the Church continued to grow and thrive because its power – the faith of each Christian – was distributed throughout the organization.  Cutting off the head – martyring the bishop – did not change the faith of the membership.  New bishops kept arising because the people believed in their God and in their Gospel.

When the persecutions came to an end, the Church changed with the times and moved into a more structured institutional mode in which all the “power” rested with the bishop.   And there developed a system which fed on itself – the powers that be thought that they alone were actualizing and protecting true Christianity, not only from hostile external forces, but also from the laity who would otherwise dilute the fervor of the faith.  So, the hierarchy became increasingly detached from the laity – and the development of ideas such as “the first among equals” emerges; an idea which sees the church only as hierarchs and makes no reference to the laity at all.  It was bad ecclesiology.   “Power” in the Church was then conceived of as something which the hierarchs alone possessed and it put them over the rest of the church.

The Russian Bolshevik revolution in the early part of the 20th Century saw the Church as totally a “spider” organization in Brafman and Beckstrom’s terms, and they attempted to decapitate the church in order to kill it – first imprisoning and executing bishops and priests, and then later trying to infiltrate the hierarchy in order to undermine its authority in the eyes of the faithful.  But the unexpected happened.  The Orthodox Church which had functioned as a spider since the time of Constantine reverted back to being the starfish.  Though the “head” of the church – its hierarchy – was attacked, murdered, imprisoned and compromised – the starfish didn’t die, but the believing Christians regenerated the Faith by functioning without the head.  The power of Christianity was once again in the faith of the believers, not in the imperial and despotic rule of crowned princes and bishops.

So for the OCA today, yes we need an ecclesiology which recognizes the power of the faithful, but we also must be willing to live with our bishops and not lose our faith.  The resurgence of the OCA is not merely or mostly in the hands of the hierarchs, who after all constitute a tiny minority within the Body of Christ.  It resides in all the faithful living according to the power bestowed in them through Baptism, Chrismation, confession and the Eucharist.   The Church is the Body of Christ, made up of all its members and it is alive in all of its members at all times, not just in the bishops.  As the persecutions of the Church in the Roman Empire and in Soviet Russia proved, the faith is kept alive in its believing members more than in any institutional leadership.

If Greed is Profit, The Cause of Problems Disappears

Time for a sarcastic rant

Skyrocketing Oil Prices Stump Experts   So proclaims the headline in the Washington Post for Thursday, May 22, 2008.     And according to the article all the “experts” are joining in with all the players in a blame game for determining who is responsible for what is happening.   No one apparently has a clue as to why the prices are soaring, though in other news the big oil companies are reporting the largest profits in the history of business.  But that probably is just a coincidence.

From where I sit, as a priest, not an economist (economics is a subject I’ve never studied just experienced), it seems a factor common to much of the free enterprise system is greed.  In his economic theory, Adam Smith assumed social pressures would keep unbridled greed in check within capitalism.   He also felt that the very driving force behind capitalism was each person’s personal greed; so greed in his theory was something that could be tapped into for the common good – as long as people feel there is something in the system for them, they will gladly work to satisfy the greed of others.   

Before modern economic theory, greed was thought of as a sin – St. Paul called it idolatry indicating that greed makes a god out of money or out of self interest.  (One old adage says, “Money is a good servant but a bad master.”)     Greed’s other names have a more sinister connotation: avarice, rapacity, covetousness, graspingness.  It is even forbidden by the Ten Commandments (which fortunately in our society where we separate church and state, and thus economics and ethics, we only like to enshrine them in stone around court houses and so don’t have to let them change our hearts or govern our free enterprise system).   At least in Orthodoxy’s hymns of Holy Week, greed is the motivating factor for Judas deciding to betray Christ.  In the Fourth Century in Cappadocia, it is most note-worthy that during a severe famine, the rich were accused of being greedy, not when they refused to give away their stockpiled foods to the hungry, but when they refused to sell their stockpiles so that others could have food.  The Church was willing to buy food from the wealthy to give away to the hungry poor but the rich would not part with their stockpiles.   So there wasn’t a shortage of food, but some were willing to allow others to starve just so they could feel comfortable in having more than enough for themselves.  Greed is not just about money, it is also about willing to be a have at the expense of the have nots.

Greed was even condemned as illegal under such names as usury, but gradually it became euphemized as “profit” and thus became acceptable to most – as long as they were benefitting by it and not suffering from someone else’s gain.  Generally, Americans are not opposed to profit or greed as long as it has no negative consequences for them.   Thus things like slavery, sweat shops, child labor, minimum/livable wages, opposition to fair trade, have not always bothered Americans, if they mostly experienced the benefits of the greed which gave rise to these evils – such as keeping prices down.  And as long as some are making a “profit” it can’t really be considered all bad.  Profit in this thinking is always a virtue, and perhaps is the highest good imaginable.  That is why no expert would ever think that profit (a.k.a. greed) could possibly be the cause of the skyrocketing oil prices which consumers experience as all bad (but some players in the oil trade are experiencing as really good even if they don’t know why they are allowed to feel as good as they are feeling).

Of course as is widely accepted today – you can’t legislate morality, and since profit is a moral issue, you just can’t govern it by law, which maybe one of the mysteriously hidden explanations for the skyrocketing price of oil which is so stumping the experts.

But like with the banking-real estate-loan pyramid-scam mess – where everybody can blame everyone else’s greed for the fiasco – there is good news and bad news for the consumer.  The bad news is we all suffer as a result of the delirious greed of a few executives which trickles down through the system to investors and traders and refiners and producers.  But the good news is that if we try to find WHO is responsible, we realize that nobody did it.  Thankfully enough no humans are responsible for our economic woes.  It is just profits that got out of control and eventually the system will correct itself without any human intervention and no one will have to feel guilty about having been responsible for the problem.   The system which has made greed a virtue has also made responsibility (formerly known as guilt) a thing of the past when terrible, icky people claimed that some behaviors were “wrong.”    Fortunately for some (and that is no pun) today they no longer have to worry about responsibility, or guilt, or morality, or good and evil, for they are only trying to make a profit (which is always good or at least morally neutral).  Unfortunately it leaves the experts without an explanation for skyrocketing oil prices or property values.  And we sure don’t want the experts left in the tragically uncomfortable position of not having an explanation.  That is a poverty the experts just are not comfortable with.