Heresy and the Flu

A flu virus, unhindered, approaches a welcoming and open-minded human cell.

What makes the flu so dangerous is firstly, the fact that it can live in many different species of animals, which act as its ineradicable reservoir. Secondly, it is capable of rapid variation of its genetic code, which can vary its infectivity (ability to spread) and mortality (ability to kill) widely, and independently. Thirdly, is the fact that a susceptible host is capable of hosting more than one strain of flu at once. This latter allows the flu strains to swap genes and possibly breed a humanity killer.

Flu viruses gain entry to human cells by carrying antigens on their surface, which act as passports to the interior of the cell. To the cell, they appear as legitimate and true, and are allowed in. Once inside, their mission is virtually complete, as they hijack the cell’s machinery to produce millions of new viruses, and then kill the cell, releasing them to infect other cells.

The body’s defences consist of antibodies tuned to identify and neutralise the viral antigens outside the cells before cell infection takes place, and other less specific processes that prevent virus manufacture, or even totally destroy the infected cell before it can release new virus. Anti-viral drugs mainly act to slow or prevent virus manufacture. Antibodies only arise from prior sub-lethal exposure to the antigens or by vaccination. It is because the antigens are constantly being randomly reconfigured in the animal reservoir, that human antibody immunity is always lagging behind, and new vaccines are needed every year.

Swine flu spreads readily over the air, but rarely kills. Bird flu kills readily, but can only pass between people with difficulty. Every WHO virologist’s nightmare is where they combine their deadly attributes.

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In my understanding, heresy very closely resembles the flu. Its reservoir is hard to point a finger at, but I think it lies in the pool of semi-rational thinking that goes on at the “dearly beloved” edges of Catholicism.

Semi-rationality is a wonderful breeding ground for new ideas, new takes on old ideas, or old ideas badly remembered.

Heresy only becomes “incarnate” in a heresiarch. This poor soul is one in whom one or more truth-like viruses have started breeding. Remember, like a virus, a heresy has an ability to spread, and a separate ability to kill (the soul). The killer heresy has both, in abundance. Such arise rarely, but have great potency.

Preventing and fighting a pandemic is the same in the Church, and in the world of medicine:

1) Eternal vigilance for variance in the antigens/dangerous currents of theological thought.

2) Vaccination/education against known dangerous distortions of doctrine

2) Elimination of virus/heresy reservoirs.

3) Quarantine of infected/heretical cases.

4) Intensive care for those dangerously ill, though success may not be guaranteed.

Thank goodness for the WHO, but thank God even more for the Pope and the CDF!

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About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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21 Responses to Heresy and the Flu

  1. toadspittle says:

    .
    Make one wonder what the point of The Flu is, doesn’t it? How does it figure in God’s Great Plan for us all? (Or are we not allowed to wonder such things out loud?)
    It’s almost as if Flu had a mind of its own. Thinks Toad.

    Like

  2. Beatrice says:

    Well, perhaps it’s not the virus that causes the flu and perhaps there is a reason for the flu when it happens. What if a virus gets activated after the flu has began? What if a virus has a role? If anyone thinks that something in the body happens randomly, then it would be a medieval thinking..besides, God gaves us brains and everything that happens in the body is controlled by the brain. So the brain does things for purpose…and so does God…

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  3. toadspittle says:

    .
    “God gaves us brains and everything that happens in the body is controlled by the brain. So the brain does things for purpose…and so does God…”

    Not sure I’d agree with the bit in bold, Beatrice. But you never know. But how would that explain Mel Gibson?
    The good news is that Burrissimo can, and will, tell us, prontissimo.

    Anyway, the real point is, what is God’s purpose for giving people The Flu, or The Black Death or The Dreaded Lurgi?
    Teach them a lesson, perhaps?

    Like

  4. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad,

    I think I’ve solved the problem of evil, once and for all:

    God permits awful, dangerous and deadly evils to occur, to

    stop us from getting bored, which would be much, much worse. 😉

    Like

  5. toadspittle says:

    .
    Well, Burro, that would be all right, if it worked.

    But you are right; it is remarkable, that despite the interesting and exciting horrors of daily life, some people still have the capacity to be bored. And are.

    Anyway, I’ve been brooding over Beatrice’s assertion that “…everything that happens in the body is controlled by the brain..” That would include blood circulation and breathing. But if you are “brain dead”, you can still do these things. What does Dr. Burro, or anyone, think?

    I don’t think cancer happens “randomly” in the body, but it seems a bit hard to blame the brain, doesn’t it?
    Bit hard to blame God either.
    More boring problems for Toad!

    Like

  6. golden chersonnese says:

    Here’s a question, Toad (glad to see that they gave you bail).

    If the universe were perfect would it then be God?

    Like

  7. kathleen says:

    Make one wonder what the point of The Flu is, doesn’t it? How does it figure in God’s Great Plan for us all?…”

    Going back to your original question Toad – and in the hope that I am interpreting Burrito‘s hidden metaphors correctly here – one could equally well ask: “Why does Evil exist? Why did God permit some of the Angels to defy Him and now ‘wander the world seeking the ruin of souls’ as they spread their heresies, hate and temptations towards sin?” It is indeed a mystery, and one that Man has begged an answer to from our very beginnings.

    Most theologians believe it all goes back to Free Will. God permits Evil. First God created the Angels and gave them a Test; those that through pride (“non serviam“) refused to obey, fell from Heaven into Hell. Then God created Man in His own Image and Likeness, so that Man could imitate the perfect qualities of His Creator. Not though as a robot, but as a free Being, capable of making choices.
    Sin is rampant because we continually (in greater or lesser ways) make the choice to suit ourselves rather than God. Our Loving Saviour became Man to ‘rescue’ us from these effects of our sins, for all men who accept His saving Grace and Forgiveness.

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  8. toadspittle says:

    .
    Godlen asks the newly-bailed Toad.., “if the universe were perfect would it then be God?”
    Ther’s seems no reason, assuming that the universe were perfect, that we shouldn’t call it “God”. Or, alternatively, we might call it “The Universe” – or even “Cyril”, if we liked.
    Wouldn’t make any difference. It’d still be perfect.
    If you see what I mean.
    But as the universe isn’t perfect, well, let’s just call it “Pumpkin Pie” and eat it all up!

    Whereas Kathleen seems to be assuming that the Flu is evil. Burro will have something to say about that, no doubt.
    You might as well say a tsunami, or a tiger, or a malarial mosquito is evil.

    Just the way the cookie crumbles on unstable, disease-ridden, insane old planet Earth. thinks Toad.
    But, as Burro perceptively points out – it’s all great fun, isn’t it!

    Like

  9. toadspittle says:

    .
    “Most theologians believe it all goes back to Free Will. God permits Evil.”

    Kathleen tells us, which implies – at least – that some theologians don’t believe this.
    Could most theologians be wrong?
    And how are we non-theologians to know, one way or the other?

    Let’s not get too hasty in coming to conclusions here…

    Like

  10. kathleen says:

    Toad,
    In Burrito’s article flu is a metaphor for 👿 , or so it seems to me.
    Tsunamis, tigers (magnificent animals), malarial mosquitoes et al., are all things that are probably not evil in themselves (certainly not tigers ;-)) but they can all cause bad things to happen.

    Like a heresy (which could otherwise bring about an intense study and a greater understanding of a declared Doctrine or Dogma of Faith) or a temptation (if not fought against and overcome).

    Like

  11. toadspittle says:

    .

    Is it foolish then, to wonder why God would want to make a world in which things that are not evil in themselves, can cause bad things to happen?
    And why single out tigers? How are they less “evil” than, say, rats?

    Are Toad’s speculations nonsense? Maybe.
    Does anyone know enough about the mysterious workings of God to be able to say with any confidence what’s in His mind?
    Wouldn’t it be better to reserve judgement on “this question that man has begged an answer to from our very beginnings”?

    Like

  12. golden chersonnese says:

    And God saw that it was good, Toad. He never said it was perfect.

    Working on retaining and realising that good is exciting and fulfilling enough for me, Toad, but I’m not a grumpy old Toad.

    Like

  13. toadspittle says:

    .
    Toad was under the impression that what God “saw as good” was before the Fall of Man.
    Is this so?

    If so, might not God have revised his opinion afterwards?
    Even to the point of resolving to flood the planet and kill all his creations, before Noah talked him out of it?

    Or is this just more nonsense from Toad? Probably.

    (Who, having been granted bail, is not a bit grumpy. Quite perky, in fact.)

    Like

  14. golden chersonnese says:

    And what, Toad? Man blighted it? (Being granted bail seems to have been nothing if not for the improvement of your humour. It was a real bonus)

    Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Amos 5:14

    Like

  15. Beatrice says:

    In reply to Toad’s: ”Anyway, the real point is, what is God’s purpose for giving people The Flu, or The Black Death or The Dreaded Lurgi? Teach them a lesson, perhaps?” What if it’s not what we think it is? A few decades ago has it been discovered that all the ‘diseases’ are controlled by the brain and that they are the last phase of the healing after an emotional shock – which always comes before the onset physical ”disease”..just observe it next time you have a flu, it always works:-) So the purpose is protection and survival…on the condition that you resolve your emotional shocks – angers, grudges, etc…if you don’t, then you will stay in the ‘disease’ state (this is what the old medicine also calls the allergies and chronic diseases…)

    Like

  16. toadspittle says:

    .

    Beatrice begins to sound like a Christian Scientist. Thinks Toad.
    Is she saying people won’t get malaria unless they’ve first had an emotional shock?
    Tell the mosquitos that.
    Is ricketts the result of, say, a failed marriage?

    Anyway, Golden, When “God saw it was good”, before the Fall, did He also forsee malaria? Could Adam have potentially caught it in the Garden of Eden, before he ate the apple? Was he just fortunate not to have?
    Could he have tripped over and broken his neck before the Fall, if he’d not been careful?
    Silly questions, I know.

    IN SHORT: Is disease the direct (or even indirect) result of sin, of The Fall? Beatrice appears to thinks so. What does a Catholic doctor think?

    Like

  17. toadspittle says:

    Olympic Freestyle Editing:

    Final result:

    WordPress, Gold,

    Toad disqualified.

    Like

  18. golden chersonnese says:

    Toad, you look quite the part in that smoking jacket with your pipe while seated in your favourite armchair.

    Toad, we are informed by experts that we have a reasonable chance of preventing a lot of discomfort if condoms are first deployed and that the virtues of moderation in food, drink and other behaviour are also said to preserve the liver and various other bits and pieces.

    But I protest, speaking for myself at least, creation in the overall balance does appear to be good, if not perfect. And God clearly offers us the means for approaching perfection, which would also seem to be a good thing..

    I do apologise, Toad, but as yet I really find that I cannot really complain too much about my lot; but do ask me again in 20 years time, would you?

    Like

  19. toadspittle says:

    .

    Pipe, Godlen? Cripes! Even Toad is not that old! Thirty years since I smoked so much as a teeny weeny spliff.
    I did have a smoking jacket, but I realised, and extinguished it. (Boom,boom!)
    Which doesn’t answer any of my questions regarding the possibility of disease and earthquakes and the like in The Garden of Eden.
    Not that I really expect answers any more. Not coherent ones, anyway. But one never know, do one? (as Fats Waller once remarked.)

    Like

  20. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad, I think the fall of man darkened his wits. He reaped the fruit of unhygienic behaviours, and did stupid things like building settlements on flood plains, coz dey woz cheap, guvnor.

    Cheap international travel allows hoi polloi to travel to the far-east for quick breaks. This sort of behaviour is utter virological madness, as is sexual promiscuity, with or without condoms.

    Alas, man’s darkened wits prevent him from accepting these obvious truths, and acting on them. I believe in Darwinian evolution as it pertains to the benighted.

    Like

  21. toadspittle says:

    .
    Interesting , Burro. Koestler proposed a theory that , as man evolved, his body did so more slowly than his brain, so the brain got “crammed” into a too-small skull.
    Which has made humans congenitally insane.
    I find this the most plausible theory I’ve heard so far. What do you think?
    Pascal seems to agree when he says, “Mankind is so mad, that to be sane is simply another form of madness.” I believe that , too.
    Cheap foreign travel certainly encourages insanity, as I see daily on The Camino. But whether it’s madder than the worship of the utterly lethal motor car, for example, is debatable.

    But apparently, God sees all this as “good,” or so Godlen seems to think.
    Takes all sorts, dunnit?

    Like

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