FBI Agent Timothy Thibault, Killer Robots, and the Trouble with Reading Great Books

FBI Agent Timothy Thibault, Killer Robots, and the Trouble with Reading Great Books The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show

After a year of none, I’m getting back into recording Reaction Videos, and having fun with that. It’s a different medium, and my kids enjoy them. I think other people enjoy them too, but I at least enjoy doing them.

So one of the shorts I reacted to the day before yesterday after I got home from work was of what looked like some kind of press conference. And here was this lady announcing that four military robots in Japan had just recently killed 29 people in a lab somewhere in Japan. And as promised in my YouTube reaction video, I looked this one up.

According to The Oregonian, in a piece by Douglas Perry from 2018, the woman in question from the short I was reacting to is named Linda Moulton Howe. She has a background in journalism, graduated from Stanford, was a former Miss Idaho, and won awards for her work at TV stations in Denver, Atlanta, and Boston in the 1970’s and 80’s.

But now Linda is described as one of the world’s leading investigators of UFO’s and conspiracy theories. Therefore, the not-so-subtle insinuation from the piece in The Oregonian is that she got pranked on the story about the killer robots in Japan by someone claiming to be in the CIA, and fell for it because she’s already nutty about extra-terrestrials being among us, or visiting the Earth often in their spaceships.

Moreover, it may be true that Linda got pranked, I’m afraid. Yet our own government – for whatever reason – is increasingly in recent years admitting to flying objects in our skies which they can’t identify. And I’m not saying it’s aliens, but killer robots are at least a real and definite thing advanced militaries around the world have been working on for several years.

So, as promised, there you go. There’s something of the backstory on this one at least.

Thomas Aquinas

In other news, I’m gradually making my way through ‘Summa Theologica: Volume I’ on audiobook, and yesterday’s reading featured Aquinas talking about eternity and time. Consequently, here’s a mind-blowing idea for you: God is His own eternity.

But what does that mean?

I confess to not fully knowing! Even so, these are not useless or trivial ideas to contemplate. Aquinas stands as the last great medieval scholar of theology. So whereas theology was regarded up until the Enlightenment and our Modern era as “the queen of the sciences,” this really is saying something. 

And whether you agree with him or not, or even know what to make of him, Aquinas is not fluff and stuff. But reading him is good mental and spiritual exercise. And that isn’t to say I agree with everything Aquinas had to say. But it is to say I think reading him is giving me a lot of high protein food for thought, if you will.

Moreover, to the end of giving us greater humility, we take more care with how we handle the truth about God and everything He made when we grapple with men from history like Aquinas who thought long and hard about difficult questions which may, if we don’t take care, completely elude our notice like so many mysterious lights in the sky.

The Trouble with Reading Great Books

Even so, there are practical troubles to be found in reading books like Summa Theologica, and I hardly need to tell them to you. But the frank truth is that many folks find reading at all pointless, much less when what you are reading is this kind of old and heavy tome. And many people do treat the in-depth discussion of history, philosophy, and theology much the same way or worse than they treat someone going on about UFO’s and killer robots.

Some even feel downright threatened by it, and react with hostility accordingly. This, then, gets into another byproduct of reading books like Summa Theologica, that you start to talk funny when you read them. And I think this is because you think funny when most people don’t cultivate their minds or inform their opinions this way. You doing so makes you stick out, and this gives hostile people feeling threatened something to grab onto when they lash out.

But what if nobody cares? And what if nobody wants to hear it? 

To not be just another recluse who keeps to himself, sitting around the house waiting for the next chance to talk with other people who are well-read, you might find yourself on the horns of a dilemma. Give up on reading to fit in, or keep prodding everyone around you to join you?

Dr. Jordan B. Cooper Regarding Michael Heiser

Someone I’ve been listening to recently who navigates this well is Dr. Jordan B. Cooper. About my age, Cooper is a Lutheran minister who has his own blog and YouTube channel where he talks about theology and church history.

In a video my neighbor JP Chavez sent me the other day, for instance, where Cooper examines the methodology at the heart of Michael Heiser’s ‘Supernatural’ and ‘The Unseen Realm,’ he does a fine job carefully, clearly, and respectfully unpacking the presuppositions, assumptions, priorities, and tradition which explain why men like them disagree over what to make of Biblical passages about angels, demons, and gods.

Be it known I readily agree with what I consider to be Jordan B. Cooper’s biggest concerns – about not only Heiser’s methodology, but also John Walton’s found in books like ‘The Lost World of Genesis One.’

At the same time, I freely confess to agreeing with many of Michael Heiser’s conclusions about the competing religions of the world, in the ancient past being demonic not just in an abstract sense. The gods of those religions are, or were, actual and personal demons, as some are fond of that term. And I would appeal to Augustine on this point, by the way. My reading of City of God puts he and I on the same side of this question, therefore I simply must be right.

FBI Special Agent Timothy Thibault

But to make something of my closing point here, consider the story from just a couple days ago by Joel Abbott at Not the Bee. FBI special agent Timothy Thibault, who resigned last week and was escorted from the building Monday, reportedly pressed the bureau from the inside to investigate President Trump, to not investigate Hunter Biden, to inflate domestic extremism stats towards putting angry American parents on terrorist watch lists, and to fire agents who refused the COVID vaccine.

And at the risk of repeating myself, I will say again that the trouble with conspiracy theories is that sometimes they turn out to be true. Moreover, reading great books helps us know when they are or may well be. Thus to read great books is not just a safeguard in the abstract, but at every level practically.

Dare I go further, reading great books helps us get a hunch when we hear or read a story that doesn’t add up. That includes stories about killer robots in Japan which have some grounding in real things generally, yet which also may be a prank in the particulars.

Reading great books also helps us to ask important questions about the extent to which those who came before us in centuries and millennia past knew things we have forgotten and ignored in our day – about God and ourselves, and the very fabric of reality. And in the last, reading great books helps to smell a rat when one is assuredly present.

Perhaps if more of us were reading great books, then, we would catch more quickly threats in various spheres in a more personal and preventative way, not always merely reacting, particularly once things have already gotten well out of hand on a grand scale for several years to disastrous effect.

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