Category Archives: religion

Fight or Die

In light of the cowardly way we ran and hid in Boston when two terrorists were loose; given the reaction of the British crowd to a soldier being massacred by two Muslims in Britain; as we watch the Swedes endure day after day of Islamist youth on a rampage, I’ve come to a conclusion.  It was neatly solidified when Walter Russell Mead quoted In Flanders Fields in his Memorial Day column:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Mead correctly points out that the poem does not call for us to feel sorry for the dead, but to carry on their fight.  Mead was more of a mind to remind us not to just pity, but to remember and to honor what the dead fought for.  For me, its a slightly different take.  As a person who had read libraries of history with a definite concentration on military matters, I remember all of the men of our civilization who have fought.  To me, any man who took up arms in his nation’s cause and who did his duty honorably and nobly is worthy of my respect and remembrance – and my best efforts to see that what is right and good in our civilization is defended.  Of course those who died for my nation hold pride of place in my heart and mind, but I spare a thought, from time to time, for those British who died for King and Country; those Russian who bled for their Tsar; those Kaisertreu Hapsburg soldiers who faced hopeless odds at Sadowa.  All of them stood forth and did their duty as men, as Christians and as citizens of our common civilization.

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Happy Easter!

He is risen, indeed:

At daybreak on the first day of the week
the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus
took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb;
but when they entered,
they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were puzzling over this, behold,
two men in dazzling garments appeared to them.
They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.
They said to them,
“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?
He is not here, but he has been raised.
Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee,
that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners
and be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
And they remembered his words.
Then they returned from the tomb
and announced all these things to the eleven
and to all the others.
The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James;
the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles,
but their story seemed like nonsense
and they did not believe them.
But Peter got up and ran to the tomb,
bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone;
then he went home amazed at what had happened. – Luke 24:1-12

Habemus Papam Franciscum

I am delighted with the new Pope – seems a solid, bell-ringer of a priest sort of man; someone who is determined that Catholics from highest to lowest will get down and dirty and do the work of the Lord for the least among us.  Of course, some people were surprised to find that the new Pope is, well, Catholic – saw shocked-sounding headlines pointing out that Francis is opposed to abortion and gay marriage.  Tomorrow’s shocking news:  he believes in the Trinity and that Jesus suffered, died and was buried and on the third day rose again.

Liberals can find some comfort in the fact that Francis doesn’t exactly have a love affair with capitalism – though they’ll be less pleased to find that, apparently, he condemns it as “neo-liberalism”.  But on the whole, Francis’ clear adherence to Truth is going to be a stumbling block for liberals.  So much the worse for them.

I have some hopes for the new Pope, which I won’t give word to now:  better to just see what he does and comment on it on a case by case basis.  Fortunately, the government of the Church is not my office so its not up to me to figure out how to carry out God’s will while shepherding 1.2 billion people.

Discuss this and any other issues of religious nature.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a good New Year.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.
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The God in the Cave

This is quoted from G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man.

This sketch of the human story began in a cave; the cave which popular science associates with the cave-man and in which practical discovery has really found archaic drawings of animals. The second half of human history, which was like a new creation of the world, also begins in a cave. There is even a shadow of such a fancy in the fact that animals were again present; for it was a cave used as a stable by the mountaineers of the uplands about Bethlehem; who still drive their cattle into such holes and caverns at night. It was here that a homeless couple had crept underground with the cattle when the doors of the crowded caravanserai had been shut in their faces; and it was here beneath the very feet of the passersby, in a cellar under the very floor of the world, that Jesus Christ was born But in that second creation there was indeed something symbolical in the roots of the primeval rock or the horns of the prehistoric herd. God also was a CaveMan, and, had also traced strange shapes of creatures, curiously colored upon the wall of the world ; but the pictures that he made had come to life.

A mass of legend and literature, which increases and will never end has repeated and rung the changes on that single paradox; that the hands that had made the sun and stars were too small to reach the huge heads of the cattle. Upon this paradox, we might almost say upon this jest, all the literature of our faith is founded. It is at least like a jest in this; that it is something which the scientific critic cannot see. He laboriously explains the difficulty which we have always defiantly and almost derisively exaggerated; and mildly condemns as improbable something that we have almost madly exalted as incredible; as something that would be much too good to be true, except that it is true. When that contrast between the cosmic creation and the little local infancy has been repeated, reiterated, underlined, emphasized, exulted in, sung, shouted, roared, not to say howled, in a hundred thousand hymns, carols, rhymes, rituals pictures, poems, and popular sermons, it may be suggested that we hardly need a higher critic to draw our attention to something a little odd about it; especially one of the sort that seems to take a long time to see a joke, even his own joke. But about this contrast and combination of ideas one thing may be said here, because it is relevant to the whole thesis of this book. The sort of modern critic of whom I speak is generally much impressed with the importance of education in life and the importance of psychology in education. That sort of man is never tired of telling us that first impressions fix character by the law of causation; and he will become quite nervous if a child’s visual sense is poisoned by the wrong colors on a golliwog or his nervous system prematurely shaken by a cacophonous rattle. Yet he will think us very narrow-minded, if we say that this is exactly why there really is a difference between being brought up as a Christian and being brought up as a Jew or a Moslem or an atheist. T he difference is that every Catholic child has learned from pictures, and even every Protestant child from stones, this incredible combination of contrasted ideas as one of the very first impressions on his mind. It is not merely a theological difference. It is a psychological difference which can outlast any theologies It really is, as that sort of scientist loves to say about anything, incurable. Any agnostic or atheist whose childhood has known a real Christmas has ever afterwards, whether be likes it or not, an association in his mind between two ideas that most of mankind must regard as remote from each other; the idea of a baby and the idea of unknown strength that sustains the stars. His instincts and imagination can still connect them, when his reason can no longer see the need of the connection; for him there will always be some savor of religion about the mere picture of a mother and a baby; some hint of mercy and softening about the mere mention of the dreadful name of God. But the two ideas are not naturally or necessarily combined. They would not be necessarily combined for an ancient Greek or a Chinaman, even for Aristotle or Confucius. It is no more inevitable to connect God with an infant than to connect gravitation with a kitten. It has been created in our minds by Christmas because we are Christians; because we are psychological Christians even when we are not theological ones. In other words, this combination of ideas has emphatically, in the much disputed phrase, altered human nature. There is really a difference between the man who knows it and the man who does not. It may not be a difference of moral worth, for the Moslem or the Jew might be worthier according to his lights; but it is a plain fact about the crossing of two particular lights, the conjunction of two stars in our particular horoscope. Omnipotence and impotence, or divinity and infancy, do definitely make a sort of epigram which a million repetitions cannot turn into a platitude. It is not unreasonable to call it unique.

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How Old is the World?

Turns out, they don’t just ask that of GOPers whom the Democrats have commanded the MSM to destroy – seems that our President was once upon a time asked the question.  From Instapundit:

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

Which is actually a pretty good answer – a bit better than Rubio’s which also wasn’t too bad.  Of course, we don’t know if President Obama has “evolved” on this issue or decided it was above his paygrade.  We’ll need a follow up question – which I’m sure the MSMers will ask at his next press conference in 2015 or so.

The proper answer is, of course, “as old as it is, I suppose” because no one really knows.  You see, the main trouble with pre-historic events is that they are, well, pre-historic.  What happened wasn’t written down in contemporary documents and so we can’t review the material and come to a conclusion about what happened.  We can make some surmises from what we can analyze in the here and now, but we can’t know how it all came about.  One of the troubles we have in studying the distant past is that there is so little evidence for us to go on – and so, all too often, the scientists studying it grasp on to whatever scrap of evidence they can find and run entirely too far with it (this is especially true of paleontologists and their tiny collection of bones).  So much of what happened in the past has entirely vanished – there are a lot of wild guesses about what our primitive ancestors did, for instance, but I find no real profit in looking in to the matter – we’ll never really know.  I’m just grateful that, apparently quite early on, one of them figured out how to make beer.

The fundamental problem with evolution as it is expressed these days it not in the concept that a positive thing called an ape slowly turned in to a positive thing called a man – that is something which no theology can have the slightest problem with.  The error comes in when a proponent of evolution insists that it was all blind, random chance – first off, the chances of it happening are so vastly small as to be nearly zero:  it is a greater miracle that we exist by blind chance than the miracle that we exist because the Word called us in to existence.  Secondly, if it was all blind chance then everything is merely the result of a prior cause; there is no free will and thus no actual thought…including the thought that we evolved.  You see, if all results are merely the blind working out of forces beyond anyone’s control (as they must be if there is no Creator) then there is no validity to the thought that we evolved by blind chance:  the random atoms in your brain just happened to be worked in to a position where your mind spits out the “it all evolved blindly” thought; but a slight alternation in the atoms a billion years ago and you’d have spit out the thought that we all grew out of a rock in the garden – and neither thought is worth commenting on because each are equally meaningless.   The thoroughgoing evolutionist cuts his own intellectual throat.

To me it is just plain as a pikestaff that God created the universe and ordered it towards a certain end.  I really don’t grasp how anyone can think differently – one thing happening can be ascribed to random chance but the tens of billions of things which must have happened to result in my typing on a computer in 2012 makes me highly suspicious that there is an Author to the play I am acting in.  I don’t know if this Author spoke everything in to existence in 6 days or if he decided to go about it through 6 billion years – and to me the whole debate is rather academic.  At the end of it all we are, indeed, here and have to do the things we must do.  The only thing which irks me in this debate is the insistence upon some that in our public life we subscribe to an asinine theory saying that there can be no God in the process of life.  That is just to shut down a massive area of intellectual inquiry – it is a closing of the mind and made doubly irritating because the people who are shutting their minds say they are doing it in the name of openness.

Anti-Mormonism Rises on the Left

Legal Insurrection has an excellent run-down on the rank bigotry developing on the left against the Mormon religion.  Its all rather nauseating but very typical of the left these days – they probably don’t know much about it but they know (a) that it is socially conservative and (b) a man representing it is going to beat their guy.  So, all bets are off and there is no bottom to the gutter.

To me, Romney’s religion is a non-issue – just as much as Obama’s personal religious beliefs are a non-issue.  Living in a pluralist republic, there is simply no other way to go about it.  Unless I want to say that I’ll only vote for a Catholic of the most orthodox stripe, I must allow that people I vote for will have various differences with me.  What matters to me is whether or not, on balance, the candidate is more favorable to my views than the other candidate.  In this, Romney has pledged himself to a set of policy proposals largely in tune with my view – but not in all cases.  I just kind of have to lump it on the areas where I disagree with Romney while working elsewhere to advance those views of mine which Romney refuses.

Its not like that on the left – it doesn’t, for instance, matter that Mormons are tremendously generous with their time and money and that Mormon-majority communities tend to be clean, safe and law-abiding.  All that is thrown over the side because Mormons dare to have the slightest disagreement with some aspects of leftist ideology.  For the left it is all or nothing – you are either 100% with them or they will be 100% against you.  Romney has sinned against liberal orthodoxy and must be destroyed, and his entire religion along with him.  I hope Mormons have tough skins – Catholics and Evangelicals have been dealing with this for a long time (and Catholics for longer than anyone else in the United States).

At the end of the day, however, these are the actions of desperate, losing people.  Their cause is foundering and their man Obama seems set to lead them off the electoral cliff.  As things get worse for the left, we can expect the howls of bigotry to grow louder.  Get ready for it and learn to endure it – there’s nothing we can do to stop it.