Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

– Luke 2:1-14

Merry Christmas!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:1-14

The Problem With Bold, New Thinking: Its Rather Old and Worn Out

Jeffrey Taylor in The Atlantic reviews Jerry Coyne’s new book, Faith Versus Fact and has this to say:

…Primarily, though, Coyne focuses on the epistemological. He notes that religion has always advanced hypotheses about the cosmos and the origins of life—matters that he argues belong within the realm of science. He bluntly evaluates faith’s record of teachings about the natural world as a “failure of religion to find out the truth about anything.” Worse, he states, faith from the start leads humans toward “thinking that an adequate explanation can be based on what is personally appealing rather than on what stands the test of empirical study.”

Coyne is clear in his argument that to understand the cosmos there is no need of a “Creator.” What science says about the temporal nature of our own solar system, in fact, renders more than improbable the existence of a divine plan for humanity. “Human tenure on Earth,” he writes, “will end when the sun … vaporize[s] the Earth in less than five billion years,” while the universe “will also end [through] heat death,” with temperatures falling to absolute zero. What does this say for those who insist there’s a divine plan for mankind on Earth? The “God of the gaps,” Coyne argues, is losing out as science fills in the missing pieces…

Gee? Really?  Well, that settles it – since this universe of ours is doomed to die, there must be no God.

Do people really believe this sort of thing?  Have the people who make such statements ever so much as cracked open a theological book? As for humanity surviving five billion years until the Sun vaporizes the planet – seriously? Anyone who is betting on humanity surviving 500 years is taking a sucker bet. If there isn’t a God who is going to save us by miraculous action, I wouldn’t be surprised if humanity was finished 200 years from now – we’re already dying off as a species at this very moment (one crucial aspect to survival of the species is having children; the global birth rate in 1950 was around 37.2 kids per 1,000 people; as of 2015, it was about 19.4…and if it keeps up, it’ll be 13.4 by 2050).

Continue reading

Ever Wonder What a Real Christian is Like?

They are like this:

“I forgive you,” said the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance to the 21-year-old man who allegedly murdered her mother in church and appeared at an emotionally charged video court appearance in Charleston on Friday afternoon, two days after a horrific mass shooting here…

…“You took something very precious from me, but I forgive you,” Lance’s daughter said through tears. “It hurts me. You hurt a lot of people, but may God forgive you.”

This is what it means to be Christian – to take up the cross and follow Jesus. This is difficult. None of us know ahead of time if we can really do it (and, at all events, it is Jesus who really does it for us – we just consent to His action).  And if the man repents of his sin and asks for forgiveness then as far as Christians are concerned, that is a done deal. Sure, he still has to pay the price of the world for his crimes – which might end up being the surrendering of his life – but no Christian will have a word of condemnation to say about him. He’d be just another brother in Christ, in spite of his crimes.

So, for you secularists out there who denigrate Christians who sin and then ask forgiveness – we’re serious about this. It is for real. We’re not just using our “invisible sky god” to get off the hook. This is how Christians are and always will be.

Memo to Conservatives: Don’t Trust the MSM on Pope Francis Quotes

A couple days ago, a lot of conservatives got really ticked off at Pope Francis over an alleged quote calling PA leader Abbas an “angel of peace”. Looks like it wasn’t quite like that – via Stephen Kruiser over at PJ Media:

As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”

As Kruiser points out, exhorting someone to be an angel of peace is not exactly the same as calling them an angel of peace. Kruiser further notes the puzzling fact that many on the right – who wouldn’t trust the MSM on anything – blithely swallow whatever the MSM is putting out about the Pope…as if the MSM actually likes the Pope and would actually do him a favor!

Keep in mind regarding Vatican dealings with the PA that there is a small and highly oppressed Christian minority in the West Bank and no one in the world – other than the Vatican – cares about them. In order to secure any sort of peace and justice for this minority, the Vatican has to work with the PA…and this means walking a very, very fine line. You can complain about it all you want, but until someone with power steps forth to protect the Christians of the West Bank, that is the way it will be.

Anyone thinking that Pope Francis is the “commie Pope” just doesn’t understand Pope Francis or the Catholic Church. Kruiser further points out to anyone thinking that Pope Francis is a liberal should note that a very early act of Francis was to defrock and excommunicate a priest who was in favor of gay marriage and female ordination. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, I’ll make something very clear – the Pope cannot unilaterally change doctrine. Pope Francis will not proclaim same-sex marriage, nor modification of the pro-life message, nor female ordination. It just won’t happen. Ever.

For those hung up on Francis’ condemnations of consumerism and capitalism: lump it. The Church has always condemned capitalism and consumerism. It didn’t like it when the Liberals of the Manchester School were using it to grind up the workers of Britain any more than it likes it today. It never will like it – because profit, as a thing, must never be the prime motivation of economic activity. All actions, to be moral, must have as their motive the betterment of humanity. If you can make a profit while doing that, knock yourself out…but if profits start to come before the needs of men and women, then you’re doing it wrong. How we decide to balance the needs of humanity with the needs of profit in work is a prudential judgement – the Church makes no commands about how you do it, other than you must not lie, cheat, steal, poison the environment or screw over your workers while doing it.

End of rant – and may everyone have a blessed Sunday!

Happy Easter!

On the first day of the week,
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning,
while it was still dark,
and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.
For they did not yet understand the Scripture
that he had to rise from the dead. – John 20:1-9

Being Clear on Religious Liberty

Indiana passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which is fundamentally the same as the federal RFRA and the RFRA’s in force in 19 other States – and liberals went ballistic. Given the rapidity with which the outrage spread, I can only presume that it was all orchestrated – liberals, at any rate, not being given to doing anything until they are so ordered by the liberal leadership (no liberal wants to get out in front just in case the Party Line turns out to be different from personal opinion). As to why it was orchestrated – I figure that the left is trying to gin up its base for 2016 and this is just the start of it, and as Democrats have zero chance of winning Indiana in 2016, it makes the perfect target for liberal slander and hatred. Expect more and more of this sort of manufactured outrage as time goes on – Hillary’s only chance (other than the GOP nominating Jeb) being people upset over nothing rather than paying attention to what is happening.

Still, there is an actual issue here. Liberals are attempting to frame it as a replay of Jim Crow – the RFRA, it is alleged, will allow a “straights only” lunch counter and this will be a horrific violation of homosexual rights. The truth, of course, is completely different. The purpose of RFRA is not to harm anyone, but to protect the rights of a minority – in this case, a religious minority (orthodox Christians). Jim Crow was different – that was laws which required the treatment of non-whites as second class citizens by all and sundry. RFRA is just a way out if someone tries to get someone to do something in violation of their deeply held religious beliefs. It would not allow me, if I were a baker, to refuse to serve homosexual customers – it does excuse me from participating in a same-sex wedding by making the cake which will be consumed at that wedding. If I were a baker – and being that I am Catholic – you could get just about anything you want form me…but you couldn’t get a cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. There are other sorts of confections you couldn’t get from me, as well…I probably would not want to bake a cake which, say, proclaimed some dogma of Christian Science. You just want a cake – you got it; you want a cake which requires me to sin: it ain’t happening.

And that is all RFRA does – it allows me to not do something for you. If I am not doing something for you then I am also not doing anything to you. I am not violating your rights by not providing a service. In fact, if you were able to compel me to do something for you, then not only would you likely be violating my religious beliefs, but you’d also be forcing me into involuntary servitude…and slavery is explicitly prohibited in our Constitution.

I would never dream of asking someone to do something against their conscience. I’d never ask a pacifist to serve in the army. I’d never ask a Jew to provide me a ham sandwich. I’d never ask a Muslim to sell me some wine. It is just plain and simple courtesy that I do this – it would be the height of arrogant oppression if I were to demand that everyone do for me as I wish. We do live in a pluralist society – in the United States there really are all kinds of people and the only way such a society works is if everyone respects everyone else. Doing it any other way just leads to anarchy, oppression, a disintegration of the ties that bind and a risk of complete societal breakdown.

Live and let live – wise words to live by.