Tag: God

A Thought for Easter Sunday

Thoughts in Solitude

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead my by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk of the Abbey of Gethsemane, KY.  Merton was a prolific poet and writer on spiritual social themes. He lived from 1915 until 1968.

Just a little something to think about …

Suppose you were one of Christ’s twelve disciples, and having just seen him brutally flogged and crucified, you fled, frightened for your life, and hid from certain death. What would cause you to suddenly change … to step out and publicly proclaim his resurrection and preach his Gospel, knowing full well it would inevitably lead to your own gruesome death?

Would you do it for money, fame, or some other earthly reward? How much treasure would it take to get you to do that, knowing you’d never live to spend it?

Yet, these twelve disciples did precisely that, without payment, and knowing it would undoubtedly lead to their own deaths. What would make a man find the courage to do what they did? It must have been faith. An unshakeable faith created between the time of Christ’s crucifixion and their individual decisions to spread the good news. What could have happened in that short time?

I am not a Bible-thumper or any kind of an evangelist, and I have long felt dissatisfied with what organized religion has become. However, I was raised as a Christian, and over the years, I have developed my own firm personal belief in God.

I have asked myself these questions many times over the years, typically around Easter. And I can only come up with one answer.

It would take a miracle …

What about you?

I wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Easter. And, I know we will all get through these troubling times together.

Hollywood Elitists Still Trashing Christians?

The "Heroic Age" roster of the Aveng...
The “Heroic Age” roster of the Avengers. Cover art for Avengers vol. 4, #12.1, by Bryan Hitch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hollywood strikes again!  The sad thing is, I love good movies!  Hollywood just rarely makes them anymore.  I really did like Captain America and The Avengers.  But those must have slipped past the liberal-elitist’s “don’t release anything remotely pro-American or fair to Christianity” filters.  Isn’t it amazing how The Avengers movie is doing so well at the box office …. smashing all the records!  Some of those oh-so-very-intelligent Hollywood elitists just don’t really seem to have a clue!!

Prometheus, however, is another story!  Hollywood got their “let’s put out another mindless, sort of quasi-religious questioning movie that proves how shallowly deep we Hollywood elitists really are” game face on right this time.  I read this review of the movie which really tickled me.  No … I have not seen the movie!  I saw the previews … they were enough!!  I enjoyed this guys critique, though, very much.  I just had to include it in its entirety below.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

by        Kurt Schlichter19 Jun 2012143post a comment

In space, no one can hear you scream, “I freaking paid $17 a ticket for this?!?”

It’s no secret that the “Alien” sorta-prequel “Prometheus” is a gorgeous fiasco, a visually stunning yet substantively ridiculous outer space epic that makes any fan of the 1979 classic want to rip out what’s left of his hair in frustration at what might have been. I had eagerly anticipated it, saw it on opening night, and left understanding what Hell must be like.

“Prometheus” can and should spur many discussions – including one about how plots should make sense – but it also raises the question of whether Hollywood has any institutional understanding at all of what religion is and what the tens of millions of, well, alienated believers/potential audience members who it wants to get back into theater seats actually believe.

Sadly, when it comes to religion, Hollywood has that same deep, enduring connection with normal Americans that led them to believe there was a tsunami of demand to see Tom Cruise as an ’80s hair rocker.

Caution: light spoilers lie ahead. Avoid them if you wish to see the movie with the dewy-eyed sense of wonder of an ever-optimistic film lover. Read them if wish to avoid wasting $17 a ticket and two precious hours of your life.

“Prometheus” represents all that is wrong with Hollywood’s conception of religion. For one thing, it doesn’t really have a conception of “religion” at all – instead, it embraces a vague concept of “spirituality,” which is something quite different.

To the extent Hollywood does conceive of religion, it kind of lumps all religion together into a generalized cult best described as “Footloosean,” in the sense that Hollywood sees all active religious adherents as falling somewhere along the scale from “Kind of Silly” to “The Full Lithgow,” where their central theological concerns are banning dancing and hunting gays for sport.

Hollywood much prefers spirituality, because spirituality doesn’t actually ask you to do anything while allowing you to sort of take comfort in an unarticulated sense that there is some higher power out there, probably “nature” or “the universe” or another amorphous notion that fills the role that God would if they were talking about religion instead of metaphysical mush.

A religion, in contrast, would actually require that you believe something concrete or, worse, actually do or not do something. Religion imposes obligations and makes moral judgments. You can’t have those; they could spoil the party!

Better to embrace spirituality – the welfare state of theologies. It asks nothing of you but supplies you with whatever you wish. If spirituality adherents sang hymns, their favorite would be “Generic Grace.”

Now, the characters in “Prometheus” spend a lot of time talking about seeking “answers” to the Big Questions about where man came from and, well, where man came from. And here’s director Ridley Scott’s inspiring answer – from a bunch of freaky, giant, pasty-faced folks who look like they should be asking, “You rang?”

In the first couple minutes, one of these Lurch-looking dudes is on a planet – maybe Earth, who knows – and he swallows some goo then sort of decomposes and his DNA breaks up and I guess he is seeding the planet with life or something.

Yeah, we kind of start the movie with the punchline.

Oh, and then these giant dudes decide they want to kill all human life, and that becomes another Big Question, except it really isn’t a Big Question because you kind of can’t create a Big Question of human existence from within the context of your own stupid movie. If people didn’t wonder about it before walking into the Overpriced Cinemaplex 16, it really doesn’t count as a Big Question.

Noomi Rapace plays the spiritual scientist, and she raises a lot of questions, like what kind of name is “Noomi?” She wears a cross, which becomes a huge symbol of, I guess, her spirituality. It’s certainly not a symbol of, you know, Christianity, because Christ doesn’t get a mention. I’m not even sure if God does.

It wouldn’t do to have her be an actual, you know, Christian, because in Hollywood’s eyes her main focus would then be barring the other characters from having fun – after all, that’s what Christians do. So she’s a generic believer unfettered by actual theological imperatives or obligations, a waify free spirit sampling from the sacred smorgasbord that is spirituality.

At one point, the movie flashes back to a childhood chat with her widowed father about life after death. He explains his spirituality thus: “I choose to believe.” Leave it to the theologians of Hollywood to dispense with the faith component that plays a teensy, tiny part of Christian doctrine.

God, apparently, is just another lifestyle choice. And, to the extent it supports rather than undermines its liberal social agenda, Hollywood will rule it a valid one.

“Prometheus” is a hot mess with good visuals and good performances in the service of an incoherent plot and an even less coherent message. It wants to ask those Big Questions, but the vocabulary that its stunted sense of spirituality provides is simply too limited to do so. The answer to “Where did we come from?” turns out to be some guys who are marginally taller than us and who have the complexion of a back-up singer for The Cure. And we, the audience, are sorry we asked.

When Hollywood takes religion seriously, it’s actually not Hollywood at all doing it – “The Passion of the Christ,” for example, was made by Mel Gibson almost completely outside of regular production channels.  It hit a chord and made a mint. Whether you like his theology or not isn’t the question; there is no question that he took Christianity seriously, and there’s no question audiences responded.

Hollywood might do well to do the same, but there’s not much room for optimism. For example, there is an Internet rumor that Ridley Scott wanted one of these giant guys to turn out to have been Jesus.  Seriously.

Apparently he sobered up before making one of the few conceivable choices that could have made “Prometheus” worse, but someone please let me know where the sequel goes with it.

They don’t have a prayer of getting my money again.

Justice or Vengance

David gegen Goliath
Image via Wikipedia

This Sunday also just happened to be September 11,2011 and the 10th anniversary of the attack on the world trade center in New York City.  In church I listened to a sermon by Reverend Joe Minarik that talked about forgiveness versus vengeance.  It was a well thought out sermon and I did enjoy listening to it, and it is often very true that some people mistake revenge for justice.  We all need to find forgiveness in our hearts for those people who have offended us … or how can we expect God to forgive us? 

How does that translate to September 11, 2011 and the actions this government took to punish the perpetrators of that heinous attack?  Did the U.S. seek revenge or justice.  Does forgiveness mean there is no consequences for evil actions?  Can we forgive those who do us wrong and still expect justice?

Consequences are sometimes necessary for us to learn … and I would say it was justice that most Americans sought after 9/11.  Not revenge!  Revenge would have been the indiscriminate murder of 3000 muslim innocent men, women, and children.  That did not happen.  Though we can argue about whether what we did was the right thing, anyone of sound mind and intellect should be able to accept that it was measured, restrained, and that every attempt was made to only go after Al Qaeda associates and their supporters.  We did not Nuke the Middle East.  I think my thoughts on Iraq should be clear from earlier posts, and yes, even Obama stated that Afghanistan was the “right war to be fighting” to achieve justice for the victims of the World Trade Center bombing.

Sometimes I get the feeling that some people do not mistake vengeance for justice, but instead they mistake justice for vengeance.  “vengeance is mine … saith the Lord” is often quoted by certain Christians as an exhortation to stand by and  to do nothing when horrific acts or events are playing out.   To me, Jesus’s lesson of “turning the other cheek” is not an admonition to go meekly to the slaughter … it is the defiant act of a warrior.  It clearly says, “that slap didn’t faze me … would you like to go for the other cheek as well!”  I have never bought into the Marvin Milktoast version of Jesus Christ.  Marvin Milktoast could not have survived 40 days in the desert,  run the money-changers out of the temple, faced down Satan and demons, or endured the suffering Jesus endured during his crucifixion.  Jesus was a warrior … like David or Sampson …a warrior for God … with a keen understanding of where and when not to use force or violence.

God gave us as sense of right and wrong, a free will, and a thinking mind!  The belief that “divine intervention” is the only biblically correct means to stop the evil acts of others is simply a cop-out and an excuse to avoid personal responsibility.  I am reminded of a story about a pious man sitting on his roof as the flood waters rose about him.  A truck came by and his neighbors shouted for him to climb in;  they were headed for higher ground.  He refused their help, saying that he had faith God would rescue him.  The water kept rising.  A boat came by and the rescuers hailed the man.  Again the man refused rescue saying that he was waiting for God to come and save him.  Still the water kept rising.  A helicopter flew overhead and tried to lift the man to safety.   Again the man refused, yelling that God would save him. The water continued to rise.  Sometime later the man stood at the Pearly Gates and Peter opened them to let him in.  The pious man, his faith shaken and feeling somewhat miffed, asked Peter why in Heaven’s Name God had not come and rescued him?  Why did God let him drown?  Peter looked at the man and said, “Sorry. God was sort of busy that day.  However, he did manage to find the time to send you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter.  Why did you not jump on one of those?

While violence is and should always be the last resort, the fact is that if only evil men are willing to use violence, only evil men will win.  Here are a few quotes I like:

“An unwillingness to deal forcibly with violence does not equate to moral rectitude!”

~ Mary Malmros

“Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it!”

~ Pericles

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!”

~ Edmund Burke



If Only God Were Not …

I have given consideration for quite a long time to why the atheistic radical left-wing is so strongly opposed to God and Christianity.  What inspired the “War on Christmas” and led to no “Pledge of Allegiance” in schools?  Why do these people insist that we interpret “Freedom of religion” to mean “Freedom from religion” and work so diligently toward achieving their agenda; re-writing our history leaving no room for God and attempting to erase any signs of the importance Christianity played in the founding of this great country. 

While it is certainly true that Christianity is growing dramatically in certain regions of the world, it does seem that there is a “war” being waged on Christianity in this country of ours.  I list here a few quotations to illustrate the point:

“It is wonderful not to have to cower before a vengeful deity, who threatens us with eternal damnation if we do not abide by his rules.” 

~Karen Armstrong, A History of God

“If he does exist, I personally want nothing to do with him.”

~Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothsis 

“I want atheism to be true …. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God …. I don’t want to live in a universe like that.”

~ Philosopher Thomas Nagel

I have often wondered what atheists like this hope to gain in their arguments and actions.  I have no problem with their “non-belief”, that is certainly their choice and, as an American, though I disagree with them,  I would defend their right to have that “non-belief.”  However, I think we, as a nation, must draw a line in the sand when their “un-belief” threatens the very core values of this great nation.

I will tell you what I think is the real root of this effort.  The real “opium of the people” is not religion as Karl Marx stated, but instead it is, as stated by Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, “a belief in nothingness after death.”   This belief would certainly have to be much less frightening to immoral people than the belief that their betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders and other assorted sins will be judged when their life on earth has ended.  

I think this is why people seek to free themselves from God and Christianity.  If you chose to live an immoral life, then God is essentially your mortal enemy.  He represents a very real threat to those who are selfish, greedy, lecherous, or filled with hatred.  It would certainly seem to be in the best interests of such people to despise and ridicule the belief in God and do what ever they could to rid our nation of His presence.

If God could be stamped out of existance by these people, then the seven deadly sins are no longer, as Dinesh D’Souza writes, “terrors to be overcome, but temptations to be enjoyed.”  Death is no longer a justification for morality … it is now a justification for immorality. 

Nietzsche understood this.  The death of God would allow us to escape guilt and live “beyond good and evil.”  In Nietzsche’s scheme, man would kill God to achieve the freedom to create his own morality.  This line of thinking, though toned down, can be found in many of Christopher Hitchens’ railings against Christianity.

And, it really seems to boil down to a simple concept … sex.  Hitchens wrote that “the divorce between the sexual life and fear … can now at last be attempted on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse.”  

Now, I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination and I certainly am not against sex … and incidently, neither is God.  However, God does put some thoughtful limitations on when, and with whom, sex should be had.  The “sexual revolution” has left its scar on many people’s lives.  Unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, younger and younger single mothers, ill-advised marriages, etc.   Today we even have the ACLU defending such repulsive organizations as NAMBLA … and criminal judges issuing “slap-on-the-wrist” sentences for heinous child abuse, molestation, and rape cases.  Could Dinesh D’Sousa be correct when he writes that the orgasm has become today’s secular sacrament.   I think, sadly, maybe he is. 

What happens when you remove the horribly old, out-dated, Christianity inflicted, moral restraints surrounding sex … such as waiting until you are married?  You often get unwanted pregnancies.  Could it be simply a strange coincidence that this leads us to the next most important sacrament in the secular world; one very near and dear the to atheistic left-wing liberal’s heart … abortion.

To me, the real tragedy and horror connected to an abortion is not that a woman kills an unborn child.  It is that a woman kills her own unborn child.  I cannot help but think that the feelings of guilt associated with doing this to ones own child must be nearly unbearable for any morally healthy person.  Therefore … it would then become necessary, for the good of all immoral people in the country, for atheists to lead the way and free people from the guilt associated with abortions.  And how is this done?  By completing the following steps:

  1. Get rid of God … that way there is no soul of the dead child to bother the conscience and, no threat of going to Hell for the act of murder.
  2. Define the fetus as being “not yet human” …  hmmmmm, sound familiar?

Not really too far from opening the door to eugenics, euthanasia and infanticide are we?  In this atheistic new nation, under nothing, with no inalienable rights, and with an immoral system of morality, Hell on earth might be just around the corner folks … wait and see. 

I think D’Sousa is right.  Although they like to point to science as their guiding star, atheism is actually not an intellectual revolt at all, it is a immoral revolt.  Atheists do not find God invisible, they find Him objectionable.  The atheist simply seeks to rid himself of any later moral judgment by eliminating the judge.

Fortunately, contrary to what they would have you believe, not all scientists agree with atheistic claims of having the real truth. I leave you with this quote from one rather well-known scientist … often erroneously quoted by many atheists:

“In the view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet people who say there is no God.  But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support for such views.”

~ Albert Einstein