Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Holidays! See 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'

This author was wary about seeing Ridley Scott's latest film, Exodus: Gods and Kings, because the reviews weren't great, and Scott has a checkered past in my book (Prometheus).  But he also did Gladiator, which was quite exceptional. Exodus: Gods and Kings is an astonishing achievement, and there's much more to it than meets the eye. Who doesn't like films which create that 'time machine feeling' of really being there? This author has studied ancient Egypt for fifty years, and has been to tombs and temples. This a very real film:

So why are so-called sophisticated people rejecting it? The film is a global hit, and has grossed well over $282 million. The discrepancy is based largely on the fact that most viewers are Bible-illiterate these days, and have no idea what ancient life and people were really like. Fact is, the real Exodus story is (as some critics have said) "heavy-handed" and a "slap in the face" if you're a worshiper of power, a lover of wealth, and can't stand "judgments".

Exodus: Gods and Kings is long and painful to watch at times, but is a genuine and powerful drama - as ancient life often was. Scott pulls out every stop, and creates a shockingly realistic and soul-wrenching psychodrama. Nobody in it is wooden or uninvolved, and the cast is masterful and engaging. Christian Bale is at his best, along with Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, and a cast of new actors who look like they stepped out of the ancient world already formed.  More than 15,000 people were involved in the production.

It's the perfect film for our age in that the core issue facing us right now is exactly the same one Exodus deals with: Power over Truth. Which will win? Do men with power define truth? Or does God? Some of you are saying that's the core issue of the whole Bible, and you're right.

Pharaoh Rameses never would give up, nor would his armies, even after the ten plagues that were so horrible they almost defy description. In the same way our modern Ruling Class will NEVER give up. They prove it again and again as our modern plagues have no effect. We must - somehow - escape from their malevolent influence. Like the Egyptians, they're doomed to suffer in their hell forever, and we can't let them drag us down with them.

How can we escape from this psychic Egypt? Exodus shows us the way. Pray to God, and have courage. It's hard work, but we'll be enslaved until we do. The rewards for working with the Lord of All Creation are inconceivably wonderful.

Perhaps you're skeptical - as I once was - that the Exodus story contains any truth at all? You might be surprised to discover that this and many other Bible stories and characters have now been verified by recent archaeological evidence.

                                          The Israelites Crossing the Red Sea:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Why Are We Here?

This is the ultimate question in our lives, and I've spent my whole life asking God that question. It has required a lifetime of study to arrive at the complete answer; or at least an answer I could understand.

When I was five my grandfather died, and I was devastated. He was such a loving and kind man, though I didn't get to see him often. I asked my parents and anyone else who would listen, "Where is he? Why is he gone? What happens after we die?" I couldn't get an answer, because my parents were atheists or agnostics, depending on their mood. It shocked me then, and it still shocks me now, that so few people seem to know or care about this. Perhaps the loss of life and love is just too terrible to contemplate for many people. I felt my life depended upon finding out everything I could about it.

In a nutshell, this is largely the reason for our existence: Life is a test and the world is like a boot camp for our training. Every day there are issues and events that prove our soul's worthiness. How honest, kind, forgiving, and loving are we? If we see someone - any living thing - being abused, what do we do? If we abuse someone ourselves, how long does it take for us to recognize it? How conscious are we to the sufferings of others, and their well being?

Records are being kept, and our own brains are extraordinary recording devices. This has been proven over and over again by science, that we can be prompted to remember events in incredible detail. Our good and bad deeds are a matter of permanent record in our own minds and hearts. Everything we know, God knows, and so much more.

For the sake of the integrity and value of the test, it must appear that nobody is watching or listening, and that each day be very ordinary; even humdrum. In that way, our true selves will be revealed to ourselves, to others, and to God.

Jesus often spoke metaphorically about separation in life, "the wheat from the chaff", the "sheep from the wolves". In Matthew 24 he says,

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’  and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Time is always short, and we need to search our hearts, make a clean breast of our wrongs, and ask for forgiveness. Courage and diligence in this leads to a tremendous reward. Don't lose it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

On Thankfulness; From a Longtime Reader

Gratitude is sorely lacking among people these days. You would think, since life is so amazingly easy now, that people would be filled with gratitude for their comforts.There are at least a couple of very prominent reasons why people seem to be so much more ungrateful than in times past.

The diminution of the belief in God is probably the most important one. If people believe they have lives endowed by a Creator, then they are likely to have a sense that their Creator is due some gratitude. The concept of a benevolent Creator, one benevolent enough to create individual life and be concerned with the  positive details of that very life, establishes a specific focus for gratitude and thus a sense of gratitude is cultivated continually throughout the course of life, through it's trials and successes.
Secondly, and perhaps most immediately pertinent, is the cultural aspect of individual expectations. We are born into a life so free of dire travail and consequences  (compared to previous generations) that everyone seems to expect health, wealth, and gratification - which is not the same as happiness - as a matter of birthright. When these ideals are not forthcoming, as they obviously will not be without great effort, people feel as though they are "burned", or betrayed by life; and a selfish petulance or ingratitude takes root. This is a childish and dishonest response, of course, but our societal wealth is now producing more and more spoiled and self-entitled souls (actually they are pathetically lacking in soul). Barack Obama is a terrific living example of this very thing.
An equally important part of this cultural base of ingratitude comes from the political left, or Grievance Left, as I call them.  They are always about the business of creating crisis and complaint. They continuously promote the notions of unfairness and oppression brought down upon individuals by the "established order". They seek constantly to broaden the base of the "aggrieved" and "discriminated against". They seek to promote the idea of the powerlessness of the individual, and the hopelessness of life's struggles - without government's assistance, of course.
From the leftist point of view, everything is stacked against the individual, and we are prevented from happiness by the unseen, uncontrollable powers that inveigh against us. But all of these problems, naturally, could be solved by an all powerful force of governance led by elitists of impeccable wisdom and unimpeachable authority. 

Who can dare be grateful when there is so very much wrong with the world as they see and describe it?; according the the leftist theme promoted everywhere throughout the culture. Even churches now are in this game.

In short, society, and therefore life - according to them - is an exercise in failure, unfairness, and misery, which equates life as nothing more than a broken promise. And how can any fool be grateful for that?
Again, this leftist grievance view is not only false, but it is really a form of blasphemy against the miracle of creation, of which all living things are a part.
Pathetic, miserable, and ungrateful fools. Some perhaps, are worthy of forgiveness, but those who promote these sad and selfish sensibilities most certainly are not. 

The traditionalist/conservative elements of society are far more humble than the ruling elites or the underclass takers, whose whole lives are often based upon the charity and goodwill of the doers and the enterprising majority.

- D. R. W.

Friday, November 21, 2014

America Crucified

All great nations rise and fall, some by violence from a neighbor, or from a foreign shore, and some by suicide.

The Ancient Greek democracy of 500 B.C.E. was overwhelmed by mob action over time, because it had no system of buffers between the whims of the crowd and its rulers. They continually made hasty and unwise decisions that brought destruction and grief upon themselves, even though they knew full well the nature of tragedy and wrote timeless dramas about it.

The Roman Republic of 60 B.C.E. crashed in a similar way due to the actions of Julius Caesar and the charismatic Mark Antony; who triggered a civil war between the poor and discontented on one side, and the aristocracy and the wealthy on the other. The Julio-Claudian family defeated Antony and Cleopatra, and the magnetic and talented Octavian became the first Emperor Augustus Caesar. Never again did common people exercise political power in the Empire.

We have a new example today, and the time honored tragedy plays out once more. The Emperor Barack Obama has just seized power in the United States. Since he was elected in 2008, he said 25 times in public that he didn't have the power to override Congress and create amnesty for foreign invaders who have flooded into America for decades. Just a year ago he said on Spanish-language television, "I'm not an emperor", and that he couldn't violate the Constitution of the United States.

Last night, November 20, he did just that, and with glee and celebration. He declared himself the de-facto Emperor Barack, and said he has the power to do whatever he wants to do. Congress is "too slow" to give him what he wants, so he issued another executive order, one more of hundreds since his election. This marks the end of America as it has been since its founding as a Constitutional republic in 1787. The newly-elected Congress is almost powerless to respond until January, 2015, when it will be sworn in. The new Republican majority - just elected on November 4 - would have blocked Emperor Barack if it had the power.

In the final days of the 2008 election, candidate Obama said to a cheering mob, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America!" Since then he and his cronies in the Democrat Party have done just that. They've destroyed or corrupted the racial harmony we once had; the market economy that used to provide abundant jobs and wealth for everybody; our national sense of greatness hard-won by generations of workers, inventors, and warriors; our record of success in every arena; our global stature as a superpower; and the confidence we once had to resist evil, corruption, and spiritual rot. This is why the foreign invaders have come, because they know how good we were. But no nation can exist without secure borders.

The entire world is now a much more unstable and dangerous place since Emperor Barack and his minions took over. Our enemies know what's happening to us and celebrate. Obama goes over to those countries and has parties with them.

Meanwhile, Iran is building a nuclear weapon, Islamo-Fascists are on the march in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, Putin is placing Russian troops in Eastern Europe, Israel is targeted by haters everywhere, and all of this is perpetrated with assistance and cover provided by Emperor Barack.

It's gruesomely ironic that a black American who received every benefit and gift our nation could provide him, and which has made him, his family, and his cronies wealthy, should gleefully destroy his country.  Obama received the best education any American could have - for free. He was employed in easy jobs at a high salary, along with his wife,  and was elected a Senator for his state with ease and lavish assistance.  His presidential campaign collected hundreds of millions of dollars from all over the world, and he glided into the White House. Since that day he has undermined and sabotaged everything he laid his hands on. He and his associates have behaved as though they were the foreign agents of our worst enemies.

Don't forget that Nobel Peace Prize he received before he even took office.

This is unique in human history; a bitter irony of epic proportions. The malice and ingratitude he, his cohorts, and the Democrat Party have practiced will be seen for what it is eventually, and for all time. They even had help from a lazy and dull-witted Republican Party, a very bitter pill we all must swallow.

This man is the long-prophesied "man of sin, lawlessness", the Anti-Christ, spoken of in Second Thessalonians, 2:3.

Abraham Lincoln, the most prophetic of our presidents, warned us in his Lyceum Speech of 1838,

"Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Saturday, November 8, 2014

America Pulls Back At The Cliff's Edge

The November 4th election in the United States saw the biggest reversal from so-called "liberal" Democrat policies, and toward traditional conservative Republican principles, in well over a hundred years. It was a political Pompeii for President Obama and his dictatorial administration, and a figurative Second Coming of Abraham Lincoln - who created the anti-slavery Republican Party in 1860. Two diametrically opposed and irreconcilable theories of government are now facing off with each other. Nobody knows what will happen next. The problem now for Republicans is they lack a charismatic leader to rally and direct them. But a new Lincoln may arrive soon. "Comes the hour, comes the man", say the prophets.

Democrats suddenly are bereft of trustworthy leaders. Polls show a deep public disgust for the federal government (only 18% say they always trust it), and 75% of voters say America is on the wrong track after six years of Democrat rule.

Not only did Obama Democrats lose the Senate to Republican control, but they lost more House seats; and lost governorships in almost every state that had a race. Twenty-nine incumbent Democrats lost their national or state offices to Republicans.

Why did this happen? Because since 2008, every single Democrat promise, plan, and initiative failed to deliver as advertised. They sold voters on a coming Utopia, and delivered a slum. They praised the socialist model of Europe, spent a trillion dollars, and the national debt doubled. They divided Americans by race, class, and gender in order to win elections. Now everyone is angry and upset. Never in American history has an administration sowed such discord, wasted so much time, and so badly worsened American prosperity and strength; both  domestically and overseas. Voters are getting poorer, and they see socialist failure and collapse globally.

Why did the Democrats fail so badly?  Because they believe in a fantasy where God is replaced by reason and science. Politics is God to them. They only pretend to believe in their country and pretend to want it to succeed as it always has. Obama said it best to a wildly cheering crowd just before the 2008 election: "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America!" At their core, the vast majority of Democrats are agnostics, atheists, or anti-theists. They are also materialists, skeptical of Faith. Yet the core documents that formed the United States - the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution - presume entirely that a benevolent God gives us our rights and dignity; they don't come from the consensus or wishes of men. All great American presidents until Obama had faith in God. A person who doesn't share that faith will never really succeed and understand American thinking nor its government. They don't want to be "transformed".

It's abundantly clear to all who will see that a large majority of Americans reject the materialist, agnostic, atheist, and anti-theist philosophy of modern so-called "progressive" or "liberal" politics. They reject the European Union, socialism, and Marxism in all its deceptive forms.

Americans believe that a free people can organize, govern their lives, and create prosperity far more effectively than any centralized bureaucracy can. The Soviet Union fell in 1989, Maoist China followed, and now so has the progressive/socialist Democrat Party.

This is only a beginning, however. Obama and his cronies are vowing to hang on, to "squeeze every last bit" of power and authority from their offices. They don't see, or pretend not to see how much they're distrusted and disliked. The twenty-year-old Cold Civil War continues to a bitter end.

God be praised. There's nothing better in this world than to be on the side of the Great Creator in the Final Days.

"All the great things are simple, 
and many can be expressed in a single word: 
freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."
- Winston Churchill

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The End Is Approaching

Religious wars. Ebola plague. Economic collapse. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons proliferation. Climate change. They're all present in our lives. We cannot escape them while we live.

Every great religion recognizes that this world is not designed to last forever, and that death is built into the physical universe. There is an end to all things. Everything which is created has a lifespan and an end. We are almost at the end point.

But rebirth, too, is built in. The life force has cheated death for hundreds of millions of years, as the fossil record proves. Moreover, visionary spiritual leaders and regular people often testify that there are other realms of existence far more preferable to this life on earth, and that this life is merely a school and a testing ground for advancement to those higher realms.

They are not guaranteed to us, though. We must make the effort and work at our spiritual growth. Now is the day and the hour.

If you have an enemy, try to find out if there can be reconciliation. If you've been wronged, try to forgive. Don't let unfinished business in this world weigh you down.  Let go of old baggage and old grudges. Focus on the lofty light of God, who is not of this world, no matter what religion you subscribe to.

We're out of time, and the world is going down. But just as Christ conquered death, and rose again, we who are faithful to God will live in Paradise.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Why Christianity Is So Difficult

There is one aspect to Christianity that sets it apart from all other religions, and requires more of us than most people can give, and it is this: You must forgive your enemies, love, and pray for those who have wronged you; just as Jesus did:

Luke 23:34 : "And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide up his garments."

Matthew 5:44: "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

This love and forgiveness requirement is not present in other religions. There's no requirement in Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam to love any person. Love is seen as a good thing in most religions, but within boundaries. Loving one's enemies is counter-intuitive, and flies in the face of self-preservation, which is hard-wired into our brains.  All forms of living things will struggle to defend and preserve their lives. So how is it that the Christian God, presumed to be the same God worshiped by Jews and Muslims, came to make this a requirement? 

It is proof that Christ was the Messiah, the secret of His power and uniqueness, a quality of God we never saw until Jesus came, and the main reason why his life has inspired people for two-thousand years. Luke 6:32 to 42 explains in Jesus's words:

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you."

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.  Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye."

The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis suggests how we can make a good start: “Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor [or enemy]; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.”

Looked at the right way it makes perfect sense to forgive an enemy, because we often don't know who our enemies really are. Benjamin Franklin - a genuine Christian at heart, though not churchgoing - was very generous in his assessment, saying, "Our enemies are our friends, for they show us our faults." Someone we like or love may criticize us, and it hurts. But if they're right, and we correct our fault, they have given us a gift. How many times have we ignored the advice of friends, thinking they were ignorant or self-serving, and lived to regret it?  Flatterers can be our worst enemies, ingratiating themselves and gaining our trust only to betray us later, as Iago did in Skakespeare's Othello. Iago provokes Othello to murder his innocent and loving wife Desdemona.

What about those who really do gravely harm us? Some crimes will haunt us forever; the murder of a child or spouse; the theft of life savings, and so on. We must come to terms with these, somehow, and holding onto grievances can eat us up inside. Forgiveness - to some extent - will keep us sane.

It seems superhuman to be able to do this, and it is. But we can be superhuman if we choose. It is very hard, and here's why: Grievances are a powerful tool and a weapon. You can extract favors and money; you can make people feel very guilty, and even ruin their lives by holding onto grievances and bludgeoning them. Many people don't want to surrender this power. 

That's the whole point. Sacrifice. It's the ultimate litmus test of character; selflessness, and generosity. It's also the secret to escaping this world and the sentence of death we're all living under. 

The Martyr's Path

Here's another reason Christianity is difficult: Although it's rarely discussed, there are at least two different paths faithful Christians can follow in their lives. Jesus and his disciples chose the path of martyrdom, and expected to be persecuted and killed for their faith. The greatest rewards in heaven are promised to those who can. But by no means are all people required to give up their lives and everything they own. We mustn't beat ourselves up or feel like failures if we can't make the ultimate sacrifice. Few people can.

Even Pope Francis has refused the martyrs path; as have all previous Popes. One might think - considering he's seen by Catholics as a "Vicar of Christ", the closest person to God on earth - that he would gather up some of his bishops and cardinals and make a pilgrimage to Iraq or Lebanon. Imagine how powerful a statement of faith it would be if he went to a mosque in any holy city of Islam and challenged the High Imams to a debate, as Jesus did at Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Of course they would have him crucified, but he would receive the highest honor a Christian can achieve in this world. It would be transformational event in world history, and a proof of faith.

The fact that the Pope won't do this proves something unspoken. No nation or state would survive by granting such forgiveness. If we take Christ's admonition literally - as in Matthew 18:22, "I tell you, you must forgive... seventy times seven" - we must disband our police forces, release all prisoners from jails, and dissolve our military. Not only would our nation be overwhelmed by criminals and invaders, but our families and future generations would be destroyed. Still, we would be obligated to love the invaders and destroyers, and pray for them. This is too much to ask of mortal men and women. The few who could do this are saints. You know who they are, and how rare a quality that is. 

We all must follow our hearts in this decision. If our hearts say we must be a martyr, we must be one. If it wants to be a soldier, banker, or politician, we should should do that instead. "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." (Luke 12:34). Success and satisfaction in life depends on commitment, and only heartfelt work endures. Know yourself.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pope Francis in the Crosshairs

What a difference it makes when you discover that a vicious and organized enemy wants you and everything you hold dear destroyed. It will keep you awake at night, and make you change your mind about a lot of things. Such is the state of mind of the world leader of Catholicism.

As recently as July, Pope Francis was railing against "unfettered capitalism" as the greatest global threat to world peace and the lives of the poor, believing that the poor and disadvantaged become leaders of violent revolutions. He ushered Liberation Theology back into the Vatican, a belief system akin to Marxism that seeks to force the redistribution of wealth by governments, or almost any other means necessary. He ignored the advancing armies of IslamoNazism, like ISIS, which were systematically killing, raping, and destroying the oldest Christian communities in the world in countries like Syria, Turkey, and Iraq:

The truth is that the most violent and brutal enemies of human dignity, liberty, and civilization usually come from the middle and upper classes. Marx, Lenin, Hitler's top ministers, Tojo and Emperor Hirohito, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, the Kims of North Korea, Osama bin Laden, et al, were from childhood onward well-off or rich, and unfamiliar with poverty.

But now Pope Francis has discovered that much of Islam has morphed into a savage enemy of everything Christian, Jewish, and genuinely liberal. Western civilization in its entirety will be annihilated if ISIS and other groups like Hamas, Hezballah, Boko Haram,  and the Muslim Brotherhood have their way. They're building a new nation, the long-dreamed-of Caliphate, in the Middle East. Christians there have been charitable, generous, peaceful, and kind for two-thousand years. But that's irrelevant now that the worst psychopathic killers in society are leading the Muslims. The Pope has a contract out on him, and the Italian government has had to step up Vatican security:

For the first time in hundreds of years, a Pope has called for the use of force to eliminate these threats:

We're entering a new age of religious wars and violence on a scale that hasn't been seen on earth before. The good news is that this type of Armageddon was predicted in the Book of Revelation two-thousand-years ago, and it's the precursor to very great and wonderful things to come. But a great deal of faith is required of us, because all will seem lost as the days and months pass.  From the New Testament, Matthew 24:3 - 48:

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,  but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come...
“Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak...  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man...
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?  It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’  and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards.  The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.  He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

God and Suffering

by Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College

All good people are appalled by the sufferings of the innocent. When an innocent person is struck by a painful disease or tortured or murdered, we naturally feel sadness and helplessness and rage. Many people have claimed that such suffering is proof that God does not exist. The argument goes like this: God is all good and all powerful. Such a God would not permit unnecessary suffering. Yet we constantly observe unjust suffering. Therefore, at least one of the premises about God must be false. Either God is not all good or God is not all-powerful or he doesn't exist.

What's wrong with this argument?

First, let's examine what we mean when we say that God would not permit unjust suffering. There are two categories of suffering: suffering caused by human beings, which we call moral evil; and suffering caused by nature, such as earthquakes and cancer.

Free will explains how God would be good and allow moral evil. Because God has given people free will, they are free to behave against God's will. The fact that they do evil is not proof that God is not good. In addition, if there were no God there would be no absolute standard of good. Every judgment presupposes a standard, and that's true of our moral standards, too.

What is our standard for judging evil to be evil? The most we can say about evil if there were no God is that we, in our subjective taste, didn't like it when people did certain things to other people. We wouldn't have a basis for saying an act was bad - only that we didn't like it.

So the problem of human evil exists only if God exists.

As for natural suffering, that poses what appears to be a more difficult question. We see an innocent child suffering - say from an incurable disease - and we complain. Understandable. We don't like it. It shouldn't happen. Understandable. But it's illogical to feel that unless you believe in God.

So, if you do not believe in God your subjective feelings are the only basis upon which you can object to natural suffering. How is it your not liking something is evidence for God not existing?  Think about it. It's just the opposite. Our judgments about natural and human evil presuppose the existence of God, which is the standard. If there is no God there is no good or evil. It's just nature doing what it does. If nature is all there is there is absolutely no need to explain why one person suffers and another doesn't. Unjust suffering is a problem because we have a sense of what is just and unjust. But where does that sense come from? Certainly not nature because there is nothing 'just' about nature. Nature is only about survival.

What, in other words, does it mean for suffering to be unnecessary or wrong? How is that determined? Against what standard? Your private standard means nothing; my private standard means nothing. We can talk meaningfully about suffering being unnecessary or wrong only if we have an underlying belief that a standard of right and wrong exists. If that standard really exists it means there is a God.

Moreover, the believer in God has an incomparably easier time - both psychologically and logically - than the atheist in dealing with the problem of natural suffering. If you accept that a good God exists, it is possible to also believe that this God somehow sets things right; if not in this world then the next.

For the atheist, on the other hand, no suffering is ever set right. There is no ultimate justice. The bad win and the good suffer. Earthquakes and cancer kill. End of story. Literally.

If nature is all there is, how can a sensitive person remain sane in a world in which tsunamis wipe out whole towns, evil men torture and murder innocent victims, and disease attacks people indiscriminately? The answer is - it's not possible.
Is that how you want to live?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

America; Imagine the World Without Her

I saw Dinesh D'Souza's latest film America yesterday, and I'll be thinking about it for a long time. It's in a class by itself, and clearly had a large budget. Considering our present global conflict, and the stakes involved, it's the most important documentary film of our age. 

We live in a time where tyrannical governments - in the name of "democracy" - cloak themselves in false authority, exactly the way monarchies did in ages past. Their core argument and reason for being is that you, the individual, cannot take care of yourself responsibly, and must join the collective and conform to their laws and restrictions. There is an elite, however, that will rule us and live richly and powerfully from our labor; and they're doing it now in Brussels, Washington D.C., London, and elsewhere. This is dangerous, and will lead to terrible oppression and misery, as it always does. 

America is a call to action, as Tom Paine's Common Sense was in 1776. It's not just excellent, it shows real genius at times. 

I'm assuming you haven't seen it, since it just arrived in theaters. Forgive me if you have, and let me know what you think. I can never resist getting to a good film early. I hope you see it soon, because it's mightily encouraging for every God-loving person's understanding of the great conflict in which we're engaged. It will touch anyone who has a shred of integrity and love for human liberty left in their soul.

The beauty of it is that it's ambitious, thorough, intellectually and emotionally honest, unflinching, and powerful. It takes on, from the start, every indictment, accusation, slander, and insult our enemies have thrown in our faces for centuries. It names the names of our accusers, explores their motive to shame us, and takes them apart meticulously the way Lincoln's speeches took apart the Confederate position. Not only that, D'Souza in many cases goes face-to-face in the film with some of our adversaries and allows them to use their own words. He then goes on to expose their misunderstandings and falsehoods without rancor, using facts. He also doesn't dodge America's mistakes.

Saul Alinsky, the Marxist guru of collectivism, gets a complete going-over and exposure as a tool of Frank Nitti and the Chicago mob. Alinsky was apparently and unabashedly proud of his mentors. Hillary Clinton also is smoked out as a dedicated admirer. Elizabeth Warren indicts herself with twisted passion.

D'Souza could have made an emotionally charged documentary that relied on love and patriotism alone, but he knew it wouldn't be enough to get the job done and defeat 'progressives'. He builds his case with the complete and inarguable truth, and only after that light has killed off the darkness of deceit does he then turn on the fountain of heart-felt words, images, and historical evidence. He's on the side of God and the Angels. 

At the end he even talks about his own indictment and plea deal, saying, "I made a mistake. I'm not above the law." But he uses that to show how utterly vulnerable we all are to the limitless forces of the federal government.   

The opening titles, too, are brilliant and moving. A blacksmith forges the letters AMERICA, one by one, and the screen is filled with blueprint-style graphics that illustrate all of our great inventions and national accomplishments. If Hollywood were not entirely rotted from within by crypto-Marxist delusion, the title sequences would be nominated for an Academy Award.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Socialism, False Religions, and the Lies of the Anti-Christ

The greatest evils in the world today are the false prophets and false religions born of science and technology which have empowered us far beyond our emotional development; rather like children in possession of a deadly weapon.  They may not call themselves religions, but they are de facto religions, offering up false gods and idols: fame, money, sex, power, etc.  They encourage us to believe we're gods ourselves, with godlike powers.

But human wisdom, compassion, and consciousness - the attributes of God - develop far slower than science, and we're still primitives; vengeful, vain, and full of lusts, which we often declare are virtuous. Governments have been remade to exploit these new powers and pander to our wishes, or, when that doesn't work, beat us into submission. Compare the European Union at one end, and North Korea at the other, for an idea of the scale. Governments are displacing God, the Creator, as the source of our happiness and contentment. This is a crime, and will not end well. We must set ourselves apart from this horrible game.  It's not fashionable to be a person of faith today in many parts of the world, and it can even get you killed. But that's a small price to pay for salvation, and the only way to escape the madness.

The proponents of falsehood frequently blame religion for historical conflicts, misery, deaths, and oppression. But the atheistic wars of the 20th and 21st Century have killed or reduced to misery far more people - many hundreds of millions - than have suffered in all of history. 
Human societies have always been violent, but not all wars are as futile as recent ones have been. Violence has led to spiritual and material progress in the past. The bloody Protestant Reformation in the 1500's established the right of individual conscience over church authority. The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution of 1688 brought about the English Bill of Rights and the American Revolution. The Civil War of 1861-'65 settled issues of human rights, equality, and freedom for all time. 

The economics of our modern era have spawned governments unique to human history. Most of them are so-called "socialist" to one degree or another, which means they attempt to provide social services to the mass of their people, and eliminate poverty. Some form of communism is the end result. These governments strive and fail to replace God. Some of them, like those in Scandinavian countries, appear very successful. But their suicide rates are some of the highest in the world. Many others are abject failures, and they brutalize and manipulate their people with terror. Ironically, they often call themselves "The People's Democratic Republic of______". Fill in the blank.
Today's European Union is a disaster waiting to end. Now the EU speaks of The Great Reset, the end of individual human rights. In exchange we'll have a guaranteed income, medical care, and total surveillance. The Chinese model shows us how horrible this is. Individuality, free speech, and religions will all be destroyed. 
There was a saying that workers had in the old Soviet Union, "We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us." Poverty for 90% of the population was the result. 

In previous ages governments didn't have the technology to monitor us constantly, and didn't have the resources to even attempt to provide for everyone's needs, so they left us alone for the most part. Our self-sufficiency and belief in God encouraged wisdom and forbearance. Civilization advanced. When the winds of change blew, those beliefs woke us up and righted the ships of state, over time, like ballast in a ship's hold. 
The United States believed for centuries that it owed its very existence - and certainly its prosperity - to its faith in a Judeo-Christian God. But no more. For over a hundred years atheist and anti-theist political parties, with anti-Christian leaders, have steered our ships of state, globally, onto the rocks where they are foundering. The barbarian states are closing in. But it's not too late for you, as an individual. It's never too late for individuals to succeed:

Every great culture dreams of Utopia, and attempts to create ideal governments date back at least to the Golden Age of Greece around 500 B.C. Athenian Greek democracy was the first brilliant but short-lived spark. Rome tried an enhanced form of democracy, the republic, and had eight-hundred-years of relative success until their empire collapsed in the mid-4th century. 
Since then, monarchies dominated world history, and Utopia remained a fantasy; until industrial democracies arose.

The Industrial Revolution, which began generating enormous wealth in late 18th Century England and transformed the Western world, reinvigorated the desire for Utopia. Karl Marx, an unemployed writer and barfly in London, teamed up with Friedrich Engels in 1840 and devised a collectivist scheme he called communism that fueled bloody rebellions all over Europe in 1848, and eventually toppled Czarist Russia.

They promulgated one of the central lies of our modern world, that labor and laborers are the driving force of human prosperity (never the risk-taking managers of capital), and only communal property - without private ownership - will bring prosperity to the laboring class. 
Marx and Engels said in their Communist Manifesto, "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!"  This falsehood has caused the deaths and impoverishment of many hundreds of millions of people since 1848, as communism morphed and transformed itself into other virulent forms like socialism and progressivism.  A mania for reforming and perfecting masses of people took hold, and prosperous citizens were punished for their success. With the support of science, eugenics was born; the belief that humans could be perfected genetically by killing off "undesirables". 
Eugenics by itself caused the deaths of many millions of people in the 20th Century. Not only the Nazis and Soviets, but many other political groups practiced, and are practicing today, mass murder in the name of social good. The United States and Britain harbored many of the prophets of eugenics; Margaret Sanger, and George Bernard Shaw, among others. One of the downsides of free societies is that they allow people the freedom to mislead millions and make huge mistakes.

It's true that labor is an essential element in human development and prosperity, but the management of labor and capital is critical, along with technology. The talent and skill required to organize and direct human labor productively is relatively rare in human beings. Everyone who has ever run a business knows this.

Technological advancements as well require freedom of scientific inquiry, and a thriving economy. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Stephen Jobs have gone on record saying this. But the foremost proponents of communism/socialism almost never have any business or real-world experience. Often they are the drones and dimwits who can't compete in a free society. They delude themselves into believing their lie, and imagine that a powerful state, directed by an educated elite, can do a far better job than free people in a free market environment, lawfully organized, can do. It has never worked as promised. 

Economies are far too complex to be micromanaged from a central bureau. When manufacturing, buying, and selling decisions are made at the individual level, by many participants, the results have been proven to work very well in the long run.

Marx and Engels's Utopian dream utterly failed, and by 1900, it was confirmed in much of the world. But Marxism then adapted, often changing its name to "progressivism", "socialism", and "Bolshevism". It deceived millions, and the lie took root and thrived like a cancer in Russia; then metastasized into many countries.

The central tenet of socialist/progressives is that God is dead, and religion is, as Marx said, "The opiate of the people." Another tenet is that there is no such thing as moral absolutes, or pure truth. All of history and human experiences are "narratives" subject to interpretation.  If enough people believe a narrative, it becomes truth, they preach.

Fact is, the belief in truth and moral absolutes implies the existence of God. And if God exists, the all-powerful State cannot be God. Biblical Scripture is clear that people should govern themselves without kings (1 Samuel, 8).

To maintain power, these statists must persuade or force you to accept that they and the state are God. Their whole global movement is atheistic and anti-theistic. In every country where it takes root, belief in God and goodness dies off.  People fail to be perfected, "undesirables" proliferate, and mass murder and misery become reality. More than 40 million Russians were killed by Stalin and his  government in the 20th Century. Mao Tse Tung killed many more millions of Chinese. Pol Pot of Cambodia, the Kims of North Korea, and the minions of Castro's Cuba have killed millions also. Death isn't the only result. Ten times as many people have been impoverished, debased, and afflicted by these evil schemes.

The Soviet Union, founded on Marxist principles, failed by 1989. So too did Red China, until they modified their system to make it freer. Since then they've experienced explosive economic growth reminiscent of the US at the turn of the 20th Century. The Western Tradition of individual freedom, free markets, private ownership of capital and property; along with freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, produced two centuries of dazzling progress and prosperity in those countries that embrace Judeo-Christian principles. But people have turned away from God, and today we're threatened as never before with destruction, from our worship of false gods.

Be of good cheer, though. This world will pass away, but we individuals have salvation as long as we have life and faith.