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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 EU at one end, and N. 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 - by a large factor - 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 American Revolution and the Civil War of 1861 settled issues of human rights, equality, and freedom for all time. Also, the world population was quite small in past ages.

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. 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.

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. When the winds of change blew, those beliefs righted us and righted the ships of state, over time, like ballast in the 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.E. Athenian Greek democracy was the first brilliant but short-lived spark. Rome tried an enhanced form of democracy and had eight-hundred-years of relative success until their empire collapsed in the mid-4th century A.D. 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 resident of London, teamed up with Friedrich Engels in 1840 and devised a collectivist scheme he called communism that fueled bloody rebellions all over Europe 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, 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 1840, 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 more than 12 million 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 make huge mistakes

It is true that labor is an essential element in human development and prosperity, but the management of labor 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. 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 50 million Russians were killed by their government in the 20th Century. Mao Tse Tung killed as many Chinese. Pol Pot of Cambodia, the Kims of North Korea, and the minions of Castro's Cuba have killed  more all over the world. Ten times as many people have been impoverished 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.




Friday, January 10, 2014

Our Modern Minds

The belief in modernism is as old as humanity. Almost everyone who has ever lived felt modern; that is, up-to-date and adapted to their time and culture. The penalty for not being adapted is social rejection, and being thought of as eccentric, or worse, crazy. Not a pleasant fate in any culture. The Amish in America live as if it were still 1830, but they live in voluntary isolation from everyone else.

Every generation thinks they are modern and special, that "times have changed", that they're wiser than their parents and able to solve problems that afflicted society before they came along. Occasionally they're right. Times do change, youthful ideas sometimes work better than tried and true methods, and progress is real, to some extent. But it always comes at a price; sometimes a very high price. The England of 1850 was vastly richer and more powerful than the England of 1750, and had a burgeoning middle class; but it was also dirtier, much more polluted, and meaner, if Charles Dickens is to be believed. And he was believed by his reading audience, which became global, and they made him a very wealthy man. His character portraits - over 3,000 - are timeless and truthful, from the cruel and vicious to the kindly and generous, and he's ranked with the greatest dramatists of all time: Homer, Euripedes, Seneca the Younger, and Shakespeare.

How much progress have we made then, if characters from 500 B.C.E. resonate as much as characters from 1850 A.D.? Clearly, human nature changes very little, and people make the same mistakes, commit the same crimes, and perform the same generous and heroic deeds they always have performed. The costumes and circumstances change, but the Divine Comedy - as Dante called it - goes on and on. Or does it?

Things truly are very different now than ever before. We have powers to destroy life that were never dreamed of previously. Yet our powers to improve life are not so dramatic, and our character development hasn't kept up.. Our technical expertise improved more in the last one-hundred years than it did in the previous two-thousand, but our emotions, fears, and anxieties are much the same.

The pace of technological advancement is exponential; that is, it builds on itself and accelerates. Computers double in power every 18 months, and have been doing so for fifty years. This blinding rate of change will leave traditional human nature in the dust, and 'artificial intelligence' will gradually take over. Self-driving cars are already here, and they do a safer job of moving us than we do ourselves. They don't get drunk, fall asleep, or get mad at other drivers.

The internet is everywhere, and 3D printing will make weapons available to all. Powers never dreamed of are being put in the hands of sociopathic governments, the mentally ill, and people of no emotional development to speak of. How soon will it be before nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons are detonated?

We modern people have separated ourselves from our parents and forebears to a degree never before seen in history. Technology and science are largely responsible for this, but they haven't done it by force. We've pretty much willingly embraced the luxury, convenience, and ease that cars, computers, and iphones bring to us. In any case, we don't have a lot of choice, and would have to move to the wilderness to escape the modern world, the social network party, and the all-consuming media circus.

We are paying a steep price. Are we happier, richer, more relaxed, or more healthy? Poverty in most countries has not lessened in decades, meaningful jobs are still scarce, anxiety is increasing dramatically. In the less developed world, chaos, corruption, and religious fanaticism is growing.

This time in history was entirely predictable, and was predicted in ancient times. Because it's not "sustainable", it can't be sustained, and it will be transformed. God has said it will happen.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Third Temple of Solomon; God's Will?

The issue of whether Solomon's Temple - which was leveled by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago - should ever be rebuilt is so inflammatory that it could start another Mid-East war. A mosque now stands on the Jerusalem site, and Muslims guard it with extreme measures. Jews and Christians are discouraged from approaching it. Many Arab leaders - such as the late Yassir Arafat - deny there ever was a Jewish temple on the site, which is absurd. The historic record, from Roman times backward, documents its wonders. There were two, an original, and a rebuilt one paid for by Herod the Great. Both were crafted with precious woods, metals, gems, and fabrics; the ultimate statement of the grandeur and power of the age. In 70 A.D., Jews rebelled against Rome and lost. They were punished by the destruction of the Temple, down to its foundations, and the city.

In June 1967, Israeli paratroopers entered Jerusalem after Israel's miraculous victory in the Six-Day War. The city had been under Jordanian control for nineteen years. The paratroopers made their way to the Temple Mount, the holiest piece of ground in all Judaism, site of the First and Second Temples of Solomon, and, by tradition, the ark itself. Three paratroopers climbed to the top of the Muslim Dome of The Rock (built on the foundation of the Second Temple) and unfurled the Israeli flag. Four hours later, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered it removed. Then Dayan handed over the Temple Mount to the Muslims, and it remains in their control. Dayan announced that he did this to prevent the building of a Third Temple, which Jews do certainly pray for. But the likelihood of a Third Temple arising was about zero, a fact that doesn't stop Muslim clerics from saying, "the Israeli occupation and its executive arms are making increasing efforts...to hasten the building of the alleged third Temple in place of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque...." (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 4, 2011).


Meanwhile, the Muslim plan to erase Jews from all of Jerusalem continues. Jews are allowed only limited access to the Mount, and are strictly forbidden to pray.  If a Jew is seen so much as moving his lips there he runs the risk of being attacked, and will very likely be arrested by the Israeli police. In spite of constant Israeli assistance, however, just last month the Jordanian Information Minister demanded the removal of the police station and its surveillance cameras.

The ultimate question is whether or not it is God's intention to re-establish a temple on the Mount.  Jesus appears to say no.  In John 2:13-22, it says, "The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.  And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken."

This is one of the most important lessons we can learn in this life. God's Kingdom, and the greatest gifts we can receive in this life, are not material things. To us, in this world of heavy substance, what we often call "reality", is dull and as heavy as lead. The world to come is much finer and exponentially more desirable and durable.
 
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matt. 6:19-21

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Pope From The Infernal Regions

The new Pope Francis got off to a splendid start this year by seeming to repudiate the gaudy pomp and ceremonies of previous popes, and by performing truly humble acts such as washing the feet of street people, and literally embracing the deformed and diseased who sought merely a kind word from him. His generosity has been impressive, but limited to those who are dependent on him, or are obviously needy. He's been far less generous to others who see the world differently, in real terms, and have prospered through hard work and imagination.

To start, we should recognize that there will always be a profound difference between people who are trained and groomed in the ivory towers of religious or scholastic institutions, and those who must survive and prosper in the asphalt jungles of Rome, Paris, New York, or Kansas City.  Pope Francis, Barack Obama, Al Gore, and Francois Hollande live in artificial micro-worlds that insulate them almost entirely from reality. But this does not release them from the responsibilities we all bear, and they must account to God at the end of life, as we commoners will do.
 
The Pope recently denounced to the global media - in what is called an Apostolic Exhortation - the evil of what he called "unfettered capitalism", as if such a thing still exists in the world. He went on,  "Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system....we can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market.”  


This is palpably wrong on several fronts , and almost delusional in its ignorance. Where to start?

First: Christians and Catholics are being slaughtered wholesale, literally exterminated, in Egypt, Syria, Turkey and elsewhere in the Islamic world, and we haven't heard a word of condemnation from him. Why is he attacking "unfettered capitalism" now? Is it as deadly as IslamoNaziism? What about the persecution of Christians in communist/socialist countries in Asia and Africa?

Second:  Nowhere in the world today is there any nation practicing "unfettered capitalism." The 20th Century and its so-called "progressive" governments - which are actually variations of Marxism/Collectivism -  altered forever the dynamics of pure capitalism through laws and multinational treaties.  Federal and state governments, globally, are now intimately and to various degrees intrusively, micro-managing our economic affairs through taxation, regulation, and threats of more taxation and regulation.  It has been a disaster, and was recognized as such by the two largest countries in the world, Red China and the Soviet Union, in the late 1980's. Both countries were bankrupt (at a time when the United States was booming), so they gave up - for a while - communism/collectivism, and allowed for limited free enterprise and property ownership.  The results were immediate and dramatic. China experienced an economic expansion of immense proportions, and just in the last twenty years has become a dominant world power because of their change in course. 

The Soviet Union returned to its old name, Russia, and experienced a similar boom, but with more chaos. For a time the government was so weak that it couldn't maintain control, and almost surrendered to anarchy and lawlessness. Then Vladimir Putin came to power, and re-established an authoritarian government based on "crony-capitalism", where the personal property and wealth of regime cronies is allowed, but subjected to extreme scrutiny and omnipresent - and often-capricious - regulations from Moscow. Still, they have a greater level of prosperity now than they ever had under Stalinist communism, and the hope of more to come. Russia's crony capitalism is becoming the world model, even for China.

In his document, the Pope uses the phrase "trickle down theories" to describe free market activities "which assume that economic growth" will bring prosperity, "justice" and "inclusiveness".  The economic marvels of modern China, Russia, and the U.S. (until 2001), were not "trickle down" effects. There was broad-based, across-the-board economic growth that elevated every class of people, for the most part.  "A rising tide lifts all boats" is an old phrase that best describes the real-world experiences of free market, genuinely liberal countries that free themselves from socialist/collectivist oppression.  Free people have an incentive to work, invest, and innovate. Workers in collectivist states are given basic necessities, and  have no incentive to work hard and excel. Inevitably these states sink into despair and destitution. The European Union is insolvent, as are the imitators of the EU.

The inarguable truth is that the 240 year-old Industrial Revolution, coupled with Adam Smith's free-market, free-trade principles, was the engine of productivity and prosperity that created the modern standards of living we consider essential now. The need for slaves - which all previous nations employed - was eliminated. The poor today live better than they ever did in the past, for the most part. Indoor plumbing, heating, and cooling; motorized transportation on land, water, and in the air; schools, medical care, clean food, clean water, entertainment, and social order have raised life spans and our quality of life to levels never dreamed of in history. Additionally, the Western Tradition - which began with ancient Greece and Rome - allows for religious freedom, a critical element in the success of free societies. How could the Pope miss this?  Why would he not honor it?

Of course there are many exceptions, and there are failures everywhere, but they are caused largely by bad faith and criminal conspiracies in every level of society.

So the Pope is demonstrably wrong about the failures of capitalism and free markets. What is alarming - and much worse - is his utter failure to point out the real elephant in the room; murderous IslamoNaziism and the rise of  socialist/collectivist/atheist governments and their attendant bankrupt economic systems. Venezuela and Argentina, for example, South American countries the Pope - who is Brazilian - should be intimately familiar with, are experiencing agonizing economic and social collapse due to their corruption and tyrannical socialist dictatorships. So why would the Pope ignore the real global trend toward anti-theism, atheism, and tyranny; and away from individual liberty and dignity?

In the 1990's, and up until 2001, the whole world generally recognized the truth that communism/socialism had failed to deliver on any of its promises; and that Adam Smith, and the Western Tradition of free peoples and free markets was the tried-and-true formula for world prosperity, liberty, and justice. But a deeply evil force arose, and has been at work for decades, a 'mind virus' if you will, which has blinded the world to the truth. The Pope  also is infected by this virus.

We're now in a state of alarming decay, and the lessons of the 1990's have been forgotten. Europe, the U.S., Russia, China, and much of the Third World have embraced socialist/collectivism, and world economic growth has stagnated. Lawlessness and chaos are rising. How can the Pope ignore this?

Christian and Catholic Scripture proves that the Pope is unforgivably wrong, and is derelict in his main responsibility and occupation. The New Testament has numerous parables from the very mouth of Jesus that clearly show us that the right to earn and own property - and dispense it to others - is a critical part of God's plan for us.  People who are robbed of their freedom to work at their chosen occupation; to innovate, and attain abundance suffer terribly. Those who can't do so are slaves to a master, a state, and must ask permission to do everything, just as children do.They are crippled by a wicked philosophy of "equality".

In Matthew 25:14, the Parable of the Talents, Jesus teaches us about spiritual investment, one requirement for entrance into heaven. Using gold as an allegory for God's power and wisdom, we are shown that those who have the faith to take risks and loan that 'gold' to the world will reap the "increase";  the interest.  At the end of the parable, the servant who had made the most from his investments received the gold that belonged to the one who had faithlessly buried his, to preserve it, and that faithless servant was sent into outer darkness. 

In many of the Lord's parables, large property owners are likened to God, and their families to the children of God. In Luke 15:11, the Prodigal Son parable, a wayward heir squanders his inheritance and becomes a slave to an evil master. The loss of his property renders him miserable and destitute. He decides to humble himself and return to his father and beg for forgiveness. When he does this, the loving father treats him like royalty, because his son has learned humility and wisdom in his heart, and will presumably apply himself with great dedication. Other similar parables make the same points about wisdom and folly, and our requirement to act on our own, with the assets we earn and possess: The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, and the Hidden Treasure, Matt. 13:44 - 45. Then there is Ecclesiastes 5:8-20, where we are exhorted to "Eat, drink, and be merry... and enjoy the fruits of our labor all the days of [our] life.... all else is vanity and vexation of spirit."

When Jesus appeals to us to be charitable with what we have, and we respond by doing so, we are giving genuinely of our substance, and, He says, we "will receive reward in heaven." If we are the laborers of an all-powerful state that takes our property, gives it to those it deems worthy, and strives to keeps us all 'equal' (except for those who pull the levers of power), we will have no opportunities to earn, learn, and grow. We are mere slaves.

The truth is that Jesus condemned the state power of Rome, and by extension, most earthly powers.  John 12:31 says, "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out."

The Pope must know in his heart of hearts that he is a heretic. For a leader of his stature to be attacking God's Word now, in these Final Days, is extremely significant. It's part and parcel of the rise of the Anti-Christ we're seeing every day now. Many popes in the past were anti-theists, and deeply evil people, but this one may be the worst of all.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Idols of the World and the Dalai Lama

One of the most beloved people in the world today is the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet and the Buddhist religion. He's renowned and celebrated in almost every country for his simple humility, lack of pretension, wisdom and good humor. To all appearances he's a warm, gentle, forgiving, and generous soul.  People pay to hear him speak, and he donates most of his money to charity. He even resigned his position in 2011, saying his office may be abolished soon, or taken over by a woman. No selfish ambition taints the man in any way. He's very courageous, too, and would be in prison or dead if the Chinese government could get their hands on him. He's been persecuted by China since they invaded Tibet and slaughtered their priests and monks - while seizing religious treasures - in 1959.

The world has celebrated other people like this, historically, from Jesus to St. Francis to Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa.

Which is massively ironic, because the world also celebrates and loves people who are the exact reverse, the polar opposites of the Dalai Lama.  Look at the leaders of most countries, particularly the strong ones who make the news. To a man - or woman - they're vain, self-aggrandizing liars; ambitious, petty, vengeful, selfish, and often violent. They may not take a gun or knife in hand to harm those they don't like, but they will instruct their police forces or armies to kill thousands and destroy their property, worth billions.  Often these leaders are deluded and totally incompetent, and they give power to other incompetents near them so they won't look bad. Granted, their people probably don't love them in the same way people love the saints of the world, but these malevolent rulers can count on the masses to fight and die for them anytime they command it. The people's 'love' has been purchased by material goods and outright fear.

The world is schizophrenic - literally of "divided mind" - in this. We could say that we have a suicidal mindset, globally. How much longer can it go on? Nuclear weapons are proliferating all over the place, and nobody is in a position to stop it or slow it down. Many nuclear nations openly advertise a desire to destroy their perceived enemies. Iran is eager to annihilate Israel, and North Korea has said the same to South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.

We must hope and pray for God's intervention, for there's no way out of this dilemma using human institutions. We're far too mentally ill at this point.