Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Science Vs Religion: Banging Heads.

Some folk come into the Tavern determined to find fault with the ale. And the wine. Considering that it all comes from the Biggest Supplier anywhere and anywhen, it is rather presumtuous of them, but I will serve them anyway. 

They will stand at the bar and denounce 'Religion' claiming that they are all (all the many) the same,  and that they have no place in our 'modern' world.  This new world we have is dominated by 'Science', from which we all benefit and which they, of course, understand. 

(Personally, I contend that Religion has always been at the centre of Science, but then, I am a Warrior, a Tavern Keeper, so what do I know? I could point you to more learned men who could argue the case. But you are grown ups and can find them yourselves.) 

Customers hear them out, politely listening to the same old arguments being trotted out. Not that they are all that old, of course, as many are firmly rooted in modern 'progressive' cant with its short memory and choice of 'data' to include.  I often pop a cherry in their drinks for them to deftly pick out.

Oddly enough, many of these anti-religious folk are quick to use dismissive words like 'Islamophobe' while a moment later denouncing Christianity !  But that's by the way.

The atheists at least do not drip on the carpets. Well, generally. The occasional one does, and gets removed. And I quite like atheists coming in as some are interesting and can be persuaded by reason. But that seems to be diminishing as the atheists are not even trying hard any more.  They wither under an 'opposing' view which increasingly they are avoiding. And opposing views are becoming more 'scientific'.

Last night we had a 'conference' of scientific sorts that made a few atheists-eyes pop. But not before Jonathon van Maren pointed to the atheist retreat.
Atheists aren’t even trying any more…and why that’s terrifying
Christian scholars, speakers, authors and apologists are beginning to notice a trend: Atheists no longer even try to understand Christianity. They don’t take Christian beliefs seriously, and they don’t find them relevant. 
Worse: They find Christians ridiculous, unintelligent idiots who believe in all sorts of ludicrous notions. Gone are atheists like George Bernard Shaw, eager to take on apologists like G.K. Chesterton in battle. Gone, it seems, are even atheists like Christopher Hitchens, willing to spar with philosophers like William Lane Craig. Instead, we have snarky, mocking snipes like Bill Maher, men who do not seek to engage or understand.
Simply put, secularists cannot understand why Christians act the way that they do, because their perception of reality is fundamentally different. 
For the secularist, there is only the physical.
For the benefit of those who come in to drink and denounce and who have a firm view of 'Reality' and the 'Physical', I have from time to time pointed them to David Bohm. He worked on the atom bomb and you can't get much more 'physical' than that.  The 'Materialists', as philosophers call them, seem bound hand and foot by 'matter'. Bohm devised and developed equations (wonderful language, mathematics) which 'indicated' (as almost any particle physics equation will do rather than 'prove') that there are TWO  Orders of Reality: The Explicate, which is everything in the material Universe, and the Implicate, which is not only non-physical  and unbounded by time but neccesary for the existence of the Explicate.

A chap like me would see 'Supernatural' in the Implicate.  Others, scientists, would have it that we live in a space-time bound by four dimensions of a possible 11. !  Bohm saw God as being at the most Fundamental depth of the Implicate from which 'all things were made, visible and invisible'

Jon continued.
Things are what they are. For the Christian, the metaphysical is as real as the physical, and these realms interact on every level. A miracle may strike a Christian with awe, but the Christian possesses a worldview that allows him to understand what a miracle is—the Creator intervening directly in the created order in a visible way. 
A secularist insists that the miracle could not have happened, pointing out that the natural order does not function that way—in essence, accusing a miracle of being…a miracle.
Secularists claim to have placed their faith in “reason,” when in reality this is simply another way of saying that they have placed their faith in themselves. 
They will only believe in what they can understand. The problem is that the Religion of Reason is a circular feedback loop: 
Reason cannot in and of itself prove that reason is rational. 
One must have faith that it is. The secularist must believe that his brain, supposedly created by chance and programmed over millions of years of natural selection to react instinctively in certain ways, is capable of independent thought. 
A rather ludicrous notion, when you think about it.
Questionable, at least. 
As I said to one university student in debate: “Any god that can fit within the confines of your skull is a god too small for anyone to worship.” 
He was offended by this statement—a true secularist. 
As Chesterton wrote: “The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.” 
Jon had more to say and you can see that here >>>> 

Meanwhile a Professor on the 'front line' of Science  stepped up. Ian Hutchinson from MIT. Heck, that is a prestigious mob.
Can a scientist believe in the resurrection? 
Three hypotheses.
I’m a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, and today, I am celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. 
So are dozens of my colleagues. 
How can this be?
Hypothesis one: We’re not talking about a literal resurrection. Perhaps it is just an inspiring myth that served to justify the propagation of Jesus’ exalted ethical teachings. A literal resurrection contradicts the known laws of nature. Maybe scientists can celebrate the idea of Jesus’s spirit living on, while his body remained in the grave.
But the first disciples attested to a physical resurrection. How could an untruth logically support high moral character? 
How could it have sustained the apostles through the extremes of persecution they experienced founding Christianity? And is celebrating a myth consistent with scientific integrity?
Hypothesis two: We really believe in the bodily resurrection of the first century Jew known as Jesus of Nazareth. My Christian colleagues at MIT – and millions of other scientists worldwide – somehow think that a literal miracle like the resurrection of Jesus is possible. 
And we are following a long tradition. 
The founders of the scientific revolution and many of the greatest scientists of the intervening centuries were serious Christian believers. 
For Robert Boyle (of the ideal gas law, co-founder in 1660 of the Royal Society) the resurrection was a fact. For James Clerk Maxwell (whose Maxwell equations of 1862 govern electromagnetism) a deep philosophical analysis undergirded his belief in the resurrection. And for William Phillips (Nobel prize-winner in 1997 for methods to trap atoms with laser light) the resurrection is not discredited by science.
To explain how a scientist can be a Christian is actually quite simple. 
Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection. 
Natural science describes the normal reproducible working of the world of nature. Indeed, the key meaning of “nature”, as Boyle emphasized, is “the normal course of events”. 
Miracles like the resurrection are inherently abnormal. 
It does not take modern science to tell us that humans don’t rise from the dead. People knew that perfectly well in the first century; just as they knew that the blind from birth don’t as adults regain their sight, or water doesn’t instantly turn into wine.

Maybe science has made the world seem more comprehensible – although in some respects it seems more wonderful and mysterious. Maybe superstition was more widespread in the first century than it is today – although the dreams of today’s sports fans and the widespread interest in the astrology pages sometimes makes me wonder. Maybe people were more open then to the possibility of miracles than we are today. Still, the fact that the resurrection was impossible in the normal course of events was as obvious in the first century as it is for us. 
Indeed that is why it was seen as a great demonstration of God’s power.
To be sure, while science can’t logically rule miracles in or out of consideration, it can be a helpful tool for investigating contemporary miraculous claims. It may be able to reveal self-deception, trickery, or misperception. If someone has been seen levitating on a supposed flying carpet in their living room, then the discovery of powerful electromagnets in their basement might well render such claims implausible. But if science fails to find defeating evidence then it is unable to say one way or the other whether some reported inexplicable event happened, or to prove that it is miraculous. Science functions by reproducible experiments and observations. Miracles are, by definition, abnormal and non-reproducible, so they cannot be proved by science’s methods.
Today’s widespread materialist view that events contrary to the laws of science just can’t happen is a metaphysical doctrine, not a scientific fact. 
What’s more, the doctrine that the laws of nature are “inviolable” is not necessary for science to function. Science offers natural explanations of natural events. It has no power or need to assert that only natural events happen.
So if science is not able to adjudicate whether Jesus’ resurrection happened or not, are we completely unable to assess the plausibility of the claim? 
No. Contrary to increasingly popular opinion, science is not our only means for accessing truth. In the case of Jesus’ resurrection, we must consider the historical evidence, and the historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event of ancient history. The extraordinary character of the event, and its significance, provide a unique context, and ancient history is necessarily hard to establish. 
But a bare presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.
Hypothesis 3: I was brainwashed as a child. If you’ve read this far and you are still wondering how an MIT professor could seriously believe in the resurrection, you might guess I was brainwashed to believe it as a child. 
But no, I did not grow up in a home where I was taught to believe in the resurrection. I came to faith in Jesus when I was an undergraduate at Cambridge University and was baptized in the chapel of Kings College on my 20th birthday. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are as compelling to me now as then.
That is a very personal attestation. A declaration.

So let us look at one of his claims : that Christian believers have been amongst the Greatest Scientists.

We don't have to go right back to the Big Bang, but heck, why not. We have had a scientist stand up, so now a Priest: Fr. James Kurzynski.
Georges Lemaitre – Father of the “Big Bang
One of the basic questions of science has a rather surprising answer: Who was the first scientist to put forward the Big Bang Theory?  Most would presume that it was either Albert Einstein or Edwin Hubble.  Instead, the correct answer is a Diocesan Priest from Belgium by the name of Monsignor Georges Lemaitre.   
The "popular" narrative of the day is that faith and science are irreconcilable foes that are locked in a constant battle with one another.  Ignored are examples like Monsignor Lemaitre who, in his very person, represents a living example of why the popular narrative is in error.
Lemaitre began his academic career at Louvain's College of Engineering in 1913.  Due to World War I, Lemaitre was forced to leave his studies to serve in the Belgium artillery.  After his military service was done, he entered the seminary, studying to be a Priest for the Archdiocese of Malines.   
In his spare time as a seminarian, Lemaitre would pursue his interests in math and science.  After his ordination in 1923, Lemaitre was sent to study math and science at Cambridge where Arthur Eddington was the director of the campus observatory.   
Lemaitre's studies focused upon Einstein's Theory of Relativity.   
Lemaitre argued that the Theory of Relativity supported the idea that the universe was expanding.  Einstein, on the other hand, argued for a static universe, balanced by something called the "Cosmological Constant." Lemaitre disagreed, arguing against the static universe.  The importance of this insight is that if the universe is expanding, then, in the past, it must have been much smaller.  In fact, the universe would have been extremely small and extremely dense.
At first, as referenced in the video, the theory was laughed off and joking called Lemaitre's "Big Bang Theory."  In fact, Einstein's initial assessment of Laemaitre's theory was that the math was quite good, but Laematire's grasp of physical was abominable.   
Over time, the negative opinion of Lemaitre's theory changed as Edwin Hubble began to observe the shift in the light spectrum of celestial objects, confirming that the universe is in a state of expansion. 
 Due to these and other insights, Einstein reversed his opinion on Lemaitre's theory, calling it 
"the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I (Einstein) have ever listened."  
In light of this, Lemaitre's theory was vindicated and is foundational to our understanding of the Big Bang Theory to this day. 
Lemaitre's brilliance was not only affirmed by the scientific community, but was also celebrated by Pope Pius XII.  In an age in which the cultural presumption is that Popes are looking to condemn scientists and reject their theories, the relationship between Lemaitre and Pius XII was quite different, showing this narrative of divisiveness to be in error.  In fact, it wasn't the Pope who questioned Lemaitre's theory of the expansion of the universe, but it was Lematire that warned the Pope not to use the theory as a "proof" of Biblical creation. 
 Lemaitre, as a good scientist, knew that, with time, his theory would be improved upon, shown to have errors, and/or be disproven all together.   
Nevertheless, Pope Pius XII still embraced the work of Lemaitre and reflected the science of the day in his Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on November 22, 1951.  In regard to the expansion of the universe, Pius XII said the following:
The examination of various spiral nebulae, especially as carried out by Edwin W. Hubble at the Mount Wilson Observatory, has led to the significant conclusion, presented with all due reservations, that these distant systems of galaxies tend to move away from one another with such velocity that, in the space of 1,300 million years, the distance between such spiral nebulae is doubled. If we look back into the past at the time required for this process of the "expanding universe," it follows that, from one to ten billion years ago, the matter of the spiral nebulae was compressed into a relatively restricted space, at the time the cosmic processes had their beginning. (Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on November 22, 1951, paragraph 36.)
Even in this statement, we can see Lemaitre's warning proven to be correct as science now thinks the initial "Big Bang" occurred some 13.7 billion years ago instead of the one to ten billion years cited by Pope Pius XII.   
Thank goodness that Papal Infallibility only applies to faith and morals and not the natural science.   
Nevertheless, the mere fact the Pius XII was willing, as Pope, to affirm the best science of his time does set a clear precedence for today that Catholics and all people of good will can trust scientific investigation, presuming, of course, it is done in a truly scientific manner.
The importance, as I mentioned earlier, of people like Lemaitre is to remind both the scientific world and the Christian world that the Church supports true science. 
 This does not mean that we must accept every scientific finding with the doctrinal weight of Church teaching.  However, it does mean that Christians should avoid the petty wars that break out between faith and science, affirming that both are partners of dialogue in the exploration of truth, not treating each other like ideological punching bags.   

So, where are we? One scientist talks of the Resurrection and one priest talks of the Big Bang.  Both rather big events.

Much of 'modern' science was underpinned, started off and developed by men (and women) who had a firm belief in God. Faith holding up Reason. The predominant 'philosophy' behind modern science was to get a better understanding of God's creation and so get a glimpse of God Himself.

What has tended to happen is the fascination with the creation has diverted us a little from the Creator. The means have become more important to some than the ends.

One needs to drink deep and think deep.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It is NOT Paranoia.

"You are not paranoid, son", said the shrink to the chap on the couch, "there really are people out to get you".

That was the punchline to a joke in the Oz room. And for some people it is not a joke but the realistic appraisal of their situation.

By the Lord Harry it was busy in the Tavern today. And here am I trying to get my packing done in readiness for my move down the mountain, too. That move will be next week and there is so much sorting out of 'stuff' to do, packing boxes of treasure and making piles of things to give away. It has to be, as the quarters I am moving to are tiny and cramped. I might have mentioned that already. It is on my mind ! 

The 'Movers' will be coming to get me in fewer than ten days now.

Meanwhile there are those who have noticed that far more violent movers are besieging nice folk all around the world. And it is time we all took more notice. Not just violent muslims but 'ordinary' people in our own Governments and down the road.
Enemy at the Gates

Two staunch fighters stood up to tell. One in the Oz room and one in the US room. Both were very clear about who was under attack, who the enemy was. 

Indeed, one, Angela Shanahan, (a fine Catholic gal) turned it around and looked at it initially from above the fray.
Christians: the real enemy 
of modern-day progressives 
Which religion is the most persecuted in the world? 
Today, Christianity is by far the most widely persecuted religion in the world.
Until recently, I thought most people knew this. Think about the number of countries in which Christianity has been oppressed to the point of near -extinction, particularly in the Middle East, where Christianity began and predates Islam; in Africa, where the Muslim-Christian fault line is most pronounced; or in parts of Asia, where Christianity has a long history of almost continuous persecution in places such as China and North Korea.
Recently, when reading about the reaction to John Allen’s book The Global War on Christians, I realised many people, especially the young, don’t know this. 
Even when they are given the facts, they seem loath to believe it and often cite the cultural dominance of Christianity, which they forget is a purely Western phenomenon.
The murder of Syrian Christians by Islamic State was the first many people knew of the existence of Christians in the Middle East. So why don’t we hear more about this persecution? 
More pointedly, what happened to the high-minded notion of accepting 12,000 mainly Christian refugees from the Middle East, especially Syria and Iraq? 
Where are they?
Then there are families such as the Naeems, a Christian family of nine that has been stuck in Beirut for more than a year and has a relative in Canberra. The Naeems have had their documents for refugee status tentatively approved but have been told they must wait another 12 to 18 months to get an interview. 
These are people trying to operate through legal channels. 
Can it be the liberal secular media, after showing due outrage about the persecution of Christians under Islamic State, has lost interest in the fate of these people?
I don’t think one can simply blame the media but many of us wonder why we are still not seeing more Christians in the intake. Perhaps there is victim overload. 
We live in a thoroughly libertarian milieu in which everyone is a victim, with their own rights ideology. 
Most of the time these rights are just wants, so real victims such as persecuted Christians challenge that hollow sense of entitlement.
But there is more. 
The Christian religion is seen by some political and social elites as the one great obstacle to the elevation of human wants into human rights. 
So who cares about them? It is easy to make noises about Islamic State, but for progressives the real enemy seems to be Christianity.
The result is the “soft” persecution of Christians in the West who speak out against progressive ideologies. 
Use is made of the human rights apparatus and anti-discrimination law. Look at the continuing persecution of Archbishop of Hobart Julian Porteous for merely enunciating Catholic teaching on marriage. Similar things have happened in continental Europe and Britain. This sort of soft persecution goes to the heart of freedom of religion.
And Christians from societies where the family is paramount, marriage is sacred and who have suffered real persecution for their faith are hardly likely to support things such as same-sex marriage.
To paraphrase Gough Whitlam, [St. Gough of the church of the Lefty Wannabe] people such as the Naeems would be seen by progressives in and out of government as “the Balts” (right-wing reactionaries) of the Middle East. 
No wonder the promised influx of Syrian Christians has not materialised.
What many may not realise is that religious freedom is the foundation of political freedom.
Last year at a conference on religious freedom, Attorney-General George Brandis said: “Religious freedom is every bit as important as political freedom. To those who are adherents of a religious faith — and in Australia, according to the last census, that was seven among every 10 of us — religion can be the most fundamental source of our sense of right and wrong, and of those beliefs about mankind and his place in the cosmos which transcend the everyday. It is often not appreciated in our Western tradition that modern notions of political liberty had their origins largely in the struggles for religious liberty.”
When a perverted idea of liberty, one that elevates wants to rights, strikes at religious freedom, it strikes at the heart of freedom itself.
One could easily see the put-upon Naeems thinking that someone is out to get them, and they could well be right. When they do get here they may need to see a friendly shrink to deal with their PTSD.

I feel the same sometimes. I get comments (the Bouncer deals with them) vociferously denouncing the Tavern for being Catholic !!

Then the words of Matt Walsh were heard down the corridor. He was more expansive. To him, War had been declared. I can see where he is coming from and who is out to get him.

Matt is a little annoyed that a State Governor is making an arsehole of himself.

No donkeys, no asses, just Arseholes
Make a note here to see that it is not Muslim mosques being discussed. Nor Temples for Buddha. The focus is tight.
Pay Attention, Christians. 
They’re Coming After The Churches Now.
It may be a matter of some interest to you that the American left is now openly declaring its intention to shutdown your church and outlaw your religious expression entirely. 
If you’ve been paying attention, you won’t be terribly shocked by this revelation. They plan to come after the churches. That’s what they’ve always wanted, and now they intend to do it.
The hysterical reaction to Georgia’s religious liberty bill can be interpreted no other way. 
Gov. Nathan Deal has now decided — just one day after Easter, no less — to veto the bill because the outrage was so severe, and because he has the resiliency and backbone of a dead slug melting in the sun. 
That's no Halo !
In his statement explaining his decision,  Deal insisted that religious liberty doesn’t  include the right to “discriminate against anyone.” 
He took a steadfast and courageous posture, declaring that he refuses to be intimidated by “insults and threats” from pastors, nuns, and his local baptist church. 
On the other hand, for gay groups and large progressive corporations, he will fall to his knees in trembling submission and polish their boots after they finish kicking him repeatedly in the ribs.
On a day when we hear reports of a Catholic priest being literally crucified by Islamic State because he refused to abandon his faith, perhaps we might hope Christians in this country could at least withstand mean insults and online petitions. But we’ve learned not to expect anything — not even one minuscule, microscopic shred of bravery — from Christians like Deal. 
They will surrender every time, without fail.
And that’s not to downplay the pressure he faced. It was substantial, though not enough to justify his shameful capitulation. Hollywood was leading the charge, with heavy hitters like Disney, Time Warner, Starz, The Weinstein Company, AMC, Viacom, Marvel, CBS, MGM, NBC and other companies threatening to boycott if the bill passed.
The NFL got into the action, promising to bar Atlanta from hosting the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the league hopes to expand into China in the near future, where it’s illegal for gays to be depicted on television, much less get married in real life. But I suppose you can’t ask for moral consistency from a league that employs Greg Hardy.
Many other massive corporations like Coca-Cola and Apple came out swinging against the bill, and every major sports team in the area – the Braves, the Hawks, the Falcons — condemned it in no uncertain terms.
Naturally, all of the radical gay groups like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD shouted from the rooftops about the apocalyptic repercussions of allowing the First Amendment to continue existing in Georgia.
Virtually everyone was against this thing. And they weren’t just against it – they hated it. 
They wanted to kill it with fire and then raise it from the dead so they could kill it again. All of the most powerful leftist forces in the country despised the Georgia bill with an ungodly passion. It was dehumanizing. It was an indignity of historic proportions. It was accursed. It was anathema.
So, you’re wondering, what exactly was it?
If you didn’t know any better, judging by the universal conniption fit it provoked, you’d think the bill must have mandated that all homosexuals be drowned in the sea or deported to Mozambique. If that were the case, I’d understand why it worked dozens of billion dollar companies into such a fantastic tizzy. But, contrary to reports, that’s not what the bill was designed to do. Not exactly, anyway.

In reality, the bill that the left called “horrific” and “heinous,” would have primarily accomplished the following:
-Protect a pastor from being forced to perform a gay wedding against his will.
-Protect religious organizations from being forced to host gay weddings against their will.
-Protect religious organizations from being forced to hire someone who opposes their fundamental tenets, beliefs, and goals.
There you go. That’s all, folks. 
Please, please understand that this is not about 'Religion' An arsehole of the Islamic persuasion can go around in a parade with an ISIS flag and no State Gubbunor is going to pass a Bill forbidding it..

No, its about Christians.  Love thy neighbour, it seems does not cut it the way a muslim knife can.  It is a bit of a 'progressive' riddle.

That was the whole bill, or at least the relevant portion. And it was narrower than that, in fact, because it provided loopholes and escape hatches where a court could still potentially punish an organization for “discriminating,” even if they fell into one of the above categories.
Again, this is the bill that brought upon the wrath of every liberal in the country and resulted in threats of boycotts and other punishments from many major corporations. 
This bill.
This bill, which was so narrow, so toothless, so unremarkable that I could have easily made an argument for opposing it on the grounds that it inadvertently restricted religious liberty. After all, the legislation did not protect the religious rights of private companies and private individuals. It reserved religious protections only to pastors, churches, and other specifically religious groups. Yes, protecting them would be better than protecting nobody, but the unintended consequence is a precedent where only expressly religious entities can enjoy First Amendment protections. Obviously, that’s not what the Framers of the Bill of Rights had in mind.
In any case, that’s all academic now. The important fact is that liberals opposed granting basic religious protections to religious organizations. 
It wasn’t all that long ago — like, I don’t know, six months — when leftists were still insisting that only religious organizations should have religious rights. 
Remember, when the country debated the Indiana law or any of the various cases involving bakers and photographers and so on, liberals said over and over again that if the companies in question were conspicuously and officially “religious,” they wouldn’t have a problem with gays being “discriminated against” on religious grounds.
Many of us tried to point out, first of all, the First Amendment applies to everyone, and second of all, this would put us on a slippery slope. 
Soon, we warned, leftists would come after the churches and the pastors, too. Liberals said we were being ridiculous and paranoid.
And now here we are.
So, which part of this bill was everyone so upset about?
Do they think the government should force a priest to officiate a lesbian wedding at gun point?
Or do they think the government should be able to pry open the doors of a Baptist church and invite a couple of gays to hold their reception in the basement regardless of what the congregation thinks?
Or do they think a private Christian school should be shutdown if it refuses to hire a religion teacher who actively and loudly opposes the very beliefs and doctrines she’s being hired to instill in her students?
Which is it? All of it? These companies — the NFL, Disney, CBS, Apple, etc — must be advocating for one or all of those scenarios. 
They are repulsed at the notion that religious liberty would exist anywhere in the country, including inside churches and private Christian schools. 
They believe that a gay man’s basic human rights are being trampled and destroyed if he does not have the power to force his local Methodist preacher into indentured servitude. 
As I said, there is no other way to interpret the protests. 
If one objects to a bill, it must be assumed that one objects to the specific content of the bill. Therefore, liberals specifically object to churches, pastors, and religious groups being granted religious liberty. And if they cannot have religious liberty, who can?
There is no coherent Constitutional argument you could make against a bill that protects the right of a religious group to be a religious group. In no universe would it make sense to claim that a man has a right to use the facilities of, or be employed by, an organization whose fundamental tenets he actively opposes and defies. 
Leftists are smart enough to know this, but they find the Christian faith so abhorrent that they believe an exception must be made. That’s what really lies at the root of these controversies: 
their hatred for Christianity.
There is no question that a church, Christian school, pastor, etc has the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion; and there is no question that exercising religion means abiding by the moral doctrines of your religion; and there is no question that a moral doctrine by its very nature excludes and discriminates against activities it deems immoral; and so there is no question that the free exercise of religion does absolutely guarantee “the right to discriminate.” Again, this is obvious and anyone who is not an imbecile can see it. But the left does not care. 
They simply hate Christianity and want it censored, dismantled, and expelled from the country.
The people who opposed this bill opposed, without a doubt, the very essence of the First Amendment. They just do not believe certain religions, in their current forms, should be given safe harbor anywhere within our borders. They could pretend otherwise back when they were “only” trying to strip rights from private, secular companies, but now that they’re passionately opposing the rights of religious groups to abide by their religions, the charade is over. They’re out of the fascist closet now — although they were never convincingly in it to begin with.
I didn’t quite expect our culture to make the transition from “only religious groups can be religious” to “every church must have their religious beliefs sanctioned by the government” so quickly, but I knew it was inevitable. 
This is why you cannot compromise with leftists. 
They do not want to come to an understanding — they want obedience. 
That’s all they will accept. 
Make one concession and they’ll demand another, and another, and another, unto infinity. 
Give them an inch and they’ll take your soul.
Now they want religious entities to amend their doctrines to make sodomy and same-sex “marriage” morally righteous. 
They want churches and religious organizations to strike Romans 1:26-28, Jude 1:5-8, 1 Timothy 1:8-11, Mark 10:6-9, 1 Corinthians 7:2, and many other passages from the Bible. 
They’ve always wanted this — they’ve always hated Christianity and they’ve never had any regard for the Bill of Rights — but now it’s all quite out in the open. 
This is not about photographers and bakers anymore. 
Christianity itself is bigoted and hateful, they believe, and those who practice it should not find shelter in post-Christian America. That’s the message you can take from the news surrounding this piece of legislation in Georgia.
Put another way: 
Batten down the hatches, Christians. 
War has been declared.
Everyone around needed some strengthening Grace after that so I was busy at the pumps for a good half-hour.

Will I ever get my packing done?

Barely had I wiped the bartop when another stout discussion start up, about Science being dependant upon Religious people. Phew ! You should have heard the commotion. But you will have to wait for the next post.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Dealing with Islam; and Ourselves

Easter is over and Christ has Risen. So many sins He took upon Himself. So many sinners redeemed.

His end was not.  And neither is ours. 

The sinning goes on. The Vale of Tears continues for all of us and we are currently faced with a lot of tears.

In attaining that state of Holiness, indeed of Sainthood, which we seek, slowly struggling up the steep slope, up the Mountain's rocky path, it is often a case of two steps forward and one step back.

'The Prof', JJ Ray was supping his pint and musing on the day. We are told by our 'leaders', both temporal and spiritual, to take in Refugees. Well, here are 11 to consider.

Wet, cold, bedraggled. Our hearts have to be hard to not have some sympathy. But look closer.

JJ said:  
One photo can tell a lot
It is true that the photo is very sad and makes you reflect on the distress of these people fleeing their country at the risk of their lives.
Above, a photo showing some people walking to reach the final objective, to live in a European country.
Even if this photo is making it around the world, only 1% of the people will notice the truth.
On the photo,  there are 7 men and 1 woman. Up to this point – nothing special.
But in observing a bit closer, you will notice that the woman is in bare feet, accompanied by 3 children, and of the 3, she is carrying 2.
There is the problem, none of the men are helping her, because in their culture the woman represents nothing.   
She is only good to be a slave to the men.
Do you really believe that these particular individuals could integrate  into our societies and countries and respect our customs, traditions and values????

It is a valid observation. And where are the feminists outraging? Ahh yes, they are fulminating in the UN against western men who provide and protect, albeit increasingly reluctantly, while being told to 'suck it up'. 

Our news is full still of bombings and mayhems, by similar refugees.  How far are we expected to go in redeeming ourselves and them?  Few of us wish to follow Christ onto the Cross. We all (well most of us) wish to Love our Enemy.  Or at least hope he would go away.

Instead we have all too many wishing Christ would go away.

JJ went on as we too supped our pints:
Do we need a civilizational regress to deal with militant Islam?
"At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for our feith at Tramissene"
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote that about 600 years ago in the English of his day.  Even then the enemy was Muslim.  Tramissene was a Moorish kingdom in North Africa
The modern Western world, however, is in no mood to fight for its faith, mainly because it doesn't have one, or, more precisely, it has a multiplicity of faiths, including Leftism.
And its handmaid, Feminism. Served by Atheism and Nihilism. 
But we are surely keen to fight to ensure the safety of ourselves and our families.  [are we?]  But the recent atrocities in Brussels suggest that we are losing the fight.  Any of us could get struck down at any time by Islamic hate.
And the reason we are losing is clear.  We have only recently gained peace and civility in the Western world and we want to hang on to that.   
If a group of people attack us, we no longer strike back in kind but attempt to deal with the harassment using police methods only.  We have reached the highest level of civilization the world has ever seen and we don't want to depart from the high levels of civility and tolerance that go with that.
But from the Vikings to Nazi Germany to the Bosnian Serbs our ancestors and relatives have been just as bloodthirsty as ISIS.  Take a look at the guy below.   
He could be the grandfather of any of us, could he not?
He is Radovan Karadzic, former leader of the Bosnian Serbs who in the '90s committed atrocities just as bad as any done by ISIS.  And his Slavic genes are undoubtedly widespread in America.   
And his wobbly Christianity is familiar enough too.   
There is a lot of wobbly Christianity in America.
So there is no doubt that it would take only a small civilizational regress for us to be as merciless to the Muslims as they are to us.  And once we decided to abandon our present peaceful ways, it would take very little to squash Muslim aggression for a very long time.   
A nuclear device detonated over Raqqa or Mecca or both would probably be enough to convince Muslims to pull their heads in.  And if not, there are plenty of other Muslim cities .....   
The main reason we do not do that is that innocent, non-combatant people would die in such blasts.  But the Jihadis show absolute disregard for our innocent men, women and children so they certainly provoke tit for tat.
Our attachment to the high level of peace and civilization that we have only recently attained is strong -- as is shown by the huge amount of Muslim aggression that we have so far tolerated.   
But I think that our tolerance is not limitless so we may have to take a temporary step down to an earlier level of civilization to deal with the Muslim menace effectively. 
 Winston Churchill killed tens of thousands of German non-combatant men, women and children in his fire bombings of Dresden and Hamburg -- and the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mostly civilian.  So the step back would be only a small one -- and hopefully very temporary.
Many forget. The Atom bombs were dropped weeks after Dresden had been relegated to the second rung. We forget the Tokyo firebombing. Indeed all the cities in Japan that were firebombed.  The Atom bombs were used after Japan had 'sucked it up'.

A small objection was muttered from the back of the bar.
A SMALL CLARIFICATION: A good Serbian friend, Rich Kozlovich, was disturbed that I was disrespecting Serbs above.  My intention was quite different.  I see Karadzic as just a normal European person in a particular situation, not unlike President Truman, who burnt hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians to death with nuclear weapons.   
I should have mentioned that it was Muslims whom the Serbs were savaging.  And in what they did to the Muslims they were only doing what Muslims had in the past done to them.  What the Muslims did in the past can, I think, be readily deduced from what they are doing in Syria right now.
The cycle goes on. Two steps that way, one the other. 

Will Western Men again come to the defence of our nations.? Will Knights arise and gird for battle? It is a question we MUST ask. It is not only a matter of spiritual faithlessness that we have operating against us, but the sorry state of our society that demeans, diminishes and dispossesses those very men we need. 

Meanwhile the enemy's men come streaming across our borders.

And the Devil sits and gloats.

Drink deep, the Darkness is coming again.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Reflections on the Crucifixtion.

The Tavern has been closed since three of the clock yesterday.

I have been with others in the Crypt, as His body was in His Crypt.  And I am reflecting on what happened.

I am grateful to James H and to Dr Davis for a better understanding of the physical.

Many have seen the film 'The Passion of the Christ'. The actor playing Christ did a brilliant job. Jim Caviezel. He too adds to our understanding. But the 'visual', just as the Gospel accounts needs comtemplation and we do that with words in our heads. So I hand some over to you.

What continues is Heavy Reading.

A Physician testifies about the Crucifixion
by Dr. C. Truman Davis
About a decade ago, reading Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died, I realized that I had for years taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted — that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details and a too distant friendship with our Lord. It finally occurred to me that, though a physician, I didn’t even know the actual immediate cause of death.
The Gospel writers don’t help us much on this point, because crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetime that they apparently considered a detailed description unnecessary. So we have only the concise words of the Evangelists: “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified — and they crucified Him.”
I have no competence to discuss the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate God atoning for the sins of fallen man. But it seemed to me that as a physician I might pursue the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion in some detail. What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture?
This led me first to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, torture and execution by fixation to a cross. I am indebted to many who have studied this subject in the past, and especially to a contemporary colleague, Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who has done exhaustive historical and experimental research and has written extensively on the subject.
Apparently, the first known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals brought it back to the Mediterranean world — to Egypt and to Carthage. The Romans apparently learned the practice from the Carthaginians and (as with almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high degree of efficiency and skill at it.
A number of Roman authors (Livy, Cicer, Tacitus) comment on crucifixion, and several innovations, modifications, and variations are described in the ancient literature.
For instance, the upright portion of the cross (or stipes) could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below its top in what we commonly think of as the Latin cross. The most common form used in our Lord’s day, however, was the Tau cross, shaped like our T. In this cross the patibulum was placed in a notch at the top of the stipes. There is archeological evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucified.
Without any historical or biblical proof, Medieval and Renaissance painters have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross. But the upright post, or stipes, was generally fixed permanently in the ground at the site of execution and the condemned man was forced to carry the patibulum, weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution.
Many of the painters and most of the sculptors of crucifixion, also show the nails through the palms. Historical Roman accounts and experimental work have established that the nails were driven between the small bones of the wrists (radial and ulna) and not through the palms. Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when made to support the weight of the human body.
The misconception may have come about through a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Observe my hands.” Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrist as part of the hand.
A titulus, or small sign, stating the victim’s crime was usually placed on a staff, carried at the front of the procession from the prison, and later nailed to the cross so that it extended above the head. This sign with its staff nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the characteristic form of the Latin cross.
But, of course, the physical passion of the Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of this initial suffering, the one of greatest physiological interest is the bloody sweat. It is interesting that St. Luke, the physician, is the only one to mention this. He says, “And being in Agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”
Every ruse (trick) imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away this description, apparently under the mistaken impression that this just doesn’t happen. A great deal of effort could have been saved had the doubters consulted the medical literature.
Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress of the kind our Lord suffered, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process might well have produced marked weakness and possible shock.
After the arrest in the middle of the night, Jesus was next brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiphus. The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat upon Him, and struck Him in the face.
In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, Jesus is taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate’s action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.
There is much disagreement among authorities about the unusual scourging as a prelude to crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two. Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who allegedly claimed to be the King of the Jews.
Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful the Romans would have made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter, but the Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes.
The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the thongs cut through the skin only.
Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.
The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter.
They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. Flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.
After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, and almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds once more begin to bleed.
In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa.
In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.
The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock, until the 650 yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed.
Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus quickly thrown backward with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.
Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action being careful not to pull the arms to tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum is then lifted in place at the top of the stipes and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.
The left foot is now pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the writs are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.
At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.
Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. 
It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences recorded:
The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, 
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
The second, to the penitent thief, 
Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
The third, looking down at the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John — the beloved Apostle — he said, 
“Behold thy mother.” 
Then, looking to His mother Mary, 
“Woman behold thy son.”
The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, 
“My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”
Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins…A terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
One remembers again the 22nd Psalm, the 14th verse: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.
Jesus gasps His fifth cry, 
“I thirst.”
One remembers another verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death.”
A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn’t take any of the liquid. The body of Jesus is now in extremes, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.”
His mission of atonement has completed. Finally He can allow his body to die.
With one last surge of strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, 
"Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
The rest you know. In order that the Sabbath not be profaned, the Jews asked that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; thus the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary.
Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John reports: “And immediately there came out blood and water.”
That is, there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart, giving postmortem evidence that Our Lord died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure (a broken heart) due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Thus we have had our glimpse — including the medical evidence — of that epitome of evil which man has exhibited toward Man and toward God. It has been a terrible sight, and more than enough to leave us despondent and depressed.
Dr. C. Truman Davis is an opthalmologist, vice president of the American Association of Ophthalmology, and an active figure in the Christian schools movement. He is founder and president of the Trinity Christian School in Mesa Arizona, and a trustee of Grove City College.
The vigil continues. 

We look to the Resurrection.