12345...10...


What is agnosticism? | Christian Apologetics … – carm

by Robin Schumacher

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist who was nicknamed Darwins Bulldog for his staunch support of Darwins theory of evolution. Huxley is also credited with coining the term agnostic. Following in his footsteps, his grandson Julian Huxley wrote the following about when a person should assume a position of agnosticism:

I believe that one should be agnostic when belief one way or the other is [1] mere idle speculation, incapable of verification; [2] when belief is held merely to gratify desires, however deep-seated, and not because it is forced on us by evidence; and [3] when belief may be taken by others to be more firmly grounded than it really is, and so come to encourage false hopes or wrong attitudes of mind.

Huxley felt that, All our life long we are oscillating between conviction and caution, faith and agnosticism, belief and suspension of belief.

A formal definition of Huxleys agnostic term today is: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

From this description, it can be said that an agnostics position is one where he says that he does not know if God exists. Speaking more broadly, some agnostics state that it is difficult to hold any truth with certainty.

Agnosticism typically takes one of two forms–hard and soft. The hard agnostic says that a person cant know anything for sure. However, this is a self-defeating position as the hard agnostic says he knows for sure that he cant know anything for sure. Hard agnosticism simply has no container that can keep its universal solvent, and therefore it becomes an untenable position to hold and must be discarded.

In contrast to hard agnosticism, the soft agnostic says he/she doesnt know anything for sure. At issue is not the lack of human ability for knowing a particular truth, but rather the agnostic struggles with how a truth claim can be verified or shown to be true. It is the ancient pursuit of what in philosophy is called epistemology–how do we know, and how do we know that we know? When the issue of determining the existence of the Christian God is added to the mix, things get even stickier.

But perhaps that doesnt need to be the case. What if a person truly follows and applies Julian Huxleys criteria for determining when to be agnostic about a particular truth claim? What would be the end result when Huxleys measures are applied to the claims of the New Testament and specifically its account of Jesus Christ?

Huxleys first condition is that a belief cannot be mere idle speculation or be incapable of verification. This first standard seems reasonable as pure conjecture or hearsay should not be a basis for committing oneself to a belief. The second condition appears logical also and is sometimes termed the principle of falsification, which was used by philosophers such as Anthony Flew in his initial writings on religion.

How do the claims of the New Testament and Christianity hold up under Huxleys first criterion? When the legal/historical methods for determining truth are applied to the New Testament, it stands very firm under Huxleys standard.

The writers of the New Testament never state that their beliefs were based on hearsay or were events that could not be authenticated. Quite the opposite, as apostles such as Peter say, For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16). The disciples recorded occurrences that happened in actual space/time, saw these events with their own eyes, and recorded Jesus life, death, and resurrection so that others would know the truth of what happened.

In terms of falsification, the apostle Paul gave the enemies of Christianity a single truth claim that, if proven untrue, would crumble and destroy Christianity in an instant: But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain (1 Corinthians 15:1314). Paul says if the resurrection of Christ did not occur, then the Christian faith is literally empty (vain). That, Paul says, is how Christianity can be falsified: find the body of that Jewish carpenter and the Christian faith is undone.

But earlier in that same chapter, Paul actually challenges his readers of that day to go check for themselves that the tomb of Jesus was truly empty: He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also (1 Corinthians 15:58). Paul is literally asking his readers to verify his claims with many others (over 500) alive at that time who saw Christ and could act as witnesses to validate the fact that Jesus resurrection actually occurred in space/time history.

But, given that we cannot do that today, how can modern-day people know that Paul and the other apostles were telling the truth? The apostles answer that question through their grave markers. All except John were martyred for their testimony. People may be deceived and die for a lie, but no one dies for what he knows is a lie. All the apostles had to do to save their lives was recant their testimony and say they didnt see Jesus alive, but none did. Greater evidence for believability cannot be had.

Moving on from Huxleys first criterion brings the discussion to his second and third standards, which are nearly identical in nature. Huxley says that a belief should be discarded if the sole purpose is to satisfy some psychological desire and if the belief is not well-grounded from a reality perspective thus producing false hopes in its target. This benchmark measure for a belief is certainly rational–as the only reason to believe anything is that that particular thing (truth claim) is true.

Oftentimes, the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud is quoted to show how religion fails such a test. Speaking of religious beliefs, Freud said: They are illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind. We call belief an illusion when a wish-fulfillment is a prominent factor in its motivation, and in doing so we disregard its relation to reality, just as the illusion itself sets no store by verification.

However, Freuds criteria do nothing to prove or disprove God–as his sword cuts in both directions. Could it not be true that atheists have wishes and urges of their own? Perhaps it’s a wish that a God who will call them to account one day for their actions does not exist. Such a desire can be very motivating and drive a person to hold an atheistic position. So in reality, Freuds words have no power whatsoever to determine if the truth claims of Christianity are valid or not.

Freuds thoughts aside, how does the New Testament stand up against Huxleys second and third standards? As it does with Huxleys first measure, the New Testament does extremely well.

First, from a legal/historical perspective, no document from antiquity comes even close to the New Testament where passing the general criteria for judging the validity of a historical work is concerned. The New Testament passes the bibliographical test (manuscript reliability and early dating), internal-evidence test (multiple-key testimonies all of which match), and the external-evidence test (outside evidence that corroborates the documents testimony) with flying colors.

Second, as many have said, the New Testament is not written like a lie. The New Testament writers would not have invented accounts, such as Jesus being buried by a member of the Sanhedrin, women being the first witnesses of Christs resurrection, and other such things.

Rather, what is found is a strong commitment to accuracy no matter where the evidence led them. Such dedication is seen in the pen of Luke: Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught (Luke 1:14).

Lastly, as has already been pointed out, the New Testament writers died for their testimony. As theologian and professor Peter Kreeft points out: Why would the apostles lie? . . . If they lied, what was their motive . . .? What they got out of it was misunderstanding, rejection, persecution, torture, and martyrdom. Hardly a list of perks!

The treatment Kreeft lists certainly is not desirable from a psychological perspective and would produce no false hopes in the disciples as they would obviously know their claims were false if they were lying. Adding this to arguments above, we see that the New Testament accounts overcome Huxleys second and third hurdles for being agnostic.

In the end, a person who claims to be agnostic about Christianity but uses Julian Huxleys own criteria for determining whether one should be agnostic will have to seriously reconsider his position. With the hard agnostic position being ruled out as self-defeating and the soft agnostic position being challenged by the compelling evidence of the New Testament, the more reasonable conclusion for the agnostic to reach, once everything has been examined, seems to be that Christianity is true.

Read more:
What is agnosticism? | Christian Apologetics … – carm

The Good Catholic – slantmagazine

Paul Shoulberg’s The Good Catholic is billed as a romantic comedy between a young priest, Daniel (Zachary Spicer), and a depressive agnostic musician, Jane (Wrenn Schmidt), but the film’s light surface belies a darker confrontation with religious doubt. For a faith-based film, it’s notable for giving equal narrative weight to the beliefs and emotions of its only non-Christian character, resisting the urge to patronize Jane by suggesting that her sorrow is symptomatic of her agnosticism and can be cured if she simply found her faith. Certainly it’s refreshing to see a film aimed at the Christian community present the allure of the secular world in an unbiased way and allow Daniel to truly struggle to determine his future within the church.

Despite The Good Catholic’s interesting macro approach compared to other films of its ilk, it’s far less successful on a micro level. The foundation of Jane and Daniel’s blooming relationship is particularly contrived, relying on the improbable conceit of a non-Catholic woman not only showing up for confession once but continuing to do so for no plausible reason until she falls in love with the priest. As Jane’s fascination with death never materializes into an active interest in Daniel’s own all-encompassing spiritual journey, it remains a nagging mystery both why she relentlessly pursues such a deeply devout man, especially given his vow of chastity, and why Daniel is so enamored with someone who’s so unconcerned with his own core beliefs.

Despite its interesting macro approach compared to other films of its ilk, its far less successful on a micro level.

Since Jane’s emotional struggles aren’t rendered sharply enough to ever fully reveal her interior world, the character operates more like a catalyst for Daniel, causing him to vacillate between embracing the priesthood and abandoning his position for love. The relationships between Daniel and the fellow priests in his parish, Victor (Danny Glover) and Ollie (John C. McGinley), are thus left to pick up the slack, and to middling results. McGinley brings a relaxed, off-the-cuff humor to Ollie that feels lived-in, but his character’s function is too limited; Ollie is little more than the sardonic, hip, and well-rounded priest who’s meant to starkly contrast the traditionally ascetic vision of men of the cloth that Victor upholds. Together, Victor and Ollie are largely symbolicriffs on the shoulder-perched angel and devilone man giving Daniel the space to find his own way, the other constantly intervening to make certain he stays true to his commitment to the church.

The Good Catholic is admirable for its willingness to question the strict methodology of the church, but it still paints its characters, and specifically Daniel’s crisis of faith, in very broad strokes. Shoulberg’s failure to provide a compelling love story causes Daniel’s decision to potentially leave his life’s calling behind to feel particularly labored. And because Daniel carries his emotions so close to the vest, his seemingly torturous existential struggle remains as opaque and inscrutable as the reasons behind his burgeoning feelings for Jane. The film may succeed at expanding the boundaries of faith-based cinema, but it still feels obligatory in its approach.

Go here to see the original:
The Good Catholic – slantmagazine

Roy Moore claims he didn’t know about DACA because he ‘doesn’t speak the language of Washington’ – Washington Examiner

How much do you really need to know to serve in the Senate? The world’s greatest deliberative body takes up complicated policy questions daily. Of course, there’s going to be a learning curve, and senators have staff to aid in their decision-making.

On day one though, even the freshest senators should have a familiarity with the biggest political issues facing the nation. And that means Judge Roy Moore has some catching up to do.

Moore is currently the front-runner in a special Alabama Senate Republican primary runoff, and until recently he wasn’t aware of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, let alone President Trump’s long-standing promise to end a program that gives legal reprieve to hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants.

“Pardon?” Moore asked during a July WVNN local interview first unearthed by the Washington Examiner. “The Dreamer program?” After two more cringe-worthy minutes, Moore finally settles on agnosticism. Running for Senate in deep-red Alabama, the former state Supreme Court justice didn’t come down one way or the other on a marquee immigration policy.

The judge was just lost in translation, campaign spokeswoman Katie Frost, tells the Washington Examiner. “Moore doesn’t speak the language of Washington,” she says clarifying her boss’ position, “he speaks the language of the Constitution. Judge Moore opposes amnesty under any name.”

According to Frost, the acronym is just “Washington-speak.” If that’s true, every radio shock jock, tea partier, and Republican north and south of the Mason-Dixon is fluent in swamp-speak. They’ve been railing against the program since former President Barack Obama bypassed Congress to create the program via executive order in 2012.

With three weeks ahead of the Sept. 26 primary, it’s still too early to tell what Moore’s gaffe might mean at the ballot box. Politics seems to eclipse more and more policy each day, so it’s possible the Alabama Aleppo moment won’t matter. Then again, Moore has positioned himself as an immigration hardliner, and he’s running for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old seat.

Sessions made a name for himself in the Senate as a Southern immigration hawk. It was the issue that catapulted him to prominence and sent him into Trump’s orbit. More than embarrassing, Moore’s ignorance on the marquee immigration issue has been picked up by everyone from the Associated Press to The Washington Post.

Moore’s opponent, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, quickly pounced on the blunder and reupped the former Alabama attorney general’s past experience fighting the Obama administration in court.

“While career politician Roy Moore doesn’t even know what DACA is,” a campaign spokeswoman told the Washington Examiner, “Luther stands with President Trump, and has fought against Obama’s illegal amnesty plan and won.”

Regardless of who wins, whether Moore or Strange advances to the general election ballot, where they’ll be heavily favored against a Democrat, they better get smart and fast.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

See more here:
Roy Moore claims he didn’t know about DACA because he ‘doesn’t speak the language of Washington’ – Washington Examiner

Bruno Major Completes ‘A Song For Every Moon’ Project – Clash Magazine

Bruno Major has shared the final part of his new project ‘A Song For Every Moon’.

The composer kicked off the project earlier this year, sharing new material bit by bit, piece by piece.

The final piece of the puzzle is new track ‘On Our Own’, a song partly prompted by the death of the songwriter’s grandmother.

A hushed and tender ballad, it’s an intimate offering from Bruno Major. He explains: I wrote this after a conversation with my mother when my Granny died. Her death sparked a personal journey through Agnosticism, Atheism and through the other side, and writing ‘On Our Own’ helped me understand how I felt about existence and religion. I think this is the song that I am most proud of.

Check out ‘A Song For Every Moon’ in its entirety below.

Related: Full Moon – The Songwriting Quest Of Bruno Major

Join us onVero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. FollowClash Magazineas we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

More here:
Bruno Major Completes ‘A Song For Every Moon’ Project – Clash Magazine

Daily Corinthian – What still unites us – Daily Corinthian (subscription)

Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an “ideological nation” a “creedal nation,” dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Expropriating the biblical mandate, “Go forth and teach all nations!” they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan “America First” lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville — “America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great” — was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a “Christian nation,” Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage — once regarded as marks of decadence and decline — are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable.

Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Consider but a few events post-Charlottesville.

“Murderer” was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

America’s oldest monument honoring Columbus, in Baltimore, was vandalized. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia called for Robert E. Lee’s statue to be removed from Capitol and replaced by — Pocahontas.

According to legend, this daughter of Chief Powhatan saved Captain John Smith from being beheaded by throwing herself across his neck. The Chief was a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island, among whose missing was Virginia Dare, the first European baby born in British America.

Why did Kaine not call for John Smith himself, leader of the Jamestown Colony that fought off Indian attacks, to be so honored?

In New Orleans, “Tear It Down” was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the world’s greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors’ guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral “progress” of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, “This isn’t the country we grew up in.”

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a “basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic … bigots,” and altogether “irredeemable.”

So, what still unites us? What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Here is the original post:
Daily Corinthian – What still unites us – Daily Corinthian (subscription)

Buchanan: What things still unite us? – Danville Commercial News

Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an ideological nation a creedal nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Expropriating the biblical mandate, Go forth and teach all nations! they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan America First lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a Christian nation, Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage once regarded as marks of decadence and decline are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable. Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Consider but a few events post-Charlottesville.

Murderer was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

In New Orleans, Tear It Down was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the worlds greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral progress of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, This isnt the country we grew up in.

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic … bigots, and altogether irredeemable.

So, what still unites us? What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

For more about Patrick Buchanan, visit http://www.creators.com.

Go here to read the rest:
Buchanan: What things still unite us? – Danville Commercial News

What Still Unites Us? – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

What Still Unites Us?Patrick J .Buchanan

USA -(Ammoland.com)-Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an ideological nation a creedal nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Expropriating the biblical mandate, Go forth and teach all nations! they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan America First lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a Christian nation, Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage once regarded as marks of decadence and decline are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable.

Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Murderer was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

America’s oldest monument honoring Columbus, in Baltimore, was vandalized. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia called for Robert E. Lee’s statue to be removed from Capitol and replaced by Pocahontas.

According to legend, this daughter of Chief Powhatan saved Captain John Smith from being beheaded by throwing herself across his neck. The Chief was a person of interest in the disappearance of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, among whose missing was Virginia Dare, the first European baby born in British America.

Why did Kaine not call for John Smith himself, leader of the Jamestown Colony that fought off Indian attacks, to be so honored?

In New Orleans, Tear It Down was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the world’s greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors’ guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral progress of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, This isn’t the country we grew up in.

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a basket of deplorables racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic bigots, and altogether irredeemable.

What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.

Go here to see the original:
What Still Unites Us? – AmmoLand Shooting Sports News

What still unites us? – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an ideological nation a creedal nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Expropriating the biblical mandate, Go forth and teach all nations! they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan America First lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a Christian nation, Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage once regarded as marks of decadence and decline are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable.

Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Consider but a few events post-Charlottesville.

Murderer was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

Americas oldest monument honoring Columbus, in Baltimore, was vandalized. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia called for Robert E. Lees statue to be removed from Capitol and replaced by Pocahontas.

According to legend, this daughter of Chief Powhatan saved Captain John Smith from being beheaded by throwing herself across his neck. The Chief was a person of interest in the disappearance of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island, among whose missing was Virginia Dare, the first European baby born in British America.

Why did Kaine not call for John Smith himself, leader of the Jamestown Colony that fought off Indian attacks, to be so honored?

In New Orleans, Tear It Down was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the worlds greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral progress of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, This isnt the country we grew up in.

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a basket of deplorables racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic bigots, and altogether irredeemable.

So, what still unites us? What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

Read the original:
What still unites us? – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

What still unites us? – The Hutchinson News

By Pat Buchanan

Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement.

Neocons claimed America was an “ideological nation” a “creedal nation,” dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Expropriating the biblical mandate, “Go forth and teach all nations!” they divinized democracy and made the conversion of mankind to the democratic faith their mission here on earth.

With his global crusade for democracy, George W. Bush bought into all this. Result: Ashes in our mouths and a series of foreign policy disasters, beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq.

Behind the Trumpian slogan “America First” lay a conviction that, with the Cold War over and the real ideological nation, the USSR, shattered into pieces along ethnic lines, it was time for America to come home.

Contra the neocons, traditionalists argued that, while America was uniquely great, the nation was united by faith, culture, language, history, heroes, holidays, mores, manners, customs and traditions. A common feature of Americans, black and white, was pride in belonging to a people that had achieved so much.

The insight attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville — “America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, she will cease to be great” — was a belief shared by almost all.

What makes our future appear problematic is that what once united us now divides us. While Presidents Wilson and Truman declared us to be a “Christian nation,” Christianity has been purged from our public life and sheds believers every decade. Atheism and agnosticism are growing rapidly, especially among the young.

Traditional morality, grounded in Christianity, is being discarded. Half of all marriages end in divorce. Four-in-10 children are born out of wedlock. Unrestricted abortion and same-sex marriage — once regarded as marks of decadence and decline — are now seen as human rights and the hallmarks of social progress.

Tens of millions of us do not speak English. Where most of our music used to be classic, popular, country and western, and jazz, much of it now contains rutting lyrics that used to be unprintable.

Where we used to have three national networks, we have three 24-hour cable news channels and a thousand websites that reinforce our clashing beliefs on morality, culture, politics and race.

Consider but a few events post-Charlottesville.

“Murderer” was painted on the San Fernando statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, the Franciscan who founded the missions that became San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano and Santa Clara.

America’s oldest monument honoring Columbus, in Baltimore, was vandalized. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia called for Robert E. Lee’s statue to be removed from Capitol and replaced by — Pocahontas.

According to legend, this daughter of Chief Powhatan saved Captain John Smith from being beheaded by throwing herself across his neck. The Chief was a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island, among whose missing was Virginia Dare, the first European baby born in British America.

Why did Kaine not call for John Smith himself, leader of the Jamestown Colony that fought off Indian attacks, to be so honored?

In New Orleans, “Tear It Down” was spray-painted on a statue of Joan of Arc, a gift from France in 1972. Besides being a canonized saint in the Catholic Church and a legendary heroine of France, what did the Maid of Orleans do to deserve this?

Taken together, we are seeing the discoverers, explorers and missionaries of North America demonized as genocidal racists all. The Founding Fathers are either slave owners or sanctioners of slavery.

Our nation-builders either collaborated in or condoned the ethnic cleansing of Native Americans. Almost to the present, ours was a land where segregationists were honored leaders.

Bottom line for the left: Americans should be sickened and ashamed of the history that made us the world’s greatest nation. And we should acknowledge our ancestors’ guilt by tearing down any and all monuments and statues that memorialize them.

This rising segment of America, full of self-righteous rage, is determined to blacken the memory of those who have gone before us.

To another slice of America, much of the celebrated social and moral “progress” of recent decades induces a sense of nausea, summarized in the lament, “This isn’t the country we grew up in.”

Hillary Clinton famously described this segment of America as a “basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic … bigots,” and altogether “irredeemable.”

So, what still unites us? What holds us together into the indefinite future? What makes us one nation and one people? What do we offer mankind, as nations seem to recoil from what we are becoming, and are instead eager to build their futures on the basis of ethnonationalism and fundamentalist faith?

If advanced democracy has produced the disintegration of a nation that we see around us, what is the compelling case for it?

A sixth of the way through the 21st century, what is there to make us believe this will be the Second American Century?

Patrick J. Buchanan is a columnist for Creators Content.

See more here:
What still unites us? – The Hutchinson News

Catholicism in the Modern World – First Things

Rev. Thomas Joseph White, O.P., is associate professor of systematic theology and director of the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., where he writes and teaches on Thomistic metaphysics and Christology. He recently spoke with First Things assistant editor Connor Grubaugh about three modern presentations of the Catholic faith.

The first book youve chosen is John Henry Newmans very personalApologia pro Vita Sua.

In 1864, Newman was publicly accused by Charles Kingsley of converting to the Catholic religion for insincere reasons. Kingsley argued that Newman could not be both intellectually honest and Catholic simultaneously. In response, Newman composed a masterful intellectual autobiography, theApologia pro Vita Sua, which he calls a history of my religious opinions.

The book is distinctively modern in that it narrates the development of the protagonists consciousness and worldview rather than presenting a series of propositions for disputation. It seeks rather slyly to establish not that the authors views are true,so much as that they aresincere.Yet from within this typically modern and literary medium of expression, Newman does in fact offer the modern person a profound introduction to classical doctrinal questions. He does not condescend to the reader, but instead leads him on an insightful tour of doctrinal disputes between Anglican and Catholic theologians of the nineteenthcentury, and relates these to ancient disputes in the Catholic Church.

The summit of the book is Newmans defense of Catholicism in response to modern agnosticism. He offers a vivid critique of the doctrines of secular liberalism, explaining why for him it constitutes an implausible intellectual alternative to classical Catholic Christianity. Newmans book is a vehicle for transmitting the tradition of the Catholic Church in a novel form. He shows how a tenacious search for the truth can emerge from within the sincerity of a modern individual seeker.

St. Augustines Confessions similarly intertwines prolonged philosophical argument with reflection on the authors own subjectivity. Why do you think this hybrid genre has proven so useful and attractive to Christian thinkers over the centuries?

Newman is clearly seeking to transpose Augustines ancient example into a modern key. The genre is evocative because it details the development of the person, from the inside, and therefore creates a powerful sense of the subjective motives for belief. Augustine in the garden, Newman at Littlemore. Both of them make their inner intellectual and spiritual dilemma vivid for us and invite us to accompany them observationally in their decision of conversion. This in turn suggests that we might follow a similar path, though not an identical oneconversion, not by way of slavish imitation but through our own personal discernment of the truth. Its a powerful motif in the western Christian literary tradition, and one that Newman channeled poignantly.

Your second book isReality: A Synthesis of Thomistic Thought, by Rginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

This book was originally published in 1946 as asystematic exposition of the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas. But the book also considers deeper issues related to the perennial truth of Catholicism and its intelligibility in the modern context. Garrigou-Lagrange is often depicted as the ultimate anti-modernist reactionary, but few recall that as a young Dominican priest, he studied philosophy at the Sorbonne with figures like Henri Bergson, mile Durkheim,Lucien Lvy-Bruhl, andAlfred Loisy. In fact, Garrigou-Lagrange from a young age was asking intellectual questions that anticipate postmodernity: Can we know anything about being that is stable and enduring?Is all intellectual knowledge merely a reflection of passing cultural constructions?Realityis a response to such questions in the form of a fully developed philosophical and theological treatise.

Turning to Aquinas for conceptual resources, Garrigou-Lagrange seeks to provide a properly metaphysical account of the fundamental structure of reality that can define and make intelligible our human experience. For this, he appeals to the classical metaphysical notions of substance, causality, knowledge, the human person and the spiritual soul, the virtues, and human flourishing. His treatment of the mysteries of the Catholic religion, meanwhile, seeks to show the inherent intelligibility of these mysteries and their concord with natural human reason, but also their irreducibility to mere truths of philosophy or religious sociology. The synthetic depth of this book is impressive, and it is a prototypically modern defense of the truth of Catholicism.

Many thinkers over the years have sought to break free from what they see as a burdensome and restrictive dependence on Thomistic categories and methods in Catholic theology. What does a committed Thomist like yourself make of their complaint? Is Catholicism in some way essentially Thomistic, or Thomism essentially Catholic?

Catholic theology is based on the principles of divine revelation, not on the principles of human philosophy. However, the Catholic tradition rightly does make use of philosophy in order to articulate theological truths and inevitably must do so. Consequently, some use of philosophy is always necessary, and on this point the Church has repeatedly emphasized that Aquinass thought provides a helpful and well-tested resource. That is very different from saying that other alternatives are to be excluded. The modern magisterium recommends that seminarians study Thomism, for example, not so that they feel obliged to embrace every point, but so that they will have a sufficient philosophical realism, and classical intellectual culture, as they move forward in their ministry as priests.

However, all this is somewhat beside the point given our contemporary climate. Very few Catholics suffer today from an overly rigid dependence on Thomistic metaphysics, and if anything the doctrines that blind us today stem from unreflective political liberalism and postmodernism. In the Church today, we typically encounter a generalized doctrinal amnesia and nescience of our best philosophical traditions. This creates intellectual indetermination and disorientation, which lead many back to fundamental metaphysical questions, and to a revived interest in Thomism. That is a good sign of intellectual health, not something threatening. There is no inherent opposition between the modern historical study of theological sources and the metaphysically informed work of scholastic theology. The revival of theology today requires that we embrace both, but it is really the latter tradition that is most in need of revival in our current climate.

Your last book selection is Joseph Ratzingers renownedIntroduction to Christianity.

Originally published in 1968, this book stems from lectures Ratzinger gave at the University of Tbingen during the tumultuous period just after the Second Vatican Council. The book is presented as a commentary on the Apostles Creed. However, one has the impression that the book is written as much for skeptics and atheists as it is for cradle Catholics. Little is presumed. Ratzinger enters into the problem of Christian belief in the modern world with a thoroughgoing honesty, and seeks to explore the intelligibility and meaningfulness of Catholicism much as if he were discovering it for himself along the way.

Though he is named only half a dozen times in the book, the liberal Lutheran theologian Rudolf Bultmann was undoubtedly one of Ratzingers main interlocutors in this work: How do we know that Christianity is not just an elaborate pre-modern myth, standing in need of demythologization? Ratzinger does not treat historical study of Christianity as a threat, but as an opportunity and advantage. He seeks to introduce the reader, as if for the first time, to the rationality of the Scriptures, the Church Fathers, and medieval Scholastics, so as to show how and why Christianity provides unique and true insight into the human condition of modern persons. The most significant portion of the book is the treatise on Christology, where Ratzinger inverts the Bultmannian logic: It is only when we realize that the mysteries of the life of Christ are real, and not mere symbols, that we acquire a true understanding of their existential significance for modern humanity. Its not an accident that this book has helped many readers grasp the truth of Christianity within the context of our skeptical era.

Is modernity something that these three authors are responding to, or something they too are participating in?

Modernity can be defined in many ways: the rise of capitalist democracies in the eighteenthcentury, the scientific revolution, the divisions of Church and state, the primacy of subjective consciousness (Descartes), skepticism about ultimate metaphysical explanations coupled with an ethics of autonomy that gives rise to liberal secular culture (Kant), the use of historical studies to relativize all absolute truth claims. What makes these three works modern is that they take seriously and engage directly with the modernproblematizationof knowledge of absolutes, whether that problematization is metaphysical, historical, or religious. In an age of globalization, the problem of any possible reference to absolutes (and the question of whether any such knowledge exists, really or artificially) does affect many people across a spectrum of intellectual standpoints, be they classical Marxists, Nietzschean postmodernists, scientific empiricists, agnostic Keynesian liberals, Wahabi Muslims, or South American Catholics. Newman, Garrigou-Lagrange, and Ratzinger all participated in their own way in this prototypically modern form of questioning, and were very sensitive to the existential disorientation it produced, to say nothing of the massive cultural upheavals that arose in the modern era. From within this problematic, however, they each discovered and were able to portray for others something of perennial importance: the human search for the truth. Each of them was able to present in a profound way the truth of the principles of Catholicism from within this modern context.

Older generations of Catholics have made much of the need to minister to modern people and modern societies in a new way, whereas many Catholics of my own generation seem to prefer more traditional forms. How should the Church respond to changing historical circumstances? In apologetics, is it possible to change keys without changing tune?

People under forty in the West have grown up in a largely secular and religiously uncatechized world, so when they turn to religious resources to explain reality, they are typically interested in the discovery of principles, lasting structures, and tested reference-points. This instinct is more sound overall than that of the post-Vatican II generation, which was looking for ways to nuance and expand the intellectual and liturgical life of the Church, against what was perceived as a deadening cultural sclerosis. This latter instinct is of course justified in many respects. The problem, however, is that a fundamental confusion existed in many from the beginning between openness to non-Christian culture and the alteration of the very foundations of faith.

The divinity of Christ is a good test case. It is one thing to consider the resources of modern historical study for placing Jesus of Nazareth within his historical context. It is quite another thing to forsake, in practice if not in theory, the idea that Christ is God, and the universal savior of humanity. You cannot give what you do not have, and so the loss of references to tradition has eventually led in many quarters to a tragic loss of knowledge about Catholic culture, and the end of its transmission.

All that being said, there are many features of modern existence that characterize just about everyone today, many of which are unambiguously positive and some of which are morally neutral. The problems that arise in modern intellectual and moral culture are not met well by ignorance or mere reactionary condemnation. What is needed is serene analysis based on the principles of divine revelation, philosophical realism, coupled with a charitable and merciful response to questions of our time that stems from the best wellsprings of the Catholic tradition, both ancient and modern.

Your newest book,The Light of Christ, falls within this genre of modern Catholic apologetics. What need did you see for another work of this kind? Were you bearing in mind any particular objections to the Catholic faith when writing it?

The Light of Christis a meant to be an introduction to Christianity for all comers: non-Christian seekers, Protestants, or Catholics who want to think more deeply about the claims of Christianity. The book is structured not by apologetic concerns but by a consideration of basic teachings of Christianity: God and the Trinity, creation and the human person, Incarnation and Atonement, the Church and the sacraments, the social doctrine of the Church, and eschatology. There is also a section on prayer. So the book is based on the perennial teachings of the Church, in line with your observation above that millennials are typically more interested in the traditional claims of Christianity.

At the same time, certain questions are now more pressing in the public imagination than they were fifty years ago, when the last of these three works was written: the compatibility of Christianity and modern science, the divinity of Christ and its relation to modern historical studies, the sexual teachings of Church, the difference between human beings and other animals, and whether or not there is a spiritual soul. The book engages with topics like these. The aim was to show, by way of an overview, the deep inner intelligibility and realism of Christian truth claims across a broad spectrum of issues, with regard to God, the historicity of Jesus, the nature of the human person and the reality of grace, the sacramental life, and the Christian eschatological hope. Its meant to be a helpful book for those who want to explain Catholicism to others, and also for those who are interested in thinking seriously about Christianity in a structured way.

Thomas Joseph Whites most recent essay for First Things, Catholicism in an Age of Discontent, appeared in the November 2016 issue. The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism was released this month by Catholic University of America Press.

Become a fan ofFirst ThingsonFacebook,subscribe toFirst ThingsviaRSS, and followFirst ThingsonTwitter.

View post:
Catholicism in the Modern World – First Things

When it’s time to stand against hate, where are local Republican leaders? – The San Luis Obispo Tribune (blog)

Theres nothing patriotic about Nazis, the KKK, racism, anti-Semitism, violence or hatred. Patriots stand against all that.

Youd think its a no-brainer to condemn evil when its staring you in the face.

Which is why Im puzzled not one prominent local Republican has made any public statement or gesture doing that.

Maybe I missed a Facebook post. Im told by a friend of a friend that former Republican state Sen. Sam Blakeslee might have done so. Its comforting to know my old pal Sam might oppose Nazis.

That other local Republican leaders havent jumped onto the anti-Nazi-KKK train is weird. Charlottesville has started a movement, leaving behind those who dont openly denounce fascism, racism, anti-Semitism and hate.

This public agnosticism by local Republican leaders toward evil seems of a piece: Theyre also silent about President Trumps moral equivalency between Nazis and people who protest against them (both sides are bad) and his conflation of violent antifas with anyone opposed to Nazi / KKK malevolence.

Local Republicans are also mute aboutin some cases even supportTrumps peculiar affinity for Russia, Vlademir Putin and thug dictators around the globe.

Thereve been no letters to The Tribune from fire-breathing conservatives condemning that, no words from the conservative local opinion writer, no contrary pronouncements from local elected Republican leaders. Local online commentary is silent.

Until Trump, we could always count on that sort to proclaim traditional Republican Cold War antipathy to Russians, commies and enemies of America. Lately, nothing.

Local Democrats, on the other hand, have dialed the volume to 11: letters to the editor, online commentary, public demonstrations, donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect and Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, among others.

Most Americans know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. Evil is evil, and its a great political opponent to have.

Democrats should obviously campaign against evil by opposing Nazis, the Klan, Russian gangsters and dictators, demonstrate patriotism by promoting freedom, democracy, equality and the Constitution.

Doing right by God and country is a simple concept to drape an American flag around. Democrats canand shouldwrap themselves in that mantle. Itll still be fashionable by the 2018 midterms.

Apparently, local Trump supporters havent figured that out yet, arent hip to the national mood shifting underfoot.

Though its possible Trump supporters arent outraged at all about Trumps betrayal of their core values of duty, honor and country. Maybe theyre fine with presidential moral vacuity and the abandonment of their partys historic moorings of principle and decency.

Republicans always seem to behave as if they own the American flag, the Constitution, Jesus, freedom, cops, the military, the Star Spangled Banner, football and all things good and right about the USA! USA! USA!

How SLO County Republicans can claim love of country yet dont openly condemn Nazis and the KKK is inexplicable. Perhaps they dont realize the American flag theyve wrapped themselves in for decades has now fallen to the roadside whilst theyve accommodated Trumps un-American rhetoric and behavior.

Any American with a working moral compass objects to Trumps statement that there were very fine people among the torch-bearing fascists in Charlottesville, who chanted Jews will not replace us! and the Nazi Blood and Soil! slogan. There werent any fine people in that pre-Kristallnacht rally re-enactment straight from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will Nazi propaganda film.

Standing against evil here is pretty straightforward, as evidenced last week by SLO County Democrats, several SLO City Council members and county Supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson. Without being asked, all they did was show up in Mission Plaza, along with more than 1,000 fellow patriots at a vigil titled Outshine the Darkness, organized by an assortment of local activists groups.

The vigil featured exhortations of peace from speakers and self-proclaimed commitments from the predominantly white crowdmost of whom have never laid eyes on a real hooded Klansmanto reject Nazis and evil in all its forms and to embrace nonviolence, love and other some such.

Personally, I left somewhat unfulfilled, having witnessed no muscular call to action from the well-intentioned speakers and organizers, merely a tepid go-forth-and-be-nice sendoff after a feel-good group hug.

Republican county supervisors Lynn Compton, Debbie Arnold and John Peschong didnt bother to show, nor did the SLO County Republican Central Committee, Tea Party or COLAB. Maybe they were busy, or didnt like the message.

Showing up to oppose evil is easy and patriotic. Wrap the flag around that.

USA! USA! USA!

Liberal columnist Tom Fulks serves on the San Luis Obispo County Democratic Central Committee. His column runs every other Sunday, in rotation with conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand.

Read the original post:
When it’s time to stand against hate, where are local Republican leaders? – The San Luis Obispo Tribune (blog)

Taylor Swift, After A Cryptic Week, Announces New Record – NPR

Taylor Swift’s new album is called Reputation, which… a bit on the nose, right? Courtesy of the artist hide caption

Taylor Swift’s new album is called Reputation, which… a bit on the nose, right?

Taylor Swift has announced Reputation, her sixth album. After a cryptic, drip-drop, nearly weeklong lead-up complete with easter-eggs like putting “ivegotablankspace” in a website’s source code designed to stoke theorizing by superfans, Swift confirmed via social media that the album Reputation will arrive Nov. 10, and fans should expect its first single Thursday night.

It was five days ago now that the country-superstar-turned-pop-superstar wiped clean her social media accounts, erasing many happy squad memories in the process, to begin the sniper-like (viper-like?) calibration of Reputation’s unveiling. Beginning this week, three cryptic videos were posted exquisite corpse-style, gradually revealing the body of a snake. (Not for nothing, the first came in the hours leading up to the eclipse at 2:44 p.m. on Monday, almost exactly when her fellow New York residents turned their eyes skyward, leading some to speculate she was about to try and eclipse an actual eclipse. )

The graphomaniacal cover art, revealed today, reads as a not-so-subtle allusion to the controversies and mini-backlashes Swift has had since the release of 1989. For every publicity win, there have been accusations of pettiness or political agnosticism.

The timing is notable, too. Swift’s album releases are normally like clockwork: every two years, in mid-autumn, since 2006. The addition of an extra year to that marketing algorithm intensified anticipation, and expectation, around the new music, especially considering Swift’s exponential growth in profile around the world since shucking her country roots on her last album. Crucially, and savvily, the release date is after the cutoff for 2018 Grammy consideration, extending its lifespan into the following year like Swift albums before it.

As for that weird snake is it a little for shade Calvin Harris and Kim Kardashian? We can’t keep up with all of the Insta-drama.

View post:
Taylor Swift, After A Cryptic Week, Announces New Record – NPR

The Search for Truth, Part 2: There Are No Agnostics – Patheos

In the previous article, we discussed the sad fact that most people aren’t bothering to take a step back from their societal influences to ask real questions and go on a quest for truth; that the masses blindly take upon themselves the assumptions about life and reality inherent in the society that raised them.

For example, in our time and place, there are certain in-born assumptions, and to claim anything contrary to them in a modern-day so-called “progressive” institution will result in people looking at you like you fell off of Mars and will get you branded as “uneducated” or “radical.” One so-called natural and obvious given of our time is that truth is relative”You have your truth; I have my truth. And if I don’t believe your truth, then your truth is not truth for me.”

However, there is an obvious response to this: “So are you saying that’s the truth?”

When you get down to it, the ‘truth is relative’ claim is making the same claim of objective reality and truth as all other claims. It is saying ‘I am absolutely right about truth being relative, and anyone who believes anything contrary to what I believe is wrong’. Ironically, we find that despite the fact that such “liberal open-mindedness” is associated with free-spirited all-inclusiveness, it is the bearers of this message and belief system who seem to take charge on every social issue, thereby making the by-default claim of ‘I’m right. You’re wrong. And I’m going to do my best to force you to change’.

This cowardly hiding behind the guise of open neutrality while making a non-stated built-in claim and assumption of objective correctness brings to mind the all-too common response that I confront to the belief-in-God question.

Approximately 50 percent of the students I meet claim they are agnostic, unsure about whether or not there is a God. Out of that 50 percent, guess how many observe any kind of religious practice (other than the occasional prayer and charity sponsorship of a “Brovember” moustache).

That’s right, 0 percent.

I have yet to meet the individual who tells me, “I am not sure whether or not there is a God who gave the Torah so I am keeping the commandments just in case.” (No, in this case being a nice guy does not count as religious practice. No agnostic is nice simply because the Torah says “Love thy neighbor.” They are nice because of societal norms and conditioning. Show me something this agnostic does that his society isn’t also preaching.)

Hiding behind the neutrality of agnosticism works in theory, but in practice there are only two options: believer or denier. Either there is a God who gave the Torah or there is not a God who gave the Torah. Just as whether or not you are aware of gravity, the effects of smoking, or the fact that 2+2=4 does not change those realities and their effects, whether or not you are aware of any reality does not change that reality and its effects.

Any realist knows this.

In fact, if we were to gather together a believing member of every belief system on Eartha Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, Nazi, etc.you might think there is nothing you can find that they would all agree on. However, if they are all realists, there is one thing they will all see eye-to-eye on, and that is that there is nothing more important than to figure out who (if any of them) is right. There is nothing more paramount than to clarify what is truth and correct in the world. After all, given that we are looking to get the most out of life, it is of utmost importance to uncover what is reality in order to make the most in-tune, educated, and best decisions possible regarding all aspects of life.

Similarly, when we are approached by a lost Jewish soul giving Judaism one last chance before he leaves it for good, we must begin by showing the depths of what Judaism really has to offer the individual, to explain the “whys” of Judaism, to break false stereotypes and stigmas, and to bring meaning and understanding to the seemingly hollowed “traditions” and “rituals” of Judaism.

See the original post here:
The Search for Truth, Part 2: There Are No Agnostics – Patheos

‘I do not have words’: Southern Illinois pagans experience eclipse – Daily Egyptian

By Francois GatimuAugust 21, 2017Filed under City, News

Away from the hordes of eclipse-watchers in Carbondale, the Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance gathered to celebrate nature at the remote Dancing Willow Farms in Makanda.

I do not have words to know what to say about what that felt like and what that looked like, said the groups founder, Tara Nelsen, following the eclipse.

Nelsen said being surrounded by like-minded people, even ones who dont necessarily identify as pagan, was a profoundly spiritual experience.

During a ritual performed as the eclipse reached totality at 1:21 p.m., participants received a slip of paper that served as a visual reminder of leaving the darkness behind, Nelsen said.

Those partaking in the ceremony wrote down aspects of their lives that they wanted to get rid of, embracing the light of a new day, Nelsen said. Those pieces of paper were then placed in a black cauldron to later be discarded.

This is a really good way to show that there is all kinds of diversity in southern Illinois, Nelsen said of the ritual. Thirty years ago, it would be scary to have a group of pagans publicly be doing anything you would be afraid for your life.

Some southern Illinoisans had their first experience with a pagan ritual during the eclipse event.

One of these was Kayla Voegtle, a transgender woman and a senior studying music from Spring Grove.

Voegtle born to a Roman Catholic family. After a decade of agnosticism, Voegtle said she wanted to try paganism.

Trish Pfeiffer, of Carbondale, smiles while holding her eclipse glasses to the sun Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, before the solar eclipse at Dancing Willow Farm in Makanda.

I just wanted something spiritual, but without a ton of rules, said Voegtle [Roman Catholicism] is very oppressive and its very pushy paganism is very open and accepting.

Mondays ritual was meant to symbolize new beginnings, Nelsen said.

Voegtle said the ritual marked for her a pivotal point in her continued struggle for empowerment, something she said she particularly wrestles with as a transgender woman.

Some, like Trish Pfeifer, added their own personal rituals into the pagan one.

Pfeifer placed quartz and fluorite crystals to charge out in the sun, which she said are token stones of magic.

She had mason jars of water out in the sunlight as well, making eclipse water that she said would symbolize the years until the next eclipse for herself and her children.

I like to mark time by whats going on in the sky and in my personal life, Pfeifer said. Its a way of reminding me of what I want.

Many came to the event hoping to reconnect with nature and the universe.

As the solar eclipse reached full totality, shouts resounded around the farm. Many ritual participants cried, and all kept their bespectacled eyes unwaveringly fixed on the sun.

I feel like there is a revival of nature religions, Nelsen said, attributing this revival to people being able to find something real in paganism.

Staff writer Francois Gatimu can be reached at[emailprotected]or on Twitter@frankDE28.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian onFacebookandTwitter.

Tags: carbondale, daily egyptian, dancing willow farms, ded, eclipse, eclipse 2017, Francois Gatimu, Kayla Voegtle, makanda, nature, paganism, pagans, roman catholic, SIPA, siu, southern illinois pagan alliance, southern illinois university, tara nelsen, Trish Pfeifer

More here:
‘I do not have words’: Southern Illinois pagans experience eclipse – Daily Egyptian

Nikki Haley’s path to the presidency runs right past Trump – Vox

Attacks on Russia. Soccer games with refugees. Lively chats about human rights with Bono.

Browse through Nikki Haleys Twitter feed long enough and youd be forgiven for forgetting shes a powerful and high-ranking official in the Trump administration, where the president pointedly refuses to do the first one of those and would consider the last two to be political suicide.

President Trump selected Haley early on in the formation of his Cabinet, settling on her as his ambassador to the United Nations before picking Rex Tillerson for secretary of state or James Mattis for secretary of defense. But she was a surprising pick then, and remains so today.

A popular twice-elected governor of South Carolina, shes an experienced GOP politician in an administration packed with outsiders. As the daughter of Indian immigrants, she stands out in an administration run chiefly by white men. Telegenic and poised, she has a knack for the limelight that stands in sharp contrast to the administrations tendencies toward the rumpled (former press secretary Sean Spicer) or reclusive (Tillerson).

But in her first seven months at the helm of the US mission to the UN, Haleys differences have gone far beyond optics. Trump campaigned on a foreign policy platform of America first the idea that the US should avoid getting involved in unnecessary conflicts overseas and focus narrowly on national security interests over promotion of democracy and human rights abroad.

But Haley has pursued the opposite course. From her stern criticism of Moscow to her championing of human rights to her calls for Syrian regime change, shes routinely diverged from, or outright contradicted, Trumps stance on the biggest foreign policy issues of the day.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the most hawkish Republican senators in Washington, told the New York Times recently, She sounds more like me than Trump.

Haleys stances may reflect more than just policy differences. Many in the GOP worry that Trump may not survive four years and that those whove served in his administration may be tainted by association if he resigns or is impeached. Haley appears to be one of the few administration officials with the potential to survive the Trump years and could be positioning herself for a presidential campaign of her own.

When Trump first nominated Haley as his pick for UN ambassador, it appeared that she could be doomed to irrelevance. Trump had spent his entire campaign railing against the idea of international cooperation and contributing to the advancement of human rights or democratic ideals the very issues that an ambassador to the UN is tasked with handling. It seemed he was giving Haley a fluffy throwaway job and perhaps even using it as an opportunity to add some diversity to his heavily white and heavily male team.

But Haley has been far from a marginal voice in the administrations foreign policy team.

The most striking feature of Haleys appointment was that Trump decided to keep the UN ambassador post as a Cabinet-level position, as it was under President Obama. Thats unusual for recent Republican presidents under both George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush, the ambassador to the UN was stripped of Cabinet rank. Democrats, more inclined toward robust diplomacy and cooperation with the international community, have preferred to keep the position at the Cabinet level.

Given all of Trumps isolationist language on the campaign trail, UN watchers were surprised by Trumps decision to have Haley in the Cabinet.

The Trump administrations rhetoric around America first and general disdain for multilateral diplomacy was contradicted by the very fact of breaking with [recent Republican] precedent and establishing ambassador Haley as a full-fledged member of the Cabinet, Rob Berschinski, senior vice president for policy at Human Rights First and a former senior adviser to UN Ambassador Samantha Power, told me.

This wasnt simply Trump being magnanimous; Haley successfully negotiated for the Cabinet-level rank for her position. Being a member of the presidents Cabinet gives her more authority at the UN and more sway over the president during Cabinet-level deliberations.

Haley is also a member of the National Security Councils top decision-making body, the Principals Committee. That means shes a regular contributor to the presidents most important forum for considering and making decisions about the countrys pressing national security and foreign policy matters, along with the rest of his senior national security advisers and Cabinet officials on the committee.

Haleys entry into the Principals Committee in April elevated her position in the administration and marked a victory for establishment GOP thinking. She was added to the group at the same time former White House strategist Steve Bannon was ejected from it, at the request of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. Bannon was a key advocate of the America First worldview and argued against intervening in Syria after its president, Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons against civilians. But just days after the reshuffling of the committee, Trump went ahead and struck Syria with cruise missiles, and Haley was the administrations foremost public defender of the surprising attack.

Haley has left her unique mark on many of the Trump administrations most prominent foreign policy challenges the most conspicuous one being Russia.

Right away, Haley seemed prepared to embrace traditional hardline GOP rhetoric and policy stances about the threat posed by the Kremlin. During her confirmation hearing, she accused Russia of carrying out war crimes in Syria.

I dont think we can trust [the Russians], she said. They have certainly done some terrible atrocities.

It was in stark contrast to Tillersons much gentler language on Russia during his own confirmation hearing he declined to say whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin was a war criminal, for example and it clearly suggested she could be at odds with Trumps well-established agenda to warm ties with Russia. And indeed, that is exactly whats played out.

During her first appearance at the UN Security Council in February, Haley strongly condemned Russia for its meddling in eastern Ukraine and for its annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.

Until she spoke, there was no clarity on where the Trump administration was going on Russia and Crimea, Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told me. She set the direction for the administration by saying, No, the occupation of Crimea remains illegal.

Haleys comments came just days after a chummy phone call between Trump and Putin in which Ukraine was only mentioned in passing. According to CNN, one unnamed source said Haley did not receive sign-off from the White House on her remarks, and according to Gowan, “There were very credible rumors at the UN that Haley’s strong line over Crimea was not cleared with senior officials at the White House.

Haleys ferocity toward Russia has continued, both at the Security Council and beyond. When Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians in the spring, she accused Russia of leading the cover-up and taunted the Russians as nervous about international reaction.

Haley has also said that Russia certainly meddled in the 2016 election, in contrast to Trumps agnosticism on Russian interference (nobody knows is his signature phrase on the matter). And she enthusiastically endorsed special counsel Robert Muellers investigation into potential collusion between Trumps associates and Russia during the election a probe that Trump considers a witch hunt.

But Haleys departures from Trumps positions go well beyond Russia.

In February, Haley proclaimed that the US would stand by a two-state solution on Israel-Palestine just 24 hours after Trump waffled on the issue.

On the issue of refugee policy, Haley has projected a very different set of values than her boss. Trump used his opening months in office to try to ban refugees from entering the US and proposed a budget that would slash foreign aid dramatically and cut diplomatic and overseas programs by a third.

But when Haley met with Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan in May, she promised that the US was not going to stop funding aid programs for Syria, telling them, We want you to feel like the US is behind you.

At the UN, Haley hasnt just emphasized human rights; shes actually broken precedent in the way shes called attention to them. While presiding over the UN Security Council in April, she directed the first-ever thematic debate over human rights.

This was the first time there has ever been a Security Council meeting solely dedicated to the concept that human rights and peace and security are inextricable from one another, Berschinski says. It reflected Ambassador Haleys genuine interest and belief that there is a direct link between how a government treats its own people and international peace and security.

Haley also became the first US ambassador to the UN to address the UNs Human Rights Council. Though she criticized the group for its constant criticism of Israel, she also said to the surprise of many that the US would remain a member of it for now. George W. Bush boycotted the council, which was formed in 2006, and the US joined it under Obama.

Haleys reaction to Syrias use of chemical weapons against civilians in the spring sounded considerably more neoconservative than America first, with its sharp focus on human suffering and advocacy for military intervention in order to mitigate it.

After Trump fired cruise missiles at Syria for its use of chemical weapons, Haley said that the administration considered ousting Assad to be a priority of the administration.

We dont see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there, Haley told CNNs Jake Tapper just days after the Syria strike. She described regime change as inevitable because all of the parties are going to see Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria. That stance was the most aggressive one coming out of the administration, and at odds with Trumps stated disinterest in taking actions to topple the Syrian leader.

Haleys office denies that shes not in sync with the president. Whether its winning expanded sanctions on North Korea, denouncing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assads chemical weapons use, fighting for the most efficient use of US tax dollars on UN programs, or in multiple other areas, Ambassador Haley is always reflecting administration policies at the UN, a spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations told me.

Its true that there are plenty of policy areas where Trump and Haley appear to be in lockstep. But the frequency with which theyre not is highly unusual.

What Nikki Haley says doesnt seem to be linked to administration policy shes freelancing much more [than her predecessors], a former senior official at the US mission to the UN told me, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of ongoing relationships with the current administration.

In some instances, this is because the administration is understaffed and disorganized when it comes to policy decision-making and messaging, and Haley simply has more autonomy to operate amid the chaos. But Haleys breaks on issues like Russia and Syria are of enormous consequence. Ultimately, all of her divergences make the most sense if theyre understood to be by design.

Haleys departures from the Trump line arent the product of a lack of discipline or an inability to cooperate with others she was well-liked and successful as her states first woman and first minority governor in the rough-and-tumble world of South Carolina politics.

Nor is it due to some especially deep set of convictions on international affairs unlike most recent UN ambassadors, Haley is a novice on the foreign policy scene and learning as she goes along. Rather, her maverick stances seem to be about paving a path for the future.

The fact that shes been so much more critical of Russia than the rest of the administration allows her to get some distance from the administration and that feels like something thats quite calculated, the former official said. It seems like shes positioning herself for a future run.

Should the Trump administration actually unravel over ties to Russia, Haley will have bought herself insurance against it she can always credibly claim that she never appeared beholden to Moscow. Shes also building a reputation among establishment Republicans whether potential donors or pundits or lawmakers like Sen. Graham as willing to be gutsy and principled in an administration that often values loyalty above all else.

Shes doing wonders for her own profile, and staking out a pretty strong claim to be a serious voice of mainstream Republican foreign policy thinking, Gowan told me. She has her eyes on a bigger political horizon.

Haley has denied any presidential ambitions, saying in April that she cant imagine running for the White House. But her conspicuous maneuvering has fueled suspicions that shes interested in the possibility.

Her quieter actions have raised questions as well. Haley selected Jon Lerner as her deputy ambassador not an experienced foreign policy wonk to help her learn the ropes, but her longtime pollster and a strategist who played a key role in coordinating the NeverTrump campaign in 2016. Haley is also developing relationships with financiers in New York.

If Haley does want to pursue the White House or at least keep the prospect alive she has an awkward task.

She must act independently without coming across as defiant to a president who fixates on loyalty. She needs to insulate herself from accusations of deference to Russia, yet not undermine the presidents commitment to improving ties to Moscow. She has to execute Trumps America first agenda, yet signal a more conventional internationalist outlook to Republican Party elites and pundits who would play a key role in her future odds as a contender for the White House.

There are risks involved in the process. In April, Trump made a joke about firing Haley that didnt quite come across as a joke, and seemed to hint at his discontent with her rising profile.

Now, does everybody like Nikki? the president said at a White House event with UN Security Council ambassadors. Otherwise she could be easily replaced, right? No, we wont do that. I promise you we wont do that. Shes doing a fantastic job.

And in the spring, the State Department requested that she clear her positions on major issues with them in advance, in response to her freelancing. There is at least some unease in the administration over her boldness when she has the podium.

But Haley seems to have made the calculation that getting on Trumps wrong side is worth the risk, or at least less of a risk than appearing to be a yes woman as he goes about leading one of the most controversial presidencies in modern history.

Time will tell, but this job will either present opportunity or end a career, says Chip Felkel, a South Carolina-based GOP strategist.

See more here:
Nikki Haley’s path to the presidency runs right past Trump – Vox

Earl Crow: How’s your religion vocabulary? Some terms for testing yourself – Winston-Salem Journal

Nearly every discipline has its own special language. There are many words and terms in religion that are commonly used but, perhaps, not fully understood. Today, I would like to use this column to help define some of these terms. You may already be familiar with them, and if so, good. You may want to play a game and test yourself as to how many you know.

Eucharist: The word actually means thanksgiving and refers to the sacrament of Holy Communion. Jews fleeing Egyptian bondage had a Passover feast that was celebrated by Jesus at his last supper with his disciples. The bread and wine of the eucharist is representative of or becomes depending on your denominational belief, the body and blood of Christ.

Catholic: May refer to the Roman Catholic Church. The term literally means worldwide, so many Protestants claim to be a part of the catholic church of Jesus Christ.

Deism: The belief in a God who is the creator but not governor of the universe. He created and established certain natural laws by which the universe would operate, but he does not intervene in the historical process or in the lives of humans. This is comfortable for people who are very scientific-minded, but it destroys the idea of petitionary prayer.

Fundamentalism: This is a theological position which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It affirms the virgin birth of Jesus, his sacrificial atonement, his bodily resurrection, his second coming and most important, the inerrancy of Scripture.

Anti-nomianism: Nomos means law. Anti-nomianism is an heretical idea that says that since we are saved by faith alone, there is no need to obey Gods law.

Eschatology: Eschaton means the end, So, eschatology is the study of the end times.

Teleology: Telos denotes purpose. Teleology is the study of the end purpose of all things.

Sacrament: The word is derived from the Greek word for mystery. A sacrament, therefore, is a divine mystery by which God grants his grace to those who participate. Roman Catholicism counts seven sacraments; Luther reduced it to two for Protestants.

Vulgate: An early translation of the Bible into Latin by Jerome, probably about A.D. 404.

Rapture: The belief that both believers alive and dead will be caught up to meet Christ in the air. Some people believe this will occur before a period of tribulation and others after the tribulation. It necessarily supposes a flat Earth and heaven as up.

Anathema: Means to be cursed.

Parousia: Refers to the presence or second coming of Christ.

Theism: The belief in a God who is both creator and governor, and who is active in history and human life.

Agnosticism: Gnosis means knowledge. In Greek, it becomes negative if preceded by an A. Agnosticism means a lack of knowledge. An agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in God.

Atheism: If theism is belief in God, add the A and atheism is the denial of Gods existence.

If you can think of words that should be added there are many please let me know.

Earl Crow taught religion and philosophy at High Point University. He has pastored churches and still performs weddings, preaches and offers seminars. He majored in religion at Duke University and attended the Duke Divinity School and has studied at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and received his doctorate from the University of Manchester, England. His column is published Saturdays in the Journal. If you have questions about religion or faith, email Earl Crow at ecrow1@triad.rr.com.

The rest is here:
Earl Crow: How’s your religion vocabulary? Some terms for testing yourself – Winston-Salem Journal

Another View: ‘The Color Purple’ is just as brilliant as ever – Auburn Journal

I was 16 years old the first time I read Alice Walkers The Color Purple, and I was shocked. Looking back, Im not sure why. It wasnt as if Id never heard that kind of language. It wasnt as if Id never witnessed domestic violence or didnt know people who dated other people even though they were already married to someone else. It wasnt as if Id never been attracted to a woman although, I never would have admitted it at the time. I guess Id never seen it all together inside a novel. Later, I went to see the movie with my dad and step-mom, and when (spoiler alert!) Shug Avery kissed Miss Celie, my step-mom gasped, and my dad whispered, Its not like that. But I knew it was like that. When I started the book I thought, as a white teen growing up in rural California in the 1980s, I could not possibly have anything in common with a black family living in rural Georgia in the early 1900s. I was two-thirds of the way into the book when Miss Celie always so meek and oppressed and sad gets angry and tells her abusive husband shes leaving, and then curses him. Until you do right by me, she says, everything you even dream about will fail. Ooh, thats a powerful scene, and it spoke to me. Maybe I didnt have much in common with Celie, but I knew how it felt to want to curse a man. In a 2012 Democracy Now interview with Amy Goodman, Walker explains how in that moment Celie is not speaking as one woman to one man. Shes speaking for all oppressed women as well as the earth. Celie basically curses all the misters in the world unless people are doing right by the poor of the world, by the downtrodden, and by women, generally, they are doomed. Our culture, our society, our world is doomed. Soon after The Color Purple was released it became a best seller in China. When she visited China in 1983, Walker asked what made the book so popular there. The answer: The oppression of women is global. Thats the magic of great literature. It reaches across all boundaries to shed light on whats universal within us. Because I could identify with Celies anger, I had empathy for her, and, though Id never experienced it myself, suddenly I could understand racism as more than an abstraction. It affected the characters I loved. Sofia, Celies daughter-in-law, is beaten and goes to jail for refusing to be the white mayors maid, and then shes forced to be the mayors maid. Celie finds out her dad was lynched by white men. Shug has to drive through the night because theres nowhere for her to stop and sleep, eat, or even use the bathroom. Sure, its fiction, but its also not fiction. Im re-reading the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel right now and remembering who I was at 16, and thinking about how the novel shaped me in ways I didnt even recognize. For example, I was an atheist. The novel didnt change that, but Shug and Celies conversation about religion opened a door in my brain that allowed me to think about God in a different way, a less angry way. It aint a picture show It aint something you can look at apart from anything else including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or was or ever will be. And when you feel that, and be happy to feel that, youve found it. I didnt remember those lines years later when my daughter was born, but they were butterflying inside of me so that as Ive mentioned here before with her birth I was open to the idea of agnosticism. But maybe at 16 I had some kind of premonition of how I would change, because when I finished reading it, I decided that if I ever had a daughter Id name her after one of the characters in The Color Purple. Thats just what I did.

Tricia Caspers is an award-winning poet and journalist. She may be reached at pcaspers@westtrestlereview.com

See the original post here:
Another View: ‘The Color Purple’ is just as brilliant as ever – Auburn Journal

Mulhall column: It’s just a bridge, but if it could snicker … – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

In a recent Roaring Fork Swap post, a local proposed an idea: On the morning of Aug. 14, valley residents gather on the north side of the Grand Avenue bridge and walk across together one last time never mind demolition may have already commenced.

It’s hard for me to get that sentimental about a functionally obsolete structure built in 1953. If I consider the years between ’66, when my parents drove us across the bridge to start a life in Glenwood Springs, and now, the bridge is no more than a passive bystander.

It certainly was no active participant. Among the hazier memories of my youth, during the time of ping-pong ball drops and fishing derbies, one guy kept a dirt airstrip west of town. His reputation as a gadfly preceded him, but even before the days of strict FAA oversight no one took seriously his boast that he could fly his plane under the bridge.

Until he did.

The story fascinated me whenever I overheard it. Parents would assume hushed tones and drop the subject if we came around, perhaps to avoid planting bad seeds.

No one blamed the bridge.

But the bridge’s indifference to questionable pilot judgment was perhaps outdone by its agnosticism toward pre-adolescent child development.

Sometime later, as if to take on the square peg through the round hole challenge, CDOT converted the spacious two-lane bridge into the cozy four-lane thoroughfare we enjoy today, and in so doing significantly extended the perimeter of my childhood independence. My bridge crossing ticket got punched when the “new” cantilevered walkway made vehicle/bicycle encounters less probable.

With this freedom, I spent a lot more time with a north sider buddy of mine. When we weren’t building forts on Iron Mountain, we were learning to stick throwing knives into trees, biking the marauding black bird gauntlet on Sixth above the Hot Springs shielded by tennis racquets and catcher’s masks or camouflaging fresh neighborhood dog turds with grass to trick unwary passersby.

One day my friend’s neighbor, a boy some years our senior, gave us a prophylactic along with a self-aggrandizing speech on its intended use. Puzzled by his presentation, we did what any industrious pair of 10-year-olds would do: We made it into a water balloon.

As soon as we strapped the contraceptive to the garden hose, we discovered to our mutual delight that a rubber holds more water than any ordinary balloon by gallons, so many in fact that despite our best efforts, we couldn’t lift it. Undaunted, we drained it, got a wheelbarrow from the garage and filled it up again, this time in the bed.

As we tied it off, we quickly realized we could not throw what we could not lift, even if we had overcome immobility. After considerable chin rubbing, we developed a plan that marshaled gravity to solve propulsion.

It took us both to wheel the blubbering payload along the alleys between Laurel and Pine with several rest breaks along the way. In those days, traffic was sparse enough that we were able to make it to the crest of the bridge’s walkway unimpeded if not unnoticed.

Once there, it was all we could do to tilt the massive projectile through the walkway railing and watch it splash down unceremoniously in the Colorado. We thought it cool, even if no one but us had seen it.

As the ’60s gave way to the ’70s, Glenwood’s muscle car era commenced, and the bridge stood through that epoch without so much as an approving grin or snide remark.

High schoolers drove Camaros, GTOs, Challengers and Firebirds. It wasn’t “American Graffiti.” It wasn’t even close. But it was growing up in Glenwood Springs.

Pizza Inn became the de facto south-side turnaround, while on the north side you had two options: go under the bridge via Seventh and get back on Grand, or go over the bridge and circle the Hot Springs.

My initial foray into the driving fray was short-lived. I started driving my parents’ ’66 Ford Mustang, a feisty white coupe with a red interior and a 289 V8.

About three months into my sophomore year, I mashed the accelerator turning south on the bridge. As the dutiful little car hit 40, I spotted a GSPD cruiser coming at me headed north.

I learned that day it is possible for a trained professional to make a U turn on the bridge, and for the next six months I drove the green Schwinn 10-speed I got for my 13th birthday.

Looking back, I drove over the bridge on my way to work at The House of Nine Dragons. I drove over the bridge on the way to my first prom. I drove over the bridge when I left for college, and again when I returned from graduate school.

The bridge has been around for all our comings and goings, really, and for those of our parents and children, as well.

But it’s still just a bridge.

It makes me wonder about what all the new bridge will be around for before it comes down.

Mitch Mulhall is a longtime valley resident. His column appears on the second Friday of each month.

Read more:
Mulhall column: It’s just a bridge, but if it could snicker … – Glenwood Springs Post Independent

How well do you know your suburb? – Newcastle Herald

How well do you know where you live?

How well do you know where you live?

Are your neighbours likely to be young or old? Single or with kids? Renting or paying off a home? Born overseas or in Australia?

Take our seven-question quiz and find out. And if you get stuck try again, you’ll getdifferent questions each time. There are also some hints below.

Enter the name of your suburb.

Once you have your score youcan compare your resultwith other people from your area.

The quiz covers almost every one of Australia’s 15,000-plus suburbs. The only ones not included are those with tiny populations.

Oceania includes Australia, Papua New Guinea New Zealand and Pacific Islands such as Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.

The Americas includes North and South America.

Family households include any home that consists of a couple or some dependent children. For example, a family household can be a married couple without kids, a same-sex couple living together, a single parent looking after their two children, or a blended household with step parentsand stepchildren.

Christianitytakes in all denominations such as Catholicism, Protestantism and Seventh Day Adventism.

No Religion includes Agnosticism, Atheism and secular beliefs such as Rationalism and Humanism.

The data used in this quiz comes from the2016 Census.

Original post:
How well do you know your suburb? – Newcastle Herald

Adventures in non-faith – Rappler

We are now witnessing Catholicism at its best. Those from the faith would do well to reconnect with their faith today, and join their Church as it tells those who suffer that they too may partake of the kingdom of God distant but ever present.

Published 3:02 PM, August 07, 2017

Updated 3:02 PM, August 07, 2017

My fiances dream wedding has always been a small, private ceremony in San Franciscos city hall. She will, fortunately for her, get her dream wedding, and, unfortunately for her, be stuck with me for the rest of her life. The civil ceremony abroad begs a question for some friends and relatives: So, when is the Church wedding and reception in the Philippines?

It wont happen, we tell them. For one, we are too shy for large, bourgeois affairs in the Pinoy mold petrified by the monolith that is the wedding/industrial/same-day-edit complex. And, of course, theres that other thing of me being an agnostic. Not a problem, many of my friends say. In the Philippines, even lapsed Catholics and nonbelievers get Church weddings, because thats just what you do.

Catholicism is a cultural norm, not just a set of beliefs. My similarly agnostic and then communist mother was forced into a Catholic wedding (actually into matrimony, since she just wanted to live in), because it would have been shameful not to have one. And my parents, of course, had to get me baptized.

Catholicism is influential in this country because it is a default setting. As a consequence, people rarely grappled with it. For many believers, their faith is wallpaper. And when was the last time people had a debate about the state of their wallpaper? Yet the wallpaper of Catholicism shapes our society in profound ways. It can cause harm by denying contraceptives to poor women. And it can save lives by sheltering the adiks that Duterte seeks to kill.

The advantage of the nonbeliever is a certain distance. Over the years, I have watched Philippine Catholicism from the outside, but also the inside. I grew up in a secular household: Papa is a non-practicing believer and Mama believes that the only humble response to the question of Gods existence is I dont know.

I was also raised by my maternal grandparents, who discovered agnosticism together as they discovered the depths of their ever-deepening love. Both academics, their favorite philosopher was Bertrand Russel and one of their favorite books was Russels Why I am not a Christian. Lolo and Lola died unsure where they were going, but sure of their love for each other.

Unlike many of my nonbelieving friends, I did not stumble upon secularism; I was born into it. And whenever I explored Catholicism, it was always with a sense that I was wading into a tradition not my own. Studying from prep to college at Ateneo, I of course had to learn the faith a faith I professed as a grade school kid, not wanting to feel excluded. By high school, I was outwardly a secularist, but learned to shut up about this fact since my classmates teased me for being an atheist (an agnostic is not an atheist).

Early in college, I was attracted to Catholicism anew. I loved my theology teachers, who presented a version of the faith that satisfied both my intellectual curiosity and my incipient social consciousness. For some reason, I was also more open to the notion of God. I remember meeting an old high school friend who had started studying at UP. She told me that UP was forcing her to question her faith, and I sincerely replied that Ateneo was forcing me to question my non-faith.

I closed the door to Catholicism late in college as I grew more confident in my skin, believing I could confront moral issues on my own by studying philosophy and literature. Through Aristotle, I discovered the virtue of dedication to a political community. Through Foucault, I learned that multiple people could be marginalized in multiple ways. Through Austen, I discovered warmth and the quiet beauty of daily acts of kindness. I value my personal morality as much as believers value their faith-based morality.

In grad school, I had already weaned myself from faith, and any openness to Catholicism dissipated as the reproductive health (RH) wars reached their crescendo. During my experiments in faith, I grew to love the Catholicism of liberation theology: it addressed the pressing issues of inequality and social marginalization. It was a faith of justice. It was practical, real. But I found the sex-obsessed, anti-RH Catholics strange. Why waste so much energy denying adults consensual fun? No condoms, no premarital sex, no living in, no masturbation, no gay sex all are prohibitions anchored more on St. Augustines bizarre notion of guilt than they are on coherent beliefs about human development.

So when Duterte started cursing the Church, he did so at a good time for a politician. The RH debates had turned off even some true believers. The anti-RH campaign exposed the bishops as bullies, who sought to impose their will on secular politics, denying scientific evidence in the process. At no point had the Catholic Church in the Philippines been so weak against a secular leader.

But Duterte is also an opportunity for the Church to make itself relevant. As Sheila Coronel writes, priests are now the first line of defense for the poor threatened by Digongs war on drugs. These days, I feel more warmth whenever I enter a Catholic church or a chapel. I know these places and the institution that runs them have become sanctuaries for the poor, the excluded, the subhuman. The Church recognizes their dignity because it sees in them the image and likeness of God. Unlike the callous horde that simply view them as refuse.

We are now witnessing Catholicism at its best. Those from the faith would do well to reconnect with their faith today, and join their Church as it tells those who suffer that they too may partake of the kingdom of God distant but ever present. As for me, I remain an outsider and an observer. But I observe with a growing sense of admiration. Those in the sidelines are, after all, permitted to cheer. Rappler.com

Lisandro Claudio (@leloyclaudio on Twitter) teaches history at De La Salle University and hosts the Rappler web show Basagan ng Trip.

See the rest here:
Adventures in non-faith – Rappler


12345...10...