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Another Easter!

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2017/04/14 at 12:00 AM

It’s a rare Catholic church that does not talk about the significance of Christmas on Christmas day and the significance of the Resurrection on Easter. The reason is that both these feasts have momentous implication in the Christian religion. Easter is the paramount celebration of the Christian Church. Good Friday would have been forever in dispute if there had been no Easter.

St. Paul tells us that without the Resurrection, our faith and belief is useless because it would amount to little more than opinion. What would we have faith in? A corpse? A memory? A shaky hope? But, the Resurrection of Christ is God’s seal of approval on Christ and His Church.

No other religious founder is still alive. Some have known burial places; some do not. Some, like Ellen Gould White, founder of the Seventh Day Adventists, promised her followers that she would rise from the dead. They are still waiting. No religion even claims a founder who came back from the dead. Even Islam, the source of much religious absurdity, does not claim that Mohammed is still alive.

The Resurrection is not some myth or fable or tall story. It is a historical fact like any other authenticated fact of history. Christians should not think of the Resurrection as some pious sectarian tale, but a fact of history attested to by 500 witnesses, some of whom actually conversed with the risen Christ. Courts accept the testimony of two reliable witnesses. What of five hundred? Many of these were still living when Gospels and Epistles were written.

If Christ had not risen from the dead as He prophesied, His mission on earth would have been suspect and subject to two millennia of bickering, arguing, doubt, etc. By rising from the grave by His own divine power, He affirmed Himself as God and Savior, making His teaching of divine origin and, therefore, not subject to change by human or group of humans.

Thus the Resurrection, by itself, affirms the truth of Christianity. All other religions, ‘ipso facto’, can be labeled ‘false’. Ah, yes, you say; what about the ‘sincere’ members of other religions. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Sincerity does not affect truth. Truth does not arise in our minds, but in the real world.

After Christ died on the Cross, He could have brought Himself back to life and simply vanished from the tomb. Salvation would still be possible for man.Prayer would be possible.Liturgies would be possible.What would not be possible would freedom from doubt and anxiety, and centuries of skepticism. Humans want to have certitude about vitally important matters, and the Resurrection is a divine gift of certitude about Christ and His Church. It is another example of divine love (commitment) for the benefit of us humans.

Man has conquered the heights of the heavens and the depths of the seas, but, even though some try, he cannot seem to conquer that six-foot hole. Not a single human has ever come back to life by his own power, and even those whom Christ raised from the dead in the Gospels died later and are still dead.

In this Easter-time, the world is in a mess. All of it is man-made.Nothing seems to be working. There is fear and dread of resurgent Islam. World economies are falling. There are wars, protests, insurrections all over.

Politicians have no answers or the wrong ones. Some Church leaders have rejected their God for human applause. Some feel like a man in a boat without oars heading for a waterfall.

But, God is unchanging. Easter tells us that God still cares about people and is committed to their well-being if they so desire. In a world of chaos and unbelief, the resurrected Christ calls to us and says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will refresh you.”

Easter tells us that is a real possibility. Recall the words of St. Augustine, “Our hearts were made for Thee, O, God, and they will not rest until they rest in Thee.” The risen Christ is the ONLY answer to man’s problems. That is why he referred to Himself as “THE way, THE truth, and THE life.

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Is It Just Semantics?

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/07/01 at 12:00 AM

In the field of language, Latin is classified as a dead language while English is classified as a living language. A dead language is one which is no longer spoken by any recognized group, and, therefore, its grammar and vocabulary will not change. (Latin has been dropped from most schools because “dead” was interpreted as “useless” which it is anything but.)

Since language is arbitrary to begin with, and is designed by those who use it, a living language changes all the time by adding new words, new meanings for old words, words dropped, etc. Words can pick up positive or negative meanings. For example, “pretty” used to mean “sneaky”. Think of all the new words added to English in the past 30 years.

If you eliminate the English words with Latin or Greek roots, you are left with a very monosyllabic tribal language based on the uneducated Germanic tribes of Anglos and Saxons who settled in England. Thus, English may be widespread in the world because of American power and wealth (as Latin once was for the same reasons), but it is not a very sophisticated language. For example, the Greek language, much older than English, has about 7-8 words that mean “love” depending on the object of the love. If a Greek uses a form of “agape,” we know he is referring to religious love. If he uses “eros,” we know he means physical love. If he uses “philos,” he is thinking of friendship.

In English, we use only one word, “love” to cover everything. Thus we love God; God loves us; we love our spouse, our child, our parents and the country. But we also “love” our team, pizza, ice cream, that movie, a TV program, and we’d love to visit Europe. We even love the dog.

Thus the word love covers so much that it really doesn’t mean much or at least not what it’s supposed to mean. We have extended the meaning of love to encompass the ideas of like, prefer, hope, desire etc.

The ability to love is one of those gifts of God that comes with our rational nature.

No other creature can love…not even the dog. It is like language, law, conversation, fine arts, etc…a peculiarly human gift in that only humans can engage in it.

Love must be rational. This is why we tend to look askance at infatuation whose root is “silly”. Love can only apply to rational beings. You simply cannot love ice cream or any other food. I suggest that these egregious uses of the word “love” may be part of the reason that love doesn’t mean what it used to mean; we have made it a vague and amorphous word.

We need to find a synonym that conveys the idea of love accurately. We are always hearing that God loves us. Is it a quasi romantic, cutesy, mushy love that cannot even be really imagined, let alone grasped by the mind? It is because of this false idea of divine love that the error of universal salvation has arisen. “God loves us so much, He would never send anyone to hell.” “God is good that He could never send anyone to hell.”

I suggest we think of love in terms of “commitment”. Whenever we hear “love”, we think “commitment.” John 3:5 might be more meaningful if we said, “God was so committed to the world that he gave His only-begotten Son…” “Commitment” suggests a much stronger reality.

All human love should involve commitment to another person. If there is no commitment, the “love” may be based merely on physical attraction (“He’s a hunk.”) or selfish utility (marrying the boss’s daughter). The highest love involves a dedication/commitment to the spiritual and/or temporal well-being of another person.

There is another aspect of real love that contemporary society has rejected. The best love relationship has a divine component. If you do not have a commitment to God and the things of God, whatever love you offer will be diminished because God is the source of love. A true love song can be used as a prayer, too. Think of “Be My Love”. Then try making a prayer out of modern “love” songs!

When we think of love, think of commitment to someone. That is a strong word…and a bit scary, too. It does give us a sense of what is expected in a love relationship whether it is with God or another person. When we want to have a model of commitment, we need look no further than the Bible and Christ. God didn’t just say he was committed to man, he proved it on at least three major occasions.

The first was Christmas when a divine Being allowed himself to take on human form.

The second was at the Crucifixion when Christ committed Himself to rescue mankind potentially from hell.

The third is a commitment that we don’t usually think of in that way…the Resurrection. This was a commitment to the peace of mind of the faithful who, because of the Resurrection, need never doubt that the Gospels are true history and, therefore, reliable in all that they teach.

As Catholics, rejoice and be glad that our God has shown His commitment to us.

Have we reciprocated that commitment?

The Semantics of Easter

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/04/02 at 12:00 AM

Beginning in the 1960’s, a concerted effort was launched by influential clergy in the Vatican and their American allies to make radical changes in the Church. According to some, the changes have not enhanced the Church or the religious experience of the Catholic people.

The most obvious was the complete overhaul of the Mass under the guidance of Archbishop Bugnini who worked in the Vatican. It was later discovered that he had been a secret member of the Masons, a group not well-disposed toward the Church. Bugnini’s goal, in his own words, was the make the Mass more acceptable to Protestants which is odd because Protestants do not even believe in the Mass in any form. The new Mass has been a subject of controversy ever since.

Another source of negative change were the new Bible translations which too often actually altered the meaning of the original texts. One notable example concerns what used to be a familiar verse:”What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers (allows) the loss of his SOUL.” This is a warning from Christ Himself that the salvation of the soul is one’s most important need and goal. The contemporary wording is: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his LIFE?” Major difference. The idea that to become very wealthy and then die has no spiritual implications at all. To use a slang term…it’s a “tough break”, but little else. After all, everyone will “lose his life” at some time. The tragedy is not dying: it not being ready to die spiritually.

Another change for the worse is in the verse “My Father’s house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” The new reading is “My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a place of business”. In the time of Christ, the Jews had to convert their Roman coins to Jewish coins for Temple use. Money-changing was, in itself, legitimate. However, the men were gouging the Temple attendees by giving far less vale in Jewish money than for the Roman money they took in. Christ was not objecting to the business aspects, but to the almost extortionary exchange rates over which the people had no control.

An even more serious change occurs in the Easter narrative. It concerns to change from the active to the passive voice (Normally translations would not change the voice of verbs.) The active voice in grammar means that the subject of the sentence is doing something himself. Ex. The man opened he door. The passive voice means that the subject is being acted upon by someone/something else. The door was opened by the man. The door did not open itself. In my younger years, the Easter narrative always read: “Christ rose from the dead.”, “He is risen: which are in the active voice and means that Christ brought Himself back to life.

Nowadays the words are in the passive voice. Christ was raised from the dead.”God raised Him up.” The problem is that some might conclude that Christ did not raise Himself and had to be resurrected by some other power like Lazarus and widow’s son were raised by Christ.

If we begin to doubt the reality of the Resurrection, it will damage our faith and lead to doubt about other aspects of doctrine, especially ones we may not be much in favor of. Thus, it is very important that we understand that Christ as God brought Himself back to life. He did not need any help.

Is all this re-translation an effort to deny or denigrate the Person of Christ. I don’t know, but the history of the Church in U.S. Certainly suggests I might be so. If the faith of a Catholic is weakened or lost, there is no alternative. In the words of St. Peter, “Where shall we go, Lord, you have the words of eternal life.”

The Resurrection of Christ is the singular event in the history of mankind and of the Church. No has done it before or since. The Resurrection is a truly a historical event as any historical event you can name. It really happened and can be proved.

St. Paul tells us that if Christ did not rise from the dead, we are wasting our time with Christianity because, without the Resurrection, Christ is just another teacher of doctrine and morals, but no more significant than any other teacher.

In the Easter season, the Church often speaks of the “joy of Easter”. This joy is not a physical or emotional joy as it was at the first Easter. It is the happiness that arises in the mind because we KNOW that Christ rose from the dead as He said He would. It is the joy of confirmation that all that He said is true. It is the satisfaction of certitude that we are followers of the true God and our faith is not misplaced. It is the assurance that our efforts to lead a moral life amid a grossly immoral culture are not in vain. It is the hope that the blessed eternity that Christ promised to those who are faithful will actually come to pas in due course.It is the consolation of knowing that our God who took on human flesh is still alive and always available to us.

Live accordingly.

“Resurrexit sicut dixit.”

“He has risen as He said.”

Alleluia!

Abortion

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/02/06 at 12:00 AM

The accusation is often made that anti-abortion attitudes are a particular effort by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the only church that is officially against abortion. Few others make pro-life statements. The Catholic Church is demeaned, ridiculed, called “out of date”, “old-fashioned, “anti-woman”, “contra-cultural” and on and on.

The fact is that abortion is a moral evil, BUT NOT because the Catholic Church says it is. Abortion is an objective evil, and the Church is simply stating that fact. It is the natural moral law that all normal people sense that tells us that abortion is a moral evil. Abortion would be evil even if no religion opposed it. Abortion can be argued against successfully without even mentioning any religion because abortion is irrational.

What is to be thought of a nation that deliberately and legally kills off fifty million and still counting . . . 50,000,000 babies because they are inconvenient to someone? We rightly abhor the mass murders under Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and others. Yet, in the U.S. it is quite legal to kill any unborn baby based merely on the mother’s wish. Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton, advocates a parental right to kill a child up to two years old if the parents think it is appropriate for them.

Legal abortion lessens the value of all human life. A few years ago in California, a request was made via TV to help a child in great need and a dog that was injured. The dog received from viewers far more money than the human child. If someone as inculpable as an unborn child can be legally killed, then who is really safe? (Ironically, most of those who support abortion are against capital punishment.) There is in Oregon a law that allows for assisted suicide. There is talk (and many say the actuality) of rationing health care in the Obama health care law. A person’s worth is to evaluated based on how much their medicine costs the taxpayer. Yet, this from a government that wastes billions every year.

Abortion leads to other naturally immoral actions. If you can kill a child, then the very idea of the immoral is diminished, and crimes against persons rise, especially crimes against women. When abortion is easily available, immoral sexual activity rises tremendously since any “mistakes” you make will be rectified by the abortionist. Every sexual sin seems to have increased in frequency with legal abortion and natural consequences like illegitimate children and sexually-transmitted disease.

A nation that condones abortion will see the impact of this evil as it spreads its negative effects throughout the nation. Since abortion is contrary to the natural moral law (as is any murder), it means that condoning abortion also violates the laws of right reasoning. Our national ability to think clearly, rationally and honestly is impaired. We begin to sanction other moral evils. We lose the ability even to see evil as evil and begin to rationalize its acceptance. Example: Same-sex marriage which is an oxymoron anyway. Those who are entrusted with preserving the common good offer solutions to problems that cannot solve the real problem. Example: The answer, for some, to any problem is to spend more money on it, failing to see that if money is not the cause of the problem, that money will not better the situation. A case in point is education at all levels. The answer to school problems is not more money, but better philosophy of education. It’s the ideas that are wrong, not the finances.

Feminism and the media are two of the most ardent and vocal proponents of abortion in the U.S. Note that they never mention the adverse effects of abortion on the individual involved or the society as a whole, some of which can last a lifetime. These proponents always claim to be “in support of women.” What kind of “friend” would allow a woman to deliberately choose a path of evil merely to vindicate a false philosophy. Another example of deficient thinking.

Abortion also has negative economic consequences. We have killed off part of an entire generation. The earliest victims would be in their thirties now. Most would be gainfully employed, paying taxes and supporting the Social Security Fund which is vanishing because of an insufficient number of younger contributors. As the population ages and abortion continues, the problem will not improve. Gradually, as the decline unfolds, government officials would have to take charge of more and more aspects of life, thereby diminishing our liberty and freedom more and more.

Ah, but abortion is legal: as it stands today, women have the right to seek an abortion. True, but what is the source of that “right”? The Supreme Court. However, the problem here is that no human group or group of humans can ever give anyone the “right” to violate a natural moral law. The subordinate can never overturn the superior’s law. Therefore, there is no valid right to abortion that would be sanctioned by the natural moral law.

About 70 years ago, Richard Weaver wrote a fascinating book entitled, “Ideas Have Consequences.” The theme was that negative and stupid ideas and philosophies lead to negative and stupid effects. Abortion was not an issue in his time, but were he alive now, I’m sure he would have had a chapter on the societal folly of abortion.

Those who advocate and practice abortion at any level do no individual or society any lasting good. Moral evil cannot lead to good effects.

When God issued the Ten Commandments, He did not make any mistakes. There is one Commandment that is specifically meant to preserve individuals and society: “Thou shall not kill”. The pro-abortion people care about neither.

The next time you hear somebody reject the idea of abortion on demand, realize that they are not being anti-anything; they are just exercising their power of correct reasoning.

Life in a Mirage

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/30 at 12:00 AM

What is the most pernicious evil in the world today and has been for a long time, but has been rejected or denied or ignored by most people because they do not see the baneful effect of it? Some even redefine it to fit their personal, political, or social agenda. Even churches rarely warn against it. In fact, the term for it is rarely heard or written about. I refer to what used to be called sin.

The first sin in history was almost fatal to the human race which at that time consisted of only two people. Its devastating effects have plagued the human race ever since.

What is sin? Since it affects everyone, we can deal with it without needing to mention religion because it is not peculiar to any particular group; it is a human problem. Sin is an irrational act. It is a failure of common sense.

Humans are a mixture of the rational and the animalistic or as has been said, humans are rational animals, animals who can think. We certainly share many characteristics of animals. In fact, Darwinian evolutionists have been attempting to convince us for more than a hundred and fifty years that we are nothing more than sophisticated monkeys. But we also have a mind which gives us the ability to think, analyze, evaluate, ponder and abstract. Animals cannot do this. Thus humans can develop literature, law, music, art, and invent. No animal has any of those talents. A dog who came back to life after dying 50 years ago would be right at home with your dog; a normal man coming back to life after 50 years would be astonished at what he had to learn and relearn today. Thus, the human intellect, even at the C or D level, is outstanding compared to any animal. That is why your dog cannot speak a single word in your language.

The intellect or mind is far more important than the body; it is meant to direct and control both itself and the body. Thus we say that sin is an irrational action because it acts against the best interests and welfare of the person (soul and the body). A sin is performing an act, or failing to perform one when required, which militates against some good of the body and/or the soul.

The reason that religion need not be mentioned here is that every person is endowed with a sense of moral right and wrong regardless of his religious belief or lack of it. We instinctively know when something is morally good or bad. This is called the Natural Moral Law which comes from the Creator. But the Natural Moral Law is not looked upon favorably in modern society because it makes moral demands and too many “modern people” prefer evil to good. The most concrete expression of the Moral Law is found in the Ten Commandments because they simply make sense; a society cannot function without them. Imagine what would happen in your city if the Ten Commandments were suspended for a week, or even a day.

While the idea of sin may be ignored or rejected, the evil effects persist regardless of our attitude towards the concept of sin. Whenever we violate a natural law, either physical, intellectual, moral, somewhere, sometime, somehow, there will be a price to be paid. Violate the law of gravity and you will pay the price immediately; violate the laws of learning and you will not acquire knowledge; violate the moral law regarding sex outside of marriage and all kinds of miseries will befall you. There is simply no way to avoid or evade the consequence of irrational behavior.

Sin is also grossly deceptive. It always promises far more than it will deliver. In fact, sin has been defined as evil under the appearance of good. We sin because we expect to get some reward, and we may in the short run, but sin, especially habits of serious sins will leave its mark. We fool ourselves into thinking that moral evil will give us a better life than a moral good, but since sin is basically irrational, it cannot help but deceive the sinner.

Another aspect of sin is that vice (habits of sins) can lead to a kind of slavery. The sinner becomes addicted to evil and cannot seem to stop sinning because the perceived benefit clouds his mind to the adverse effects. His mind no longer functions reasonably or with common sense. Think of the drug addict, the serial adulterer or fornicator, the pornography addict; they are enslaved to vice and more often than not, are not even aware of it. This is the ultimate deception of sin, slavery to the irrational.

When a people or a society reject the idea of sin, great misfortunes come to them: a. What used to be considered bad is now considered good and vice versa; for example, abortion used to be illegal and public prayer was never deemed inappropriate.

b. A minority of persons, sometimes just one person, can bring a whole cultural habit to a halt. Example: Nativity scenes, public prayer by individuals, Christian prayer, display of religious symbols. How many times has one atheist been allowed by a judge to disenfranchise thousands from participating in some religious practice because the atheists might be “offended”?

c. People develop a hardness of heart so that immorality seems to have no effect on their thought processes. Nothing negative seems to bother them. If you question them about violence on TV or sexually suggestive dialogue or totally humorless “humor”, the response will usually be a shrug because the moral beacon has been extinguished.

I have chosen to deal with this subject from the aspect of reason alone because, as I wrote above, morality affects everyone. However, appealing to religious authority or orthodox Christian morality would make the case against sin even stronger. There are those who claim that an anti-abortion attitude is merely a Catholic or Mormon doctrine. The reality is that the anti-abortion argument can be made solely from a rational viewpoint without mentioning religion at all because abortion is in reality premeditated murder. The pro-abortion arguments are easily refuted on the basis of reason alone. Thus, being anti-abortion is simply being rational.

The world is awash in moral evil. Every one of the Ten Commandments is being flagrantly violated and we are paying the price in the United States whether we realize it or not, because so much in society is going wrong. Nothing seems to work out; no problems are really being solved; government officials do not seem to move from crisis to crisis with any effective plan to solve the problems. Colleges have become little more than biased indoctrination centers. The media has lost all semblance of honest and fair reporting; instead, it preaches an agenda. And on and on.

Unless we regain our grip on reality and start using our heads as nature intended and demands, collapse is inevitable. Not a pleasant reality, but a definite historical reality. While sin can be discussed without mentioning God, the reality is that life cannot be lived without Him. There is a Creator who designed the human person to have a relationship with Him. This has been shown over and over down the centuries whether we believe it or not. Not only that, but He has set a goal for us to be united with Him for eternity….whether you believe it or not. Whether we attain that goal depends on our choices throughout our lifetime. Sin, whether you consider it from a rational or religious point of view, militates against this goal. The deliberate habitual sinner will lose out.

The most important day of your life is the last one. You may or may not know it’s the last day. Your relationship to the Creator at that time will determine whether you have achieved the goal of human life or not. If you have lived in a mirage of enjoyable sin, you will not enjoy the following day.

 

A Triology of the Unreal: Part I – Separation of Church and State

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/24 at 4:05 PM

Separation of Church and State – Anti-Christian groups such as the ACLU, activist judges and secularists in general have used this mantra to force Christians (rarely do they use it against any other religion) to act against their basic beliefs. No public prayers. No Nativity scenes. No religious symbols. No invocation of the Christian God.

This idea of separation of Church and State is found in no official document of the Founding Fathers of the United States. It is not in the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or any writings of the early builders of this country. What the Constitution does say is that this country will not have an official, government-approved religion such as the Anglican Church in England.

This idea of separation of Church and State was hijacked from a private letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a friend. It had no official force whatsoever, but the phrase has been treated by Christianity’s enemies as a quasi divine revelation.

The motivation is totally anti-Christian/Catholic because when Muslims celebrate Islamic holidays on public property, not a word is ever said by these advocates of separation. This gross hypocrisy demonstrates the bias in the whole effort.

The next time you hear or read about someone or some group “nobly” defending the people from the “onslaught of religion,” realize that the whole thing is totally fake. They care nothing about Church or State; they just want to “stick it” to the Christians.

A Trilogy of the Unreal: Part III – The Reality of Evil

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/24 at 12:00 AM

There are those who contend that the U.S. has become awash in sin, corruption and evil of all kinds. They can offer rather convincing statistics to support their belief. They cite the high abortion rate (55 million), the billion-dollar pornography industry, the high numbers of illegitimate births and the explosion of sexually transmitted diseases and more.

There are even more who contend that there is nothing wrong and that those who do “evil” are not immoral at all, but are merely exercising their free choice to determine for themselves what their personal moral code will be. (Can a society survive without objective moral codes?)

Why do we call evil “evil?” It is the opposite of good and in order to call anything evil, we must be familiar with a standard of goodness. If we did not know what was morally good, we could never judge anything to be morally evil because there would be no standard of comparison. The only absolute standard of goodness is God and His moral law which binds all humans to obedience whether they believe it or like it or not. When an action or a series of actions violates the natural moral law, it is considered to be evil or sinful.

A problem arises when a society rejects God, at least in practice as has American society. The standard of moral goodness is changed from the infallible God to fellow human beings in various positions of power: legislators, judges, media. They tend to set the standard based usually on personal and subjective preferences. Those who do not like the restrictions of divine law to begin with easily succumb to the lure of evil now described as a good, or at least no longer evil. (None of this changes God’s mind at all.)

Machiavelli, the author of “The Prince”, taught that humans were basically evil in action and intent. Jean Jacques Rousseau, the French “philosopher”, taught that people are all basically good and that society corrupts them . . . forgetting that a society is composed of people. St. Paul called men sinners, but he did not say they were evil. The Church teachers that, because of Original Sin, man has a tendency to sin and evil and does fall, but is not per se evil because there is the possibility of forgiveness for the repentant. Evil does not seek forgiveness because real evil sees nothing to be forgiven for because it does not see its evil actions as evil.

There is an objective standard of moral goodness and moral evil (sin). This is imposed by the Creator and its validity and force does not depend on human acceptance of the standards. This is the standard by which all humans will be judged. Too many people think they are free to change divine law to suit themselves. The Supreme Court attempted this in Roe vs Wade. The problem is that God did not agree. A city council cannot change state law and a state cannot change federal law, and humans cannot change divine law . . . even though they attempt to do rather frequently.

The safest course is to strive to be on God’s side if for no other reason that no human or group of humans has even a scintilla of divine intelligence. Why follow the ignorant and weak? “Right is still right even if no one is right and wrong is still wrong even if every one is wrong.”

The choice is ours, choosing human “wisdom” because it appeals to us is at least risky. Choosing divine wisdom is not always to our liking, but it will keep us on the right road. And only the right road will reach the destination.

A Trilogy of the Unreal: Part II – “Jesus” Might Offend

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/24 at 12:00 AM

For some time now, it as become fashionable to tell Christian clergy and laity that they may not invoke the name of Jesus in prayers in any public supported forum. After all, not everyone is a Christian, and they may be “offended” by hearing the name of the Christian God. (To which I say, “Let them be “offended”; it’s rank hypocrisy anyway.) I would be neither surprised or offended if a rabbi mentioned Yahweh, or a Muslim referred to Allah, or a Buddhist mentioned Buddha.

This is still another example of the modern world’s attitude that religion is really not very important, and that belief and practice can be and should be tailored to the contemporary culture. Certainly any religion that claims to be true and can prove it like Christianity is utterly taboo. After all, truth is what we decide is true; there can’t be any such thing as objective truth.

This attitude of religious indifferentism is really inimical to human nature. Man is created with a religious bent. He may neglect or ignore it, but it is still there. Another part of inborn human nature is to seek the truth; it is part of our ability to think rationally. Society cannot exist without truth; it would devolve in chaos in no time. The problem with religious indifferentism is that it ignores contradictions which are fatal to correct thinking. Christianity believes in a triune God (3 Persons); Islam, in a unitary god (one person); Buddhism in no gods because it is basically a philosophy of this life; Hinduism believes in 300,000,000 (million) gods. They are all acceptable? It doesn’t matter?

There are those who say that God has abandoned the U.S. to its stupidities and religious nonsense. Perhaps; perhaps not! It would not be the first time that God hardened hearts because of obdurate evil.

I know an Anglican priest who, when told he could not invoke the name of Jesus in his prayer, simply used the phrase “Christ our Lord” instead. Everyone knew what he meant.

Those who denigrate Christianity so as not to “offend” someone are just another version of the anti-Christian atmosphere becoming more prevalent in this society. If these people were sincere, they would forbid all religions to curtail their prayers and invocations; they don’t.

Finally, denial of religious truth is a sign of the unreality which seems to be the hallmark of contemporary society. There is a term for those who think the unreal is real.

Response to article: Life in a Mirage

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/17 at 12:00 AM

We received this comment via e-mail from a friend re the article: “I don’t think contraception is evil.”

Here is what I responded: I thought I would elaborate a bit on the matter of contraception. Just thoughts, not proselytizing! This is why I think it is wrong and always wrong.

1. It is unnatural. The first divine command to man was increase and multiply. There was no mention of “unless you’re on the pill” or the like. This a command, not a suggestion, because it involves the welfare of the human race. Contraception introduces an alien element into a divine plan. Contraception is a man-made invention which was not meant to be part of a divine plan. Unnatural actions have consequences; between abortion and contraception, the Western world is depopulating itself out of existence, and this is unnatural in itself. The statistics are horrifying. Any activity contrary to nature exacts punishment at least eventually. That’s a law of nature too.

2. Contraception sees sex as an end itself, rather than a means. Its goal, too often nowadays, is simply personal pleasure and gratification. It’s certainly true that pleasure accompanies sex, but more as incentive than goal. Pleasure is not meant to be the main goal; otherwise, sexual activity would not produce new people.

3. Men, by nature, have a more casual attitude about sex. Family is far more the domain of the woman; it is almost a part of their being. Initially, men can take it or leave it. This is why adolescent boys (of all ages) can approach a girl and speak about “love” while hoping for sex. Adolescent girls (of all ages) can agree to sex hoping for love. Guess which one always loses?

4. Contraception means using another person for one’s own ends. How many times have I heard of women on the pill for fear the man involved would leave otherwise? What about a family’s economic circumstances that, by any objective calculation, simply do not have sufficient income to produce unlimited numbers of children? There is no law, divine, Church or human, that requires any married couple to have children at all. It is a free choice. But to engage in the activity that produces children while thwarting the laws of nature is wrong. Natural laws are divine laws and man has no authority to subvert them. A basic rule in any aspect of human life is that if we do not want the EFFECT, we should not operate the CAUSE. If we don’t want to die, we don’t eat poison, jump off tall buildings, or drive at 100mph. Moreover, sex is the one natural drive (like food, water and sleep) that does not have to be satisfied. When God planned the Incarnation of Christ, he did not include sex in it.

5. On balance then, I personally do not think contraception has been any kind of boon to mankind. “They are going to do it anyway.” That may be, but we don’t repeal laws just because they will be broken. Laws are for the good of society, not just deterrents. Many will not break them. Contraception leads to the widespread promiscuity in our contemporary culture. It can also lead to abortion when it fails at its usual 20% rate.

6. Just as we have no authority to change any of the 10 Commandments, (although it is widely attempted), we have no authority to alter, deny, repeal, or ignore any other divine plan.

The problem with all this presumptuousness on the part of humans is that while humans may declare a divine law repealed, it is not ratified by God, and it still in force and still expected to be obeyed.

Abortion, A Realistic Viewpoint

In 12 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2016/01/17 at 12:00 AM

The accusation is often made that anti-abortion attitudes are a particular effort by the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the only church that is officially against abortion. Few others make pro-life statements. The Catholic Church is demeaned, ridiculed, called “out of date”, “old-fashioned, “anti-woman”, “contra-cultural” and on and on.

The fact is that abortion is a moral evil, BUT NOT because the Catholic Church says it is. Abortion is an objective evil, and the Church is simply stating that fact. It is the natural moral law that all normal people sense that tells us that abortion is a moral evil. Abortion would be evil even if no religion opposed it. Abortion can be argued against successfully without even mentioning any religion because abortion is irrational.

What is to be thought of a nation that deliberately and legally kills off fifty million and still counting . . . 50,000,000 babies because they are inconvenient to someone? We rightly abhor the mass murders under Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and others. Yet, in the U.S. it is quite legal to kill any unborn baby based merely on the mother’s wish. Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton, advocates a parental right to kill a child up to two years old if the parents think it is appropriate for them.

Legal abortion lessens the value of all human life. A few years ago in California, a request was made via TV to help a child in great need and a dog that was injured. The dog received from viewers far more money than the human child. If someone as inculpable as an unborn child can be legally killed, then who is really safe? (Ironically, most of those who support abortion are against capital punishment.) There is in Oregon a law that allows for assisted suicide. There is talk (and many say the actuality) of rationing health care in the Obama health care law. A person’s worth is to evaluated based on how much their medicine costs the taxpayer. Yet, this from a government that wastes billions every year.

Abortion leads to other naturally immoral actions. If you can kill a child, then the very idea of the immoral is diminished, and crimes against persons rise, especially crimes against women. When abortion is easily available, immoral sexual activity rises tremendously since any “mistakes” you make will be rectified by the abortionist. Every sexual sin seems to have increased in frequency with legal abortion and natural consequences like illegitimate children and sexually-transmitted disease.

A nation that condones abortion will see the impact of this evil as it spreads its negative effects throughout the nation. Since abortion is contrary to the natural moral law (as is any murder), it means that condoning abortion also violates the laws of right reasoning. Our national ability to think clearly, rationally and honestly is impaired. We begin to sanction other moral evils. We lose the ability even to see evil as evil and begin to rationalize its acceptance. Example: Same-sex marriage which is an oxymoron anyway. Those who are entrusted with preserving the common good offer solutions to problems that cannot solve the real problem. Example: The answer, for some, to any problem is to spend more money on it, failing to see that if money is not the cause of the problem, that money will not better the situation. A case in point is education at all levels. The answer to school problems is not more money, but better philosophy of education. It’s the ideas that are wrong, not the finances.

Feminism and the media are two of the most ardent and vocal proponents of abortion in the U.S. Note that they never mention the adverse effects of abortion on the individual involved or the society as a whole, some of which can last a lifetime. These proponents always claim to be “in support of women.” What kind of “friend” would allow a woman to deliberately choose a path of evil merely to vindicate a false philosophy. Another example of deficient thinking.

Abortion also has negative economic consequences. We have killed off part of an entire generation. The earliest victims would be in their thirties now. Most would be gainfully employed, paying taxes and supporting the Social Security Fund which is vanishing because of an insufficient number of younger contributors. As the population ages and abortion continues, the problem will not improve. Gradually, as the decline unfolds, government officials would have to take charge of more and more aspects of life, thereby diminishing our liberty and freedom more and more.

Ah, but abortion is legal: as it stands today, women have the right to seek an abortion. True, but what is the source of that “right”? The Supreme Court. However, the problem here is that no human group or group of humans can ever give anyone the “right” to violate a natural moral law. The subordinate can never overturn the superior’s law. Therefore, there is no valid right to abortion that would be sanctioned by the natural moral law.

About 70 years ago, Richard Weaver wrote a fascinating book entitled, “Ideas Have Consequences.” The theme was that negative and stupid ideas and philosophies lead to negative and stupid effects. Abortion was not an issue in his time, but were he alive now, I’m sure he would have had a chapter on the societal folly of abortion.

Those who advocate and practice abortion at any level do no individual or society any lasting good. Moral evil cannot lead to good effects.

When God issued the Ten Commandments, He did not make any mistakes. There is one Commandment that is specifically meant to preserve individuals and society: “Thou shall not kill”. The pro-abortion people care about neither.

The next time you hear somebody reject the idea of abortion on demand, realize that they are not being anti-anything; they are just exercising their power of correct reasoning.