I’ve posted quite a bit criticizing the Arabs in general and the Palestinians in particular concerning the war that is currently going on.

That criticism not withstanding as Christians in general and as Catholics in particular we are obliged to pray for both the Israeli’s and the Palestinians.

War on any level is a horrible thing, it may sometimes be necessary, it may sometimes be just, it may stop or prevent something that is even worse but it should never be a cause for celebration.

We are obliged to pray for the quick end of the war and peace in the region. One may of course pray for victory for the right but Christians are obliged to pray for their enemies:

“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit (is) that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

This is not optional! If you claim to be Christian and believe the Gospel to be true it must be done. All souls have equal value in the eyes of God. Even if you don’t agree with it those are the rules. You are not required to agree with the rules but you are required to obey them.

Update: I call upon my fellow Christian bloggers to echo this message. For my fellow Catholics I think the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary would be a good choice here.

Well I mentioned one of my pet peeves in my Happy New Year post, its caused a bit of a debate between me and commentator Galapagos Pete. Since it is getting long I figured I’d copy my latest answer as a new post. To follow the debate thus far go here:

I will first post reply to me and answer in a fisking format for easier reading:

“First are you just as angered concerning non-christian religions? If not then why should Christianity get one dander up when other religions do not?”…the former Soviet Union, China and North Korea are or were officially atheist and that didn’t stop them from slaughtering millions upon millions.””

Here’s a sentiment you may have come across in your life:

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3

Let me explain what that means: Your bad behavior is in no slightest degree excused by the bad behavior of others, even if theirs is worse. If you lose your temper and punch someone in the mouth, no one is going to let you off the hook because someone else who lost their temper killed 9 people. And you shouldn’t let yourself off the hook, either.

But you would only agree with this if you subscribed to a moral code, particularly if it was one you believed was handed down by the supreme being of the universe. (Though, as an atheist who believes that the bible was simply written by men but has some very good thoughts mixed in with mythology, it happens to be a position with which I agree.)

Still didn’t get an answer to the first question concerning all religions vs Christianity. I ask this because this will be (once today’s party is done, tomorrow’s cleanup and a day to recover from both) will lead to a series of re-occurring posts on religion.

Nice dodge using scripture to duck the question however.

And although your explanation of the meaning of the passage is correct your application is wrong. Sin is by definition committed by men (in the traditional sense of the word) not by an organization. I of course use sin in the Catholic Christian definition.

The atrocities committed by the leaders of those countries were not committed in the name of atheism, they were done, in general, to suppress dissent. Religious atrocities are committed by people specifically to please their gods. The bible is full of examples, often done at god’s specific command.

The problem with your argument concerning communism is that the in it the state becomes the moral code and the practice of religion becomes anathema because it produces a moral code based on something other that the state.

This is why atheism can’t produce an effective moral code since it can only be by the standards of those producing it. Since those standards can change quite rapidly the code can then mean whatever people want it to mean at any time. Its great for building straw men but is not way to live a life.

A great example of this is an old column of Richard Cohen that I blogged on a bit ago. He was very free to call people bigots but had no history on the same standard.

I will concede without reservation that there have been things done in the name of religion or in the perversion religion that are contrary to their own moral code. There are also corrupt police who have bent the rules because they either wanted to take a dangerous person off the streets or to frame other for their own ends. Should we then decide that the police are a bad thing and the world would be better without them?

I will also state that religious people have used religion for their own ends, Oral Roberts “send me money or god takes me home bit comes instantly to mind. In current news a certain Governer in Illinois apparently has used elected office for his own ends, should we then eliminate elected office and democratic government?

Bottom line anything can be perverted and used wrongly, that is human nature. Why religion in general or as I would argue Christianity in particular get the majority of your animosity?

You say based on a culture rather than a religion but go on to say “Christian culture” and “Jewish culture.” Which comes first: is the culture founded on the religion or the religion on the culture?

If the former, the religion is very much responsible for the laws of the society. Indeed, this is the very point religionists keep trying to make, that all morality comes from their god in the first place. So religion must be blamed for much unnecessary human suffering.

Your question on which came first is a fascinating one and is the best part of your reply, that is a question for anthropology and would be a great subject for study. Your blame of religion for much human suffering because of its origin also must imply that religion should also get a lot of credit for human good since those same laws would have been in place as mankind advanced.

It is a fun argument because human suffering can be defined under this argument as “something I like that religion says is bad.” If only religion didn’t say stealing is bad, I could take what I wanted I can’t so I suffer. If only religion didn’t say that I could sleep around on my wife, because it says I can’t I suffer, et-al. This frankly is a lot of what the argument comes down to. Religion forbids something I like so it cramps my style. Thus I suffer. That is much of the modern objection to it.

If the latter, then religion is simply something made up by people to justify their petty but dangerous hatreds of those who differ from them, and to use as a club to enforce their will.

The justify my piety statement is fun because without religion you can’t have piety, but you can substitute the word habits since semantics are not the topic. I would again ask my primary question; do you refer to all religion or just Christianity?

As a Christian I believe or rather state that there is only one religious path that is correct, it led through Judaism to Christianity. Since I would state that other religions are “false” they would by definition be made up to some degree, either out of the whole cloth, or by a misinterpretation of events or by deception, but it would seem wrong to impute people’s motives without evidence. There are many Christians who would likely disagree with me on this due to the difference between how the Catholic faith sees other religions as opposed to most protestant denominations. The club bit I would refer to my police reference above.

Anyways that’s all I have time for I have to squeeze in one other post before the wife kills me for sitting on my butt with last minute cleaning to be done and guests due in 6 hours, so any replies to this post and approval to comments will be slow.

Woke up with a headache this morning which wouldn’t be so bad except I didn’t have a drop last night and fell asleep around 10.

So I’m starting the year with a bit of a headache, some low dose asprin, no job, a new mortgage, my kids college fund down half its value 5 months before he graduates, a house that needs cleaning before Saturday, and a house full of people due in 54 hours (which means my wife will be in panic mode for the next two days).

Of course things are not so bad, I have my health, the family is well, her sauce is in the fridge, the oldest has been accepted to one college and looks like his hard work will pay off with some serious financial help.

One nice thing about thing starting the year in a bit of a hole is that you are bound to climb out of it.

So welcome to the year 2009 AD and a happy new year to all.

And Yes I typed AD not “Common Era” or “Before Common Era”, common era refers to the common time scale used and what marks the use of that “common era”? Why the birth of Christ!

It’s another cheap trick to deny history, I don’t seem anyone in a rush to call Thursday day 5 because they don’t want to say “Thor’s” day.

You know there are a lot of what I like to call “indirect proofs” of Christianity. Little things that indicate something funny. The obsession some people have with removing Christianity from sight is rather amazing particularly when they don’t have that same obsession with Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism or even Judaism.

Why such venom at only one target? Why even be bothered by something that one believes is a myth?

And even within the Christian community is a protestant goes from one denomination to another there is hardly an eyelash blinked, but if one converts to Catholicism its a big fuss.

Why be so angry when an atheist converts?

Interesting questions over the year I’ll talk about it more.

Anyways a happy new year to all.

The Curt Jester reports that the Raving Atheist has changed the name of his blog to the Raving Theist and this post contains the following announcement:

Three years ago, I promoted and appeared in the atheist documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There,” dedicated to the proposition that Jesus never existed.

TODAY I DEDICATE THIS SITE AND MY LIFE TO THE WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.

The rest of the post is the creed which suggests he has become a Catholic. Good for him! The comments however are full of rather abusive and insulting comments from other Athiests.

Presuming this isn’t a Christmas joke it will be very interesting to see if he explains the conversion in detail. The Jester has some experience in this matter so his blog will be a good thing to check out over the next few days as this goes on.

If you are a Christian in general or a Catholic in particular I suggest praying for him as there are some tough times ahead. If you are a disappointed atheist will I guess you just have to deal with it and hope for the best.

Can someone explain the wisdom of this:

Oddly enough, the FAQ page at the Saddleback Church that contained their policy statements on dinosaurs, evolution, and homosexuality (among other subjects) has suddenly been wiped clean: Saddleback Church: Small Group Information.

As a Catholic my belief set doesn’t match Pastor Warren’s but c’mon. You either believe what you preach or you don’t. The bible is rather clear that being attacked is part of the job description to wit:

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.’ Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me and whoever does not take up his cross 15 and follow after me is not worthy of me.

This passage from Matthew 10:32-38 is very clear, take the hits and the jibes, stand up and be counted. No waffling allowed.

The Pope affirmed Catholic teaching yesterday:

Pope Benedict said Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

The Church “should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed,” the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican’s central administration.

“The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less.”

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are

Considering the first line I was waiting for a direct quote concerning homosexuality. Maybe the author didn’t include it because the Pope didn’t make one:

Benedict XVI stands accused today of ecclesiastical gay-bashing. When I was woken up very early this morning by a radio station looking for a quote, I was given the impression that he’d given a speech saying homosexuals were as big a threat to the planet as climate change.

That would have been an own goal, I admit. But look at the text of the Pope’s speech to the Curia and he doesn’t even come close to saying that. The point Benedict is making is that God’s plan for creation encompasses both stewardship of the planet and the expression of human sexual relations within (and only within) marriage.

Nowhere in his speech does he say that “homosexuaity” is a sin, because that’s not Catholic teaching.

None the less the long knives are out:

“When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way because they feel that they are doing God’s work in ridding the world of these people.”

Her views were echoed by the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, the vicar of Putney and president of Inclusive Church, the pro-gay Anglican movement. “I thought the Christmas angels said ’Fear not’. Instead, the Pope is spreading fear that gay people somehow threaten the planet. And that’s just absurd … Can’t he think of something better to say at Christmas?”

Pam Spaulding, a leading lesbian blogger from the United States, was even more direct. She said: “The Prada Papa Ratzi opens his trap again, and the homophobia stinks like trash piled up during a NYC garbage strike.”

If you want to read the actual text of the speech it is available in German and Italian here, but not in English. A babel fish translation is here but it seems a tad iffy to me so feel free to use your own translator.

Lets cut to the Chase: Regardless of what is done in other denominations the Pope is not going to change Church doctrine because you don’t like it. There is no requirement for anyone to be Catholic. There is no requirement for you to believe Catholic teaching. If you want a church that fits your beliefs there are plenty of denominations out there that tailor their beliefs to fill the collection plate. Or you can even form your own. If you don’t want to believe in any religion that is fine too. It’s all up to you. Feel free to critique, demonize, attack, belittle, ridicule, denounce and even hate the Church and proclaim it loudly for the rest of your life if you want to.

After that you’re on your own.

A lot of things on the mind again so we are just going to have to steal the style of Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus column and say a few things;

And since I’m stealing his style may I say that you should read his column regularly and consider buying his book right off the top.

The last time I did this I wrote the following:

The day the New York Times can call itself the Instapundit of Newspapers is the day its stock will not be tanking its building will not need to be mortgaged and will be worth reading again.

Gateway pundit who I read regularly and you should too, hit the New York Times over this front page story that was frankly; a bunch of nonsense. He makes a very obvious point:

Obviously, if Democrats really believed that Republicans were responsible for the housing crisis we would be seeing mock show trial after mock show trial in front of the various Congressional committees. We are not seeing that today.

You can tell what is reality by what people actually do vs what they say every time.

A little more on the New York Times; you know there is nothing wrong with serving a niche market as long as you can make a profit doing it. The New York Times and a good chunk of the media in general is writing for a niche liberal east coast market and is tanking in value. If you can be happy being #2 or #3 and still make a buck all well and good (Read MSNBC) but if you are losing your shirt you can be doing this?

And is it just me or do liberals seem to forget the existence of YouTube and video tape? From the same Gateway pundit link above we see members of congress with a D by their side defending Fannie Mae. Then we see the media and those same congressmen pretending it didn’t happen. Have they forgotten a computer is now an appliance? People can see this stuff.

You know when I was working I had the 1 to midnight shift. Since my wife is a light sleeper and always had trouble getting back to sleep I would crash on the couch and moan when my early rising family would wake me up. Now that I’m not working I’m sleeping in my bed much more. My wife and kids have no school and I’m still waking up before 6. The only good side of it is Morning Joe.

Speaking of Morning Joe, it is the best show on MSNBC and not just because Mika Brzezinski is one of the most handsome women on television but the chemistry between her and Joe Scarborough is fantastic. It really seems that the people on this show genuinely like each other and are not afraid to disagree without being disagreeable. Watching them talk is like watching my friends talk with me, we come from all over the political and religious spectrum and we are friends and always will be.

Don’t forget that it was Morning Joe that grilled Axelrod when nobody else would.

Plus Mike Barnicle is from my home town.

However the hardest thing about watching the show is the ads for Rachel Maddow and Countdown, even the promos are over the top in their worship of liberalism and demonetization of conservatives.

Whenever I see Harold Ford Jr. on Morning Joe I think of Satchel Paige THE greatest pitcher of all time. Page resented that Jackie Robinson made the majors before him with his long record of accomplishment. I look at president elect Obama and Ford and think the same thing.

Then again we all know what Jackie Robinson did, maybe the president elect will do the same. But remember that Jackie won his world series ring in 1955. Satchel won his 7 years ahead of him.

Do you know who got the last hit against Paige? Carl Yaztrzemski in 1965. 1965! It was the only hit he gave up in three innings work, at the age of 59. And that’s assuming his listed birth date is correct.

Of course the Red Sox were one of the worst teams in baseball that year too. They lost 100 games and finished 9th in a 10 team league. Rico Petrocelli and Jim Lonborg were rookies and Tony Conigliaro was only in his 2nd year. They were two years away from greatness. They were also still the most lily white team in the league. Earl Wilson the great slugging pitcher was about it.

These days the Sox are perennial contenders with two world series under their belt and look like the UN by comparison.

It’s quite a thing to be a Boston fan of any sport this year. The Sox just missed the series this year, the Pats are 10-5 WITHOUT Tom Brady, the Celtics are the World Champs and have won 18 straight. and the Bruins are in First place. I don’ t know how long this can last but you’ve gotta love it if you are in Boston.

It almost makes up for the two feet of snow in my front yard, there is no place to put the snow and it isn’t even winter yet. And we have another storm due this week.

Did I just hear people comparing Sarah Palin to Caroline Kennedy and saying the comparison is unfair on Morning Joe and in print? Yes I did but they have it backwards. Gov Palin has actually run a city and a state. Caroline Kennedy hasn’t. Kennedy is so much less qualified that Palin that it isn’t funny.

Of course the newly popular Kathleen Parker makes that point in her column today too, but can’t do it without kicking Palin:

Palin’s demonstrated lack of basic knowledge, her intellectual incuriosity, her inability to articulate ideas or even simple thoughts all combined to create an impression of not-quite-there.

Few doubt that Palin is here to stay. She is the GOP’s chosen closer, as demonstrated in Georgia when she roused the crowds to help re-elect Sen. Saxby Chambliss. What she possesses by immeasurable orders of magnitude – personal power, presence, pizazz – one can’t purchase. The rest – theoretically – she can learn.

Kennedy, a relatively erudite person who has authored several books, may have the political clout to get herself a Senate seat, but it isn’t clear that she has the people power needed to sustain her. The electorate eventually will sort out the differences that matter.

In the meantime, a Sen. Caroline Kennedy would not be a nuclear-enabled leader of the free world, whereas a Vice President Sarah Palin might have been.

Gotta love the theoretically it sounds like Admiral John Jervis Lord St. Vincent in 1804 describing the threat of a French Invasion.

‘I do not say the French can’t come, I only say they can’t come by sea.’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, God they must hate her!

Been reading about Jervis in The Line Upon the Wind the Great War at sea 1893-1815. Once I finish it I’ll link to the Amazon review but there is one thing worth mentioning up front.

I’ve read a lot of naval histories, this is the first one describing the Chesapeake Leopard incident from the British side of the coin and it seems to give justification for the act, although saying the cost was high in terms of international relations. It also repeats the nonsense suggestion of the Admiralty at the time that US frigates such as the USS Constitution was in fact more of a Ship of the Line than a frigate. 200+ year old biases die hard.

And if you’ve never visited the USS Constitution in Charleston Mass do so.

Some more recient biases include everyone’s favorite game “Name That Party!

How bad is the bias? It’s gotten so bad that yesterday when my totally non-political wife was reading the paper I pointed to this AP story and asked what was wrong with it. She took one look and said they must not mention he was a democrat.

She wouldn’t know the AG of Ohio from a hole in the ground. If my wife is figuring this out then the cat is out of the bag.

A little religion, did you see this:

He may not be a Catholic but it is the best description of Sin and the fight against it i’ve ever heard.

Played BANG, the wild west card game with my gaming crowd last Thursday I’m very surprised that the expansions are available at Amazon but the game is not.

And the Talisman game we played after it was the best I’ve ever seen, 4 people made it to the crown and the fate markers really add to the game even if I was turned into a frog. It was the most exciting single game that I’ve played in 30 years.

And if you are interested in all things Talisman check here.

Well I’ve been typing this for almost two hours and I haven’t even talked about battery cars and the coal that will be needed to power them. I’ll finish with this totally unrelated stat and thought.

Just before the storm this blog was being found, my hits were up by a factor of 3-5 and it looked like it was growing. The loss of power slaughtered my stats and they haven’t recovered, it is quite annoying but if that is the worst problem that I have (particularly with people on my street STILL without power then I’m a real lucky guy.)

And only three days to the Doctor Who Christmas Special The next Doctor; Huzzah!

From the Curt Jester here is a rather funny list of what programming language is your religion:

C would be Judaism – it’s old and restrictive, but most of the world is familiar with its laws and respects them. The catch is, you can’t convert into it – you’re either into it from the start, or you will think that it’s insanity. Also, when things go wrong, many people are willing to blame the problems of the world on it.

C++ would be Islam – It takes C and not only keeps all its laws, but adds a very complex new set of laws on top of it. It’s so versatile that it can be used to be the foundation of anything, from great atrocities to beautiful works of art. Its followers are convinced that it is the ultimate universal language, and may be angered by those who disagree. Also, if you insult it or its founder, you’ll probably be threatened with death by more radical followers.

For some reason the Catholic Church is not included and he thinks about it.

Now a programming language that reflected the Catholic Church would be a cross between Basic and machine language. Basic gives it the James Joyce ‘here comes everybody’ aspect and machine language would give it the direct access to God that we have through the Eucharist. The Catholic Church can nourish anybody from the humblest peasant to the most brilliant theologian. Like most languages an interpreter is required for compiled code. In computing if you don’t have a valid interpreter/compiler the code you write will end up either doing nothing or not what you intended. The teaching magisterium of the Church gives us that interpreter in real life. A good interpreter/compiler also has lots of error checking. On our own we are often prone to errors and so being informed of our errors is to our good to ensure that we write valid code. Often we think we are writing valid code only to find that when we go to build it something is not exactly right. You can’t just tell the interpreter/compiler you are sorry for writing bad code, you have to repent of your coding error and fix it.

He goes on quite a bit on it. I would lean toward machine code myself but that’s me.

One of the things that I have been very frustrated with over the years are the number of my fellow Catholics who don’t know what Catholic teaching actually is.

A lot of this comes down to apathy, but you also have people who are ill informed by either teachers who don’t know what they are talking about, denominations outside the church who have their own false view of the Church, the media who love of the church is almost as large as their love of George Bush and groups of “Catholics” who want to change the rules or redefine sin to fit their own worldview.

Well with the internet there is no excuse for ignorance on this matter so I have added several permalinks to the Vatican including links to the Bible, Canon law (the internal law of the church) and most importantly to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This link is the most important because it is the document that contains what Catholic belief actually IS. Not what other people say it is but the bottom line. If you want to know what the Church says on any matter that is where you go. It is very complete, footnoted and well referenced.

If you prefer a copy that you can read on the go you can also pick it up at Amazon here. Hardcover here.

Every Catholic should have one of these, outside of scripture it is the most important book on your faith to have. If you are a non-catholic you will find it an excellent reference to what we actually believe. So pick one up or permalink the page so you can be informed.

The JammieWearingFool points out that the imminent birth of Bristol Palin’s son (due tomorrow) will be a death blow to people who are insisting that Trig Palin is Sarah Palin’s grandson rather than her son.

No it won’t.

You have to think of people who follow conspiratorial type stuff as people following a religion. Excuses will be followed by clarifications but in the end the belief will not be dropped, remember William Miller and the 2nd coming.

The only thing that will be missing is the tax-exempt status. (Believe me the collection plate WILL exist).