Illusions of Social Justice

  1. justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.
    “individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice”

What exactly is the difference between Justice and social justice?  One appears to adhere to the Rule of Law and the other seems to be dictated by the whatever a group of people think for feel is just.

A good example is the growing minority of students who believe that they have the right to be free from being offended or criticized.  They need to wear some type of protective gear in case they bump into someone with an opposing view. That type of think in unworthy of someone going to college or claiming to be an adult.

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO UNOFFENDED.  It is the price you and I pay for living in a free society.  If you do not understand this unique American concept, you are confused and dangerous, or graduated from one of the many great high school across this vast country.  You failed if were taught to grasp the basics of  civics if it was offered at your school.  It take a lot of hard work and thinking to arrive at the conclusion that the Declaration of Independence is unconstitutional.

Social Justice Warriors- wow, someone who think he or she is right to take what you have worked for and give it to others just because they think it is not fair…OMG. I believe in helping my fellow man, charity, giving to others in need…that being the key “in need.”  But the path that we are headed down in not sustainable.

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”
                                                               ~Abraham Lincoln

Philosophy and the Good Book

Why We Shouldn’t Hate Philosophy

Article contributed by Probe Ministries

Probe’s Michael Gleghorn explains that thinking critically about some of life’s most important questions is a way for us to fulfill the biblical mandate to love God with our minds.

A Walk on the Slippery Rocks

For many people in our culture today, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians got it right: “Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks.” But for some in the Christian community, they didn’t go far enough. Philosophy, they say, is far more dangerous than a walk on slippery rocks. It’s an enemy of orthodoxy and a friend of heresy. It’s typically a product of wild, rash, and uncontrolled human speculation. Its doctrines are empty and deceptive. Worse still, they may even come from demons!

Such attitudes are hardly new. The early church father Tertullian famously wrote:

What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy, the Christian with the heretic? . . . I have no use for a Stoic or a Platonic . . . Christianity. After Jesus Christ we have no need of speculation, after the Gospel no need of research.1

Should Christians, then, hate and reject all philosophy? Should we shun it, despise it, and trample it underfoot? Doesn’t the Bible warn us about the dangers of philosophy and urge us to avoid it? In thinking through such questions, it’s important that we be careful. Before we possibly injure ourselves with any violent, knee-jerk reactions, we may first want to settle down a bit and ask ourselves a few questions. First, what exactly is philosophy anyway? What, if anything, does the Bible have to say about it? Might it have any value for the Christian faith? Could it possibly help strengthen or support the ministry of the church? Are there any potential benefits that Christians might gain from studying philosophy? And if so, what are they? These are just a few of the questions that we want to consider.

But let’s begin with that first question: Just what is philosophy anyway? Defining this term can be difficult. It gets tossed around by different people in a variety of ways. But we can get a rough idea of its meaning by observing that it comes from two Greek words: philein, which means “to love,” and sophia, which means “wisdom.” So at one level, philosophy is just the love of wisdom. There’s nothing wrong with that!

But let’s go further. Socrates claimed that the unexamined life was not worth living. And throughout its history, philosophy has gained a reputation for the careful, rational, and critical examination of life’s biggest questions. “Accordingly,” write Christian philosophers J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, “philosophy may be defined as the attempt to think rationally and critically about life’s most important questions in order to obtain knowledge and wisdom about them.”2 So while philosophy may sometimes be a walk on slippery rocks, it may also be a potentially powerful resource for thinking through some of life’s most important issues.

Beware of Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy

In their recent philosophy textbook, Moreland and Craig make the following statement:

For many years we have each been involved, not just in scholarly work, but in speaking evangelistically on university campuses with groups like . . . Campus Crusade for Christ . . . Again and again, we have seen the practical value of philosophical studies in reaching students for Christ. . . The fact is that there is tremendous interest among unbelieving students in hearing a rational presentation and defense of the gospel, and some will be ready to respond with trust in Christ. To speak frankly, we do not know how one could minister effectively in a public way on our university campuses without training in philosophy.3

This is a strong endorsement of the value of philosophy in doing university evangelism on today’s campuses. But some might be thinking, “What a minute! Doesn’t the Bible warn us about the dangers of philosophy? And aren’t we urged to avoid such dangers?”

In Colossians 2:8 (NIV), the apostle Paul wrote, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” What does this verse mean? Is Paul saying that Christians shouldn’t study philosophy? Let’s take a closer look.

First, “the Greek grammar indicates that ‘hollow and deceptive’ go together with ‘philosophy.’”4 So Paul is not condemning all philosophy here. Instead, he’s warning the Colossians about being taken captive by a particular “hollow and deceptive” philosophy that was making inroads into their church. Many scholars believe that the philosophy Paul had in mind was a Gnostic-like philosophy that promoted legalism, mysticism, and asceticism.5

Second, Paul doesn’t forbid the study of philosophy in this verse. Rather, he warns the Colossian believers not to be taken captive by empty and deceptive human speculation. This distinction is important. One can study philosophy, even “empty and deceptive” philosophy, without being taken captive by it.

What does it mean to be “taken captive”? When men are taken captive in war, they are forced to go where their captors lead them. They may only be permitted to see and hear certain things, or to eat and sleep at certain times. In short, captives are under the control of their captors. This is what Paul is warning the Colossians about. He’s urging them to not let their beliefs and attitudes be controlled by an alien, non-Christian philosophy. He’s not saying that philosophy in general is bad or that it’s wrong to study philosophy as an academic discipline.

But doesn’t Paul also say that God has made foolish the wisdom of the world? And doesn’t this count against the study of philosophy?

Is Worldly Wisdom Worthless?

In 1 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) the apostle Paul wrote, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Some Christians think this passage teaches that the study of philosophy and human wisdom is both foolish and a waste of time. But is this correct? Is that really what Paul was saying in this passage? I personally don’t think so.

We must remember that Paul himself had at least some knowledge of both pagan philosophy and literature — and he made much use of reasoning in personal evangelism. In Acts 17 we learn that while Paul was in Athens “he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (v. 17; NIV). On one occasion he spent time conversing and disputing with some of the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers (v. 18). Further, when it suited his purposes, Paul could quote freely (and accurately) from the writings of pagan poets. In Acts 17:28 he cites with approval both the Cretan poet Epimenides and the Cilician poet Aratus, using them to make a valid theological point about the nature of God and man to the educated members of the Athenian Areopagus. Thus, we should at least be cautious before asserting that Paul was opposed to all philosophy and human wisdom. He obviously wasn’t.

But if this is so, then in what sense has God made foolish the wisdom of the world? What did Paul mean when he wrote this? The answer, I think, can be found (at least in part) in the very next verse: “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Cor. 1:21; NASB). In other words, as Craig and Moreland observe, “the gospel of salvation could never have been discovered by philosophy, but had to be revealed by the biblical God who acts in history.”6 This clearly indicates the limitations of philosophy and human wisdom. But the fact that these disciplines have very real limitations in no way implies that they are utterly worthless. We need to appreciate something for what it is, recognizing its limitations, but appreciating its value all the same. Philosophy by itself could never have discovered the gospel. But this doesn’t mean that it’s not still a valuable ally in the search for truth and a valuable resource for carefully thinking through some of life’s greatest mysteries.

In the remainder of this article, we’ll explore some of the ways in which philosophy is valuable, both for the individual Christian and for the ministry of the church.

The Value of Philosophy (Part 1)

Moreland and Craig observe that “throughout the history of Christianity, philosophy has played an important role in the life of the church and the spread and defense of the gospel of Christ.”7

John Wesley, the famous revivalist and theologian, seemed well-aware of this fact. In 1756 he delivered “An Address to the Clergy”. Among the various qualifications that Wesley thought a good minister should have, one was a basic knowledge of philosophy. He challenged his fellow clergymen with these questions: “Am I a tolerable master of the sciences? Have I gone through the very gate of them, logic? . . . Do I understand metaphysics; if not the . . . subtleties of . . . Aquinas, yet the first rudiments, the general principles, of that useful science?”8 It’s interesting to note that Wesley’s passion for preaching and evangelism didn’t cause him to denigrate the importance of basic philosophical knowledge. Indeed, he rather insists on its importance for anyone involved in the teaching and preaching ministries of the church.

But why is philosophy valuable? What practical benefits does it offer those involved in regular Christian service? And how has it contributed to the health and well-being of the church throughout history? Drs. Moreland and Craig list many reasons why philosophy is (and has been) such an important part of a thriving Christian community.9

In the first place, philosophy is of tremendous value in the tasks of Christian apologetics and polemics. Whereas the goal of apologetics is to provide a reasoned defense of the truth of Christianity, “polemics is the task of criticizing and refuting alternative views of the world.”10 Both tasks are important, and both are biblical. The apostle Peter tells us to always be ready “to make a defense” for the hope that we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15; NASB). Jude exhorts us to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3; NASB). And Paul says that elders in the church should “be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Tit. 1:9; NASB). The proper use of philosophy can be a great help in fulfilling each of these biblical injunctions.

Additionally, philosophy serves as the handmaid of theology by bringing clarity and precision to the formulation of Christian doctrine. “For example, philosophers help to clarify the different attributes of God; they can show that the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation are not contradictory; they can shed light on the nature of human freedom, and so on.”11 In other words, the task of the theologian is made easier with the help of his friends in the philosophy department!

The Value of Philosophy (Part 2)

Let’s consider a few more ways in which philosophy can help strengthen and support both the individual believer and the universal church.

First, careful philosophical reflection is one of the ways in which human beings uniquely express that they are made in the image and likeness of God. As Drs. Craig and Moreland observe, “God . . . is a rational being, and humans are made like him in this respect.”12 One of the ways in which we can honor God’s commandment to love him with our minds (Matt. 22:37) is to give serious philosophical consideration to what God has revealed about himself in creation, conscience, history, and the Bible. As we reverently reflect on the attributes of God, or His work in creation and redemption, we aren’t merely engaged in a useless academic exercise. On the contrary, we are loving God with our minds—and our hearts are often led to worship and adore the One “who alone is immortal and . . . lives in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16; NIV).

But philosophy isn’t only of value for the individual believer; it’s also of value for the universal church. Commenting on John Gager’s book, Kingdom and Community: The Social World of Early Christianity, Drs. Moreland and Craig write:

The early church faced intellectual and cultural ridicule from Romans and Greeks. This ridicule threatened internal cohesion within the church and its evangelistic boldness toward unbelievers. Gager argues that it was primarily the presence of philosophers and apologists within the church that enhanced the self-image of the Christian community because these early scholars showed that the Christian community was just as rich intellectually and culturally as was the pagan culture surrounding it.13

Christian philosophers and apologists in our own day continue to serve a similar function. By carefully explaining and defending the Christian faith, they help enhance the self-image of the church, increase the confidence and boldness of believers in evangelism, and help keep Christianity a viable option among sincere seekers in the intellectual marketplace of ideas.

Of course, not all philosophy is friendly to Christianity. Indeed, some of it is downright hostile. But this shouldn’t cause Christians to abandon the task and (for some) even calling of philosophy. The church has always needed, and still needs today, talented men and women who can use philosophy to rationally declare and defend the Christian faith to everyone who asks for a reason for the hope that we have in Christ (1 Pet. 3:15). As C.S. Lewis once said, “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”14 These are just a few of the reasons why we shouldn’t hate philosophy.


What Determines and Defines Your Truth

“It is very important to realize, over against modern concepts of “spiritual experience,” that the biblically based experience rest firmly on truth. It is not only an emotional experience, nor is it contentless. – Dr. Francis Schaefffer, The God Who is There

Those words, “the biblically  based experience rest firmly on truth…are important to remember. God’s word is TRUTH (John 17:17).

The danger is that if Christians do not consciously develop a biblical approach to any subject, then they will unconsciously absorb some other philosophical approach. A set of ideas for interpreting the world is like a philosophical toolbox, stuffed with terms and concepts.  If Christians do not develop their own tools for analysis, then when some issue comes up they wand to understand, they will reach over and borrow someone else’s tools…whatever concepts are generally accepted in their professional field or int he culture at large.But when we do this, we do not realize that, we are borrowing not an isolated tool but a whole philosophical toolbox laden with tools which have their own particular bias to every problem.  We may end up absorbing an entire set of alien principles without even realizing it.  Using tools of analysis that have non-christian assumptions embedded in them is “like wearing someone else’s glasses or walking in someone else’s shoes.  The tools shape the user.

How do we make sure our toolbox contains biblically based conceptual tools for every issue we encounter?  We must begin by being utterly convinced that there is a biblical perspective on everything…NOT JUST SPIRITUAL MATTERS!  The Old Testament tells us over and over that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Ps. 111:10, Prov. 1;7, 9:10).  Similarly, the New Testament teaches that Christ are “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col.2:3).  We often interpret these verses to mean spiritual wisdom only, but the text places not limitation on the term.  Most people have the tendency to read these passages as thought they say that the fear of the Lord is the foundation of religious knowledge, but the fact is that they make a very radical claim… the claim that somehow all knowledge depends upon religious truth!

All belief systems work the same way. Religious commitment functions as the controlling principle for everything that follows. The fear of some “god” is the beginning of every proposed system of knowledge.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Gunning Down The Imposter Within

When we were kids, we were like sponges.
Don’t you remember? We easily latched onto, believed, and replicated the beliefs, opinions, and actions of those around us — young and old — without giving them a second thought.
Eventually, we all reach a certain moment where we sit face to face with a past belief and realize that we’ve never actually examined it, but now that we have, we’ve found that we don’t… actually… believe it.
We see that if we were to go on living and acting as if we still believed it, we’d be an impostor. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A fraud.
We have a tough choice ahead of us.
The impostor and the truth can never live peacefully together. One must die.
Old false beliefs die hard. Especially when people you love believe them too.
So, what’ll it be? Who do we bury? The impostor? Or the truth that’s just been revealed to us?
Most of us let the impostors live. We’ll murder our truths without hesitation because, for our egos, they sure beat the alternative: upsetting, disappointing, and/or embarrassing those in our tribe who still believe what we now see as complete rubbish.
So we rationalize away, drown out, or distract ourselves from our new truth until it fades into the darkness again — out of sight, out of mind.
Killing the impostor, dead, like Clint Eastwood in those old western movies, is what we must do to be aligned with our truth.
It’s not easy. The villagers may revolt. They may run you out of town on a rail.
But no one said it was easy being Sheriff..

Illusion of Spiritual Growth

WE seem to be under the illusion that attending some church service for at most two hours is totally sufficient to nurture, the spiritual aspects of our lives.  We separate our daily live from our church life. What are and what should we be doing with the other 166 hrs. left in our week.

What in you estimation is the purpose of attending a Church?  Most of us would comment that they have a lot of family activities to participate in. Other would say something spiritual like to KNOW God better, but have no idea how to accomplish that herculean task.  Most of us know what we should do but few of us do.

Recently while talking with a friend, he expressed his frustration that many of the people (including himself). separate church from daily life. There is no perfect church, churches are made up of broken and flawed people. All of us or nearly all  of us struggle with being deeply enmeshed in modernity, and this compromises the way we order our own lives.

Of all the personal and self-development programs that are on the market today, one towers above all others! Striving to daily live up to the expectation of of the gospel is at the least frustrating. Christianity itself offer a means to “live to our fullest potential.”  However that potential is not one we design for ourselves, it is slow acquired by daily sacrificing ego and self.

Nothing is more needful today than the survival of the Christian culture, because in recent generations this culture has become dangerously thin. At this moment in the Church’s history, in this country (and in the West more generally) it is less urgent to convince the alternative culture in which we live of the truth of Christ then it is for the Church to tell itself its own story and to nurture it own life, the culture of the city of God, the Christian Republic.

This is not going to happen without a rebirth of moral and spiritual discipline and a resolute effort on the part of Christians to comprehend and to defend the remnants of Christian culture. It is an unfortunate fact that the society in which we live is no longer neutral about Christianity. The United States would be a much less hospitable environment for the practice of the faith if all the marks of Christian culture were stripped from our public life and Christian behavior were tolerated only in restricted situations.

Dying to Self: Finding Our Soul

Most of us struggling to find “happiness.”  All over the planet many of us feel an urge to grow and find a personal and collective place of joy and peace. We each face huge challenges of becoming happier, we realize that there is no other form of growth than self-development, and this journey is one of self-discovery.

It is natural to seek answers to the questions “why” is this or that happening to me? But assuredly this leads to great frustration as we realize there is no real or satisfying answer.  We then move to a much more relevant question: “how do I become that person I want to be:, and without hesitation this dilemma encounters the greatest question of all: “Who am I?” A very few attempt to answer this question, it gnaws in their deepest and most remote part of their being and life, always a small thought in the back of our minds somewhere.  We think someday I will discover who I am some way.

Seldom do we ask ourselves or others, how do I lead a good life?  What is a good life? Who am I and what is the purpose for my being in this family, community, job, school or world?  In the Christian belief, we are to die to self and become more like Christ, possessing his attributes….we fail miserably each day.  Wrestling  with the idea of dying to self is a struggle, we always approach it with our mind therein lies the problem.

Getting to Know EGO:  One of the major obstacles we find in the journey of self-discovery, is the EGO. Unfortunately in our culture it is becoming harder and harder, because it is all about ME, my wants, my desire, my feelings etc. Other are more aware of our ego than we are…you know people with “over developed egos.”

We registered all of our impressions in the world as we grew up.  Our first society is our family, directed by our parents, and this is the first mirror and given source of concepts that we get subjected to. taking them on as our own, it gives us a sense of who we are. And of course there is the whole realm of ourselves that we do not yet know ( our unconscious self). The EGO becomes a character built up of multiple characters, concepts and the roles we play in society, in fact everything we have learned externally as good or bad. So the Ego, the subject of consciousness, as Jung defines it,is the complex of things that we have identified with, and by which we function. In other words we know about ourselves, or what we have chosen to know about ourselves are those characters  we play in all of our relationships.

Have you ever questioned where you beliefs came from? Are they truly yours or did  you accept them from, parents, friends, school, media, society.  Until you do remember:

You Are Not Who You Think You Are!

YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE!

How does one come into the knowledge of who they really are and what talents they possess?  If you walk into any bookstore you will find self after shelf of books and tapes explaining how one can discover who they are and meant to be. Alas, many books and tapes are bought and little change takes place.

Perhaps we seldom to take the time to “reflect” or consider who we are!  At some point in your life if you are reflective you come to a crossroads. One with the realization that many of your thoughts and ideas really are not you own, but those of friends, parents, media images, people we look to and on and on. When we do we notice a certain hollowness in the pit of our stomach.  We realize that we are just following the “herd” the “tribe” or whatever you wish to call it.

What is the next step? COURAGE!   The courage to think you own thoughts and examine how you will meet each day!  As Emerson once put it.. a series of surfaces upon which we skate. One of my favorites poems is by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends.      Invitation

If you area dreamer, come in.

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer,

If you are a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.

Come In!

Come In!

The Illusion of Education

We had fed the heart on fantasy,

The heart’s grown brutal from the fare.

                        William B. Yeats

     “For the truth is,” wrote Jose Ortega y Gasset, “that life on the face of it is a chaos in which one finds oneself lost.  The individual suspects as much but is terrified to encounter this frightening reality face to face, and so attempts to conceal it by drawing a curtain of fantasy over it, behind which he can make believe everything is clear.”

      Winning is all that matters. Morality is irrelevant. People have their own logos, uniforms, slogans, them songs, cheerleaders, and other badges of communal identity.  They all are striving to be unique but all they accomplish is being like everyone else.  All that matters is their own achievement.

     Plato in The Republic, imagined people chained to the wall in an underground cave. The cave is their total reality. One person escapes and get out.  He comes back and they despise him. The world is no longer simple shadows on the wall, but complex and messy…they ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they BE BLINDED as well!

     Plato feared the power of entertainment, the power of the senses to overthrow the mind, the power of emotions to obliterate reason.  No admirer of democracy, Plato said that the enlightened or elite had a duty to educate those bewitched by the shadows on the cave’s wall, a position that led Socrates to joke: “As for the man who tried to free them and lead them upward, if they could somehow lay their hands on him and kill him they would do so.”

     We are chained to the flickering shadows of celebrity culture, the spectacle of the arena and the airwaves, the lies of advertising, the endless personal dramas, many of them completely fictional, that have become the biggest part of news, celebrity gossip, New Age mysticism and pop psychology.

      Daniel Boorstin writes that in contemporary culture the fabricated, the inauthentic, and the theatrical have displaced the natural, the genuine, and the spontaneous, until reality itself has  been converted into stagecraft ( think education or politics). More and more Americans are living in a world where fantasy is more real than reality.

      He warms: We risk being the first people in history to have been able to make their illusions so vivid, so persuasive, so “realistic: that they can live in them.  We are the most illusioned people on earth. Yet we dare not become disillusioned, because our illusions are the very house in which we live; they are our news, our heroes, our adventure, our forms of art, our very experience.

       Our system of learning is fatally flawed and had created a people and a culture that serves and sees only itself. Few make it through the learning process intact, equipped and ready to take on the challenges of the day.  They have learned now to think and reflect, correct their ideas and thinking without becoming part of the “herd.”   God forbid if my iPhone did not work, the world will come to an end.

       Are you happy being in the cave, or are you making you way to the light!

I have come to love learning but education sucks!

The TYranny of Being Nice

“Truth has a way of dividing”
I was having a conversation recently with a good friend, on the way to a nearby town to retrieve my pick-up that was being worked on.  During the trip we were discussing  many topics but one stood out.  Change and why we are not transformed in a real way by our beliefs. A thought that had been toying with me suddenly coalesced. We are exposed to many concepts of change, however few of us spend time “reflecting” on the concepts! By reflection I mean for example a particular scripture that might have an impact on you.  Do we mine it meaning on my life, my actions, how I see my fellow man, realizing how “fallen” my nature is? What do I need to change in my words, and actions to make that transformation real in my life?  Often in our conversation with one another we speak with a Christainese vocabulary, we know all the right words and we know all the correct phrases that demonstrate how “Spiritual” we are! It feels good, and sometimes is encouraging, however often it is something we do, with little result in our lives or those around us.WE OFTEN SUCCUMB TO THE TYRANNY OF BEING NICE. I hope that the writing of Mr. Rice has an impact on each of us, as we Reflect on his thoughts.  Be Well….

     I found the following article written by Rick Rice  Catholic Thought, “Courage, Culture, Justice, Moral Equivalence

I succumbed to the tyranny of nice, a rare thing for me admittedly.
Which makes this piece by Msgr. Charles Pope, titled “The Real Jesus Wants To Know Where You Stand” all the more relevant, timely and instructional:
There is a false, unbiblical notion of Jesus that emphasizes and isolates some of his teachings and traits, while excluding others. Hence there are many who reduce Jesus’ moral teaching to a vague notion that we should be nice and try to get along. This not only simplifies Jesus — it trivializes him.
Jesus, in describing his own ministry and why he was hated so irrationally that even Pontius Pilate had to marvel, said to Pilate: The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me (Jn 18:37). Pilate scoffed, of course, and like a 21st century secular or libertine, said, “Truth! What is that?”
But there is something funny about the truth. The opposite of the truth is not just less meaningful, or just another opinion. The opposite of true, is false. Truth has a way of dividing. It will not abide competitors. That Jesus is Lord, is true. Anything different from this is not just less meaningful or someone else’s view — it is false.
Jesus says, “I am the truth” (Jn 14:6). As such he cannot be reduced to a harmless hippie going about speaking of love and inclusion. Did he speak of these things? Surely. But he also summoned us to a choice for him or against him. To choose for him was to be saved; to choose against him was to be condemned. The same Jesus who said, “Love one another” (Jn 13:34) also said, Unless you come to believe that I AM, you will die in your sins (Jn 8:24).
In times like these we are going to have to recover a healthy sense that Jesus not only unites many in his truth, but he also divides and distinguishes by that same truth. Myopic and wistful notions that Jesus want us to be nice and get along cannot supersede his command that we love him and put faith in his truth, even if it means our own family disowns us or is “offended” by us.
In this sense Jesus did not come to “unite” in some merely sociological sense. He came to distinguish his true followers from those who actually follow the world or Satan.

Once the Truth comes into the world, what is false must be rejected. Once the Light has come into the world, the darkness must be called by its proper names: confusion and obscurity. Once the Way has come into this world all other paths are excluded and lead only to Hell. Fr. Robert Barron says well and artfully: “Jesus compels a choice.” We are free to choose, but we must choose. Tertium non datur (no third way is given)!
Yes, in times like these we are going to have to recover notions that Jesus will divide, even as he seeks to unite us in the truth. We cannot go on clinging to a “Hallmark card theology” of pleasantries about getting along and being “nice.” Jesus did not end up before Pilate and nailed to cross by soft-pedaling the truth.
The Truth divides. And some of the divisions are very uncomfortable, reaching right into our families. There are going to be “weddings” we should not attend, gatherings we must refuse, affiliations that must end, affirmations we should not give, confrontations we must make, and silence that is no longer tolerable (if it ever was tolerable).
Indeed, we have gone on too long remaining silent — even approving — while sons and daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends cohabitated, stopped attending Mass, got divorced and remarried and engaged in any number of other immoral and questionable practices.
We thought being quiet would bring peace. It did not. Compromises with the world and the devil do not bring peace but only demands for further concessions and compromises. At the end of the process we are silent, dead in our sins, and the world and the devil just have more victims. This mess we are in today happened on our watch. We who should be prophets are left shaking our heads and wondering how it got so bad. No real mystery here: silent pulpits, silent dinner tables, and suing for a false “peace in our times.”
Somewhere we bought into a notion of a fake Jesus, a harmless hippie who just wanted us to be nice and get along. But that Jesus would never have ended up before the Sanhedrin, or Pilate, or on a cross. The fake Jesus would not have had enemies at all. The fake Jesus would never have many who left him and would no longer follow him because of his teaching on the Eucharist (John 6) or marriage (Matthew 19), or his own divinity (John 8). The fake Jesus is loved by the world because the fake Jesus’ is of this world.
But the true Jesus stood accused before Pilate, and was condemned to die by a world that hated him because he was not of the world.
Boom.
Seriously. Boom.
That is hard, dare I say brutal, honesty and well worth reading in its entirety.
I should have the courage of taking Msgr. Pope’s piece and passing it along to the person with the silent Christian friend.
I really should. God grant me the opportunity… and the courage.
Carry on.

The Illusion of Wisdom

Many of the ills that currently plague this great nation of ours can be laid at the feet of our elite colleges. Those that support and sustain our educated elite. Most do only a mediocre job of teaching students to question and think.  They focus instead through the filter of standardized test, enrichment activities, AP classes, high priced tutors, private schools and the blind deference to authority, creating hordes of incompetent students.

It seems today that universities and public education disdain honest intellectual inquiry, which is by its nature distrustful of authority, fiercely independent, and often subversive.  They organize learning around minutely specialized disciplines, narrow answers, and a rigid structures designed to produce such answers.  Need I say PARCC, if you are not familiar with PARCC, you need to explore it. In our local system I recently learned after an harried year of preparing students and teachers for this exercise, WE HAVE SCRAPPED IT! The cheering you hear is from educators who know how to teach not proctor test.

We have bought hook, line and sinker into the idea that education is about training for “success,” defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. Our elites use a private dialect that is a barrier to communication as well as common sense.  They have set themselves as the arbiter of Truth,Wisdom and Knowledge.

They shun anything written prior to 1960.  Writers from Euripides to Russell Banks have used literature as both a mirror and a lens, to reflect back to us, and focus us on, our hypocrisy, moral corruption, and injustice.  Literature is a tool ot enlighten society about it ills.  It was Charles Dickens who directed the attention of middle class readers to the slums and workhouses of London.  It was Honre de Balzac who, through the volumes of his Human Comedy, ripped open the hardened hearts of France.  It was Upton Sinclair who took us into the stockyards and shantytown of Chicago in The Jungle.

In the hands of academics, however who rarely understand or concern themselves with the reality of the world, works of literature are eviscerated and destroyed.  They are concerned for obscure trivia and irrelevant data that can be put into a computerized test.  They have been trained only to find solutions that will maintain and support the system. NEVER asking the question, “Is it good for the student?”  Most students become so conditioned to success they become afraid to take risks.  They learn to placate and please authority, never to challenge it.  By the time the graduate, the system has forgotten to teach them, that along the way to the way that the purpose of education is to make minds, not careers!

Here is a tease!  Our school system ranks in the bottom 5% in the state according to testing data. However we have one of the most historically prestigious and respected facilities in the state…..the point…seems we are proud of our buildings and our past but not to concerned about the quality of students we are producing….

The Examimed LIfe

Thinking about life is more like mulling it over, and the more complete understanding this brings does not feel like crossing a finishing line while still managing to hold onto the baton,it feel like growing up more. Philosophical  meditations about life present a portrait, not a theory. The portrait may be made of theoretical pieces, questions, distinctions, explanations.

Why isn’t happiness the only thing that matters?  Are Eastern doctrines of enlightenment valid? Why am I so much like my father, can I change? What is wrong when a person cares mainly about personal wealth and power? What is wisdom and why do philosophers love it so?  Am I on a path to Truth? Are some existing things more real than others, and can we ourselves also become more real?  All these bits of theory constitute a portrait.

The understanding gained in examining a life itself comes to permeate the life and direct its course. To live an examined life is to make a self-portrait.  When additional and distinctive component such as reflection is added to our skills it is like adding new data to be fit to a curve, a new overall pattern than results.  The old components too then get seen and understood differently, just as previous scientific data points are now seen a fitting a new curve or equation.

The author’s voice is never our own, exactly the author’s life is never our own.  Still we can gain from their insights, wondering and pondering in their light. Thoreau’s Walden and Nietzsche’s writings, for example invite  or urge us to think along with them, branching in our own directions.  We are not identical with the books we read, but neither would we be the same without them!

Socrates stated the unexamined life if not worth living, this seems a bit harsh. But when we guide our live by our own pondered thoughts, if then is our life that we are living, not someone else’s. An examination of life utilizes whatever you can bring to bear and shapes you fully.

The philosophical traditions since Plat has sought to establish ethics by showing that our own well-being is served or enhanced by behaving ethically.  We do not want to get committed to any one particular understanding and get locked into it. This danger looms large for in the public’s mind or in our own they can easily become identified with a particular “position.”  Once having pigeonholed people and figured out what they are saying, we don not welcome new information that would require us to re-understand and reclassify them, and we resent  their forcing us to devote fresh energy to this when we have expended  more than enough in their direction already.

In our culture at this time in history, we are so prone to look on the outward appearance of other and do exactly at mentioned above – pigeonhole people, places and things without a second thought. And unfortunately if we just take but a moment and reflect we just might discover a richness that we had so quickly  looked  over.

Once upon a time, philosophy promised more than simply contents of thought. “Citizens of Athens,” Socrates asked, ‘aren’t you ashamed to care so much more about making all the money you can and advancing your reputation and prestige, while for truth and wisdom and the improvement of your souls you have no thought or care?”  He spoke of the state of their souls , and he showed us the state of his own!

The Examined Life

by: Robert Nozick

Christianity Is a Worldview

How Now Shall We Live?

“Without a biblical worldview, all the great teaching goes in one ear and out the other.  There are no intellectual pegs…..in the mind of the individual to had these truths on.  So they just pass through.  They do not stick. They do not make a difference!”

     What if we really lived by what we say we believe?

      The way we see the world can change the world. Our choices are shaped by what we believe is real and true, right and wrong, good and beautiful. Our choices are shaped by our worldview. Our major task in life is to discover what is true and to live in step with that truth. Every worldview can be analyzed by the way it answers three basic questions: Where did we come from, and who are we (creation)?. What has gone wrong with the world (fall)?  And what can we do to fix it (redemption)?

      These three questions form a grid that we can use to break down the inner logic of every belief system or philosophy that we encounter, from the textbooks in our classrooms to the unspoken philosophy that shapes the message we hear on Oprah.

      We can apply this three-part grid to critique non biblical worldviews, while at the same time framing a biblical worldview on any subject, from family and life education, from politics to science, form art to popular culture!

      In days to follow I will add more to these musings…I promise to not get tangled up in all the “Christainise” that is rampant in today’s marketplace…please read, reflect and respond!

Be of Good Cheer…..