Blog Archives

We Got To Give This World Back To God

 “You gotta get down on your knees, believe, fold your hands and beg and plead, you gotta keep on praying.”

“Cause we’re still worth saving, we can’t go on like this and live like this, we can’t love like this, we gotta give this world back to God”

Dennis Prager writes:

How I found God at Columbia

Very few people can say that they found God or religion at college or graduate school. The university, after all, is a radically secular institution that either ignores or disparages religious belief in God.

Yet, one day, when I was a graduate student in international affairs at Columbia University, I had what can honestly be called an epiphany.

I remember it very clearly. Since entering graduate school, I was preoccupied with this question: Why did so many learned and intelligent professors believe so many foolish things?
Why did so many people at my university believe nonsense such as Marxism? I was a fellow at the Russian Institute where I specialized in Soviet affairs and Marxism, and so I encountered professor after professor and student after student who truly believed in some variation on Marxism.

Why did so many professors believe and teach the even more foolish notion that men and women are basically the same? At college, it was a given that the differing conduct of boys and girls and of men and women is a result of different, i.e., sexist, upbringings. The feminist absurdity that girls do girl things because they are given dolls and tea sets, and boys do boy things because they are given trucks and toy guns, was actually believed in the mind-numbing world of academic intellectuals.

And why were so many professors morally confused? How could people so learned in contemporary history morally equate the Soviet Union and the United States, regard America as responsible for the Cold War, or regard Israel as the Middle East’s villain?

One day, I received an answer to these questions. Seemingly out of nowhere, a biblical verse — one that I had recited every day in kindergarten at the Jewish religious school I attended as a child — entered my mind. It was a verse from Psalm 111: “Wisdom begins with fear of God.”

The verse meant almost nothing to me as a child — both because I recited it in the original Hebrew, which at the time I barely understood, and because the concept was way beyond a child’s mind to comprehend. But 15 years later, a verse I had rarely thought about answered my puzzle about my university and put me on a philosophical course from which I have never wavered.

It could not be a coincidence that the most morally confused of society’s mainstream institutions and the one possessing the least wisdom — the university — was also society’s most secular institution. The Psalmist was right — no God, no wisdom.

Most people come to believe in God through what I call the front door of faith. Something leads them to believe in God. Since that day at Columbia, however, I regularly renew my faith through the back door — I see the confusion and nihilism that godless ideas produce and my faith is restored. The consequences of secularism have been at least as powerful a force for faith in my life as religion.

If our universities produced wise men and women, curricula of moral clarity, and professors who loved liberty and truth, not to mention loved America — there is no question that my religious faith would be challenged. I would look at the temple of secularism, the university, and see so much goodness and wisdom that I would have to wonder just how important God and religion were.

But I look at the university and see truth deconstructed, beauty reviled, America loathed, good and evil inverted, elementary truths about life denied, and I realize that one very powerful argument for God is that society cannot function successfully without reference to Him.

So as much as I shudder almost every time I read of another academic taking an absurd position, I also feel my faith renewed.

Ironically, the worse the universities get, the greater their tribute to God.

Found: Slab With Hebrew Inscriptions Where Bible Says Jesus Performed ‘Miracle Of The Swine’

From Breitbart:

Israeli archaeologists discovered a 1,500-year-old slab of marble with Hebrew inscriptions (pictured) by Kursi near the Sea of Galilee in Israel’s north, reaffirming a Jewish presence at what Christians believe to be the location of Jesus’ “Miracle of the Swine.” 

University of Haifa researchers found the marble during an excavation in Kursi, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. The discovery is the first piece of evidence confirming the existence of a Jewish or early Christian community in Kursi, mentioned in the New Testament as the place that Jesus performed the Miracle of the Swine.

According to Christian tradition, Jesus healed two men said to have been possessed by demons by driving them into a herd of pigs.

israeli antiquities authority

The slab, thought to be a commemoration tablet dating from 500 CE, has a large Hebrew inscription which begin with the words “remembered for good.” Researchers believe that the person it commemorates must have been particularly influential.

“There’s nothing similar to such a detailed and expensive dedication in archaeological findings discovered in Israel so far,” said Prof. Michal Artzi from the University of Haifa.

The scientists also identified the words amen and marmaria, which could either refer to marble or to Mary, Jesus’ mother.

The excavation was supervised by Artzi, Dr. Haim Cohen, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

The X In Xmas Literally Means Christ – Here’s The History Behind It.

Merry_Xmas.0.0

 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Keep Christ in Christmas,” either on a church sign, or a Facebook wall. You might have even heard it this month. The idea is always the same: let’s not rub out the religious roots of this holiday by saying “Xmas,” instead of Christmas.

This might seem like a strange battle to wage, but there are people who really, earnestly believe this is deeply important. For instance, Franklin Graham, son of Billy, put it like this:

For us as Christians, [Christmas] is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas. They’re happy to say merry Xmas. Let’s just take Jesus out. And really, I think, a war against the name of Jesus Christ.

This is of a piece with those who fret that saying “happy holidays” is somehow scrubbing the season’s religious ties away. But those who make this argument are barking up the wrong tree, because, you see, the X in “Xmas” literally means Jesus. Allow us to explain.

How can the letter “X” stand for “Christ”?

In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word Christos (Christ) begins with the letter “X,” or chi. Here’s what it looks like:

Χριστός

So how did that word get abbreviated?

In the early fourth century, Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor from 306-337, popularized this shorthand for Christ. According to legend, on the eve of his great battle against Maxentius, Constantine had a vision that led him to create a military banner emblazoned with the first two letters of Christ on it: chi and rho.

Chi rho

Chi-Rho. (Dylan Lake/Wikimedia Commons)

These two letters, then, became a sort of shorthand for Jesus Christ.

When did the Greek letter start to be used in the word “Christmas?”

Most scholars agree that the first appearance of this abbreviation for Christmas dates to 1021, “when an Anglo-Saxon scribe saved himself space by writing XPmas,” reported First Things. Parchment paper was quite expensive, so any techniques for saving space were welcome. The abbreviation stuck and eventually was shortened to Xmas.

The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge used it in a letter, dated December 31, 1801, for instance: “On Xmas day I breakfasted with Davy.” The verb “xmassing” was also used in the magazine Punch in 1884, according to The Guardian.

Are there any other Christian examples of this?

There’s an ancient acronym many of us are familiar with, even if we don’t realize it. Have a look:

ΙΧΘΥΣ

It’s pronounced Ich-thus, and it’s the Greek word for fish. You may know it better as the so-called “Jesus fish” of bumper sticker fame. Early Christians used it as an abbreviated form of one of their creeds: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”

These shorthands happen in seminaries all the time. As they do with Christ, seminarians write a similar shorthand for the Greek word God, which is θεός (theos). When abbreviating the word, they’ll just jot down the first letter, θ (theta).

Santa and baby Jesus

Santa v. Baby Jesus. (Tyler Olson/Flickr)

So how did Xmas become so hated?

Good question. The answer may have something to do with the culture wars, the historical tension between the left and the Christian right.

Think about Franklin Graham’s quote above. For him, and to many who share his particular religious leanings, Xmas is symbolic of a bigger problem with our culture: not only are we crossing out Christ in the word, they say, but we’re tossing him out of the public square. Therefore, Xmas, as Graham said, “is a war against the name of Jesus Christ.”

Graham and those who think similarly (like actor Kirk Cameron and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin) believe the secularization of American culture is so all pervasive that even if they’re aware of the religious roots of Xmas, they still believe it is symbolic of a larger trend. Thus, it has to go.

Is there any good reason why Christians might hate “Xmas?”

Certainly, Christians have a right to feel however they wish, and if they think that Christianity is being driven from the public square, there’s really no arguing they’re wrong. In fact, polls show that organized religion in America has been declining.

Writing at First Things, Matthew Schmitz, who is well aware of the historical roots of Xmas, discusses another reason some Christians might be wary of the shorthand:

The cultural, religious, communal traditions we see as especially embodied by Christmas have been undermined by the rise of commerce and cult of efficiency. The desire to get from point A to B by the shortest possible route, irrespective of the charms of traditional byways, fuels our mania for abbreviation. The hatred for Xmas, then, may stem in part from an innate suspicion of the attempt to render all things ancient and beautiful modern, cheap, and sleek.

Why does this matter?

First, the US remains divided over several traditional culture war issues, most prominently abortion. The battle over Xmas, though it might seem trivial, only reinforces the “secular vs. Christian America” narrative that fuels those arguments.

Second, the fight over the word Xmas underscores some American Christians’ real fear of persecution. It might seem ridiculous that members of the nation’s dominant religion would feel persecuted, and it’s easy to laugh about those who claim the statement “happy holidays” means de facto persecution. But try looking at it from their point-of-view.

The United States has gone from a nation where the default religion was assumed to be Christianity, to one that increasingly tries to make room for people of all faiths and belief systems. That can seem like a gradual, inevitable evolution to those not embroiled in the culture wars, but it can feel like a massive sea change to those who are. These changes are fast, and they are real, and those concerned about them shouldn’t just be dismissed or mocked.

In fact, dismissing concerns about the changing religious landscape is bad for all of us in the long run, as Susan Brooks Thistelthwaite wrote for FaithStreet about religious pluralism in America. “A conflict that cannot be named cannot be mediated. In other words,” she continues,

the more religiously pluralistic we become, the more visible our struggle becomes with these issues. It is only when we take the risk of actually looking at our religious stresses and strains that we can begin to act to know them, engage them, and hopefully move them in a more positive direction.

While it might be funny to joke about overblown fears about the so-called War On Christmas, it’s probably more helpful to try to understand the roots of those concerns, then address those in a thoughtful manner. Harvard University’s Pluralism Project offers some great ideas about the shape these talks could take.

So what if somebody tells me we need to keep the Christ in Christmas?

You could suggest that the word “Christmas” is itself already a shorthand for “Christ’s mass.” Or, as discussed, point out what the X really stands for.

Or, you could be even cheekier about it, and talk about how the original war on Christmas was actually waged by conservative American Christians. Wary of the pagan roots of the festivities, the Puritans wanted to keep Christmas out of their no-nonsense Christianity.

Or, finally, you could take a page from the man whose name is in the holiday, by realizing this is, ultimately, a pretty big fight over a single letter. Sometimes, turning the other cheek is pretty painless.

The X in Xmas literally means Christ. Here’s the history behind it.

VOX, – http://www.vox.com/2014/12/14/7374401/jesus-xmas-christmas

Since There Was A Big Bang, There Must Be A “Big Banger”

 

 

English: Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philos...

English: Dr. Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, Catholic apologist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Belief in God, according to atheists, is irrational, illogical, and dumb. Belief that the universe created itself is, they say, intelligent, rational, and based in science. This is simply false. Nothing can create itself. Everything has a cause–including the universe. That cause, argues Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College, is God, the “unmoved mover.” Belief in God, as Kreeft shows, is more rational than belief in nothing. Logic, science, and reason, support God. Atheism, as you’ll see, is far more steeped in blind faith than is belief.

Enhanced by Zemanta

God or Atheism — Which Is More Rational?

 

What is the most rational explanation for the creation of the universe? Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College deals with this most fundamental and important of questions, and offers a surprisingly logical answer.