Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Bible: College Edition

Bible verses adapted for college students:

Mt 4:4
It is written, "man shall not live by Ramen alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

Mt 25:24-25
He who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man . . . so I was afraid, and I went and got an Art Degree.

Ex 12:29
At midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt with a mighty load of student loan debt.

Mk 2:16-17
The scribes and the Pharisees, asked Jesus' disciples, "Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?"  And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "It is not the sober who have need of a designated driver, but those who are wasted."

Lk 12:35
Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning and don't fall asleep, because your term paper is due tomorrow.

Gen 4:8
Cain said to his roommate Abel, "Let us go out to the field." And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, and killed him because he kept waking Cain up at two in the morning.

1 Cor 7:39
A coed is free to date whom she wishes if he belongs to the Lord or at least has a car.

Jer 23:32
Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the Lord, who lead my people astray with Women's Studies and Howard Zinn.

Dan 5:5
Suddenly, opposite the lampstand, the fingers of a human hand appeared, writing on the plaster of the wall in the king's palace in double spaced 12 point type.

Rev 21:19
I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one uses them without proper citation, he will be suspended for plagiarism.

Monday, August 29, 2011

For Bloggers Who Love Comment Counts

Acts of the Apostasy presents the Top Ten Topics That Will Rock Your Catholic Blog:

10. Why the Latin Mass/Novus Ordo is better than the Novus Ordo/Latin Mass.
9. Attire for Mass - shouldn't folks just be glad no one's showing up naked?
8. Medjugorje - Real, or is God just joshing?
7. "If I were diocese would be whipped into shape in no time!"
6. So-called gay marriage - doesn't it prove that gays, deep down, really want to be straight?
5. Natural family planning - contraception with a conscience, or a scientific alternative to "Not tonight dear - I've got a headache"?
4. The Democratic Party/Republican Party represents the full embodiment of Catholic Social Teaching.
3. If the Church had 4 or 5 more folks like Michael Voris, Satan would throw in the towel and admit defeat.
2. Communion in the hand or communion on the tongue - which way proves you're the better person?
1. Gregorian Chant sounds stupid - give me "I Am The Bread Of Life" any day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Autographed Bible

I think Canon Law states that Bibles do not require an Imprimatur if they are signed by God.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Moving In

Have not posted in a bit because I have been moving back to school in Kansas.  Please pray for me and my classmates!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bishop Aquila Lays Down the Law

Life Site News reports,
The Church should seek the conversion of pro-abortion politicians, but if they remain obstinate they should be expelled from the Church, says Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo. 
The Bishop proposed in an interview with Catholic World Report this week that Bishops should take their cue from the Gospel of Matthew in handling pro-abortion politicians.  
“Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change,” he said. “If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.’” 
The Bishop continued: “Catholics are called to defend human life, particularly that of the unborn. The Church’s teaching is clear. If we don’t challenge public officials who reject this teaching, we leave them in their sins and confuse the faithful.”
It's great to see a bishop with backbone!  His excellency is probably doing a good job in Fargo, but it would be nice if he were transferred to a more populous diocese.  There aren't many people, pro-abortion or otherwise in North Dakota so Aquila does not have anyone to excommunicate.  Wouldn't it be great if he were Joe Biden's bishop?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Social Distortion: Ring of Fire

I'm not a big fan of punk rock in general, but there are some great punk covers of classic songs.  This is the Johnny Cash song "Ring of Fire" covered by the band Social Distortion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Could You Pass the U.S. Naturalization Test?

Applicants for U.S. citizenship must correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions selected from 100 possible questions in order to pass the civics segment of the U.S. Naturalization test.  Here are some sample questions from Mental Floss:

1. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
2. What is the economic system in the United States?
3. Name your U.S. Representative.
4. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
5. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
6. Who lived in America before the Europeans arrived?
7. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers.
8. What is one thing Benjamin Franklin is famous for?
9. Before he was President, Eisenhower was a general. What war was he in?
10. What did Susan B. Anthony do?


A Market in Thailand

H/T: Reaganite Republican

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Does Anyone Read the National Catholic Reporter?

Recently, I viewed the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) website; it featured an editorial titled, I am a Pro-Choice Catholic.  I wondered, does anyone actually read this crap?  The ideas promulgated by the National Catholic Reporter are so stupid that I can't imagine anyone paying $40 a month for the privilege of reading them.  Faithful Catholic bloggers make a habit of skewering NCR and other heretical publications, but what if no one actually subscribes to them?  After some online research and phone calls, I came up with a list of readership statistics for leading Catholic publications in the United States and the number of monthly visitors to their websites.

Number of Subscribers\Monthly Web Visitors
St. Anthony Messenger: 300,000*\790,800
Our Sunday Visitor: 48,000\127,750
America Magazine: 40,000\164,250
National Catholic Reporter: 35,000\1.217 Million
National Catholic Register: 33,000**\1.125 Million
Commonweal: 24,000\222,000
Catholic World Report 12,000\97,300

It would appear that the heterodox publications National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal, and the borderline America magazine, are in the mainstream of Catholic publications in terms of readership.  Especially disturbing are the 1.217 Million monthly visitors to the NCR website.  Perhaps most of those visits were by LarryD looking for something to lampoon, but I rather doubt it.  It is too bad that the awful National Catholic Reporter is so popular, but it is heartening to see such high readership of Our Sunday Visitor and the National Catholic Register website.  At the very least, Catholic bloggers have no shortage of material when it comes to heresy.  Nothing cures writers block like outrageous attacks on the faith and the National Catholic Reporter is generous to continually produce them.

*This number seems very high but I corroborated it using both the SAM website and an outside source.  I suspect that they give away a lot of issues.
**This figure is from 2008 and may not reflect current subscription levels, but it was all I could find.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


This is why Catholic Bibles require an imprimatur:

The View From Iowa

Al discusses the Iowa straw poll.  He reports the results:
Michelle Bachmann won the poll with 28.5% of the vote.  Ron Paul came in 2nd with 27.6%.  Tim Pawlenty came in 3rd with 13.6%.  In 4th was Rick Santorum with 9.8% & in 5th was Herman Cain with 8.6%

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jack Chick vs Jack Chick

Jack Chick is well known for producing anti-Catholic tracts and other evangelism literature.  Let's take a look at the cartoon tract titled Are Roman Catholics Christians?  The booklet claims that the Sacraments of Penance and Communion are false rituals modeled after Near East pagan practices and that the Catholic devotion to Mary is a derivation of pagan goddess worship.

The major problem with Chick's argument is that his line of reasoning can be used to attack all of Christianity.  Much of Christian theology is similar to pre-Christian pagan traditions in the Near East.  For example, the cross, the most recognizable Christian symbol, looks suspiciously like the Egyptian Ankh, the hieroglyph representing eternal life.  An atheist might argue that the story of the Crucifixion was made up by people influenced by Egyptian culture. 

There are other parallels between Christian and pagan tradition.  Chick claims that the Catholic Church borrows from the cult of Osiris, but basic Christian theology also includes themes associated with the worship of Osiris.  Osiris is described as a shepherd and Egyptians believed that they could attain eternal life through his death and Resurrection.  Also in Egyptian religious history, one finds the cult of Aten, a monotheistic religion founded by Amenhotep IV many years before the Exodus.  Using Chick's method, one might conclude that Judeo-Christian monotheism was simply an adaptation of Aten worship.  Noah's flood sounds strikingly like the flood described in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, which probably predates the Genesis account.  Just like Catholics adapting the Babylonian "confessional" perhaps the Israelites adapted the Sumerian flood narrative.   If pagan ritual inspired Catholic ritual, as Chick claims, why shouldn't pagan theology have influenced Christian theology?

Chick's own anti-Catholic arguments can also be used against Protestant Christianity.  He compares the bread eating ritual of Egypt to the Sacrament of Communion, but the Egyptian ritual can also be compared to the little "c" communion rites of Protestant churches.  Even though Protestants don't believe in transubstantiation, they do eat bread that symbolizes Christ, an act that seems similar to the Egyptian ritual Chick describes.  Chick's comparison between Venus/Isis and Mary is also self-defeating.  The comparison can be used not only to attack Catholic Tradition, but also the Scripture held in common by Catholics and Protestants.  Revelation 12:1-5 says,
A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered.  Then there was seen another sign in heaven, and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and on his head seven diadems.  His tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the women who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son.  She brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod.  Her son was taken up to God, and to his throne.
There is no escaping the fact that the woman described is Mary, because her son is clearly Jesus. She is depicted as wearing a royal and supernatural wardrobe, just like the statue in Chick's drawing.  In addition, Genesis 3:15 addresses the serpent, and says that "the woman will crush your head."  The statue of Mary in Chick's tract is shown crushing the serpent.  Though Christians do not of course consider Mary a goddess, one might compare the image of Mary in Revelation to female deities in various pagan pantheons, many of whom are associated with celestial bodies and pregnancy.  In reality the statue that Chick draws is not based on any pagan goddess, but on the imagery in Revelation and Genesis.  By condemning Marian imagery as pagan, Chick is inadvertently condemning Scripture.

The comparisons I have made between Christianity and paganism do not refute Christianity any more than Chick's cartoons refute Catholic teaching.  Christianity is not a derivative of pagan myths but a fulfillment of the human desire for God that inspired those myths.  The Egyptians hungered for the bread of life, so they ate bread that they called god.  The Babylonians felt the need for absolution so they turned to a pagan confessional.  These rituals were an attempt to satisfy the need for Sanctifying Grace.  The ancient pagans didn't know it, but what they really wanted was to receive the Sacraments of the Catholic Church, and deep in his heart, so does Jack Chick.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bill and Ted and Obama

Bret Stephens writes,
The aircraft was large, modern and considered among the world's safest. But that night it was flying straight into a huge thunderstorm. Turbulence was extreme, and airspeed indicators may not have been functioning properly. Worse, the pilots were incompetent. As the plane threatened to stall they panicked by pointing the nose up, losing speed when they ought to have done the opposite. It was all over in minutes.  
Was this the fate of Flight 447, the Air France jet that plunged mysteriously into the Atlantic a couple of years ago? Could be. What I'm talking about here is the Obama presidency.  
When it comes to piloting, Barack Obama seems to think he's the political equivalent of Charles Lindbergh, Chuck Yeager and—in a "Fly Me to the Moon" sort of way—Nat King Cole rolled into one. "I think I'm a better speech writer than my speech writers," he reportedly told an aide in 2008. "I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm . . . a better political director than my political director."  
On another occasion—at the 2004 Democratic convention—Mr. Obama explained to a Chicago Tribune reporter that "I'm LeBron, baby. I can play at this level. I got game."  
Of course, it's tempting to be immodest when your admirers are so immodest about you. How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he's criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he's too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble; conservatives often seem to think his blunders, foreign and domestic, are all part of a cunning scheme to turn the U.S. into a combination of Finland, Cuba and Saudi Arabia.  
I don't buy it. I just think the president isn't very bright.  
Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows.
Read the full column here.

The President needs a lesson on wisdom from that most excellent time travelling duo Bill and Ted.
(The relevant part ends at the 45 second mark but the entire clip is worth watching)

Good Shop

Through Good Shop, you can purchase items from Amazon, Ebay, Apple, Best Buy, and many other online stores and have a percentage of your purchase go towards the charity of your choice.  Food for the Poor, Catholic Charities, Students for Life of America, and Priests for Life are just a few of the nonprofits that can receive funds through Good Shop.  Check it out!


Why the Eucharist is Not Cannibalistic 

Pope Paul VI's Popemobile up for Auction 

The Worst Religious Reporting Ever

The Comprehensive Catholic Internet Bible

Pranks of Major League Baseball

Catholic Hospital Hosts Abortionist

Dinesh D'Souza on Thiestic Evolution 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Techno-Gnosticism in Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy is an enjoyable family film that has exciting action, great special effects, and absolutely terrible philosophical underpinnings.

This last point may come as a surprise to fans of the first Tron movie, which had some truly positive themes.  Tron, released in 1982, is not just an adventure movie but a Christian allegory.  Within the digital world of a computer processor, autonomous programs are made in the image and likeness of human "users," but those who profess a belief in their creator are persecuted by the Master Control Program (MCP).  The human heroes of the movie become computer programs in a sort of incarnation to save the system from the MCP.  The MCP forces uncooperative programs to fight trained soldier programs in arena games.  This is reminiscent of the Circus Maximus in Rome, where Christians were killed in creative ways to entertain a pagan audience.  The theme of persecution is apparent during a climactic scene in which rebel programs are set to be executed in a cruciform position before they are rescued by the heroes.  In addition, the minions of the MCP are colored red, perhaps an allusion to Communism.  Tron is a movie with a good message, but its sequel did not follow this precedent.

In fact, Tron: Legacy presents a negative message.  The plot and philosophy of the film revolve around the Isomorphic Algorithims or ISOs, sentient programs that evolved spontaneously on the computer grid.  The ISOs are super-geniuses that are supposed to be able to solve the mysteries of science, philosophy, and religion for the benefit of mankind.  "Solving mysteries in religion" ought to set off alarm bells in the minds of Christians.  There are two types of religious mystery, the kind stemming from the inability of humans to fully comprehend the nature of God, and the type that is invented and solved by humans or in this case, ISOs.  That second type belongs to the heresies of Gnosticism.  According to Gnosticism, a person is saved not by God, but by knowledge of God; knowledge that enables one to achieve a state of saving self-knowledge called Gnosis.  In Tron: Legacy that saving knowledge comes from computer programs, a literal deus ex machina. 

Movies are both literary and visual and the Gnosticism of Tron: Legacy has a definite visual component.  Jeff Bridges' character is shown meditating, and one can safely assume that he isn't contemplating the mysteries of the Rosary.  This is Gnosticism with an Eastern tinge, as the person in a meditative state looks inward to achieve a state of Gnosis.  Describing the differences between figures portrayed in Buddhist and Christian art, G.K. Chesterton writes, "The Buddhist is looking with a peculiar intentness inwards. The Christian is staring with a frantic intentness outwards."  Compared to the cruciform believers in Tron, the spiritual imagery in Tron: Legacy is a major step in the wrong direction.  

Two further points are worth making about the Isomorphic Algorithms.  First, the ISO Menschen are Über not by any sort of virtue, but because they are simply knowledgeable.  This is consistent not only with classical Gnosticism but also with Scientism and other iterations of Modernism, a philosophy equally perniciuos.  Second, the ISOs, who as products of the electronic grid could be considered creations of humanity, are supposed to save their creators.  This is the exact opposite of the first movie, in which the users save their creation.  Just as Tron is analogous to God saving Man, Tron: Legacy is analogous to Man saving or at least changing God.  This is consistent with modern western culture, in which people believe in a God made in their own image, a God who conforms to whatever ideology or lifestyle the individual chooses to adopt.  Though they may appear at first to be an innocuous plot element, the ISOs are binary bundles of bad philosophy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

92% of New Gingrich's Twitter Followers are Fake

According to Gawker  
Yesterday, we published an item based on a former Newt Gingrich staffer's claim that Gingrich assembled his 1.3 million Twitter followers—a number that he's taken to bragging about—in part by buying fake Twitter followers. A lot of people did not think that was true! But today social networking search firm PeekYou announced that it had crunched the data and come to the conclusion that roughly 106,055 of Gingrich's million-plus followers are real people. The rest are fakes. 
Our source yesterday told us that about "80 percent of [Newt's followers] are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various 'follow agencies'" paid by his campaign. That made sense to us largely because Gingrich's 1.3 million followers seems oddly inflated compared to, say, Sarah Palin's 600,000. But many folks quickly, and quite reasonably, pointed out that Gingrich was one of the first GOP politicians to be listed on Twitter's suggested user list—a perch that guarantees a torrent of Twitter followers and is as likely an explanation as any for Gingrich's high follower count. Of course, that doesn't disprove the claim that he buys fake followers—both can be true. The only historical data we could find on Gingrich's followers goes back a year, and—except for a small bump that coincides with the launch of his campaign—he's held pretty steady over that time, so we don't know whether there are any suspicious spikes in followers prior to that or whether they all came rushing when he was added as a suggested user in 2009. Short of direct evidence of follower-buying, there's not much more we can do to corroborate our source's claims aside from actually pore over all those 1.3 million followers looking for fakes.
As it turns out, the search firm PeekYou has done just that! And it doesn't look good for Gingrich. In a happy accident, PeekYou—which is sort of a people-oriented search index—has for the past year been conducting research on how to measure the quality of Twitter audiences, a project that included looking at politicians' Twitter followers. And by their count, just 8% of Newt Gingrich's followers are real people.
Wow.  That is just pathetic.  Presumably, Gingrich didn't come up with this idea himself, but he ought to fire who ever did.  Of course he is going to lose anyway so it won't make much of a difference.