Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Water Heater Rocket

I have been very busy lately with schoolwork and napping but I will soon return to a more or less regular schedule of written posts.  In the meantime look at this water heater exploding!:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Political Correctness is unChristian

Political Correctness is not only silly, its immoral.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,
2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.
The ethos of political correctness is based on the assumption that men are sexist, whites are racist, and that heterosexuals hate gays.  On the contrary, the Church teaches that we are to assume within reason that people think and act with good intentions.  Political correctness is uncharitable and unChristian.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The School For Papist Gamers

John Paul II the Great Catholic University offers a degree in communications with an emphasis on
video game design.  It will be very interesting to see what students in this program produce in the future.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fr. Spitzer on the Existence of God

This is a recording of Fr. Robert Spitzer's speech at Benedictine College, delivered last year.  I attended the speech and was very impressed; had I known that it was available online I would have posted it a long time ago.  The sound quality of President Minnis' introduction is not very good, so you might want to skip ahead to the 3:50 mark.  Fr. Spitzer was wearing a microphone so the speech itself sounds ok.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Establishment Clause Should Be Less Established

Happy belated Constitution Day (Sep 17) to everyone!  To mark this occasion, I will take part in the time honored conservative tradition of complaining about the establishment clause.  The establishment clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitutions states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."  Liberals and conservatives have been arguing about the meaning of this clause for most of the last century and the debate is as divisive now as it has ever been.  I propose a solution.

Well actually, I propose two solutions, a Plan A and a Plan B.  In plan A, I am installed as dictator, thus rendering any constitutional questions moot.  If that doesn't work out, Plan B should go into effect.  Plan B is the disincorporation of the establishment clause.  Most establishment clause controversies arise at the state level and if we could roll back the incorporation (application to states) of the clause it would prevent a lot of arguments over its application by lifting restrictions upon religious activities within state governments.  This isn't just the crazy idea of a lone nutjob, it's a crazy idea that has been endorsed by Justice Clarence Thomas.  In Elk Grove School District v. Newdow, Justice Thomas had this to say in his concurring opinion:
The text and history of the Establishment Clause strongly suggest that it is a federalism provision intended to prevent Congress from interfering with state establishments. Thus, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, which does protect an individual right, it makes little sense to incorporate the Establishment Clause.
I could not agree more.  The text of the clause clearly refers to the power of the federal Congress, not to state governments.  The rest of the First Amendment should however be incorporated, including freedom of speech.  That way, a county judge could display the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, and an atheist would have the right to complain about it.  Sounds like a good solution to me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

2 Peter 1:20-21

"First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."

I am curious to see how Protestants reconcile this passage with Sola Scriptura.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Catholic Limericks

Two great poems by Catholic bloggers:

How Nice to Be Nice
by Left Footer

How nice to be nice!
To tolerate vice,
And give honour to every perversion.
To love without boundaries,
Ideological quandaries,
And have Faith, but one's own private version.


How Good to Be Sad 

How good to be sad
When the world is so bad
And to act every way as a Christian
To follow the Cross
And despise life’s dross
And be regarded with suspicion

Message From a Gnostic Missionary

Last month I wrote a post on the Gnostic themes in Tron: Legacy.  A few weeks ago I noticed a new comment on that post.  I don't want to make fun of anyone who leaves a respectful comment on my blog so I will simply say that I found the message very strange.  The comment in full:


Amazing finding of yours that went wrong Patrick, let me argue against, delete my post if you want but keep in contact with me as I find your ideas somewhat interesting.

Let me start by saying that I'm a Gnostic Missionary, and an ex Catholic. I was looking for pictures of old CLU meditating for my meditation course and I found your blog.

It surprises me that being a Catholic you actually found the Gnostic message in TRON Legacy. When the movie was about to come out my master told us to watch it as it had a gnostic message I presume left by him.

Yes it has a Gnostic message which will probably go against your catholic beliefs only if you think it does;

The real message is the teaching of the "Demiurge" the blind god creator of the physical world. People believe this to be merely literary, yet the true meaning is deeper:

We are the Demiurge, we are creators of the physical world, it is said that man is the architect of his own destiny, yet by trying to make the world perfect and enjoyable we have created an imperfect world, the same thing happens in Tron Legacy: Old CLU or Flint or I don't remember his name creates a computer world intended to be perfect yet he gets trapped in his own creation.

Look at our world; who created our innefective governments?, who chooses our leaders?, who created the financial systems with all those flaws?, why is it so hard to pay taxes so that you need to hire an accountant to do so?, why do you have to make a line and collect so many documents to get an approval for anything?. All of those troubled things are artifacts of our own creation, we are suffering and trapped in a world that we have created.

The computer semi gods whose name I don't remember that are described as perfect and innocent where Quora comes from represent mankind before the fall of Paradise.

Young Flint and Quora are represented as disciples who created light on their own and were able to trascend this computer world to a superior realm, which is the same teaching Jesus the Christ gives us.

At the end, being Gnostic or Catholic or Jewish or Buddhist or whatever the message is always the same: That we need to follow Christ, or Buddha,etc. Which is the path of liberation, in order to perfect ourselves and transcend our flaws to reach the state of enlightenment they reached, which is the end of suffering and to reach heaven as you may call it.

By the way how do this gnostic messages make it to these movies?, same procedure as the movie "Inception", a master goes into a director's dream and creates an inception of the message, the direction might be an atheist or whatever but he find his dream inspiration clever and puts this ideas into the movie.

Other Gnostic Messages in movies, take a look at:

Matrix Trilogy (full of them)

Thor (Father sends his son(human part) to the phsyical world to learn in order to become perfect. The Sephiroth Tree and multiple dimensions are also talked about by Thor).

Inception.

etc.





I didn't really know how to respond to this so I kept it short.  My reply:

Thank you for commenting. Sorry for the late reply.

I do not know enough about modern Gnosticism to present a comprehensive argument against it, but I want to answer one of your points.

The Synoptic Gospels are consistent in their portrayal of Christ as savior and God. He is not "enlightened" he is enlightenment. I suppose you believe in one or more of the Gnostic gospels that say something very different about Jesus. You can call Jesus a Gnostic if you want but you and I believe in two very different and mutually exclusive people called Jesus.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11

Two years ago, Peggy Noonan wrote a column about the "children of 9/11," those who were young when the terrorists struck but not so young that they were insulated from the tragedy.  She writes,  
They've been marked by 9/11 more than they know. It was their first moment of historical consciousness. Before that day, they didn't know what history was; after that day, they knew they were in it.
It was a life-splitting event. Before it they were carefree, after they were careful. A 20-year-old junior told me that after 9/11, "a backpack on a subway was no longer a backpack," and a crowded theater was "a source for concern." Every one of them used the word "bubble": the protected bubble of their childhood "popped." And all of them said they spent 9/11 and the days after glued to the television, watching over and over again the footage—the north tower being hit by the plane, the fireball. The video of 9/11 has firmly and ineradicably entered their brains. Which is to say their first visual memory of America, or their first media memory, was of its towers falling down.
Noonan captures perfectly the way I and those my age felt on and after September 11th, 2001.  I was 9 years old at the time, living in Pheonix, Arizona.  When my siblings and I got up for school, our parents told us there had been "a bombing."  As more information came in and the body count rose, my protective bubble burst; I now knew that there was a world outside of my immediate experience and sometimes very bad things happened in it.

May God have mercy on the souls of all who died that day and may He protect our country from those who would do us harm.  Amen.

Papal Cookies

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sola Fides est Falsum

Catholics often point out the great contradiction of Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). Supposedly, scripture is reliable and tradition is not, but the canon of scripture comes from tradition.  The contradiction serves as powerful evidence against Protestantism and I have yet to hear a Protestant offer a convincing rebuttal to this point.  However, this is not the only major contradiction within Protestant theology.  The other pillar of the Reformation, Sola Fides (Faith Alone), also lacks self-referential consistency.

"Faith Alone" refers to justification, the means by which one attains salvation.  Both Protestants and Catholics believe that one is saved by the grace of God but Protestants hold that sanctifying grace is given not through sacraments or any other "work" but directly from God provided that one has faith in Him.  Millions of Protestants believe in the false doctrine of salvation by faith alone.

The essential contradiction of Sola Fides is that it denies the efficacy of human acts in regards to justification while simultaneously claiming that a human act is necessary for salvation.  The salvic act that Protestantism endorses is faith itself.  Faith is a gift from God but it is also an act of the will.  When a Protestant accepts Jesus Christ as his personal savior, he is making a conscience choice to believe in something and in this way he is performing a work.*  Ultimately, grace comes from God but in order to receive that grace a Christian must open himself to receive it by an act.  Just as walking up to receive Communion is an act, the choice to believe in Transubstantiation is an act; it is a mental act that is expressed verbally with the word "Amen."  The same principle applies to a Protestant altar call and statement of faith.  Protestants don't realize it, but their theology implicitly requires a human act for salvation.  Sola Fides is false.



*One might argue that this extends the concept of "works" too far, considering that the apostles made a distinction between faith and works.  However, by condemning Catholic reception of the Sacraments as works, Protestants adopted a new definition of the term and it is this meaning that should be applied to Protestant theology itself.     

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Scythian

Last night Benedictine College put on a free concert for students featuring Scythian, a Celtic rock band.  I did not go to the concert until near the end, partly because the name of the band offended my sense of geography.  (Yes, I know I'm weird.)  The area once known as Scythia is nowhere near the British Isles, but their band is named Scythian.  After I read the last names of the band members, I realized that at least two of them had Eastern European ancestry, thus explaining the band name and satisfying my geographical OCD.  In addition, the band plays some Gypsy and Klezmer (Eastern European Jewish) music, further justifying their name.

Anyway, I was very impressed by the part of the concert I did attend and I wish that I had heard the whole thing.  Simply put, Scythian plays great songs with a tremendous amount of energy and technical skill.  The band members also appear to be practicing Catholics.  During the concert, the band dedicated one song to the resident Benedictine Monks, and I could see that lead singer Alexander Fedoryka was wearing a scapular.  Checking the Scythian website I discovered that Scythian was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus to perform at World Youth Day in Madrid!  They even offer a free sampler album to commemorate the occasion.  Check it out here.

I really enjoyed hearing Scythian and I encourage you to buy their music.  But don't take my word for it, check out these great songs and instrumental pieces: