Saturday, September 27, 2014

SSPX and Vatican Talks Resume!

Well, back on the 15th I wrote of my disappointment that SSPX had broken off talks with the Rome, and this past week my wife directed me to EWTN's The World Over, with Raymond Arroyo, with a story that talks have resumed!  Here is the official press release from the Vatican: 
On the morning of Tuesday 23 September from 11 am to 1 pm, a cordial meeting took place at the premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, between Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X. The meeting was also attended by Archbishops Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.I., secretary of the same Congregation, Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., adjunct secretary and Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, along with two assistants from the Society of St. Pius X, Rev. Niklaus Pfluger and Rev. Alain-Marc Nély.
During the meeting, various problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2014/09/23/0667/01479.html
"SSPX, already in full communion, is not yet in full reconciliation."
So reads the blog at Rorate-Caeli.  The article goes on to say, "Regarding this, we recall that Cardinal Castrillón, when he was in charge of the dossier, was eager to affirm that the SSPX was not at all schismatic."

Let us pray for continued and successful talks.





Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Principle - October 10 - Chicago

Well, back in June it was announced that The Principle would be released on September 19th - two days ago (as of this posting).  I had not heard of any big release, so I checked their website/blog.  It is being released on October 10th in Chicago.  If it does well in that market, it will go to others - and if not, then the DVD FOD release will follow, perhaps by Q1 of 2015.  Chicago is not a tiny market, but I'm sure Sungenis and DeLano were hoping for something much bigger.  Allegedly they are being attacked and even blocked by some in the science community - the claim is "they" don't want this released at all.  

It does make one wonder, if indeed there is an effort to "block" the release... why?  One would THINK that "science" would invite the release and then let it stand or fall on its own merits.  So... we wait and see, just a bit longer now.

I would love to be in Chicago and write my own review of the release, but I do not see how that will be possible.  Maybe they can send me a pre-release copy?  I would be happy to provide a Catholic commentary on the movie.

The Principle... will open theatrically in Chicago October 10. We will go as far as the audience takes us, theatrically speaking, and we have a few surprises up our sleeve in terms of the media coverage lavished upon us earlier this year ;-)
In any event, the film will be available via DVD and VOD after out theatrical run, probably Q1 or Q2 2015.
 http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/blog/whence-the-controversy-over-the-principle-documentary/#comment-13
I am looking forward to this... mostly out of curiosity, but I would like to see and examine the theological and scientific claims myself.

An Anglican archbishop has endorsed the movie (see blog article) as well as an Episcopalian archbishop (see article here).  These are Catholics producing this movie, I'd like to see some Catholic endorsements!  





Apostolic Succession

Since we know that all of Scripture is profitable for teaching (2 Tim 3:16), how about we have a look at what the Old Testament has to say on the subject of forgiveness of sins.
And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing: And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin. (Lev 5:5-6, KJV)
We see that the sinner would confess his sin to the priest and offer a sin offering, what we would now call a penance. So one would confess sin, offer a sin offering (penance) and the priest makes atonement for him. This fits extremely well with the Catholic practice of the Sacrament of Penance. But beyond the Old Testament, has this practice stopped? Let’s see what the New Testament has to say.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity. (1 John 1:9, DRB)
Confess our sins to whom? God? Yes, but could it be through men?
Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much. (James 5:16)
It only makes sense that James would ask us to confess our sins to each if there are individuals who could do something about them. Some who could forgive us our sins. So now we know that we must confess our sins to others but can some men forgive sins? Those individuals who agree with the Scribe that said: “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” should take heed in remembering that to be on the side of the Scribes is usually not a group you want to be associated with. In fact, in the same incident as told by Matthew we have a little more details given to us.
“And he got into a boat and went across and came to his town. And they took to him a man stretched on a bed who had no power of moving; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man who was ill, Son, take heart; you have forgiveness for your sins. And some of the scribes said among themselves, This man has no respect for God. And Jesus, having knowledge of what was in their minds, said, Why are your thoughts evil? For which is the simpler, to say, You have forgiveness for your sins; or to say, Get up and go? But so that you may see that on earth the Son of man has authority for the forgiveness of sins, then said he to the man who was ill, Get up, and take up your bed, and go to your house. And he got up and went away to his house. But when the people saw it they were full of fear, and gave glory to God who had given such authority to men.” (Matt 9:1-8)
Scripture tells us that MEN (plural) were given the authority on earth to forgive sins (Mat 9:8). But which men is Matthew speaking of? Look no further than John 20.
“Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” (John 20:21-23, DRB)
The Father sent Jesus with the power on earth to forgive sins (Mat 9:6) and Jesus sends His Apostles in the same way as He was sent…with the power on earth to forgive sins. Context tells us that Jesus is speaking to the Apostles only. Please notice also that these apostles were sent in the same way as Jesus was sent (John 20:21) therefore these Apostles also have the authority to confer this same authority to others as Jesus did to them. Our Bishops were sent by others who were sent in the same way as Jesus was sent.
 Paul commented in his letter to the Romans that for one to preach, one has to be sent (Rom 10:14-15 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?”  Well, our bishops were sent by other, previous bishops who they temselves were sent  by previous bishops all the way back in history beginning with Jesus sending out the Apostles and the Apostles sending out their successors which we call bishops.

Today’s bishops are sent by the successors of Jesus and the Apostles.  If anyone tries to convince you that they know the true teachings of Jesus, just ask them who sent them?  Who sent their pastor?
God Bless
Nathan

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Abp. Fulton Sheen Canonization Cause Suspended

The cause for canonization of Venerable Archbishop Sheen has been suspended...

Catholic Diocese of Peoria
Spalding Pastoral Center
419 N.E. Madison Avenue
Peoria, IL 61603
309.671.1550
NEWS RELEASE
The Diocese of Peoria, Illinois
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Sheen Cause Suspended, Call for Prayer

It is with immense sadness that the Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, Bishop of Peoria and
President of the Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation, announced today that the Cause for
Sheen’s beatification and canonization has for the foreseeable future been suspended. The
process to verify a possible miracle attributed to Sheen had been going extremely well, and only
awaited a vote of the Cardinals and the approval of the Holy Father. There was every indication
that a possible date for beatification in Peoria would have been scheduled for as early as the
coming year. The Holy See expected that the remains of Venerable Sheen would be moved to
Peoria where official inspection would be made and first class relics be taken. Subsequently, the
Archdiocese of New York denied Bishop Jenky’s request to move the body to Peoria. After
further discussion with Rome, it was decided that the Sheen Cause would now have to be
relegated to the Congregation’s historic archive.

Countless supporters especially from the local church in Central Illinois have given their time,
treasure and talent for this good work with the clear understanding that the body of Venerable
Sheen would return to the Diocese. Bishop Jenky was personally assured on several occasions
by the Archdiocese of New York that the transfer of the body would take place at the appropriate
time. New York’s change of mind took place as the work on behalf of the Cause had reached a
significant stage.

Bishop Jenky is what is technically called the “actor” of the Sheen Cause. The Diocese of Peoria
and the Sheen Foundation have prayed and labored for this good work for the last twelve years.
The Bishop is heartbroken not only for his flock in Peoria but also for the many supporters of the
Sheen Cause from throughout the world who have so generously supported Peoria’s efforts. It
should be noted, however, that saints are always made by God not by man. Efforts for many
causes have sometimes taken decades or even centuries. Bishop Jenky urges that those who
support the Sheen Cause continue their prayers that God’s will be made manifest.


NEWS RELEASE
The Diocese of Peoria, Illinois
Friday, September 5, 2014
Diocese of Peoria Presents Additional Clarifications Regarding the Suspension
of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause of Sainthood
For Immediate Release

PEORIA, IL - After an outpouring of great support for the actions taken by Most Reverend
Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria regarding the suspension of the
Archbishop Fulton Sheen Cause of Sainthood, the Diocese is providing additional clarifications.
According to the Chancellor of the Diocese of Peoria, Patricia Gibson, who has worked with the
Cause from the beginning, “Bishop Jenky only agreed to pursue the cause for canonization of
Fulton Sheen after he was assured by the Archdiocese of New York that they had no interest in
pursuing the cause but would support Peoria’s efforts. Specifically, Bishop Jenky was told by
Cardinal Egan in September 2002 that New York was not interested in pursuing the cause. He
also indicated that at the appropriate time he would facilitate the transfer of the body to Peoria.
In December 2004, Cardinal Egan again confirmed at a meeting in New York with Bishop Jenky
that he continued to support the efforts of the Cause and reassured him that he would work to
transfer the body at the appropriate time to be enshrined in the Peoria Cathedral.”

Based on this ongoing assurance, Bishop Jenky wrote to the Congregation for the Causes of
Saints in early 2005 asking for the body to be transferred to Peoria. They did not in any way
forbid the transfer of the body but simply indicated that it was not the appropriate time. The
Congregation indicated that “the transfer was not opportune at this time because the Diocesan
inquiry had just been started in the Diocese of Peoria.” With this inquiry complete and a miracle
being attributed to Sheen, now is an appropriate time.

On June 27, 2014, the Diocese of Peoria received the most recent communication from the
Archdiocese of New York. This letter from its lawyer definitively stated that it would never
allow the examination of the body, the securing of relics or the transfer of the body. Upon
receiving this shocking statement and consulting with advisors to the Sheen Cause, Bishop Jenky
believed that he had no choice but to stop his efforts and suspend the Cause.

Gibson added, “It is essential to realize that Bishop Jenky now feels a great responsibility to be
faithful to the thousands of supporters throughout Central Illinois, the nation and the world, in
regard to the status of the cause. From the beginning, Bishop Jenky sought assurances that New
York did not want to undertake the Cause and would support Peoria’s efforts. This assurance
was given before the process ever began. Bishop Jenky also confirmed that at the appropriate
time Fulton Sheen’s body would be transferred to his boyhood home and be placed in a shrine in
St. Mary’s Cathedral where he was ordained. Over the last twelve years, countless people have
offered their time and financial support for these efforts in order not only to spread the word
about Fulton Sheen’s virtues and holiness but also to prepare a shrine in Peoria upon his
beatification. After New York clearly turned down the Cause, Peoria was happy to put forth the
lengthy work and effort because of how much he is loved by the priests and lay faithful in this
Diocese.”

Clearly Archbishop Sheen’s wishes for his final resting place could not have anticipated that he
would go through a canonization process led by his native Diocese of Peoria, after it was turned
down by the Archdiocese of New York. The Diocese of Peoria has heard from several relatives
this week regarding their desire that Bishop Jenky continue to work towards having the body
transferred as was presumed from the beginning.

The Chancellor, Patricia Gibson, further states, “The actions taken by Bishop Jenky this week
reflect his strong desire to be true to the countless supporters of the Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Cause who for over twelve years have labored and supported bringing the message of Fulton
Sheen and his sanctity to the world. Bishop Jenky continues to hope that the promises made
twelve years ago will be honored.”

Let us pray that these issues would be resolved and the matter be continued to move forward.



Monday, September 15, 2014

SSPX and the Modern Church

As those who know me well already know - for many years I took my family to the Traditional Latin Mass under the auspices of the SSPX (Society of St. Pius the Tenth).  It was only after much contemplation and even writing to Rome that I allowed myself and my family to go there (some of my letters still circulate the Internet, without my permission).

I have never been one who out-right rejects the Novus Ordo Missae (New Order of the Mass) as invalid, though I was heavily influenced at one time by those who do hold that view, still I never rejected the Mass of Pope Paul VI.  I did have, and still have, some problems with the form of the New Order, but it was and remains a "valid" Mass, and when I cannot celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, I go to the local Novus Ordo parish.

One of the biggest problems I have with SSPX today is that they did not come into full communion a couple years ago when they had the chance.  This is still troublesome to me, in fact - I've rarely been back to the SSPX chapel in our area in the last couple years.  They still have a valid Mass and it still satisfies our Sunday obligation - really, nothing has changed there, but I was very hopeful for the talks where were underway with Pope Benedict XVI, and was a bit disappointed, if not crushed, by the way they turned out.

And this brings me to this...  recently SSPX was permitted to celebrate Mass in St. Peters!

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/08/sspx-priest-celebrates-mass-in-saint.html  

So, even though there has been a lack of talks (that WE might know about) it appears progress is still being made!  Let us continue to hope and pray for complete restoration of communion between SSPX and the Roman See.

AMDG,
Scott<<<




Sunday, September 07, 2014

Rob Zins on Catholic Plan of Salvation

Former Catholic, Rob Zins, has established a "ministry" for Catholics which he calls "A Christian Witness to Roman Catholicism" (CWRC).  In this article I will examine an article Mr. Zins published which allegedly portrays the Catholic plan of salvation.  Zins' article can be found here: http://www.cwrc-rz.org/romancatholicsalvation.html   I would add, Mr. Zins does not consider Catholics to be Christians at all, so one has to keep that in mind too when reading his words.

Zins begins his article in a rather confusing/confounding manner.  He speaks of the seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church - then draws focus to one of them, Holy Orders.  After pointing to Holy Orders he digresses into a brief discussion of celibacy of the priesthood.  Then after that short discourse he admits that celibacy is not a requirement for all Catholic priests and that married clergy is even the "norm" among Eastern Catholics and Orthodoxy.  
In order to understand the Roman Catholic religion one must begin with the Roman Catholic Sacraments. Roman Catholics are taught to trust in their priests who perform religious rituals called Sacraments. There are seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic religion. One is Holy Orders. The term Holy Orders extends to bishops, priests and deacons in the Roman Catholic religion. If a priest has taken a vow of celibacy then he would not be able to partake of all seven sacraments. However, celibacy is not a requirement for all Roman Catholic priests.
One has to wonder what the point of this opening paragraph was!  The opening statement typically would present ones case and present some preliminary arguments to be followed up upon later in the article/essay.  Zins entitles his article "The Roman Catholic Plan of Salvation," but his opening statement has little, if anything, to do with the Catholic teaching on salvation!   Okay, so he wants to lay a foundation of understanding of Catholic Sacraments - but all he has done is begin with a pet argument of many ill-informed Protestant apologists who like to attach priestly celibacy as if it is a dogma - but then Zins shoots down that argument himself!
"The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation." New Catholic Catechism. Paragraph # 1129. 
This is an accurate, if out of context, quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).  Zins, however, continues with disjointed argumentation.
Christians remain unconvinced that Roman Catholic Sacraments are necessary for salvation. 
Well, by Mr. Zins' representation - certainly non-Catholics and especially anti-Catholics would not be "convinced."
The Roman Catholic sacramental scheme is alleged to be constructed upon the Bible. However, in the Roman Catholic religion, there are other sources of authority equal to the Bible. Hence, proof for the seven Sacraments of Rome does not necessarily need to rest upon Scripture. 
Whether or not Mr. Zin's "however" statement is true is irrelevant to the statement that the "sacramental scheme is (alleged to be) constructed upon the Bible."  Mr. Zins has adopted, accepted and embraced the unbiblical doctrine of sola scriptura - which he defines as:  "That Scripture as contained in the Old Testament (39 books, English) and in the New Testament (27 books, English) is our only infallible and sufficient rule for salvation and sanctification. (2 Timothy 3:16)"  My point in bringing this up is that not only is the teaching of sola scriptura NOT found in Scripture - Scripture itself OPPOSES it!  In Matthew 16:18-19 and Matthew 18:18 we clearly see that Jesus is empowering men with infallible authority!  These men are our first bishops and their offices continue to this day in the One, True Church.  So yes, while the Seven Sacraments are definitely founded upon Scripture and scriptural precedence, "proof for the seven Sacraments of Rome does not necessarily need to rest upon Scripture."  I would submit that "proof" lies with one who has faith - and for one who lacks faith, no explanation will suffice.
Rome's doctrine of Sola Ecclesia [sic] (the Church alone) establishes and defines doctrine.
Well, first off the Latin words would not be capitalized in this context.  Second, it would be "sola ecclesiam."  Third, I would challenge Mr. Zims to demonstrate the Catholic Church actually using this phrase in defining doctrine.  While it is a common summary (one which I myself embraced back in 1988-89 in debates with James White), the phrase simply is not used in official teaching by the Church.  That being said, Scripture is PART OF the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church, it is not apart from it!  What is defined in Scripture is not defined apart from the Catholic Church!  The Scriptures were written by Catholics and the Canon of Sacred Scripture was established by Catholics through the Holy Ghost.
Christians, trusting in the Bible alone for salvation and sanctification, understand that heaven is given to lost sinners on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone. Such faith consists in confidence that Christ alone, at His cross, suffered and died for all of the sins of His Church which is the Body of Christ. Such a faith completely trusts in the promises of God in Christ Jesus. One such assurance is eternal forgiveness of all sins and punishments based entirely upon the satisfaction of Christ's death. Such a faith takes the righteousness of Christ as the complete ground of justification. Such a faith grasps Christ's righteousness immediately. Christians believe there is only One mediator between God and man and He is Jesus Christ. 
Again I must assert that this "Bible alone" doctrine is opposed by Scripture, but we've discussed that already.  What Zins goes into next is essentially a statement of sola fide - also opposed by Scripture in James 2:24.   In fact, it is James 2:24, and ONLY there that Scripture uses the words "faith" and "alone" together, and it is in NEGATION of faith alone, or sola fide!  That being said, Catholics believe that all grace comes from the Cross and Jesus Christ.  We believe in the promises of God in Jesus Christ.  We not only believe Him, we OBEY Him!  We do not doubt His Word when He said He would build His Church (singular, not plural) and that this Church would be built upon "this rock" - and in context, we find that Simon Bar-Jonah was just named "Rock" in that same passage!  
Christians also believe there is no mediator between them and Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion believes itself to be the mediator between man and Jesus Christ. But Christians cannot conceive of a "go-between" and deny the necessity of a "a middle man" between poor lost sinners and Jesus Himself!
I would challenge Mr. Zins to present the official Catholic teaching which states the Catholic religion is the mediator between man and Jesus Christ.  This is simply a false statement and then while not discussing the Sacraments AT ALL in this piece, Zins concludes:
Hence, the entire Roman Catholic sacramental system is inappropriate and in the way when seen in the light of the Christian's direct access to God via a direct route to Jesus. 
So, Mr. Zins has missed the mark entirely.  He does not discuss the Sacraments - and then based upon his misunderstanding of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church and the Sacraments He established - he concludes this system, implemented by Christ Himself, is "inappropriate."

I would be happy to engage Mr. Zins further in a discussion of the scriptural basis of the Sacraments and the relationship of Jesus Christ to His Church through those Sacraments if he would accept this invitation to a scholarly discussion/debate.

AMDG,
Scott<<<


Monday, September 01, 2014

Mormonism and Islam Origins

I sit and wonder how can anyone accept the "truths" of Mormonism.  I mean, it just seems so far-fetched that anyone with any amount of education and especially if they have studied religious history at all would reject Mormonism completely.  Here we have a religion started by a man, Joseph Smith, who was allegedly visited by an angel named Moroni.  This angel provided him with special glasses through which he, and he alone, could read from golden tablets which were allegedly written by Moroni's father around the 4th century - the translation of these tablets is what they now call The Book of Mormon.  As the story goes, Jews fleeing persecution came to the Americas and formed two groups, the Lamanites and the Nephites and these two groups fought each other.  The Nephites (part of the "true religion") were defeated in about 428 AD and the Lamanites became what we now call the Native Americans (Indians).  The Book of Mormon is the alleged account of the Nephite leader, Mormon, who describes their culture, civilization and the appearance of Jesus to the Nephites in America.  The declared purpose of the appearance of Moroni to Joseph Smith is to restore the Nephite religion to the Americas.  

My thoughts then go to Islam...  The "Prophet Mohamed" is allegedly visited by the Archangel, Gabriel (who is mentioned in Christian Scripture).  Gabriel allegedly dictated the Word of God to Mohammed, who in turn put down those words into what we now call the Quran, (or Qu'ran or Koran).



The two cults have similar beginnings, which is a most significant comparison.  The founders of both were struggling to find the "true religion"  Both religions believe their "prophet" was visited by an angel whom delivered to them the truth of religion.  The founder of each writes a new book of "scripture" adhered to by his followers.  Both claim to be following the same God of the Judeo-Christian heritage, but both Judaism and Christianity are corruptions of the true religion.  Immediately after the death of their respective "prophets," each religion split into two cults, each claiming to be the true succession of the "prophet."  The Mormons split into a group lead by the son of Joseph Smith, they settled in Independence Missouri and are called the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" while the other main faction followed Brigham Young to Utah.  The Muslims split similarly, one group, the Sunnis, believed that after the death of Mohammed, the successor should be elected from among his followers.  Shias, however, believed that the successor should be a relative of Mohammed and they chose his cousin/son-in-law, Ali.  Shia is shortened from "Shai-t-Ali" (the Party of Ali).  So, both cults have one faction which believes in a blood successor while the other believes the successor is to be elected.

A list I found which presents similar and a few more comparisons:
- Visited by an angel.- Given visions.
- Told that no true religion existed on the earth.
- Was sent to restore the long lost faith as the one true religion.
- A book produced from their teachings claimed to be "inspired by God."
- Each claimed to be illiterate or uneducated and used this as proof the book was inspired.
- Each claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable.
- Each claimed his new holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.
- Each claimed to be a final prophet of God.
- Each claimed he was persecuted because of his pure faith.
- Was a polygamist who had many wives. 
- Immediately after his death a fight broke out from among the "faithful converts" as to who would succeed him.
- Both religions have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders, have been violent, polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.
- Each has progressive revelation. ("New" revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.)
http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=6474
Another list gleaned from a wiki article:
- A founding prophet who received visits from an angel, leading to revelation of a book of scripture;
- A founding prophet whose first wife was older than himself;
- A founding prophet who practiced and preached polygamy;
- A division of the religion into a minimum of two parties after the death of the founding prophet, with one party claiming that leadership should continue through the prophet's descendants, and the other party rejecting this idea;
- Special reverence for, though not worship of, their founding prophet;
- Belief that their faith represents the genuine, original religion of Adam, and of all true prophets thereafter;
- Belief that the text of the Bible, as presently constituted, has been adulterated from its original form;
- Assertions that modern Christianity does not conform to the original religion taught by Jesus Christ;
- Rejection of the Christian doctrines of Original Sin and the Trinity;
- A belief that theirs constitutes the one and only completely true religion on the earth today;
- A clergy drawn from the laity, without necessarily requiring collegiate or seminary training;
- Insistence that their religion is a complete way of life, meant to directly influence every facet of existence;
- Strong emphasis upon chastity, including modesty in dress;
- Prohibition of alcoholic beverages, gambling, and homosexual and bisexual practices;
- Strong emphasis upon education, both in the secular and religious arenas;
- Incorporation of a sacred ritual of ablution, though each religion's rite differs in form, frequency and purpose;
- Belief that one's marriage can potentially continue into the next life, if one is faithful to the religion; and
- Belief in varying degrees of reward and punishment in the hereafter, depending upon one's performance in this life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_Islam
Fundamentally speaking, both religions have serious flaws.  Let's start with the older one, Islam.  They consider themselves the People of the Promise, which was given to Abraham - which is true, to a point.  God does promise Abraham that the people of Ishmael will become a great nation - but His Covenant would be in the line of Isaac.  The Ishmaelites become the people who would eventually embrace Islam, but they corrupt the story, giving the Covenant promise to Ishmael.  Of course they would say it is the Judeo-Christian heritage which has corrupted the story, but where is their proof?  Where is their evidence?  The Old Testament passages which testify to Isaac predate any "scripture" from Islam by over 2000 years!

Here's a debate, which I don't agree with the scoring, but do agree with the outcome (the "pro" side should have received some points as some good points were made).  
http://www.debate.org/debates/Ishmael-was-the-real-child-of-promise-not-Isaac/1/

Perhaps the better argument, which was never raised by the "con" side of that debate, is that by the time Isaac was taken up to be the sacrifice, Ishmael was gone, exiled with is mother wandering the wilderness of Bersabee Genesis 21:14; the biggest "pro" argument was that God refers to Abraham's "only son" - which is made after Abraham had cast out Hagar and Ishmael, and that reference is in Genesis 22:2.  So, when the statement of "only son" is made, Isaac is Abraham's only son, and is the one whom he loved. 

According to "Islam 101" the reason Isaac's name is used was due to chauvinism and that the Jews had corrupted the Scripture here, but (they say) God left the word "only" in there to demonstrate it was rightly Ishmael, who was for a time Abraham's "only son."  However, as the "con" debater above raised, the "pro" side is arguing from English translations, especially the King James Version.  I would argue that "commas" are not part of the Hebrew text, those are purely part of the English interpretation/translation and the text could be (and likely should be) better translated "Take now, thine only son whom thou lovest, Isaac..." 

Either way, based upon facts - the "pro" side of that debate would need to present the older, non-corrupted text, or else the speculation on corruption is just that, and nothing more than speculation. 

A serious flaw both religions fail is in the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.  Islam denies any deity to Jesus and Mormonism assents that Jesus is "a god" and just one among potentially millions or even billions of gods.  The Mormon "prophet," Joseph Smith taught "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (in the King Follet Discourse).  The implication being, we can all be gods.  The polytheism of Mormonism is rejected by Christianity, Judaism and Islam alike.  

Back to the point of this article.  I am not the first (and certainly won't be the last) to speculate on the similarities between Islam and Mormonism.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Explaining Why Abortion is Wrong While Avoiding Religious Terms



Today I would like to show how one can debate, argue, on the merits of being pro-life without using religious texts for support.

Using only science and our own Declaration of Independence we can make a solid argument against any and all abortions. First we need to understand that a person is a living human being. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines ‘person’ as “a human being.” Second, our Declaration of Independence tells us that all human beings have an unalienable right to life. And thirdly, we can know that a new human being begins its life at the moment of fertilization. As the same online dictionary defines‘fertilization’ as: the process of union of two gametes whereby the somatic chromosome number is restored and the development of a new individual is initiated.

There you have it. Everything you need to successfully explain your pro-life position as being well supported by science by applying the fundamental right to life for all human beings from the beginning of its life (at fertilization) to its natural end.

There’s no other conclusion possible. You see, the only objections to my position of pro-life is to argue that size, level of development, Environment or degree of dependency are points allowing for the destruction of what is growing in the womb, which science tells us that it’s a living human being.

Let’s look at these different objections to see how weak their position really is. Does size determine if someone has a right to life? No, of course not. A baby is much smaller than a teenager but that doesn’t mean that the baby doesn’t have a right to life simply because it’s smaller in size. The same goes for a newly formed human being, the zygote. It may be extremely small but it is indeed a human being and alive and therefore it has a right to life just as a baby or a teenager does. Size does not determine if one has rights.

Does the level of development determine if one has the right to life? Of course not. An adult human being is much more developed than a toddler, does that mean that the adult has a greater degree of this right to life than the toddler does? Just because the level of development might prevent a human being from ‘thinking’ or ‘feeling’ doesn’t mean that our value is based on our abilities. Some individuals , like Gabby Gingras, can’t feel pain at all but that doesn’t mean that she has no right to life.

Does ones location determine if one has a right to life? No. Just because they are living in the womb at the moment, which is in its proper location for its age, doesn’t change ones nature that they are indeed a human being and the fact that they are growing means that they are alive. All living human beings have a right to life no matter where they may be at a certain time in their lives. I have as much a right to life whether I’m in bed or at work; the same applies to the individual whether she is in the womb or in her mother’s arms.

And lastly, the level of dependency. The fact that the individual who is completely dependent on the mother for survival does not determine whether he has a right to life. If that were the case then a newborn would not have a right to life either since it is completely dependent on someone else, usually the mother for its survival. If level of dependency on another for survival determines if one has a right to life means that the killing of newborns would be morally acceptable. No rational individual would support the killing of newborns.

Again, we can plainly see that if it can be ascertained with a great amount of certainty that a new human being begins its existence at the moment of fertilization, then by virtue of believing in the right to life for all supercedes any ‘rights’ the mother may feel she has to an abortion for whatever reason. Science has determined with certainty that a human being does indeed begin its life at the moment of conception which means that a mothers ‘right’ to choose to deliberately kill her developing human being should not be allowed by law.

The right to life is to be afforded to all living human beings simply by virtue of them being human beings. And that right to life cannot be taken away because of their size, level of development, environment or dependency. They deserve this right because we believe that the founders had it right; that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights[that cannot be taken away or denied], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


God Bless
Nathan

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sir Richard Attenborough

Sir Richard Attenborough has passed away at age 90.  While he's been a character actor in many films, my best memory of him is as Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (a favorite of my daughter before she passed away).
Sir Richard Attenborough (Jacob) with Donny Osmond (Joseph)
Rest in peace, Sir Attenborough.

http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=885678