Given an Omnipotent, Fully Good and Loving God, Why do Good People Suffer?

Story of Job Bible sufferingby Mackenzie Mulligan –
That is the question for the ages. The suffering of bad people, of evil people, is (for some) an easier question. There is a notion of cosmic reparation, whether of impersonal karma or personal Justice, that provides an explanation on that front. But what of good people?

That, at least, is a question asked repeatedly by characters in G. K. Chesterton’s The Man who was Thursday, and the answers Chesterton hints at are some of the most incredible I have ever read.

But first, we must eliminate the greatest of the false trails apologists often stray down: that human goodness is never good enough in comparison to Christ’s perfection. This relativity, while actual, is nonetheless irrelevant. The goodness and righteousness even of fallen humanity is real enough and meaningful enough to be attested to even from the throne of Jehovah himself. I trust ye have heard of the patience of Job? [Read more…]

Christianity is Truth and Reality, Not Mythology

Christ is God, Lamb abd Lion of Judah by Garet Pahl –
The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. By becoming a fact it does not cease to be a myth. God is more than a god, not less.

Secular mythologists would claim that mythology is the result of ancient man observing the facts and building up the story upon them. As time progressed, simple and crude myths became more elegant and complex, constantly reappearing in higher, more organized forms. Jesus Christ is immortalized in legend as a god that dies and comes back to life, because the concept was copied from less ordered myths about corn gods or gods of the harvest, who die in the fall and are reborn again in the spring. The secularist sees the search for religious significance as growth upward from the simple answers of mythology. C.S. Lewis says that this is the modernist assumption that higher things are always copies of lower things. Much like Darwinian evolution, where more complex life forms have evolved from lower life forms, the secularist claims that Christianity, along with other great religions, is simply myth evolved into a higher form.

On the contrary Lewis would demonstrate that lower things are copies of higher things. Mankind exists as the main example of this. We are made in God’s image. We are a copy of an infinitely higher being. Though the communicable attributes of God are present in mankind, mankind is not God and never will be. Likewise the pagan myths are true in as much as they are copies of the complete truth. The pagan myths though not true in historical reality, are nonetheless the distorted reflection of a higher reality. [Read more…]

Are All Ideologies Evil?

Communism is evil soviet propaganda by Steven Jonathan –

One of the finest American teachers acquiesced a few years ago to be my mentor. I am a stranger to the good man, but he agreed to answer my questions because he is in possession of a proper understanding of the nature of a true teacher, a public figure whose work is ultimately for the benefit of the common good. I go to him every few months with my most pressing quandaries. A while back I asked him to teach me about the nature of ideology. He fired off a small collection of ideas asserting that all ideology is evil and he explained why. Surely ideologues would object and, while calling for sophistical distinctions, would be formulating a semantic bait-and-switch scheme that passes for “truth” in these dark and deceitful times.

What is ideology?
According to Merriam Webster ideology is “1: visionary theorizing 2a: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture c: the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program.” If we limit ourselves to the shallow dictionary definition, it may serve our purpose in drawing reasonably sound inferences about the nature of ideology. [Read more…]

The Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed Be Thy Name”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –

What do the words “Hallowed be Thy Name” mean? The Name of God is already holy in itself, bearing within itself the force of holiness, spiritual strength, and the presence of God. Why do we need to pray in these words? Could it really be that the Name of God won’t remain holy if we don’t say “Hallowed be Thy Name”?

When we say “Hallowed be Thy Name,” we primarily have in mind that the Name of God should be hallowed, that is, be revealed as holy through us, Christians, through our spiritual life. The Apostle Paul, addressing the unworthy Christians of his time, said: For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written (Romans 2:24). These are very important words. They speak of our discrepancy with the spiritual-moral norm that is contained in the Gospel and according to which we, Christians, are obliged to live. This discrepancy is, perhaps, one of the main tragedies both for us as Christians and for the entire Christian Church. [Read more…]

Why the Silencing and Persecution of Christians will Continue

Silencing and Persecution of Christians will Continue by Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. –

The number of subjects we cannot talk about in public discourse are rapidly multiplying. The older notion of “free speech” as a search for the truth through reasonable argument is being replaced. We no longer want to hear speech if it “offends” someone’s feelings or self-defined identity. We would rather “just get along” than to have to decide about the truth of any issue or confront the consequences of its violation.

We thus have become infinitely “tolerant” of anything but truth itself. Speech is not directed to truth or falsity of an issue but to the “sensitivity” and “compassion” of those who hear it. “Objective” standards are subject to the listener’s “right” to hear only what he wants to hear. Thus, whatever is “permitted” in positive or civil law becomes a “right” for those who follow it. [Read more…]

U.S. Constitution Does Not Prohibit Religious References in Public Places and Schools

U.S. Constitution Does Not Prohibit Religious References in Public Places and Schools by Mike Miller (Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia) –

During a speech at Colorado Christian University on Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit religious references in public places, including schools:

“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion.”

Scalia suggested that if Americans want a more secular political system, such as those in Europe, they can “enact that by statute, but to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”

At the heart of the argument over separation of church and state lies the age-old debate over the intent of the First Amendment: [Read more…]

The Truth is Always ‘Offensive’

The Truth is Always Offensive - Christ the Truth and Pilate by Trevor Thomas –
True followers of Christ tell the truth with courage, conviction, and love. They also peacefully, but strongly, stand up to the lies of liberalism, Islam, and the like. This is precisely why such Christians are found to be so ‘offensive.’

When Jesus stood before Pilate, just prior to going to His execution, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” After some discussion, Pilate concluded, “You are a king, then!” Jesus replied, “You are right in saying that I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Sounding much like a modern-day graduate of Harvard’s divinity school, or the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University (who both probably have about the same regard for Christ as did Pilate), Pilate concluded his exchange with Jesus by asking, “What is truth?” And just as one would expect from someone so blind to the truth, Pilate and the crowd sent the most innocent man the world has ever known to his excruciating death. [Read more…]

An Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance

Orthodox Perspective on Tolerance by Rdr. Daniel Manzuk –
We are bombarded with the message that we are to be tolerant of the beliefs and practices of others. “Tolerant,” however, has come to mean “accept and condone without question or reservation”; failure to practice this form of tolerance makes one intolerant and a hater. These assertions are addressed especially to those from traditional Christian backgrounds who acknowledge that the truths in Scripture are absolute, not relative, as secular and liberal society views them.

It must be noted, too, that when entirely secularized people refuse to be tolerant of “traditional values,” they are called progressive, open-minded and enlightened, anything but intolerant; while traditional Christians are considered deluded, superstitious, brain-washed, and ignorant. (This is so despite the fact that – in all ages – living a Christian life requires a concerted effort and personal dedication –a clear choice. Just ask the Virgin Mary and the Martyrs.) [Read more…]

Defining Moral Crisis of Our Age

Ten Commandments envy corrosive shall not covetby Danny Lemieux –
One of the fundamental problems in our society is that we argue with one another from positions of moral parochialism: we assume that the other party shares our frames of reference. That may have been true in the earlier years of our nation, but I propose that this is no longer the case. Today, we argue from different and fundamentally incompatible moral codes and value systems. It is the dichotomy between the two that confuses our discourse and creates great dangers for our country.

Many political and social arguments today seek to accommodate two fundamentally incompatible and opposite moral codes: a Judeo-Christian code and a Marxist-Progressive (“MarxProg”) code. When we on the Judeo-Christian side of the equation appeal to terms such as “good,” “evil,” “right,” and “wrong,” we usually fail to realize that they mean entirely different things in the MarxProgs’ lexicon. [Read more…]

The Lord’s Prayer: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) –
We can turn to God with a great variety of petitions. We can ask Him not only for that which is sublime and spiritual, but also for that which is essential for us on the material plane. “Daily bread” is what we live on; it’s our daily nourishment.

Moreover, in the prayer we say: “Give us this day our daily bread.” In other words, we don’t ask God to provide us with everything necessary for all the subsequent days of our lives. We ask Him for daily food, knowing that if He feeds us today, then He will feed us tomorrow, too. Pronouncing these words, we express our trust in God: we trust Him with our life today, just as we trust Him for tomorrow. [Read more…]

National Suicide? Cutting Off a Society’s Ethical and Religious History

National Suicide? Cutting Off a Society's Ethical and Religious Historyby Archbishop Charles Chaput –
If human laws do not reflect the deeper law of God, there is little chance of survival. That is why people of faith must participate in politics and public life because the current culture rejects God’s law or even Natural Law as a foundation for our society.

We now come to our third point: The law can’t teach effectively without the support of a surrounding moral culture, because law arises from that culture. As many thinkers, including St. John Paul II, have recognized, culture precedes politics and law. Law embodies and advances a culture, especially its moral aspects.

We Christians need to keep this in mind as we work for justice in our societies, despite the very negative climate of today’s culture wars. We should use political means as fruitfully as we can, without apologies. [Read more…]

Who Will Rescue the Lost Sheep of the Lonely Revolution?

Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd Helps the Lost Sheepby Anthony Esolen –
We do not have Pharisees who preen themselves for having followed the letter of the law and missed its soul. We have Pharisees who preen themselves for disobeying the law, even the most serious admonitions of the law, even your own clear words on marriage and divorce, while presuming to have discovered a soul-of-the-law whose existence has eluded two thousand years of martyrs, saints, popes, bishops, and theologians.

Forgive me, Lord, if I use your words for an admonitory parable. You said to the Pharisees, “What man among you, having a hundred sheep, and learning that one of them has wandered into the wilderness, will not leave the ninety nine and go after the lost sheep? And when he has found it, will he not call his friends and say, Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep that was lost?”

That is why you came among us, to call sinners back to the fold. [Read more…]

Orthodox Church Categorically Condemns All Homosexual Behavior

Orthodox Church Categorically Condemns Homosexual Behaviorby Editors –
The following information originally appeared in The Word, January 1984, pp. 6-11. The Word is the official news magazine of the Antiochian Archdiocese. Published monthly (with the exception of July and August) the magazine circulates to the households of all members of the Antiochian Archdiocese and other subscribers including libraries and seminaries.

Orthodox Statement on Homosexuality
The position of the Orthodox Church toward homosexuality has been expressed by synodical canons and Patristic pronouncements beginning with the very first centuries of Orthodox ecclesiastical life.

Thus, the Orthodox Church condemns unreservedly all expressions of personal sexual experience which prove contrary to the definite and unalterable function ascribed to sex by God’s ordinance and expressed in man’s experience as a law of nature. [Read more…]

Texas Orthodox Priests Reject Fr. Arida’s Scandalous Teaching on Homosexuality

Texas Orthodox Priests Reject Fr. Arida's False Teachingby Texas Orthodox Priests –
Statement of the Brotherhood of the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality

In response to Fr. Robert Arida’s recent article, which was posted on the OCA’s Wonder blog, there have been many eloquent rebuttals.  We do not wish to attempt to reproduce those critiques here, but we do wish to underscore some of the more important points that have been made, and to speak out publically on this controversy.

We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture. St. Paul admonishes us to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). [Read more…]

Forming a Moral Foundation is Vital in Educating Children

Virtues Forming a Moral Foundation is Vital in Educating Childrenby Anthony Esolen –
The forming of a moral imagination is not something additional in the education of a child. It is the education of a child.

What is remarkable in our age is not that half of our citizens believe it is wrong to kill the child in the womb, the child whose existence, except in the rare case of rape, is owing to our own voluntary actions. That would be like congratulating ourselves for believing that it’s wrong to steal someone’s car, to lie under oath to hurt an enemy, to throw our aged parents into the street, or to desecrate churches.

Where is the great moral insight? What’s remarkable instead is that half of us believe it is all right to snuff out the life of that child – because nothing must be allowed to interfere with our “right” to pursue pleasure, as we use the child-making thing as a sweating-off spa on our way to money, prestige, a five-bathroom mansion for two, a tenured chair in Women’s Studies, the mayoralty of Camden, another year of nights out on the town, whatever. [Read more…]