The Cult of Niceness

The Cult of Niceness by Bruce Frohnen –
More than twenty-five years ago, in The Closing of the American Mind, Allan Bloom pointed out that college students in the United States had become very “nice.” Students in general did not want to offend anyone and there was a constant concern to protect one another’s feelings. Bloom meant this as a half-hearted, even backhanded compliment at the time. It should not be seen as any kind of compliment any longer. In fact, niceness has become the enemy of excellence in our universities, and its pervasive role is setting up our young people and our society for failure and an especially venal form of soft despotism.

“Niceness” is a rather shallow set of habits and attitudes more concerned with comfort than engagement, ease than excellence, contentment than striving to do one’s best. It was and is the perfect complement to our contemporary liberal insistence on “tolerance” as the chief virtue. Tolerance, after all, means simply allowing others to do and/or say what we may not like. [Read more…]


Political Correctness, Progressivism, and Present Day Bolsheviks

Political Correctness, Progressivism, and Present Day BolsheviksExcerpts from multiple posts by Fr. Johannes Jacobse in the comments section of “It’s a Brand New Age” blog post. Some edits made to transform multiple individual comments by Fr. Jacobse into a cohesive stand-alone article. Special care was taken to preserve the original meaning of the author.

Political correctness is the cultic aspect of Liberalism and Progressivism mostly because it attempts to control thought through language. It’s Orwell, but on a deeper level Dostoevsky and even Nietzsche. The markers are easy to spot especially the cruder terms — racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe, white privilege — anything to shut down discussion and censure thought. Language is used promiscuously, laced with moral opprobrium and other self-justifying blather. It’s intimidation, like the Brownshirts or Bolsheviks.

The corruption of language is both a cause and effect of the moral inversion [Read more…]


Why Atheists Don’t Really Exist

there are no such things as atheists by Joe Bissonnette –
In the deeper rumblings of their very selves, where nature speaks through instinct and God speaks through conscience, there are eternal truths that can be avoided for a time but not ultimately denied. The truth is that there are no such things as atheists.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to ascribe greater significance to information that supports our pre-existing theories and lesser significance to information that contradicts those theories. We often do this subconsciously.

For example you get a new car, and now you notice that same type of car on the road with a much greater frequency than you had noticed before. But though confirmation bias generally refers to the inclusion or exclusion of data, there are other ways we can shoehorn the obvious to make it fit within our world view. [Read more…]


Devil’s Philosophy in Lawless and Wicked Age: ‘Do as You Please’

Devils Philosophy in Lawless and Wicked Ageby Michael W. Chapman –
Our children are growing up in a “lawless and wicked age,” infused with the “philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’

World renowned evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, the founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said that our children are growing up in a “lawless and wicked age,” infused with the “philosophy of the Devil, who says, ‘Do as you please.’”

Further, rearing children in this culture is difficult because “we have taken God out of our educational systems and thought we could get away with it,” said Rev. Graham. “We have sown the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind. We have laughed at God, religion and the Bible.” [Read more…]


How to Overcome Despondency

How to Overcome Despondencyby Bishop Arsenius (Zhadanovsky) –
One must not delay in warring against despondency, for the next step after despondency is despair – which leads to perdition.

Despondency from Physical Ilnesses
Despondency springs from various sources, primarily from our physical illnesses. In this case, despondency is suppressed by spiritual inspiration, spiritual interests. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, it says in the Scriptures. The holy Apostle Paul was beset by a physical infirmity: [T]here was given to me a thorn in the flesh, he says, …to buffet me (II Cor. 12:7). Saint John Chrysostom takes “thorn in the flesh” to mean a severe headache. However, the same Apostle Paul testifies, …when I am weak, then am I strong (II Cor. 12:10), because he was wholly caught up in serving the Lord. Our bodily infirmities and the resultant despondency can be overcome only by the strengthening grace of God. [Read more…]


The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitude

The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitudeby Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Declaration of Independence states, are unalienable rights granted by our Creator, to be protected by the government. Unfortunately the definitions for these terms were never truly agreed upon and, being defined by men, change over time. When does the right to life begin? In the womb or after birth? To what extent are we free? Until we hurt ourselves or others? And happiness, that popular but pitiful word constantly bent to the whim of emotions and impulses.

At the time of the writing of the Declaration, the meaning of the word happiness was greatly debated. Some restricted its meaning to only the acquisition of material possessions. For others it meant absolute freedom. Others insisted that happiness was attained only through the practice of reason and truth. [Read more…]


Putting on the Armor of God: Being a Warrior When It’s Popular to Be a Weaner

Putting on the Armor of GodFr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
Being a warrior for Christ has no minimum age or athletic qualifications. All warriors for Christ, however, must want to “be men” or “be manly”. It means to be what a human is really meant to be: brave, courageous, and authentic in obedience to God.

Saint Nestor was only a teenager when he decided he’d had enough of the local Christians being slaughtered in forced combat against a giant named Lyaeus. The Emperor Maximian had set up a raised platform in the center of Thessaloniki where he forced Christians to fight for their lives against the seemingly unconquerable Vandal mercenary “who was a beast in both appearance and character.”

Nestor was thin and not very tall, but apparently that did not concern him. He visited Saint Demetrios in prison and took his blessing to challenge Lyaeus. The saint made the sign of the cross over his head and heart, prophesying, “You will both be victorious and suffer for Christ.” [Read more…]


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…]


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…]


God is the Cure for Depression – St. Silouan the Athonite

God Christ Cure for Depression by Fr. Vasile Tudor –
As Christians we must give glory to God in all things, even in pain, hoping, always hoping, in our Savior, the only One who can take us out of the brink of despair and set us for a new life in Him. In Him we put our hope, in Him we find our purpose, and on Him we set our goal.

The greatest plague of the 21st century is not AIDS, nor cancer, nor the H1N1 flu, but something that affects much more people in ways we can barely start to understand: depression. Reportedly one in ten Americans suffers from one or the other forms of this malady. The rates of anti-depressant usage in the United States are just as worrisome. A recent poll unveils that one in eight Americans is using them. Prozac, Zyprexa, Cymbalta are not strange alien names anymore, but familiar encounters in almost every American household. Even children approach the usage rates of adults. These are very high and paradoxical numbers in a country where all are free to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” [Read more…]


Earth Day, a Humbug? From Resurrection to Recycling

Easter vs Earth Day by Stephen Turley –
“What’s wrong with Earth Day?” my student asks incredulously from the back of the classroom. “What issue could you possibly have with being good stewards of our environment?” “There’s simply no point to it,” I respond. “We have Easter.” My student furls her brow; “What on earth does Easter have to do with saving the environment?”

Around the twenty-second of every April, I must admit that I do feel a certain affinity with Ebenezer Scrooge as he was interrogated by his nephew, Fred. “Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don’t mean that, I am sure.” And while I certainly demur from his assessment of Christmas, I am in agreement with old Scrooge that calendrical commemorations shape effectually our lives, and not always for the better. Time in its various dimensions—historical or cosmic, public or private, linear or cyclical, continuous or discontinuous—is a fundamental feature of life experience. [Read more…]


Tolerance and Charity, from a Christian Perspective

Tolerance is Not a Christian Virtue by Brian A. Graebe –
Tolerance is a nice word, but is it a Christian virtue? Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver doesn’t think so, and his claim has occasioned no small amount of protest. In a smug editorial, America magazine recently chastened Chaput for coarsening the tenor of intra-ecclesial discourse. While no call for courtesy and civility should go unheeded, an apology for toleration that ignores its niceties only furthers the intellectual and moral torpor plaguing the public square.

Proponents of a kinder, gentler discussion on the great issues of our day often attempt a rhetorical sleight of hand, coupling tolerance with charity. Such a pairing is ambiguous at best. The call to charity “loving one’s fellow man as a child of God” is universal and, one hopes, uncontroversial. But what does it mean to be tolerant of those with whom we disagree on serious matters? If used as a synonym for charity, combined patience and magnanimity, one can make a case, but that case remains weak and the term imprecise. [Read more…]


Most Common Regrets of the Dying

Most Common Regrets of the Dyingby Bronnie Ware –
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learned never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: [Read more…]


Making the Most of Your New Year – 2014

How to Make the Most of Your New Year 2014by Allen West –
On his blog, Allen West reflects on Pastor Scott Eynon’s sermon titled “How to Make the Most of Your New Year” based on the core scriptures in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pastor Scott emphasized four points:

1. Accept responsibility for your life, your actions, no blame game. He emphasized that you will never reach God’s potential for your life by blaming others. The Bible even addresses that premise in Galatians 5:6, “for each one should carry their own load.” I also liked this quote from John Maxwell: “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it.”

2. Believe you can change and set goals. If you want something to be different, first you have to want it, and second you have to commit to hard work, focus, and discipline in achieving it. [Read more…]


An Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rights

Orthodox Christian Moral Case for Property Rightsby Fr. Gregory Jensen –
As a pastor, I’ve been struck by the hostility, or at least suspicion, that some Orthodox Christians reveal in their discussions of private property. While there are no doubt many reasons for this disconnect, I think a central factor is a lack of appreciation for the role that private property can, and does, play in fostering human flourishing.

It is through the wise and prudent use of our property that we are able to give ourselves over in love to the next generation and so give them the possibility of likewise transcending a purely material way of life through an act of self-donation. Economists Terry Anderson and Laura Huggins, in Property Rights: A Practical Guide to Freedom and Prosperity  (Hoover Institution, 2009), are right when they remind us that while not a panacea, “property rights to oneself (human capital), one’s investments (physical capital), or one’s ideas (intellectual capital), secure claims to assets” and so “give people the ability to make their own decisions, reaping the benefits of good choices and bearing the costs of bad ones.” [Read more…]