Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Seriously, Catholics ARE Christian

I have noticed that many folks in my part of the country will ask things like “are you Christian or Catholic”?  *Faithpalm*.  This is a false dichotomy.  Catholics ARE Christian.  For many of them, I think it is because in their theology, they believe that someone is a Christian when they got saved.  Oddly, I don’t hear them ask Methodists and Lutherans whether or not they are “Methodist/Lutheran or Christian”.  First, let’s define terms.
Strictly speaking, a Christian is someone that believes and follows the teachings and dictates of the Christian religion, as founded by Jesus Christ.  Of course, not all Christians are the same, their theologies differ widely, and they often attack each other for not being “true Christians.  So this is a bit of a vague argument.  Okay, fine.  Then who is Christian?  Well…
From a Catholic perspective, I think it would depend on whether or not they are validly baptized.  Mormons use the Trinitarian formula and water, but have a misunderstanding (from a traditional Christian perspective) of the Trinity.  Baptists insist on full bodily immersion, but don’t believe it actually does anything, however, from a Catholic perspective, those baptisms are valid.
So, to put it bluntly, a Christian is someone who has been validly baptized.  So why do many folks not consider Catholics to be Christian?  I think it goes back to the reformation, ultimately, though getting “saved” as we know it did not exist at the time.  This idea (as I understand it) came to America with John Wesley.  Wesley was an Anglican clergyman that believed (to some extent) that you could be saved and knows you’re saved.  Oddly, he also believed you could lose your salvation.  This is not dissimilar to the Catholic view on salvation (what we might refer to as “relative assurance”).
Anyway, Wesley made a big impact in this part of the country.  Methodists and Methodism can be found in almost every town, only outnumbered by Baptists here.  The “Once saved, always saved” actually came later.  It is true that Calvinists believed your destiny was sealed when you were created, and I think that’s where this idea of “he was never really saved to begin with” came from.
Though, the “once saved, always saved” didn’t come from Wesley (He’d probably be horrified by the idea), I think many took Wesley’s message to the logical extreme.  “You’re saved, you can’t be unsaved”.  The problem with this, (besides contradicting common sense) is of course, that contradicts both the Bible, (Matthew 7:21-23, Matthew 24:13) and historical Christianity.
Now that I’ve defined terms, I hope when someone asks you (if you are a Catholic) “Are you a Catholic Christian”, do what I do and answer “I am a Catholic Christian”.  If you are an Evangelical Protestant, great, I love doing pro-life work with y’all, but please understand, Catholics see themselves as having more fullness of Christianity than you do.   Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re not Christian, and most Catholics would never say you aren’t, but asking someone if they’re “Catholic or Christian” is like asking someone if they’re “Black or American”, one does not negate the other.
-Adam Charles Hovey

Monday, February 13, 2017

Why atheism will not last

“Hear, O Israel, the LORD Our God is one”-Deuteronomy 6:4.
I was doing a little bit of poking around the internet (since, you know, that’s what I do) ,and I was reading about different religious groups in the Middle East and whatnot.  I am not sure how I go to it, but I came across some information about a book call “The Satanic Verses”.
Apparently, said book ruffled more than a few feathers in the Islamic world.  I believe Mohammed to be a false prophet anyway, so I don’t see the purpose of me getting worked up over it.  Anyway, turns out the author belongs to some society or another that is trying to make my country (the United States) more secular.  I find this odd, given that our Declaration of Independence mentions a creator God.  Whatever.
What I find most interesting though is how self serving this guy is.  He’s also on some committee to help underprivileged folks.  What is the point?  Does that not go against the Darwinian view of survival of the fittest?
  Nietzsche was an atheist that understood atheism.  He understood that the strong must be strong and not help the weak.  This is why he hated Christianity and Judaism.  Because they cared for the weak.   This is ultimately where atheistic societies lead to.   Those that live of the rich will be considered parasites.
So why do I say atheism won’t last?  The same reason Islam is growing; there’s no divine command for atheists to make other atheists, there’s no set guide to morality.  Atheists should have no problem aborting their children or contracepting.  Atheism is, by definition, immoral.
Christians, especially Catholics, will outlast atheists.  Practicing Catholics, ones that actually follow the Church’s teaching on contraceptives, tend to have many more kids than the atheists have.  And because countries with large atheist populations have shrinking populations, not growing ones, atheism, will eventually die out.  Islam will start shrinking to, as there is not single, standard teaching in Islam on human sexuality.  Atheism will die out, because there will be no one left to teach atheism.  Christianity will continue to grow, but the Christians that believe the divine command to spread the gospel, will spread it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

50 Shades mentality and the decline of Western Civilisation Part II

A few years ago, I made a post called “50 Shades of Grey mentality and the decline of Western Civilisation.  I felt (and indeed, still feel) that it was an utmost appropriate title.  In it, I called for Christians to fast and pray.  Whilst the movie was a financial success (largely based on the popularity of the book, I’m sure), it was a critical failure.  Phrases such as the “Worst movie ever made” were not uncommon to it.  Now, I made the comment about it coming out on 13 February which on that year, happened to be on a Friday.  Generally, in the United States, those of a more superstitious lot believe Friday the 13th to be unlucky, and I made a comment about that.  I also pointed out how the novel made light of abuse and turned said abuse into romance.  Well, the time has come again.  Come 10 February 2017, I am calling on all Christians, Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Church of the East or otherwise, to fast and pray.  As Matt Fradd once said “Fasting without prayer…is dieting”.  We must reject ourselves if we want to rid ourselves of this pornographic blight on our culture.  We, as Christians, we know the answer, and we know that in the end, Christ himself, the light of the world, is the answer.  We know, the battle has already been won on the cross.  We know we have been sanctified by his blood. (1 Corinthians 6:11)  But not everyone knows this (John 10:16).  We need to drive the demons out of ourselves and out of our culture.  (Mark 9:29)
The problem, at least in America and Europe, is we are gluttons.  We love food, and we want it fast, especially in America.  In parts of Europe, characters talk about buying condoms on children’s show and there’s not anything wrong with it, according to many of the parents of said children.  In America, some of the public elementary (primary) schools give out condoms, and we’re not supposed to think about it.
What is the root of this?  Gluttony is not always about food.  There is such a thing as sexual gluttony.  I can attest, that when I was sexually active, I as not interested in doing the things that were for procreation, I was more worried about gratification.  I was a glutton for sex, and not natural sex either.  My girlfriend put up with it because I told her that I loved her.  Even if I did love her, that’s not how you show love.  I had a university class where Obamacare was part of the discussion (and to be sure, it has its pros and cons), and she was talking about how it was great how she didn’t have to pay for her birth control pills anymore.
How did we get to this point?  How did we get to this spiritual sloth?  I was raised in a family that only occasionally went to church, but I was still taught basic morals.  There were some things I was never taught.  I wasn’t told it was a sin to (and here it gets graphic) to masturbate or watch pornography.  I was never told sex is for procreation (oddly, my 13 and 14 year old sisters DO know this because of how lax my mother was with teaching us morals).  I think there’s a deeper problem.  I think the spiritual sloth is caused by people never wanting to admit we’re wrong.
In America, at least, we want everything in excess.  We went all the cable channels, we want to be able to watch abusive pornography and claim it is covered by free speech, we have to own the most cars, we have the highest paying jobs.  Having “just enough” isn’t enough for us.  When I was a lad, I was very poor, but I was happy.  I have a smart phone, a few computers, a beat-up car, and a myriad of books, some of which I’ll never read.  There is nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves.  But do you really NEED a $600 US smartphone that is just going to be obsolete next year anyway?  Do you really need a $1,000 US Laptop when you have a wife and two kids to feed?
Let’s get back to the matter at hand.  The reason we accept this 50 Shades of Grey mentality has less to do with it being a “romance” and more with it being gluttony.  I still have issues with pornography.  I still have flashbacks about the way I treated my ex girlfriend (and to be fair, neither of us were innocent, but I will go ahead and take most of the blame).  I think it’s high-time we started treated our fellow human beings like people, not like objects.  They (including the pornographers) (Genesis 1:27) are made in the image and likeness of God.  Fast for them, pray for them, especially on 10 February 2017.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

"Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk.  And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero′di-ans, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men.  Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”  But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.
Matthew 22:15-22

What is our duty to God?  What is our duty to Caesar?  We know that we must never support that which is immoral, such as pornography, abortion, and gay "marriage". We live in a time, when we're told that gender isn't a biological reality, and even the absurd notion that the Bible doesn't support the idea of gender (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 5:2, Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6), where we have politicians that are ignoring God's warning to those that mistreat foreigners, widows, and orphans (Zechariah 7:10) and a time where the average of the first time viewing pornography is often before the start of puberty (though not always), people are getting mistaken ideas about what sex (much pornography DOES violate obscenity laws, but the government rarely ever enforces it).  So why in the world should we "Render, therefore to Caesar"?  Well, we are Christians.  We can argue that government programs often do help the poor (though, one could argue, private charity does a better job of it), we use public libraries, we send our children to public schools (though, an argument can be made that sending a child to a private school would cost about the same amount if it were paid by taxes), we use public parks, public roads, and the like.  These are not a necessary evil, they are a necessity.  That said, paying for abortion is immoral, paying for it by force is evil.  Not protecting the youth from the dangers of pornography is an evil that we can not and should not tolerate.  And gay "marriage" (which was forced on us by our Supreme Court Legislature) should not be tolerated.  Christians (ALL Christians, not just Catholics), if they want their religious liberties protected, they need to speak out against these unjust laws.  The need to run for office.  They need to seek to change our Godless culture.  So should we still pay taxes?  Yes, but at the same time we needn't accept the immorality they support.  The taxes the Jews were paying in Jesus's day supported government corruption and immorality on par with the things we deal with. (Contrary to how it seems, things have not always been great). You want to make a change?  Bring your Christianity to the public sphere, and if you get ill-treated, push through harder.