Thursday, November 28, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
C.S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy & Aldous Huxley
In the years since the memory of JFK has been invoked by both Democrats & Republicans. There has been a debate about how great a president he really was & whether his achievements were inflated only because of his death. Some inflation, but he still did some good things that made this country better. There have been debates on whether Oswald a loner or part of an conspiracy. IMHO, conspiracy as the Congressional investigation found. But these things will be the debate of historians until the end of time. The assassination also became a plot for a Doctor Who novel, Who Killed Kennedy. It involved a change in the timeline because Kennedy survived as well as a surprise as to who really killed JFK to right the timeline. Stephen King recently wrote his own take, 11/22/63, that involves a time-traveller involved with preventing JFK's assassination.
The 2nd death that day was of C.S. Lewis. He died at a little after 5:30 pm. But since he died in Oxford, England, he was dead an hour before JFK was shot.
At the time I had no idea who Lewis was. I discovered him after making a TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) retreat in January 1973. I was looking for anything I could devour that would help me grow in my faith. His writings were recommended to me & I bought up all I could get ahold of. Some where easier to read than others.
While I like The Chronicles of Narnia, they are not my favorite. Like many, I love The Screwtape Letters. Another favorite is The Great Divorce. Both of these have been made into plays I have yet to see. But my favorites are his Sci-Fi trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra & That Hideous Strength. The 3rd novel is even more appropriate today as it deals with what are now considered "New Age" themes & the dangers of being involved in New Age activities.
Over the years his writings have helped me to grow in my faith. At the time I discovered him I had already begun to be a J.R.R. Tolkien fan. But I did not know about the connection that they had. I won't go into all the details as several good books by Joseph Pierce & Brad Birzer go into it better. Tolkein & Lewis, aided by the rest of the Inklings, helped each other to be better writers as well as grow in their faith. They had their disagreements, naturally. According to 1 story, Lewis & Tolkein agreed to write books that would bring their writings to a larger audience, Lewis's was to be on space travel & Tolkien would handle time travel. Lewis did that with his Sci-fi trilogy, but Tolkien never did complete his time travel stories, but did go on to write Lord of the Rings.
Lewis never did become a Catholic, despite how close to Catholicism he was in his views. A lot of this is probably due to what Joseph Pierce says was his childhood in Ulster & how, as a protestant, he was raised to view Catholics. That didn't stop him from becoming friends with Tolkien. Interestingly enough, it was the writings of another Catholic, G.K. Chesterton, that lead him out of atheism & into belief.
After his death, Tolkien had a Mass said for the repose of his soul.
Finally we have Aldous Huxley.
If anyone had told me that day that Huxley had died, he wouldn't have registered with me any more than the death of Lewis. In fact I never heard about Huxley until I read his distopian novel, Brave New World, in high school English class. Part of the story looks at the dangers of reproductive technology, something very much a burning issue these days.
Beyond that, I really didn't know much about Huxley until recently. I only found out about his connection to JFK & Lewis in the '80s for a reason I will get to shortly. What I recently found out was that he could be classified as a prime example of a New Ager. Among the things he was into were parapsychology, mysticism, Eastern religions, & universalism.
This leads me to how I found out about their connection. In about 1983 I discovered a book at a Christian book store by Peter Kreeft called Between Heaven and Hell. What caught my attention was that it involved JFK & Lewis.
At the time I didn't have the money to buy it. Later it was no longer available & I, mostly, forgot about it until 2010 when I discovered it had been re released.
I then made sure I bought a copy. It was well worth it & lived up to my expectations.
For those of you who are not familiar with Peter Kreeft, He is a professor of Philosophy. This book took him only 3 days to write. It is done in the form of a Socratic Dialog.
In the book he used Lewis, JFK & Huxley to represent 3 major world views or philosophies. Lewis represents Christian theism. JFK was chosen to represent modern humanism (more in a moment) & Huxley represented Eastern Pantheism that is found in much of New Age thought these days.
I have to expand a bit on the humanism aspect. Lewis would be what is called a Christian or Religious humanist. That type of humanism views the value of man over & above the rest of nature. That value is based on the fact that man is made in the image & likeness of God.
JFK's humanism is more of a mild form of secular humanism. Yes he was a Catholic. But the type that left his faith mostly a part of his private life. This humanism puts the emphasis on man, not God. It emphasizes social activity & does away with anything in religion that has to do with the supernatural, such as divine revelation, dogma miracles & authority. I will add that we have seen the fruit of JFK's philosophy in how many Catholics, not just politicians, (mostly Democrats) have so separated themselves from what they claim to believe that they take positions in complete contrast to authentic Catholic teaching. Pelosi & Biden are prime examples of this. As are those Catholics that vote for Obama & the rest of their pro-abortion ilk.
Note: Kreeft makes it clear he did not chose Lewis to represent protestantism or JFK to represent Catholicism. Lewis represents those Christians of all faiths who are Christian theists. JFK could very well echo the beliefs of a huge number of humanist protestants we have around these days.
The story (dialog) takes place on 22 Nov 1963 "Somewhere beyond death". It is neither Heaven or Hell, but much more like a waiting room. In this dialog, Kreeft looks at many of the questions we are still debating. Does life have meaning? Can we know about life after death? How? Can we prove Jesus was God? What is salvation? Is there a Hell? & many others.
I recommend you read this book. It gives insight into what are behind a lot of the cultural & political conflicts we are seeing these days. While it was written as a philosophical tome, you don't have to be familiar with philosophy to understand it. You just need to be someone who is sincerely seeking the truth.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Know Your Nuns - Pro-life v Pro-abortion Dominican Edition
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Pro-Life Hero Linda Gibbons' Daughter Passes Away
Labels: Linda Gibbons
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Another 1st for Papa Francesco
He may be the 1st Pope from the Americas, in particular, South America. He may also be the 1st Pope to take the name Francesco. But he is no supporter of liberation theology or any of the other of the errors promoted by the liberal left. Nor is he a tree hugging hippie like they have falsely painted San Francisco d'Assisi to be. Like his namesake, Papa Francesco is solidly on the side of wanting people to know & live the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church. He is calling people to conversion from sin & to Jesus Christ.
Another area that he has been a strong voice speaking out is that of abortion. While that is true of his predecessors, he took that voice to a place no Pope has gone before. He took part in the Marcia per la Vita (March for Life) Internazionale being held today in Rome.
Up to the time of his appearance, the 40,000 participants had no idea that he would take part. But it is clear this was planned in advance & the organizers were aware of his appearance. Crowd control barriers had been set up that allowed the popemobile to leave the Apostolic Palace, travel across St. Peter's Square & down the Via della Conciliazione to greet the participants.
Commenting on his appearance the March organizers said “The welcome of Pope Francis represents the highest recognition for the initiative and the confirmation of the sensitivity of the Pope to the non-negotiable principles, beginning with the right to life,”
The Pope also addressed the participants during his weekly Regina Caeli comments.
“I greet the participants of the March for Life which took place this morning in Rome and invite everyone to stay focused on the important issue of respect for human life, from the moment of conception.”
Additionally, he praised the other Pro-life efforts in Italia as well as promoting the upcoming Evangelium Vitae events on 15-16 June.
Once again we are seeing Papa Francesco follow in the footsteps of his namesake. Just like San Francesco, he is working to rebuild the Church by proclaiming the Gospel truths. & like his namesake, that includes upholding the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church.
This is the 3rd annual Marcia per la Vita Internazionale being held in Italia. The 1st March was held in Desenzano della Garda. The 2nd was held last year in Rome & had about 15000 participants. Papa Benedetto spoke to them at the Regina Caeli.
Sources: Stay focused on human life, Pope tells pro-life marchers
Pope surprises, delights 40,000 Italian pro-lifers, joins March for Life
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Thursday, May 02, 2013
National Day of Prayer 2013
Now more than ever we need to join in to prayer for our nation & for it to return to its Judeo-Christian roots that it was founded on. We are seeing an unpresidented attack on Christianity by the Obama administration. Under his watch he has attacked religious freedom. Among the ways he has done so is through the HHS mandate forcing coverage of birth control in insurance to be provided by organizations that are opposed to it. The Obama Administration has declared Christians to be terrorists & is now banning members of the military, including chaplains from sharing their faith, clearly an attempt to purge Christians for the military. We see the media covering up the horror story of Kermit Gosnell. We see Planned parenthood getting huge amounts of our tax monies to support their "culture of death" agenda. These are only a few examples.
So please take some extra time to pray for our nation. Repent for the sins of this nation, especially abortion. Intercede for our officials that they will turn towards God, that their hearts will be changed & they will repent of the evil they have done. Pray for our Godly leaders that God will strengthen them to remain faithful. Ask God to raise up godly men & women to lead our country on all levels. Ask God to purify your heart & strengthen your resolve to do your part to build a true "Culture of Life" & defeat the darkness & 'culture of death" that have a grip on our nation.
As a part of your prayer, include this prayer written by the 2013 Honorary Chairman, Greg Laurie:
Father, we come to You to pray for our nation, the United States of America.
How You have blessed us through the years, Lord! We rightly sing, “America, America, God shed His grace on thee.” Yet we see trouble in our culture today. We see the breakdown of the family, crippling addictions, and random acts of horrific violence.
Lord, we need Your help in America. In recent days, we have done our best to remove Your Word and Your counsel from our courtrooms, classrooms and culture. It seems, as President Lincoln once said, that we have “forgotten God.” But Lord, You have not forgotten us! You can bless and help and revive our country again.
Scripture tells us that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, in Your mercy, we ask that You would exalt our country again. We have had a number of great awakenings in America. We have experienced times of refreshing, and revivals that changed not only the spiritual but also the moral landscape. As the psalmist said, “Will You not revive us again, so that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psalm 85:6)
That is our prayer for America today, Lord. Send a mighty spiritual awakening that will turn the hearts of men and women, boys and girls back to you. You have told us if we will humble ourselves and pray, and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, that You will forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles7:14)
Forgive us today, Lord, and heal this troubled land that we love so much.
We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen!