Friday, February 26, 2016

Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is very much in the news and on Internet chatter. The BLM group asserts that black people are treated differently by police than whites. I’d like to share on my blog a similar comment about BLM to what I made on the Catholic Answers Forums website.

Some people are very unhappy with the BLM movement, equating it with bad behavior of blacks against police. Others sympathize with the blacks and believe their complaints that they are treated differently than whites by officers. Who is right? I don't believe we are getting to the bottom of racial divides.

Many people take for granted that the black race came from non-humans in Africa and then groups of individuals came North and evolved further into the white race. I have read a scientific paper from a major journal (Science, abstract here) where a group of black people are assumed to be less evolved than whites in order to determine the mode of evolution of biological molecules (further information about the research here). It seems there is no other way to say it but that some whites believe they are more evolved than blacks. Would that not cause some very bad feelings among the blacks? Would the Black Lives Matter’s group have some reason to believe they are treated in a different manner, such as in this history of Planned Parenthood eugenics? It could be that blacks and whites both are affected in their behaviors by this common mindset, perhaps subconsciously but in some cases blatantly.

However, if a person believes in direct supernatural creation of humans by God, s/he has no question of who is most evolved: no human is significantly different from any other human.

I treat these themes, among others, in my book, Biotech Swirl. I encourage you to read this FREE BOOK which you can reach at the link HERE or clicking on the picture of the book in the right column. Download it and/or read it online. Literature often helps us think about these issues and I hope this book may do so for you.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

First Matters

On his recent visit to Mexico, Pope Francis made a symbolic gesture at a memorial for persons who cross the border into the US, many of whom do it illegally. On the way back home, the Pope held a press conference in the plane (link here). One reporter asked him about the US presidential candidate Donald Trump and his stand on building a wall to keep immigrants out. The Pope responded, “I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”

The statement by the Pope was, unsurprisingly, greeted by Trump with defensiveness. The Republican candidate for president responded, “For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful” (link here). A little later, Trump was more conciliatory, saying the Pope was unaware of the drug and other problems on the border (link here).

I have been to Mexico a few times and to El Salvador and have seen some very bad living conditions. The poor are exposed to the elements and to those who would prey upon them. They may not even have a door for a secure lock, or may lack solid walls for windows.

But I want to move on to another point that comes from this short clash between Pope Francis and Donald Trump. That is, what it takes to be a Christian. The Pope has said some things about that lately that bother me though I can’t say I’m completely surprised. That is because those who are so intently focused on the poor often seem to veer off the straight and narrow of Christian beliefs. They look at the rest of the world and say to themselves that God wouldn’t send all these people to hell just because they don’t believe. So they set aside the prime necessity of believing in and evangelizing to the world about Jesus Christ.

The Pope always picks a subject for prayer intention for the month. In January, the first video made for a prayer intention was about inter-faith dialogue (link here). Pope Francis seems to minimize the differences between the faiths and says right out that “There is only one certainty we have for all. We are all Children of God.”

But this is not what the Bible says. In John, Chapter 1, it states that only those who believe in the Word made flesh (Jesus Christ) are to be called Children of God. (John 1: 12, NABRE):
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name…
I’d like to see some changes in the Church. I’d like barrier contraception to be accepted, since right now it is regarded as evil on the basis of women having no intellect and being good only for reproduction (Thomas Aquinas). I’d like to see women become deacons of the church since the sacrament is denied to them and I don’t believe that is right. There are many Catholics who are progressive concerning changes about women and immigrants. I’d like to see conservatives more interested in these things, and maybe there are more who are so than I realize. I don’t understand why traditional Catholics who are loyal to the doctrine of the Church are often also heavy-handed about any change in women’s status and seem aloof to the problems of immigrants. There must be Catholics out there who hold to the supremacy of Jesus Christ and yet can see some need for change in other areas. After all, Christ wanted us to be compassionate to our neighbors. (It's interesting by the way that the extremes are labeled "left" and "right" which suggests each of them veering off from the "straight and narrow.")

BUT FIRST we must believe that Christ died for our sins and gives everlasting life with Him in that way. This is a serious matter and something to hold onto no matter what Pope Francis wants us to pray for and no matter what lesser changes in the Catholic Church we might like to see.

BY FAR the most important aspect of the Catholic Church is for every Christian to assume that belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for heaven and proceed in that manner. This includes telling others as well as we can about Jesus Christ and that He died for our sins and we need to believe in Him if we want everlasting life with Him.

Whatever else we do we must first be well-anchored in our faith.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Year of Mercy

The Zika virus is a threat to anyone bitten by the mosquito that carries it. It is especially worrisome to women (and therefore couples) who are pregnant or may be trying to become pregnant. Doctors have also found that having sex may cause transmission of the virus (link HERE).

Governments, including the US, are warning about the virus and in that vein are suggesting the use of barrier contraceptives.

Of course, this raises the hackles of anyone who thinks that contraception is an intrinsic evil. There can be no exceptions to the rule. But these persons ideas are formed by Natural Law, in turn formed by celibate males. Look, for example, at St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the major players in the direction of thought on this subject. In his greatest book, Summa Theologica, the question is asked whether women should have even been made in the first generation of things, since she is so inferior. In Part I, Question 92, Article 1, Aquinas replies:

I answer that, It was necessary for woman to be made, as the Scripture says, as a "helper" to man; not, indeed, as a helpmate in other works, as some say, since man can be more efficiently helped by another man in other works; but as a helper in the work of generation… But man [as opposed to woman] is yet further ordered to a still nobler vital action, and that is intellectual operation. Therefore there was greater reason for the distinction of these two forces in man; so that the female should be produced separately from the male; although they are carnally united for generation. Therefore directly after the formation of woman, it was said: "And they shall be two in one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

In other words, women are good for reproduction and nothing else. Whereas I find myself thinking that God gave me a brain just for the very reason of thinking. And I imagine other women are able to think also. Well, you get my point.

It is certainly appropriate for the Church Leaders to give guidelines in some things and make definitive pronouncements in others, but they need to discern which is which. We all need to learn more discernment. (If we all knew exactly what God wanted we wouldn’t have all these different denominations.)

If the Catholic Church learned to talk with women who take contraceptives instead of hurling the words “intrinsically evil” at them, they may learn a few things. The Church leaders want women to have as many children as possible, while the women may be hearing a different calling from God. And we might all come to an understanding that barrier contraception is a lot more like NFP than abortifacient contraception. Perhaps we could come to more of a resolution than having most Catholic women either hiding their actions or leaving the Church.

Let us remember that Mary, mother of Jesus, was called directly (through an angel) by God. He did not consult with her religious leaders or her parents or even her husband to be. And she answered God directly (through an angel). She did not consult with her religious leaders or her parents or her husband to be. And though the Church insists she was the perfect mother, it also insists she never had sex with her husband nor produced more than one child.

It has been declared the Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. Let the couple seek God's will, which will be what is best for them. To the Church, teach discernment instead of dictating. It is time to be merciful indeed.