Monday, December 29, 2014

Faith in God leads to happiness

Not all of the founding fathers believed that Jesus walked the earth.  Yet nearly every single one of them believed that it was important for America to be a Christian nation.  Why?

The answer was that, without having done one scientific study, they realized what the Jews realized over 3,000 years ago: that belief in God made for a safe and happy society.

They knew that those who believed would spend eternal life in Heaven. They knew that those who did not would spend eternal life in Hell.  Belief creates happiness, fear creates respect.  This results in a humble, honorable, and trustworthy society.

The founding fathers, even those who were not true Christians, understood this. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams discussed this subject in many of the letters they wrote to each other in their later years.

They knew that the United States, having accrued a massive debt following their massive campaign for independence, could not afford a militia, and therefore they needed to figure out a way to prevent people from committing crimes.  The way they did this was by inculcating the values and morals of the Christian Bible among society.

It is for this reason that George Washington, along with nearly every president since him, has referenced God and Jesus in many of their speeches.  The idea was to assure that America be an inertly Christian nation.

However, as Tom Knox noted in his column at, The tantalising proof that belief in God makes you happier and healthier:
God has had a tough time over the past few years. On TV, in newspapers and on the internet, the debate as to whether faith has any relevance in a sceptical modern world has been as ubiquitous as it has been vigorous.
And it has been pretty clear which side is the most splenetic. 
From Richard Dawkins’ powerful atheist polemics to Christopher Hitchens’ public derision of the Roman Catholic Tony Blair and Stephen Hawking’s proclamation that the universe ‘has no need for God’, it seems that unbelievers have had the dwindling faithful on the run.
Yet then Knox came to a stunning revelation:
But then I had something of an epiphany. One night, after a long dinner, I was walking back to my hotel in downtown Salt Lake City at 2am and I suddenly realised: I felt safe. As any transatlantic traveller knows, this is a pretty unusual experience in an American city after midnight.
Why did I feel safe? Because I was in a largely Mormon city, and Mormons are never going to mug you. They might bore or annoy you when they come knocking on your door, touting their faith, but they are not going to attack you.
The Mormons’ wholesome religiousness, their endless and charitable kindliness, made their city a better place. And that made me think: Why was I so supercilious about such happy, hospitable people? What gave me the right to sneer at their religion? 
From that moment I took a deeper, more rigorous interest in the possible benefits of religious faith. Not one particular creed, but all creeds. And I was startled by what I found. 
Yet Knox's epiphany should not come as a surprise, as such epiphany's have been the norm throughout history.  The Bible is full of them.  The Bible is also full of stories where people lost Faith in God, such as the Tower of Babel. So what we are facing now is nothing new.

The rise of secularism in America and Europe over the past 60 years comes as no surprise to anyone raised by the Christian Bible.  We have spent our entire lives reading about the temptations of Satan on people throughout history.

We grew up knowing how gifts such as the Holy Spirit and the Theological Virtues create an internal peace even during the most challenging times in life. Such internal peace brings forth joy and comfort.

So while the challenges of life may cause doom and despair in some, those who believe always retain faith and hope, which leads to happiness.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What are the Seven Sacriments

There are seven sacraments of the Catholic Faith, and there purpose is to make people Holy, to build up the body of Christ, and to give worship to God.

The firs three sacraments are the sacraments of initiation, or the primary sacraments for which the rest of our life as a Christian depends.

1.  Baptism: This is when we are cleansed of the original sins, receive the sanctifying grace (theological virtues), and enter into the Church. The receiving of the sanctifying grace prepares us to receive the other sacraments and to live our lives as good Christians, or to rise above cardinal virtues that can be practiced by anyone.

2.  Confirmation: It's the perfection of Baptism, and gives us the grace to live our life as a Christian. This is a process where the individual is educated in the way of the Church, and then graduates (becomes confirmed).

3.  Eucharist (Holy Communion): This is the only one of the sacraments of initiation that is received more than once, and may be received daily.  It is where we consume the Body of Christ in order to unite us with Him and to help us grow in our Faith.

The rest of the sacraments are as follows:

4.  Penance (Confession/ Reconciliation): It is when we ask for forgiveness for our sins, and receive absolution, or forgiveness for our sins. When we sin we deprive ourselves of God's grace, so it is important to acknowledge our sins and ask for forgiveness and absolution. Absolution allows grace to return to our souls so we can once again resist sin. It is one of the sacraments that may be received more than once, and should be received often.

5.  Anointing of the Sick (Extreme Unction, Last Rites): It is administered to the dying for the remission of sins and the provision of spiritual strength and health. It can be repeated as often as necessary.

6.  Matrimony: It is the union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and mutual support, or love. Each spouse in a marriage gives up some rights over his or her life in exchange for rights over the life of the other spouse. Marriage is meant to be a lifelong union.

7.  Holy Orders (Ordination): This sacrament is a continuation of Christ's priesthood, which He bestowed upon his apostles.  It is when man is incorporated into into the priesthood of Christ at one of three levels:
  1. Episcopate: The office of Bishop, the first rank of holy orders 
  2. Presbyterate: The priesthood, the second rank of holy orders
  3. Diaconate: A ministry of mercy who reaches out and offers help to those in need. 

Where do we go to seek God?

All Christians are aware of the importance of saying a prayer, or of communicating with God, both talking to and listening to Him.  Yet as our lives tend to become busy, most of us fail to meet even minimal requirements.  

This was the reflection of our priest recently as he said the following.  
Where do you go to seek God. How often do you go there? All prophets seek a place to be alone with their God. Jesus went off to a deserted place and prayed. We are disciples, and disciples should want to be with their teacher, to a place where we deliberately seek him. Mother Theresa said she encountered the suffering Christ in every face of every poor, sick and dying person she was sent to administer. She mandated all her sisters and all priests to spend three hours in prayer before they started working each day. I’m not advocating we do three hours, but I think it is important to ask: Where do we go to be in communion with God, and how often do we go there?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

How and when to pray

If you believe in God you'd probably better pray.  If you don't believe in God, chances are you pray anyway when you're backed into a corner, so you might as well do it right.

When I was a child my mom would have me read, from time to time, a Biblical reading that showed me how to pray.  I remember it saying that one should ideally kneel and pray in silence, and it should be done at least every night, if not more frequently.

As a typical guy, I never could remember the passage she had me read. Sometimes I would ask mom, and she would tell me where to find it in the Bible. Yet even after asking her 20 times, I still don't remember it, even though the last time I asked was probably over 30 years ago.

I don't know if it was a passage that she learned from her mother or religious upbringing, or whether she learned it through a newspaper clipping.  I do, however, remember that the prayer was sometimes in the paper, and she'd cut it out and give it to me.

Today I do not know the passage. I could ask mom, but have not gotten around to it. With the gift of the Internet and Google I thought I could find it online, although, even if I read it, I'm not sure I'd know if I was reading the same passage. However, I have this feeling that I'd just know.

As of yet I have not found it.  However, there are many websites that quote scripture on how to pray, such as and
  • (Matthew 6:6):  But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you
  • (Matthew 6:7):  “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases (do not babble on and on) as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:2):  Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 
  • (Luke 11: 1-4):  He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say:  Father, hallowed by your name.  Your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.  And do not bring us to the time of trial... 
  • (Luke 11: 9-13):  “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
There are many verses that explain how to pray, or why to pray, although these are the basic ones. When I was a kid I would try to pray on my knees as my mother instructed, although such a task was sometimes impossible due to exhaustion, laziness or even embarrassment.  

The issue of embarrassment didn't come into play until college when I had roommates.  It seemed silly to kneel before the bed and pray, so prayers were done under cover of blankets.   Sometimes I'd feel guilty for not kneeling, although there was no way I'd do it with people around.  

Then one day one of my roommates and I had a nice discussion about prayer.  He said he was taught that it didn't matter how or where you prayed so much as that you did it.  So it was on his advice that the guilt subsided. 

The Bible describes praying in every position imaginable, such as standing (1 Kings 8:22), bowing, (Exodus 4:31) sitting, kneeling (1 Kings 8:54), or lying down.  A prayer may also be cited in silence, or aloud, and at any point during the day.  

The general consensus, I believe, is that a person should find time to pray at least once per day.  Some say it should be in the morning to thank God for helping you make it through the night, and to ask for help through the new day.  Some say it's best to pray at night, in order to thank Him for helping guide you through the day, and for continued guidance.  Some recommend praying both in the morning and at night.  

I'm more of a nighttime prayer, and this is when I'm most likely to pray with my children.  Recently, however, I read Psalm 3, which is a prayer David said in the morning after he ran away from his son Absalom.  In it, he thanked the Lord for a safe night while fighting was ongoing around him.  So some believe a morning prayer is necessary when the Lord keeps us safe in the night.

What you say in the prayer is up to you, so long as, according to Matthew, you do not babble on and on.  A prayer should be short and sweet, or pithy.  Surely I like to ask, although almost always I start by thanking.

All that said, it is Matthew who gives the basic prayer, one that most Christians, or at least most Catholics, should know by heart.  There are various versions of it, yet they all mean the same (Matthew 6: 9-13).
“Pray then in this way:
Our Father (who art) in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts (trespasses),
as we also have forgiven our debtors (who trespass against us).
And do not bring us to the time of trial (lead us not into temptation),
but rescue us from the evil one (but deliver us from evil).
If you're one of those who pray in desperation, chances are you believe deep down.  For the rest of us, prayers should easily transition into our daily lives.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The habit of prayer

When I was a kid I as encouraged by my mother to get on my hands and knees and pray every night.  Sometimes, when I was very little, she would kneel with me.  This was good because her words taught me how to pray, and her doing it with me made praying habitual.

As is perhaps the intended consequence of being a Catholic, on those nights when I didn't pray I felt guilty.  More often than not this guilt turned into a prayer. Mom said that, if you are tired or time is limited, even a sign of the cross is considered a prayer.  Sometimes I took advantage of this, thus making my prayers short.

Sometimes I would forget how to pray, and I would ask mom how.  When I was younger she'd pray with me.  When I was older, she read to me a passage of the Bible that explained how to pray.  When I was even older, she'd give me the name of the passage and have me look it up myself.  Perhaps this was her way of getting me to memorize the passage.  I did not.  Although, I wonder if it is one of these.

As I grew older and my life became busier, praying remained a habit.  I didn't always get down on my knees, but more often than not I did.  And, when I did, I usually felt that much better about my prayer.

During my six month stay at the asthma hospital in Denver I prayed on my back every night until I got my own room, and then I prayed on my knees.  There was always the risk a counselor could open the door and catch me, although, in retrospect that doesn't seem like such a bad thing.

When I returned from Denver life quickly got busy, and praying on my knees became a major challenge, especially as I had room mates in college.  So it became customary for me to pray while tucked under the covers in bed.  Still, the habit inculcated into me by my mother continued.

So I have a habit of praying at night.  I try the best I can to share this habit with my children.  I sometimes do it with them as mom did, although rarely do we kneel.  A childish feeling of guilt usually rushes through me when we do not kneel, and an even deeper guilt when we pray not at all.

When we do pray, our prayers are simple.  Laney uses the word "I wish" instead of "I pray." Yet I pray that she picks up the habit as I have.  Surely it helps during the course of this life.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

When was Jesus born?

Back in 2009 the History Channel did a series on Christmas.  One of the shows depicted the Birth of Christ and how it might have actually occurred.  It also noted that one of the major errors of the story of Christmas was the date that it actually occurred, and it explained why this error was made.

In other words, most evidence suggests that December 25 is not the day Christ was born.  Likewise, most evidence suggests that the year 1 was not the year of the lord.

To be honest, none of this surprised me, as I was taught this at an early age.  I'm certain most children are taught the same, especially in the secular world we live in today, a world where people will do anything to prove Jesus is a fraud.

Yet as a Christian, and as a Catholic, I find that this information has little significance, and in no way proves that Jesus did not exist. Still, I believe it is good to be accurate with facts, especially considering most rulers throughout history believed an ignorant populace benefited the state.

Anyway, one episode discussed when Jesus might have been born. Yet most societies back then used random Roman kings to base their calendars on, and so there was no consistent calendar.  It is partly for this reason, and the fact that most people were illiterate and did not record history, that the actual birth of Christ remains a mystery to history.

Of course another reason why the Birth of Christ remains a mystery to history is because the main emphasis in the early years of Christianity was on the death of Christ, not on the birth of Christ.

However, what we do know is that several hundred years after the Birth of Christ, Christian Priests got together and they thought it would be really cool to have a calendar based on the birth of Christ, as opposed to some random Roman King.

So, since there was no knowledge of the actual birth of Christ, December 25 was chosen as the day to hold the celebration of Christmas.  This date was chosen for no other reason than that it was the date of a chief pagan holiday.  The idea was the celebrating Christmas on this date would be a great way of overriding the old celebration and bringing in the new.

This turned out to be perhaps the #1 most effective and significant public relations strategy in the history of the world, as, in the United States alone, 90 percent celebrate the birth of Christ, including 80 percent of non-Christians.

Of course this should be of no surprise, because, after all, Christianity is the only true religion.  And one must not doubt for a moment that God, or the son of God (the Word), helped the men in charge of the campaign.

So what started out as a cult following grew to become the most significant religion in the history of mankind. This is (was) a huge PR success story.

But I digress.

A scholar determined that Jesus must have been born on year 473, or something like that, of the Roman calendar.  So a week after the Birth of Christ starts the new year. That pretty much put to rest the search for the date of the Birth of Christ.

Eighteen hundred years later, researchers determined that the scholar who chose that year failed to take into account a few specific details mentioned in the Bible. For one thing, Jesus was born during the rein of King Herad, who died in 2 BC.

Therefore, since Herad is mentioned in the Bible for 4 years after the birth of Jesus, then Jesus must have been born in 6 BC.

Another scientist used information about the star of Bethlehem that the three Kings (of course the Bible does not say how many Kings there were) used to find the baby Jesus. The Bible states it occurred in the East. In Jesus's time, the east referred to the Eastern sky in the morning where the sun rises.

So, the search was on to determine what event would have occurred in the Easter sky that might have occurred around 6 BC.

Another account of the Bible states that Jesus was born in a manger, during a time when the Shepherds were watching their sheep. During the time of Jesus Shepherds only watched over their sheep at night, which meant he was born at night.

Also significant, most of the year sheep were not watched. The only time they were was in the spring.  So Jesus would have been born in the spring not winter.

Another scientist determined that other manuscripts of the time make note that the star occurred in the constellation (what was it called?) that was a symbol of of Judaism.

Likewise, Zeus was also mentioned. More significant, the planet that represented Zeus was Jupiter. Thus, this scientist determined that the star of Bethlehem would have been an event involving Jupiter in the eastern sky, at night, and in the spring, and around the year 6 BC.

So, using his computer, he set out to determine when such an event would have occurred, and he determined, according to his computer, that Jupiter would have been aligned in the Easter sky in this particular constellation on April 18, of 6 B.C.

This date lines up perfectly with all the significant historical events described in the Bible.  It was during the rein of King Heran; it was during the spring; it was during the phase of the moon and other things in the sky depicted in Biblical stories.

The experts note that the result of such an alignment in the sky would have made for a remarkable sight, although it would not have

The result of such an alignment would have been a remarkable sight for those who saw it the night Jesus was born.  Still, it would not have been too bright.  This would have made it obvious to those who were looking for it, and not so obvious to those who were not.

This was significant, because the kings (magi, magicians, wise men) had to convince King Herod there was such a sight in the sky the night Jesus was born.  It had to not only have been there, but had to have been not so obvious for un-knowing to have seen.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

God made man in his own image

As we learn by our understanding of the Creed, God shares his Wisdom with us through the Holy Spirit.  This is the feeling that burns inside of us, and what allows us to accept God.  The Holy Spirit is the sense of Glory, Faith and Hope inside us. It's the feeling of love, joy, and happiness.

On the sixth day (which means era in ancient Hebrew) God created man in his own image.

Genesis 1:26 says:
Then God said, ‘Let us make people who are images of us. Let them be similar to us. Let them rule over the fish of the sea. Let them rule over the birds of the air. Let them rule over the animals. Let them rule over the whole earth. Let them rule over every crawling animal that crawls on the earth.’
Genesis 1:27 says:
So God created people who were images of himself. He created them as images of God. He created man and woman.
Genesis 1: 28 says:
God promised good things to them. He said, ‘Have large families. Increase so that you fill the earth. Rule over the earth. Rule over the fish in the sea. Rule over the birds that fly in the air. Rule over every living animal that moves on the earth.’
Allow me to break this down:

1.  "Then God said, 'Let us make people who are images of us. Let them be similar to us.'"

By "us" God is probably referring to the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

2.  "So God created people who were images of himself. He created them as images of God. He created man and woman."

By "images of us" he does not mean that we look just like God, because that would be impossible.  We are not like God, as we are made of flesh and have brains like animals.  But we are made in His image in that He gave us the Spirit.  It is this Spirit that is like God.

Again, it is through the Spirit that we can know and accept God.  It is also through the spirit that we are superior to animals, because, while they have a body and a brain, they do not have the spirit; they are not made in the image of God.  

3.  "Let them rule over the whole earth. Let them rule over every crawling animal that crawls on the earth."

This was the job he gave to humans.  He gave them the responsibility of taking care of the earth and all the animals and plants on the earth.  He told them that they must look after them and take care of them.  That is part of our duty to God. 

Because we have the Spirit, we have the ability to think and to ration, unlike animals. It is for this reason that he put us in charge of the animals and the planet. 

He also gave us natural rights, or liberties handed down from him.  He could have made a perfect world, but he made a flawed world. In this way, it was the job of humans to try to perfect the world.  This would give those who chose wisely a sense of satisfaction.  

Then it was only through death that perfection, a true euphoria, would be  found in Heaven.  Yet only those who chose to listen to the Spirit and accept God and His Word would be able to find eternal life in Heaven.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Theological Virtues

There are three theological virtues.  Unlike the Cardinal Virtues which can be practiced by anyone, theological virtues can only be practiced by those who receive them, and they are gifts of grace from God.

They are habits that become stronger as we practice them. Their immediate and proper object is God, and so they are infused in our soul. Like all virtues, they become a habit.  The include the following.

1.  Faith: It is showing our love for God through our action, such as practicing the cardinal virtues. It's a gift that allows us to reason that God exists, and that all knowledge extends from Him.  It is knowing that knowledge extends far beyond our intellect. So faith helps us grasp the truth of divine revelation. Faith is also knowing that man cannot fully grasp the true nature of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), which is why it's referred to as a mystery. Since humans have free will, we can reject the gift of faith.  When we revolt against God through sin, God may withdraw the gift of faith.

2.  Hope: It can only be practiced by those who believe in God, and has as it's ultimate object union with God in Heaven.  It is trusting that God will grant eternal life if we practice what He has taught us. It is knowing that we cannot achieve eternal life on our own, it's belief or confidence that God will show us how to obtain eternal life, and belief or confidence that He will actually grant it to us when the time comes.

3.  Charity:  It's loving God above all else, and loving others for God's sake.  The exercise of it increase our love for God and our fellow man. It depends on faith, because without faith in God we cannot love, nor can we love our fellow man for God's sake. It is considered by many to be the greatest of all the virtues.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Genesis: the world was created in six eras

Secularists say that the best evidence that the Christian Bible is a work of fiction is the Book of Genesis, which states that the world was created in six day.  Their argument is this is not possible.  Yet those doubters miss the point entirely.

In order to understand the book of Genesis, and the whole Bible for that matter, it is important to understand who wrote it, the language it was originally written in, and the traditions of that era.  Because, when taken out of contexts, the Bible may have a completely different meaning than the one intended.

In fact, this is one of the main reasons why it's important to attend religion classes, participate in Bible Study, and attend Church regularly.  It is in this way that we continuously stay fresh on the true interpretation of Biblical stories. Lacking such studies, we can hardly continue on with our task of being shepherds of of the Lord, as His message will be confounded.

Peter (2 Peter 1:21) said, "Men whom the Holy Spirit guided spoke words from God."  What this means is that God revealed what he did, and His stories were recorded.

The first messenger, then, after the invention of a written language would have been Moses, so some suspect that Moses wrote the first book of the Bible, or the Book of Genesis.  Yet most experts suggest that if he did write it, he had the help of many others, and he also used the words of previous authors.

When we consider that the Bible was originally written in the Ancient Hebrew language, and we consider that the word "day" sometimes meant "age."  So some experts speculate, and probably rightly so, that the six days of creation were probably six eras of creation.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I attempted to understand the Holy Spirit in this post.  After I wrote it I realized there were seven gifts of the holy spirit.  They were enumerated in Isaiah11: 2-3, and I will list them here with a pithy description.

Scott P. Richerd, at, said:
They are present in their fullness in Jesus Christ but are found in all Christians who are in a state of grace. We receive them when we are infused with sanctifying grace, the life of God within us—as, for example, when we receive a sacrament worthily.
He defines "sanctifying grace" as "that grace which makes the soul holy and pleasing to God."  So we receive them through Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony, and Holy Orders.

Richerd then goes on to list and name the seven gifts.

1.  Wisdom:  It is the perfection of the thoelogical virtue of faith. It's learning to detach ourselves from this world and to see things and "judge them in light of the highest end of man -- the contemplation of God." It's the desire to contemplate the the things of god. Wisdom gives us the desire to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith

2.  Understanding: It allows us to grasp, at least in a limited way, the very essence of the truths of the Catholic Faith. It allows us to draw conclusions from those truths and arrive at a further understanding of man's relations with God and his role in the world. It's being able to contemplate that life is more than just what we see around us.  Understanding allows us so see a greater perspective of life.

3.  Counsel:  It's the perfection of the cardinal virtue Prudence, or judging correctly.  This gift we are able to judge how best to act by mere intuition. Because of the gift of counsel, Christians need not fear to stand up for the truths of the Faith, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in defending those truths.  Counsel guides our actions.

4.  Fortitude: It is both a gift and a cardinal virtue, and it gives us the strength to follow through on the actions suggested by the gift of counsel.

5.  Knowledge: Like wisdom, knowledge is the perfection of faith, but whereas wisdom gives us the desire to judge all things according to the truths of the Catholic Faith, knowledge is the actual ability to do so. Knowledge guides our actions. In a limited way, it allows us to see things as God sees them, and to take the actions that God would take.  "What would Jesus do?"

6.  Piety:  It is the perfection of the virtue religion.  It's the willingness to worship and serve God, and to serve him out of love, the way we honor our parents.

7.  Fear of the Lord:  This gives us the the desire not to offend God.  It gives us the ability to respect God.  Like Peity, Fear of the Lord rises out of love.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What are the cardinal virtues

Cardinal virtues are the four principle moral virtues, and all other virtues hinge on these four.  Unlike the theological virtues which are gifts of God through grace, the cardinal virtues can be practiced by anyone.  They include:

Prudence: It allows us to judge correctly what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. Doing the work of God shows good prudence. Doing the work of the devil shows poor prudence.  Because it is so easy to fall into error, it is essential that we seek the help of others.  Disregarding the advice of others is considered imprudence.  Regarding the advice of others is prudence. Prudence helps us decide what needs to be done. 

Justice: It is giving everything and everyone it's rightful attention.  We must not judge based on personal views, we must judge based on what is true.  For instance, if we owe someone money, we must pay him the money we owe, regardless of whether we like that person. If we are deciding on whether something is legal or not legal, we must make our decision based on the law of the land, not on our own personal political affiliation. It is doing what is right regardless of our opinion. Justice helps us decide what needs to be done. 

Fortitude: It is the ability to conquer fear and remain steady when facing obstacles.  It's the restraint of fear so we can act. Fortitude gives us the strength to do what needs to be done. Fortitude is also the only cardinal virtue that is also a one of the seven gifts of the holy spirit

Temperance: It's the restraint of our desires and actions. While food, drink and sex are all needs, too much of of any of them can have undesirable consequences. Temperance prevents us from overindulging. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Democrats and Republicans both created an imperial president

You can decide for yourself if this is true, but I heard, from a little ferry, that every time Obama opens his mouth a conservative grows its wings. Another ferry modified this and said that every time Obama opens his mouth another conservative is born.

The general consensus here, however, is that Obama continues to push forward his agenda despite the complete voter rejection of it during the 2014 mid-term elections. In other words, Obama continues to push forward his agenda, even though it is extremely unpopular.

I'm not trying to be offensive to my readers who love Obama's agenda, because regardless of whether you like it or not it's not popular. The reason it's unpopular is because Americans cherish their freedom: they do not want to be told what to do.

The whole premise of Obama's agenda, which is progressive, is for the government to make tough decisions so people don't have to. In other words, they believe sacrificing some liberties is for the benefit of the state.

Of course then the state gains power, and it has to enforce this power.  So now people are getting fined, arrested, or jailed, (and this is not all Obama's fault, rather the fault of the progressive movement) for doing things that they shouldn't be arrested for, such as smoking or drinking in public, taking certain medicines, not paying taxes, not buying health insurance, not sending your kids to state-run schools, etc.

It's gotten to the point that we have given up enough personal liberties.  Plus the government has gotten so large and so powerful that those in power are abusing it, something the founding fathers warned against.

A perfect example is how Obama used his executive power to push a health care bill through Congress that a majority of voters did not want.

A perfect example is how the Obama administration used its power to spy on conservatives who said they belonged to the tea party, a party that was opposed to the Obama agenda.

As what occurred in the 1920 election, people are tired of laws to perfect society. People want their liberties back. They want to scale back the government, take away some of this power, and take back liberties.

So the people send Obama a message in the mid-terms, and he continues to push forth his agenda.  Today it's all over the news how he wants to improve relations with Cuba, a communist country with a dictator thug as a ruler.

Why would Obama do this?  The answer is quite simple: The Progressive Agenda is a sister Agenda to Cuba's Communism.  They are both fascist parties that believe the state should make all the tough decisions, even when it means the people sacrificing personal liberties.

Look, it's not just Obama who tries to push forth the progressive agenda, as the disease has infested the republican party as well.  Sure George W. Bush did a lot of good things, but he also doubled the national debt, adding $5 trillion to it.  This was because he created progressive programs, vetoing only 12 bills, the lowest total since Warren G. Harding (and that's not even fair, because Harding never even finished one term).

So why did Bush add to the problem he purported to oppose?  Well, your guess is as good as mine.  Yet one might "assume" that he used the power of the pulpit to buy votes.

Yes!  This is, one might say, the exact reason Grover Cleveland vetoed 414 bills in his first term and 170 in his second.  Cleveland knew he could use his power to move forward his agenda, but he didn't want to give future presidents the power to trample on the Constitution for their own political gain.

Cleveland understood, as the founding fathers understood, that people have a natural tendency to abuse power.  This, as we have seen, is exactly what happened in Cuba where Castro became a dictator.  The same thing happened here in the U.S. where the president has gained imperial powers, being dubbed by many as the imperial president.

In essence, what is occurring in Cuba is exactly what progressives want to happen here.

It's the fault of both parties, though. Surely the democratic party is infested with fascist liberals, but the republican party is infested with them too.  Allow me to name a few: John McCain, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Scott Brown, Norm Coleman, Chuck Hagel, and Lindsey Graham.

If any of these guys runs for president, we might as well let Hilary win so the republican party doesn't get blamed for progressive failures.  And if the democratic party decides to save face and nominate a conservative, then we had better vote democrat.

We can look back at past presidential records and see that there have been just as many great democrat presidents as republicans.  And we can also see that Teddy Roosevelt was the first progressive, and he was a republican.  In fact, in the 1912 presidential election, Roosevelt was more progressive than democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Surely Obama's agenda has added $6.103 billion to the national debt, nearly doubling it. The second worse is not another democrat, however, but George W. Bush, a republican, who added $5.840 trillion to the national debt, more than doubling it.  Compare this with Bill Clinton, who only added $1.86 trillion, or Jimmy Carter who added only $299 billion.

Both of our political parties -- republicans and democrats -- have created imperial presidents who take money from voters and spend it on programs aimed at helping the minority at the expense of the majority.  And, as they usually say, they do it for our own good, while secretly doing it for their own political gain.

Yet the bottom line is that they abuse the power they are given in order to get re-elected and advance their agenda.  This is exactly the type of thing that George Washington warned against in his Farewell Speech in 1796.

Yet Obama gives us hope, so the ferry's say.  By continuing to advance his agenda, he his earning the ire of the electorate, indirectly creating new conservatives/ libertarians each time he opens his mouth.  While voters might hope he stops, his not doing so is empowering his enemies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

God Created the United States

I wrote before how God created capitalism.  Here I would like to explain how God, through Christianity, created a world where freedom and personal liberties are appreciated and respected.  In other words: God created the United States.

First we must understand that 99.9 percent of all governments ever created prior to the signing of the United States Constitution did not respect personal liberties. Essentially, the leader or leaders of nations created rules people were forced to follow. Those who did not comply were punished harshly, sometimes with their lives.

The path to a world where personal liberties were respected began with the birth of Jesus.

Father Oscar Lukefahr, in his 1994 book "The Catechism Handbook," explained that Jesus summoned the 12 apostles as the first teachers, and Peter was their head.  Peter's successor is the Pope, and the successor of the apostles are the bishops, so their pastoral office comes from Christ. (1, page 40)

He said the job of the Bishops is to teach the truths taught by Christ in the Christian Bible, and they do so with the help of priests, who share the truth with the laity. (1, pages 40-41)

The laity consists of all the members of the Church who are not committed by vows to religious life.  They are the key to spreading the truths taught by the Bible. They, in essence, are the "front line of the Church," said Father Lukefahr. "Their role is to bring Christ to the world -- into social, political, and economic realms of human existence."  (1, pages 40-41)

As I explained in my previous post, God gave individual people the right to choose.  This is proven in Psalm 1, (or see image) which states that God gives us the right to choose either good or bad, with either choice bringing about its inevitable consequences.

The website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains Psalm #1.  It says that the Bible usually refers to the right path as "the way," which essentially means a way of living or following a moral code.  A good example of a moral code is the 10 commandments, although there are many other moral codes.

Essentially, following a moral code leads to good conduct and a direct path to Heaven.  Not following a moral code leads to wickedness and a direct path to Hell. (2)

The bottom line here is that God gives individuals the right to choose.  In this regard, it is HE who gave us liberty.  God gave the people Natural Rights, or inalienable rights, or those rights or liberties that we are born with and that only governments can take away.

With only a few scattered exceptions, most governments throughout the course of history required people to give up their natural rights for the good of the nation or collective.  It was exactly this that British citizens were unhappy with, and why they forced King John to sign the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215.

The founding fathers wrote frequently of natural rights, and how they yearned to create a Constitution that would protect them.  It was under this premise Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, which states quite clearly:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
He was essentially saying here that God gives people "natural rights" that can only be taken away by governments.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The United States Constitution was further created in an attempt to protect these natural rights.  Just to make sure they were not misinterpreted by future generations, many states insisted they be specifically listed in the document before they would sign it.  It was this that inspired James Madison to write the first ten amendments, or the Bill of Rights.

So God gives individuals natural rights.  Each individual has the right to choose, and God holds them accountable for the consequences of those choices. The founding fathers created the documents necessary to allow individuals the ability to cherish those natural rights.

They also understood that natural rights are unchanging, and so they created a Constitution, and signed it on June 21, 1788, that was meant to protect natural rights for all time.  It was meant to be very difficult to change in order to prevent those in power from abusing the powers given to them.

Various founding fathers, even those who were not true Christians, wrote about the importance of Christianity in government.  Stephen McDowell, writing for the Providence Foundation, preferred to use Noah Webster's writings as the best example of the founding father's thoughts on Christianity's influence on the evolution of freedom.

McDowell said:
The primary reason civil liberty could be developed in America was because the people understood biblical law and lived according to the principles set forth in the law and the gospel. Their internal self-government and Christian character, and their understanding of important biblical concepts such as covenant and rule of law, allowed them to be able to develop external civil liberty and constitutionalism. (3)
He referred to an 1829 letter from Noah Webster to James Madison, where Webster said...
...that the christian religion, in its purity, is the basis or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government.. . . I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable, in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence. (3)(4)
Madison, therefore, according to McDowell, believed that... order for America to be free and prosper, the youth and adults of America must be educated in governmental principles of liberty, which could only be found in the christian religion.  (3) 
So it was through the path of Christianity that lead to the United States, the first nation to protect and defend natural rights from governments.  Since the signing of the U.S. Constitution, freedom has spread to over 175 nations.

  1. Lukefahr, Father Oscar, "The Catechism Handbook," 1994, United States
  2. "Psalms, Chapter 1," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,, accessed on 12/17/14
  3. McDowell, Stephen, "Noah Webster, God’s Law, and the United States Constitution:The Influence of the Bible on the Development of American Constitutionalism," Providence Foundation,, accessed 12/17/14
  4. Webster to James Madison, 16 October 1829, Madison Papers, Series 2, Library of Congress. Quoted in Defining Noah Webster, Mind and Morals in the Early Republic, by K. Alan Snyder, New York: University Press of America, 1990, p. 253.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The lessons of the Tower of Babel

One of the more interesting stories in the Bible both a religious, philosophical and historical perspective is that of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-9). It provides a moral that even those of us who roam the earth today can learn from.

Whether you believe in the stories of the Bible or not, the moral is the same. In an attempt to start mankind over and end the experiment that seemed to have gone wrong, God flooded the earth to destroy all the sinners. He only provided a safe haven for Noah, his family, and two of each animals.

Yet after the Great Flood it became evident that the temptation was too great for people to revert to evil ways, or to give into temptations, or to resort to materialism, and to lack values.  Before the deluge the temptation was too great for people to get priorities in the wrong order, to fall in love with material things, to listen to false gods.  Giving in to such temptations was easier than being good and respecting the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joshua. It was easier to be evil than to be humble and noble. It was hard to keep priorities in the right order.

And the attempt then to build a tower in Babylon that would reach up to Heaven to prove that it does not exist was the point where God, and society, realized that man is not perfect, and any attempt to create a perfect society was not possible. It's creation was the ultimate rebellion of God, and the worshiping of pagan gods or Satan.

Historical evidence also suggests people within these structures also encouraged the worship of snakes, similar to the serpent mentioned in the Garden of Eden that tempted Adam and Eve. And this is symbolic that mankind quickly reverted to the same type of pagan worship after Noah's flood as it participated in before the flood.

At this time in history it was believed that all mankind was united in this attempt, and they all spoke the same language. They were all the same.

Thus, in the land of Shinar they resolved to build this tower "with its top to the Heaven." Hence, "Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands."

The ultimate symbolism here is that the people were trying to build a structure with steps that would reach to Heaven. They believed they could get to Heaven without God and without following the virtues that he recommended. They could get there by putting their stuff and their false beliefs before God.

It was a new kind of structure, as "they had brick instead of stones, and slime (asphalt) instead of mortar." Many historians believe it was the first major structure ever built by man.

Structures before this were build of stone, which is symbolic of a oneness with God. What was mine was yours. If I had an extra apple I did not sell it to gain material items, I gave it to the person who could use an apple. The stones (the individual) were connected by mortar, which is symbolic of virtues.

That this new tower was built of brick may have been symbolic of separateness. That these individual bricks were connected by asphalt is representative of materialism and selfishness, and pride and arrogance.

Instead of men being individuals and thinking for themselves and being responsible for their own actions, people became equal and lived together in a more socialistic world. They yearned for perfection by creating a world order. They equally divided their resources. God knew that a socialistic society only resulted in laziness, and this may be one of the reasons the tower was never finished.

Even Stalin later said that he believed in God yet in order to create a world of social justice, to create a perfect society (whether you call it communism, socialism, Naziism, or progressivism, or a caliphate doesn't matter) you must get rid of the Bible and God and religion, because these cause people to worship their God instead of their government (a thing). This is significant, because God wants us to put Him before all else.

God wants us to put God first, our spouses second, our children third, other people next, then our country, then other things (your motor cycle and your house and your gold watch) last.

If you worshiped your "possessions" or your "stuff" before your God, your world will be confounded, and that is exactly what happened to the people who tried to build a temple leading to Heaven.

If you spend all your time with your possessions instead of spending it with your wife, your marriage will become confounded.  If you put your selfish needs before your kids, you will have an estranged relationship with them (A good example of this is Ben Franklin, who put his selfish pride before his relationship with his son and his wife).

The mortar was symbolic of what held the bricks (the people) together. And in this day and age the mortar represented materialism. Instead of following the virtues of God, instead of virtue and humility holding society together, materialism was. And it was this materialism that lead to its destruction, as mortar made of materialism is doomed to fail.

Or, when the fabric of society is built on materialism, it is doomed to fail.

The ultimate moral here is that man should keep his place in life and not aspire to Godlike activity. Man should not strive to make the world perfect, he should strive to make himself perfect.

He may not achieve this, and God knows man is not perfect (as he Himself is not perfect), yet we should strive for perfection in order to get to Heaven. We should have our priorities straight, try hard, and seek to get to Heaven.

The story of the Tower of Babel is to symbolize that man is the challenger and the discoverer, and that as man learns more he seeks to prove God to be wrong. He seeks a new way to get to Heaven, or Euphoria. And pride goes before the fall.

People wanted to be rich. People wanted more animals than they needed, and they wanted gold and silver that they did not need to survive. And many people who had two coats and two pairs of shoes did not share the extra coat and pair of shoes with the man who did not. The people were not humble; they did not give of themselves. They were greedy. People were arrogance. I could write another post about how arrogance is the root of all evil.

Many men did not have honor and integrity. They chose to accumulate things for the sake of accumulating them instead of for the sake of need.

They did not share. The taxpayer took money by deceit. He was not honest. Men were sleeping with another's wife. And, in this way, they had become as evil as they were before the Great Flood.

Man was looking for euphoria by building the Tower of Babel, and He did not find it. He failed. He was punished by God because God alone knew that the only way to get to Heaven was not by false gods and materialism, was not by creating a united world, but by following His Virtues.

God came down and saw what was going on, and he realized the failures of a socialistic world. And he confounded the tongues of mankind so that different groups of people could not understand other groups, and it would therefore be less likely man would group together to worship other gods and conspire in such a way.

Basically God saw greed and materialism and he wanted to see honesty and integrity. This was actually Gods second attempt (following the Great flood) to perfect the world, and his third attempt (if we include the banishment from Eden) to punish men for following evil Satan instead of worshiping Him. He, in this sense, was becoming wiser.

This was the Biblical explanation of why people are split up into different continents, different nationalities, different races and spoke different and "confusing" languages. God wanted to retard the ability of mankind to gang up and produce technological advancements that encouraged man to believe in "science" over "Him". This also might explain why it took so long for the modern world to develop.

In this sense, if you put your stuff before your values and virtues you likewise will have a confused life. If you put your friends and socializing before your wife, your marriage will be confused. If you put your children before your God, you will be doomed to have a messed up life. You must have your priorities straight. You must be virtuous first, and once you have everything else in order, then you can buy material items.

As a result of this all this, the tower was never finished. Communication between different groups of people was confused. Even in today's world with all our advancements, we see the same thing occurring. We have a partisan divide. We have nations with unique and selfish goals that hold back society instead of advancing it.

One really neat thing is that throughout time many structures have been build around the world, the Egyptian pyramids, ziggurats, Mexican Pyramids, and they all have essential the same design (stepped pyramids as noted here). Many historians believe it's because they all learned this type of structure at the same point in history, and perhaps this is proof the story of the Tower of Babel is true. It's also proof that God has no more ability to perfect His people as I have to perfect my children (I'm reminded of how imperfect I am every day by my children).

Likewise, the historical significance of these step pyramids is they are built for the purposes of worshiping false gods, were often built with altars to worship false gods, and to make sacrifices to false gods. In the case of the Aztecs, to sacrifice humans to false gods.

So there is some historical significance here.

The moral here is that it is easy for man to revert to bad habits. It's easy to do bad things. It's easy to worship other gods. And it's easier for man to gang up and revert to non virtuous events. It's therefore a challenge to be good. To be good one has to work hard. To keep your priorities in the right order is arduous. Hence, God never intended for life to be easy.

Thus, if there is one thing the Bible teaches over and over again, and beginning with the Tower of Babel, is it's not easy being noble. It's not easy being good and faithful and hopeful. The essential elements of the Tower of Babel are repeated over and over in the Bible. God sees man has reverted to evil ways, gets mad to punish man, and man reverts back to evil ways.

It's almost a lesson about how people have short memories. It's a lesson about how people forget to study history and to learn from the lessons of the past. It's a lesson about how people forget to read the Bible and therefore lose sight of the overall purpose of life.

Consider the formerly reformed alcoholic giving in to the old habit, or the person who has quit smoking for 10 years taking up the habit again, or the person who worked hard to lose 20 pounds reverting back to old eating habits again.

Or the law maker making a law to add more taxes and more spending programs and making the rich pay for all these programs, and not learning from the lessons of the past that show that such a system has never succeeded in the history of mankind. No country has ever taxed itself into prosperity. In fact, too much taxation destroys nations. A good example here is Ancient Rome.

In a sense, the Tower of Babel can help us understand why we are taking care of so many people who never took care of themselves, are overweight because they never exercised and ate poorly despite education on how to stay healthy. It's easier for men and women to mistreat their bodies than to work hard and stay healthy.

It's easier to destroy societies like America than it is to build them up. The founding fathers worked hard to create the U.S., and by taking it for granted (the easy route) some people around the world, and even from within our own country, propose to make the U.S. no better than any other nation of the world.

It's easy to go to work and sit around with the gossipers and complainers and participate in useless activities. It's easier to take the low road. Yet while the high road is far more challenging, the rewards are also far greater. The greatest reward being Heaven.

Hence, we must be careful. God came to that realization when he found the people united and building that tower. He learned that he has no more control over His people than you do over your own children, or your own cells for that matter.

He made it His job to show us the way to Heaven.  Still, some people among society believe they can get to Heaven by another route.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2015 Detroit Tigers LIneup

With the recent acquisition of right handed hitting power left fielder Yoenis Cespedes by the Detroit Tigers, here is what a potential batting line up might look like.

1.  Ian Kinsler 2b
2.  Rajai Davis/ Anthony Gose CF
3.  Miguel Cabrera 1B
4.  Victor Martinez DH
5.  Yoenis Cespedes LF
6.  J.D. Martinez RF
7.  Nick Castellanos 3B
8. Alex Avila/ James McCann C
9. Jose Iglasias SS

Pitching Rotation
1.  David Price
2.  Justin Verlander
3.  Anibal Sanchez
4.  Alfredo Simon
5.  Shane Greene

7th inning.  Bruce Rondin/ Joakim Soria/ Al Alburquerque
8th inning.  Bruce Rondin/ Joakim Soria
9th inning.  Joe Nathan/ Bruce Rondon/ Joakim Soria

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Charity and Justice verse pride and arrogance

Two keys to a successful life are charity and justice.

What is charity? It's making sure the needs of everyone are taken care of.

What is justice?  It is making sure no one is taken advantage of

Two things that get in the way of justice and charity are arrogance and pride.

What is arrogance?  It's thinking you know all.

What is pride? It's putting yourself above all others.

There are two things that help with charity and justice, and they are humility and avoiding judgements.

What is humility?  It's putting other people before yourself and admitting you don't know all

What is avoiding judgements?  It's accepting people for what they are.

There's an old saying that says: "Pride comes before the fall." (Proverb 16: 18) This means that pride can lead to a person becoming unable to see the selfish, and a selfish thinking often leads one to do selfish things, such as stealing and committing murder.

In order to stand upright and depart from evil, it is important to depart from evil. In this way, it is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly and to realize that you are no better than any other person, than to be haughty and stumble through life with no real vision as to your true purpose.

Those who are exalted become humbled. (Matthew 23:12).  This means that the greatest among us -- the wisest, the leaders, the chief executive officers, the inventors, the Hollywood actors, the professional athletes -- become our servants. They are the ones who we call into action when we need to rise up as a society to better ourselves.  Worded another way: the greatest among us shall be our servants.

Those who become humbled shall be exalted.  (Matthew 23:13)  This means that all people who put others before themselves, all people who admit they don't know everything and continue to search for answers for the benefit of themselves and mankind, are equals to those who are exalted by their fame.

Those who become humbled learn not to judge. Then they bring all people together and come up with the best solution to make charity and justice possible.

Regardless of whether the homeless choose to be that way or not, we should not judge them and we should offer our charity. Charity does not have to be in the form of money or food, it may be something simple as lending an ear.

Some of us are arrogant and feel we have all the answers, that they are always right, and therefore we feel we have no need to hear the opinions of others.  These people may offer charity, but may not provide equal justice.

A good example here is a doctor who refuses to listen to the opinions of his patients. This neither benefits the patient nor the physician. It's arrogance at the expense of justice.

Another example is politicians who creates policies that force their views on other people. This is arrogance and does not provide for justice nor charity.

Another example is judges who make rulings based on their views and opinions rather than by the laws that rule the land. This is not justice, nor is it charity.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The unprofitable servants

Unprofitable Servant is charity without personal gain or profit
Humility is important. It's important because, I think, as humans, we must be humble to our position here on earth. We must be aware that we are all just little blimps on a large planet, and what we do, no matter how great, no matter how powerful, or no matter how small, is just fulfilling our role.

That's right. We all have a role on this planet. We all have a duty. We all have a task we are to accomplish. And there is not one role that is greater than any other. In that sense, we are all equals.

George Washington is a good example of a humble person, as he easily could have made the office of the president similar to a monarchy, although, by his recommendation, the president is humbly referred to as "Mr. President.

His goal was to show that the president is no more valuable to human kind than you or me. We are all equals in that sense. We are, as the Bible explains (Luke 17:7-10) in "The Parable of Jesus," we are all unprofitable servants.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Defined, unprofitable servant means that we do what is expected of us and nothing more. We all have a task that we are to accomplish, and we accomplish it, and then we are done. In that sense, we are unprofitable. This is a means for us to keep things in proper perspective: to be humble.

We pray. We are given gifts in life (for example I was given the gift of writing), and we need to use our gift to help our fellow humans.

The neat thing is God does not answer all prayers, nor does he heal all the sick. He answers some prayers, and he heals some of the sick, but never all. Yet he does heal everyone spiritually.

He heals spiritually by allowing us to be in Heaven if we are good in this life. No matter how much we suffer, we are given that great reward. That's the best gift of all. That's the best healing power. In that regard, there is nothing we can accomplish on earth more profitable than that. We are, therefore, unprofitable.

Yet there are other gifts, or healings, that are less valuable, such as property and material things like money and other riches and communication skills, math skill, wisdom about asthma and writing skills, all the Internet. These are gifts we are given so we can make the world better -- but never better than how Jesus left it when he ascended into Heaven.

When this occurred he gave the Holy Spirit to all who chose to accept it.  By the Holy Spirit anyone who believes is a prophet.  As prophets it is our duty to learn and interpret the Word of the Lord.

Not all who are prophets are rich, or healthy all the time, or are healed when they pray for healing. Some of the best and greatest prophets of the Lord, some of the greatest and most useful people on this planet, have nothing at all but spiritual gifts. They live in poverty.

Most humans are unprofitable servants. That means we do what is expected of us and nothing more. The Lord gives us each an assignment, and it is up to us to accomplish the goals He sets out for us. Which basically means we do what is expected of us.

All the good we do as human beings, no matter how good, will never be as good as what Jesus did for us. Therefore, we are not profitable.  We are not masters. We are servants.

In this sense, we are humbled. And we use our gifts to make this world a better place, each in our own humble way.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Changing times

I took my first class in business in 1990 at Ferris State University at the age of 20. I had been introduced to word processors a few years earlier and loved it, although now our teacher wanted to take us to the computer lab to introduce us to this new thing called email.  He had us send emails to each other in the lab, and we looked at each other saying things like, "What a stupid concept."

A similar occurrence happened to former president Calvin Coolidge in 1904, although it was regarding a new concept called automobiles.  Coolidge was a 32-year-old lawyer and politician, and the automobiles were considered unreliable and expensive.  Coolidge thanked the man who gave him his first ride, and said, "It won't amount to much." 

Obviously we both lacked vision and were wrong.  Coolidge would lead the nation through the roaring 20s and the Industrial revolution which would see the Ford Model T mass produced, and the modern world has exceeded well beyond email.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

The vicious cycle of spending and taxing

Okay, so we have people in this country, and just about every other country too, who think the role of government is to solve problems. So they see a problem -- poverty, for example -- and they create government programs -- welfare, food stamps, unemployment -- to solve those problems.

As noted by the great economist Henry Hazlitt in his 1946 book "Economics in One Lesson:
"There is NO more persistent and influential faith in the world today than the faith in government spending. Everywhere government spending is presented as a panacea for all our economic ills. Is private industry partially stagnant? We can fix it all by government spending. Is there unemploiyhment? That is obviously due to 'insufficient private purchasing power.' The remedy is just as obvious. All that is necesary is for the government to spend enough to make up the 'deviciancy.'
Now, this all sounds all fine and dandy. It makes the politicians who create these programs feel good because they are creating a charity, and it makes the people feel good about the politician because they are helping those in need. Yet what goes unnoticed here is that for every dollar the government spends to implement and manage these programs a dollar has to be taken via taxes from the people.

"Everything we get, outside of the free gifts of nature, must in some way be paid for," said Hazlitt.

He explains that there are certain necessary functions that must be performed by government, and in order to pay for them a certain amount of taxes must be collected. Such necessary functions include

  1. Building and maintaining roads and bridges and tunnels
  2. Armories and navy yards to protect us
  3. Buildings to house legislatures
  4. Police departments
  5. Fire departments
  6. Coast guards

Hazlitt uses the example of a $10 million bridge being built by the government to create jobs. People can see the bridge, and they can see that it is beging used to allow cars to cross over water. They can see the 500 people working on it, peple they think would not be working if not for the building of the bridge. This is all good, they think.

However, what is not seen is that this means that $10 million in taxes has to be collected. He said:
"They would have that much taken away from them which they would otherwise have spent on the things they needed most... Therefore, for every public job has been destoryed somewhere else. We can see the men employed on the bridge. We can watch them at work. The employment argument of the government spenders becomes vivid, and probably for most people convincing. But there are other things that we do not see, because, alas, they have never been permitted to come into existence. They are the jobs destroyed by the $10 million taken from taxpayers. All that has happened, at best, is that there has been a diversion of jobs because of the project. Mor bridge builders; fewer automobile workers, television technicians, clothing workers, farmers."
Of course another argument is that, while people can see the bridge, they do not see all the projects that are not done because money was diverted from the people to the government. He said:
"Here again the government spenders have the better of the argument with all those who cannot see beyond the immediate range of their physical eyes. They can see the bridge. But ifthey have taught themselves to look for indirect as well as direct consequences they can once more see in the eye of imagination the possibilities that have never been allowed to come into existence. They can see the unbuilt homes, the unmade cars and washing machines, the unmade dresses and coats, perhaps the ungrown and unsold foodstuffs. To see these uncreated things requires a kind of imagination that not many peple have. We can think of these nonexistent objects once, perhaps, but we cannot keep them before our minds as we can the bridge that we pass every working day. What has happened is merely that one thing has been created instead of others."
The same can be said of all other government programs. We see that we are helping the unemployed, but we don't see that the same tax dollars that are taken to feed the unemployed are taken from the businessman, who in turn has to lay off a worker, or not hire a worker, because he has less money due to the taxes.

So, in other words, taxation to help the unemployed or impoverished destroys as many jobs as it creates. It also results in unbuilt houses, unbought wedding rings, unmade refrigerators, unbought refrigerators.

Making this worse is that a viscious cycle develops, where once you create these programs no polician wants to be the one to tell the people these programs are going to be cut. Even if the programs are no longer self sufficient, they are never ended. In order to keep them afloat even more taxes have to be collected.

Making this even worse, is that hundreds if not thousands of people are employed to manage these programs, and they will fight tooth and nail not to lose their jobs. Likewise, those who are receiving the money don't want to lose their checks, or their government provided food or home, and so they vote for whomever champions for continuing the program. It's a viscious cycle.

Spending equals taxes. Taxes basically you are taking from those who create wealth and giving it to those who don't. So those who own businesses, instead of giving raises or creating new jobs, they must not give raises and not create new jobs, and sometimes lay off workers and add to the unemployment problem. They have to do this all because of taxes.

And so as fewer people are working, government officials create new programs, and to pay for these new programs they have to raise taxes. And once taxes get too high -- say 50, 60 or 70 percent -- then people quit spending their money, and so even fewer products are consumed, and fewer jobs are created, and the unemployment number goes up even higher.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why won't progressives let us do anything fun?

Progressives spent the entire 1910s passing laws to perfect society, and once they tired of such laws voters elected conservatives in a 1920s landslide. It's seems such progressive attempt to perfect society have been rejuvenated in recent years and, according to polling data, people are once again fed up with it.

In the 1910s progressives, lead by Woodrow Wilson, passed laws that made selling alcohol a crime, and the president even made people who spoke out against the war effort criminals.  Such actions were not supposed to be allowed in a free country.

Now, in the 2010s, progressives have returned, only under the name of liberal. They have passed laws essentially making it illegal to smoke cigarettes except for in the privacy of your own home.

One of their main efforts today is that they want to force everyone to eat healthy. They say it's because they care for us, but we all know the reason is so that when they get their universal healthcare system we won't cost Uncle Sam an arm and a let.

Progressives want everyone to eat healthy.  They want you to eat apples when you are traveling in a car, as opposed to Little Debbies.  Because of Michelle Obama they are forcing our kids to eat boring meals at lunch time, unless they bring in their own food, and even then they are scrutinized.

Michael Bloomberg signed a law forcing New York residents to purchase smaller sized sodas to prevent them from drinking too much sugar.  They, in essence, want people to eat healthy every day. Sorry, folks, they don't even want you to go out on Saturday night with your friends.

They don't want you to eat in moderation, or to have an "unhealthy" day once in a while.  They want you to eat perfect, every day, and to be a lean, mean, fighting machines.  Some day they might even pass a law mandating that you exercise every day.

It's not that they care for us, though, because they don't want us to even be here. They don't like that there are too many people on this planet because people exhale carbon dioxide, which is contributing to global warming. If global warming wipes out the planet then the animals they want to give natural rights to will die.

They want you to have perfect bodies because by their rationing, once we get universal healthcare, you won't be a burden.  What they fail to realize is that even people who eat healthy and exercise get risks.  They don't realize you can't take the risk out of life.

Yet they don't see it that way.  They see a world of complete euphoria where everyone eats healthy and exercises, everyone has a job, everyone has food, and everyone has healthcare

The reason is because, in their perfect world, their dream world, they want universal healthcare; they want everyone to have a job, be thin, and to have healthcare.

Since alcohol and drugs are responsible for crime, they want to get rid of alcohol and drugs.  It's for this reason prohibition passed.  Oh, by the way, what happened during prohibition.  That's right!  People drank alcohol anyway, only they became criminals.

Today there is a marijuana prohibition of sorts, where normal people like you and me enjoy a joint, and they end up in prison.  Or they lose their healthcare license because they had a little fun.

The problem with this is that what if their theories are not true?  What if there is no manmade global warming, or cooling, or whatever you want to call it?  What if high fat foods are proven not to cause heart disease? Then what?

I'll tell you what?  We'll continue to have all these laws based on a hoax because no one will have the nerve to get rid of them for fear of losing votes.  As with the global warming hoax, there will be so many people politically invested in the hoax that they will -- as with Al Gore -- continue to deny it's a hoax.

I think people should eat responsibly, just like they should be responsible toward the environment.  But to get all scared of a little sugar and fat at the expense of having a boring, un-fun life is absolutely pointless.  I mean, unlike Bloomberg and Michelle Obama, most of us lead stressful lives, and we need a little sugar or alcohol to take the edge off.

All these laws to perfect society have changed us from a free state to a police state. however, if the 2014 republican midterms election means anything, the people are once again fed up with all the laws to perfect society.