Category Archives: Catholicism

Donald Trump at the Values Voter Summit

“We are stopping cold the attacks on Judeo-Christian values.”
~ Donald Trump (Values Voter Summit, 2017)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”
~ Jesus (Matthew 5:11)

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Why “Prayer Shaming” Doesn’t Bother Me

Thank you to The Closet Atheist for bringing this to my attention.

Excerpts from her post and my thoughts:

In my case, I’m more concerned with whether or not you are doing more than that, or if you find thoughts and prayers to be sufficient. How helpful is it to send your thoughts and prayers to the God that allowed (or caused) it to happen instead of sending money or giving your time?

Well:

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
~ James 2:14 — 17

And:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
~ Philippians 4:6

The students in the video dub this phenomenon “prayer shaming,” using examples such as athletes who are judged for showing their faith or college campuses where students are discouraged from public prayer…

Weird. Because, Jesus said this about prayer:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
~ Matthew 6:5 — 6

My point being: Why are Christians getting all bent out of shape about not being able to pray in public when Jesus said “Don’t pray in public”?

Jesus also said this:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
~ John 15:18

And this:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
~ Mathew 16:24

Why It Doesn’t Matter If You Believe In God

Recent horrible events have shaken my faith in God. I believe I know the root of such horror: Original Sin. But: I find myself struggling with a question: How can a god who is supposed to be the personification of love and mercy allow a person to go to Hell for no other reason than that they died while at a concert?

After all: We’re all imperfect to some extent. And salvation is not something we deserve, it’s something we attain. (Romans 7:15 — 20) But, what about the people who were not as close to attaining it as others? Will God have mercy on them? In this life, it’s impossible to know. I wish it wasn’t.

Following The Closet Atheist’s blog, I often hear variations on the question “Why don’t you believe in God?”

And today I’m here to say: “It doesn’t matter if you believe in God.”

Why?

Because: “Do you believe in God?” is not the question that one should be asking. The more important question, I believe, is: “Do you trust God?”

Why?

Because: Think of your ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend. You know they exist. There is evidence of your previous interactions with them. But there’s a reason you’re no longer together. The fact that they are real did not stop you from cutting them out of your life.

Meme1

It’s the same with God: If you don’t trust God, than it won’t matter if you believe that He exists because you’ll want nothing to do with Him.

Let’s say that everything in the Bible could be proven to be true. Destroying cities with fire (Genesis 19:24, 25), massacring men, women, children, and the elderly (Deuteronomy 13:15), turning disobedient people to salt (Genesis 19:26) or making them mute (Luke 1:20) — everything that God does, or commands be done in His name, that makes one go “Wait, what?” If that god appeared right in front of you right now and asked you “Do you trust me?” what would your Yes or No answer be?

To end this post on a happy note: Some music:

Tokyo Red Hood — First Impressions

Note: Graphic content.

Since it’s October, I’m in the mood for a scary story.

Like everyone, I have my limits. Still: Recently, I’ve found myself drawn to horrific tales. For example: Evil Dead (2013):

It is with that in mind that I address the subject of this post: Tokyo Red Hood. (Some spoilers.)

Image result for tokyo red hood

A manga about a masochistic, demonic Little Red Riding Hood and the organ harvester she works for. Featuring an angel who will kill at the drop of a hat, and a God who I would describe using the following gif:

Now, I must admit: I have not read Tokyo Red Hood yet. Which is why this post is just my “first impressions.” I don’t have the means to get the manga yet, but it’s been on my mind since yesterday. (11:56 — 13:09)

So why are you even talking about it? you might be thinking. After all: I won’t be able to really give my thoughts on the story until I’ve actually read the story.

Good point.

This is why I feel compelled to talk about it:

Researching Tokyo Red Hood, three thoughts came to mind:

This quote by Stephen King: “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”

This Bible verse: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

And this Bible verse: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

My point being: Even if it’s trying to do the opposite, Tokyo Red Hood — with its murder, disembowelment, and worldview that could be described as “Blasphemous” — is pointing to God.

Image result for tokyo red hood

I’ve heard it said that the Devil is out to utterly destroy every aspect of creation — that, if it were up to him, not even atoms would exist. Why? Because: Every created thing, because it is a created thing, no matter how seemingly sick and twisted, ultimately has its roots in God, the first creator.

As C.S. Lewis put it:

‘Creation’ as applied to human authorship seems to me to be an entirely misleading term. We re-arrange elements He has provided. And that is surely why our works never mean to others quite what we intended; because we are recombining elements made by Him and already containing His meanings. Because of those divine meanings in our materials it is impossible that we should ever know the whole meaning of our works and the meaning we never intended may be the best and truest one.

This doesn’t mean I’ll like Tokyo Red Hood. This doesn’t mean that it won’t, for me, cross the line of good taste.

But: There is goodness, truth, and beauty everywhere. Even in the darkest depths of Tokyo Red Hood.

And that is nothing to be afraid of.

Speechless

I deleted my previous post, “10-Word Story: Moment Of Calm”, because I felt like it didn’t measure up to the standard I have for myself. I don’t know what my standard is, but I know what it isn’t.

When it comes to my 10-word stories, I usually write them fast. I see a beautiful piece of art, and the words pop into my head in no time. But for “Moment of Calm” I spent over an hour thinking of what to say.

The piece of art was so beautiful. I felt I had to say something. I was going for something serious, sensual, or erotic, but settled for something semi-humorous: One child asking another what his mom is doing sitting naked at his dinner table. How awkward might that conversation be?

But, after giving it more thought: The woman in this piece of art deserves better than that. She  deserves better than I can currently give her.

She literally leaves me speechless.

Woman

The closest words that I can currently imagine doing her justice are these lyrics from “Always With Me” from Spirited Away:

Though the road is long and lonely and the end far away, out of sight
I can with these arms embrace the light

As I bid farewell my heart stops, in tenderness I feel
My silent empty body begins to listen to what is real

On another note:

Recently, I had a conversation with fellow blogger Love Alchemy about nudity and nature. In it, she said:

I remember most vividly bathing in streams and walking through what I would call forest for lack of a better term. It was a place of tall trees, uninhabited, serene and being naked was just so, a be’ing. Though quite young I recall those moments fondly and feel edified to hold any remembrance of beauty.

And I realize that, since that conversation, I’ve been trying to help her “hold any remembrance of” the beauty of, for example, bathing in streams. That’s one of the reasons for posts like “10-Word Story: Revelation.”

And I’ve also realized that, ultimately, I am not Love Alchemy. No matter how hard I might try, or how hard I might want to, I cannot see the world through her eyes. To put it another way: Ultimately, only Love Alchemy can tell Love Alchemy‘s story.

I wasn’t trying to “tell her story” because I thought she was not able to tell it herself.

Like with the work of art that left me speechless, I just wanted to say something; do something to help Love Alchemy hold on to the beauty of her past because I could not accept doing nothing.

Why could I not accept doing nothing? The answer to this question goes back to one of the driving forces behind this blog:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:14 — 16

Where do I myself go from here? I don’t know.

But, I believe the best thing that I can do is, to quote “Always With Me”:

listen to what is real

Finding Meaning In My Nudity

I realize that, lately, I’ve been asking a question — Am I enough? — and looking to nudity for the answer.

What do I mean by “looking to nudity for the answer”?

This:

Like with all things, my view on nudity continues to change.

The reason I’ve been writing about it so much lately is because I believe that there is some, for lack of a better word, secret hidden in one’s body. Some thing that is essential to answering the question What is the point of life?

I know that, ultimately, going naked, or appreciating — in a mature manner — the beauty of a person who is naked, will not give me what I seek. For example: The initial thrill of having climbed out of my underwear will, inevitably, fade. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

As a Catholic, I see it as my duty to be a light in the darkness:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:14 — 16

And, I believe nudity is connected to that somehow.

When one is naked, their “light” is shinning forth for all to see. There are no “bowls” (like clothes) that hide any part of a person; a person is showing all of themselves. It is a time when a person’s true colors are revealed. Every action takes on new weight and meaning when done naked.

Those are just some thoughts I’ve been having recently.

Thanks for reading.

And: Thank you to the beautiful woman who made the photo used in this post possible.

A Catholic Responds To “34 Things Atheists Are Tired Of Hearing”

Thank you to The Closet Atheist for her post 34 Things Atheists Are Tired Of Hearing.

Excerpts from it, and the thoughts I had after reading each “thing”:

The only reason you don’t believe is because you don’t want to be obedient.

A relationship with God is about more than following commands. (Matthew 19: 16 — 22)

Evolution is just a theory!

Just because evolution is a theory doesn’t mean it has no basis in reality.

Science changes its story all the time, but the Bible never changes because it’s the truth!

Than why did Martin Luther attempt to remove 7 books from the Bible? If that is not one example of the Bible being changed to suit one’s own “truth” than I don’t know what is.

The watchmaker analogy.

Just because a person makes a watch doesn’t automatically make that person deserving of devotion. i.e., The watchmaker analogy tells us nothing about the nature of the watchmaker; it just tells us that someone made a watch. And it doesn’t tell us for what purpose the watch was made, either. For an example of creating something just for the sake of causing pain and suffering, watch The Human Centipede.

You believe deep down, but you’re not willing to admit it because God would punish you for being a sinner.

You know what a person believes? Are you a mind-reader? Because, you should know: The Bible frowns on that. (Deuteronomy 18: 10 — 12)

It’s dangerous to be a Christian these days because we are being persecuted in this secular society.

Jesus said this would happen, and to embrace it with joy. (Matthew 16:25)

If not the Bible, where do you get your morals from?

The world isn’t split into Christians and atheists. There are so many more worldviews. And so many Christian denominations, too. At least one of which does not depend on the Bible alone for its view on existence…

Evolutionists took Intelligent Design out of public schools, because they’re afraid of it because it’s true.

Your evidence to prove what you’ve just said is true?

It takes just as much faith to be an atheist!

How do you determine how much faith something takes?

Atheism is dangerous because it claims that man is his own god.

Atheism claims there is no good reason to believe in a god. There’s a difference.

When God does things that don’t make sense, just trust him and have faith.

I agree. But: This advice is worthless to a person who doesn’t believe in a god. If I told you “The Loch Ness Monster does things that don’t make sense, so just have faith,” I imagine you would think I had a few screws loose.

I’ve experienced God personally, so he’s real.

He’s real to you, yes. But: This person you’re talking to has not “experienced God personally,” so your words are ultimately worthless, are they not? Getting someone to believe you because of an experience you’ve had depends on the relationship you have with this person, too. For example: I’m more likely to believe in aliens if my best friend tells me they were abducted than I am if a stranger tells me they were abducted.

So do you think you’re smarter than everyone else?

How do you measure how smart a person is? The reason I ask is: A Christian man with a PhD once wrote this to me: “I’m entitled to my opinion, as an expert with a graduate film degree [where’s yours?]!!!”

This is a Christian country.

And? This country also hung people because of their skin color. How Christian…

Why don’t you believe? Is it because something bad happened to you?

To quote Hannibal Lecter: “Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened.”

Just wait until you’re dead!

Do you know the final destination of one’s soul? Because I was certain that is information only God has.

Just read the Bible.

Many atheists were once Christians. Care to expand on “Just read the Bible”?

I’m praying for you.

Good. But: Do it for the right reason.

Hitler and Stalin were atheists.

Your point being?

There’s no proof that God doesn’t exist.

True. But I don’t see that fact alone leading to mass conversions.

Why do you hate God?

Atheists hate God the same way people hate Joffrey from A Game of Thrones.

We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts.

I agree.

Without religion, society would fall to chaos.

This January, Christians gave the nuclear launch codes to this man:

Image result for trump mocks disabled reporter gif

Without God, there is no meaning.

Humans can make their own meaning. Whether that meaning will weather life’s storms is another matter…

Even though you don’t believe in God, he still believes in you.

If I were an atheist, why would I find comfort in the notion that a being that doesn’t exist believes I do?

You can’t look at the beautiful sky and tell me no one created that.

Actually, you can. Hence why you are having a discussion about this in the first place.

You’re going to hell!

And that’s when you know your attempt to reach out to atheists has failed.

We don’t see wind either but we know it’s there.

Considering it’s hurricane season… too soon. Too soon.

If evolution is real then why are there still monkeys?

Because not everything evolves in the same way or at the same pace? An organism’s environment being one factor that determines how it changes over generations.

What if you’re wrong?

Than may they have lived a life where, ultimately, being wrong doesn’t matter. You don’t have to say “Jesus is lord!” in order to make the world a better place. Just look at all the atheists who lost their lives in WWII, fighting for human dignity.

So do you even believe in anything?

I know one thing atheists believe in: The importance of an open mind.

There are no atheists in foxholes.

Certainly it’s not unthinkable that someone would reconsider their worldview as shells are falling around them, but there’s no guarantee of that happening.

You’re taking it out of context!

Than do your job as a Christian and explain the context. Don’t yell at a person because of an issue it is your duty to rectify.