Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Clinging to religion because of bitterness?

The reason people "cling to religion" is because they are bitter? Is this really what Senator Obama believes? It seems to me that the more I learn about Senator Obama, the more I learn that I have little in common with him. In short, he doesn't represent my beliefs, my values.

Senator Barak Obama: "It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion...as a way to explain their frustrations" [Barak Obama, commenting on small-town Pennsylvanians, at a closed fundraiser in San Francisco, made public 11 Apr 08].

Astonishing. Such absurd comments sound familiar. Observe...

Karl Marx, father of Communism: "religion is the opiate of the masses." [Karl Marx, Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843), from the introduction].

On the contrary, the reason I'm religious has no relation to my economic well-being or frustrations. In fact, it is quite the opposite...it has to do with being thankful for the blessing I have been given by God.

For instance, for the last 20 years, my personal income has consistently increased. In fact, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GNP) (a measure of the nation's purchasing power) has also increased every year for the last 20 years. In other words, the U.S. economy is growing, and it has been consistently growing every year since at least 1947. Some years it has grown less than other years, but still, the GDP has never failed to increase from year-to-year, in spite of the silliness we see from Congress, the President, and other politicians.

We often hear from politicians that we have an "ailing economy." Really? Here is what the U.S. Department of Commerce reports with regard to our economy...

[click on image to enlarge]

The above chart shows that since 1947, the general U.S. economy is skyrocketing. What some complain about is that it is not skyrocketing as much as it could be. Are we that spoiled as a nation that we still need to complain about our soaring economy simply because it is not soaring enough?

The reality is that my family in particular and America in general have been most blessed, economically speaking. What is there to be bitter about? I suppose I've been taught to count my blessing and not dwell on how much greater wealth I "might" have if only we had the right person as President. :rolleyes:

In truth, I'm far from bitter. On the contrary, I'm thankful. That is why I'm religious. I've been given many gifts, and as a steward of these gifts I have an obligation to share them with others, and most importantly, to the thank the Gift-Giver.

Is that why America is religious? Perhaps. But I can only speak of my own reasons and find it absurd that a politician would presume to tell others why they are religious. Whatever reason others may have for being religious, it seems from the public backlash that Senator Obama's analysis was terribly wrong.

God has chosen, in his mercy, to bless America despite lack of merit on our part. We are the most blessed nation in the world, and our GDP is higher now than at any other time in U.S. history, almost twice as high as any other nation. Observe...

[click on image to enlarge]

We are clearly a blessed nation. We claim to profess as a nation, "In God we Trust." We are religious because of our blessings, not because of bitterness.

Now, are there many among us that are in need? Certainly. And this too is an opportunity to practice our religion.

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (James 1:27)

God bless,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Benedict XVI message to the United States

Prior to his visit this April, Benedict XVI gave this address in English to the people of the United States. I've read many translations of his addresses and books, but it is always great to here him in English:

God bless,


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Divine Office and other liturgical prayers in Latin

The Divine Office seems more Divine when prayed and chanted in Latin. Here are some links...
Morning Prayer in Latin:
"Domine labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam."
(O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise)...

Evening Prayer in Latin:
"Deus, in adjutorium meum intende."
(O God, come to my assistance)...>LISTEN

Night Prayer in Latin...>LISTEN
Other prayers in Latin:
Pray with us the midday prayer in Latin, devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary...>LISTEN
Five Joyful Mysteries...>LISTEN
Five Sorrowful Mysteries...>LISTEN
Five Glorious Mysteries...>LISTEN
Five Luminous Mysteries...>LISTEN

God bless,


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Faith and Reason: Philosophy of Religion

I stumbled across a great audio book by Dr. Peter Kreeft called Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion. Dr. Kreeft is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and is the author of over forty books. The "book" is actually a set of audio CD recordings of 14 lectures on the subject, given by Dr. Kreeft. It is truly outstanding series. If you are interested you can purchase the series, here: Modern Scholar, or borrow it from your local library. If you library doesn't have it, perhaps they can obtain it through an Interlibrary Loan. Here's an description of the audio book from the Modern Scholar website:

Faith and REasonFaith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion

Through the ages, mankind has pursued questions of faith in something beyond the world of ordinary experience. Is there a God? How can we explain the presence of evil? Do humans, or human souls, live on after death? Is there a hell? The following lectures examine these eternal questions and present the most compelling arguments for and against God’s existence, the seeming conflicts between religion and science, and the different truth-claims of the world’s most popular religions. By delving into the major characteristics of world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, mankind’s association with the many different varieties of religious practice is brought to light. Above all, Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion lays the groundwork for a rational approach to pursuing questions of faith—and at the same time provides a better understanding of religion’s ongoing importance in the realm of human experience.

Course Syllabus

Lecture 1 What Is Religion? Why Is It Worth Thinking About?

Lecture 2 Atheism

Lecture 3 The Problem of Evil

Lecture 4 Arguments for God’s Existence from Nature (Cosmological Arguments)

Lecture 5 Arguments for God’s Existence from Human Experience (Psychological Arguments)

Lecture 6 Religion and Science

Lecture 7 The Case Against Life After Death

Lecture 8 The Case for Life After Death: Twelve Arguments

Lecture 9 Different Concepts of Heaven

Lecture 10 Hell

Lecture 11 Testing the Different Truth-Claims of Different Religions

Lecture 12 Comparative Religions

Lecture 13 What Would Socrates Think?

Lecture 14 Religious Experience

God bless,