Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Monday, January 28, 2008

Did Mary Yodle the Magnificat?

via whispers at the logia: a bishop who speaks English instead of bigshotchurchspeak.


What a pro-life scene, sisters and brothers! Elizabeth cries out "Blessed are you among women," and the Virgin Mary responds with one of the most joyful hymns we have in the New Testament.

I have a friend -- and you'll excuse this, it's typical of Southeast Texas... we're too far South maybe -- who claims that Mary yodeled the Magnificat. I don't think that's exegetically correct, but it's an interesting scene to fathom: the country girl who cries out in joy, certainly over the birth of the Savior, but who cries out in joy over the gift of life.

That should set the scene for us today, friends. "Blessed is she who trusted," in this house of Mary, to begin to look at these readings given to us today. Human beings -- how wonderful human beings are. And, yet, if we look at the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah has just finished scolding the people of Jerusalem, the people of Judea, the people of Israel -- that they are arrogant and look to purely political solutions instead of looking to their Maker and covenant-faithul lover, God.

Did Mary Yodle the Magnificat?

via whispers at the logia: a bishop who speaks English instead of bigshotchurchspeak.


What a pro-life scene, sisters and brothers! Elizabeth cries out "Blessed are you among women," and the Virgin Mary responds with one of the most joyful hymns we have in the New Testament.

I have a friend -- and you'll excuse this, it's typical of Southeast Texas... we're too far South maybe -- who claims that Mary yodeled the Magnificat. I don't think that's exegetically correct, but it's an interesting scene to fathom: the country girl who cries out in joy, certainly over the birth of the Savior, but who cries out in joy over the gift of life.

That should set the scene for us today, friends. "Blessed is she who trusted," in this house of Mary, to begin to look at these readings given to us today. Human beings -- how wonderful human beings are. And, yet, if we look at the prophet Isaiah, Isaiah has just finished scolding the people of Jerusalem, the people of Judea, the people of Israel -- that they are arrogant and look to purely political solutions instead of looking to their Maker and covenant-faithul lover, God.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

LOLinator

Hit headline for link to the LOLinator website...that will translate your essays into LOL, complete with cats.

For example:
THURSDAY... JANUARY…

politicz... not science... behind protes uv pope speech


grate scientist has humilitee toward findin truth... but also has abilitee 2 know that we don’t know everythin... n that “ absence uv evidence iz not evidence uv absense”.

in constrast... there iz philosophy uv scientism... that sez onli material thing that we can measure r real. but scientificalli thiz iz nonsense= it mite mean onli that we r usin wrong approach 2 find out answa.
-------------
More LOL CATS HERE

AND LOL CATS CHUCH HERE

Family news: Welcome home John

Robin called Chano yesterday and said John has arrived home from Iraq safe and sound.

I'll post photos as soon as she gets around to sending us some.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Politics, not science, behind Protest of Pope's speech

In Premed we were forced to take electives in non scientific fields. Most of them were useless except for history (which helped me understand cross cultural medicine) and one I took about the Philosophy of Science.

From a Philosophical standpoint, science is not a concrete Truth as much as a humble search for reality. Each experiment lets us get closer to the truth, but science is description, not Truth itself. And often that description is in the language of mathematics, or uses analogies of real world things (e.g. electrons being solid and wave at the same time) to enhance understanding.

Great scientists have a humility toward finding the truth, but also have the ability to know that we don’t know everything, and that “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absense”.

In constrast, there is a philosophy of scientism, that says only material things that we can measure are real. But scientifically this is nonsense: it might mean only that we are using the wrong approach to find out the answer.

When it comes to God, (or falling in love, or even Gaia), a true scientist would be an agnostic and say: I don’t know. Because so far, we can’t detect or measure God in our experiments. And so until there is a God detecting apparatus, much of religion comes down to philosophy, and scientists can only approach theology in the same way that Greek philosophers discussed atoms: as an interesting idea but not something they could measure.
So it is disturbing is that a communist/radical left wing students have artificially manipulated a protest of Pope Benedict who was to give a speech at the University of Sapienza as if it were a scientific protest. The Pope correctly has declined to give the speech ” in the face of protests by physicists and students who claimed his presence was inappropriate in a secular setting“.

But of course, this is nonsense. The Pope is a moral authority, and his speech was to be on the death penalty, not physics. And nearly every secular human rights NGO in the world sees the Pope’s opposition of the death penalty as a major help in their fight to have states eliminate the death penalty.

The excuse used (that the pope attacked Gallileo) is also nonsense: the Pope’s enemies took one line out of one long speech given 18 years ago to prove he was “anti science”. What makes it worse is that in the offending paragraph, Benedict was quoting another scholar.
So why the protests by scientists? I suspect it is political manipulation. One doubts many of them read the entire speech, or had the philosophical background to understand it even if they read it.
If anything, this cherrypicking an 18 year old quote resembles the Muslim outburst about the Pope’s Regensburg speech, where a single quotation was taken out of context to prove the Pope was Islamophobic.

At least those Mullahs had the excuse that the news reports were wrong, and many Islamic scholars withdrew their criticism once this was known.

So why are scientists acting like poorly educated Mullahs? Political manipulation, of course.

No, I’m not going into Ron Paul or Chomsky territory. It’s right there in the newspaper:
The AFP story shows such a link:

The protest against the visit was spearheaded by physicist Marcello Cini, a professor emeritus of La Sapienza, who wrote to rector Renato Guarini complaining of an “incredible violation” of the university’s autonomy.

Sixty-seven professors and researchers of the sprawling university’s physics department, as well as radical students, joined in the call for the pope to stay away on Thursday, the start of the university’s academic year.

Students opposed to the visit kicked off “an anti-clergy week” on Monday…Cini also recalled a colloquium on Darwin held by Benedict in September 2006 in which the “intelligent design” movement was given precedence over the theory of evolution.

“The Church can no longer use pyres or corporal punishment,” Cini said in the communist daily Il Manifesto. “Today it uses the Enlightenment’s God of Reason as a Trojan horse to enter the citadel of scientific knowledge.”

The scientists’ revolt, initially discreet, snowballed after radical students took up the cause.

On Tuesday they briefly occupied the rector’s offices seeking the right to demonstrate on Thursday.

In other words, this does not have anything to do with science. It’s politics, pure and simple, because unlike many of the empty headed “religious right” leaders who spout cliches, Pope Benedict is a deep thinker (George Weigel, a biographer of John Paul II, says he “speaks in paragraphs”) whose articulate and intricate writings don’t make easy sound bites, but don’t lend themselves to easy dismissal either.
The Philippine Inquirer article notes:

Indeed, much of Benedict’s papacy is about fighting a materialistic philosophy that sees truth only in material things…

The 80-year-old pope also warned that people in the West had so much knowledge and power that they “capitulate before the question of truth” and place far too much emphasis on “usefulness.”

Ironically, the Pope’s speech was to be about the Death penalty, which of course the Catholic church opposes.

Benedict said, adding: “The wisdom of great religious traditions … cannot be thrown into the dustbin of the history of ideas with impunity.”… Benedict rejected the idea that “theology, whose message is addressed to reason, be confined to a private sphere, whether big or small.”

Well, maybe that is the point: That there are some who wish to marginalize religion in today’s Europe.

Right now I’m listening to the history of pre World War I Germany via podcast.

And a lot of the arguments of the protesters reasons sound a lot like the ideas pushed by Bismark in the Kulturkampf: a political move to marginalize Catholics so that the secular German state could be the main power.

Is history repeating itself?

Ah, now that is a question for pundits and conspiracy theorists, not scientists.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chaput in the news

Get religion Blog has an article about Archbishop Chaput and his latest column on the bias in the news on religion.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Just say no to murder

Double standard indeed.

Restrain murderous terrorists during flight and transfer, and you are accused of torture and restricting their rights all over the papers of the Western World.

Kidnap innocent civilians, terrorize peasants, place murderous landmines, and rape women, but it doesn’t matter: people like Chavez and Oliver Stone will still defend you as merely freedom fighters, not terrorists.

Yup Chavez is now a hero for getting two women, out of 3000 Colombian hostages, released.

One was raped (one cannot consent to intercourse with a jailer), bore a child without a trained midwife (reports say the fractured arm was due to a birth injury, meaning a botched delivery) , and then had the child removed from her custody to save it’s life…the child was so badly maltreated that the government’s social services took custody of the child to save it’s life.
The conditions of the hostages is horrendous.The other hostage describes their captivity:

Many of the hostages held by Colombian rebels are kept chained in jungle camps surrounded by barbed wire and are terrified by encroaching army artillery and machine gun fire….Some hostages are kept in shackles around the clock and chained to heavy chunks of wood at night, while army artillery shells fall perilously close…Last year 11 kidnapped provincial lawmakers were killed when the rebels said an unidentified military force raided their makeshift jail. The government accuses the guerrillas of executing the 11 hostages….

Yet the issue is not that FARC (who makes millions off of the drug trade) runs a horrific jail. The point is that these are civilians who have committed no crimes, who should not be jailed at all. They are being held hostage to try to free terrorists residing in Colombia’s jail: men who if left lose would go out and murder others.

Yet why does Chavez and too many others think that those perpetuating such horrors would become angels of light if they could take over the democratically elected Colombian government?

It’s called “magical thinking”. The ancient legends talked of a golden age when the king would come again. Religions often substituted the Messiah or Mahdi or Caliphate. But for Communists, they really believe that all you need for utopia to come is to get rid of the evil people and allow true believers of Marxism to take over, and voila, we’re all rich…

And hundreds of millions have been killed in the name of this Marxist utopia, yet still Chavez thinks it can be done– and his Hollywood enablers are even more stupid to believe it.

There is no “easy” answer to Colombia’s fifty year war. There are enough atrocities on all sides to despair of peace: and every druggie who insists on using recreational drugs is helping fund the war.

Ironically, without FARC, Colombia could boom economically. Yes there is corruption, but hundreds of honest judges have died rather than take bribes. Yes, there is a drug trade, but except for street kids, few Colombians use drugs themselves. Poor farmers may grow drugs to make a living, but those associated with the drug trade are looked down upon, and such profits are considered unlucky.
Yet instead of strengthening the democratically elected government, the left in the US wants to weaken the government by withholding aid.

The idea is that many of the right wing paramilitary are associated with the military or police.

Yet what is overlooked is that if the central government cannot stop the “insurgency” and make people safe, these groups will merely expand.

We see this here in the Philippines, where banning the death penalty and making nicey nice with ex NPA communists resulted in murderers and their supporters to become civilian “human rights activists”…without having to answer for their crimes and conspiracies.

As a result, we have had an increase in “extrajudicial” killings (including a lot of real human rights activists of course). This extrajudicial killing essentially is a form of personal vengence by police and the military for their fellows being killed, and seeing the killers go free under amnesty.
So what is the answer?

Stengthen the government so that they can eliminate the worse “insurgents” while clamping down on the military without risking a coup, while strengthening civil society via grass roots organizations such as churches, who can defend civil rights while preaching the necessity of forgiving one’s enemies.

Church groups and NGO’s need help to supply aid to those displaced and do basic developmental projects. Investment by multinational corporations will help, especially if strong grass roots organizations help organize workers to get a living wage.
Of course, this multilateral approach means many small people doing their part instead of instant utopia, but that’s reality.

Who really won in New Hampshire


I wrote below about the MtWashington cat election...

Well, the winner was Marty...

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pentecostal Calvanism replacing passive Catholicism in Latin America

The Pentecostal Revolution’s economic implications in Latin America

January 7th, 2008 by Nancy Reyes

If Oliver Stone bothered to go outside his Caracas hotel room into some of the small nearby businesses, he might meet the middle class folks who demonstrated many time en mass against Chavez’ attempt to become dicator.But if Stone went around the corner, he would find the lower middle class neighborhoods are dotted with small Pentecostal and Bible churches. And attending them would be the “people” he thinks he needs to save, who now are learning how to save themselves, both spiritually and economically by attending small Pentecostal churches or Catholic charismatic renewal meetings.
One rarely reported story that may have drastic implications in the long run is that much of the third world is becoming Christian: And not just Christian, but Pentecostal.

Just like pundits bloviating on Pakistan being taken over by the Taliban ignored the Sindh and Punjabi educated middle class in Pakistan, so too those discussing Latin America need to recognize that there is a growing middle class that sees running a business for profit is not a sin of avarice but a deed blessed by Jesus, with whom they have a personal relationship.
An excellent series about this change can be found in a series of articles published last December in the Christian Science Monitor.

The Catholic answer, in the 1960s, came in the form of “liberation theology,” a Marxist-tinged approach to addressing the needs of the oppressed. It had enthusiastic supporters across Latin America, but soon got wrapped up in cold war politics. Religious scholars often quip: “Liberation theology opted for the poor, and the poor opted for Pentecostalism.”

This trend now includes not only small independent churches, but renewal groups in the Catholic churches such as the large El Shaddai Fellowship here in the Philippines, all of which are grass roots organizations. Even though they often were started by outsiders and connected with larger churches, it is the small local fellowships that are the key to their success.
For those displaced from the family villages by war, disaster, or economic poverty, these church groups replaced the family as sources of friendship and support, and the cheerful services replaced the family fiesta like masses of their villages and run by pastors from the lower middle class. (often Catholic churches in cities are large, impersonal, and run by upper class priests who are highly educated).

In addition, many of these churches stress a “prosperity Gospel”, a variation of Calvinism that has a bad name in the US, but does empower poor people with the idea that God blesses prosperity and hard work. Instead of telling people: God loves the poor and suffering, so grin and bear it, the churches help people to learn how to better one’s own life and the lives of their family members with practical advice (including support for the truly needy).
Finally, the idea of a personal and positive emotional relationship to Jesus is a powerful way to give meaning to lives in turmoil. Many who turn to drugs to numb their loneliness and frustration– or who in the past would have joined revolutionary movements– now will find a powerful outlet to renew their lives, based on the Bible.
(The Bible stories of morality and holiness make a lot more sense to third world Christians, who see the similarity of those times to their own lives than, say, the elite of New York or London.)

What does this mean in the long run?

An ethical way to implement the capitalistic style of economy in those areas.

The Asian Tiger nations used the Confucian work ethic as a philosophical way to promote business. In Latin America, both the liberation theology and the feudal/traditional church branches of the Catholic church were blind to these ideas, but with Centesimus Annus the church is now open to the idea that capitalism might be good and one can be holy while running a profitable business.
But more important are the grass roots changes: a renewed Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant, that stresses hard work, personal honesty, and that promote practical ways to actually make a living in business.
Professor Phillip Jenkins has a book where he predicts this explosion of world wide Christianity that will be Pentecostal rather than Aristotilean; some worry correctly that such trends might lose the underpinning of Greek logic that made Christianity so open to the modern world.

Yet who is to say that a Christianity that survived the Thomasian/Aristotle rewriting of theology of the 1100’s that allowed science, and the Calvinistic reforms that allowed the modern world’s economic system could very well evolve into a vibrant mystical yet practical Christianity of this bible based renewal?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Healing priest, and the need for ordinary medicine

In Africa, I did public health.
But here in the Philippines, we have a paradox: good medical care for some, cheap medical care but long lines for others, and no one wants to help me so I can get a license to do care.
In some ways, I'm glad: After all, I can't keep my husband company if I am busy working long hours, and also I don't know the language.

Yet I still see people who work for us. If it looks like a major problem, I refer: for example, when our secretary started to miscarry, or one child I had treated for strep developed signs of post streptococcal nephritis, I sent them to our niece who is in private practice here.

So we were upset when one of our farmer's wives developed acute toxemia or pregnancy, started to swell and then convulsed. The midwife called around for an ambulance, and luckily our town has one, and took her to the nearby city where she was treated but she died.

I wrote about it on my bloggernews blog: The "treatment" for toxemia is to deliver the child, and she had twins. On arrival, they did tests then an emergency Caesarian section but she died of brain damage.

Yet she did not go to see the local RN midwife in her village...?poverty? Ignorance that she might have problems? Unaware of the importance of prenatal care when her previous deliveries were normal?

My stepson who hired her husband ended up paying the bill, which came to about 2000 dollars, which is almost a year's salary for the family. But it shows the problems people face: There is not a lot of hunger, since rice is cheap, but a lot of lowgrade malnutrition. And a medical disaster can destroy a family's resources.

Similarly, earlier I posted about our cousin: because they thought he was only bruised, they waited two weeks to hospitalize him, but there was not enough money to pay for the operation. So he went home. My husband gave half the amount, and the daughter the other half, but by then he had pneumonia and bedsores (within two weeks) and died miserably...the surgery by that time would have killed him...

He was "healthy" but poor protein level, so just didn't heal...which is why I get sarcastic about all this "American diets are bad"...yes, so we die of heart attacks, but people here just have lousy bodies even though they might live longer, they are old by 60.

So anyway, I then came across this post: LINK\
Excuse me, but what these people need is not miracles and shrines but basic protein supplements and decent public health.

Ironically, although there are shrines here, usually you can tell the Catholic churches because in the provinces they are dumps...

It is the Protestant churches, especially the local Iglesia ngKristo, and the LDS churches that are sparkling new and beautiful. Indeed, a Martian would probably not realize that the majority of people are Catholic...