Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Intellectual fads of Jesus

The Historical Jesus is still being pushed. You can even download a PC version of the lectures from Itunes, and listen to the teacher call anyone who preaches any other version of Jesus as being a fraud.

My problem with their "historical Jesus" is two fold.

One: They build their case on the assumption that Jesus was just a man, and then rewrite him into their own version of Jesus preaching mystical secrets that have little or nothing to do with ordinary folks.

To do this, they rely on the more esoteric gnostic gospels, and insist that every writing that claims to be about Jesus should be considered an equally important part of his story, even though these gospels were probably were written two hundred years later, wand were never accepted by the church as a whole.


Phillip Jenkins, in his book: Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way, shows that not all modern scholars accept these theories, yet that doesn't stop the mainstream media from promoting it as the gospel truth (duh).

If Jesus was an esoteric teacher, teaching a secret way to self esteem and mystical insights, then why did he stay teaching the poor farmers and shopkeepers in Galilee, instead of going to Rome or at least Alexandria (the nearest sophisticated city) where gnostic ideas would have been welcome by the elite who were always looking for something new?


There are probably lots of scholars who can do a better critique on the matter from a historical standpoint. However, why overlook that the Biblical gospels may date back within a generation of Christ's death: for example, the early church fathers who lived within a century of Jesus quoted the Biblical gospels extensively in their writings.

My real objection isn't so much scholarly as based on my experience, working as a doctor with poor people. The Jesus of the Gospel sounds real to me.

In the Biblical gospels, Jesus acts like a profound teacher but one who is down to earth, and able to distill the truths of God's relationship with man into stories that even a child can understand.

As for those around him? Well, they act like ordinary folks.


The Jesus of the Bible taught in simple parables that the most ordinary person can understand. He told people about the reality of a God who cares for even the poorest man, a God, who forgives their mistakes not with harsh punishments but as a father welcomes his disobedient son who was lost and now is found?

His parables are stuff of daily life for the ordinary folks who till the soil or work hard: The rejoicing when the lost sheep who was found after a shepherd searched for him, the weeds that grow along side the good plants in the fields, the seeds that sprouted but died because the soil was thin.

Even his miracles speak of ordinary life: A twelve year old child brought back to life and her somewhat dazed mother is told to get her something to eat,: wine made miraculously so that a party celebrating a marriage could continue; a soldier "used to authority with soldiers under him" who bluntly told Jesus he didn't need to break Jewish customs by entering the house of a Gentile: to cure his servant, just say it and he will be cured. Even the Eucharist, the meal where the bread and wine become Christ, is easy for ordinary folks to understand. For just as we receive bodily nourishment in food, so too we receive spiritual nourishment by eating the sacred bread and wine.

The Bible's stories "ring true" to life, and one can see these tales told over and over again in the evening, spreading the story of Jesus and his reminder that God loved everyone, even the poor who couldn't always follow all those complicated rules and rituals.


These newfangled "historical Jesus" gospels are popular for the self sufficient who seek happiness here on earth, but where is the place for the sick, the dying, the poor, the retarded, the awkward, the failures?

And the historical Jesus of self esteem would never have been killed as a threat: he'd be a welcome guest speaker at all the best dinners in Palestine.

But the Jesus who dared to point out the corruption of the local leaders who made life so difficult for the poor would indeed be considered a threat.

Finally, the crucifixion, with his mother looking on, is meaningless to those preaching the Jesus of self esteem.

But to those who suffer, the crucifixion reminds us that God himself knows suffering and death, and will stay with us and wipe our tears away.

And three days later, Christ's resurrection reminds us that death is not the end: For we too will rise again.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The "We're all gonna die" post of the week


beware the DeathStar

Friday, April 10, 2009

on the take

“Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, ‘Away with Him! Crucify him!’” (emphasis mine - admin)
— Pope Benedict XVI,

Every generation sees Judas through their own eyes,just as they see Jesus.

So today's psychological generation that debunks Jesus as a deluded preacher, and also promotes a mistranslation of the Judas Gospel to make Judas the "hero" who helps a megalomaniac Jesus to die.

Marxists see Jesus as the revolutionary hero, killed by the evil government, thereby justifying their desire to overthrow the evil ones and start a marxist utopia of the poor.

And the Jesus seminar sees Jesus as a troublemaker and preacher one of many who were into "apocalyptic" ideas and say that the authorities correctly executed before he could start a revolt of the Jewish masses, such as the revolt that occurred years later which destroyed Jerusalem and a million Jews.

Here in the Philippines, a Jesus who loved people and died for them still inspires.

The "People Power" revolution began when Ninoy Acquino decided to return to the Philippines to oppose Marcos in the elections. When warned he might be killed, he replied "The Philippine people are worth dying for". And indeed, his murder resulted not in the Marxist revolution that was so beloved of "liberation theology" types but a peaceful revolution of prayer and hymn singing when Ninoy's wife took his place on the ballot and won the election, but Marcos attempted to stop the vote counting and arrest her and General Ramos, who backed her.

Yet there is another interpretation of Judas' betrayal of Jesus that few of the "historical Jesus" scholars even mention: That Jesus might have made enemies of many in the local leadership because they were on the take.

One suspects that the "Historical Jesus" scholars are simply unaware of how corruption works in much of the world--even though Jesus and many of the Old Testament psalms and prophets bluntly condemn those who "Take bribes" or cook the books.

In Roman days, corruption was part of the system. The reason "tax collectors" were despised is because Rome allowed men to collect taxes: They were authorized to send so much money to Rome, with the understanding that they could "collect" as much taxes as they desired (or rather that the locals would let them gather---if they skimmed too much, riots would occur, and the taxpayer could lose his source of income or even his life),

A week before he was killed, Jesus threw out the crooked moneychangers and merchants from the temple.

The "liberation theology" types see this as condemning capitalism, but more probably the merchants were overcharging for "official" lambs and the "official" money changers were using illegal exchange rates. It doesn't take much imagination for those of us who live in the corruption of the third world to suspect Jesus was on to their overcharging, and that the Temple officials were probably receiving a kickback.

And where does Judas come into all of this?

The Gospels call him a "thief". Modern scholars pooh pooh and say this was made up after the fact, and those in love with a revolutionary Jesus think Judas "betrayed" Jesus because he was hoping that Jesus would encourage his followers to rise up in revolt.

But why not take the Gospels at their word?

For this is how it "works": Judas was probably given some nice "gifts" for helping people to get in and see Jesus. He was also probably skimming off the top of the poor fund, diverting some of it for personal reasons (here in the Philippines, it is always done for a moral reason: to help the extended family). And perhaps Judas "knew" the civil authorities because he was being paid a retainer to "spy" on Jesus to give reports on what he said, and who visited him.

In a society that accepts corruption, none of these things would be seen as evil. It is the way things were done, and are still done in much of the world.

When Jesus became a triple threat---to religious leaders by claiming he was the messiah, to the local civic leaders by being a possible revolutionary, and to those running the illegal kickback system in the Temple for spilling the beans on their scam. So, they all got together to figure out how to get rid of Jesus on trumped up charges.

So Judas, who was probably already in their pay, was blackmailed into telling them where Jesus was hiding.

Yet when Jesus was crucified, this weak man who probably didn't think his minor spying or skimming the charity funds was a big deal, now was confronted with the fact that he had helped murder his friend.

Is it any wonder that he killed himself in remorse?

Evil always starts with such little things, small evils that are "winked at" by society, whether it be sexual freedom in the US or minor "gifts" (bribery) that are an accepted part of business here in the Philippines.

But soon the evil balloons: and the sexual freedom that seemed so harmless results in a million abortions in the US every year, not to mention an hiv epidemic and a large number of children who lack fathers.

And in the Philippines, the ability to skim the contracts is why so many politicians and clan leaders kill reporters who spill the beans, or who arrange the murder of their more honest rivals.

But Rome frowned on "extrajudicial killings", so it was decided to make Pilot their patsy.

Pilate was already in deep trouble with Rome for his overreaction in an earlier riot/demonstration where 40 locals were killed, so he could be manipulated.

But Pilate, when confronted with Jesus, knew their claims of Jesus as a revolutionary, was nonsense. But he was already in hot water with Rome, and couldn't face another riot.

Were the rioters paid off to threaten to riot? Of course. The real worry was that Jesus' followers would start a counter riot. But Jesus never made any move to do that, for his kingdom was not of this world.

So the crucifixion and death of Jesus happened because there were too many willing to execute an innocent man, because he exposed the bribery and corruption of civil and temple society, and because those who benefit ted from complicated religious rules saw Jesus' simplified approach to God as a threat to their power.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Urban romance versus the heart

Uncle Orson writes about Sex in modern movies:

...both reflect the changed morality of our times. It is assumed in both films that people are going to sleep together, without commitment and, quite often, without love.

The possibility that it is somehow better not to have sex before marriage doesn't come up, and if it did it would seem quaint.

Yet both movies still revolve around some of the old values: sexual fidelity, promise-keeping, honesty, loyalty. Both movies still expect men to become husbandly at some point, and then hates them if they behave exactly the way the social mores of our time expect men to behave. ...

read the whole thing

Few hospitals provide the morning after pill

1: Contraception. 2008 Jun;77(6):426-30. Epub 2008 Apr 10.Click here to read Links
Comprehensive medical care for victims of sexual assault: a survey of Illinois hospital emergency departments.

100% of emergency rooms provide acute medical care upon presentation, two thirds provide rape crises counseling, two thirds provide STI management, 4 of 10 report counseling and provision of emergency contraceptives, and only 28.2% provide HIV management. About 1 in 10 (9.6%) provides all elements of CMCM.

what is missing?

Some of these women came days after rape, so the "emergency contraception" is not indicated...other "rape" cases are already pregnant, or a lot of violent "rapes" don't include vaginal penetration (due to premature ejaculation by the man)...so they may not have had vaginal intercourse...

and of course a most will be "date rapes" of various sorts...some traumatic and indeed rape, but some intoxicated, or consensual but underage (the most common reason I saw rape cases), ...ironically these girls will be at the highest risk for pregnancy because they had full normal intercourse...

but expect the propaganda to blast prolife physicians.

Monday, April 06, 2009

(first draft)Promoting the Culture of death take two

If President Obama removes the restrictions against firing physicians and other health care workers who refuse to "give medical treatment", don't think it will stop at abortion.

A court in the state of Montana recently "legalized" physician assisted suicide.

Of course, one small problem: the medical society and most local physicians won't go along with that law.

As a result, a local Montana woman released a statement via a Denver pro euthanasia group complaining that physicians “... do not feel able to respect my decision to choose aid in dying...Access to physician aid in dying would restore my hope for a peaceful, dignified death in keeping with my values and beliefs..."

So there you have it: just like the pro abortion lobby is lamenting women "lack access" to abortion as a medical procedure and abortion pills, now we are facing a propaganda deluge insisting that physicians who refuse to give their patients pills to kill themselves are standing in the way of their patient's rights.

Now, California has a state law that mandates that all physicians discuss all "end of life" options with their patients.

Also, in an earlier case concerning artificial insemination of a gay woman, the California Supreme court has ruled that "Doctors may not discriminate against gays and lesbians in medical treatment, even if the procedures being sought conflict with physicians' religious beliefs."

So there is a very real danger that all of these "trends" will result in physicians-- and pharmacists--and hospice nurses being forced under state law to give their patients "assistance in dying". In blunt words, mandate that they kill their patients.

It's just a matter of time for euthanasia to be the next "right" mandated by US Courts.

Remember, President Obama will be able to appoint all judges including those on the Supreme Court.

And waiting in the wings: Health Care Reform.

Senator Coburn of Oklahoma, a practicing physician, tried to include an amendment to the "offered an amendment to the 2010 budget resolution to ensure that funds made available through the budget’s $634 billion health care reserve fund will not be used to violate the conscience of health care providers...."
The amendment failed, 41 to 56.

So essentially, if the bill passes, there no longer will be the threat of losing federal funding if hospitals, clinics, or HMO's threaten to fire health care providers.

first draft)It's about a culture of death, not about choice

We are reading a lot or propaganda in the major news papers about why physicians and others aren't supposed to stand in the way of patient's choice.

The discussion is usually phrased as abortion-- that physicians (Ob-Gyn specialists and Family physicians) need to do abortions so that women can be given the full range of health care, or that if physicians are in a specialty that doesn't care for pregnant women, that they should be mandated (forced) to discuss abortion as an option to every pregnant women they meet.

But of course this "choice" goes furthur: it includes midwives, emergency room physicians and general internists who will be approached to give out "morning after pills" and pharmacists, who will be required to give them out.

Waiting in the wings, of course, is the trend to insist that the morning after pill be made "over the counter".

This is bad medicine and even worse morality for many reasons.

First, the "morning after pill" works in two ways: One, it stops ovulation and two, more recently it was found to make the lining of the uterus too thin for an embryo to implant and grow.

But to work, you need to give it immediately for the first way, and within 72 hours for the second way.

But what if the woman is already pregnant?

What if the woman has an STD and isn't being seen?

Ironically, population studies show that this "morning after pill", even if it is "over the counter" without prescription doesn't lower the pregnancy rate, or even the abortion rate.

But never mind.

What you are doing is spreading the idea that unsafe sex can be made "safe"...except of course for STD's, and the child who might be conceived.

So how can those promoting abortion pills get their way if pharmacists stand in the way?

But the "morning after" pill isn't the worst pill.

There are medicines that induce medical abortion later in pregnancy that the social planners want physicians to prescribe and pharmacists to give out.

This is RU 487, and does have other uses besides inducing abortion, but is mainly used with an anti ulcer medicine called misoprostol to induce abortion at one to two months.

Since these are "pills", those promoting abortion would like any "primary care" physician (and that includes Internists and Pediatricians) to give it out, and of course pharmacists to freely dispense it in areas where there are no abortion clinics.

I should mention another medicine that will kill or deform a growing fetus: Methotrexate.

We use it mainly for cancer treatment, or to treat rheumatoid arthritis or other collegen diseases.

This has been proposed as a "cheaper" form of abortion pill, but physicians rarely use it because of the potential side effects, except in one case: ectopic pregnancy, where the baby is growing in the small Fallopian tube, not the uterus, and has no chance of being taken to full term, but as it grows, it will cause the tube to rupture and the mother will bleed to death.

Catholics, of course, would not Methotrexate, but would be allowed to have the tube and growing sac removed to save her life.

But once you take away all ethical and medical "cautions" one can see this too becoming a "medical treatment" that physicians will have the "option" to use to "improve the level of health" of their women patients.

Finally, there is another pill that is a dirty little secret here in the Philippines and in South America, and was mentioned in an article about immigrants a few weeks ago in the New York Times.

This is Misoprostol, and is often given with the RU 486 to induce abortion.

This is actually a medicine used with "NSAIDS" to prevent ulcers, but few of us use it because of the side effects of nausea and diarrhea.

But in third world countries where abortion is illegal, women take a huge dose in hopes to induce an abortion, which sometimes is taken (often after the local abortion promoters start to encourage and spread this information deliberatly to get around laws that prohibit abortion).

And remember, thanks to President Obama, your taxes will be used to promote this for our poor women in the Philippines.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mourn, Oh Mary, thy Son is dying


(Vivald)

And the news shows that the Culture of death is gaining speed.

Gatewaypundit notes that the Democratic Senate has voted a bill that could mean health care providers be forced to do abortions (just in case Obama's removal of federal regulations isn't enough).

The budget includes a $634 billion reserve fund that the President has called a “down-payment” for health care reform. The budget includes the eight principles that the administration has identified that should be included in health reform legislation. This amendment would add the important principle that health reform should protect, rather than limit, the freedom of conscience of patients and providers...

Conscience protections for physicians and health providers are based on 35 years of statutory intent—health care reform should remain consistent with this tradition.

Dating back to the “Church amendment” of 1973, health care providers are protected from discrimination if they object to participation in certain medical procedures based on moral or religious convictions.2 This law was strengthened in a 1996 Public Health Service Act amendment, which prohibits federal, state, and local governments from discriminating against health care entities and providers that do not provide, train in, or refer for abortions.3 In 2004, the Hyde-Weldon amendment, which has subsequently been approved every year since 2004, further reinforced this statutory intent4:

None of the funds made available in this Act may be made available to a Federal agency or program, or to a State or local government, if such agency, program, or government subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.


Lest you think this is not really meaning this, WesleySmith points out an Australian law that mandates just that, and a California law if passed will do the same for abortion...California of course mandates physicians discuss all terminal care options, so as soon as the pro death types pass a "assisted suicide" law, that law will mandate discussing killing yourself as an option.

Lest you think that those who only want to help suffering would never do such a thing, a report from the UKTelegraph notes that a local Euthanasia organization, Dignitas, is planning to help a healthy wife kill herself...

and the leader of the group told the BBC:

In his first broadcast interview for five years, Mr Minelli told BBC Radio 4's The Report that failed suicide attempts created problems and heavy costs for the UK's National Health Service.

He said: "I have a totally different attitude to suicide. I say suicide is a marvellous marvellous possibility given to a human being."

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This will help health care costs: Oregon at present doesn't cover all treatment for prolonging life, but does pay for euthanasia...
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In the meanwhile, We read an Anglican priestess insisting that Abortion is a blessing...

the Anchoress
notes:
These remarks were made before a NARAL audience, in 2007, but are only just getting some reaction, perhaps because of the current movement to suppress the conscience clause that protects doctors, nurses and pharmacists from losing their jobs, and Catholic hospitals from closing their doors.

Or, perhaps her words are becoming more widely distributed because The Rev Katherine Hancock Ragsdale has just been named Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts
....

The Anchoress' commentary is better than anything I could have written, so just go there and read...and weep.
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Then we have the Iowa Supreme court overturning a state law saying that same sex marriage is a civil right.
no, democracy doesn't matter in the Brave New world...

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