Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Solidarity with Islam?

Solidarity with Islam?

After the San Bernardino massacre, The Angelus, the Los Angeles archdiocesan newspaper, carried an article calling for “greater solidarity with Islam.”
The piece by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser is a particularly egregious example of the kind of nonsense about Islam that passes for wisdom in some ecclesiastical circles.
He starts off by observing that “this is not a good time to be a Muslim in the Western world.” Well, maybe. Muslims in the West are probably getting a lot of suspicious stares these days. On the other hand, you could just as easily say that it’s not a good time to be a non-Muslim in the Western world.

Judging by the body count, Western citizens have more cause for concern. Muslims killed 130 Europeans during the Paris massacre and wounded another 370. Muslims killed 14 in the San Bernardino massacre and wounded 21. Muslims killed 12 in the Charlie Hebdo massacre and 4 more in the Hyper-Cache food market. The Madrid train bombings left 200 dead and 2,000 wounded. In the attack on the London transit system, 56 people were killed and 700 were wounded. In the Boston Marathon bombing, three were killed and several hundred were wounded. A Muslim killed 13 at Fort Hood and injured more than 30 others. On September 11, 2001, a group of 19 Muslims managed to kill nearly 3,000 Americans.

And that’s just the short list. Moreover, it doesn’t include other types of violent crimes perpetrated by Muslims on Western citizens: the more than 600 victims of the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Cologne, the 1,400 rape victims in Rotherham, England, and the numerous victims of rape in Sweden which, thanks to Muslim immigration, now has the world’s second highest incidence of rape.
But Fr. Rolheiser’s piece is not exactly what you’d call a fact-based article. He is more interested in defending the standard narrative about Islam than in adducing any facts to support the narrative. Part of the narrative says that Islam is a religion of peace, and Fr. Rolheiser dutifully informs his readers that “the word ‘Islam/Muslim’ has its origins in the word ‘peace.’” However, The Compendium of Muslim Textscompiled by the Muslim Student Association at the University of Southern California states flatly that the “claim that ‘Islam’ is derived primarily from ‘peace’ is not true.”

When the author does proffer the occasional bit of data, it seems to be drawn from thin air. Thus:
For more than 90 percent of Muslims in the world, that is exactly what it means to be a Muslim, namely, to be a man or woman of peace who has surrendered to God and who now tries to live a life that is centered on faith, prayer, responsibility, and hospitality.
Ninety percent? How does he know that? The number seems a bit excessive. If you were to say that more than ninety percent of Catholics are trying to live a life “that is centered on faith, prayer, responsibility, and hospitality,” you would be laughed out of town. But if you say that the vast majority of Muslims are as saintly as Mother Teresa, no one will bat an eye.
Are there a few bad apples who call themselves Muslims? Fr. Rolheiser admits that there are, but he cautions that we should “always judge a religion by its best expressions, by its saints and graced-history, rather than by its psychopaths and aberrations.” Here again, he seems unconcerned with facts. The greatest “saint” in Islam is Muhammad. He is considered to be the perfect man, the one on whom Muslims should model their lives. But if you were to judge Islam by the facts of Muhammad’s life, you would soon find yourself in muddy waters. Muhammad was a warlord who sanctioned rape, torture, and amputation. On one occasion, he presided over the beheading of 700 captured prisoners, and then ordered that their wives and children be sold into slavery.
His personal life was not exemplary, either. In addition to his child bride, his eleven wives included his own daughter-in-law, and the widows of men his troops had slain in battle. Judged by current Western standards of behavior, Muhammad looks like one of those psychopathic “aberrations” who give Islam a bad name.
Fr. Rolheiser seems to have only a superficial knowledge of Islam, but that doesn’t prevent him from expounding on its true nature. The words “true Islam” and “true Muslim” recur throughout the article. In Rolheiser’s fantasy Islam, any Muslim who commits violence is automatically a “false” Muslim who has deviated from the “true Islam.” How do we know? Because “there is nothing inherent in either the Koran or in Islam itself that morally or religiously undergirds this kind of violence.” That’s funny. In a commentary on Rolheiser’s article, Robert Spencer provides eleven separate verses from the Koran that do justify slaying nonbelievers. He could have provided many more.

Spencer offers facts, Fr. Rolheiser offers circular arguments. A circular argument, in case you’ve forgotten your college logic course, is one which assumes what it is attempting to prove. If you boil it down to its essentials, Fr. Rolheiser’s reasoning goes something like this: “True Islam is peaceful because, as we all know, Islam is a truly peaceful religion.” Once that’s established as a self-evident principle, the rest is easy. Thus, Fr. Rolheiser assures us that “Islamic extremists [the ‘false’ Muslims] don’t speak for God, Mohammed [or] Islam.” Well, yes, if you take it for granted that Islam is all about peace, then it stands to reason that violent Muslims don’t speak for Islam’s God or its prophet.
But the claim of the extremists is not that they speak for God, but that they are letting God speak for himself. The official statements of ISIS, Boko Haram, and suchlike groups are replete with quotations from the Koran (the word of Allah) and from the Hadith (the word of Muhammad). Like evangelical Christians spreading the Good Word, they say that they are only delivering the message that they have received. “Read it for yourself,” they say to fence-sitting Muslims, “and come join us.”
Whatever you may think of the extremists, they at least offer scriptural evidence for their beliefs. Fr. Rolheiser, on the other hand, can’t be bothered with such details. His article doesn’t contain a single quotation from the Koran or from any other source. Apparently, we are to accept the truth of his assertions about Islam on faith alone.
Like so many of the arguments we hear about victimized Muslims and their misunderstood religion, Fr. Rolheiser’s arguments are meant to appeal to the emotions, not the intellect. For example, toward the end of his article he offers his own version of Shylock’s “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech. It goes like this:
We are both [Muslims and Christians] part of the same family: we have the same God, suffer the same anxieties, are subject to the same mortality, and will share the same heaven.
Nice sentiments. But, once again, the author comes up short in the facts department. Take that phrase “suffer the same anxieties.” Well, yes. Everybody worries about money and health and family problems. But Christians who live in Muslim lands have some added anxieties that are largely caused by Muslims: Will our church be firebombed? Will I be beheaded in the morning? Will my children be sold into slavery?
According to Fr. Rolheiser, we will also “share the same heaven.” But the fact is, Muslims have a somewhat racier concept of paradise than do Christians, and do not wish to share it with infidels who say that Jesus is the Son of God (9:30). “Share the same heaven”? Does that mean that Muslims look forward to sharing in the life of the Trinity (a concept they vehemently reject)? Or does it mean that Christian men can look forward to the company of 72 virgins apiece?
Apparently, the details of the merger between Catholicism and Islam haven’t as yet been worked out. But to a certain kind of Catholic, the details are unimportant. It doesn’t matter to him that his head is in the sand as long as his heart is in the right place.
Fr. Rolheiser says that “it’s time to establish a greater solidarity with Islam.” Why? Because “Muslims more than ever need our understanding, sympathy, support, and fellowship in faith.” Given the massive worldwide persecution of Christians, one would think that it’s time to establish a greater solidarity with them. But leaving that aside, what exactly is this “fellowship in faith” that we share with Muslims?
Do we really want a greater solidarity with a religion that was founded by a slave-owning warlord? That envisions heaven as a harem? That holds Christians accursed for believing in the divinity of Jesus? That allows Muslims to rape non-Muslims?That requires apostates to be killed? And that has made war on Christians for 1400 years?

That the Catholic leadership has not thought very deeply about this “fellowship-in-faith” business is demonstrated by the fact that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ main dialogue partner is the Islamic Society of North America. For the last two decades, the bishops have been seeking greater fellowship with a Muslim Brotherhood front group that was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation’s largest terrorist funding case. In his book Catastrophic Failure, Stephen Coughlin makes a convincing case that ISNA and other Muslim Brotherhood groups are simply using the bishops to further their agenda of bringing sharia law to America. And once that happens, Muslims will not be seeking fellowship with Catholics, they will be seeking dominance over them.
Not a good time to be a Muslim in the West? Perhaps. But it’s certainly not a good time to be naïve about the nature and aims of Islam.
Editor’s note: Pictured above is a protest against Muslim refugees following the harassment and rape of multiple women by groups of migrants on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Trump Haters: Blinded By The 'Right'

Trump Haters: Blinded By The 'Right'

I was watching a very angry conservative on TV the other day attempt to paint Trump as Satan’s blonde-headed younger brother.  
They also tried to make out anyone who claimed to be a conservative, that would ever remotely even consider voting for The Donald, to be the dumbest SOB on the planet... the bane of humanity.  
This person was angry, peeps.  It was scary, shark-eyed, weirdness.  They were sold on Trump being evil incarnate.
The weird thing was, if my memory serves me correctly, I don’t remember this talking head getting that irate about Romney in 2012.  Matter of fact, I believe they stumped arduously for Mitt going into the general election.   
Y’all help me here: aside from the color of their coifs, please thrill me with what’s the big difference between the twain other than Trump’s way more aggressive against Islam, for more stringent border security and way more anti-Obama/Hillary than Mitt ever was. Also, I’m pretty certain said person also tried to sell us on McCain and they were very pro-George W. Bush. Go figure. Anyway …
The disturbing thing to moi was the rage combined with the unwavering conviction that they were right on every issue and, if you disagree with them, I guarantee they’d spew more f-bombs in your face than Gary Oldman would if he ran out of espresso and cigarettes.

This made me reminisce back to a group that existed a few years ago who “knew” they were “right” on every issue. 
This group was extremely conservative, pro-life, and pro-Ten Commandments. Regarding their religious practices …holy moly…they were extremely devout. So devout that they make me look like a lush with my penchant for my amazing cigar line, dirty martinis and warrior movies. 
This crew tithed a tenth of every thing they made, fasted once week out of every month, and memorized the Bible.  Indeed, these people hated evil and had a zero tolerance policy for any religious or political leader who showed one scintilla of compromise with their “worldview”. They were right, dammit.  And God help you if you every drew their ire.  
One man, who was also earnest and pretty conservative, but approached things way differently than they did, decided to take them on, and not only did they verbally blast him but they ended up killing him. The man they killed was named Jesus and the conservative group that had him offed was the first-century Pharisees. Yep, JC could not live up to their standards as a leader.
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Speaking of standards for leaders, I wonder if those conservatives who're currently crapping on Trump, who’re looking for the perfect leader, would back the following leaders that God did? Check it out…
-- King David shagged Bathsheba (another man’s wife) and then had her husband offed. Would conservatives vote for him?
-- What about Moses? Moses killed a man, married a black woman, and had massive anger issues. Can you say “deal breaker” for most conservatives?
-- What if Samson were on the ticket? Samson dated a hooker, killed Cecil The Lion, and had long hair. Can you imagine the melee that would ensue should some candidate have this Nazarite’s track record? OMG. Scandal aplenty for the fastidious among us. But…he was God’s choice and his Judge to lead an ancient Israel for a time.
-- What about Abraham? This old patriarch constantly lied about being married to his wife. Not. Very. Presidential.
Then you have Jesus’ fab twelve whom he chose to change the planet that were an amalgam of rough-cussing fishermen who resembled the crew of Deadliest Catch. And don’t even get me started on John The Baptist, who ate bugs and wore a camel skin.
And the list could go on and on regarding the massive and weird incongruities of eccentric men who were utilized to shake and shape nations for righteous purposes.
Bottom line: good luck finding Mr., Ms., Miss or Mrs. Perfect when voting for president. And by your standards you might as well start practicing saying President Hillary Rodham Clinton.
One more thing: I will vote for either Trump or Cruz depending upon who gets the nod. Also, and pardon my redundancy, but don't forget the wizards at the National Review told us Romney & Ryan were groovy. How'd that work out for them?


Thursday, January 21, 2016



PUTIN trump-putin
Putin has not changed his unfavorable stance against the western worlds New World Order. In 2014 Putin said, “In the past, nation leaders would address to their people pleasant solidarity to their nations sovereignty. Then they would meet behind closed doors with key world leaders and address the real goals to push a new world order and how the nations would participate to achieve it. Groups would be formed to work on aspects of NWO goals and put aspects of it into place.”
That explains the slow boiling frog the U.N. calls  Sustainable Development for the 21st Century.
When Putin came to power, he said he tried to be a world player but after making a sincere and tiring effort it became clear to him that the world order was not going to recognize the rights of Russia nor their values, nor could Russia be a part of theirs.  Putin declared the game to be over, and violated the Western NWO ‘unspoken’ rule to not speak of any of their real methods of bringing it about directly to the people. Instead, Putin went over the heads of the NWO elite and political leaders exposing the plans and games that were being played to achieve them.
Trump has done the same for Americans regarding politics and how backdoor deals in government work.  He has opened the secret door and now the establishment is going crazy trying to discredit him . He continues to explained to the people who does what in politics and why.  Americans have learned what Super PACs do, how candidates are subject to their donors, how back room deals are done and why seemingly incompetent decisions are made.
The two most dangerous men to the new world order establishment elite and to those who are loyal to them, are none other than  Vladimir Putin and Donald J. Trump.  Both of these men have exposed the order of how the government really works.  Putin on a world scale and Trump on a national scale.  Both are educating the masses with the truth of how things are done.
Neither Putin, nor Trump desire to keep the truth from the people, and yet, both know that their moves must remain unpredictable in order to maneuver around the wiles of those who desire to dictate their desires to the people.
We owe both of these men a great big thank you for their honesty and integrity in sharing the truth with the people.
Please read or listen to the full speech given by Putin that addressed Russia’s stance on the New World Order at the Valdai conference in Sochi in October of 2014. Links below.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

BREAKING: Top US Admiral Fired For Questioning Obama Purchase Of Mansion In Dubai

BREAKING: Top US Admiral Fired For Questioning Obama Purchase Of Mansion In Dubai

A stunning new Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that one of the United States Navy’s top commanders was relieved of his command a few hours ago after he sent out an “email/posting” revealing that President Barack Obama was in the process of purchasing a multi-million dollar seaside luxury villa in the United Arab Emirates city (UAE) of Dubai.
According to this report, the Commander of the US Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 15, Rear Admiral Rick Williams, posted a “pointed” query on 8 January [since deleted] to the US Naval Institute’s “Readiness Kill Chain” “recipients/responders” list as to why Navy security and intelligence personal had been dispatched from Naval Support Facility Thurmont (aka Camp David) to Dubai on what he termed an “Obama house hunting mission”.
Rear Admiral Rick Williams
Within 18 hours of Admiral Williams posting this query, this report continues, the US Navy’s Third Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Nora Tyson, acting on direct orders from her Commander-In-Chief, President Barack Obama, fired Admiral Williams stating her action was “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command” because of “allegations of his misuse of government computer equipment”.
When further questioned by Russian Today journalists via email to provide more details about Admiral Williams firing, this report notes, the Pentagon failed to reply—but then began releasing “anonymous” stories to the US press that Admiral Williams had been viewing pornography on his computer.
To such an absurd claim that Admiral Williams (or any US Navy officer or seaman in fact) could view pornography on their computers, SVR analysts in this report note, is an impossibility due to the US Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), which not only blocks such sites, but also requires each single user to log in with their own unique password and username and whose records are meticulously kept and reviewed on a daily basis (thanks to Edward Snowden)—and which one would logically think one of the highest ranking officers in the US Navy would surely be aware of.
As to the “Obama house hunting mission” Admiral Williams was making his query about before being fired, this report continues, SVR intelligence “assests” in the UAE identified it as being a luxury seaside villa located in the Palm Jumeirah development of Dubai being offered for sale at the price of $4.9 million (18 million United Arab Emirates Dirham), and which a deposit on it was made this past week by the Washington D.C. based global public affairs company Podesta Group.
Luxury seaside mansion in Dubai purchased this week for President Obama
Important to note about the Podesta Group, this report notes, is that its leader is Tony Podesta, who aside from being one of the most powerful oligarchs in the US, is a close personal friend of President Obama too.
Equally important to note about the Podesta Group’s purchasing of this Dubai luxury seaside mansion for President Obama, this report says, is that is being legally represented in this purchase by the equally powerful Washington D.C. based global law firm DLA Piper—both of whom have long been identified as being the nexus power brokers behind Saudi Arabia’s massive multi-million dollar “PR machine” operating behind the scenes corrupting the entire United States political establishment.
To if Saudi Arabia itself is behind the purchase of this luxury seaside villa in Dubai for President Obama this report doesn’t state—but to the cost of it being to high after it cost the job of one of America’s top Naval Commanders is beyond dispute. via Beforeitsnews

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Misplaced Grief: The Vatican and David Bowie

A Misplaced Grief: The Vatican and David Bowie

Bowie (Brian Rasic:Rex Features)
In proof of Chesterton’s dictum that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly, I pound away at the piano playing the easier Chopin Nocturnes and I grind on my violin with a confidence only an amateur can flaunt. So I am not innocent of music.  I appreciate the emotive post-war French singers, and have a soft spot for the idiomatic form called “Doo-Wop” and its highly skilled harmonization and lyricism, along with some of the more whimsical Motown singers. But the world of rock and roll is to me a bewilderment, to the amazement of the same coterie who find it hard to believe that I have never had a cellular phone. It is a fact in witness to which I am willing to swear on a Douai Bible, that I have never been able to listen to an entire rock and roll song. This is not to say that I lack curiosity. In the South Pacific, I have listened to tunes on the aboriginal eucalyptus didgeridoo and the Polynesian nose flute, but what has developed as rock and roll music and metastasized into more raucous forms, remains an anthropological enigma and I leave restaurants and public gatherings where they are played.
Consequently, it was no surprise that news of the death of David Bowie was the first time I knew that he had been alive. If you find that hard to believe, you must remember that my instinctive taste for “pop music” is encoded by Gilbert and Sullivan and eclipsed by John Phillip Souza. What did surprise me was that the Vatican, just wiping up from its Climate Change light show on the façade of the Basilica of St. Peter’s, plunged into mourning for this man. At least the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi, issued a statement quoting from some lyrics of Mr. Bowie: “Ground Control to Major Tom / Commencing countdown, engines on / Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.” What I found most intimidating, and indeed frightening, was the assumption that others would recognize the reference.
Born in 1942, Cardinal Ravisi is older than I and yet surpasses my information of pop culture, unless a junior staff member penned the elegy. His Eminence is an accomplished archeologist and was prefect of the Ambrosian Library, whose patron had musical tastes antecedent to and, dare I say, superior to, those of David Bowie.
A “celebrity psychic” named Uri Geller said of Bowie: “I was profoundly impressed by his deep understanding of mysticism, the mysterious and the universe. There is no doubt in my mind that David believed in Heaven.” I am not impressed by this, especially in light of the fact that three years ago Bowie produced an adult-rated video impersonating Jesus in pornographic positions. A statement of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Righteous said: “The switch-hitting, bisexual, senior citizen from London has resurfaced, this time playing a Jesus-like character who hangs out in a nightclub dump frequented by priests, cardinals and half-naked women.” But when Bowie died, L’Osservatore Romano, aching to be the Church of What’s Happening Now, eulogized the genius of Bowie, excusing his “ambiguous image” as one of his “excesses” but then remarking his “personal sobriety, even in his dry, almost thread-like body.”
The impulsive effusions of grief from the Holy See remind one of an extravagant tribute that the Jesuit editor of L’Osservatore Romano paid to the crooner Michael Jackson when he died of acute Propofol and Benzodiazepine intoxication. The headline asked as if it were Holy Saturday: “But will he actually be dead?” Ignoring the epicene Jackson’s mockery of Jesus in his video “Thriller,” the Vatican newspaper lauded the star as a “great dancer” (“grande ballerina”) and declared that he would “never die in the imagination of his fans.” According to L’Osservatore, Jackson’s transgenderizing surgeries were “a process of self definition that was beyond race.” As for Jackson’s piroquettes with young boys, the unofficial voice of the Holy See commented: “Everybody knows his problems with the law after the pedophilia accusations. But no accusation, however serious or shameful, is enough to tarnish his myth among his millions of fans throughout the entire world.”
In his Republic, Plato said that music
is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justify blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he will recognize and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.
Plato also knew the dangers of “anti-music” or Corybanticism, which perverted rhythms to stimulate the bodily humors in defiance of the good purposes of the muses. Its consequence would be a moral chain reaction, dissonant music deranging society and inverting virtue. The Corybants were priests of the Phrygian goddess Cybele, and their music was atonal, ecstatic, and dissolute. It was inimical to the ideal republic. But it incubated the ethereal realms of David Bowie and Michael Jackson and their sort.
In speaking of the rock and roll genre, I certainly do not want to be lumped with those preachers who once condemned Ragtime music, or even Chesterton who in an unmeasured moment called Jazz “the song of the treadmill.” But I am a pastor of a section of Manhattan called Hell’s Kitchen. I recently had the funeral of a young man who died of a drug overdose, and whose musical world was Corybantic. His cousin, a client of the rock and drug scene, is in prison for murder. So I speak not only as an aesthete who publicly avows that he prefers Mozart and Chopin to Jackson and Bowie, but as a priest who has to pick up the pieces of those who never knew they had a choice. And I object to comfortable prelates in a higher realm, penning panegyrics for the doyens of a culture that destroys my children.
Like a new Plato, Pope Benedict XVI said in his Spirit of the Liturgy:
On the one hand, there is pop music, which is certainly no longer supported by the people in the ancient senses (populous). It’s aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. “Rock,” on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumed a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober inebriation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments.
Young people are embarrassed when their mothers try to be “cool.” These youths may tread wrong paths unadvisedly on occasion, for such is the indiscretion of nascent years, but they want their mothers to be mature and not adolescent. Mother Church appears ridiculous as Adolescent Church, as in the case of the Holy See lamenting David Bowie. The insatiable desire for approval by pop culture is beneath the dignity of the Church as the Mother of Nations.
One thinks of the breathless Catholic News Service commentary in 2009 on the murder of the fashion designer Gianni Versace, whose obsequies in a Miami church were attended by men dressed as women, and whose final Requiem in the Duomo of Milan featured Elton John and “Sting” sobbing on each other’s shoulders: “ Versace was noted for his sensual lines and eye-catching combinations of textural shades.” This simply is the diction of political correctness and it compromises the prophetic charism of the Church; for, as sages have observed one way or another, political correctness is the speech of those who are terrified by what might happen if they spoke the truth. Perhaps the next nervous surrender to fashion will be a declaration of Bruce/Caitlin Jenner as “Person of the Year” by the editors of the gender-neutral New American Bible. Asserting his prophetic, priestly, and regal credentials as the Rock, Saint Peter warned the Christians in Rome against the celebrities of the Forum:
For, talking empty bombast, they seduce with licentious desires of the flesh those who have barely escaped from people who live in error. They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of corruption, for a man is a slave of whatever overcomes him. For if they, having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first. (2 Peter 2: 18-20)
Christ was a carpenter and his apostles were mostly fishermen and none of them was what is called today a “metrosexual.” I am not sure what that term fully means, but it excludes anyone who weeps for paragons of degeneracy and paladins of vice.
(Photo credit: Brian Rasic / Rex Features)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

5 Common Ways Catholics Choose to be Deceived

5 Common Ways Catholics Choose to be Deceived
Posted: 07 Jan 2016 04:59 AM PST

Biblical Teaching on the Problem of Deception

by Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission:
One of the more troublesome and damaging human traits is our susceptibility to deception. Scripture speaks often of this problem and we do well to examine some of those texts and consider what they teach us.
Perhaps it is good to look first to the Latin and Greek roots of the word deceive.
Latin: The Latin root of deceive is decipere, meaning to ensnare (de (of or up) + capere (to seize or take)). And thus the Latin emphasizes our tendency to be easily caught up or carried away, to be ensnared by error. It evokes the image of an animal being carried off as prey in the mouth of a lion. We are so easily are we carried away by the latest fashions, trends, and thinking of the world. And having been carried away, we are ensnared by error and to some degree cut off from the truth.
Greek: There are several words in the Greek New Testament that are translated asdeceive in English. By far the most common is πλανάω (planao), meaning to go astray, to wander off course, to deviate from the correct path, to roam into error, to be misled. (Planao is the also the Greek root of the English word planet (literally, wandering body)). In the Greek New Testament, this term nearly always conveys the sin of roaming from the truth. And thus we see that the Greek emphasizes that we go astray or are led astray, that we wander off. Isaiah the prophet lamented, All we like sheep have gone astray; every one to his own way (Is 53:6). Yes, and if sheep are wayward animals, human beings are more so, for at least a sheep knows its master’s voice. Too many of us will listen to and follow anyone but the Lord.
We humans are involved in deception in three different ways.
I. We are sometimes the victim of deception. The Scriptures frequently warn, “Do not be deceived.” Jesus warned, At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many (Mat 24:11).
St. Paul also lamented false apostles and Judaizers who misled many. He warned of savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them (Acts 20:29-30). He also spoke of some who will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons(1 Tim 4:1).
St. John warned of the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world (1 John 4:3).
Thus to some degree we are victims of deceivers. The Scriptures warn us to be on our guard: Do not be deceived! We are not to allow these deceivers to lead us astray, to make us wander about in error and sin. We are to resist them and see them for the deceivers they are.
II. We can be among those who deceive (though hopefully this is less frequent). This refers to something deeper than the more common human foible of lying. The deception here involves misleading people in matters of the true faith.

God warns deceiversWhy do you boast of evil, you wicked man? Why do you boast all day long, you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God? You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truthYou love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue! Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin (Psalm 52:1-5).
God declares a curse on those shepherds who mislead their flocks“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD God of Israel concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds” (Jer 23:1-3).
Jesus declaresIf anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Mat 18:6).
St. Paul speaks of the lot of deceiversBut evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim 3:13).
III. The final category is perhaps the most troubling of all: a middle ground between being a victim and a victimizer. It is that middle ground where we connive in deception. When deceivers speak to us, not only do we fail to rebuke them for their deception, we perk up our ears and in effect say, “Tell me more.”
We do this because, to some degree, we want to be deceived; we want to be affirmed in our sin, in our weakness. Many want the truth to be watered down and are delighted to listen to those who call into question the demands of righteousness. Yes, many of us connive; we enter into partnership with the deceivers.
Many of the warnings that we “not be deceived” are not simply alerting us to the presence of deceivers; they are cautioning us to be wary our own tendency to enter into agreement with those would deceive us. In this context, the warning, “Do not be deceived,” takes on more of this tone:
“Don’t kid yourself; don’t tell lies to yourself; don’t go on playing the fool or the ignoramus. You know better. The voice of God echoing in your conscience bears witness to the fact that you’re lying to yourself and you’re letting others lie to you.”
Premier among the conniving texts is St. Paul’s warning to Timothy: For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear, and will turn away from the truth (2 Tim 4:3).

5 Common Ways Catholics Choose to be Deceived

What are some of the common things people “want” to be deceived into believing? A brief survey of Scripture reveals this. (I have boldfaced the various forms of the word deceive to illustrate that God is teaching us about the various forms of this sinful connivance.
A. That our actions will not have consequences:   Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
B. That faith can be perfunctory, intellectual, or mere lip service; that good intentions are enough; that one can love the world:  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:22-27).
Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe—safe to do all these detestable things?” Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord(Jeremiah 7:1-11).
C. That sexual sin is no big deal: Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with mennor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9-10).
Be sure of this, no fornicator, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light … and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness(Eph 5:5-11).
When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren (James 1:16).
D. That regular consort with sinners will not affect us: Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame (1 Cor 15:33).
But encourage each other daily, while it is still today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception (Heb 3:13).
E. That we can wholly avoid deception and error apart from Scripture and the teaching of the Church: Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matt 22:29).
Wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the Truth and so be saved (1 Thess 2:10).
Here then is a brief excursus on the lamentable human tendency to wander, to be carried off, to be deceived. And frankly, too many of us want to be deceived. Be alert to this deep drive rooted in sloth and pride; learn its moves and despise its lures.