Thursday, October 23, 2014

Atheist to Catholic, and why

By Donald Sensing

If this never happened, what did happen on Dec. 25-26, 1776?
From Atheist Professor to Catholic: An Interview with Dr. Holly Ordway
There were many pieces of evidence that all fit together to make a convincing case for the Resurrection [of Jesus]; I’ll mention just a couple here. One of them is the behavior of the disciples before and after the Resurrection. The Gospel accounts do not portray their behavior after the Crucifixion in a particularly flattering light. Even though Jesus had predicted his own resurrection, the disciples gave up and went away, assuming that Jesus was a failed messiah. If the disciples had made up the Resurrection story afterwards, why would they have included details that made them look disloyal and cowardly? My academic studies in literature allowed me to recognize that the Gospels were written as history, not myth or parable, and that there hadn’t been enough time for a legend to form. It began to seem like the best explanation for all these events being recounted this way, was that they really happened.

Then, after the Resurrection, there’s a complete turn-around in their behavior, and they become bold proclaimers of the Risen Lord. There were plenty of words that people in ancient times could have used to describe visions or sightings of ghosts, and indeed, such language would have gotten them in much less trouble! But they spoke of a Jesus who was alive, bodily resurrected, and in short order were willing to die for that claim.

Perhaps the most convincing evidence for the Resurrection, though, was the Church itself. If I supposed that the Church had invented the Resurrection to explain its own worship of Jesus, I had to ask, how did that worship arise in the first place? If the Church was not the result of a miracle, it was itself a miracle.
The last point is actually much stronger than people give credit. Skeptics and some self-described atheists (including some I have talked with) dismiss the historical fact of Jesus, claiming Jesus was invented by the Church or was, perhaps, a real man but one who was nothing like the Jesus described in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament.

The problem is, as Prof. Ordway points out, that none of those alternative theories of Jesus explain the rapid rise of the apostolic missions and the sudden appearance, at a definite time of history and place, of the Church, which has from its inception declared it was founded solely on the life death and resurrection of one Jesus of Nazareth.

So if not those things, which an atheist must deny, then on what was the Church really founded? The Church undeniably began in the middle third of the first century BCE. It did not exist before then. How then to account for its founding apart from Jesus and the apostolic proclamation?

An analogy I have often used is this. The US Marine Corps was founded at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, on Nov. 10, 1775. On that day, so the story goes, the first USMC recruiter enlisted the first USMC recruits (in a bar, of course, they being Marines after all).

Now to treat the founding of the Marine Corps as do skeptics treat Christianity, a skeptic would say something like this: "The USMC was not founded on Nov. 10, 1775, in Tun Tavern, but much later, perhaps as late as 1840. It probably was still in Philadelphia, though."

But on what basis could he make such a claim? Like the founding of the Church, there is no alternative story of the founding of the USMC that can be imagined to account for all the facts of the Corps' history. There is exactly zero evidence to support the contention that the USMC was founded other than what the histories say, and there is no evidence, either, to support the idea that the Church was founded either (A) at a time or place other than when claimed, or (B) for any reason other than what is claimed, namely, the resurrection of Jesus.

Or another way, if a skeptic were to claim that Washington never actually crossed the Delaware that night to attack the Hessians at Trenton, NJ, then he would have to also provide an historically-grounded  explanation of why and how the Hessians were defeated, killed, captured and plundered that day. Absent such, we will have to continue to adhere that Washington did indeed cross the Delaware as claimed.

My experience with such skeptics (they often love to call themselves "rationalists") is that as soon as you challenge them to produce actual historical evidence that the Church was not founded on the resurrection and its immediately-following apostolic proclamation, but on something else, and would they explain what that something else was and what is it documented historical grounding, they change the subject and start talking about who will win the Super Bowl come February.

Dr. Ordway again:
It’s important to say that there was no single, knock-out piece of evidence that convinced me; I was convinced by the cumulative claim, the way it all fit together. Historical events can’t be proved like a math problem or tested like a scientific hypothesis, and there’s always a way to form an alternate explanation. But just because an alternative exists doesn’t mean it’s is equally reasonable or likely. Speaking within my own field of literature, there are people who claim that William Shakespeare didn’t really write his plays. There are even a few legitimately fuzzy areas: for instance, a few of his plays were co-authored, and it seems likely to me that at least one passage in Macbeth (Hecate’s speech) was a later interpolation. Nonetheless, the evidence taken as whole points to Shakespearean authorship!
This is another key point. Frequently (well, almost always), the skeptics or atheists I have talked with have invariably claimed that science rejects the resurrection and indeed, God himself. But they do not seem to grasp that the founding of the Church was an historical event, not a scientific experiment, and the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event, too, not a scientific experiment. Science can't validate or invalidate historical events: you can neither prove nor disprove, scientifically, that Gen. George Washington led his army across the Delaware River on Christmas night, 1776, to attack Hessian forces at Trenton, NJ.

Human reason and intellect is much more than mere scientific knowledge. The question is not, I think, is there ironclad, "scientific" proof of God or the Resurrection, but is this: based on the weight of evidence, is Christian belief reasonable? For 2,000 years, reasonable has garnered the votes.


And that is most reasonable, too, as Blaise Pascal explained.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Destructors

By Donald Sensing

'Everyday Sadists' Are More Common Than You Think

I won't cite from the post, but will add my own reflections. There are times I cannot understand the destructive actions of others in any way that makes sense. But this comes close:



There is a destructiveness at loose in our world, our country, our communities, our associations and even our homes that cannot be explained adequately by excluding the spiritual dimensions at play.

Such destructiveness always starts with or quickly moves to destructive speech. Usually (but not always) a huge dose of hypocrisy is involved as the "destructor" (to borrow a word from Ghostbusters) almost always conceals her or his slander or libel behind claims of only wanting a higher good. But in fact, their actual desire is self-oriented, selfish and significantly narcissistic: they frequently act as if they have been aggrieved or wounded and are in such psychological, emotional or spiritual pain that others rush to comfort. But the others are being played and only a few ever figure it out.

Understand that demands from destructive persons cannot ever be satisfied. For their real goal is not an actual solution to the putative issue, for as the old SDS slogan explains, "This issue isn't the issue." The real goal, very cleverly concealed behind aggrieved tones of voice and claims of how moral/spiritual/right minded/self-denying/unselfish (the list goes on an on) they are is always the same: "I must get my way, all the time."

But that's not the heart of the issue, either. These persons simply must have an enemy, someone or some group who opposes them. For the "my way" that destructors must get is inextricably linked to triumph over an opponent. That's why anyone who does not agree or assent to their demands is a target: the issue is not the demands, but the opposition.

Every issue is personal for destructors. It is not possible to hold a reasonable, contrary position. To resist a destructor's demand is not mere disagreement. It is to oppose the ordering of the world itself in some sense: the Constitution, human decency, morality, even to defy God himself.

"The issue isn't the issue." Demands are only a pretense to evoke the fight. The fight itself is the goal. It is the only goal. Destructors never consider any issue closed for which they do not achieve total victory. They die in every ditch. Every fight is to the death because their very concept of self is woven into it.

His days of asking are all gone, his fight goes on and on and on. But he thinks that the fight is worth it all.  So he strikes like thunderball.
Title song to the movie, "Thunderball," referring to character Emilio Largo of Spectre
To yield to a destructor's demands is only to evoke others, more sternly expressed and more unreasonable than before.

Here is the hardest part for targets to understand: Destructors are absolute masters in assessing within any organization two things essential for their success:

1. Whom the general membership/board of directors/administrators/managers considers expendable.

There's an old gamblers' saying, "If at a poker table you can't figure out who the patsy is, that means it's you." The corollary here is that to be targeted by a destructor means you are considered expendable by the general group, no matter your own official standing within the group. This is true about two-thirds of the time for your first targeting (which is often a trial run), but if there a second then it is absolutely true.

2. Who their own allies will be.

Destructors spend enormous time building alliances and coalitions among other discontented people. The old saying that "misery loves company" is true but incomplete. Misery does not merely love company, misery requires company. Destructors and any other merely unhappy person must have their discontent, anger or grievances validated by others. These persons are absolute experts at finding one another, and they do.

If you ever find yourself contending with a destructor a second or subsequent time, there are no positive potential outcomes. You will not be contending with one person or even a few, but an entire network that will support the destructor behind the scenes, and a few overtly. They understand that a small minority organized and oriented toward a common will almost always prevail against the vast majority caught by surprise, unprepared to resist. Furthermore, the majority, outside the fray, tends to think that the putative issue is the issue and is mostly accurate in thinking it trivial in itself. They don't see what the fuss is all about and just want the whole thing to go away. Some, but not many, see what is really happening but will not be willing to become targets themselves.

So when you are targeted, you will be alone and isolated. No one will be your ally, although you will get occasional expressions of sympathy. So what to do? Not much, I'm afraid:

1. Maintain your position but understand that the destructor will do his/her best to destroy your reputation as long as you oppose. And the destructor network is already leagues ahead of any defense you can mount.

2. Or just capitulate quickly enough, every time, so that there is no fight to be had with you and the destructor turns her/his attention to someone else. But of course, this almost always requires you to surrender some kind of authority that is rightfully yours. A destructor fights to gain power, so s/he does not target anyone of a lower or equivalent status or authority.

Either way, however, your time in the organization is coming to an end. The countdown clock starts when a destructor starts explaining why s/he is considering leaving the organization (always widely publicized and with as much woeful agrrievement as possible). If the destructor does depart, s/he will have poisoned the atmosphere and slandered your reputation enough so that your effectiveness in the association is permanently damaged. So understand that once a destructor starts threatening to go elsewhere, the question is not whether you will leave (actually, you'll finally be told to leave by the larger organization), it is whether the destructor precedes you. But even if s/he doesn't, you will still leave.

There is such a thing as "creative destruction." But destructors don't know it. They set fires not to clear the way for something better, more useful or more beautiful. They just want to watch it burn.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ron Klain and the political plum

By Donald Sensing

Two days ago, I left this comment at Glenn Reynold's site regarding the appointment of Democrat operative Ron Klain as the ebola czar:

This appointment lays naked what Leftism really is about:

The Totalist mindset always rewards political reliability first and foremost.

This is also the patronage ideology: every such job is seen as a plum first, to be handed out as a reward or incentive.

And finally the "looter" ideology: follow the money and see whose pockets it disappears into - all fellow travelers of the administration and friends.
Headline this morning, I rest my case: Sources: Klain in line to succeed Podesta - POLITICO.com:

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Yes, some women do lie about rape

By Donald Sensing

Glenn Reynolds:

TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! (CONT’D): Woman claims she was sexually assaulted, admits it didn’t happen. “This brings up a difficult question: What would it take for an accuser to be charged with filing a false report?”
I left this as a comment, but here it is:

When I was a US Army company commander at Ft Jackson, DC, in the early 1980s, my training company was about one-third women. The soldiers had all completed basic training and were training to be qualified in their military specialty; therefore they had some privileges that BT recruits didn't have, one of which was to go on weekend evenings to the "1-2-3" Club, so called because it was for the lowest enlisted ranks, E1, E2, E3. None of the troops had cars so they had to walk.

Like every other commander, I had emplaced a very strict "buddy" policy for both males and females. No soldier could go anywhere outside the barracks alone; they had to have a buddy go with them. Didn't have to be pairs only. This included to, at and from the 123 Club.

I also had a very strict curfew on Friday and Saturday evenings of 2300 hours. (That's 11 p.m. for you Air Force types. Big hand on the 11 and little hand on the 12 for you Marines!) Once in awhile I'd drop by at curfew time to check in with the NCO on duty.

So one evening about 2315 a couple of female soldiers come lolly gagging in and the NCO sweeps them up and has them report to me (I was standing near the door anyway.) I demanded to know why they were late. One was white and the other black. Yes, this is relevant.

"We would have been on time," the white one said, "but on the way back a man jumped out of the bushes and dragged me over and raped me." She said this about as emotively as she might have reported walking through a short rain drizzle. Then she added, "He was a big black man." Well, of course!

I said nothing but turned to look at her buddy, who was black, who cried out, "Oh, sir, I was with her the whole time! We didn't break the buddy system!"

True story.

How did this all end? I called the MPs, who came over, took her statement and took her to the post hospital where the rape kit was done. Medium story short, it was all baloney from beginning to end, just a cover for missing curfew. The brigade commander told me he'd handle it, and he did: field-grade article 15 for the liar plus a general discharge. He left her conspirator for me. I article 15'd her but didn't discharge her as apart from that one major slip up, she was actually a pretty good soldier.

This was only one of many false claims of rape that I had reported, always to cover their tracks for some other misconduct. One claim I'll never forget, though. It was a sergeant assigned for retraining into another specialty, which happens more than you might think. A young black woman, she was one of the sharpest, smartest NCOs I ever saw.

She went home on emergency leave and was returned to the post on her due-back day by local police - not in custody but because, they said, in taking a nighttime cab back to the post from the airport the cabbie had raped her. (The Columbia PD did confirm the rape was real and they picked up the cabbie.)

The sergeant never recovered. She almost literally lost her mind and became badly transformed in her personality. We would up having to process her for a medical (psych) discharge. A real tragedy.

That young sergeant brutalized is why I have a deep-seated contempt for women who falsely claim rape. It not only ruins an innocent man, it demeans and dismisses women who really were raped.

How we committed cultural suicide

By Donald Sensing


 From American Digest. The entire essay is here.

What is the context? Among other things, this:
Today, though, sexual intercourse is delinked from procreation. Since the invention of the Pill some 40 years ago, human beings have for the first time been able to control reproduction with a very high degree of assurance. That led to what our grandparents would have called rampant promiscuity. The causal relationships between sex, pregnancy and marriage were severed in a fundamental way. The impulse toward premarital chastity for women was always the fear of bearing a child alone. The Pill removed this fear. Along with it went the need of men to commit themselves exclusively to one woman in order to enjoy sexual relations at all. Over the past four decades, women have trained men that marriage is no longer necessary for sex. But women have also sadly discovered that they can't reliably gain men's sexual and emotional commitment to them by giving them sex before marriage.
That's how we committed (and continue to commit) cultural suicide, but it doesn't say why. As for that question, here is one clue:
In particular, sexual sin seems to be the largest single factor driving disbelief in our culture. Brant Hanson calls sex “The Big But” because he so often hears this from unbelievers: “’I like Jesus, BUT…’ and the ‘but’ is usually followed, one way or the other, with an objection about the Bible and… sex. People think something’s deeply messed-up with a belief system that says two consenting, unmarried adults should refrain from sex.” In other words, people simply do not want to follow the Christian teaching that sexual intercourse should take place only between and man and woman who are married, so they throw the whole religion out.
But I maintain that after 50 years of this "liberation," it is empirically provable that this is the way that leads to death.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

The ideology of resentment

By Donald Sensing

Sultan Knish: The Progressive Missionaries of Unhappiness

Leftists without grievances are like an army without guns. That is why leftist experiments in communes dissolved into denunciations, power grabs and authoritarian rules as soon the drugs ran out. Often even before. The leftist isn’t seeking freedom from capitalism, religion, nationalism, racism, sexism, office dress codes, bar codes and any of the other great evils of the moment. These are just the outrage fuel of the willfully outraged whose resentment has become both culture and religion.

What he wants is to express an egotistical grievance at a world that is not built around him. His resentments came before his ideology. They are in a very real sense his ideology.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Career choices

By Donald Sensing




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Wi-fi, good news and bad news

By Donald Sensing

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley: 'Wi-Fi is a human right'

Gov. Martin O'Malley is making an unusual argument as he ramps up for a likely 2016 presidential campaign: free Wi-Fi.

The Maryland Democrat said that Wi-Fi is a "human right" in an interview with CNN.

“Younger people are choosing to live in cities. They realize that connections to each other are making us better. That Wi-Fi is a human right. That proximity is important to entrepreneurship, access to capital and talent and diversity. There is an opportunity there for us as a nation to embrace that new perspective,” he said.
The obvious question is, of course, who pays?

"The good news is the rich will pay for everything; the bad news is you're rich" -- Joshua Price.

Left Behind gets deservedly left behind

By Donald Sensing

Thankfully, American movie goers seem to have enough sense not to waste their time or money with religious escapism nonsense. Left Behind, the new thriller based on the best-selling books of the same name, and starring Nic Cage, basically bombed at the box office by pulling in less than $7 million its opening weekend, ranking it the sixth in box office gross.

The Rapture is not biblical and was not taught by the apostles or their successors. The whole thing was simply made up whole cloth by members of a small sect called the Plymouth Brethren in the 1820s. (The Plymouth Brethren are still around, btw.)

Here's a short video to get up to speed on how it came to be: Where Did Rapture Theology Come From? by highly-regarded Bible scholar Ben Witherington.



And the long course, 32 minutes, by William Lane Craig:



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Liberal colonization

By Donald Sensing

Are You Being Colonized by Liberalism?

 It’s just never clear to me how liberalism can avoid becoming the totalizing narrative that it purports to critique. 
Inherently, it cannot avoid it. The fundamental thrust of liberalism is totalism. No one gravitates to the Left in order to let others live their lives as they see fit.

Update: But perhaps some kickback is coming from a quarter where it can really count:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Muslims murdering Muslims

By Donald Sensing

I posted earlier of "Muslims killing Muslims - and lots of other people," of how 90 percent of the 11 million Muslims killed in the Middle East since 1948 died at the hands of other Muslims. Now the Daily Beast adds more insights.

ISIS’s Gruesome Muslim Death Toll
The group’s killing of Westerners gets attention. But ISIS has killed far more Muslims, and publicizing that fact would harm it more.
... We are talking beheadings, killing of women for objecting to ISIS’ policies, and executing Sunni Muslim clerics for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS. ...

Here are a few examples from the report to give you an idea of the way ISIS has methodically slaughtered Muslims:

-On September 5, ISIS executed three Sunni women in Mosul. What was their “crime”? They refused to provide medical care to ISIS fighters.
- On September 9, ISIS executed a Sunni Imam in western Mosul for refusing to swear loyalty to ISIS.
- On August 2, a man from the Salah ad Din province was abducted and beheaded for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS.
-On August 19, a female Muslim doctor south of Mosul was killed for organizing a protest to object to ISIS’ mandate that female doctors cover their faces with religious veils when treating patients
-On August 31, 19 Sunni Muslim men were executed in Saadiya for refusing to swear allegiance to ISIS.
-On July 22, a Sunni Imam in Eastern Baquba was killed for simply denouncing ISIS.
-On September 9, ISIS executed two Muslim women by shooting them in the back of the head. Their exact “crime” was not known.

And the list goes on from ISIS slaughtering 1,500 Iraqi soldiers in June to blowing up numerous Sunni mosques because apparently the leaders of those mosques refused to swear loyalty to ISIS.
The most potentially lethal company a Muslim can keep is another Muslim.

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Failed movie ideas

By Donald Sensing

Did not make it past the high-concept stage: Conan the Librarian.


Hat tip to Leo Pusateri.

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Muslims killing Muslims - and lots of other people

By Donald Sensing


Source.

Here is a "Politically Incorrect List of Murders in America By Muslims Since Obama Took Office"
2/12/2009 Buffalo NY:
4/12/ 2009 Phoenix, Arizona:
2009  Littlerock, Arkansas:
2009 Glendale, Arizona:
11/5/2009 Fort Hood, Texas
12/4/2009 Binghamton, New York:
 4/14/2010 Marquette Park, Illinois:
4/30/2011 Warren, Michigan:
5/4/2011 Chicago, Illinois:
9/11/2011 Walden, Massachusetts:
1/15/2013 Houston, Texas:
2/7/2013 Buena Vista, New Jersey:
3/24/2013 Ashtabula, Ohio:
4/15/2013 Boston, Massachusetts
4/19/2013 Boston, Massachusetts
8/4/2013 Richmond, California:
3/16/2014 Port Bolivar, Texas:
4/27/2014 Skyway, Washington:
6/1/2014 Seattle, Washington:
6/25/2014 West Orange, New Jersey:
9/25/2014 Moore, Oklahoma
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