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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 4 – Social and Political reasons

Lies by Leo Reynolds

Lies by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Telling Lies

In the second of this series of articles, we saw that Niccolò Machievelli’s The Prince advocates deception. According to Machievelli, lying to the masses is necessary for public leadership. Some believe this isn’t a cynical but, rather, a realistic approach.

For example, in postwar times government officials tend to paint a different picture about a given conflict than that of actual wartime reports. During wartime it seems that disinformation is standard procedure.

Consider this excerpt from Errol Morris‘ documentary, The Fog of War:

If you went to the C.I.A. and said “How is the situation today in South Vietnam?” I think they would say it’s worse. You see it in the desertion rate, you see it in the morale. You see it in the difficulty to recruit people. You see it in the gradual loss of population control. Many of us in private would say that things are not good, they’ve gotten worse. Now while we say this in private and not public, there are facts available that find their way in the press. If we’re going to stay in there, if we’re going to go up the escalating chain, we’re going to have to educate the people, Mr. President. We haven’t done so yet. I’m not sure now is exactly the right time.

From Morris’ perspective, it seems that former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara believed he was acting in good faith, given the political realities of the Vietnam war. Hindsight is 20/20. But those in power don’t have the benefit of hindsight and must make tough decisions, usually with scant information. So McNamara, now in a safe place to do so, admits to having made egregious mistakes.

Cover-ups and Sin

Sex abuse victims dad angry with Pope by Sam Herd via Flickr

Sex abuse victims’ dad angry with Pope by Sam Herd via Flickr

What does wartime leadership and disinformation have to do with the dislike of Catholicism? To answer this question, consider the Catholic hierarchy’s response to the sad fact that not a few priests sexually abused young people.

Some argue that Catholic officials tried to cover up priests’ transgressions with dubious politics reminiscent of a medieval kingdom. Pedophile priests were shuffled around to different parishes with hardly a slap on the wrist. And some victims were allegedly paid off to keep quiet. Most likely disturbed religious officials believed they were doing the right thing. Why else would they have done it? For them, the Church’s public image was more important than the reality of its scandalous practices. Either that, or their own jobs were on the line. It’s hard to know the potential complexity of the situation.

As reprehensible as all this is, it does not in any way diminish the holy within Catholicism. Instead, it’s an example of human sin and corruption. And practically every human organization contains some degree of sin and corruption. If we upheld sin and corruption as a key indicator for worthlessness, then virtually no human enterprise would be of any value.

The parable of the good and bad seed (Matthew 13:24-29) suggests that God knows about and permits evil for some mysterious reason.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”

Outdated Teachings

Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline

Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline via Flickr

Another reason some people dislike Catholicism has to do with the belief that Catholics perpetuate outdated teachings that are legitimized under the guise of sacred Tradition.

For those unfamiliar with Catholicism, the idea of Tradition refers to Church teachings that are said to complement biblical scripture with equal weight and authority. Tradition and scripture are “like two branches of the same tree,” to quote a popular Catholic saying.

At odds with the Catholic Tradition is sola scriptura. Sola scriptura means the Bible is the only source of God’s revelation to mankind. One form of sola scriptura, sometimes called solo scriptura, selects individual passages from the Bible to apparently prove a particular perspective.

We’ve probably all encountered this approach. Believers in solo scriptura uphold the Old Testament book of Leviticus, for instance, to allegedly prove the evils of homosexuality and gay marriage.

If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them (Lev. 20:13).

But these same people often overlook other passages from the Old Testament concerning the evils of usury.

You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit (Leviticus 25:35-37).

So Christians earning interest from a bank or any other kind of investment would be sinning if this Bible passage were taken as an eternal truth. But it’s convenient for some hypocrites to rant and rave about prohibited behaviors that they don’t practice, and to completely ignore prohibitions that they do break 24/7.

Feminism

Patricia Fresen by Northfield.org

Patricia Fresen by Northfield.org via Flikr

Another dislike of Catholicism involves the exclusion of women from the upper end of the Catholic hierarchy. For critics, the absence of female priests leaves the entire faith assembly with a lopsided, dry feeling. That yin-yang sense of balance and complementarity just isn’t there.

By way of contrast, the depth psychologist Carl Jung, coming from a Protestant background, argued that the visible presence of the Virgin Mary in Catholic dogma was a step in the right direction. Jung believed that Mary played an important compensatory role for Catholics’ psychological needs.

But some feminists don’t buy it. They point out that the Virgin Mary doesn’t help real flesh and blood women who yearn to enter the priesthood. Nor does it help women and men who are bored of the mostly male presence at the Catholic altar.

Celibacy and the Perception of Women

English: Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Critics of Catholicism also believe that celibate priests conforming to pre-established, chauvinistic religious routines essentially avoid dealing with women as equals.

As far back as 1972, the US Catholic bishops conducted a Freudian study indicating that many priests are psychologically arrested at a young adult stage of emotional development.

This and other studies have been cited as alleged proof that arrested emotional development is a by-product of celibacy, the exclusion of women, repressed or clandestine homosexuality, or some combination of these factors.

Questioning the validity of this study, Patrick Guinan, M.D. says

Freudian theory is incapable of acknowledging religious experience or integrating the concept of chastity or asceticism into its idea of healthy human development.

Likewise, the Canadian writer and historian Elizabeth Abbott argues that celibacy can be a healthy choice. She points out that cultural attitudes about celibacy are quickly changing, especially with the drastic and sometimes deadly increase of sexually transmitted diseases.

Meanwhile, the Church maintains its stance on gender equality. Men and women are equal but different. Obviously this idea does not sit well with those deploring the absence of women in the upper register of the Catholic hierarchy. Critics tend to see this as culturally backward sexism based on sexist scripture and Tradition. The Bible, they point out, was written during sexist times. So it’s no surprise that many of its supposed eternal truths are, in fact, cultural.

For these critics, the Church’s stance on gender difference perpetuates sexist ideologies that serves to exclude women from positions of power. It also contributes to the dire shortage of newly ordained priests.

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, 2014.

Introduction « 2 « 3 « 4 » 5 (coming soon)


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 3 – Theological reasons

Soufrière Catholic Church

Soufrière Catholic Church (Photo credit: waywuwei)

Theological reasons

Sociologists and philosophers, alike, say that Catholicism creates and legitimizes “truth claims.” The idea of a truth claim provides a good way to talk about beliefs without necessarily advocating or dismissing them.

Most non-Catholics will say that Catholic truth claims are not eternal but, rather, culturally and politically motivated—that is, relative truths. And some non-Catholics believe that all Catholic teachings are Satanic. These people often describe the Church as “The Whore of Babylon” or use some other shocking and alarmist, not to mention sexist, epithet.

Infallibility

The idea of Papal infallibility is probably one of the biggest reasons why people dislike Catholicism. But informed Catholics realize that only two Catholic truth claims are deemed infallible. Most others are less authoritative, and merely disseminated as general guidelines for good moral behavior. Many critics of Catholicism are unaware that not all Catholic teachings are said to be eternal, unchangeable truths.

Catholic theologians say the Church’s teachings have various levels of certainty. And Papal infallibility only applies to these two dogmas:

1 – The Blessed Virgin Mary’s sinless birth (Dogma of the Immaculate Conception)

2 – Her bodily assumption into heaven (Dogma of The Assumption)

All other Catholic teachings are not infallible.¹ So it’s incorrect believe that all Catholic teachings are infallible when they’re not. True, some Catholics say that infallibility includes all of the Church’s teachings. But I believe these people are misguided. And thankfully, they represent a vocal minority that the majority of sober theologians, Catholic or not, would readily dismiss.

Emblem of the Papacy

Emblem of the Papacy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Papal Authority

For some non-Catholics, even two (allegedly) infallible declarations are good enough reason to dislike Catholicism. From their perspective, Popes are mere pretenders to the throne of truth. So these critics don’t believe in any kind of Papal infallibility, whatsoever. And the fact that only two dogmas are deemed infallible makes no difference. These people simply want none of it.

Christianity as a Stereotype

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism is based on a misunderstanding and, arguably, unclear thinking.

Many use “Christianity” as a blanket term for all types of Churches, organizations and individuals calling themselves Christian. If I say “I’m a Catholic,” sometimes it’s like waving a red flag in front of people who dislike Evangelicals, Fundamentalists and Televangelists, and who don’t know the difference among different types of Christians. It’s just one big amorphous dislike for all things Christian.

However, differences among Christian denominations (and even among individual believers within each denomination) are significant. In Ireland, for instance, Protestant and Catholic youth gangs engage in violent clashes. And as CNN’s Anderson Cooper has pointed out, some Christians align themselves with the Green movement while others are out to make greenbacks.

Falling Short of the Ideal

People also dislike Catholicism because clergy and churchgoers inevitably fall short of the Christian ideal. Some Catholics criticize and even denounce one another. Mean-minded gossip and talking behind another’s back is not unheard of in Catholicism, even though Jesus teaches us to love one another. As in most spheres of humanity, pettiness and hypocrisy are alive and unwell in Catholicism. Not surprisingly, this can be a huge turn off for non-Catholics.

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Chu...

Counter protesters to the Westboro Baptist Church demonstration at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, on the day of Pope Benedict’s address to the UN General Assembly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Private and Public

With a little probing sometimes it becomes clear that a given Catholic’s private beliefs differ from his or her apparent beliefs as publicly expressed at the Mass. After all, human beings are social animals who normally don’t want to rock the boat. But arguably just as important, most Catholics believe in the necessity of liturgical structure. Structure affords unity and continuity amidst inevitable points of disagreement. So Catholics concealing their own private beliefs are not necessarily being hypocritical at the Mass. They might be respecting the need for structure while perhaps secretly believing in (and doing) their own thing—e.g. engaging in homosexual, premarital or extramarital sex, or practicing birth control.

On the need for structure, learned Catholics point out that the very first Christian disciples disagreed on certain issues (Acts 15: 1-21; Galatians 2: 11-14; 1 Corinthians 3: 1-23). So there’s a need, they believe, to clearly outline a set of teachings to carry the Catholic ship of salvation through all storms of disagreement which likely will arise in centuries to come.

English: Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God'...

Pope Leo XIII guides the ship of God’s Church. Painting in shrine Kevelaer from Friedrich Stummel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Judging a Book by its Cover

Another reason people dislike Catholicism has to do with their perception of being spiritually “alive.” Some non-Catholics say the Catholic Mass looks and feels dead or depressing. To them, Catholic parishioners behave like robots or maybe zombies; they’re victims of a Roman cult, just going through the motions, not really thinking nor believing in what they profess during the Mass.

With few outward signs of ecstatic joy or other grandiose emotional displays, critics wrongly assume that Catholics are spiritually dry and unhappy. These critics have no appreciation for the Catholic possibility of experiencing a high and delicate form of interior sweetness, healing and joy.

By way of contrast, Catholics, especially the more contemplative, may see non-Catholic displays of easily recognizable joy as commendable and perhaps even of Christ. But if possible, these manifestations of the spirit should be subjected to a process of discernment. Generally speaking, discernment aims to determine if spiritual experiences are from God or some other source. More specifically, discernment also tries to distinguish among different spiritual qualities, textures or environments, if you will, to find out if they differ from the sacramental graces conveyed through the Catholic sacraments.

Catholics are instructed to respect most other religions. The late Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said she “loved” all religions but was “in love” with her own religion. Along these lines, the existence of worldwide Catholic missions speaks volumes. Why would Catholic missions exist if Catholics did not have some reason to believe that their religion was best? And even though they may look dead on the outside, many Catholics base that belief on how their religion makes them feel–on the inside.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jesus as another teacher

Another theological reason some non-Catholics dislike Catholicism is that Christ is viewed as just another teacher. For these people, Christ is no different from the Buddha or the Hindu god Krishna. They overlook (or don’t know about) the Buddhist denial of a willful God, along with Krishna’s advocacy of physical killing in the Bhagavad Gita.

The view that Jesus is just another teacher often comes from contemporary gnostics, or those interested in gnosticism. These folks cherry pick from various traditions, believing they perceive some higher code or deeper order among them. For them it’s a mistake to insist on Jesus’ uniqueness. And the structured Catholic liturgy just gets in the way of supposedly genuine, gnostic spiritual experience.

In response, the Vatican claims to recognize any truths or partial truths in non-Christian teachings but firmly disagrees with the belief that Buddha or Krishna, for example, are equal to Christ. It’s as simple as that. And it’s doubtful that any politically correct, sugar-coated interfaith dialogue will lessen this firm point of disagreement. From a Catholic standpoint, it’s possible that some non-Catholic critics have yet to reach a point in their spiritual formation to fully appreciate the heavenly body of Christ as conveyed through the sacraments.

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by ...

Intercession of Charles Borromeo supported by the Virgin Mary (1714), the Karlskirche, Vienna. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary and the Saints

Another theological reason people dislike Catholicism relates to Saint Mary and the remaining Catholic saints. Misinformed Christians often dispute the supposed Catholic ‘paganism’ of praying for the saints’ intercession.

As outlined at Earthpages.ca:

Some Protestants and Fundamentalists believe that Catholics have got it wrong because, so they assert, Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and Man. But, quite ironically, many of these very same people freely ask their friends and associates to “pray for them,” which clearly is a request for intercession.

Catholics often reply to this Protestant and Fundamentalist charge by asking, “If we can ask souls on Earth to pray for us, why not souls in heaven?”²

Catholicism clearly outlines its stand on intercession. Asking the saints to pray for us does not elevate them to the status of gods and goddesses, as so many non-Catholic detractors would have it. This is just theologically wrong and an entirely groundless reason for disliking Catholicism.

¹ Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Rockford, Illinois: 1974 [1960], Tan Books, pp. 8-10 » See online discussion at socrates58.blogspot.com

² http://earthpages.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/virgin-mary-the-blessed

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, 2014

Introduction « 2 » 3 » 4


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 2 – What is truth?

Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiave...

Posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is truth?

Religion deals with beliefs and practices concerned with truth.

Most religious leaders appear open to interfaith dialogue but many, it seems, aren’t too keen to alter their core beliefs. They’ve invested their entire lives in a given belief system. It not only provides a comfortable living. It also gives them an identity. An importance. And some might say, a bit more sympathetically, a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

Unless religious leaders are utter charlatans, like some TV evangelists, their sense of truth keeps them on track. To deviate from their cherished beliefs would be, in most instances, too psychologically and economically disruptive.

So after all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with interfaith conferences has subsided, many religious leaders probably walk away virtually unchanged, each still believing, my way is best.

This might seem cynical. But clearly there’s a politically correct aspect to religion.

In his classic The Prince Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) wrote that good ruling means

It is necessary to know well how to disguise this characteristic, and to be a great pretender and dissembler; and men are so simple, and so subject to present necessities, that he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.¹

But what would a Machiavellian ruler have to do with religious leadership? The one works in the world of realpolitik while the other addresses the realm of the spirit. At least, this is the image that many religious leaders tend to portray. In reality, however, we can’t separate religion from the world. Consider the Vatican Bank, a global institution worth about $8 billion.

Not only that. There have been allegations about money laundering in the Vatican.² And other stories about Church payoffs to keep victims of sexual abuse quiet.³ Corruption and sexual abuse happen everywhere, in all corners of human experience. They are not only Catholic concerns. Still, Catholic leaders must publicly manage the weak side of human nature as it manifests within the Church.

During the Pope Benedict years, especially, Catholics heard a lot about homosexuality, abortion and other easy targets. But they almost never heard about the alleged corruption, closet homosexuality, and proven perversions within the Church. This arguably was a kind of lie by omission. But it wasn’t just a lie. It was pointing the finger to individuals less powerful, more vulnerable, and who, for the most part, couldn’t fight back.

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French postmodern historian and thinker Michel Foucault wrote volumes about truth and morality. Foucault wasn’t interested in declaring truth or the good moral life. Instead, he was quick to point out how some discourses about truth and morality are highlighted while others are buried. Foucault believed that power, itself, was the key agent.4 Power either makes or breaks a given discourse about truth and morality.

This may be the case with most organizations, religious or not. But we should be careful when talking about power. What exactly is power? Isn’t there a negative, controlling type along with a positive, liberating form of power? Could a given institution, like the Catholic Church, express some combination of these two fundamental types of power?

Introduction « 2 » 3

1. See XVIII – CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH

2. http://onforb.es/1hmS43i

3. http://goo.gl/XSR9rT

4 See Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings, 1972-1977, ed. Colin Gordon, trans. C. Gordon et al. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014.


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition

Jesus le nazaréen by *Katch* via Flickr

Introduction

If you ask someone on the street about the difference between a Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian, chances are they’ll smile and admit ignorance.

Back in the 1990s, a fellow student of Religious Studies raised an interesting point in one of those mandatory seminars that everyone attends but secretly wishes they didn’t have to. He said humanities researchers should state their personal biases at the outset of a study instead of presuming they’re objective observers.

These days, the whole idea of objectivity is under fire, and rightly so. Any academic or scientist worth their salt will admit we can’t escape bias. The sciences have emerging concepts like “confirmation bias” and “experimenter bias.” And spiritual persons believing they’ve had a divine revelation should step back and ask if their apparent truth belongs within a given context. Is their revelation merely one that is appropriate for a given moment? It may be powerful. But it is universal? The highest?

This much said, and in keeping with my classmate’s prescription, I’ll tell a bit about myself to illustrate where I’m coming from.

English: Catholic church in Tehran

Catholic church in Tehran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before converting to Catholicism in 2001, I had little interest in organized religion. Childhood summers were spent enjoying the natural environment of Georgian Bay’s eastern shores. In winters I downhill skied at a resort overlooking the south side of Georgian Bay. So, in a sense, the great outdoors was my religion.

As for religion, itself, I was baptized in the Anglican church but never attended regular services. Weddings and funerals, that was it.

Like many kids, I asked the big questions. Why are we here? What is infinity? I never really got any answers but I kept on asking.

Eventually, I went to university and had summer jobs to help defray the cost. By that time I’d gravitated toward Freud, Jung and sociologists like G. H. Mead and Emile Durkheim. Later, I studied East-West philosophy, New Age and non-Christian religions. In 2001 I became a bona fide Catholic. But a free thinking one.

Since then I’ve met many critics of Catholicism. Instead of ignoring their views, I’ve talked with those honest enough to say what they really think. And from this I have a pretty good picture as to why some folks dislike Catholicism.

yesterdays_6

High Rock Island, Georgian Bay

Before writing this article, I told a Catholic friend about my plan to do so. She suggested I call it “Why people like Catholicism.” But I feel that dislike is the better term, because I’m mostly responding to the critics. And I’m not trying to put a positive spin on the all-too-human side of the Church. God knows, there are many issues in the Catholic Church.

Despite its real and pressing problems, I continue to experience the holy within the Church. And it’s not just because I was brainwashed as a kid. As mentioned, I wasn’t even a Catholic, and as a Protestant, I never went to church. I skied. I swam. But church? Nahhh.

Copyright © Michael Clark, 2014.

Part – 2


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IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT, SHOVE IT!

English: Original design for Trellis wallpaper...

Original design for Trellis wallpaper by William Morris, 1862. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FENG SHUI BY FISHGIRL

William Morris, England’s most famous designer / craftsman who inspired the Arts & Crafts Movement in the mid 1800’s said “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Whether he knew it or not, Willam Morris was practicing Feng Shui.

One of the first things we learn when studying Feng Shui is to get rid of anything that is broken or that isn’t working. A clock that sits on your mantelpiece that no longer tells time may be a beautiful antique, but, if it is in disrepair it is not helping your ch’i (energy). And if it isn’t helping, it is most likely hurting. It may be the reason why your romance has stalled. Or your business contacts have dried up. Or your diet isn’t working. The mischief it is causing for you would depend on exactly what area of your home that your broken clock is located in. I would recommend that you take your broken clocks to an horologist immediately (look in your yellow pages, not your bordello).

I love a good challenge, don’t you? So, let me give you The Feng Shui By Fishgirl Challenge…this is an exercise not for the weak of heart. You must be willing to go the distance. To evaluate with brutal honesty. To discard with ruthless abandon. To commit to paying for routine maintenance on anything broken that you have decided is worth keeping. I want to challenge you to go through your home room by room and make a list (or a pile) of everything in it that falls into the William Morris catagories of either [1] Not Useful, or, [2] Not Beautiful. Let me give you some examples of both.

IF IT AIN’T BROKEN…

Remember the old adage,’ if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it ‘? Well, I’m telling you if it IS broken: FIX IT! If it can’t be fixed, junk it or give it away to the Salvation Army. Some of the “Not Useful” things I have seen in client’s homes which you may also have in yours are:

*Clothing that doesn’t fit, or is stained or ripped.
*Stacks of old stereo equipment that doesn’t work anymore.
*Dead plants, or plants with just a sickly little stem poking out of a huge pot.
*The aforementioned broken clock, or watch, that no longer keeps time.
*Books…. ie: toss out the old computer manuals at the same time you upgrade your computer.
*Broken/cracked glass still in picture frames or mirrors.
*Newspaper bundles waiting to be read or recycled.
*Lamps needing light bulbs.
*Curtain rods dangling.
*Candles that are melted beyond use.
*Various electrical appliances that no longer work.
*Bath towels that are tattered beyond belief.
*Wallpaper peeling down.
*Faucets dripping.
*Doorbells that don’t ring.

IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT, SHOVE IT
There is always some example of something that is not beautiful, yet, it is cherished and we love it so we will keep it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We love something, it becomes beautiful because we love it. So, do not think I am asking you to throw away anything that is not “good looking”. Or conversely, to keep things only because they are beautiful.

If you do not believe it to be beautiful, it doesn’t belong in your house. That means, if you don’t love it: shove it! We’ve spoken in past newsletters about how we imbue either positive or negative ch’i onto objects and spaces. Think about all the negative ch’i buildup being created by that Limoges nut dish your Aunt Bessie gave you last Christmas. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Limoges (and hopefully, there’s nothing wrong with your Aunt Bessie !). And chances are, she spent too much for it. This tends to add to the guilt we feel if we don’t really like it and don’t want it in our home. However, if your crib is furnished in 1950’s Modern, the fancy Limoges nut dish looks totally out of place; you probably do not like it but feel some obligation to keep it, right?

We all have a version of the nutdish. It’s time for all of us to let go of our attachment to keeping anything in our sacred home space that we aren’t absolutely in love with, or at the very least, anything that doesn’t please us. I hereby give you permission to remove those items from your home today!

Some examples of things that people hang on to that fall into this catagory:

*Gifts (especially given by family members).
*Inherited objects (furniture, paintings, etc) that aren’t your taste.
*Plants that aren’t flourishing.
*Expensive things (we have a harder time letting go of things we paid a lot of money for even if we hate the piece after we’ve bought it).
*Things that connect us to our past and who we once were, but that no longer represent who we are now and where we are going.

By the way, if you now have a pile of unwanted things in your space, be sure to donate them to charity or have a yard sale. If you have a pile of things you intend to repair, make sure you take care of it quickly. If you must leave the pile there for awhile, you want to be sure your pile is in a benign area of your home. The last thing you want to do is gather up all of your broken down items and stack them in your Health Area, your Love & Relationship Area or your Wealth Area until you get around to it. As always, if you are unsure of where these areas are located within your home, contact Feng Shui By Fishgirl for a professional assessment.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/feng-shui-articles/if-you-dont-love-it-shove-it-1333987.html

About the Author

KATY ALLGEYER (a.k.a. Fishgirl) has twenty years of Feng Shui expertise, which she blends with her highly developed intuitive ability, metaphysical shamanic healing methods, and formal art and design training that make her uniquely qualified to help people realign their environment to support their full potential.

Katy Allgeyer’s blog: Feng Shui By Fishgirl

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Is Atheism Scientific?

All Giza Pyramids in one shot. Русский: Все пи...

All Giza Pyramids in one shot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Richard Aberdeen

No one knows for certain who designed Stonehenge or the pyramids of Egypt or, exactly how they were constructed.  Yet, no archaeologist or historian has ever proposed they appeared on their own, without input from designers or builders.

Such universal assumption is the most likely conclusion given the known evidence and, much of what science ‘believes’ is based on similar assumptions.  Even though people can create things that can repair and even create other things by themselves, all known evidence indicates no finite living being or object can exist without a creator.

Descartes first principle of philosophy, science and reason states:  ‘Accept nothing as true that is not self-evident’.  The history of science tracing prior to ancient Greece on into the present, is a history of the most likely conclusion based on the current known evidence.

Just as all evidence indicates for every action there is a re-action, likewise all evidence indicates nothing can be in motion by its own volition.  All known evidence indicates a universe filled with ‘zillions’ of complex parts within ever greater complexity of parts and, containing intelligent finite beings of conscience and conscious awareness, requires Creative Intelligence.  Thus, the correct postulate of true science is ‘Eternal Creator(s)’ until proven otherwise.

Pretending that ‘science’ is somehow different than belief in God is an obvious lie.  Just as scientists ‘believe’ in black holes and invisible light based on mirrored evidence, much more so, mirrored evidence of a Creator(s) is overwhelmingly self-evident.  And, just as if someone claims the earth is cube-shaped or, A2 B2 does not equal C2, the burden of proof remains on atheists, because all known evidence indicates the opposite conclusion.

According to Jesus, as well as many historical scientists and sages of note, basic to wisdom, education and survival itself, is to attempt to sort out what is actually true, from whatever fiction the cultures and religions we are born into claim is true.  As Jesus implied, if we do not know what is true, we have no hope of being free.

Believing the earth is square doesn’t change the reality of the shape of the earth.  What is true about the earth remains the same, regardless of what we believe or, fail to believe.  Whether we categorize something as ‘science’, ‘religion’, ‘history’ or anything else, what is actually true remains the same.

Someone can’t just assume a steel ball and feather will fall at the same rate of speed and call it a ‘scientific theory’, without significant supporting evidence.  There is nothing more unscientific and irrational than pretending there is no God, because all known evidence indicates the opposite conclusion.

If someone says they do not know if there’s a God, perhaps they just need to get out and smell the roses once in a while.  However, if someone says there is no Creator, they are by all scientific and  other rational default, plainly a liar, because there is no evidence to support such an absurd position.

Is atheism scientific?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article:
http://www.freedomtracks.com/500/atheism.html

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/spirituality-articles/is-atheism-scientific-1334976.html

About the Author

Richard Aberdeen

Nashville author, songwriter and homeless advocate.

www.RichardAberdeen.com


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The Influence of Paranormal Television

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By  Bobby Elgee

There is no denying the popularity of paranormal television shows. We’ve come a long way from the days of In Search Of. And though ghost stories, Bigfoot, aliens, and other high weirdness have always made for high ratings, we are deluged with choices including “reality” shows Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, A Haunting, Celebrity Ghost Stories, Destination Truth, and several others, not to mention the fictional fare including Fringe, Warehouse 13, Supernatural, and others too numerous to mention.

Some people say that Ghost Hunters–a television program on the Scy Fy network featuring members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S)–started this explosion in popularity, generating spin-offs and copycat shows that feature teams of paranormal investigators visiting haunted locations. Though varying somewhat in structure and “methodology,” they generally follow the same basic format: a team of investigators–after having done some amazingly cursory historical research–interviews a few witnesses to said paranormal activity, then “investigates” the location using audio recorders, infrared cameras, sonar, gieger counters, and a host of other equipment. This specific format has been expanded from just hunting ghosts to include programs that also feature cryptozoology (Destination Truth) , ufology (UFO Hunters), in what others would lead us to believe is spiritual and psychic warfare (Paranormal State).

English: Nightshot, enhanced.

Nightshot, enhanced. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other paranormal television shows follow different schemes including featuring reenactments of famous hauntings interspersed with interviews with the people that experienced them–A Haunting–as well as a program featuring famous people sharing their own encounters with the supernatural–Celebrity Ghost Stories.

Though paranormal television has a history that extends to a time before cable, there is no denying the relatively recent increase in the popularity of such fare. In fact, the interest in supernatural phenomena has probably never been greater since the Spiritualism craze of the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s. There may be many sociocultural reasons why this interest has risen in recent years, but certainly paranormal television has a lot to do with it.

One could argue that the biggest influence of paranormal television has had is on the hobby of ghost hunting. Though I feel that paranormal television has contributed relatively little to the actual understanding of the reasons behind paranormal phenomena, literally thousands of teams of ghost hunters have sprung up across the country as a result. Many members of these groups will state that Ghost Hunters was their single biggest influence in the decision to form or join a team of ghost hunters and a vast majority mimic their methods. Before these shows, it was difficult to find a local team of paranormal investigators. Though such respected paranormal luminaries as John Zaffis and Troy Taylor have been around for years–well before the recent craze–now one can find multiple teams of ghost hunters in every region in the country.

A handheld infrared thermometer of the type us...

A handheld infrared thermometer of the type used by some ghost hunters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Personally, I joined a ghost hunting team because of two reasons. First, I experienced some possibly paranormal activity. Second, I saw a story in a newspaper about a ghost hunting crew looking for members and joined Soul Seekers Paranormal Society. The individual who started the team I joined–albeit a ghost hunter for many years previous–specifically founded the team as a direct result of being exposed to Ghost Hunters.

Interestingly enough, paranormal television has had an even more direct impact on the group I’m currently a member of. Several people left my team, Sights Unseen Paranormal, and started their own team in response to Ghost Hunters decision to film an episode at a specific location. Though the details are tedious and certainly not worth repeating here, it’s a simple fact that if you need a ghost hunter nowadays, you don’t have to look very hard and it’s obvious that just one of these television shows has had a huge influence on many people.

Considering the number of people now involved in this hobby, and the amount of time and money spent by these teams on equipment, travel to haunted locations, and attendance at ghost tours, conferences, and workshops, it is readily apparent that paranormal television has certainly generated a significant economic impact. Consider the number of hotels that now find that advertising their haunted status is good for business, the formerly unused and derelict properties that are now open for ghost tours, and the haunted taverns where you can have a drink with a ghost. It’s pretty simple, ghosts are good for business.

English: In Quarters Number 1, paranormal inve...

In Quarters Number 1, paranormal investigators have collected electronic voice phenomena, including the recording of a little girl calling for her cat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are several interesting developments that I’ve experienced first-hand–as a paranormal investigator–that I feel are a result of paranormal television. One of these developments appeared to be an intense interest, now followed by an increasing wariness of business owners to get involved with ghost hunting teams.

Perhaps this reluctance has to do with the recent recession–business owners are becoming increasingly leery of potential negative impacts. I suspect that this wariness is also due to the amount of requests for investigations these locations receive from the large number of amateur ghost hunting teams in existence. I feel that these same dynamics may also apply to home owners.

Yet another reason that I perceive it appears to be increasingly difficult to procure investigations is that these home and business owners see these television shows and form misconceptions about what a paranormal investigation really is, and thus are hesitant to contact a team based on the stereotypes seen on television.

Ghost Hunting Stuff

Ghost Hunting Stuff (Photo credit: sethanikeem)

Of course, I could be totally wrong, and this is simply an inaccurate perception. The reasons for my perception that it is increasingly difficult to secure an investigation–specifically of businesses–could be do to a variety of reasons NOT related to paranormal television, however I do suspect that paranormal television has influenced the majority of possibility haunted businesses owners–and private homeowners–in one way or the other.

This article could go on to discuss paranormal television’s influence on ghost hunting tactics, marketing of paranormal groups, movies, the Internet, and other media, however we’ll leave it at that for now, and declare this article “under construction.”

I am more interested in what you–the reader–feels about this subject. I sincerely appreciate all input and will make sure your insightful opinions on this interesting subject appear in the form of comments to this article.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/television-articles/the-influence-of-paranormal-television-3997266.html

About the Author

Bobby Elgee is an investigator for Sights Unseen Paranormal,a team of paranormal investigators based in New England. Offering supports including metal detecting, historical research, and paranormal marketing advice for businesses, Sights Unseen Paranormal realizes that people come first and their wholistic investigations extend well beyond just attempting to capture “evidence” of paranormal activity.

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