“Imagine” Better Lyrics

I always thought the music to John Lennon’s “Imagine” was great but the lyrics are far from desirable in my mind so I’ve modified them. I would love to hear someone sing the song with my new lyrics below.

Imagine that your in Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell to concern us
Above us only God
Imagine all the people
Living with the Lord …

I always thought the music to John Lennon’s “Imagine” was great but the lyrics are far from desirable in my mind so I’ve modified them. I would love to hear someone sing the song with my new lyrics below.

Imagine that your in Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell to concern us
Above us only God
Imagine all the people
Living with the Lord

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no sin too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be with God

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of souls
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Bono on Monday Night Football with a Rosary

I don’t know how many noticed Bono’s performance tonight before the Monday Night Football game but if you were watching closely you might have noticed that he was wearing a rosary around his neck.

I’m fan of U2 and Bono and I thought it was pretty cool. He has said to reporters before that he carries a rosary. I know his father is Catholic and his mother is Anglican. Hopefully others noticed and inquire about the rosary. Bono can pretty much make anything cool. I just hope he makes sure he makes praying the rosary cool and not just wearing one.

Evangelize with your Wallet

For the next few days KEXS 1090AM Catholic Radio will be conducting a pledge drive. Please tune in and donating to this worthy cause to spead the Good News of the Gospel and the Catholic faith to those who have not heard. You pay other professionals to help you in other areas of your life every day: Doctors, Lawyers, Real Estate Agents, Carpenters, etc… why not do the same when it comes to Apologetics. We are all called to spread the Word of the Lord.

Up In Arms About the Truth

So this is the address the the Holy Father gave on 9-12-06 that the Muslims are up in arms about, but the New York Times and the other news hounds won’t post the whole story. So please read for yourself an notify others to do so as well and decide for yourself if Muslims should be up in arms.

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory_print.asp?number=70993 (see it below)

EWTNews

13-Sep-2006 — ZENIT.org News Agency
ZENIT material may not be reproduced without permission. Permission can be
requested at info@zenit.org
PAPAL ADDRESS AT UNIVERSITY OF REGENSBURG

“Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization”

REGENSBURG, Germany, SEPT. 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican
translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered to scientists at the
University of Regensburg, where he was a professor and vice rector from 1969
to 1971.

This is the version the Pope read, adding some allusions of the moment,
which he hopes to publish in the future, complete with footnotes. Hence, the
present text must be considered provisional.

* * *

Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a moving experience for me to stand and give a lecture at this
university podium once again. I think back to those years when, after a
pleasant period at the Freisinger Hochschule, I began teaching at the
University of Bonn. This was in 1959, in the days of the old university made
up of ordinary professors. The various chairs had neither assistants nor
secretaries, but in recompense there was much direct contact with students
and in particular among the professors themselves. We would meet before and
after lessons in the rooms of the teaching staff. There was a lively
exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists and, naturally, between
the two theological faculties.

Once a semester there was a “dies academicus,” when professors from every
faculty appeared before the students of the entire university, making
possible a genuine experience of “universitas”: The reality that despite our
specializations which at times make it difficult to communicate with each
other, we made up a whole, working in everything on the basis of a single
rationality with its various aspects and sharing responsibility for the
right use of reason — this reality became a lived experience.

The university was also very proud of its two theological faculties. It was
clear that, by inquiring about the reasonableness of faith, they too carried
out a work which is necessarily part of the “whole” of the “universitas
scientiarum,” even if not everyone could share the faith which theologians
seek to correlate with reason as a whole. This profound sense of coherence
within the universe of reason was not troubled, even when it was once
reported that a colleague had said there was something odd about our
university: It had two faculties devoted to something that did not exist:
God. That even in the face of such radical skepticism it is still necessary
and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and
to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith: This,
within the university as a whole, was accepted without question.

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by professor
Theodore Khoury (Muenster) of part of the dialogue carried on — perhaps in
1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara — by the erudite Byzantine emperor
Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity
and Islam, and the truth of both.

It was probably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the
siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why
his arguments are given in greater detail than the responses of the learned
Persian. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained
in the Bible and in the Koran, and deals especially with the image of God
and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship of
the “three Laws”: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran.

In this lecture I would like to discuss only one point — itself rather
marginal to the dialogue itself — which, in the context of the issue of
“faith and reason,” I found interesting and which can serve as the starting
point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation (”dialesis” — controversy) edited by professor
Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The
emperor must have known that sura 2:256 reads: “There is no compulsion in
religion.” It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was
still powerless and under [threat]. But naturally the emperor also knew the
instructions, developed later and recorded in the Koran, concerning holy
war.

Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded
to those who have the “Book” and the “infidels,” he turns to his
interlocutor somewhat brusquely with the central question on the
relationship between religion and violence in general, in these words: “Show
me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things
only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith
he preached.”

The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith
through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with
the nature of God and the nature of the soul. “God is not pleased by blood,
and not acting reasonably (”syn logo”) is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is
born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs
the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and
threats…. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm,
or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with
death….”

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this:
Not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature. The
editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by
Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching,
God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our
categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted
French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to
state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would
oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God’s will, we would even have
to practice idolatry.

As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is
concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges
us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God’s
nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?

I believe that here we can see the profound harmony between what is Greek in
the best sense of the word and the biblical understanding of faith in God.
Modifying the first verse of the Book of Genesis, John began the prologue of
his Gospel with the words: “In the beginning was the ‘logos.’”

This is the very word used by the emperor: God acts with logos. Logos means
both reason and word — a reason which is creative and capable of
self-communication, precisely as reason. John thus spoke the final word on
the biblical concept of God, and in this word all the often toilsome and
tortuous threads of biblical faith find their culmination and synthesis. In
the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. The
encounter between the biblical message and Greek thought did not happen by
chance.

The vision of St. Paul, who saw the roads to Asia barred and in a dream saw
a Macedonian man plead with him: “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” (cf.
Acts 16:6-10) — this vision can be interpreted as a “distillation” of the
intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between biblical faith and Greek
inquiry.

In point of fact, this rapprochement had been going on for some time. The
mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which
separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and
declares simply that he is, already presents a challenge to the notion of
myth, to which Socrates’ attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in
close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the
burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of
Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as
the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes
the words uttered at the burning bush: “I am.”

This new understanding of God is accompanied by a kind of enlightenment,
which finds stark expression in the mockery of gods who are merely the work
of human hands (cf. Psalm 115). Thus, despite the bitter conflict with those
Hellenistic rulers who sought to accommodate it forcibly to the customs and
idolatrous cult of the Greeks, biblical faith, in the Hellenistic period,
encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual
enrichment evident especially in the later wisdom literature.

Today we know that the Greek translation of the Old Testament produced at
Alexandria — the Septuagint — is more than a simple (and in that sense
perhaps less than satisfactory) translation of the Hebrew text: It is an
independent textual witness and a distinct and important step in the history
of Revelation, one which brought about this encounter in a way that was
decisive for the birth and spread of Christianity. A profound encounter of
faith and reason is taking place here, an encounter between genuine
enlightenment and religion. From the very heart of Christian faith and, at
the same time, the heart of Greek thought now joined to faith, Manuel II was
able to say: Not to act “with logos” is contrary to God’s nature.

In all honesty, one must observe that in the late Middle Ages we find trends
in theology which would sunder this synthesis between the Greek spirit and
the Christian spirit. In contrast with the so-called intellectualism of
Augustine and Thomas, there arose with Duns Scotus a voluntarism which
ultimately led to the claim that we can only know God’s “voluntas ordinata.”
Beyond this is the realm of God’s freedom, in virtue of which he could have
done the opposite of everything he has actually done.

This gives rise to positions which clearly approach those of Ibn Hazn and
might even lead to the image of a capricious God, who is not even bound to
truth and goodness. God’s transcendence and otherness are so exalted that
our reason, our sense of the true and good, are no longer an authentic
mirror of God, whose deepest possibilities remain eternally unattainable and
hidden behind his actual decisions.

As opposed to this, the faith of the Church has always insisted that between
God and us, between his eternal Creator Spirit and our created reason there
exists a real analogy, in which unlikeness remains infinitely greater than
likeness, yet not to the point of abolishing analogy and its language (cf.
Lateran IV).

God does not become more divine when we push him away from us in a sheer,
impenetrable voluntarism; rather, the truly divine God is the God who has
revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act
lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love “transcends” knowledge and is
thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Ephesians 3:19);
nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. Consequently,
Christian worship is “logic latreia” — worship in harmony with the eternal
Word and with our reason (cf. Romans 12:1).

This inner rapprochement between biblical faith and Greek philosophical
inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of
the history of religions, but also from that of world history — it is an
event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not
surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant
developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive
character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: This
convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created
Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.

The thesis that the critically purified Greek heritage forms an integral
part of Christian faith has been countered by the call for a
de-Hellenization of Christianity — a call which has more and more dominated
theological discussions since the beginning of the modern age. Viewed more
closely, three stages can be observed in the program of de-Hellenization:
Although interconnected, they are clearly distinct from one another in their
motivations and objectives.

De-Hellenization first emerges in connection with the fundamental postulates
of the Reformation in the 16th century. Looking at the tradition of
scholastic theology, the Reformers thought they were confronted with a faith
system totally conditioned by philosophy, that is to say an articulation of
the faith based on an alien system of thought. As a result, faith no longer
appeared as a living historical Word but as one element of an overarching
philosophical system.

The principle of “sola scriptura,” on the other hand, sought faith in its
pure, primordial form, as originally found in the biblical Word. Metaphysics
appeared as a premise derived from another source, from which faith had to
be liberated in order to become once more fully itself. When Kant stated
that he needed to set thinking aside in order to make room for faith, he
carried this program forward with a radicalism that the Reformers could
never have foreseen. He thus anchored faith exclusively in practical reason,
denying it access to reality as a whole.

The liberal theology of the 19th and 20th centuries ushered in a second
stage in the process of de-Hellenization, with Adolf von Harnack as its
outstanding representative. When I was a student, and in the early years of
my teaching, this program was highly influential in Catholic theology too.
It took as its point of departure Pascal’s distinction between the God of
the philosophers and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In my inaugural lecture at Bonn in 1959, I tried to address the issue. I
will not repeat here what I said on that occasion, but I would like to
describe at least briefly what was new about this second stage of
de-Hellenization. Harnack’s central idea was to return simply to the man
Jesus and to his simple message, underneath the accretions of theology and
indeed of Hellenization: This simple message was seen as the culmination of
the religious development of humanity. Jesus was said to have put an end to
worship in favor of morality. In the end he was presented as the father of a
humanitarian moral message.

The fundamental goal was to bring Christianity back into harmony with modern
reason, liberating it, that is to say, from seemingly philosophical and
theological elements, such as faith in Christ’s divinity and the triune God.
In this sense, historical-critical exegesis of the New Testament restored to
theology its place within the university: Theology, for Harnack, is
something essentially historical and therefore strictly scientific. What it
is able to say critically about Jesus is, so to speak, an expression of
practical reason and consequently it can take its rightful place within the
university.

Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically
expressed in Kant’s “Critiques,” but in the meantime further radicalized by
the impact of the natural sciences. This modern concept of reason is based,
to put it briefly, on a synthesis between Platonism (Cartesianism) and
empiricism, a synthesis confirmed by the success of technology.

On the one hand it presupposes the mathematical structure of matter, its
intrinsic rationality, which makes it possible to understand how matter
works and use it efficiently: This basic premise is, so to speak, the
Platonic element in the modern understanding of nature. On the other hand,
there is nature’s capacity to be exploited for our purposes, and here only
the possibility of verification or falsification through experimentation can
yield ultimate certainty. The weight between the two poles can, depending on
the circumstances, shift from one side to the other. As strongly
positivistic a thinker as J. Monod has declared himself a convinced
Platonist/Cartesian.

This gives rise to two principles which are crucial for the issue we have
raised. First, only the kind of certainty resulting from the interplay of
mathematical and empirical elements can be considered scientific. Anything
that would claim to be science must be measured against this criterion.
Hence the human sciences, such as history, psychology, sociology and
philosophy, attempt to conform themselves to this canon of scientificity.

A second point, which is important for our reflections, is that by its very
nature this method excludes the question of God, making it appear an
unscientific or pre-scientific question. Consequently, we are faced with a
reduction of the radius of science and reason, one which needs to be
questioned.

We shall return to this problem later. In the meantime, it must be observed
that from this standpoint any attempt to maintain theology’s claim to be
“scientific” would end up reducing Christianity to a mere fragment of its
former self. But we must say more: It is man himself who ends up being
reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny,
the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the
purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be
relegated to the realm of the subjective.

The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers
tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the
sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion
lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal
matter. This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from
the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt
when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer
concern it. Attempts to construct an ethic from the rules of evolution or
from psychology and sociology, end up being simply inadequate.

Before I draw the conclusions to which all this has been leading, I must
briefly refer to the third stage of de-Hellenization, which is now in
progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is
often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early
Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on
other cultures.

The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the
New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew
in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse
and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears
the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the
Old Testament developed.

True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not
have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental
decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human
reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with
the nature of faith itself.

And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at
a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the
clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights
of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged
unreservedly: We are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it
has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been
granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to
the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the
basic tenets of Christianity.

The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of
broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in
the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from
these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them.

We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new
way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically
verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense
theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging
dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the
human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality
of faith.

Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and
religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held
that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are
universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this
exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on
their most profound convictions.

A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the
realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.
At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with
its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which
points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern
scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of
matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational
structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based.

Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has
to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of
thought — to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a
different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights
of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in
particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an
unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding.

Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier
conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so
Socrates says: “It would be easily understandable if someone became so
annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised
and mocked all talk about being — but in this way he would be deprived of
the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss.”

The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions which
underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby. The
courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its
grandeur — this is the program with which a theology grounded in biblical
faith enters into the debates of our time.

“Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God,” said
Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to
his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of
reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To
rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.

[Translation of German original issued by the Holy See; adapted]

C Copyright 2006 — Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Justification

May all prayers be answered. John 17:20-23

July 23rd, 2006

NewsFlash! - Abstinence Works

Its amazing how things work out better for us when we follow God’s laws.

Ugandan Abstinence Winning the Battle Against Aids

Catholic Teaching on Gambling

Paragraph 2413 of the Catholic Catechism
2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.

I find the last line a bit odd. Cheating when gambling constitutes grave matter unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers cannot reasonably consider it significant. Its almost contradictory and seems to be a fine line. I’m not sure the line should be so fine when it comes to crossing into the territory of grave matter. Cheating is wrong regardless of whether your playing cards or taking a test. If someone has heard and explaination of this last line please leave a comment.

Catholic Charities

Today I heard on the radio that the United Way had it’s kickoff meeting. One thing I like about the United Way is that you can direct which local charities get your funds. So let me suggest that if you don’t already participate in the United Way that you start and that if you already do participate that you select Catholic Charities as a recipiant of your donations. To find out more about Catholic Charities checkout their website www.CatholicCharitiesKS.com.

St. Joseph & the Miracle Staircase

Well I haven’t posted anything in sometime. I guess you could say that I took the summer off. Recently my brother told me about a staircase in Sante Fe, NM that was built by a mysterious gentleman in the late 1800’s which some believe to be St. Joseph himself. The miracle staircase can still be seen today.

The following text is from www.transporter.com
In 1872 the bishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico commissioned the building of a convent chapel, Our Lady of Light Chapel in the care of the Sisters of Loretto. During the course of its construction the architect died suddenly and only afterwards did the builders discover an error in the plans. There was no staircase to the choir loft. But worse, at that point of construction, any stairwell would take up much needed space and disfigure the design.

The nuns began nine days of prayer in honor of St. Joseph, for he was a carpenter. On the day after their novena ended, a shabbily dressed man appeared at the door. The Sisters showed him their choir loft and the limited space available to erect a staircase. He assured them he would be able to build one, and so they let him undertake the task. With him was a burro carrying the toolbox. He offered to begin at once, if they would allow him total privacy while he worked. They hired him and he locked himself in. For three months he permitted no visitors, then he opened the doors.

When the Mother Superior entered, she stared in amazement, there in the corner was a beautiful freestanding staircase rising in a double spiral to the choir loft that may be seen today by visitors to Santa Fe. Each section is perfectly fitted in a groove–not a nail being used in its construction. There is no central pole, no wall attachment, no sign of a nail or screw–just a few wooden pegs. Moreover, the wood he used was unlike any the Mother had ever seen. Yet the carpenter had brought no wood with him. Architects from all sections of the country go to inspect this unique and marvelous piece of craftsmanship. When the work was completed and the Mother Superior of the convent wished to pay the man for his service, he was nowhere to be found. No one had seen him come or go. A reward was offered; no one ever claimed it. It is thought that the unknown carpenter was none other than St. Joseph, in whose honor the Sisters had received Communion every Wednesday that he might assist them in building a staircase. There is no doubt that the prayers of those nuns were answered in a most remarkable way.

www.LorettoChapel.com.