Archive for June, 2008


“There are no absolutes!” The concept that there are no absolute rights or wrongs, everything is relative, is broadly advocated. This opens the door to relativism. The thesis of relativism is that whether a thing or thought is right or wrong is relative to who, what, when, where, and why a thing is done.
Ask persons who believe  there are no absolutes if they are absolutely certain there aren’t and they might well respond, “Absolutely.”
Oops, there is one.
Those who insist there are absolutes of right and wrong are called judgmental, exclusive, and partisan by relativists. I am persuaded these terms are applicable to relativists.
Relativism says if you believe in absolute truth you are wrong. This makes relativism judgmental.
Relativism in saying there are no absolute truths excludes your belief in absolute truth and is exclusive.
Relativism excludes all persons who are non-relativists from their supposedly “right thinking” party. That makes them partisans.
If the statement “There are no absolute truths” is true that is an absolute and the statement is false.
In the 1950s and 60s relativism was marketed as “Situation Ethics.” The situation determined the ethic. Advocates believed in an evolving ethic. An illustration of the incorrectness of this concept has been suggested to be slavery. 200 years ago it was socially acceptable. Today it isn’t. Suppose 200 years from now it is once again socially acceptable. Isn’t slavery an absolute wrong?
Some relativists argue that you cannot know that anything is right. If you cannot know that anything is right you cannot know that statement is right and that statement is self-contradicting meaning you can know a thing is right.
The Ancient Greek Protagrores was an early writer who issued this summary statement: “Man is the measure of all things.” Not.
That philosophy was played out in ancient
Israel in a time described as when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” That was relativism at its best. It was one of the most confusing and defeatist times in the history of the nation.
British scholar C.S. Lewis in his book, “The Abolition of Man” refers to maximums of truth as “Tau.” These “primeval moral platitudes” constitute our human moral inheritance. Some of them are justice, truthfulness, mercy, and magnanimity. If we try to operate outside the bounds of Tau under the pretension of neutrality we will learn it is impossible to develop any moral reasoning at all.
Absolutes are a bond for a society. There must be a set of standards for a culture to function harmoniously. Without absolutes there could be no moral code or judicial system.
William Penn made a statement that inflames relativists. He said, “Right is right though all men be against it and wrong is wrong though all men be for it.”
Acceptance of relativism is distorting our national vision.

Was Jesus Married?

Following is an oversimplified brief history of the emerging church in Rome. A Catholic historian could do a much better job and doubtless would prefer a fuller accounting. Having studied the early church it is not my primary purpose to recount it but to share enough evidence to prove another point entirely which is actually in defense of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church can give a name for every Bishop of Rome dating back to Peter. Some of these are questionable and little is known of them. Parenthetically there are other denominations that make the same claim. During those early years the Bishop of Rome had little or no authority over bishops from other areas.
The first council held at the behest of an Emperor was held by Bishop Melitiades in 313 AD. This established the first link between the papacy and temporal powers.
The first church buildings were erected in Rome between 312 and 337 AD.
The renowned first Council of Nicea was held in 325 AD.
Leo the Great, also known as Leo I, who served from 440-461 AD defined Catholic orthodoxy in his work “Tome.”
That means that between the time the Christian gospel arrived and became established in Rome that for nearly 300 years there was no authoritative all powerful Roman Catholic Church.  The church was a colony of believers meeting in homes until the early 300s.
Now the purpose of this background.
There are profiteers making a good living claiming Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children. They further claim the church fathers knew this and have kept it a secret all these years. Only they, these courageous authors and film makers, now have been so clever as to uncover this devious secret and brave enough to reveal it.
The point is there was no all powerful body that could have suppressed such a dramatic event during those early years. There was no powerful Vatican to keep this from being broadly known. Such news would have had such a revolutionary influence in those first 300 years the church would have been stillborn. The movement would have gone absolutely nowhere.
The detractors of Jesus say his disciples kept the secret initially. Why? One of the laws regarding Jewish men had to do with them marrying. If Jesus had been married there would have been no cause to keep it a secret. Marriage was the norm. The fact he was married would have been celebrated. He participated in many social functions why would his marriage not have been noted as a celebration?
Married women were known by the name of their husband and single women by their home town. Mary Magdalene meant Mary the single woman from Magdela. This indicates she was never married.
Mary Magdalene was at the cross with Mary the mother of Jesus when Jesus commended the care of his mother to his disciple John. Would a person so caring for his mother not have provided at the same moment for his wife?
I have written a historical novel that will be out later this year in which characters of the time of Jesus deal in detail with this and many other modern myths. I hope it is found to be intriguing and informative.

Liberation Theology

Liberation Theology is a new term for many. Reverend Jeremiah Wright, an advocate of this school of thought, has reintroduced it and acquainted many with it for the first time.
To concisely write on a subject as broad as this is to leave room for criticism for not fully representing the subject. To introduce it concession must be made that this is only in part a characterization of the topic.
In 1969 James Cone wrote the primary work introducing the school of thought entitled “Black Theology and Black Power.” In a later book Cone defines this school of theology in this way:
“If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community… Black theology will accept only the love of a God who participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.”1
Some current advocates say Christianity was forced on early Africans introduced to America and has failed them. Because of this failure many blacks in America are being attracted to Islam.
Islam is represented as the original faith of African-Americans. It is depicted as the faith willfully embraced by African ancestors. This completely ignores the historical reality that emerging Islam gained most converts at the point of a sword. Its evangelical style consisted of convert or die.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright is correct in saying we must love one another and consider each as an equal. He is right in saying there is an incongruence between faith and practice by many who profess faith in Christianity. Lamentably that is true of all races. Members of no other faith can plead innocent to that charge.
He made reference to 11:00 AM on Sunday as the most segregated hour of the week. Unfortunately there was a time not so distant past this was true, but not now. Churches of all ethnic and racial groups are open to “whosoever.”
The reason most churches have a core that is alike is style, not segregation. Within the white, black, brown, and yellow congregations there are preferred styles of worship and people go where there is a style they prefer. Music has a lot to do with a person’s preferred place of worship. In general in America any person can worship anywhere they want. That would not be true if people didn’t love those unlike them and consider them equals.
Christians aren’t perfect and many disgrace the name. Yet, Christians operate the largest disaster relief agencies in the world, they provide more hospitals than any independent group, rescue missions and homeless shelters proliferate, most homes for unwed mothers are supported by them, numerous sports ministries are Christian based, the largest non-government agencies designed to feed the hungry are operated by Christians, and churches provide free counseling. They would not do that if they didn’t love others and consider them equals.
1. “A Black Theology of Liberation,” by James H. Cone 1990, page 27.

Train Up A Child

Street gangs are proliferating at such a rate that some social scientists are suggesting the streets of America will be controlled by them within ten years. Two legitimate questions are “from where are they coming?” and “what are the contributing factors?”.
There are ethnic gangs such as Hispanic and Asian but native born Americans are comprising more gangs than ever. To find the cause take a close look at the American family. Serving on the Governor’s Council I became privy to amazing insight.
At birth a child has approximately 100 billion brain cells. Each cell is interconnected by thousands of others by electrochemical structures called synapse. A newborn baby has approximately 50 trillion synapses.
If the cells or synapse aren’t used they wither.
Within the brain there are areas with varying functions.
The occipital lobe is assigned the job of identifying what we see. The temporal lobe processes spoken language and hearing.
Another area is where the capacity for social interaction is determined.
By 8 months the number of synaps has grown to 1,000 trillion. By age of 20 years the number has decreased from 1,000 trillion to 500 trillion.
Certain areas of the brain are not developed at birth. They have to be developed. If a child can’t hear at birth that part of the brain does not develop. In general if a child born deaf and doesn’t hear speech by age 10 they are not likely to ever understand language. That part of the brain was undeveloped because it didn’t function during the formative years.
If a child is born blind the neural connections between the eye and brain don’t develop. If sight isn’t gained by age 2 the child will never see properly. That part of the brain did not develop during the formative years.
If certain parts of the brain are not connected by synapse in the early years they don’t develop. A young child’s experiences can cause brain synapse to increase or decrease by up to 25%.
Parts of the brain, the parietal lobe, processes touch.  Cat scans show that in children in third world countries reared in government institutions where they are not lovingly held and touched this part of the brain doesn’t develop. They are candidates for anti-social behavior. They can destroy or kill and have no remorse, no feeling.
Studies show that dads with children ages 2 to 12 spend less that 12 minutes a day with their children. Add to that the absentee father and the situation is compounded.
The lack of loving parental touch is dramatically helping gang development in America. For children to be healthy emotionally they must have the opportunity to form a comfortable and secure relationship with a loving and care-giving parent.
Not everyone reading this has the good fortune of having a young child in the home but doubtless most know friends who do. Share this insight with them as an encouragement to cultivate well balanced children who function constructively in society.

Mirror Neurons

Have you polished your “mirror neurons” lately?
Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t know you had mirror neurons. Neurologists have just discovered our brains contain them. They serve to activate our responses to emotions we sense around us. It is a subtle but definite response that occurs without us realizing what is happening.
Not only does this happen in our interpersonal relationships but they also pick up emotions from movie and TV actors.
The way these neurons work is they pick up on the emotions of other persons and cause us to tend to respond in kind. If around a negative and critical person we tend to respond in kind. Conversely if around a positive and optimistic person we mirror their emotions.
These neurons are so strong that it is possible for a person to have a great day yet as a result of being around negative people who constantly complain end the day feeling down. Here is good news. The reverse is also true. A bad day around upbeat people can create a sense of fulfillment and peace.
It is no surprise that the mirror neurons of females work better than those of males. That has long been acknowledged by people noting the female is more intuitive. She has a greater depth of feeling; more sensitive. Her mirrors are more polished.
Do you have any toxic people in your life? You know the kind of people singing that old favorite from “Hee-Haw”, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me. If it weren’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all”?  If at all possible disassociate yourself from them. If you can’t, immunize yourself against them. To do this learn to better control your emotions. Realize the impact of such a person and act rather than react to them.
When the “Law of Emotional Equilibrium” is considered it becomes apparent how important to the functioning of our mirror neurons is. Simply stated, one negative person can pull down five positive people easier than five positive people can pick up on negative person.
There is another principle that states it takes eleven positive inputs to compensate for one negative input.
Those are the norms. However, if persons are aware of these factors and sensitive to the influences to which they are exposed they can compensate for them. An anti-toxin mental inoculate is achieved by feeding your mind with great truths and associating with positive people.
Our emotional compass or to be more current our emotional GPS needs a point of reference; a gyroscopically balanced attitude.
Sir Edmund Hillary in speaking of climbing high mountains observed, “When climbing at great altitudes in the rarified oxygen deprived atmosphere, the mind has a tendency to wander. Therefore before leaving the base camp in the morning one has to fix his mind.” He then spoke of how the mind has to be fixed on the objective and not allowed to wander.
Polish your mirror neurons so you can be sensitive to the emotional needs of others but not controlled by them. People with a certain spiritual orientation find a stable fixed point of reference in the fact “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You.” Mirror that to those around you.