Wednesday, 4/9/14

    1. Another sign of dramatic historial inversion
    2. Noah: A very Jewish Movie
    3. Ad fontes: What is Justice?
    4. Religious freedom west and further west
    5. Scripture twisting (but in a good enough cause)

1

Susannah Black calls attention to a new cold war of a sort that may surprise you:

If Putin is mouthing platitudes, they’re at least sane platitudes, as opposed to the mad platitudes that talk about “quality of life” and that seem to see, as the chief end of man, a series of robustly healthy days, interesting nights, and seasonally-appropriate cocktails; that see nothing sacred in the human person per se, nothing to be defended.

… [H]ere of all places we must leverage the wisdom of history: The arguments in favor of euthanasia for eugenic reasons have almost always been put in terms of humane advances on traditional, hide-bound, stodgy old ethics. This was certainly the case in the American eugenics movement that was so enthusiastically taken up by the Nazis.

… I can’t get fully on board with those who endorse the Crimean referendum—which overwhelmingly supported the Russian position.  But one thing that can be said about it is that is was in some sense a referendum on the culture war that is heating up in Europe: a continent that is now divided as it has not been—dare I say—since the Second World War on fundamental questions about the integrity and value of the human person.

As I have said, we’re seeing a very dramatic historical inversion.

2

A fine Orthodox visual artist has a much different take on Noah than did Roman Catholic Barbara Nicolosi. Meanwhile, I’m thinking I should re-up for Netflix and watch Groundhog Day again – or Punch-Drunk Love for the first time.

3

Justice does not mean treating everyone the same; it means treating everyone in accordance with whom and what they are. When I was young, a man was called a sexist (and rightly so) if he treated women exactly the same way as he treated men. Today, in keeping with the modern idol of fairness, he is more likely to be called a sexist if he does not treat them exactly the same.

The goal of justice is not for everyone to have the same education, the same salary, the same awards, and the same possessions. Justice gives to each his due, in accordance with his merit, his status, and his dignity: not his eternal dignity as a child of God, but his temporal dignity as a unique individual living in a specific time and place. Indeed, the quickest way to rob a man or woman of their dignity is to treat them as if they were the same as everyone else.

(Louis Markos, Advice to My Son 26: Justice versus Fairness)

4

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

First Amendment to the United States Constitution (part of the “Bill of Rights,” the first ten amendments).

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

 Both quotes from How Europe defines religious freedom.

5

An old friend, and a good man (I once basked in “you knew him in high school!?”), has concluded (correctly, I think) that America needs Christian revival.

Today, he and I would differ very greatly on what Christian revival would look like. He has remained, it appears, Evangelical Protestant, while I have not. But what’s more interesting is one of his calls for revival:

What happens when God’s manifest presence shows up?

We read in Matthew 17 that Peter, James and John accompanied Jesus up a mountain. Soon Jesus face began to shine like the sun and Moses and Elijah showed up! Apparently the disciples thought this experience was awesome. In fact, Peter said, “It is good for us to be here.” He then suggested that they build some shelters for Jesus and these two Old Testament prophets. Up to that point, all was well for them.

But then God showed up in power and things got very serious very fast!
Scripture says that when the disciples heard the voice of Almighty God from a cloud they fell facedown to the ground terrified. That is the power of revival. Pray we will experience His presence in our day and that our lives likewise will be changed.

Swell. So swell that my Church observes Christ’s Transfiguration every year, as formerly did every serious Church (so of course almost nobody observes it today).

But how do you get from “fell facedown to the ground terrified” to “our lives likewise will be changed”?! Seems to me like a serious case of eisegesis, but surely nobody who believes in sola scriptura would so shamelessly “plant evidence” in sacred writ.

Meanwhile, his other friends are positively gushing with approbation of his free association.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.