Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Shepherd of Hermas

One of the most interesting and useful resources on the internet is the Catholic Encyclopedia. Here is a wonderful article from the anceint book "Shepherd of Hermas" about spotting the difference between a false and true prophet of God:

The Shepherd of Hermas (Book II, Commandment 11)

"He pointed out to me some men sitting on a seat, and one man sitting on a chair. And he says to me, "Do you see the persons sitting on the seat?"

"I do, sir," said I.

"These," says he, "are the faithful, and he who sits on the chair is a false prophet, ruining the minds of the servants of God. It is the doubters, not the faithful, that he ruins. These doubters then go to him as to a soothsayer, and inquire of him what will happen to them; and he, the false prophet, not having the power of a Divine Spirit in him, answers them according to their inquiries, and according to their wicked desires, and fills their souls with expectations, according to their own wishes. For being himself empty, he gives empty answers to empty inquirers; for every answer is made to the emptiness of man.

"Some true words he does occasionally utter; for the devil fills him with his own spirit, in the hope that he may be able to overcome some of the righteous. As many, then, as are strong in the faith of the Lord, and are clothed with truth, have no connection with such spirits, but keep away from them; but as many as are of doubtful minds and frequently repent, betake themselves to soothsaying, even as the heathen, and bring greater sin upon themselves by their idolatry. For he who inquires of a false prophet in regard to any action is an idolater, and devoid of the truth, and foolish.

"For no spirit given by God requires to be asked; but such a spirit having the power of Divinity speaks all things of itself, for it proceeds from above from the power of the Divine Spirit. But the spirit which is asked and speaks according to the desires of men is earthly, light, and powerless, and it is altogether silent if it is not questioned."

"How then, sir," say I, "will a man know which of them is the prophet, and which the false prophet?"

"I will tell you," says he, "about both the prophets, and then you can try the true and the false prophet according to my directions.

"Try the man who has the Divine Spirit by his life. First, he who has the Divine Spirit proceeding from above is meek, and peaceable, and humble, and refrains from, all iniquity and the vain desire of this world, and contents himself with fewer wants than those of other men, and when asked he makes no reply; nor does he speak privately, nor when man wishes the spirit to speak does the Holy Spirit speak, but it speaks only when God wishes it to speak.

"When, then, a man having the Divine Spirit comes into an assembly of righteous men who have faith in the Divine Spirit, and this assembly of men offers up prayer to God, then the angel of the prophetic Spirit, who is destined for him, fills the man; and the man being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks to the multitude as the Lord wishes. Thus, then, will the Spirit of Divinity become manifest. Whatever power therefore comes from the Spirit of Divinity belongs to the Lord.

"Hear, then," says he, "in regard to the spirit which is earthly, and empty, and powerless, and foolish.

"First, the man who seems to have the Spirit exalts himself, and wishes to have the first seat, and is bold, and impudent, and talkative, and lives in the midst of many luxuries and many other delusions, and takes rewards for his prophecy; and if he does not receive rewards, he does not prophesy. Can, then, the Divine Spirit take rewards and prophesy? It is not possible that the prophet of God should do this, but prophets of this character are possessed by an earthly spirit.

"Then it never approaches an assembly of righteous men, but shuns them. And it associates with doubters and the vain, and prophesies to them in a comer, and deceives them, speaking to them, according to their desires, mere empty words: for they are empty to whom it gives its answers. For the empty vessel, when placed along with the empty, is not Crashed, but they correspond to each other. When, therefore, it comes into an assembly of righteous men who have a Spirit of Divinity, and they offer up prayer, that man is made empty, and the earthly spirit flees from him through fear, and that man is made dumb, and is entirely crashed, being unable to speak.

"For if you pack closely a storehouse with wine or oil, and put an empty jar in the midst of the vessels of wine or oil, you will find that jar empty as when you placed it, if you should wish to clear the storehouse. So also the empty prophets, when they come to the spirits of the righteous, are found [on leaving] to be such as they were when they came.

"This, then, is the mode of life of both prophets. Try by his deeds and his life the man who says that he is inspired. But as for you, trust the Spirit which comes from God, and has power; but the spirit which is earthly and empty trust not at all, for there is no power in it: it comes from the devil.

"Hear, then, the parable which I am to tell you. Take a stone, and throw it to the sky, and see if you can touch it. Or again, take a squirt of water and squirt into the sky, and see if you can penetrate the sky."

"How, sir," say I, "can these things take place? for both of them are impossible."

"As these things," says he, "are impossible, so also are the earthly spirits powerless and pithless. But look, on the other hand, at the power which comes from above. Hail is of the size of a very small grain, yet when it falls on a man's head how much annoyance it gives him! Or, again, take the drop which falls from a pitcher to the ground, and yet it hollows a stone. You see, then, that the smallest things coming from above have great power when they fall upon the earth. Thus also is the Divine Spirit, which comes from above, powerful. Trust, then, that Spirit, but have nothing to do with the other."

US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites

An old, but interesting article from the UK Telegraph (12/02/06):

US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites:
"Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a 'last resort' to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Don Knotts Dies at 81

Just found out that Don Knotts, best known for his role as "Barney Fife" on the Andy Griffith Show, has just passed away at age 81.

Of all the television commedies I've seen, never have a laughed so much and so hard as watching Knotts playing Barney Fife. He nailed that role so well, and so effectively, it made that show a great pleasure to watch.

He's one Hollywood star who will be greatly missed. Posted by Picasa

Sith Apprentice

Sith Apprentice

George Lucas got it all wrong; we have the actual documentary film--just released from the Republic archives--of how Darth Vader really became the apprentice of Senator Palpatine...

Click here to watch Sith Apprentice

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Americans work more, seem to accomplish less

It's official: we are, in fact, accomplishing less with least it seems that way to a lot of us.

An interesting quote from a Reuter's article:
"Technology has sped everything up and, by speeding everything up, it's slowed everything down, paradoxically,' said John Challenger, chief executive of Chicago-based outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc."
Read more here: Americans work more, seem to accomplish less.

Prehistoric Beaver Discovered in Mongolia

Dino Beaver, a.k.a.: Castorocauda lutrasimilis

A prehistoric beaver was recently unearthed in Mongolia. Scientists believe this may be the oldest aquatic mammal ever discovered, but it is NOT a precursor to modern day beavers and otters.

From the article on the FOX web site:
Although Castorocauda bears many similarities to beavers, otters, and platypuses, it's not an ancestor of any of them. It is what scientists sometimes call a "dead-end species."
But then, aren't they all?

Read more about the ancient beaver here: A Mammal Swam With the Dinosaurs

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dissent from Darwinism

It's no secret that there are many Americans, especially Christians, who do not view the neo-Darwinian model of "evolution" as being a valid representation of the "origin of species."

The problem is simply this: the classical evolutionary model with its twin pillars of random mutation and natural selection is simply incapable of producing the variety of very specialized life-forms that we find all around us. There is simply no evidence that slow, unguided mutations can generate anything more than variations, certainly not entirely new species with radically different body forms and morphology.

However, this does not mean that dissenters hold to a book of Genesis, "God created everything in six days" worldview either.

The problem with Darwinian evolution is that it has been used as a big stick by militant atheists to bang the heads of those poor, dim-witted, Bible-thumping Fundamentalists. To be blunt: Darwinian evolution became the atheist's creation myth. Since science was so enamored with the theory, it became a very big, powerful stick indeed, especially with bogus claims that it was a religiously "neutral" theory, a claim that can be easily disproven.

Now, after 150 years, it seems that science is no closer to proving Darwinian evolution than when evolutionary theory first originated. The same problem reamains today as was first noted by Darwin: species do NOT form by a nearly infinite series of tiny gradual changes, but if they change into anything at all, it must be through HUGE, GIANT STEPS that have never, ever been observed, nor could they possibly occur given our present knowledge of cellular biology.

There is a growing list of PhD's who are publically announcing their dissastisfaction with the neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. For more about this movement, check out this website: "Dissent From Darwinism"

Midwest Explodes Over Cartoons

The cartoon that began all the rage...

It is with great sadness that Theodicy reports the horid defamation of one of the greatest legends in football: Vince Lombardi (May the Lord be praised.) Some very warped minded Texan published a cartoon with a picture of the most Revered One with a block of cheese on his head. As you might imagine, this has ignited the fierce passions of the people of Wisconsin, who have been holding violent demonstrations demanding the death and dismemberment of the Texas infadel.

For more on this sad act of a wicked, evil mind, read the full story at the IowaHawk blog: Seething Midwest Explodes Over Lombardi Cartoons

A Theory of Human Motivation

In order to fully understand what it is to be human, one needs to understand the appetites that motivate us throughout life. These appetites are universal, in that all humans have them, and they are neither evil nor good, but can lead to evil or good depending on their level of satisfaction. For those who wish to learn more about this, I recommend the following paper by A.H. Maslow:A Theory of Human Motivation