Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Problem of Evil -- Whose?

Right in time for my own Ash Wednesday meditations and Lenten prayers in general, Anthony Esolen over at MereComments has some wonderful thoughts (as usual) on the evil that is our very own..

A benevolent God would not allow so much evil to be in the world -- so I hear from people who take neither God nor evil seriously. I don't ask just how much evil would be incompatible with the benevolence of God. Presumably the objectors mean that people do evil things, and people die. I've already cast doubt upon those who use the term "evil" as a counter in an argument which they hope will lead to the conclusion that neither good nor evil exists in reality -- while they hope that their opponents fail to notice the contradiction. For now I'd like to ask, "Who are you talking about?"

"Do you believe," I ask, "that a benevolent God could not possibly have created me, or could not possibly allow me to remain in existence?"
"Well, no, I will concede that it is imaginable that a benevolent God could have created you."

"Then who are you talking about? Yourself? Do you mean that a benevolent God could not have possibly have created you?"
"No, I'm not talking about myself, either. I'm talking about the evil in the world."

And there you have it: talk about something vague, something extrinsic to myself and perhaps to my lunch companions. It is unreal. People who have a palpable sense of the presence of evil do not bandy the subject about in this way. They understand, sure, that some people commit murders. They also understand their own hardness of heart, and do not so readily dissociate themselves from killers. They see people steeped in debauchery; but they know too the promptings of the flesh. People who have really meditated upon moral evil will not wave it about like a talisman, crying, "See here, God does not exist, and therefore we may do what we please!" They will sense the evil inherent in that very rationalization. They know that they themselves are the cause that other people doubt the goodness of God. They will at least glimpse what Dostoyevsky was getting at, when Sonia tells Raskolnikov that he must lie down upon the earth in full sight of everyone, and kiss it, and cry out that he has sinned against the earth and against all people, and that he and he alone is responsible for all the evil in the world. That is what people are like, who examine their consciences, and the vanity of their imaginations.
I once knew a woman -- was passionately in love with her, in fact -- who asked me why Catholics go to confession. "To confess their sins," I answered, not understanding the question. "But what if you have no sins to confess?" she asked. That astounded me. "Everyone has sins to confess," I said. "I don't think I do," she replied.
Had I had any sense at all, I'd have run away from this scene as fast as I could. But when I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid. Setting aside the sins she and I were committing together -- that was a touchy subject, and I myself wanted to put it out of my mind -- I suggested that, for instance, everyone tells a lie now and then. "But I've never told a lie," she said, with a straight face. She was, not surprisingly, the most dishonest woman I had ever met, as I well knew at the time. I could (and did) recount a few lies she had told -- which she promptly rationalized away....

...So if you are talking to me about the problem of evil, and you are not talking from the depths of your sorrow, for the evil you yourself have committed, then I say you are not honest; you are not interested in the truth. People as innocent as children -- even they do not bandy the issue about. They, and self-convicted sinners, have good reason not to. For the problem of evil is ineluctably the personal burden of evil: and the materialist response is brutal. It is not that you will carry that burden to your grave. It is worse than that. It is that your burden in itself means nothing; and that there is no one who can lift it from your shoulders. That is, if they ever descend from their pedestals to speak to people whose consciences are so burdened. They seldom do so, lest their shoulders begin to ache. More soon on a world with "compassion" but no sin and no forgiveness...(read the whole article here)

Sex without Morals

Insanity. Our kids need clear guidelines, but we do not know what is right and wrong...That's really an excellent illustration of the cunundrum isn't it? Without Truth there is no right and wrong and then everything is up for grabs isn't it...

From MereComments:
Brits this past weekend read about a new government leaflet informing parents how to talk to their children about sex.

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, said educating older children and teenagers about sex had to be a process of negotiation. “We do not know what is right and wrong; right and wrong is relative, although your child does need clear guidelines,” she said.

So what's to tell?...(More)

Obama putting military in harm's way?

From OneNews Now:

A military advocacy organization is not happy with President Barack Obama's plans to drastically cut defense spending by $53 billion.

Military Families United (MFU) is a non-profit organization committed to supporting America's troops and their families. MFU executive director Brian Wise says the Obama administration has no qualms about providing $350 billion to bail out Wall Street or $17.4 billion to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, but cannot provide the necessary funding to protect American troops from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). "The president is taking away from a $1.5 billion budget for detecting IEDs, $1 billion. Seventy-five percent of that budget will be removed," he points out. "If those programs aren't in place, more of our soldiers will be lost to terrorists trying to kill [them]."...(More)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lessons Learned-Part 2

First a review:

Laprascopic removal of your appendix leaves two holes in the middle and one on the LEFT side.

Two weeks later a pain on the left side does at the incision site does not necessarily mean an infection.

Lessons learned from part 1 can be used in lesson 2. These would include that whole bit about rebound pain and gas not lasting more than two hours.

Now for the new lessons:

You can feel the exact same pain on your left side as you did on your right.

It can start in the morning and increase through the day.

Having this happen while your wife is out of the country while having children to watch is the epitome of poor timing.

Having neighbors (even a cranky old Frenchman) is a real blessing.

Your children, due to stress and fear and an uncanny ability to take note of opportunities that may arise at such times, may not be on their best behavior.

a CT scan and white blood cell counts can tell you (much clearer than with appendix) that you do not have an infection or abscess from your appendectomy and can see rather clearly that you have diverticulitis.

After 40 most of us have diverticulosis. these are caused by small weaknesses in the intestinal lining that causes pouches to form (diverticuli)

Pain from this condition can mimic appendicitis and is sometimes referred to as "left sided appendicitis."

Sometimes the pain from this condition can be worse.

Treatment can range anywhere along a spectrum from going home and treating with antibiotics or have a section of the colon removed.

I sat in the hospital and was fed through an IV (not even water) and given two types of antibiotics for two nights.

Having a room to yourself is much better than sharing

The antibiotics they give you are effective but brutal. Rarely have I felt so bad on antibiotics. But only if I got up.

Being fed by an IV is a fast way to lose wight but not fun.

Further tests will be required but only after recovering for another two weeks.

While recovering you probably won't feel like doing ANYTHING, not even checking e-mail or posting on a blog.

Many thanks to Chewy and MC for posting in my absence. I'm fine.

For those half a dozen readers who check in regularly, I'll be back soon. Thanks for the prayers

A Baby is Actually Human!

The citizens of North Dakota are taking major strides to acknowledge by law that a fetus is actually a human being. Fox News has the article. Of course, this has major implications for the abortion debate...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not-So-Free Exercise

Apparently Virginia is considering a law that would re-instate...RE-instate, mind you...the right of police chaplains to pray in the name of a specific deity, such as Jesus Christ. The article is here.

What I want to know is how the previous law preventing them from doing so was not a violation of the 1st Amendment that says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion or...wait for it...prohibiting the free exercise thereof?

Jesus said specifically in John 14:13, 14:14, and 16:23 that God will answer our prayers if we pray in His name. Praying in the name of Jesus is part of what it means to practice the Christian faith. Thus by definition the previous Virginia law was unconstitutional.