Jimmy Carter and â€˜The Eldersâ€™ To mark his 89th birthday, former South African President Nelson Mandela announced the launch of a global Council of Elders, a group boasting the alleged sagacity of nearly a thousand yearsâ€™ life experience and the belief that it can save the world. Backed in part by the resoundingly effective United Nations, â€œThe Eldersâ€ is the brainchild of businessman Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel.
Churches prepare to rebut ‘DaVinci’
Area churches are preparing to counter unorthodox claims about Jesus Christ in the movie “The Da Vinci Code,” which opens in theaters later this month.
“‘The Da Vinci Code’ kind of gave a focus that there’s a lot [of misinformation] about Jesus Christ and Christianity out there, and perhaps it’s time to rebut it,” said Monsignor Francis J. Maniscalco, a spokesman for the District-based U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“If people see [the movie], they should go prepared…” —excerpted from an article by Gary Emerling in The Washington Times, 05.07.06 read the article
Stupid is as stupid reasons…
“War is not a curse which characterizes human nature: it is a curse which characterizes Life. There is no way to avoid war because war is a part of Life. Repulsive, hideous? Of course. So hideous that my atheism stems mainly from it. That is, from my refusal to accept the idea of a Creator who invented a world where Life kills Life, where Life eats Life. A world where in order to survive one has to kill and eat other living beings. Be they chickens or clams or tomatoes. If such an existence had been conceived by a Creator, I say, that Creator would be a very nasty one indeed.” –Oriana Fallaci
The reasoning of God
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” –the Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Seeking Truth at the Movies
“Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false,” says one of the characters in “The Da Vinci Code,” the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. It’s not clear whether this line will appear in the movie, which reaches theaters in three weeks, but some version of it probably will make the final cut. Although nobody expects Christians to riot over “The Da Vinci Code” the way Muslims did over those Mohammad cartoons, some clergymen already have announced their disapproval.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, used his Easter sermon to criticize Mr. Brown’s book for making the true story of Christianity seem “automatically suspect.” In an advertisement in the New York Times, the Catholic League compared “The Da Vinci Code” to the anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
It turns out, however, that many Christian leaders are choosing a completely different approach to the movie. They certainly aren’t embracing “The Da Vinci Code” and its conspiracy theories about the supposed marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, the phony divinity of Christ and so on. Yet many view the film as providing an unconventional occasion — a “teachable moment,” as they say — to spread their faith. “It’s a marvelous opportunity to be positive,” said Josh McDowell of Campus Crusade for Christ in the Orlando Sentinel. “If you look carefully, truth will always stand.”
The movie’s tagline happens to be “seek the truth” — a phrase that feels like an invitation to explore and think rather than a demand to watch and submit. It distantly echoes Acts 17:11, which urges people to read Scripture so that they may determine its validity. Sony Pictures, the studio behind the film, obviously hopes that millions of Christian truth-seekers will feel inspired to buy tickets. There’s no guarantee that they will: In 1988, when Christians protested “The Last Temptation of Christ” for its depictions of Jesus as lustful and confused, Mr. McDowell’s organization tried to buy the film prints so that they could be destroyed…–excerpted from an article by John J. Miller in The Wall Street Journal 04.28.06 read the complete article here
Gay Episcopalians’ Divisive Ambitions
At least since the late (and liberal) Rev. James J. Pike presided over the California diocese of the Episcopal Church 40 years ago, that section of the worldwide Anglican communion has been mired in controversy over fundamental questions of morality and theology. These days it concerns the election of a new Diocesan bishop, three of the seven candidates for which are not only openly gay (one lesbian) but “partnered.” (So much for the “We may be gay, but we’re celibate!” lullaby argument of years past.) This NYTimes article quotes both sides of the debate which, like all such controversies, threatens to divide an already divided church.
The Times reports that the Anglican Communion has 77 million adherents, but fails to mention that most of them are in the Third World, especially Africa, and that Americans make up less than five percent of that total. It is generally not the number but the status of the members that gives them influence. For that reason, one cannot be indifferent to the effect of what ostensibly is officially only church policy but actually affects public policy in the United States. –by Richard Reeb, as found at The Claremont Institute’s website.
As Marijuana Use Rises, More People Are Seeking Treatment for Addiction
People are aware of the addictive potential of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, even gambling. But the perception persists that marijuana isn’t addictive.
The doggedness of this myth may be attributable to the campaign to legalize the drug, as well as the comparatively subtle costs of marijuana addiction. But there is virtually no debate among American researchers, who have been documenting and studying marijuana addiction for more than two decades. Now, Cambridge University Press has combined the results of their federally funded studies — most already published in peer-reviewed journals — in a new book called “Cannabis Dependence.”
The book offers substantial scientific evidence of what Marijuana Anonymous members know firsthand — that the euphoria induced by THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, can be addictive. Studies show that between 2% and 3% of U.S. marijuana users become addicted within two years of first trying the drug, which is scientifically known as cannabis. About 10% of those who try it become addicted at some point.
Now, addiction-treatment statistics are showing dramatic growth in marijuana-related problems. A study issued last month by the University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research examined the drug of choice for Americans seeking treatment for addiction during the decade that ended in 2003. It found that the percentage of addicts who cited marijuana as their primary problem more than doubled to 16% from 7%, while alcohol fell to 41% from 57%. Among illegal drugs, only opiates ranked higher than marijuana as a problem for treatment seekers.
Marijuana’s rise in the ranks of problem drugs may reflect a big spike in usage. The number of Americans age 12 and older using marijuana at least once a a month jumped to 14.6 million in 2004 from 10.1 million in 1996, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which adds that some of that jump may be attributable to a change in surveying methods… –excerpted from an article by Kevin Helliker in The Wall Street Journal, 05.02.06, read the complete article here