Archives for category: Quote

At a very young age, her mother told her: “Something bad happened to me. A very bad man hurt me, but God gave me you.”
Miss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto, 24, who will compete for the Miss USA 2014

 

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Dr. Collin Garbarino started a facebook group for reading through Augustine’s City of God, here https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReadingCityOfGod/. He is archiving it at his blog, here http://collingarbarino.com/reading-city-of-god/.

I joined the facebook group and have been enjoying the reading. It has been quite striking how much of what Augustine wrote 1600 years ago sounds like something that was written today. He commented about answering replies, and you would have thought he was running a controversial blog with its share of trolls and contrarians.

Our reading for yesterday was chapters 19 and 20 of book II. See if this doesn’t sound like it was written of the USA:

Chapter 19

Of the Corruption Which Had Grown Upon the Roman Republic Before Christ Abolished the Worship of the Gods.  

Here, then, is this Roman republic, “which has changed little by little from the fair and virtuous city it was, and has become utterly wicked and dissolute.” It is not I who am the first to say this, but their own authors, from whom we learned it for a fee, and who wrote it long before the coming of Christ. You see how, before the coming of Christ, and after the destruction of Carthage, “the primitive manners, instead of undergoing insensible alteration, as hitherto they had done, were swept away as by a torrent; and how depraved by luxury and avarice the youth were.” Let them now, on their part, read to us any laws given by their gods to the Roman people, and directed against luxury and avarice. And would that they had only been silent on the subjects of chastity and modesty, and had not demanded from the people indecent and shameful practices, to which they lent a pernicious patronage by their so-called divinity. Let them read our commandments in the Prophets, Gospels, Acts of the Apostles or Epistles; let them peruse the large number of precepts against avarice and luxury which are everywhere read to the congregations that meet for this purpose, and which strike the ear, not with the uncertain sound of a philosophical discussion, but with the thunder of God’s own oracle pealing from the clouds. And yet they do not impute to their gods the luxury and avarice, the cruel and dissolute manners, that had rendered the republic utterly wicked and corrupt, even before the coming of Christ; but whatever affliction their pride and effeminacy have exposed them to in these latter days, they furiously impute to our religion. If the kings of the earth and all their subjects, if all princes and judges of the earth, if young men and maidens, old and young, every age, and both sexes; if they whom the Baptist addressed, the publicans and the soldiers, were all together to hearken to and observe the precepts of the Christian religion regarding a just and virtuous life, then should the republic adorn the whole earth with its own felicity, and attain in life everlasting to the pinnacle of kingly glory. But because this man listens and that man scoffs, and most are enamored of the blandishments of vice rather than the wholesome severity of virtue, the people of Christ, whatever be their condition-whether they be kings, princes, judges, soldiers, or provincials, rich or poor, bond or free, male or female-are enjoined to endure this earthly republic, wicked and dissolute as it is, that so they may by this endurance win for themselves an eminent place in that most holy and august assembly of angels and republic of heaven, in which the will of God is the law.

Chapter 20

Of the Kind of Happiness and Life Truly Delighted in by Those Who Inveigh Against the Christian Religion.

But the worshippers and admirers of these gods delight in imitating their scandalous iniquities, and are nowise concerned that the republic be less depraved and licentious. Only let it remain undefeated, they say, only let it flourish and abound in resources; let it be glorious by its victories, or still better, secure in peace; and what matters it to us? This is our concern, that every man be able to increase his wealth so as to supply his daily prodigalities, and so that the powerful may subject the weak for their own purposes. Let the poor court the rich for a living, and that under their protection they may enjoy a sluggish tranquillity; and let the rich abuse the poor as their dependants, to minister to their pride. Let the people applaud not those who protect their interests, but those who provide them with pleasure. Let no severe duty be commanded, no impurity forbidden. Let kings estimate their prosperity, not by the righteousness, but by the servility of their subjects. Let the provinces stand loyal to the kings, not as moral guides, but as lords of their possessions and purveyors of their pleasures; not with a hearty reverence, but a crooked and servile fear. Let the laws take cognizance rather of the injury done to another man’s property, than of that done to one’s own person. If a man be a nuisance to his neighbor, or injure his property, family, or person, let him be actionable; but in his own affairs let everyone with impunity do what he will in company with his own family, and with those who willingly join him. Let there be a plentiful supply of public prostitutes for every one who wishes to use them, but specially for those who are too poor to keep one for their private use. Let there be erected houses of the largest and most ornate description: in these let there be provided the most sumptuous banquets, where every one who pleases may, by day or night, play, drink, vomit, 113 dissipate. Let there be everywhere heard the rustling of dancers, the loud, immodest laughter of the theatre; let a succession of the most cruel and the most voluptuous pleasures maintain a perpetual excitement. If such happiness is distasteful to any, let him be branded as a public enemy; and if any attempt to modify or put an end to it let him be silenced, banished, put an end to. Let these be reckoned the true gods, who procure for the people this condition of things, and preserve it when once possessed. Let them be worshipped as they wish; let them demand whatever games they please, from or with their own worshippers; only let them secure that such felicity be not imperilled by foe, plague, or disaster of any kind. What sane man would compare a republic such as this, I will not say to the Roman empire, but to the palace of Sardanapalus, the ancient king who was so abandoned to pleasures, that he caused it to be inscribed on his tomb, that now that he was dead, he possessed only those things which he had swallowed and consumed by his appetites while alive? If these men had such a king as this, who, while self-indulgent, should lay no severe restraint on them, they would more enthusiastically consecrate to him a temple and a flamen than the ancient Romans did to Romulus. Footnotes [113] The same collocation of words is used by Cicero with reference to the well-known mode of renewing the appetite in use among the Romans.

St. Augustine (2013-03-30). City of God (Kindle Locations 1808-1813). Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition.

It seems to me Augustine had good and timeless insight, as well as good and timeless advise.

A note on the Kindle edition of the work, it cost me 99 cents from Amazon. The same translation is available free (including the few transcription mistakes) in HTML. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1201.htm (There is also the possibility of downloading (or ordering on CD) “an ocean” of information.)

Quote of the WeekOur freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Richard Feynman, Value of Science

Clarke was a visionary.

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not.
Both are equally terrifying.”

Arthur C. Clarke

That goes for everything–natural and supernatural–seen and unseen–rational and irrational.

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

Douglas Adams

I have a quote below that I pulled from Anthony’s site (WUWT: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/26/newsbytes-global-warming-downgraded-james-lovelock-recants/), which he pulled from Bishop Hill (link below), with additional credits, from James Lovelock.

I love that Lovelock says fundamentalists have taken over environmentalism. I think despite the fact that he is a zealot himself, he finally noticed just how religious and dogmatic it all has become. Gaia, Mother Nature, or some ideal of greenness has come to replace God in the modern religion, which is a hybrid of the faith of our fathers, the love of nature, and simple self-worship. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Timothy 4:9

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“A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.”

– Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat (1915-2002)

Watts Up With That?

It seems disdain for “consensus” as we know it is nothing new:

View original post 26 more words

Change is the burden of the world, the risk of existence, and the ugliest fabric used in the tapestry of life.

Joe Blackwood

The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it.

George Santayana, Little Essays (1920) “Ideal Immortality”

Excuses have their uses, but none are for the best. A few items I came across, mostly via internet search. Some of these are quite noteworthy. I need to incorporate these truths better, as I’m sure most of us do.

This first one is particularly significant to me at the moment:

Your letter of excuses has arrived. I receive the letter but do not admit the excuses except in courtesy, as when a man treads on your toes and begs your pardon – the pardon is granted, but the joint aches, especially if there is a corn upon it. Lord Byron

Don’t make excuses – make good. Elbert Hubbard

An excuse is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. Billy Sunday
{Amen, Brother!}

No one ever excused his way to success. Dave Del Dotto

Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing. Steven Grayhm

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. Don Wilder and Bill Rechin

There is no such thing as a list of reasons. There is either one sufficient reason or a list of excuses. Robert Brault, http://www.robertbrault.comRobertBrault.com

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they make a good excuse. Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin
Two wrongs don’t make a right but three lefts do. Reliant K (among others)

It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people, to focus your energies on answers – not excuses. William Arthur Ward

Any excuse will serve a tyrant. Aesop
{And the take away would be to avoid acting like a tyrant, and make no excuses.}

Usually, terrible things that are done with the excuse that progress requires them are not really progress at all, but just terrible things. Russell Baker {Awfully familiar nowadays.}

We are not in a position in which we have nothing to work with. We already have capacities, talents, direction, missions, and callings. Abraham H. Maslow

Uncalled for excuses are practical confessions. Charles Simmons

There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. Art Turock

Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. George W. Carver {Not quite connected, but I keep thinking of it when I spot this one, “and the good shepherd left the 99 to find the one lost sheep, and when he found it he was joyous and invited his friends to rejoice with him.”}

“A bad workman always blames his tools.”

People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses. Dr. Laura Schlessinger

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(making_excuses)

Wow, conclusive evidence that you don’t have to be perfect to say something worthwhile:
http://www.personal-development.com/chuck/excuses.htm

Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.
Men willingly believe what they wish.
Gaius Julius Caesar
De Bello Gallico, Book III, Ch. 18, as translated in Great Thoughts from Classic Authors (1891) by Craufurd Tait Ramage, p. 442

Variant translation: Nearly always people believe willingly that which they wish.
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People believe whatever they want to believe for whatever reasons they deem appropriate at the time.

At least, that is the way I see it.

Once harm has been done, even a fool understands it.

Homer

It is amazing how bad it must get before most people do recognize it though. The human tolerance for bad ideas is unfathomable.

BTW, the Greek Homer, not the yellow one. 😉

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Servetus
John Calvin was the chief instigator in the execution of Servetus for challenging his authority. After burning Servetus at the stake, Calvin wrote:

Whoever shall maintain that wrong is done to heretics and blasphemers in punishing them makes himself an accomplice in their crime and guilty as they are. There is no question here of man’s authority; it is God who speaks, and clear it is what law he will have kept in the church, even to the end of the world. Wherefore does he demand of us a so extreme severity, if not to show us that due honor is not paid him, so long as we set not his service above every human consideration, so that we spare not kin, nor blood of any, and forget all humanity when the matter is to combat for His glory.

Marshall, John (2006). John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture. Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 325. ISBN 0-521-65114-X. That no such doctrine was ever a part of the teachings of Christ’s ministry or the early Christian church has caused no end of debate as to the real intentions of those who tortured and killed those whose views differed from those of the ecclesiastical authorities at the time.
Primary: Calvin, Defensio orhodoxae fidei (1554), 46-7; Allen, Political Thought, 86-7

So, to that great Christian theologian, reformer, and leader [at least to some], I am either an idiot, too dumb to know better, or a simple sinner, too self-centered and short sighted to care, or I must be an atheist.

I reject all of that. (Besides, it reminds me too much of Marx, Lenin, and Mao and their allegiance to communism.) I’m a Christian. I just think a god who needs men to defend him, even kill for him, is simply no god at all. My God is bigger than that. My God can handle my failings, and yours too, and He doesn’t accept it as good if either of us judges the other over it. The scripture teaches to judge fruit, not men. Burning someone at the stake for holding an unusual trinitarian view and for renouncing infant-baptism is not good fruit. John Calvin seems to have had more rotten fruit than good.

For some, I think violence against others with regard to belief stems from power and authority problems (“Power corrupts…”), but for most, I believe it stems from fear. We Christians are commanded to walk in love, which casts out fear, and in faith, which is opposed to fear. This would seem to apply to other areas of life, especially to politics.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

Mark Twain

“When in doubt tell the truth.”

Mark Twain

I’ll add that there is always a doubt. Always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and admit you were wrong when you err.

Also,

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Albert Einstein

And for a little seasoning:

“Communism is like prohibition, it’s a good idea but it won’t work.”

Will Rogers

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