The reason for American Exceptionalism 1


By Tom Quiner

Why has America been exceptional?

It is because we have embraced a set of exceptional values.  These values have defined and shaped our greatness.  The video clip above, taken at a forum at the University of Denver in May, talks about this very subject.  West Coast talk show host, Dennis Prager, is the speaker.

With a watershed election coming up in November, it is worth reflecting on what we believe as a nation.

America is the only nation explicitly founded in the name of Judeo-Christian values.  God handed the building blocks of the law to Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments.  Jesus refined the law by teaching us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to respect life, to forgive.

Our Founding Fathers built a nation based on these values.  They expressed them clearly.  Every human being enjoys a fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  These rights, proclaimed our Founders, flow from God, not man.

They are immutable, inalienable, sacred.

“In God We Trust” was established as America’s motto.  It is so fundamental to whom we are, that we engrave it on our coins and print it on our currency.

In their wisdom, our Founding Fathers refused to establish a state religion.  But they were adamant that there be no separation between state and God.  To that end, they carved the Commandments and sacred scripture onto the doors and walls of our most important government institutions.  Congressional sessions begin with prayer.

Our fourth President and author of the Constitution, James Madison, hammered this point home:

We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

This is a great country because we have embraced superior values.  We believe human rights flow from God, not man.  The concept of good and evil, right and wrong flow from God.

I find comfort in knowing that the vast majority of Americans embrace the same Judeo-Christian values that made America great.  And yet I am saddened that liberal elites have successfully replaced these values with those of secular Europe.  They have not done it by the ballot box, but by judicial fiat.

America is embroiled in a terrible conflict.  I’m not talking about war or the economy.  I’m talking about who we are as a nation.

Our government says we no longer have a right to life.  Abortion is the law of the land.

The notion of what is liberty has changed.  In today’s headlines, elites tell us liberty is about taxpayer-funded abortions.

The pursuit of happiness is no longer about property and personal prosperity.  It’s about celebrating alternative lifestyles.

And God is systematically being removed from the public square by liberal pressure groups.  If you’re a college professor who states that you think marriage should be between a man and a woman, you may lose your job as a result of the power of these pressure groups.

Pressure is being waged from the top down in America to discard the Judeo-Christian value system upon which the country was built.

Is this the America you really want?

Three value systems dominate the world:  Judeo-Christian; European secularism; and Islam.

The most successful value system by any standard has been Judeo-Christian.  America’s greatness lies before us to the extent that we remain true to the Judeo-Christian values that have historically defined us.  That greatness has been defined by a proactive love for liberty.  America has spread freedom to millions at tremendous cost.  This nation is wiling to sacrifice in the name of goodness and decency, just as Christ showed us.

If we continue on the path liberal elites are taking us on, we will decline.  Simply look at Europe.  The continent is dying demographically and spiritually.

I love this country.  Like America, I’m an eternal optimist.  This November’s election is the first step to slowing our drift into European secularism.  Get out and vote.  If you don’t, you have lost your right to complain.

God bless.

Should we discriminate on the basis of religious orientation? 1


By Tom Quiner

The answer is yes if you’re the University of Illinois.

They fired Kenneth Howell who teaches Introduction to Catholicism and Modern Catholic Thought.  His sin?  He expressed Catholic thought on the subject of homosexuality.  Here is his fire-able quote:

Natural Moral Law says that Morality must be a response to REALITY.  In other words, sexual acts are only appropriate for people who are complementary, not the same.

A student labeled the professor’s response as “hate speech” and the professor was, of course, fired.  Here is what the offended student said:

Teaching a student about the tenets of a religion is one thing.  That homosexual acts violate the natural laws of man is another. The courses at this institution should be geared to contribute to the public discourse and promote independent thought; not limit one’s worldview and ostracize people of a certain sexual orientation.

It appears, though, that the student is perfectly fine with ostracizing someone of a different religious orientation.

It appears that it is fine to discourage independent thought if it is Catholic thought.

It appears that firing a Catholic professor for expressing his views contributes to the public discourse.

This is an example of political correctness run amuck.

Professor Howell evidently never brow-beat students to believe his way:

My responsibility on teaching a class on Catholicism is to teach what the Catholic Church teaches.  I have always made it very, very clear to my students they are never required to believe what I’m teaching and they’ll never be judged on that.

Imagine for a moment that the unemployed professor had instead said that he believed the Catholic Church’s position is wrong.  Had he only done that, he would:

• Be revered by academia.

• Be employed.

In the gay marriage debate that rages, supporters ask how can anyone be hurt if people who love each other are allowed to marry, even if they are the same gender?  After all, it’s a simple matter of equal rights. Right?

A few quick reactions:

• There never was any discrimination in our marriage laws.  After all, the laws were consistent regardless of one’s sexual orientation.  Someone with same-sex orientation was free to marry someone of the opposite gender, just as someone with opposite-sex orientation was prevented from marrying someone of the same gender.  Marriage was simply a matter of definition, a definition molded over several millennia based on a premise of protecting children and mothers.  Gay marriage advocates want to base marriage on the “relationship” instead of the children.

• There are going to be thousands and thousand of victims in the battle to normalize gay unions.  Professor Howell is an obvious example.  Interestingly, the mainstream media, with the exception of Fox News and the Huffington Post, have been conspicuously uninterested in this story of anti-Catholic bigotry.  But it won’t be the last example of people losing their jobs at the altar of political correctness.  Imagine Christian school teachers in states where gay marriage is the law of the land, who dare to state to students that in their eyes, marriage is only between a man and a woman.  Their state says otherwise.  Marriage is in the eyes of the state.  Your job may depend on publicly denying your Christian faith that states marriage is between a man and a woman.

Those who lose their job as a result of the redefinition of marriage certainly won’t feel that there are no victims to this act of social re-engineering.

Even gay icon, Elton John, doesn’t feel there’s a need for gay marriage:

Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage.  I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.

I am no different than you.  I know people I very much care about who have same-sex leanings.  Some of them agree with Elton John that gay marriage isn’t needed, and some very much do believe in gay marriage.

If you disagree on gay marriage, that certainly doesn’t make you a homophobe.

Nonetheless, be aware that you may be putting your job in jeopardy.

***

The YouTube video above is an interesting discussion on the subject of gay marriage between Larry King, Dennis Prager, and Perez Hilton.

Rational reasons to believe in God 2


By Tom Quiner

St. Anselm

Did Anselm of Cantebury prove God's existence?

It’s the biggest question of our life.  Does God exist?  If He does, it changes everything.

Some people drift away from a belief in God as they get older, just as some draw closer to Him.  Why do some draw away from Him?  I suppose there are many reasons.  Here are a few:

1. Belief in God seems irrational (atheism).

2. God’s existence is unlikely (agnosticism).

3. Disinterest.

4. Fear of accountability.  If God is real, the way we live our life matters more than ever, and we may have to make changes in it.

Where do you fall?

Let me dwell on #1 for a minute.

God reveals Himself to us through reason, through the natural world.  If you tend to be left-brained, that is, analytical and logical, you may find the “ontological” argument for God’s existence of interest. This approach uses reason and intuition alone to prove the existence of an all-powerful Creator.

The originator of this ontological argument is St. Anselm, the Archibishop of Cantebury in the 10th and 11th centuries.  He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Pope Clement XI because of the significance of his contributions to the study of theology.

His unique argument follows.  Dwell on it a few minutes:

1. That than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought.
2. If that than which nothing greater can be thought can be thought, it exists in reality.
3. Therefore, that than which nothing greater can be thought exists in reality.

Here is a paraphrased version of his argument from Wikipedia:

1. If I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable, then I can think of no being greater.
1a. If it is false that I can think of no being greater, it is false I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable.
2. Being is greater than not being.
3. If the being I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I can think of no being greater.
4. If the being I am thinking of does not exist, then it is false that I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable.

Conclusion: If I am thinking of the Greatest Being Thinkable, then I am thinking of a being that exists.

An interesting philosophical puzzle, isn’t it?  What do you think about St. Anselm’s proof?

Are there any flaws in his reasoning?

Was Jesus Real? 1


By Tom Quiner

Lee Strobel was an atheist who came to believe in Jesus after spending two years trying to disprove His divinity.

Be sure to watch the video from my previous post where Mr. Strobel, a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, talks about his surprising findings about Christ.

C.S. Lewis was another atheist who did not want to believe in Jesus.

His friend, J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, presented compelling arguments in defense of Christ that began to persuade Mr. Lewis to reconsider his atheism.  Mr. Lewis was further persuaded to believe in God, and eventually Jesus, after reading “The Everlasting Man” by G.K. Chesterton.

Lewis’ conversion was a reluctant one:

You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.

Mr. Lewis was transformed from an atheist into a theist and eventually into the most persuasive Christian apologist of the 20th century.

C.S. Lewis famously framed the debate on Jesus this way:  either he was lord, liar, or a lunatic.  There’s no middle ground.  He spent the rest of his life making the case for Christ.  It is a compelling case.

I put up a video in my previous post by comedienne Janeane Garafalo who dismissed Christianity as a myth.  I have listened to a little of Ms. Garafalo on TV.  I’ve read some C.S. Lewis.  Mr. Lewis comes across as the more intelligent of the two.  (Nothing against Ms. Garafalo, C.S. Lewis is smarter than most people I know!)  In fact, he was in agreement with Ms. Garafolo until he began to truly study and think … and eventually pray … about this Man who walked the earth two-thousand years named Jesus.

So why does a former atheist and crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune now believe Jesus and His claims are real? Because of the evidence.

Why did an atheistic Oxford literary academic change his mind and become one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century?  Because of the evidence.

There are two exciting paths to Jesus:  reason and revelation.  Stubborn men like Lee Strobel and C.S. Lewis were lead to Christ through the path of reason.  The upside of the journey is off the charts!

Is the Bible true? 1


By Tom Quiner

Liberal comedienne, Janeane Garofalo, recently called the Bible a “work of fiction.”  Watch …

I don’t know how much Ms. Garofalo has read, studied, or even contemplated the Bible.  But I mention her quote because she will influence a certain segment of her audience with her dismissive attitude of the most fascinating book ever written.

Is it true, though?

Is the drama of God’s gradual revelation of Himself to man really on the level?

Can we trust that the texts are accurate;  that the four Gospels that talk about Christ aren’t agenda-driven works of fiction?

I believe that the bible is God’s revelation of Himself to man.  I don’t say that casually.  I’ve come to this belief through two paths:  revelation and reason.

I read a series of books by former Chicago Tribune reporter, Lee Strobel, who wrote about his journey from atheism to Christianity.  His first book, called “The Case for Christ,” was written as if he were a reporter.   He wrote the book in an attempt to disprove Christ’s existence and His claims.

Strobel was stunned to discover that there’s a mountain of evidence to support the miraculous underpinnings of Christianity.  Watch his video below to learn more.  Then go pick up your Bible.  Read the Gospel of John to whet your appetite for a message of hope that can change your life.