Part 22 - Thank You God! - Originally Posted
The Raptor’s all time favorite flick has got
to be “Animal House”…this late 70’s classic was the best movie
ever made and you can take that to the bank. The movie has soooo
many classic lines and scenes that the Raptor has many committed
Bluto, one of the film’s chief protagonists
was played capably by John Belushi, a comedian who had developed
his chops while performing at Chicago’s Second City and later at
NBC on the Saturday Night Live TV show. As a matter of fact
Belushi was in the SNL’s first skit in 1975 with Michael
The Raptor certainly has a LOT of Bluto in
his carefully crafted persona. Who can forget his classic
cafeteria scene…slurping up that Jell-O was hilarious!...and how
about the ladder scene with Mandy Pepperidge…The Raptor liked that
one!...One of the greatest scenes in this great flick occurred
during the chaotic final parade portion. After much mayhem and
carnage, the Delta Float crashes into another float which is
loaded with Playboy Bunnies…as the Bunny Float breaks up, one of
the Bunnies is thrust through the air and lands safely in the
bedroom of an adolescent child who happens to be reading a Playboy
magazine…the young whippersnapper looks to the heavens and screams
out…”Thank You God!”
Ok Lets face it…The Raptor has not been too
kind to God and his only son, Jesus over these past few years and
The Raptor is now starting to feel a little saddened to have gone
over the top on this subject. It was my initial purpose when I
started the God Page almost two years ago to perhaps use a public
domain to make observations about God and maybe come to some
understanding of his existence…or lack thereof…
Well The Raptor is hear to tell you that
maybe I was too hasty in my thinking process…maybe God exists
after all and is 100% real…so rather than rattle on about how
badly God has handled his stewardship of the Earth and his
minions…let’s thank Him…
Thank You God…for creating small rocks…your
foresight allowed Cain to grab hold of one and crush Abel’s skull…
Thank You God…for creating awesome weeds such
cannabis and poppy so that humans could inhale it’s smoky goodness
in the form of Pot and Opium…
Thank You God…for creating creatures such as
the cow and the deer so that humans could kill them for food. How
awful would it be to have a freaking salad every day!....
Thank You God…for creating minerals such as
diamonds, sulphur, charcoal and salt peter so that Captain Kirk
was able to construct a crude cannon and defeat the Gorn on Star
Trek’s second season thriller…”Arena”…and finally…
Thank You God…for having the foresight to
bury carbonous materials deep in the Earth during creation so that
humans could later extract the byproduct…oil…turn it in to
gasoline and power the hot rod Chevys, Fords and Toyotas which we
NASCAR fans love to watch careen around Talladega at 200 miles per
God…You are the greatest…and don’t You ever
Part 21 - Does God Really Listen Or Is
That All There Is - Originally Posted 09/09/2010
The Raptor has spent an adult lifetime
wrestling with issues of The Faith. I have several
acquaintances who live and breathe Faith. And for them,
their beliefs are real and profound. But, any dialog that
The Raptor posts here certainly needs to be taken with a grain of
salt...what ever that means...sure I can sometimes be a little
offensive....but it's people like Reverend Jones who really tick
me off!...here is something to consider...
If there was a God, he would have to be
capable of knowing in advance that this dope was going to erupt.
That is why God is all knowing and all powerful. Since Jones
has been able to get this far...there must be a reason...and don't
give me that Satan angle...that is pure unmitigated bull
crap!...actually now that I am looking at Reverend Jones picture -
I sense something....something I haven't felt for a long, long
time...ooops a Star Wars flashback....if the Country Club
Christians can't do something about this...how is God supposed
to?...Maybe he is busy...who knows...
Part 20 - My Bible Is Better Than Your
Quran - Originally Posted 09/08/2010
The Country Club Christians newest superstar
is the Rev. Terry Jones...
The Rev. Terry Jones has said he plans
to burn copies of the Quran to protest the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, but the White House and the top U.S.
general in Afghanistan say that doing so would endanger
American troops overseas.
If this goof ball is promoting the Word of
God and could look an interviewer in the face and state that
"Jesus would approve of his actions" says all you need to know
about Christianity in 2010. How foolish is a man who would
subscribe to this sort of one upmanship as if religious viewpoints
were tantamount to some sporting contest. Not only is Jones
a stupid man but he probably has issues with his Church
Secretary...especially when he parades around with mutton chop
sideburns...as far as The Raptor is concerned he is just another
creep using religion to promote the lining of his pocket just like
every other "Christian" evangelist on the planet.
So if any one who reads this is offended as I
lump you in with Reverend Jones as you are guilty by
association...I am not sorry. If you were real
Christians...you would run that bum out of town on a
rail...instead you will probably secretly admire and condone
Reverend Jones actions even if it means seeing some consequences
when the next shoe drops...
Part 19 - Heaven and Hell - Originally Posted 08/12/2010
On August 24 in the year 79, Mount Vesuvius
exploded and spewed tons of molten debris and sulfuric gas miles
into the sky. The region around the volcano contained thriving
communities such as Pompeii, Herculaneum and Naples. This area
was thought by many to be a “Heaven on Earth” as it had rolling
landscapes, lush vegetation and of course the beautiful blue
waters of the Mediterranean…
As the eruption rained down its fiery ash,
the inhabitants of these once beautiful cities must have been able
to experience a new sensation…that being “Hell on Earth”
Heaven and Hell…the perfect dichotomy.
Up/Down, Black/White, North/South, Salt/Pepper, Yes/No…Ginger/Mary
Ann…choices always need to be made and choosing between Heaven and
Hell seems obvious at first glance. After all, Heaven must be a
fabulous place. Last evening, I dined with a group of golfers who
are some of the finest, upstanding members of the community at
During the course of the conversations, the
topics ranged from shot values at Lake Shore CC to class reunions
and ultimately to sobering issues such as war, murder, killing,
abortion and the attitudes and expectations of the peoples of this
I recall that the killing/war/murder themes
were developed as a result of reviewing Erie’s Catholic Community
Leader, Bishop Donald Trautman’s policies regarding the recent
visit of Hillary Clinton to Mercyhurst College. Trautman’s
attitude went something like this…Hillary Clinton believes in a
right to choose when it comes to abortion. The Catholic Church
has in its wisdom stated that abortion is murder. Therefore, as a
show of solidarity, Bishop Trautman refused to attend Ms.
Clinton’s address and snubbed her.
Bully for the Bishop. But another theme was
propagated by one of the group that Bishop Trautman had not
objected to the American involvement in recent wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Since these wars were in effect “murdering” people
what’s the difference between war and abortion since somebody
died? So Bishop Trautman is a two face ala former Vice President
Dick Cheney who talked out of both sides of his mouth.
A third member of our group stated that
killing in a war is acceptable and justifiable but senseless
killing by abortion is murder. Well…The Raptor is pretty sure he
could knock that softball right out of the park…the bottom line is
that killing is bad and it’s a sin and if you’re a killer…your not
getting to Heaven.
Oh really?...the final theme of last nights
discussion was a reference to the Vatican II decision to recognize
that non baptized individuals could “get” to Heaven which
according to one group member was a offshoot of themes and
theories which had been developed but supra pagan…Martin
Luther…about 500 years ago.
At this point it dawned on the Raptor that
all this talk about Heaven may have some significance. And what I
am getting at here is whether or not someone can “get” to Heaven.
It appears that modern Christians or what The Raptor refers to as
“Country Club Christians” somehow have fooled themselves into
believing that if they talk about God enough and spend a lot of
time in Church and avoid meat on Fridays in Lent…they will get to
Where is Heaven exactly? Is it up there in
the clouds? Or is it in some parallel universe? Chances are it’s
nowhere. But in the minds of those weak minded fools who
continually spend there time trying to get to Heaven, they figure
that what we see in a “Heaven on Earth” whether it’s a fabulous
beach in the Mediterranean or a spectacular waterfall in British
Columbia or perhaps a fancy retirement condo in The Villages is
what they are going to get when they move on up…
How about this gang…let’s say you get to
Heaven and it turns out to be awful…lets say God is a buzz kill
and you get put on garbage detail your first day since you are a
newbie…could you then move somewhere else? Perhaps over to Hell
when junk is lying around all over the place and everyone is
wearing dirty laundry? It’s a long shot but I am thinking that
once you get to Heaven…you will be stuck there and it may not be
as elegant as you had hoped…
Part 18 - Welcome To The Modern World,
Jesus - Originally Posted 08/10/2010
The Raptor is getting increasingly agitated
over the use of social networking sites such as FaceBook to market
stuff...not only do Restaurants and Various folks hawk their
specials...we now are inundated with the continued promotion of
"Jesus" and "God" as well. This kind of "devotion" probably
has Jesus spinning in his grave!!!!! C'mon people give
it a break will ya!...
If you feel compelled to propagate your faith
do it in your church...that is how The Raptor rolls...it is unfair to befriend someone and then start posting messages about how
much you love God and or Jesus...The Raptor loves cheeseburgers but I don't
tell everyone in the world about it...FaceBook is supposed to be a
social network...not a church
Most recently I had been watching a History
Channel special on the Earth or...was it The Universe?...anyhow
this is a show which discussed geologic events which occurred
billions to millions of years ago during the formation of the
continents and the origin of species including man...when The
Raptor watches shows like this he is filled with a sense of
amazement that a perfect dichotomy exists between the formation of
the Earth and belief in a God.
How silly it is to get on FaceBook and tell
everyone how you love Jesus...Jesus was a man just like you and
me. He was a savvy student of the times and knew about
prophesy. He was a carpenter and a fisherman. Everyone
in Judea at that time was either a carpenter, a fisherman or a
stone mason. There were no professional athletes commanding
big salaries. There were no big oil companies spewing their
product on to the shores in Galilee. The rock stars of the time
were Pharisees, High Priests and Prophets.
Corvettes didn't exist and homes didn't have
air conditioning. Jerusalem was a chithole! The Jews
murdered Jesus and probably stole his corpse and buried it in the
desert to piss off his Apostles. Jesus' Apostles created a mythical
quality about the man which has given weak minded fools like the
FaceBook Country Club Christians cause to sit around telling each
other how much they love Jesus.
What about all those other Gods?...Zoraster,
Zeus, Jupiter, Baal, Isis, Ra...are the people who love(d) them
wrong?...Would you put up a fuss if somebody put up an Adolph
Hitler FaceBook Page and 300,000 idiots said they loved Hitler?
I said it before and I will say it
again. If you want to propagate your faith and spread His
word...put on some sack cloth, quit your jobs where you spend way
too much time on FaceBook and go nurse the poor and the
sick. Quit filling up my FaceBook Wall with your sugar...put
something meaningful on about watering your Farmville crops...The
Raptor enjoys those Farmville icons...
Part 17 - God...Phil Mickelson...andThe Masters - Originally Posted
The Raptor hadn't given it much though come Sunday evening
April 11th as Phil Mickelson walked up the 18th fairway at Augusta
National on his way to the putting surface where he would can a 8
foot birdie putt and win his third Masters Championship. You
see...it's apparent, and The Raptor never realized it but...a
"higher authority" controls all of what happens in this
world...Consider this email that The Raptor received yesterday
which sums up the tournament results...
"For the past few days, while I tried to enjoy one of the greatest
golf tournaments in the world, all I was entertained with was the
Tiger Woods show. As soon as one golfer would hit a tee shot or
make a putt, it seemed that the next view would be that of Tiger
Woods. Tiger Woods just missing a putt that would have put him in
contention with the other golfers. Tiger Woods hooking his drive
which showed how his time off had hurt his game. Tiger
Woods trying to respect the game. How it seemed that the Tiger
was able to put his past transgressions behind him and was able to
concentrate on the job at hand. It just kept going on and on
about Tiger this and Tiger that.
On the other hand, a little miracle was occurring at the Masters;
one golfer just kept smiling. He smiled if he made a good drive,
or if he made a bad drive. He smiled if he made a 50 foot putt or
missed a 5 foot putt. As he walked between holes, he smiled and
shook hands with the crowd. He never cursed a bad stroke or
blamed another person for a miss. All he did was smile.
Why would Phil Mickelson be smiling? Here was a man whose wife
has breast cancer. Here was a man whose mother has breast
cancer. Here is a man who rather than allow his wife and mother
to fight this battle by themselves, took time off from the PGA
tour to be with them. Here was a man that returned to the game he
loved when his wife ordered him to. Here was man, who was so glad
for the miracle that was happening as his wife moved closer to a
cure, that he rewarded her oncologist by allowing him to be his
guest caddy at last weeks golf tournament. This move, which could
have cost Mickelson thousands of dollars in purse money, was his
gift to a man he knew he could never thank enough for what he had
given to him.
During the last round today, Phil's wife was staying in their
hotel room since she was still weak from the chemo treatments she
is receiving. Phil did not know as he walked up to the 18th tee
that his wife would be there. All Phil did was smile. He smiled
to the crowds, he smiled to the TV audience, he smiled to God.
After his last putt found the bottom of the hole, he hugged his
caddy and others and walked to the scorer's shack. He then gave
the biggest smile of the whole four days. He saw his wife, and
even in the midst of thousands of people, it seemed that only two
Tomorrow I am going to smile. I am going to smile if it is nice
weather or bad. I am going to smile at the driver who honks his
horn at me, or the driver who cuts me off. I am going to smile if
I get the order or not. And when the day is done, I am going to
save my biggest smile for the person who makes me complete. Then
I am going to look to the heavens and give thanks for being able
Thanks Phil! God bless you and your family. And keep on
Oh really?...miracle?...smiled to God?...look to
the heavens?...God Bless you?...so is this how it works?...was it
God who smote Amy Mickelson with the cancer which gave her husband
Phil the strength and courage to battle Tiger Woods and a cast of
94 other players so that this anonymous emailer could draw his own
strength in order to smile at boorish behavior and head home at
the end of a rough day to smile at his wife?...
This is the stuff that drives The Raptor
nuts...and the real problem is that if The Raptor objects to this
sugar coated metaphysical mush he is then branded anti-Christian
by those who have been suckered into believing that God had a hand
in the outcome. The Raptor smiles all the time and I frown a
lot too - I am just a regular kind of guy...
Part 16 - You Can't Make This Stuff Up (Thanks Ray) - Originally Posted
The Raptor had "heard" and "seen" evidence that those
individuals who have been clinging to a "Intelligent Design
Theory" have used the web to promote their agenda. Here are
some photo and content submitted for your approval
The Raptor would like to point out that all this content is
culled from another site (www.flickr.com) and it's awesome...the
tongue-in-cheek dialog associated with this picture of Jesus with
a Raptor makes me laugh every time I read it...
Dad, did dinosaurs really exist?...
Sure they did, son. The Bible says so. They didn't call them
"dinosaurs" back then, but instead they were known as
"leviathans" or "behemoths".
But, my science teacher says dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.
Is that true?...
Of course not, son.
Then how old are they?...
Well, let's see. The Bible tells us [from Adam and Eve's
family tree] that the Universe is only a few thousand years
old. So dinosaurs had to have lived within the past few
thousand years. That's simple logic, son.
Oh. So that means they were on Noah's
Absolutely! The Bible says two of every animal were brought
[by God] to the ark. Dinosaurs were animals. So, using your
logic again son, dinosaurs had to be on the ark.
Huh. So how come scientists say they're older than that? and died
way before Jesus?...
Well, son, they just make that up. Dinosaur bones don't have
labels on them to tell how old they are. In fact, there is
no proof whatsoever that the world and its fossil layers are
millions of years old. No scientist saw dinosaurs die-
No I'm serious. Scientists only find the bones in the here
and now, and because many of them are evolutionists, they
try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view.
That's sad. But I thought scientists were smart?...
Sure, but they don't know everything. So they have to make
stuff up to fit their beliefs. While you and I, we have the
facts, straight from the Bible.
I don't want to be a scientist!...
Ha! That's ok, son. It's better to be right, than smart.
C'mon, wanna learn how to flip burgers like your Dad?
Check out what one individual wrote in
the www.flickr.com sit
at location: www.flickr.com/photos/bar-art/414998399/
the more we learn through science (real science, meaning
study of things we can actually observe, not mere
speculation) the more the Bible has been proven correct.
Check out AnswersInGenesis.org; they've got a lot of great
stuff about it.
And as far as discrimination is concerned, Ben Stein's new
movie, "Expelled," makes it pretty clear which "side" is
behaving more like a threatened religious group, holding
desperately to their faith in something which lacks
evidence. As a Christian, I have no problem at all with the
Theory of Evolution being presented in schools, provided the
Theory of Intelligent Design is presented along with it. Any
other theories are welcome to join the party as well; after
all, how can students develop scientific critical thinking
skills unless they are free to explore alternatives and draw
their own conclusions based on an open-minded view of the
evidence? Many evolutionists, however, are not only
determined to keep their view the only one presented in the
classroom, but also don't want professors, scientists, etc.
to even acknowledge that competing views exist.
If evolution is so over-overwhelmingly supported by the
evidence, why not let the facts be examined, and the
evidence speak for itself?"
From Travis S.:
"So why should science class be turned into a religion
class? There's an appropriate place for that as well. Are
you really saying that we should bring in creation theories
from across the globe to the science classroom? If so, then
maybe you should listen to the Mayan creation story.
The Mayans said that there were three failed attempts at
making humans. The gods wanted to make beings that could
work, walk, and talk.
However, on their first try they came up with beings that
could only squawk, chatter, and howl. They also could not
use their arms to do work. These beings turned out to be the
ancestors of animals.
Their second try they made beings from mud. Unfortunately
these beings were unable to walk or turn their heads or even
keep a solid shape. Eventually these beings were unable to
reproduce and dissolved into nothing.
With their third try, the gods attempted to make humans out
of wood. These wooden people at first seemed to be a success
as they could walk, talk, and reproduce , but it was
eventually seen that these were also people who could not
keep themselves attached to a strict schedule, nor did they
revere their makers as they should.
So a huge storm was cast down on these people, creating a
massive deluge with monsters that attacked them. After all
is said and done, the only remaining descendants of this
group were monkeys.
The fourth and final attempt has one of the gods grinding
white and yellow corn that is mixed with water that creates
the human flesh. Four people are created from this corn
paste: Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar night, Not Right Now, and Dark
Jaguar. These four men form the partilineages of the Maya.
This is how humans were created in the eyes of the Maya. In
some ways it is similar to your story, as you might say that
people were created from dust. I suppose it depends on how
literal you take the Bible to be. You may or may not.
But my question remains, that if you do not take the Bible
literally, then what do you propose you will teach children
in classrooms if not religious stories such as these? Then
with that in mind, which stories do you propose that you
expose the children to, as seemingly there is an abundance
of people that says that their creation story is correct?
And then again on this line, how much is too much when you
have to fill you lectures with various religious stories
when you start to realize that you're leaving the SCIENCE
behind? Science teaches of ways in which one can experiment
within their natural world to learn something new. The Bible
is old news, we already have it written out for us, it's
established. We need to learn how we can push forward our
knowledge base rather than falling back on something that is
static and has no future trajectory. Sure there is knowledge
embedded in that Book, but aside from helping us understand
how we should morally see the world, does it really help us
out with how we actually see the physical world? It gives us
a cultural context to work with, that's about it.
So all I'm saying, and maybe you agree, is that in a science
class, as long as it's only told that there is a possibility
of an Intelligent Designer (be it based on Christian, Mayan,
etc. theology), while asserting that there's no scientific
proof backing it up, this would be acceptable to me as long
as it was kept simple and ambiguous. But if you want to draw
in the philosophy and ideological debate behind it, then
that should be reserved for another class in the social
sciences rather than the natural sciences."
So lets sum up...StringTheory wants to insert the previously
mentioned "Intelligent Design Theory" which has been championed by
such "thinkers" as George W. Bush and Rick Santorum into a "match"
against The Theory Of Evolution" and may the better theory win.
This is silly...we've been through this whole thing before..most
recently in the Dover, Pennsylvania court case which you can read
The Raptor can not in any sense of the imagination believe that
any sane, normal individual could promote a Theory of Intelligent
On the other hand The Raptor is thinking that Travis has some
good points except his accomodation to have a discussion on the
two theories is crazy...
Part 15 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
Dave Heintzel, a frequent contributor to the Times News Op-Ed
page wrote to the newspaper in January to register his opinion on
the issue of taxing churches...the thread started when another
frequent contributor, Mark Amatangelo wrote to the Times on
January 3rd, 2010 that these churches (all churches?) should pay
tax. I am only guessing here but I am thinking this is a call for
payment of real-estate taxes.
Mr Heintzel writes:
"Churches are not companies that try to make a profit. They
are organizations that provide a public service. They provide a
place for people to worship, and also, they help the poor and the
If churches and other charitable organizations are taxed,
then their efforts will be severely hindered.
Do atheists really want to eliminate churches? It is
Christians who are among the first to take care of the poor and
The Raptor is conflicted on the taxing of churches. While
Heintzel is on safe ground with his opinion, there is a certain
dangerous vector which is in play here. Taxes are not good. They
seem to be a constant irritant on a society. The officials who
regulate the taxing of its citizenry seem to do their job in a
most inefficient fashion. This puts society at risk since the
taxes which flow to the governments are used primarily to return
services to the citizenry.
When we speak of a church we generally are envisioning a
building situated on some ground which allows it's patrons to
gather and worship. And...according to Mr. Heintzel, church goers
also help the poor and the sick. A church is more than a building
though, since it had to have been founded and its founders in many
cases contributed their own funds to help the churches grow. Once
a church is founded, its mission is to continue to grow by
converting more bodies who can promote the cause...which is to
worship and help the poor and the sick.
This seems to be an integral key to promoting the Word of God.
It is difficult to promote The Word while you’re sitting in your
home alone. And God certainly can't promote his word
himself...based on what The Raptor can recall from his reading of
scripture, God did speak to his flock early on (Check Out The
Classic Film "The Ten Commandments"...God speaks to Moses...very
deep voice...resonant) but, after some reconsideration, God
decided to speak through allegory, hyperbole and thoughtful
introspective after King David had Uriah The Hittite murdered. As
a result of the King's transgressions, his son Solomon became
King, took many wives, taxed the citizens and lived a life of
That is where The Raptor gets motivation. Today's Christians
are vastly different from the Christians who watched Jerusalem
burning in flames in 70 AD or were perhaps chomped by lions in the
Roman Circus. If there is one trait that seems to permeate from
modern Christian's, it's that they have become "Country Club
"We can't be taxed...it will diminish the impact of our
mission"...or..."Atheists want to eliminate
churches"....or..."I'll see you next Saturday at the club and we
can finalize that deal"
So what about it - the first issue is the comparison of
"Christians" to other forms of worship. The Christian faith
developed through a lengthy process...(see Part 13)...the faith
was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church until 1517 when Martin
Luther tacked his 95 theses up. Subsequently, at The Council of
Trent - 1545 a division of ideology occurred which resulted in the
formation of alternative Christian religious sects such as
Lutherans, Episcopalians, Methodists and a host of other "pagan"
These Christians were hounded, scourged and beaten for
centuries and ultimately had to flee to The New World, where they
systematically eliminated the Native Americans in order to
continue to promote The Word of God while worshiping Him and
helping the poor and the sick.
If Christians really wanted to be Christians (to worship God
and help the poor and the sick), they should give up all the
trappings and don sack cloth. They should help the poor and the
sick every day by going door to door raising some loose change and
then worship by night while fasting. But, Christians are not like
that any more. Instead, Christians swarm to fancy talkers like
Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker Joel Osteen and Rick Warren. These
"representatives" of God seem to be made of millions of
dollars...and it’s because they like to talk about worshiping God
while helping the poor and the sick.
This appeals to individuals like Dave Heintzel, who have grown
comfortable worshiping God while helping the poor and the sick as
long as it doesn’t cost anything. This concept that churches
should be tax exempt is critical to churches. If these religious
organizations had to operate like all of the rest of the
businesses, the hypocrites who attend services would stay home in
Lets use a golf analogy here...The Raptor spends about
$3,000.00 to $4,000.00 per year out of pocket to enjoy playing
golf...primarily on the weekends. Keep in mind that my out
of pocket is a lot less than others that I know. Our golf
season lasts about 8 months or about 35 weekends. That means
The Raptor is spending $125.00 per weekend to "go to my church".
Can you imagine anyone dropping $125.00 in the collection basket
every weekend?...To sit in a stuffy building while a fat minister
tells them how bad they are while turning around a coax some poor
bastards wife into his cloakroom. Christians would be better
off to purchase an Xbox game that simulates going to go to church.
Then, Christians could have more resources to help the poor and
Part 14 - The Catholic Bishops Dilemma - Originally Posted
The Raptor read with keen interest a recent article in the
Times News which was published on November 27th, 2009. The
text was submitted by James Drane, a professor at Edinboro
University and the title of his piece was: "Right-wing bishops abandon 'core of Jesus'
morality'" - What did the author intend with this controversial
opinion? Well..Let's check it out...Drane writes...
this year's national conference, the Catholic bishops should have
been more supportive of Erie Catholic Bishop Donald W. Trautman's
campaign to reform liturgical language.
in the same conference, they should have addressed the scandal
caused by some of their own.
word scandal means discredit brought upon religion by the unseemly
conduct of religious persons. The unseemly conduct of some bishops
takes place in public and centers on the issue of abortion.
discredit caused by the bishops contributes to a continuing stream
of Catholics leaving the church. According to one estimate,
fallen-away Catholics now make up the second largest
"religious denomination" in the U.S.
Burke, formerly the archbishop of St. Louis, is a person with a
reputation for causing scandal. Back in 2004, he was the first
bishop to advocate denial of communion to U.S. Sen. John Kerry
because Kerry disagreed with Burke's insistence upon
criminalization of abortion as the only way to handle the issue.
Burke expanded the scandal by extending denial of communion to all
politicians who approve legalization of abortion, even under very
limited conditions, such as rape, incest or threat to a woman's
life. He issued a warning that any Catholic who votes for a
politician who would allow abortion should not receive communion.
scandalous conduct extends even toward fellow bishops. He
criticized all bishops who did not join the protests against the
University of Notre Dame's faculty and students for inviting
President Barack Obama to speak. He charged that the majority of
American bishops were responsible for Obama's election because
they approved consideration by voters of other issues besides
Pope Benedict XVI moved Burke out of the U.S., assigning him to a
job inside the Vatican. This removed him from the American
political scene but did not stop his scandalous conduct.
late September, the now Vatican bureaucrat charged that Cardinal
Archbishop of Boston Sean O'Malley was under the influence of
Satan, the father of lies, for participating in the funeral mass
for Sen. Edward Kennedy, who had disagreed with Burke about
wants those who disagree with him on abortion to be denied
communion, Catholic funeral services and to be publicly ejected
from the church.
this archbishop had his way, he would turn the Catholic Church
into a small sect of abortion-legislation extremists. In effect,
he would turn the church into a sect of Pharisees, similar to the
Jewish sect that was in constant conflict with Jesus during his
Pharisees were a sect focused exclusively on laws and strict
observance of laws. The word pharisee in Hebrew and Aramaic means
the separated ones. They were separated from other believers
because of their obsession with legal purity. Focus on laws,
extreme legal positions, immersion in minute legal details -- this
was the mindset that Jesus confronted during his ministry. He
rejected this viewpoint and tried to free people from its burdens.
would be shocked to see this inhumane form of religion
re-emerging, of all places, in his own community. Pharisees in
Jesus' time objected to paying even the smallest tax required by
Roman law. Jesus responded with his example of a coin with
Caesar's image and the statement, "Render unto Caesar the
things that are Caesar's. ..."
they pressured Jesus to specify the greatest law. He responded,
"Love the Lord with all your strength, and your neighbor as
yourself." These teachings of Jesus seem lost to the group of
bishops obsessed with minutiae of any proposed abortion
legislation and nothing else.
of the similarly inclined bishops in the U.S. is Thomas Tobin,
bishop of Providence, R.I. He is a close copy of Burke in his
obsession with abortion legislation.
Burke's judgmental style and that of the Pharisees, Tobin recently
accused U.S. Rep., Patrick Kennedy -- Edward Kennedy's son -- of
falsely identifying himself as a Catholic. He demanded that
Patrick Kennedy be denied communion. Why? Because he supported
health-care legislation for the poor and needy, even though it
provided minimal coverage for limited abortions.
the example of the earlier Pharisees, Tobin insists on total and
complete legislative purity in a law's most minute details.
like Burke, redefines what it means to be Catholic. Tobin and
Burke and other bishops in their camp redefine Catholic belief.
Almost 2000 years of debate and reflection, councils and codes,
theologies and creedal statements have all been set aside.
"Catholic" for them means voting only for legislation
that bans any public money for all abortion.
that Jesus taught about love, care for the poor and social justice
no longer matters. True followers of Jesus now are advocates for
strict legal purity on one moral issue.
church scandal, caused by Catholic bishops, is alienating large
segments of the church population. If the scandal continues,
Catholic laypersons, who are more prudent and understand how
prudence applies to the construction of legislation, are going to
have to oversee Church leadership. The extreme right-wing bishops
have abandoned both the core of Jesus' morality and the first of
the cardinal virtues, prudence.
The present Vatican strategy to control the
scandal seems to be removal of the radical right-wing bishops
from their dioceses. They did this
with Burke and with the former bishop of Scranton. It will take
some time to see how often
this strategy is used and how well it works."
this is interesting stuff and it has resulted in a flurry of
responses, including one from the previously mentioned Dave
Heintzel (see Part 13 and Part 11)...Mr. Heintzel writes...
" This letter is in response to the Dec. 3rd letter,
"Catholic Bishop's Position Questioned." The
writer has a few misconceptions.
We don't have a God-given right to sin. God gave us
the freedom to obey or not because he loves us. We should
obey God out of love, If we don't, then that is sin.
Second, it is not the duty of the church to condemn or
forgive. That is God's job. The church has the duty to
point out sin to us. Abortion is a sin because it stops a
beating heart. At what point is it right to perform an
abortion? Surely not after the baby has been born. How about
the day before or a month before? At what specific day or better
yet what minute is the cutoff point when abortion is
acceptable? The Catholic Church is right in saying that
abortion is a sin against God's will.
Also, the Catholic Church has changed. It allows lay
people to give communion and allows married lay men to be part of
the liturgy by becoming deacons."
The Raptor is always interested in promoting a exchange of
ideas. This abortion issue has become a real
hot-potato. Mr. Heintzel has continue to speak passionately
about God's love but The Raptor asks him this...if God loves us so
much, he come he is never there when he should be - with all this
awfulness in the world, couldn't He get involved in order to
straighten out what the Earth has - if your thinking that God is
going to fix all with a Rapture - forget about it - you would be
better served to make Earth a better place instead of waiting for
God to do it
Part 13 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
Its been a month since The Raptor archived some fodder from the
Erie Times News op-ed pages and fortunately, we have been updated
by the previously mentioned Dave Heintzel (see Part 11) with a new thread which
further demonstrates how devotion can turn a man's brain into a
quivering lump of jelly...Mr. Heintzel writes:
"If you want proof
that God is real and that he loves you, then you need look no
further than the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It must have been true...for Christianity to have even gotten
off the ground.
How could a handful of
common men been able to convert Jews and Gentiles with all of the
stumbling blocks in the way?
For instance, can you imagine Paul telling a pagan
worshiper to worship only his God, Jesus, who was just murdered on
a cross? Or, that God
became man to suffer torture and humiliation and death to pay for
To follow Jesus, you have to give up all your riches
to the poor. And, oh
yeah, you probably will be rejected, persecuted and murdered,
maybe even fed to the lions.
This is a blueprint for how not to start an ancient
despite this, Christianity spread like wildfire.
There must be something to it after all.
He really does love us."
This is a very strong argument as it ties two events
together...Jesus being crucified and the formation of a
"new" religion. But why is it necessary to worship a God
in the first place? What is gained? Is it possible
that if Paul had not been so fervent in his belief and desire,
would the religion we know today have foundered? The Raptor
recently spoke to a good friend who is deeply religious. He
stated that there is no other mystery that is so compelling.
According to the dogma, since Jesus died on the cross, arose for
being dead and ascended into heaven, God loves us and we should
In order to continue this thread... let's delve into the life and times of Jesus Christ...The
Raptor would like to thank author of "The Cartoon History of
The Universe", Larry Gonick for the framework that is
After the death of King Herod in four B.C., a
period of unrest occurred in the areas surrounding Jerusalem in
the land known as Judea. Several
wannabe leaders came this region and attempted to rule the area
with the approval of Rome. Caesar
Augustus had attempted to mediate the situation and had tremendous
difficulty trying to maintain control of the region.
In the year six, Augustus deposed the leader at that
time, Archelaus, who had claimed to be the rightful king and
banished him to Gaul. At
that point Judea came under direct Roman control for the first
The heir to the Roman throne Tiberius became
Roman emperor in the year 14 and he ruled until the year 37.
In the year 21 Tiberius appointed a new
procurator for Palestine by the name of Pontius Pilate.
Tiberius instructed Pilate to try and keep the region quiet
and to not break the bank doing it.
According to histories of the time, only two of Pilate’s
acts are mentioned. First
although he ordered Roman emblems hung in the Jerusalem Temple he
removed them to spare the local feelings and secondly he built a
50-mile aqueduct to bring water to Jerusalem. However, the people
throughout the region refused to drink the water as it was unclean
and of a sacrilegious nature.
In those days the biblical tradition of
prophecy still lived. The
Jews had longed for the return of Elijah the Prophet.
They remembered that Isaiah had promised a savior for
Israel and now, despite the danger, a number of freelance preachers
added their voices to the mainstream of Jewish thought.
John the Baptist taught that sins could be washed away by a
bath in the Jordan River.
It around the year 30 John baptized Jeshua
Ben Joseph who subsequently merged into the wilderness to think
things over. After a
while, Jeshua returned to recruit followers from John the
It became clear that Jeshua had the magic
touch. He could cure the afflicted or a least exercise their
demons and people began to seek him out.
Within a short period of time Jeshua had 12 disciples.
In addition to being a healer, Jeshua was also a rabbi
or teacher. His
teachings covered a lot of ground. Iin fact, it sometimes seems as if
there were several Jeshua's.
He was the preacher of peace love and forgiveness.
He was a judgmental furious thunderer.
He was a rabbi among rabbi’s who could quote scripture,
which confused other teachers.
He was a visionary who could establish complex thoughts
such as the comparing the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed.
Jeshua had interesting opinions. At one gathering he said that:
“after one daemon goes out of your body it usually comes back
with seven friends”. Another time he said that: “it's easier
for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich
man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”.
He also had the capability of stating that: “by drinking
my blood and eating my flash you shall be saved”.
The 12 Apostles were sometimes mystified
about the variable thoughts and opinions of Jeshua.
For example, this vision of the Kingdom of God.
Was the rabbi promising to restore a righteous throne to
Israel or was he claiming to be the Messiah himself.
To sound out his politics someone asked him a question
about tax policy. They
wanted to know if they should pay taxes both to the Romans and the
Temple and Jeshua stated that they should “render unto Caesar
what is Caesar's and render under God what is God's”.
Most folks at that time didn’t know what that meant.
Jeshua had a sort of 13th disciple who was a
well-to-do woman named Mary Magdalene. Mary was attracted to
Jeshua because he had raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.
According to the Gnostic Gospel of Mary Magdalene, she was
involved with Jeshua in a romantic capacity.
There is a popular anecdote that states that one night she
was massaging Jeshua was the most expensive ointment money could
buy. Judas, one of
the disciples, who handled the finances for the group was outraged
and stated that they could sell the ointment in order to give the
money to the poor. Jeshua
stated that: “they would always have the poor but they
wouldn’t always have me”.
Judas began to believe that Jeshua was another luxury
loving power tripper.
Jeshua would never come out and directly
state that he was the Messiah.
He was showing signs of strain and instructed one of his
disciples to go and find a young donkey.
They were filled with hope because the prophet Isaiah had
promised that the Messiah would arrive in Jerusalem on a juvenile
burro. When they
reached Jerusalem, Jeshua had a tantrum and made a spectacle in
the public market where he disrupted the business of the
It wasn't long before the authorities decided
to get rid of the troublemaker.
They reasoned that his politics were like dynamite but they
couldn't arrest him by day because they may have faced another
slaughter in the market and they were concerned that they
wouldn’t be able to find him in the middle of the night until
Judas came forward and helped identify Jeshua to the arresting
officers with a kiss. In
the struggle Simon Peter, another one of the disciples, cut off
the ear of the high priest's servant.
The next thing everybody knew Jeshua was
tried, convicted, tortured and by the order of Pontius Pilate
himself crucified between two common thieves.
The Roman soldiers who conducted the crucifixion
hypothesized that he couldn't have been that important because
they let all his followers go. The body was cut down early because Friday night was coming
and no executions were allowed to continue on the Sabbath.
Raptor note: Executions must have been pretty popular back
then. Jeshua was interred in a cave with a rock over its mouth.
Sunday morning it was discovered that the
body was gone after individuals had gone back to the cave to clean
and dress Jeshua's body. Scripture
states that Mary Magdalene saw him alive and she stated that he had a
arisen from the dead. Mary Magdalene was about to describe what
Jeshua had told her but, the remaining disciples decided to not take the
Word of God from a woman and from that point forward Mary’s name
vanished from the Bible. For
the next several months the remaining disciples stuck together and
they returned to the Temple to preach the gospel that Jeshua had
died on the cross risen from the dead and ascended into heaven but
that he might come back at any time. They asked the individuals
listening to their speeches to repent and be baptized in
Jeshua’s name and gradually the followers of this “Way”
These were crucial years for the followers of
the Way. At first the
group was just another Jewish sect with some un-Orthodox practices
such as not washing before meals and speaking in tongues, which
they called possession by the Holy Spirit.
Some Romans who were curious about local politics invited
Simon Peter to preach at an officers home.
Simon was hesitant to do it but he iltimately accepted the invitation.
Simon began his sermon but shortly thereafter the
individuals in the room started to speak in tongues. Simon
concluded that the Holy Spirit could possess anyone so he baptized
the lot of them and returned to Jerusalem with the news.
The sect still faced persecution from the
local religious leaders and when one of the converts named Stephen
insulted the high priests he was stoned to death. On another
occasion James The Apostle was executed upon the orders of Herod
Agrippa. But Saul,
one of the persecutors had a vision on the way to Damascus.
After the vision and without authorization from Jerusalem
Saul announced in Damascus that Jeshua was the Son of God.
This annoyed the Syrian Jews and he had to flee in darkness
by hiding in a basket and being dropped over the wall of the city.
Back in Jerusalem the apostles would not let
Saul into the congregation. So
Saul left town to preach the gospel elsewhere and he got results
among the Greeks as well as the Jews.
This raised a ticklish problem:
to what degree did the converts have to obey Jewish laws.
At first, the leaders of the Jewish sect stated that it
would be a simple matter of avoiding pork, celebrating some new
holidays, keeping two sets of dishes and one final proviso: all the men would have to be
alarmed the Greek's so Saul went back to Jerusalem and
put the question to the elders to circumcise or not to be
circumcised. After some consultation the elders decided that the converts
had to give up blood sacrifices, strangulation and sex in the temples
but otherwise they would not have to be circumcised.
To the Greeks this was welcome news.
Suddenly it was clear that this was no mere
Jewish sect but a new religion. The Greek believers called
themselves Christians - it should be noted that the Greek word
Christos is the same as Messiah and Jeshua the Messiah became
Jesus Christ. Saul
changed his name to Paul and became the church's roving
ambassador, putting his personal stamp on the young religion.
The rest they say is history.
Part 12 - The Ten Commandments - Originally Posted
Raptor has been thinking as of late about The Ten Commandments.
It was perhaps two or three months ago, when The Raptor
began developing “The God Page” that I felt homage to The
Commandments was appropriate.
The Raptor would like to present the posting of a friend who
recently sent The Raptor an email called “Agree Or Delete”.
The premise of this thread was to read the statements and
in the event that The Raptor agreed with them to pass them
along to others. Alternatively,
if The Raptor were to not agree than it was my duty to delete
the email. Tough choices
As it turned out,
The Raptor copied the statements to this larger
file and then The Raptor deleted the email.
The Raptor did not necessarily feel strongly one way or
another, however, The Raptor very rarely forwards email for a
The Raptor believes that the forwarding process somehow is used as
a way to mine for email addresses in order to increase the
distribution lists of spammers.
you walk up the steps to the building which houses the U.S Supreme
Court you can see near the top of the building a row of the
world's law givers and each one is facing one in the middle who is
a full frontal view ... it is Moses and he is holding the Ten
you enter the Supreme Court courtroom, the two huge oak doors have
the Ten Commandments Engraved on each lower portion of each door.
you sit inside the courtroom, you can see the wall, right above
where the Supreme Court judges sit, a display of the Ten
are Bible verses etched in stone all over the Federal Buildings
and Monuments in Washington, D.C.
Madison, the fourth president, known as 'The Father of Our
Constitution' made the following statement:
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.”
session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher, whose
salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.
of the 55 founders of the Constitution were members of the
established orthodox churches in the colonies.
Jefferson worried that the Courts would overstep their authority
and instead of interpreting the law would begin making law an
oligarchy the rule of few over many.
then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for
220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and
put it around the world and let the world see and remember what
this great country was built on.
was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn't. Now
it is your turn. It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God.
it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about
having the Ten Commandments on display or 'In God We Trust' on
our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we
just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!
you agree, pass this on
there you have it.
Most of this stuff is interesting but so what?
There is nothing wrong with promoting the The Commandments.
After all they are reasonable for the most part.
So lets look at them in detail.
The Raptor would like to thank Wikepedia for the content
presented here since The Raptor could not produce it and present
Catholic and Lutheran Christianity
Lutheran (Protestant) and Roman Catholic division of the
commandments both follow the one established by St.
Augustine, following the then current synagogue scribal
division. The first three commandments govern the relationship
between God and humans, the fourth through eighth govern public
relationships between people, and the last two govern private
thoughts. For additional information on the Catholic understanding
of the Ten Commandments, see the Catechism
of the Catholic Church (1994), sections 2052–2557.
References to the Catechism are provided below for each
commandment as well as the interpretation used by Lutherans and
Catholics. The following text is from Deuteronomy
am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before
me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form
of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not
bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a
jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to
the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but
showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who
love me and keep my commandments."
teaching distinguishes between dulia—paying
honor, respect and veneration to saints and also indirectly to God
through contemplation of objects such as paintings and
adoration directed to God alone. (See Catechism
I guess American Idol is frowned upon by “The Lord –
Lets face it – everything America stands for is
From our elected officials, to our film stars, to our
musical performers as well as our athletes.
The Americans adore them all.
This leaves little or no room for God.
How can he compete?
By the way, The Raptor objects to those who attempt to
classify God as any thing other than a man.
Remember this…God created man in his own image and
likeness and…God created woman from one of Adam’s
ribs….and that’s the truth
shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for
the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name."
commandment prohibits not just swearing but also the
misappropriation of religious language in order to commit a crime,
participating in occult practices, and blaspheming against places
or people that are holy to God. (See Catechism
Commentary: This is a useless commandment.
The Raptor has violated it so many times that The Raptor is
However, The Raptor shies away from occult practices.
the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded
you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the
seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do
any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or
female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock,
or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female
slave may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in
the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from
there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the
LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day."
Commentary: If anyone really adhered to this Commandment then
nothing would ever get accomplished.
By rights those among you that distribute your pious
ramblings about The Ten Commandments being on our public buildings
and how it’s wrong to describe them as being unconstitutional
should lead by example…Get up on Sundays…fast…pray…go to
Mass…make a confession…receive the Eucharist…pray some
more…fast some more…perform works of public service and pray
some more while you fast before you go to sleep.
Don’t do anything else…no brunches…no movies…no
golf…no picnics…no television...nothing…Go Ahead…be a real Christian.
your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you,
so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in
the land that the Lord your God is giving you."
commandment emphasizes the family as part of God's design, as well
as an extended metaphor that God uses for his relationship with
his creation. (See Catechism
This is good stuff.
I try to honor my mother and father all the time.
The Raptor is
also a big believer in "family values".
"You shall not kill"
(Roman Catholic) / "You shall not
right of states to execute criminals is not absolutely forbidden
by this commandment. However, other methods of protecting society
are increasingly available and more in keeping with other
Christian moral teaching. Catholics (along with many Lutherans)
also consider abortion sinful and a violation of this commandment.
if rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy are met (that is, the
"use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than
the evil to be eliminated"), is not a violation because
"governments cannot be denied the right of lawful
self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed." (See Catechism
Commentary: Nebulous…difficult to ascertain…is there anything
we can’t kill?
How about that gratuitous reference to war?
Killing is killing any way you look at it…sinful.
Also not that Martin Luther modified the interpretation to make it
sinful to murder but not necessarily to kill.
shall you commit adultery."
is the breaking of the holy bond between husband and wife, and is
thus a sacrilege. This commandment includes not just the act of
adultery, but lust as well. (See Catechism
shall you steal."
shall you bear false witness against your neighbor."
commandment forbids misrepresenting the truth in relations with
others. This also forbids lying. (See Catechism
shall you covet your neighbor's wife."
shall you desire your neighbor's house, or field, or male or
female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your
Commentary: Commandments Six through Ten…all these Commandments
are total buzzkill.
They probably are violated every second of every day.
And you can’t go to hell for violating them.
But you can go to jail.
Commandments are seen as general "subject headings" for
moral theology, in addition to being specific commandments in
themselves. Thus, the commandment to honor father and mother is
seen as a heading for a general rule to respect legitimate
authority, including the authority of the state. The commandment
not to commit adultery is traditionally taken to be a heading for
a general rule to be sexually pure, the specific content of the
purity depending, of course, on whether one is married or not. In
this way, the Ten Commandments can be seen as dividing up all of
morality. They are also to be seen as the most fundamental of
guidance on how to achieve progress in meditation or prayer - the
obvious example being that it would be difficult to consider a
rising spirt when the heart was planning murder.
Raptor’s Final Commentary:
The premise of the email was that American’s have to
stand up and fight for their belief’s.
Since over 85% of Americans believe in God…it must be
But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to shut up.
The Raptor has demonstrated that those individuals who live
in America violate the The Commandments with impunity.
Then, after violation American’s have the temerity to
“believe” they can march into a confessional and receive
absolution in order to go out and violate (and sin) some
more…what a bunch of broccoli.
Part 11 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
After a couple of days of dry air, there has been a new post in
the Erie Times News. Letter to the editor writer, Dave
"I don't believe that barbers are
real. I saw a man the other day with dirty, long hair and an
untrimmed beard. Therefore, barbers don't exist.
But, barbers really do exist. It's just
that people don't go to them.
It is the same with God. People don't go to
him and that is why there is so much pain and suffering.
Sure, God can end all suffering. But he would have to end
all evil first because evil causes much suffering. But if he
did that, it would eliminate the choice of doing evil or good.
Then that wouldn't be love. He wants us
to choose to love him. Try him, you'll like him."
Here is The Raptor's response:
barbers...pain...evil...love. It sounds like Mr. Heintzel
has been watching Star Wars. Isn't that what Yoda was
talking about. Fears turns us to the "dark
side". The Raptor feels that folks like Mr. Heintzel
place way to much emphasis on God as an answer. Couldn't he
just go out a live a normal life, without having to rely on God to
Part 10 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
Submitted for your approval is a letter to the
editor from John Peterson of Albion. It should be noted that
Mr. Peterson is writing in response to a letter written by Roger
Sargent...also of Albion. Wow! it is hot out there in the West
County! These guys probably live on the same block...looks
like there's a fued in the works!
"Letter writer Roger Sargent
is right about science and God not being mutually exclusive (Erie
Times-News, January 22).
So was musician Billy Preston
when he sang “Nothing from nothing that leaves nothing.”
You certainly can’t get something from nothing.
But as believers in God who do not fully comprehend this fact.
Sergeant accuses atheists of
believing in nothing, yet ironically, it is believers who lean on
nothing and explaining life. Nonbelievers
ask why, and when the answer is not apparent, they continue to search
for the answer.
Believers ask why, and when the
answer is not apparent, they fill in the blank with their default answer
to everything: “God did it.” What
is your proof that God did it? Faith.
Faith is merely suspension of disbelief. Something from nothing, indeed.
Luckily, despite religious belief, mankind has
continued its search for answers. Though
greatly impeded by those who think they already have the answers."
Thank you for your input Mr. Peterson. Your
letter was short and to the point...whatever it is. I have
read your letter and I am taking stock of it. Perhaps after
some additional though I can offer an opinion.
Part 9 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
This Page has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving -
for The Raptor. Yesterday, The Raptor presented the writings
of Roger Sargent of the West County. Today The Raptor posts
the thoughts of Jim Dowds of Erie who placed his letter to the
editor in The Times News of January 27th... he writes...
"For most of us, much
of what we believe and categorize in our minds as facts regarding
the origin of the universe is based in faith.
Those who believe in a creator understand this; those who
don't fail to see the simple truth.
Those who do not believe in
a Creator will undoubtedly say that their beliefs are based in
science. But what
exactly does such a statement mean? For many, this statement simply means that they have placed
their trust in the claims and authority of a prominent scientist,
author or philosopher.
Creationists around the
world and throughout the centuries have said essentially the same
thing. They have
placed their trust in the authority of the prophets, preachers and
And what do we make of
these scientists, who boast that science has shown them the
mysteries of the past? Science has proven to be an extremely useful tool in many
ventures, but it has limitations.
Science is a discipline
that demands observation, measurability and repeatability, none of
which can be done on a subject that is reported to be billions of
years old. No one was
there and no one knows for sure.
We may speculate, theorize, postulate; we may build
constructs and models. But
at the end of the day, our beliefs about our universe and its
origins come down to faith, not fact."
Well now...The Raptor is torn here. Perhaps I have been
too hasty. After all these years of reading books like
"Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, "Life On Earth" by
David Attenbourough and "The Day The Universe Changed"
by James Buke and coming away from these literary gems with a
sense of wonderment, I now have to dump my theories and my
"beliefs". Mr Dowds strong and well crafted
worsmithg...er... metaphysical mush is turning The Raptor around
in a big way...I take back everything I stated previously...
Part 8 - More From The Opinion Pages - Originally Posted
Hello again, and thanks for tuning in.
The Raptor was pleased to glean a letter to the editor from Roger
Sargent of Albion, Pennsylvania that is clear, concise and to the
point. Mr. Sargent is a "theist" in a big
way. The Raptor has read Mr. Sargent's piece and submits it
here for your approval...he writes...
"Letter writers Mark
Ritke and Regina Emery questioned the existence of God while
claiming that science has the answers about the beginning of the
universe. (Erie Times-News, Jan. 10th)
They claim that, because a
“piece of condensed matter” is simpler than God, it's a better
explanation for our existence.
Perhaps they haven't
thought as deeply about the Big Bang as they should.
Did that matter have an eternal existence?
Did its behavior defy human understanding? If it created
space and time, did it have more power than what it created?
Does its awesome force stretch our wildest imagination?
If you believe in science,
you have to answer, “yes” to those four questions however, if
you answer “yes” then you have just described God.
Unfortunately, you have not answered the really big
question. Why is
there something rather than nothing?
Sadly, that answer eludes the grasp of all atheists as they
spend their lives believing in nothing.
Science has proved that true physical nothingness is
not possible and never has been.
Even the deepest darkest regions of space contain galactic
gravity, radiation and atoms. Nothing is impossible.
Why believe in it?"
People...People...People, this is typical, authentic frontier
gibberish. Fortunately, The Raptor was able to post the
original letter writers thoughts and they do not match the spirit
of Mr. Sargents interpretation.
This is exactly what Ritke/Emery wrote: "the beginning of the
universe actually occurred when a piece of condensed matter
underwent a cosmic explosion about 14 billion years ago."
There is NOTHING in their piece about this occurrence being a
"better explanation for our existence".
We seem to have arrived back at an earlier thread in which The
Raptor stated that there is a biblical timeline which
"theists" are required to support in order to present
their argument. However, Mr. Sargent has taken a quantum
leap to associate the "Big Bang" with the workings of a
God. By The Way, The Raptor loves to say the word,
God. In addition, Sargent feels a sense of sadness since atheists
"spend their lives believing in nothing"
I won't speak for the others, but, The Raptor has a sense of
joy and wonderment when thinking about the Big Bang. I have
no need to "believe" that there was a
"creator" who initiated The Big Bang. It
happened...shit happens. Mr. Sargent and the theists are
stuck in "light at the end of the tunnel" analogy.
Unfortunately, they have yet to come to the realization that it's
a hole. And for theists, it is getting deeper.
Eventually, in about 250 years, the stories of the Bible will
be shelved since theists are doomed to extinction.
Especially troubling is this continued need to define their existence
through the design by a supreme being. It's always been that
way as humans turn towards leadership in order to solidify their
beliefs. In the theists mind, with out belief in something,
they are nothing.
The Raptor will press on none the less. The is a brave
new world out there and it's based on exploration and
discovery. The Raptor doesn't need theology to get
there. It's fortunate that I can get there though. If
we are to follow Mr. Sargent's opinion, it is perhaps better to
bury one's head in the sand in a show of blind belief in
Part 7 - What Still Others Are Saying About God - Originally Posted
Hey folks, in an effort to provide fair and balanced coverage
of this heavy subject, here submitted for your approval is a
letter published in the Erie Times-News in today's op-ed
section. The letter was submitted by Warren Wolf of
"Imagine that you're
taking a tour of the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Institute when a transmission arrives from a star system many
light-years from Earth: “Greetings, Earthlings.”
Imagine the uproar, the
sound of corks popping from champagne bottles, the cheers, the
hugs and a high-fives.
Now imagine that you
interrupt the celebration by saying: “Excuse me, but how do you
know for sure is that you found signs of extraterrestrial life?
Maybe this only appears to be a message.
After all, don't you agree with Richard Dawkins that
“biology is the study of complicated things that give the
appearance of having been designed for a purpose”?”
It's not difficult to
imagine what would happen next. Two security guards would come out
of the shadows, grab your arms and march you out of the building.
The point is that most
scientists aren't really searching for the truth.
They're looking for evidence to support the evolutionary
presuppositions. So get it out of your mind that scientists are objective
truth-seekers in white lab coats.
They have an agenda - to get rid of God in any way they
We can only imagine what SETI scientists would do if
the complete message said: “Greetings, Earthlings, this is
God.” We have no
doubt they would start searching for the joker who was playing a
trick on them."
Warren...this The Raptor's spin on your letter. While
well written and compelling, you are making a classic faux-paus.
You are utilizing your experience as a subservient to organized
religion to promote a theory that one...there is a God and
two...he would send a message to SETI. God is a lot smarter
than that. If he decides to send Earth a message, wouldn't
he use something symbolic like a burning bush? Let's be real
here. If there was a God, he would have spoken up long
before now. God is a belief. He isn't a real
thing. God was created by man in an effort to manipulate
other men. Sorry to disappoint here but your letter is as
close to gibberish as is possible.
Part 6 - What Still Others Are Saying About God - Originally Posted
The Raptor was again gazing through the Newspaper (this time on
Friday) and noted
this letter to the editor by Wesley Bennett of Erie Pennsylvania.
"A letter writer
claimed “the greatest minds in science deny that the universe
has always existed,” citing Stephen Hawking as part of that
illustrious list (Erie Times_News, Dec 27)
Another “greatest mind”
that theists often like to cite is Albert Einstein. Einstein was
once asked if he believed in God, and his specific response was
that he believed in Spinoza's God.
Spinoza's God was, in fact,
synonymous with nature, and a thorough review of Hawking's works
would indicate likewise.
It's also a fact among
National Academy of Sciences members, who are the premier
scientists in the U.S., a mere 7% believe in a creator.
Another claim that the
“odds are that the universe created itself is infinitesimally
small,” thus demanding a creator, ignores most of the
theoretical advancement over the past 30 years in cosmic and
quantum physics of virtual particles, zero-point energy, the
String and M theories, multiple universes, etc..
All point toward and
support natural mechanisms for the beginning of the universe.
Many religious people
continue to cling to the antiquated philosophical concept of
Aristotle's “unmoved mover” and Thomas Aquinas’ “first
cause” argument and/or his “perceived” creator-in-nature
The circumvention of the scientific process leads
the writer to immediately make his third claim supporting
creationism is the default conclusion for the impatient and the
Part 5 - The Raptor Objects - Originally Posted
The Raptor was sitting in his office recently an began
pondering the problems with modern religion. First and
foremost, which God is the true God? And what up with God
anyhow. Is God a supreme being? What does God look
like? Can God read my mind? Where is God?
Recently, The Raptor went and paid respect to a deceased friend
and wondered about his death and what will happen to
"him" as his death is considered. Did he go to
heaven? Or perhaps due to some unknown transgression is he now a
resident of hell?...Golly...hell!...what an awful end. Once
my friend reaches his final destination, in what form is he
in. Is he "fleshy" or is he a disembodied essence
which makes up his soul? After being of human form for 84
years, it seems sad that the final appearance of a deceased
individual could end up being a "light" or perhaps even
a "ghost". When The Raptor was receiving his
religious education at St John's and Blessed Sacrament, he was
given a description of the "soul". It was this
soul that supposedly filtered from the human form and floated to
the Heavens. The Raptor pictured a soul as sort of a stick
with a small round tip similar to a Q-Tip.
What's also sad is the heinous way that our society had made
death into an economic venture. It starts with the hospital
and the emergency room. Our society tries to keep us alive
as long as possible in order to suck money out of us. Then,
when it becomes impossible to keep us alive, our society
transports our corpse to a funeral home, where the director and
his staff perform their ritual. For a couple of thousand
bucks, the families of the deceased can greet the family and
friends and we can pay our respect. Then we bury the dead in
a public cemetery so that we can visit and continue to pay
respect. The Raptor likes to go to the cemetery every year
on Memorial Day to visit the graves of deceased family and
friends. It is good.
My visits are brief but I make the effort in hopes that others
will visit me in the future. You see...when you are buried
in those fine garments along with the mementos placed in the
casket, that is your final resting place. There is now
heaven waiting or hell for that matter...better get used to it.
Heaven and Hell must be huge places to house all of the
individuals who have died since dying led to heaven...or
hell. Now...if there were human like beings who existed at
the dawn of man perhaps 250,000 years ago, do they reside in some
See how silly this whole concept of God, Heaven, Hell
Part 4 - What Others Are Saying About God - Originally Posted
The Raptor was gazing through the Saturday Newspaper and noted
this letter to the editor by Mark Rinke and Regina Emery of
Titusville, Pennsylvania. It looks like there are others who
can opine about God... They write:
"Letter writer Matt
Dennison’s attempt to prove the existence of God by distorting
the facts and minimizing the discoveries of science is a tactic
used by creationists because they have no evidence of their own.
(In the Erie Times News, December 27th)
He states that renowned
scientists like Stephen Hawking believes the universe had a
“beginning” (Genesis)? What he fails to point out is that the beginning of the
universe actually occurred when a piece of condensed matter
underwent a cosmic explosion about 14 billion years ago.
Do you need God to make that piece of condensed matter?
then who made God?
Second, the scientific
experiments of Stanley Miller in the early 1950s demonstrated
conclusively that organic molecules, the building blocks of life,
could arise from inorganic molecules, the very kind thought to be
present in our planets early atmosphere.
Once this organic “prebiotic” soup was formed in the
Earth's oceans, it was only a matter of time before the first
living cells evolved. The
chances of this happening are not “infinitesimal,” as Dennison
Third, Dennison said that
by “scientific standards,” the most likely explanation for our
existence is God. This is not true because scientific discoveries
and explanations are based on evidence gathered from the real
world, and there is no scientific or physical evidence whatsoever
supporting the existence of God.
Therefore, it is much
easier to explain scientifically how the universe came about and
how life evolved than it is to explain the origin of a
“loving” God who permits a massive amount of humor and
suffering in the world."
The Raptor appreciates this type of measured and knowledgeable discourse...I
will attempt to track down Dennison's letter to provide his side
of the argument.
Part 3 - The Perfect Dichotomy Of Belief - Originally Posted
The Raptor was recently in attendance at a dinner party
involving the family and at the outset of the meal, one of The
Raptor's siblings offered up a prayer to "God" in order
to thank "him" for the food, the family and good health
etc. The reason that this offering jolted The Raptor's
senses was that concept of a Perfect Dichotomy.
My sibling has revealed in the recent past that God is
extremely important and has entered the lives of the sibling and
the sibling's family. This evangelical fervor is consistent
with the attitudes of other individuals similar in mind set to my
sibling and The Raptor can use the mutterings of folks like Pat
Robertson or Jerry Falwell to compare to. Those two gents
are the poster children of evangelical fervor. Their beliefs
have crossed the line as of late and this offends The Raptor's
Take George W. Bush for example. He has expressed on a
number of occasions his fervent belief in God, perhaps brought on
by his problems with alcoholism and a need to place fate in the
hands of a higher power. President Bush uses God as his
basis for governing and that's bad. He joins others such as
Rick Santorum, Sara Palin and the Dover Pennsylvania School Board
on a crusade to educate our children in the "Intelligent
Design" School. These folks can sit down at a table and
thank God for their food, but at the same time the can wish for
events that will reinforce their agenda.
So, my sibling, who absolutely despises Barak Obama, has made nefarious
statements about painting the White House black since there is a
Muslim living there now. This perfect dichotomy is
shameful. No one should be able to praise God in one breath
and shout epithets with another.
Americans pride themselves on being resilient and strong.
Of having God on their side. "In God We
Trust", "One Nation...Under God", "God Bless
America", It's a good thing that God is so deaf. If he
really knew what was going on around here...it would be Sodom and
Gomorra all over again.
Part 2 - Other Thoughts And Theories - Originally Posted
The Raptor continues to map out a strategy for examining God's
existence and has some new food for thought. Thread number
one has to do with the actual formation of the celestial bodies
such as the planets and moons in our solar system and the visible
conditions of their surfaces.
If we are to use the Bible as our guide, we are compelled to
fit the historical content of the Bible into some sort of timeline
which takes us from The Book of Genesis to the New Testament
writings of Matthew, Mark Luke and John. The timeline begins
on page one of The Holy Bible, which states: "In the beginning, when God created
the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland and
darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the
waters. Then God said, 'Let There Be Light', and there was
light. God saw how good the light was"...Well...enough
The purpose of this thread is not to disseminate the meanings
of The Bible. However if one were to begin reading The Bible front
front cover to back, the patently simplistic metaphysical mush
that the verses communicate could cause a potential retraction of
an otherwise erect male member.
Adam and Eve...Cain and Able...The great Flood and Methuselah
at 969 years old That's a record by the way. No
one lived longer. When The Raptor asked Sister Ann Michele
in fifth grade, how individuals like Adam could live over 900
years, her simplistic response was to state that since God had
created Adam he was more perfect then us so he lived longer.
See what I am saying gang...it's a bill of goods.
Needless to say, taking these generational age determinations
into account, the scribe who penciled The Book of Genesis in about
700 BC created a timeline which placed Adam in Mesopotamia at
about 5000 BC. It is so obvious that this is
impossible...anyone who is staking The Dawn of Man on this
circumstance is of diminished capacity.
Now travel with The Raptor back in time. Past the
beginnings of civilization, 7000 years ago to about 50,000
BC. It was in this era that a meteor smashed into the
surface of the Earth in what is now Arizona. The impact has
left a scar in the ground and according to a website about
the southwest US:
"Flat, sandy, arid grasslands characterize
the countryside east of Flagstaff, between the wooded hills of the
Mogollon Rim and the delicate hues of the Painted Desert, and the
only major natural attraction is the Meteor Crater, which lies 6
miles south of I-40, half way between Winslow and Winona. This
huge depression, 0.74 miles in diameter and 550 feet deep was
created 49,000 years ago by meteoric impact."
If God created the heavens and earth and he created Adam about
7,000 years ago, why did he create Meteor Crater 50,000 years
ago? For that matter, why are there numerous craters on the
Moon, Mars, Venus and the satellites of Jupiter, Saturn and
Neptune? Craters serve no useful purpose so it was not
necessary for God to create them In addition, it has been
the determination of "scientists" that some of the
craters on The Moon are over 4 Billion Years Old!
And that is the rub. Humans can't have it both
ways. It's time to leave the Holy Bible for what it
is. A series of messages condensed from the passage of
time. These messages are generally benign and can lead the
mortal man to a feeling of belonging. The Raptor can
see the value of a good book. It can inform, educate or
entertain. It's not unlike those of you who visit this
site. Maybe there is something here that you can use...maybe
not. Only time will tell
Part 1 - Does God Exist? - Originally Posted 11/28/08
The Raptor has been formulating thoughts
for this page for a number of months now and no matter how I cut
it - I won't be able to do justice.
The question on the table is God's Existence. Or rather, his
lack thereof. The way The Raptor will be treating this
subject is to state as plainly as possible that God does not
starters, lets consider God's composition. If one were to
rely solely on The Bible for this issue, it would be thought that
God "created" Heaven and Earth and in addition "he
" created Adam in his own image and likeness. This
interpretation is difficult to swallow for a number of reasons.
Adam story is the bedrock of three different religious faiths, and
it has been thought that "Adam" was created about 6,000
BC. This official basis for belief discounts any
"men" who lived before Adam. If the Adam story is to be
believed, it would require a "God" who had the
capability to communicate with Adam. The Raptor is a big fan
of the epic films of Cecil B DeMille etc. so from these films God
is perceived to be a disembodied voice who speaks to The Bible's
main heroes. For some comic relief, The Raptor recommends
some early Bill Cosby and his rendition of God and Noah.
if God was capable of vocal communication with individuals such as
Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses...where has he been lately?
The fact that he hasn't spoken to me is evidence that he doesn't
of my associates has stated that there is a perfectly rational
explanation for a fossil record that would predate Adam. His
feeling is that God is so capable that he was able to created the
fossil record when he created Adam...this is how some individuals
try and rationalize this charade. Again, if God was capable
of creating fossils, he would have enough capability to be present
in the present. But, there is so much bad stuff going on now
that God could have stopped that would lead me to state that if
God had existed he has forsaken all those individuals who pray to
him. Since God answers no prayers he does not exist.
God can not in good conscience answer some prayers but not others
- no way - no how.
could go on and on about God and so I shall. Anyone who has
placed their faith in God turns to individuals like myself and
asks as to where I have come from The basis of this conundrum
is the disapproval of evolution. God fearing
folks can't believe in evolution and therefore place their
bets on "Intelligent Design" The ID clan are primarily
here in the USA and they have initiated a seek and destroy
attitude as it pertains to evolution.
to noted atheistic crackpot Richard Dawkins: "America, founded in secularism as a beacon of
eighteenth century enlightenment, is becoming the victim of
religious politics, a circumstance that would have horrified the
Dawkins further states: "My scientific colleagues have additional reasons
to declare emergency. Ignorant and absolutist attacks on stem cell
research are just the tip of an iceberg. What we have here is
nothing less than a global assault on rationality, and the
Enlightenment values that inspired the founding of this first and
greatest of secular republics. Science education - and hence the
whole future of science in this country - is under threat.
Temporarily beaten back in a Pennsylvania court, the 'breathtaking
inanity' (Judge John Jones's immortal phrase) of 'intelligent
design' continually flares up in local bush-fires. Dowsing them is
a time-consuming but important responsibility, and scientists are
finally being jolted out of their complacency. For years they
quietly got on with their science, lamentably underestimating the
creationists who, being neither competent nor interested in
science, attended to the serious political business of subverting
local school boards. Scientists, and intellectuals generally, are
now waking up to the threat from the American Taliban."
is powerful stuff. Dawkins talks about ID that way "In the familiar world of human artifacts,
complicated things that look designed are designed. To naïve
observers, it seems to follow that similarly complicated things in
the natural world that look designed - things like eyes and hearts
- are designed too. It isn't just an argument by analogy. There is
a semblance of statistical reasoning here too - fallacious, but
carrying an illusion of plausibility. If you randomly scramble the
fragments of an eye or a leg or a heart a million times, you'd be
lucky to hit even one combination that could see, walk or pump.
This demonstrates that such devices could not have been put
together by chance. And of course, no sensible scientist ever said
they could. Lamentably, the scientific education of most British
and American students omits all mention of Darwinism, and
therefore the only alternative to chance that most people can
imagine is design."
Raptor couldn't say it any better.
own attitudes on God existence are generally with in the
meanderings of Carl Sagan - the noted astronomer and free
thinker. Sagan developed a story on the subject which
morphed into the feature film "Contact" starring Jodie
Foster and Matthew McCanaughey. In the film, which was based
on the novel/screenplay written by Carl and his sidekick Ann
Druyan, Foster plays Dr Arroway. Ellie Arroway is conflicted
as a result of the deaths of her mother and father while she was
quite young. As she grows older, she becomes an astro
physisist who attempts to locate extra terrestrial intelligence
that can answer her questions on the development of the universe.
understand Sagan consider this quote from "Contact".
"You see, the religious people -- most of them -- really
think this planet is an experiment. That's what their beliefs come
down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing
around with tradesmen's wives, giving tablets on mountains,
commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what
words they can say and what words they can't say, making people
feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can't
the gods leave well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of
incompetence. If God didn't want Lot's wife to look back, why
didn't he make her obedient, so she'd do what her husband told
her? Or if he hadn't made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would've
listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why
didn't he start the universe out in the first place so it would
come out the way he wants? Why's he constantly repairing and
complaining? No, there's one thing the Bible makes clear: The
biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He's not good at design,
he's not good at execution. He'd be out of business if there was
any competition." [Sol Hadden in Carl
Sagan's Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 285.]
some later date, The Raptor will delve into Christ and why he exists