I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Biblical Archaeology: Birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth

Monday, December 24th, Christian pilgrims gathered in Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Bethlehem is in area known as the West Bank. According to NPR
Israeli archaeologists now say there is strong evidence that Christ was born in a different Bethlehem, a small village in the Galilee. About 100 miles north of where the pilgrims gathered, shepherds still guide their flocks through green unspoiled hills, and few give notice to the tucker-away village with the odd sounding name: Bethlehem of Galilee. But archaeologists who have excavated there say there is ample evidence that this Bethlehem is the Bethlehem of Christ’s birth. … It was inhabited by Jews. I know it was Jews because we found here remnants of an industry of stone vessels, and it was used only by Jews and only in the period of Jesus. He also found artifacts which showed that a few centuries later the community had become Christians and had built a large and ornate church. He says there is significant evidence that in early Christianity this Bethlehem was celebrated as the birthplace of Jesus. The emperor Justinian boasted of building a fortification wall around the village to protect it. The ruins of that wall … still circle parts of the Galilee village today.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas: The Season For a Reason

The first Christmas was probably not on December 24th – a cold, starry night with one particular star shining to guide those to witness the birth of a child who would be called “Messiah” and “Son of God” – the messenger of salvation, hope, promise that earthly life is not the end of one’s life, and the enlightenment of the soul. There is great debate upon the exact date or even time of the year.

You Can't Steal Christmas by Sharon Steege

Dixie Lee “Quills” sent me this email and the author has a name instead of “anonymous”, entitled You Can’t Steal Christmas by Sharon Steege
I don’t know who they are
Saying I can’t greet the crowd
The way that I want to;

Can’t say CHRISTMAS out loud.
I walk into a business place
See things that I’d rather not see.
But dare I not say CHRISTMAS
And ask for a “holiday” tree.

What happened to freedom of speech
And living in the land of the free?
How can they take my CHRISTMAS money.
But can’t say MERRY CHRISTMAS to me.

Men and women have given their lives
So we could still go free.

I wonder how they would feel
At saying “

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chapter 19: Anatomy of the Soul, Afterlife, and Reincarnation

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 19
Anatomy of the Soul and Reincarnation
Death of Socrates, Giambettino Cignaroli
Death has several descriptions in both physical and spiritual concepts. I guess the most simplest description is at Plato, Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Death is life’s ending … However, life’s ending is one thing, and the condition of having life over is another. ‘Death’ can refer to either.
To me …
Death is a dream from which one cannot wake, the soul released from physical entrapment. It is a dream of chaos and all that which makes us fearful or which is pleasant. In that lies the true description and comparison of life after death and the difference between the concept of Heaven (Paradise) and Hell (Hades). It is all in the mind of the beholder, like beauty; the Dream Walker controls the dream and therefore may control their fate. If the soul be the spark of the divine, then we should protect it throughout our material lives. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

St. Thomas Choir: Over 800 Years of Tradition and Classical Music

St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig (Thomanerchor) is a boys’ choir in Leipzig, Germany founded in 1212. Today, the choir consists of 92 boys from 8 to 18 years of age. The members are Thomaner and live in a boarding school called Thomasalumnat, and attend a Gymnasium school with a focus on musical education. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chapter 46: The Apostle Saint Peter

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 46
The Apostle Saint Peter
What little is known about Simon Peter, known as Peter in the Gospels, as Jesus referred to him and chose to be one of his twelve disciples, is that he was a fisherman by trade and lived in house shared with his brother, Andrew, who also became a disciple of Jesus and later beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.
It was Andrew who discovered Jesus and who returned one day to Peter who was fishing along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and told Simon Peter that he had found the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets of the Hebrew/Greek scriptures of the Old Testament. Upon hearing this, Simon Peter dropped his fishing net and went to see for himself.
Nothing has been recorded, or at least survived in history, any reference to Simon Peter's life before that time. Much of what we do know was recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament scriptures of the canonical Holy Bible.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chapter 67: Noncanonical - Testament of Abraham

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 67
Testament of Abraham
This text is part of the group of Jewish scripture that is part of a group of falsely attributed works in the pseudepigrapha category, usually Jewish religious texts that were written between 200 BC to 200 AD. This and other texts of its type are not part of the canonical Bible nor is it accepted in canonical Hebrew scriptures; but appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions of the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles. Catholics categorize these books as Apocrypha or Apocalyptic literature and whose works were popular among early Christians, but later excluded by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the legitimate canon for various reasons. Some Apocalyptic scriptures were included among the canonical books: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Zechariah, and Daniel. All are in common with the themes of being prophetic scriptures.
Some pseudepigrapha texts were either discovered or produced after the final canonization of scriptures of the Hebrew Bible and before the production of the Christian canon by the Roman Catholic Church and the edition authorized by King James of England. The list is quite extensive. Some feel that the exclusion of some books was only on a decision based upon size of the canonical Bible.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Chapter 45: The Apostles: First Evangelists

Phenomenology of World Religions ©
Chapter 45
Apostolic Evangelists
This is an introduction to a series of chapters dedicated to the biographies of the original twelve disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, who came to be known as Jesus Christ. They became known as apostles after Jesus left the earthly world.
The number of apostolic biographies totals to thirteen, because Matthias took the place of Judas Iscariot after the latter's tragic ending. The period during the lives of the disciples-turned-apostles is referred to by theologians as the Apostolic Age. The disciples had transformed from followers of the teacher to evangelists of Christianity, the evangelism of the Word and spreading the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the Jews and Gentiles of the ancient world. The Apostles were the founders of the first churches, the location of the first seven are mentioned in the New Testament of the Holy Bible. The primary apostles were also the authors of the Gospels, as well as letters and books that were put together to make the addition to the original Hebrew Bible text.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chapter 12: Islam - People of the Book

This chapter deals with the complicated history of a people, the brief history of a religion called Islam, which is further complicated by different factions (much like Christianity) within the groups of Moslems that is the second largest religion in the world. It is a religion founded by a prophet, deemed the Messenger of God, which was carried on by its followers who separated into factions due to philosophical disagreements, whose partial doctrine of conversion is violence (depending upon the faction), misunderstood and misrepresented by Moslem and non-Moslem alike; and whose doctrine under certain leadership within factions have led to fascism, religious fanaticism, death and destruction in the name of Allah, the Arabic word of God – despite the fact that they worship that same God as the Christians and Jews, to whom they often war with or persecute. It is because of doctrine differences that they do so, as well as believing that no person (not even their beloved prophet/founder Muhammad) or perceived deity should be worshiped instead of the one and true God; which pits them against the Christians who have deified their prophet, teacher, and reformer of the Hebrew faith, Jesus of Nazareth (Galilee) – the Christ. Other differences or similarities between the other two monotheistic religions of Christianity and Hebrew are in the rites performed, as in the Five Pillars of Islam prescribed by the founder, Mohammed.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chapter 18: Wicca - Old Pagan Religion Renewed

Wicca is a modern neo-pagan religion that is based upon an ancient pagan religion that was common among the Celts of northern Europe, and in Britannia (so named by Julius Caesar who conquered and made it part of the Roman Empire) where the mystic cult of Druidism originated based upon the “Mother” fertility goddess whose consort was a horned god. It is a mystery religion that has different theological concepts or denominations, some monotheist, original goddess worship, such as the Dianic Wicca, Cochrane's Craft, and polytheism. Denominations are considered traditions within the Wiccans: Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca follow the concepts of Gerald Gardner.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Through the Looking Glass: Religious Perspective

The classic literature of Lewis Carroll (birth name: Charles Dodgson) has gone down through the ages reprinted into books, plays, and films. It began with the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in 1865, which was followed by Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There in 1871. Through the Looking Glass was about a world beyond a mirror (looking glass). If one looks into a mirror one sees a reflection that appears reversed; however, if one was looking from within or the other side of the “looking glass” it would be a natural view. As with the mirror, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is filled with symbolism – a world remarkably different than reality, and a world where nothing is as it seems. 
So it is for the so-called Religion of Peace ...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Message: April 8th 2012

Today is Easter Sunday.
I want to put out something brief and get back to family activities.
It is disturbing to know that some people believe Jesus was a “Commie”. Apparently they have not learned in school just what Marxism is. 
But after examining today's textbooks, I can see why.
To fellow Christians and anyone: I wish you blessings and peace as you spend time with your families this weekend.
From Gospel of Matthew 28:1-9 …
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold , there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake , and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified . 6 He is not here: for he is risen , as he said . Come , see the place where the Lord lay . 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold , he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo , I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word . 9 And as they went to tell his disciples , behold , Jesus met them, saying , All hail . And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Religious Tolerance: Policy of Obama and Progressives

Rarely will you see anything written concerning politics here at Veritas et Theologium; however, when government intervenes upon religious rights and the First Amendment – it is another matter.
In January of 2012, Barack Obama's Department of Health and Human Services announcement requirement of all employers to offer insurance coverage of sterilization, abortifacients and contraceptives without deductible or co-pays in their employee plans by August 1st, 2012.
Churches are exempt; however, Catholic-funded hospitals, schools or other charity organizations are not exempt.
Archbishop, soon Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York, leader of the US Council of Catholic Bishops stated:
The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs. Historically, this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chapter 20: Christology: Unitarianism

Phenomenology of World Religion
Chapter 20 ©
[Christology: Unitarianism]

The Christian religion has gone through many changes since the death of Jesus the Christ, Galilean of Nazareth. Indeed, after the Christian Church was organized, becoming the Holy Roman Catholic Church and the Great Schism that separated Christianity between East and West, Byzantine (Eastern Orthodox Church) i and Roman, ii different sects based upon certain theological concepts like the Gnostics as discussed in Chapters 9 & 10. The early forming Church that held councils periodically to decide just what universal doctrine would be approved, as well as make decisions in regards to splinter groups (sects) like Arianism.
Unitarianism is a proper noun in English that is a religious “ism” movement like Calvinism, Anabaptism, Adventism, Wesleyanism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and so on. It is a sect of Protestantism (that is a sect of Catholicism). One can readily see that Christianity, for all its similarities between sects and theological diversity is one of the most complex to understand the differences, despite being based upon the identity of Jesus (the Galilean) from Nazareth, known as Christ.
In the case of Unitarianism, it is a actually a description of several forms of Christianity; and can be described as the belief that God is one personality. That is the main difference between the major sects theological thought in what is called Trinitarianism.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Christophobia" Rhetoric: Politics as a Religion

  Suzanne Fields writes in Turning Swords in Bombs
What is Islam? Is the barbarity of September 11 rooted in the preaching of Muhammad? Or are the Islamists, the Islamic fascists, bent on the destruction of all who disagree with them, merely an aberration, mixing politics, religion and violence in an appeal to the lowest psychological denominators of suicide bombers? Historians, political scientists and psychologists are all over the place in supplying answers to these questions. … The historical forces at play are obvious. Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar of Islamist rage, places the fault line at the failure of the Muslim world to keep up with the West in the modern world. Diminishing Muslim power is both a humiliation and in Muslim minds a reversal of divine law, driving the losers to pick through the verses of the Koran to find justification for violence against winners. … Other scholars blame Western colonialism and imperialism, along with Judeo-Christian traditions, as contributing to the violent mentality of the extremists. These aberrations, they say, cannot be found in the teachings of Muhammad. … Islamists distorted this phenomenon for their own malevolent ends, fusing politics and religion into an all-purpose aggression for the “long-suffering victims” of Western imperial expansion. But there’s another view. “The Middle East’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, first and foremost the region’s millenarian imperial tradition,” writes Efraim Karsh, a British scholar, in “Islamic Imperialism,” a provocative and persuasive book. … He looks directly to the words of Muhammad, who in his farewell address to his followers ordered them to fight all men until they submit with the assertion that “There is no god but Allah.” … Muhammad proselytized with violence and used violence to consolidate conquest. Occupying territory was as important as converting or killing unbelievers. When the Jews of Medina resisted Muhammad in the 7th century, he beheaded the men and sold their women and children into slavery. The prophet, who claimed to derive his power and authority from Allah, was not only head of the captured states but was the single religious authority. “This allowed the prophet to cloak political ambitions with a religious aura,” writes Mr. Karsh, a professor at the University of London, “and to channel Islam’s energies into its instrument of aggressive expansion.” The ultimate goal would be for the world either to embrace Islam or live under its domination. This goal was realized in part with the establishment of the Ottoman Empire, which allowed certain other religions to exist but not prosper. Christians who sought domination, on the other hand, never invoked the teachings of Christ to justify violence. … The interpretation of the Islamist mentality as rooted in Muhammad’s appeal to violence, and the Islamist determination for religious domination of the world, may not tell the whole story today, but it explains why, for millions of Muslims, the image of the warrior trumps the image of a prophet of peace – if, indeed, there ever was one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chapter 10: Doctors of the Church

Phenomenology of World Religion©
Chapter 10
Doctors of the Church
The founding Doctors of the Church were the first to attain sainthood in a long line of saints of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the first organized church in Christian history, established in Rome after Emperor Constantine established Christianity as a state-recognized religion. They are known for the defense of the early Church as well as establishing the Catholic doctrine. There were eight original Doctors of the Church: Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Pope Saint Gregory the Great, and Saint Jerome in the Latin Church; and Saint Athanasius, Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory Nazianzen, and Saint John Chrysostom of the Eastern Church. In 1568, Saint Thomas Aquinas was added to the list of the original eight by Pope Saint Pius V in his promulgation: Tridentine Latin Mass.
In the 20th century, three female saints: Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Saint Therese of Lisieux were added to the list of recognized Doctors of the Church bringing the total to 33. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chapter 16: Symbolism - Religion and Culture

Chapter 16: Symbolism - Religion and Culture
The importance of symbols in the realm of religions goes far back into human history, sometimes the meaning of a symbol changing from its original representation and design. This occurred more noticeably during the transition between paganism and Christianity in the western ancient world. The early Fathers of the Roman Catholic Church established traditional symbolism, as they did in matters of doctrine and the canonical scriptures that comprised the Christian Bible with two sections, the Old Testament representing the borrowed text from Hebrew origin concerning the concept of monotheism.
Due to their hieroglyphic writing, symbolism was key to ancient Egypt's religion and culture, its mystical properties carried through to modern times through Gothic fictional tales of horror. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Search for Noah's Ark

One does not have to be religious to know the story of Noah's Ark, it is probably the most well-known of the biblical tales of the ancient Hebrews. In the Netherlands, a man who stated he had decided to build an ark in the Netherlands because of a dream, see YouTube.