The Search For The Historical Jesus: The Gospel According to Whom? (Part II)

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

The New Testament: Its Apostolic Foundations & the Significance of 70

The answer to the question of the “historical Jesus” is intricately tied to the question of the New Testament. The bulk of our knowledge about the person of Jesus comes from the New Testament; for this reason, the New Testament must become the principal object of analysis to answer the more fundamental question: who was Jesus of Nazareth?

God chose to communicate with mankind in human language, which by necessity is deeply shaded by the personality, culture, and time of each sacred author. The sacred authors inevitably wrote as people of their own time for their own time while communicating the truths that God wished to be written. Accordingly throughout history any attempt to understand and learn these truths has required that the Church “journey back” to the world of the sacred authors to truly understand Sacred Scripture.

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Did Health Care Reform Help Massachusetts?

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

Ezra Klein has a post up trumpeting a new paper from MIT economist Jon Gruber which purports to show that Massachusetts significantly reduced individual health care premiums through its 2006 health care reform bill — which in many ways was similar to the Democratic proposals currently moving forward in congress. (Needless to say, this would be contrary to what most people who have actually experienced health care in Mass., even this liberal speech writer, have experienced.) However, looking at all the findings is key:

In their December 2007 report, AHIP reported that the average single premium at the end of 2006 for a nongroup product in the United States was $2,613. In a report issued just this week, AHIP found that the average single premium in mid-2009 was $2,985, or a 14 percent increase. That same report presents results for the nongroup markets in a set of states. One of those states is Massachusetts, which passed health-care reform similar to the one contemplated at the federal level in mid-2006. The major aspects of this reform took place in 2007, notably the introduction of large subsidies for low-income populations, a merged nongroup and small group insurance market, and a mandate on individuals to purchase health insurance. And the results have been an enormous reduction in the cost of nongroup insurance in the state: The average individual premium in the state fell from $8,537 at the end of 2006 to $5,143 in mid-2009, a 40 percent reduction, while the rest of the nation was seeing a 14 percent increase.

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Massacre at Fort Hood

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

FortHood_SRPC_detail3x

13 have been killed and 38 wounded at the Fort Hood army post in Texas.  The alleged shooter, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is dead, and two alleged suspects have been taken into custody.  This is a major story and details are sparse.  May the souls of the dead victims rest in peace.  More details as they become available.

Update 1: Dead gunman thought to have been a mental health professional,  a psychiatrist. I have heard on Fox that he was assigned in the past to Walter Reed.

Update 2: Gunman was thought to have been a drug and rehab specialist who obtained his license to practice psychiatry in 2005.  According to the Army Times he was promoted to Major on April 22, 2009.

Update 3: More details here about the gunman.

Update 4: Gunman worked at the Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood.

Update 5: Gunman had received a poor performance evaluation at Walter Reed.  He was upset about a forthcoming deployment to Iraq.

Update 6: Colonel Terry Lee who had worked in the past with Hasan says that the gunman had made statements that Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor.  He is being interviewed on Fox.  The Colonel also said that Hasan thought that after Obama was elected the war in Iraq would come to a swift end and he became frustrated that this did not occur.

Update 7: The two suspects taken into custody have been released.  I am hearing that they may have been attempting to subdue the gunman and were taken in for questioning about the incident.  Good!  That makes it much more likely that this is the work of just one deranged individual rather than a conspiracy.

Update 8: Now the local Congressman in whose district Fort Hood is located is stating that he has heard that another suspect has been brought in for questioning.

Update 9: The gunman’s name according to some reports is Nidal Malik Hasan and not Malik Nadal Hasan as initially reported.

Update 10: Here is info on the gunman on the Virginia Board of Medicine Practitioner Information page.

Update 11: According to a cousin of the gunman interviewed on Fox, Hasan was born and reared in this country.  He has always been a Muslim and is not a recent convert as was initially reported.  He joined the military against the wishes of his parents.  He complained about harassment to relatives that he alleged that he received from fellow soldiers in the Army because of his pro-Muslim views.

Update 12: Lieutenant General Bob Cone, the commanding general in charge of Fort Hood, at a press conference announces that Nidal Malik Hasan was wounded and is in custody, and was not killed as was initially reported.  He is also stating that Hasan was the sole shooter, and that no one else appears to have been involved.  He says that the slain and wounded soldiers were in an enclosed area awaiting medical and dental treatment.  A female civilian police officer shot and wounded Hasan.  She was wounded by Hasan and is in stable condition.  (Soon to be celebrated by the nation as a heroine I think.)

Update 13:  NPR has this report:  

A source tells NPR’s Joseph Shapiro that Hasan was put on probation early in his postgraduate work at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. He was disciplined for proselytizing about his Muslim faith with patients and colleagues, according to the source, who worked with him at the time.

Update 14:  Hasan is the son of Palestinian immigrants, both deceased. 

Update 15:  Reports that Hasan had come to the attention of federal law enforcement authorities six months ago because of internet postings advocating suicide bombings.  This seems to be the post in question:

“There was a grenade thrown amongs a group of American soldiers. One of the soldiers, feeling that it was to late for everyone to flee jumped on the grave with the intention of saving his comrades. Indeed he saved them. He inentionally took his life (suicide) for a noble cause i.e. saving the lives of his soldier. To say that this soldier committed suicide is inappropriate. Its more appropriate to say he is a brave hero that sacrificed his life for a more noble cause. Scholars have paralled this to suicide bombers whose intention, by sacrificing their lives, is to help save Muslims by killing enemy soldiers. If one suicide bomber can kill 100 enemy soldiers because they were caught off guard that would be considered a strategic victory. Their intention is not to die because of some despair. The same can be said for the Kamikazees in Japan. They died (via crashing their planes into ships) to kill the enemies for the homeland. You can call them crazy i you want but their act was not one of suicide that is despised by Islam. So the scholars main point is that “IT SEEMS AS THOUGH YOUR INTENTION IS THE MAIN ISSUE” and Allah (SWT) knows best.”

Take this report with a boulder of salt until it is better confirmed.  However, if the authorities did believe that Hasan was posting on internet sites advocating suicide bombings six months ago, why didn’t the Army take steps to keep him away from troops, especially troops heading for Iraq or Afghanistan?

Update 16:  The brave female police officer who took Hasan down is Police Sergeant Kimberly Munley.  She pumped four bullets into the gunman in spite of being shot by him. 

Update 17:  Hasan shouted Allahu Akbar ( God is Great) before beginning his rampage.

Update 18:  Information about some of the victims here.  May they now be enjoying the Beatific Vision.


A Public Duty

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

As a Christian and a Catholic, I believe that there is a major difference between the separation of Church and State on the one hand, and religion and politics on the other. Church and State are establishments; religion and politics are systems of thought and practice.   To expect people with religious beliefs to somehow keep them “out of politics” is the equivalent of expecting them not to participate in politics at all – something that the radical fringes of the atheist/agnostic movement would probably affirm. In their view the religious are too stupid or irrational to deserve a vote.

Throughout history there have been Christians who choose to opt out of politics and even mainstream society altogether for a more religiously pure life. From the desert ascetics and hermits that completely isolated themselves from society, to the monastic orders that lived more secluded lives, to the Amish who built separate communities and resisted modernization, there have always been Christian “separatists”, for lack of a better word. To these groups I have always said, “God bless you.” I fully understand the impulse and desire to remove one’s self, and one’s family, away from the mess that mainstream society can easily become.

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No Islamic Holy Sites Destroyed in 2012 Movie, Fear of Fatwa

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

Grand Mosque of Mecca

Due to the fear of a death threat in the form of a fatwa from Muslim scholars, movie director Roland Emmerich chose not to shoot any scenes depicting the destruction of Islamic holy sites in his new end-of-the-world film, 2012.  Though Roland Emmerich says this did not stop him when filming scenes depicting the destruction of Christian landmarks such as the Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.  He wanted to make sure his views of opposition to “organized religion” were not soft-pedaled in the movie 2012.

Of course, “organized religion” is a euphemism for the apostolic churches of the Catholic and Orthodox faiths.  Hence why you’ll see the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica topple over in the 2012 film and not the Ka’aba inside the Grand Mosque of Mecca collapse.

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George Washington and Catholics

Thursday, November 5, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

America has been blessed by God in many ways but I suspect no blessing has been greater than His granting us George Washington to lead us in our struggle for independence and to be our first President.  Catholics have perhaps more reason than other Americans to keep the memory of Washington alive in our hearts.  In a time of strong prejudice against Catholics in many parts of the colonies he was free from religious bigotry as he demonstrated on November 5, 1775 when he banned the anti-Catholic Guy Fawkes celebrations.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

– George Washington Read the rest of this entry »