Author Archives: Robert

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Old Church Schism Is What Enables “Legal” Gay Marriage

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Two things in the national news this week bring to point two fundamental issues about the five W's of marriage (who, what, when, where and why). The first event was the passage of legislation in Alabama by the state senate to eliminate the requirement of getting a marriage license in the state. The second was the veto of the Georgia governor of the bill that would shield those opposed to gay marriage

The Alabama legislation would replace the marriage license requirement with a marriage registration requirement (if and/or when a couple wants their union recognized by the state). There is a vast difference between a license (which grants permission to do an otherwise non-allowed act) and a registration (which is an act to make an announcement of something that had already occurred. Those that would be registering their marriage would already be married and the registration itself would not be effecting the marriage, merely the public recognition and awareness of it. Marriage licensing laws are a bit more complicated. The main person that licenses affect are the officiants with many jurisdictions maintaining the marrying of a couple without a license constitutes a crime BY THE OFFICIANT. And even if such were to occur, the couple's marriage may still be valid. Another problem is who or what constitutes an "authorized officiant" and what are the criteria or standards. The Alabama legislation removes all of the vagueness and makes it simply a contract. The main criteria then is merely that there be a witness and perhaps a notarized witness if fraud is a concern. 

The Georgia legislation is the opposite case where the state is getting even more deeply involved in the issues. After heavy pressure from a wide array of opponents including multi-national corporations threatening to pull operations from the state the governor capitulated and vetoed the bill that would have enabled churches and others to simply say to the gay community that their marriages simply weren't recognized there.

So it seems that the battle that was thought to have been won with the U.S.. Supreme Court decision preventing states from banning same sex marriages has simultaneously opened again on two more fronts. Can the states follow Alabama's example and simply just avoid the whole issue by repealing license requirements? Or, does the ruling of the Supreme Court go beyond the state governments to the religious organizations and people inside those states too? 

That question is not so much a question about gay or straight it is fundamentally a 'separation of church and state' issue that has historical precedence going all the way back to the Protestant Reformation. This quote, taken from  americancatholic.org,  tells the Catholic position that has its origin during the Reformation as part of its "Counter Reformation" movement …  

Catholics who exchange marriage vows in the presence of only ministers from other religious traditions or authorized civic officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

As a result of declaring the Reformer's marriages invalid they also were declaring their children illegitimate. The Roman Catholic Church had enormous influence over the governments of that era and, so, a ruling that the children were illegitimate also meant that they lost their rights to their inheritances. 

shadowsinthevineyard

 

 

 


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Christian Entrepreneurship

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Josh Trolley has an excellent video about entrepreneurship. I haven't read his book yet, "EvangelPreneur" but it is definitely at the top of my wish list! And as we watch the modern version of the Roman Collisseum and guberment's entertainment for the masses that we, today, call the "elections" we hear all the politicians pontificating about their "solutions". Small business has ALWAYS been the driver behind any economy and Josh speaks right to the heart of the matter. Our "blog for" network that enables anyone to enter the lucrative web advertising business is such an opportunity.


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Is God Dead? – Question Revisited After 50 Years

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Time Magazine – April, 1966

Is God Dead? Time Magazine Cover April, 1966

 

I was reading another, more recent (Dec. 25, 2014) Wall Street Journal article by Eric Metaxas that does revisit the question yet again. It is the first time I had heard of or read anything by Mr. Metaxas and I have to say I am now a fan. Much of his writing is focused on reconciling scientific findings with our perceptions of God. The essence of the 1966 article was that they (i.e. scientific findings) were driving our general acceptance of even His very existence further away and deeper from our shared American beliefs. I found Eric's story thanks to another WSJ article by Kate Bachelder where she interviewed him and already does an excellent job of condensing his points about science and faith so I am going to let their voice stand as is as they both have done such an excellent job of making a case for "the intelligent" designer behind us all and the entire Universe as well.

I must have read a similar themed work Michael Behe's "Darwin's Black Box" shortly after it had been published in 1996 (30 years after the time article). I was never a fan of Biology (a gross understatement of my lack of appetite for it) which was Darwin's foeld but Dr. Behe introduced me to the recently discovered science of MICRO-biology and I was entralled. Microbiology is a relatively new science. It uses tools and technology which weren't even dreamed of (let alone available) to the "scientists" of Darwin's era. Note I insert parenthesis around "scientists" because my own opinion is their forming theories without information borders very closely to "soothesaying". We need to revisit anyone's theories whenever new discoveries are made in order to see how they line up. There were still physicians practicing "blood letting" during Darwin's period. Dr. Behe's book revisits the still ignored question by bringing the discoveries of microbiology (sic. the inner workings of the cell) up against the ideas and theories of those biologists of Darwin's era who, in their defense, could not see inside the cell with the antiquated equipment and techniques they had at the time (hence the name of Dr. Behe's book as the cell was indeed a "black box" to Darwin and fellow scientists and they had no clue as to how it all worked).

But Is God Dead In American's Minds?

It may have just been the convergence of reading the articles by Ms. Batchelder and Mr Metaxas during the Christmas season together with the box office record breaking release of the new Star Wars movie but the thought occurred to me it seems Americans are still enthralled with the idea that there is, indeed, not only life on other planets but that there are entire civilizations! This purely whimsical venture into fantasy and imagination seems to have become so very deeply rooted in the American psyche as to have almost become a religion all its own. This belief is not based on any scientific evidence, however, and is purely imaginary. Eric Metaxas does an excellent job providing scientific findings adding to the ever growing odds against such a possibility.

Michael Behe's work originates from the discipline of microbiology. Scientific disciplines do not operate in a vacuum and their theories must also work when they cross into other scientific disciplines. Biology is also subject to the laws of physics, mathematics, chemistry and even quantum physics. The full title to Darwin's work was 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life' and we tend to shorten it to just "Origin of Species". In shortening his title we do a grave diservice to it for one thing for certain – Darwin didn't fail to explain was how the cell came into existance to begin with, he never even attempted to do so. That "leap of faith" that Darwin took was to blow past the question of where and how did the cell supposedly evolve and that ommission in the scientific community is what Dr. Behe's book challenges to bring them into account for their teaching.

While the textbook definition of "A Theory Of Everything" is usually within the discipline of physics (as described in this Wikipedia treatise) Trey Smith does an excellent job of expanding the meaning of "everything" to include all the disciplines of science as well as Biblical accounts. While his video of nearly 3 hours may be considered as too strenuos for some you reap what you sow. Afetr all, we are talking about a quest of how the entire universe came into existance aren't we? So what is 3 hours in comparison?

So during this Christmas season how about investing some time to build up your own knowledge of science and boost your faith that God is still on His throne!