Apologetics Lesson #6: Pantheism

If Deism is the belief that God is so transcendent from the cosmos He created that He no longer participates directly in it, Pantheism must be the worldview at the other end of the continuum believing that a higher power exists as Pantheism holds that God is so immanent with the universe that God and the universe are one. As a worldview, Pantheism has plagued the religious thought of both the East and West from ancient times on up through our contemporary day.

Though there are various forms of Pantheism, most share a set of common characteristics. Pantheists will agree that ultimately there is but one substance.

Parmenides hypothesized that there is either being or nonbeing and in order to exist there must be being. And if everything possesses this quality, everything is of the same substance as to differ by nothing would be not to exist at all.

Though everything is ultimately one under Pantheism, what we perceive as multiplicity or distinction are either manifestations or emanations of the absolute unity.

In the “Enneads”, the Greek mystic Plotinus said that from this impersonal unity flowed the various levels of reality starting with unity, then inward into mind, then the world soul, then multiple souls, then to the lowest level of matter. It is man, Geisler writes in “Christian Apologetics” of this brand of Pantheism in as “the microcosm who possesses mind, soul, and matter” that the journey back to unity and oneness begins (175).

Though slightly different, other forms of Pantheism share considerable similarity. For example, in Spinoza’s pantheism, God is a substance of infinite attributes and we exist as transient manifestations of the absolute that are eventually reabsorbed back into it. And in Hinduism, though that world religion is noted for its multiplicities of divinities, in its philosophically complex variants, the various gods all the way down to the material components of the physical world are the assorted levels of the comprehensive totality known as Brahman.

Though many Pantheists claim to embrace tolerance as they contend all religions are merely human efforts to understand the same all-encompassing God, one is really taking the serpent to one’s bosom when dealing with Pantheism. For example, in much of Pantheist thought, it is held that both good and evil flow from God much in the same way there is both a light and dark side of the Force in the Star Wars epic. Other Pantheists claim that God is beyond good and evil as understood by human beings.

Such positions could be used to not only justify any number of atrocities but also to view them in a disturbingly detached manner or even positively in an around about fashion. For example, if good and evil are simply just human conceptions useful for ordering social relations, what is so inherently immoral about the Holocaust?

After all, were not the Jews the ones anyway that set the ball rolling on the theism that ended up promoting the conceptual dualism that now hinders the expansion of consciousness? Besides, by liberating them of their physical materiality, aren’t we doing them a favor by reuniting them with universal oneness? Under Pantheism, the “is” becomes the “ought” and that is why one sees cows strutting freely down the streets of India with the baby girls tossed out with the trash and abortion rampant here while exceedingly harsh legal penalties are enacted to protect the most insignificant of animals such as bugs and rats.

By Br. Frederick Meekins

Lessons In Apologetics, Part 1: Introduction & Agnostici

For anyone pursuing a degree in Apologetics that was given a dollar for every time they were asked “What is that, learning how to say you are sorry” upon answering the question of what it is that they study so many times, many would have financed a considerable portion of their academic pursuits. Unfortunately, such ignorance as to what exactly this theological discipline entails symbolizes the neglect the defense of the faith has fallen into in the contemporary church and is one of the reasons that everywhere the believer and student of religion turns today they find Christianity losing considerable ground both within and without its boundaries to a wide variety of opponents and adversaries. To the serious student of this field of study, one of the best tools around which to build a fundamental understanding of the discipline’s ins and outs is “Christian Apologetics” by Norman Geisler, one of the field’s foremost living practitioners.

Basic to any academic discipline is the approach or methodology which scholars and researchers apply to the subject matter. The field of Apologetics is no different. Geisler lists the methodologies to knowledge in general and about God in particular as agnosticism, rationalism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, and combinationalism. In the course of his analysis, Geisler evaluates each in terms of their epistemology regarding religious matters and how these approaches stack up under the weight of being scrutinized by their own criteria.

The first approach to knowledge of God is agnosticism. Coined by T.H. Huxley, the term agnosticism means “no knowledge” and thus contends one is unable to know anything about God (13).

Agnosticism is itself divided into two branches. The one holds that not yet enough conclusive evidence pointing in one direction or the other regarding the existence of God has been gathered. The other holds that God is not knowable.

Of the agnostics that claim God is not knowable, this claim is based upon their understanding of the nature of knowledge. Drawing upon David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and A.J. Ayers’ Language, Truth, & Logic, these agnostics have divided the tree of actual knowledge into two branches.

The first variety of valid statements are analytic statements meaning they are valid by the terms of their definitions. For example, all bachelors are unmarried. The second type of valid statements are known as synthetic and are what we would refer to as matters of fact as they are about empirically gathered data (17).

Geisler writes of the agnostic views regarding talk about God, “For the term ‘God’ is neither analytic nor synthetic; that is, it is neither offered by the theist as an empty contentless definition corresponding to nothing in reality nor is it filled with empirical content since ‘God’ is allegedly a supraempirical being. Hence, it is literally nonsense to talk about God (18).”

To the aspiring apologist hoping to present an objective case for the Christian faith beyond how warm and fuzzy Jesus makes their innards, it may seem that the agnostic methodology has struck an early and potentially crippling blow to this noble effort. However, a bit of careful reflection may even the scales once more between the agnostic and the Christian.

The lofty sounding name given to this epistemology of language is the Verification Principle. If the Christian turns the Verification Principle back on itself, one sees it is self-referentially incoherent as the concept cannot live up to its own criteria as the Verification Principle is neither purely definitional or merely a statement of fact.

Thus to remain consistent, the agnostic must admit that, since our knowledge of the empirical and metaphysical realms is limited, by definition of man’s own finitude, this understanding cannot be totally comprehensive. Of those unwilling to admit God may exist in those reaches man cannot fully fathom, Geisler writes, “And there is simply no way short of omniscience that one can make such sweeping and categorical statements about reality…Hence total agnosticism is only self-defeating. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic and finite men do not possess omniscience (27).”

By Br. Frederick Meekins

A question on the topic of “Sola Scriptura”…

Warriors, Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, a question was asked as to what my opinion was on the subject of Sola Scriptura and in return as many know, I am inclined to give a response on certain topics. Even such as this. I hope you will read this and in turn, have a better understanding as to why I preach and teach the way I do. So here is my response on the topic of “Sola Scriptura”…

Sola Scriptura
(Meaning: by Scripture alone or rather only)

To help understand this topic, one needs to relate it in contents. Contents to four other facts that the Holy Scriptures and it’s understanding, alludes to. These would be, 1.) Faith alone/only, 2.) Grace alone/only, 3.) Christ alone/only and 4.) God alone/only. Which knowledge and understanding or interpretation of the scriptures is of and comes from each by and through the Holy Spirit.

The term, Sola Scriptura, stems from a period of history of mankind known as the Protestant Reformation, back in 1517 or as some say the beginning of “Western Christianity”, that is to say in the 16th century. Which is directly a result of the now 34 plus thousand beliefs of Christian faith. Meaning it is what caused the “split” of the Christian faith as we experience it today between denominations and belief.

At least it is my personal opinion as to the respects to the understanding of scripture, interpretation and traditions with which most denominational thinking and traditions are based. Such as the Holy Sacraments and other examples which were laid down by the actions of Christ and the Apostolic. All of which falls back on the four understandings of scripture now known as doctrine and or theology of each body of Christ known simply as the “Church or rather Faith”.

The Church today is still and will remain split until the issue of doctrine is resolved by the Holy Trinity at the time yet to come, known as the rapture. The return of Christ which will be to claim His chosen in the Apocalypse known as Armageddon. At least that is my opinion.

However, it is by choice that mankind is given by God’s love to man through Grace alone, that can bring the body known as the flock of the church/churches, back to the center core of belief/faith through the scripture. Which in my opinion again, will be the second Reformation of the body of Christ/Church.

Again, in my opinion it is the “Independent – Universal/Catholic body of churches” be they called Catholic or Non-Denominational, which will be the leaders of this second meeting of the minds and hearts/spirit of mankind, preparing all those living, to repent and turn from the misguidance of man and Satan through their personal traditions of doctrine and theology. Returning the whole body of Christ/Church/Flock of lost souls, back to the basics of the one belief and faith in the “Holy Trinity”. Meaning the core or center of a personal or family belief as to living the Holy Word of God through the general knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the scriptures.

Man has an uncanny way of getting in between the Spirit of God and man himself which in turn, causes the confusion and the impending doom of humanity. Over all else but not limiting it to and through but to include it to the seven deadly sins which are, 1.) Wrath, 2.) Greed, 3.) Slothfulness, 4.) Pride, 5) Lust, 6.) Envy and 7.) being Gluttony.

Which in most cases can and will be the cause of yet, another split within the faith. However, there is hope, grace, mercy, and love of the Holy Trinity for mankind, that will bring calm, understanding and the faithful back to the original banner of Christ, known as the body of the Church making it one, once again through faith, reverence and devotion to Him and mankind.

There is much more that can and will be discoursed on this topic in the days and years to come but, only through the very will, of those that want the body (Christ’ Church/Flock), to know the true truth of God for themselves as well as for the world. This will then and only then be the beginning of and the ebullience or rather in enabling factor to breakdown the divisions that keep the faith of Christ apart from one another. (In my opinion).

Sincerely yours in service to the one Christ, Jesus our Lord and Savior of all mankind,
Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley, DD., O.S.A., O.S.P., S.O.BB., S.O.M.A.
Of the Celtic Cross Foundation of Ministry and the New Horizons Church of the Celtic Cross and the Traditional Old Catholic Church of the Celtic Cross, Celtic Cross Ministry and the Christian Warrior Network.

“Thy Holy Writ”

Jeremiah chapter 16, verse 16

16 “Behold, I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

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Warriors, do you consider yourself to be truly and fully “Christian” ? Do you know what is expected of you that call yourself “Christian” ? Are you prepared to do the work of the Lord as it has never been done before ? Being Christian is not just a word, it is a life style. A life style that is good, decent, loving and kind to all in this world, not just your small piece of it. Although we all have to start someplace.

When I have talked to you about things more important to you than God, what is it do you think I am talking about ? Do you think my words to harsh or not harsh enough ? Do you regard my messages as “whatever” ? Do you think for a moment that I do not love and worry about you, your life, your families and the such ?

I guess every preacher in the world asks themselves these questions from time to time. It is our job as directed by God to help you realize the truth of his will for your life and those that you love and care about.

The Prophet Jeremiah is trying to do his best to relay the message of Chapter 16 to those who need to hear it the most. Those that are lost. So to speak. It is a warning to all who do not follow after the way of the Lord with all diligence and respect. The fishermen in this passage are the increased ministers of the word of God and the hunters are those that are truly righteous and they will make known the truth and force evil out of the darkness and into the light for all mankind to see and know.

As a community of the Christian faithful, we need to make known that we are fishers of men and hunters of righteousness and Godliness. We need to stand firm on the word of God, Christ His Son and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. As well as the lives of those around us.

A very dear friend asked me to comment on this verse and at first I was reluctant but when you do as God wants everything falls into place and the message becomes clear. Clear at least to those that want to do His will in their lives. And there are many, many of you out here that do and for this I am pleased and so to is the Father. So please bring your questions concerning the scriptures to me. For I know that you are wanting to know the ways of our governance, our lord Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that sometimes it is best to read an entire chapter or two to understand His meanings and mostly pray. Pray before during and even after and ask the Father what it is He wants you to learn and may even do with the new-found understanding that He has given you. You just might be surprised of how He will use you to do His work, either as a fisher of men or maybe a hunter of the truth for His sake for all mankind.

Pray for those that need prayer like the lost throughout the world in places like North Korea, and the Middle East. I fear it is they that this scripture is in reference to. Them and all mankind that do not accept the Fathers teachings. Just remind folks if need be that Christ was not just a prophet like Jeremiah or any other, he “IS” the Son of MAN and GOD, for all mankind. Not just one group of believers that think they are right and all other people’s are infidels or the such.

Have a blessed day folks and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
God bless…

Sincerely your servant in the name of the Christ, Jesus

Bishop Andrew R. M. Manley DD., O.S.A., O.S.P.

http://www.celticcrossministry.com

The Legend of St. Valentine

Saint_Valentine_February_14thThe history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Origins of Valentine’s Day: A Pagan Festival in February
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

Typical Valentine’s Day Greetings
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

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This story of St. Valentine is brought to you courtesy of the History Channel.
http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

Happy Saint Valentines Day Everyone…

When is a Prophet not a Prophet?

 

 

 

Warriors and laity around the world, hear ye, hear ye. When is a Prophet not a Prophet? When we that are being prophesied to, don’t ad-hear to their words!

 

Most every Christian or even mortal man has heard at one time or another the quotes of our Savior in reference to “profit”, and I’ll quote the book of Matthew as to the subject of which.

 

In the, NKJV – Matthew ch., 16 v., 26 … For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or rather the question should be as to – what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Granted the same paraphrase is alluded to in the books of Mark – ch.,8:36 and, as well as Luke – 9: 25.

 

But this is not the type of profit I refer to in this segment. What I will say is to the actual term of Prophet (spelled as P_R_O_P_H_E_T and not the latter, which is spelled as P_R_O_F_I_T.)

 

Now I can see, and understand how confusing the English language can appear to those that don’t grasp the incidentals of it. I should also note here that the word known as Prophet , p_h_e_t, was termed differently in Israel (That is to say that, when a man went to get guidance and understanding of Gods word, he spoke to a “SEER”, now called a prophet.) In this next book, 2ND Chronicles I will make mention of the dealings with the Trustworthiness and even the Rejection of the Prophets. Thought brief as they may be.

 

Again in the, NKJV – 2ND Chronicles, 20: 20 … Refers to the first ( Trustworthiness) When Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

 

The two notations of inference here are ( be established ) and, ( shall prosper.) The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary states the word ( established as ) to institute (as a law) permanently by enactment or as I think of it, as one being anchored in … and, the term ( shall prosper ) as to become strong and flourishing.

 

So when you think about what this verse really means it can be said that to believe in the Lord God is to be permanently anchored in your belief and understanding, of His promises and when you come to an understanding of this concept, then you shall be enriched for the better coming to the realization of this fact by one who is sent by God to you, thus allowing you to be factually informed as to His truth. And I don’t mean the “prophets version of truth but, that of Gods truth or rather promise.

 

 

Now also in the book of the 2ND Chronicles 36: 15 -16 deals with the rejection of prophets and states. The LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16) But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

 

These verses are not quite as simple to grasp to an unbelievers understanding. That is, as it is and should be taken more seriously. In verse 15 the greater inference is the “warning” which has been sounded from the roof tops sense it was written. Yet many in the modern era still just think them to be just the ramblings of a time long ago and not as relevant today.

 

I recon that is why what jumps off the page here, (at least to me is) that most folks know and understand what a warning is. Just the thought of it is rather scary and unsettling. Benjamin Franklin who most assuredly is one of our nations wisest men was quoted as to have said “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I often wonder if he came to this realization of fact from this verse where the author states, “ by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people. Another clushay of a quote is that “the early bird gets the worm”… LOL… it only makes better since to draw the conclusion through these clushays to bring home a point of reference and understanding that the words “early rising, send or rather sent them, meaning the ones who tried to bring understanding to the people. The same can be said of us even to this day. That the clushay quote reference to the word “worm”, means as it is referred to in many passages of the Holy Scriptures as “meat” and no folks not the understanding of the word to meet someone, but rather to the reference of the subsistence and comprehension. Be it a real life-sustaining nourishment or the nourishment of ones soul. Preferably to your soul and to your betterment of understanding of Gods “warnings.”.

 

We as a whole, of our human nature still denounce the teachings of Christ Jesus and the Prophets, as mankind did all those many years ago. When the author states that God, “had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place.” still holds a great truth today. There is a small clarification on the tail end of this passage that refers to “His dwelling place”, which may need that clarification.

 

Yes God still has compassion on the human race, so don’t get your bees in a bonnet….lol…I am referring to a two-fold meaning of the word dwelling. Which means to “dwell or live within, and they are that of the obvious, which being is Jerusalem, in Israel. Not the Jerusalem in Yates County, New York .

 

No disrespect intended to the folks that call it home. But rather as the term dwelling being Zion, Church, Temple and or held in endearment in one’s heart. It is why the Holy Trinity has not given up on us, where He has patients and, many times we don’t. He is not without limits. I mean, we all have been a bit short fused from time to time not only with our fellow-man but when things don’t go our way we turn our wrath on Him. He is the one who never wavers on compassion, forgiveness and yes even love.

 

However, as the author puts it so succinctly, that being “But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.

 

Here’s a question for you, are not ministers, priests, clerics and clergy in general still not taken seriously even today? So, if true, than we can conclude there is still relevance in these words as to Gods messengers ( that is as godly men and women are referred to).

 

Many in the world today “despise His words, mostly because, (and I think,) that there is a perception that His word takes all the “fun” out of life and that it is words that mean “don’t s. I have to say that this is so far from the truth that it “almost becomes laughable to even contemplate the notion.” However, it should be a blue print in our lives as to how to live life. How to act with regards to respect as with person, places and things. And for now a better term would be, “reverence” to the world around us.

 

Yet now comes the hard part for folks to come to grips with and that is because we have been brainwashed to the point of excrescence that God is the opposite of that last part of the 16Th verse, which being “until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.”

 

It seems to me that mankind forgets that God has a temper and like us He does become short in patients and also that we are constantly in violation of the second commandment given to Moses by God himself and that being “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”! Please before you say it isn’t so, think! Do we by an act of human nature, place things in a higher standing in our lives than this one commandment? Think about it for a moment, would you not be even somewhat put a miffed if you yourself have to take the back seat. That is in regard to what you thought was more or even most important? Then it only goes to show and reenforced by the fact, that though God is a loving God and that He, has great compassion for you. Along with understanding as well as patients with you and even all of us in the world. Remember, so as not to forget that though you might feel like the 12 man on the football field or the 9Th man on the ball field that it is tough for us to be that “odd man out”.

 

So, in closing please, please don’t think of yourself any less for falling short of His glory, for God knows all to well that we are only human. And by the way, I’m thinking that my last comment here, isn’t likely to hold any weight when it comes to judgment-day. I thank the heavens that Christ walked this same world as you and I, and that He suffered and died to save all mankind.

 

With warmest and sincere affection to all, God bless and don’t forget, He made you in His image and that He didn’t make any “junk”, only mankind does…Love always,

 

Chaplain, Andrew R. M. Manley DD. o.s.m., o.s.f., o.s.p., of the ULCCC.