Far Away and It’s a Good Thing

Astronomy and especially the topic of black holes fascinate me.  Just the idea that black holes are so massive that even light cannot escape from their grasp and that anything that comes within a certain distance of a black hole is doomed to be gobbled up by the black hole can consume hours of contemplation without yielding a clear understanding, at least by me, of how that can be.  So, when I came upon this article by Christian Apologist Hugh Ross I immediately decided to capture it for this blog.  The Hugh Ross article appeared first at: Reasons.org as: No Nearby Nasty Supermassive Black Holes.  I hope you enjoy it.  RMF

No Nearby Nasty Supermassive Black Holes

Hugh Ross

Medical doctors tell us that it is not good for our health and wellbeing to possess a pot belly. They warn us, too, that the bigger the pot belly in proportion to our total body weight the greater the impact on our health, wellbeing, and longevity. As it is for human beings, so, too, for galaxies.

Galaxies, like humans, possess a core where a significant proportion of their total mass resides. Unlike humans, part of a galaxy’s core mass becomes super dense. When that nucleus collapses it forms a supermassive black hole.

A supermassive black hole (SMBH) has a mass that exceeds one million times the Sun’s mass. All medium, large, and giant galaxies possess a SMBH in the central part of their core. Dwarf galaxies and globular clusters also possess massive central black holes in their cores, though these black hole masses typically range between a few thousand and a few million times the Sun’s mass. Continue reading

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Is Darwinian Evolution Even Possible?

Here is an article that I found fascinating. It is a bit long but I believe if you’re interested in science and the origin of life the read will be worth your while.  The article appeared at: Claremont.org as: Giving Up Darwin.  RMF

GIVING UP DARWIN

By: David Gelernter

Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views; which in turn is an essential first step towards being taken seriously in any part of modern intellectual life. But what if Darwin was wrong? Continue reading

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Linus and His Blanket at Christmas

The Thanksgiving to Christmas period is a favorite time of year.  For me this is in large part due to the annual reruns of the wonderful Charlie Brown videos.  I love Charlie Brown and his pals, even Lucy, and appreciate the subtle messages of gratitude, faith, hope, and love they contain.  Following is an article about a message that was so subtle that I missed it although I had seen it many times.  Perhaps you missed it too.  Anyway, thanks to Jason Soroski for sharing his observation regarding Linus’ blanket.  His article appeared at: www.crosswalk.com as: Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas.  And, as a bonus, there is a sequel written by Jason which follows in this post.  RMF

Just Drop the Blanket: The Moment You Never Noticed in A Charlie Brown Christmas

by Jason Soroski

Jason Soroski

This week A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on national prime time television for the 50th time. In a world where the latest greatest technology is outdated in a matter of months, and social media trends come and go in a matter of days, 50 years of anything becomes quite meaningful.
I am a fan of all things nostalgic and all things Christmas, and so when the two are combined I am hooked, and the Charlie Brown Christmas special falls squarely into that category.
I was in the first grade back when they still performed Christmas pageants in schools (less than 50 years, but still a very long time ago), and our class performed a version of the Charlie Brown Christmas. Since I was kind of a bookworm and already had a blue blanket, I was chosen to play the part of Linus. As Linus, I memorized Luke 2:8-14, and that Scripture has been hidden in my heart ever since.
But while working so diligently to learn those lines, there is one important thing I didn’t notice then, and didn’t notice until now.  Continue reading

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Sequel to Demon Dialog

The following is another insightful and sharp-witted article by Regis Nicoll. My original blog post on the topic was on November 17, 2018 and contains background on my appreciation for Mr. Nicoll’s writing. The full caption of the earlier article was Demon Dialog and Serious Spiritual Satire Screwtape Style. So, here is a similar article which I just encountered today. It contains practical wisdom regarding religion and how it may take a person down a path of destruction.  The article by Mr. Nicoll appeared at: www.crisismagazine.com  as:  Hell Relishes a Useful Religion.   RMF

Hell Relishes a Useful Religion
By Regis Nicoll

Regis Nicoll

Dear Swillpit,

The next best thing to a religion that is ignored or marginalized is one that is found useful, a means to some practical end. Thus, the minute a creature is drawn into religion, help him to see its utility in something important to him.

The something can be as personal as self-improvement or as global as world peace, as specific as saving the snail darter or as general as environmentalism, and on either side of a cultural issue like abortion. All we care about is that “it” becomes a cause, a thing to which they devote their entire life, exclusive of all else. Yet, even there, danger lurks.

A worldling who has taken up a cause, is one whose sensitivities to fairness, justice, or fellow-creature feeling have been stirred. It won’t strain your imagination, I trust, to see the threat in such untoward arousals. Instead of moving him closer to becoming the kind of being we’re after—a self-absorbed, other-devouring creature—it can inspire him to qualities that our Adversary values: courage, compassion, sacrifice, and, worst of all, love. Continue reading

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‘The Signature in the Cell’ Book Review

Neat article on the origin of life and intelligent design.

Regis Nicoll recently posted this incredible article in the All Things Examined column at BreakPoint.org.  The article is a book review of Dr. Stephen Meyer’s new book The Signature in the Cell.  This looks to be a landmark publication in its contribution to the design/evolution conversation. I encourage you to read this insightful review and then exercise the intellectual rigor to examine Dr. Meyer’s evidence for yourself:

The Signature in the Cell

All Things Examined

By: Regis Nicoll|Published: June 3, 2011 5:04 PM

One of the most vexing and long-standing mysteries of science is the origin of life: that is, how did the building blocks of matter (atoms and molecules) lead to the building block of life: the biological cell? As recently as 2008, Richard Dawkins (who believes that everything is the product of evolutionary processes) confessed, “No one knows.”

Up until the nineteenth century, leading scientists generally assumed that an organizing…

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Wasting Time Productively

Here is a wonderful reminder of our need to slow down, think deeply, and experience beauty in all its many forms.  The article is by Tiffany Schubert who teaches in the Trivium and Humanities Tracks at Wyoming Catholic College.  Her research interests include the relationship between liberal education and happiness. This article appeared at: The Imaginative Conservative *** as: Liberal Education, the Wasting of Time, and Human Happiness.

Liberal Education, the Wasting of Time, & Human Happiness

By Tiffany Schubert

Tiffany Schubert

 

Human beings are not simply producers; they are also lovers of beauty and contemplators of truth. They are wasters of time. The liberally educated person has a rich inner life that allows him or her to waste time well…

 

liberal education:  As an undergraduate, I went for walks in rural Michigan. Sometimes alone, sometimes with others. Romantic walks, friendly walks, philosophical walks, beautiful walks. On one memorable walk, I delighted in the loveliness of the effect a streetlight can have on green leaves in the dark. I wasted time on those walks, and it shaped my soul.  Continue reading

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Demon Dialog and Serious Spiritual Satire Screwtape Style

Two of my favorite Christian books are CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters and Randy Alcorn’s Lord Foulgrin’s Letters.  The Lewis book is a classic masterpiece of religious satire that portrays  human life and foibles from the perspective of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below,” aka the devil himself, and his nephew and understudy, Wormwood.  The book is hilarious but also very instructive in its depiction of the devil working in subtle ways to tempt humans and distract them from God, who Screwtape refers to as “the enemy.”  This “devilish” indirect approach is far more useful than a blatant, head-on show of force in diverting folks from the path of righteousness.   If you are a Christian and at all serious about your faith you have certainly noticed this to be true.

My other favorite book of this genre is the Alcorn book.  This book is essentially a brilliant sequel and repackaging of Screwtape for modern readers.  Like Screwtape, which Alcorn admittedly patterned on Lewis’ book, it deals with deep issues and provides important insights into life that are easily missed.  And, it has an engaging plot that displays the clear and very biblical reality of a spiritual realm and warfare  just outside of our senses.  While Alcorn’s premise is the same as Lewis’ the format is different.  Lewis presented his story of his human subject only through the content of the Screwtape letters.  Alcorn’s format uses a series of brief chapters in the life of the main character,  Jordan Fletcher, each followed by a letter or two from Lord Foulgrin, primarily to his disciple, Squailtaint, setting forth attack strategies, observations and critiques.

Like Lewis, Alcorn recounts how the seemingly “small” sins are the ones that can get us in the most trouble. Few of us will commit murder, but our pride, resentments, lies, and so forth, can rob us of our effectiveness for the Lord, and do injustice to the reputation of  the One we should be glorifying through our actions.

So, what is this leading up to?  Well,  I just ran across a brief article by Regis Nicoll which reminds me of Screwtape and Foulgrin.  Mr. Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture.  The article appeared at: Crisis Magazine   as: The Making of an Apostate.  It also appeared at: Crosswalk.com.  I believe you’ll like it.  RMF

The Making of an Apostate
REGIS NICOLL

Regis Nicoll

Dear Swillpit,

Interesting, how humans can go through life without giving much serious thought to their faith. Oh yes, they may believe in a supreme Being and an afterlife. They may be members of a church, even leaders or clergy. They may have mouthed their allegiance to our Adversary. But beyond the sanctuary walls, they live as if he and his teachings are largely irrelevant. You have your demonic forebears to thank for this.

After generations assailing their spiritual yearnings, we learned that allowing them a small space for religion is better than allowing no space at all. Surprised?

I know it sounds strange, but the more adamantly they reject religion, the more it occupies their thoughts and conversations. In fact, a hardened atheist is apt to spend more of his mental energies pondering “God” and religion than the most ardent believer.  Continue reading

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