As I was saying, I don’t understand how anyone can live without a center of being.
The late Father Viktor Frankel, a Jew who converted to Catholicism after surviving the death camps, later wrote a classic, entitled Man’s Search for Meaning.
I read it in college and never have forgotten that he wrote of man’s existential vacuum.
His main point was that we all have an emptiness that has to be filled with something.
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen used to say that the human heart is anatomically not like its renditions on St. Valentine’s Day or it those little heart candies that I can’t eat any more.
No, there is actually a small missing piece that seems to be preventing it from being a perfect heart shape.
Sheen says that this missing piece is what drives us to search for the meaning in our lives.
God withheld that small piece so that we would find another peace in Him. His love and grace would show us the way but we still had to seek Him.
People look in all the wrong places to fill up the emptiness they feel inside.
Since nature abhors a vacuum, many people fill their emptiness with science, sex, food, drugs, alcohol, work or even esoteric religions.
We just saw the movie, Eat, Pray and Love, based on a book of the same name. The author Liz Gilbert filled her emptiness with tons of pasta, Hindu meditation and a love affair.
Despite their protests, atheists also have to fill theirs with something, which means they do have a god.
Unfortunately it is probably their own egos.
That becomes a primordial itch that is impossible to scratch.
With regard to my natural arguments of finding God, atheists might offer the Muskox as an example of God’s mistake or the imperfections of nature.
While I admit that this hardy beast, which can only be found in the tundra regions of the Arctic, Greenland, Alaska and northern Canada, looks like he had been assembled by a committee, I found that he a fascinating natural wonder.
The Muskox has an undercoat that it sheds periodically that is used in beautiful sweater that belie its lack of nature beauty
As for human beings, I do not know how anyone can look at the face of a child and not see God.
I often look into a little child’s keen, fresh eyes that are trying to see and absorb everything around them and I hear a prayer telling me that this is the purity and innocence that we will all return to someday.
This is God’s way of telling us that the ways of the world, the notorious City of Man has as its major goal and that is the destruction of the innocence in those eyes before me.
Notice how many crimes are directed against small children.
Notice how Planned Parenthood and others try to seduce our children into premature sexual behaviors that will not only rob them of their innocence but turn them into hard, angry teenagers, dressed in gothic black that almost looks as if they have traveled over to the dark side.
I have had very little personal experience with atheism.
When I had a regular radio program on WGNU, one of my most memorable callers was a man who sometimes used the handle of Gunboy Jim.
Jim was very bright, more of a library-educated philosopher who proudly proclaimed his atheism.
Ardently pro-abortion, he would come up with the most creative arguments that justified in his mind a woman’s right to choose to kill her unborn child.
One time in the 1980s in an off-air phone conversation he said that abortion was a noble act.
So great was my visceral reaction that I could not restrain my contempt for him and his ideas.
I think part of my visceral reaction stems for my great love and respect for women.
They are to me the most beautiful part of God’s creation. Beautiful women have inspired artists and writers for 1000s of years.
Of Helen of Troy, Edgar Allan Poe said she was so beautiful that her face launched a thousand ships.
Despite my rage, Jim continued to call and challenge me. He made me a much better talk show host. I eventually put away my anger and tried to understand him and his atheism.
I realized that he was my neighbor and he needed something more than my righteous indignation.
One time in an e-mail he casually mentioned how he had been doing the dishes and the housework for his mother who had been seriously ill. I told him in a near apologetic tone that what he was doing was the work of sainthood.
I was taken back when he thanked me for seeing some good in him. I told Jim I would pray for him. He continued to call and write me.
Jim was a seeker, who wanted to know and understand the reality of life but had been looking in all the wrong places. His vacuum was still empty and his restlessness showed it.
I keep thinking that if he could see some of these postcards from Heaven, or better still the real thing, he would open his heart to God’s beauty and ultimate truth.
I haven’t heard from him in a long time.
I have a gut feeling he already knows that there really is a God who loves him.
Whatever the case I continue to pray that he has found that inner peace or what Bishop Fulton J. Sheen called peace of soul.
Like Jim all the militant atheists in this country also need our prayers.
I think I was studying at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs elementary school in the 1950s, when I first learned of the Church militant.
That’s a phrase that Catholics do not hear at all today because we are all members of the kinder, more gentle church.
What we do hear today is a ferocious gang of self-described atheists who are on the march and they seem to be even more militant than Catholics were in the 1950s.
Atheists used to be content to stay in their closet.
The closet was where society stored behaviors, attitudes and dark secrets that it had to tolerate but could never recognize as part of mainstream culture.
Unfortunately that is not the case today.
Western Civilization has been so rocked by the events of the past 50 years that it will not be too long before its traditionalists–I include myself in that group–will be forced into our own closet where we can keep our hate speech to ourselves.
Atheists seem to be everywhere and they are doing their level best to thwart any notions of God.
I have always wondered that if there is no God why do they care in anyone else believes in a deity? Is it any of their business?
Like their forebears from the French Revolution they see the Church as an institution founded on unreason and superstition.
I it their mission in life to chase such foolish ideas as religion and God from the public marketplace? Who gave them that right?
One of their godless priests is Sam Harris. In his 2004 book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Religion, Harris takes more of an apocalyptic approach.
He believes that people must renounce religious faith, or it will mark the end of civilization, conveniently ignoring the destruction of over 175 million people at the bloody hands of atheistic governments during the 20th century.
The presumptive bishop of this priesthood of unbelief, which is waging a take-no-prisoners war on faith and its believers, is Christopher Hitchens, the author of What’s So Good about God?
His anger must be a trial for his more conservative brother, Peter.
According to a recent article in the NY Times, Hitchens appears to be dying of throat cancer but to date remains unwilling to summon God.
I assume that as his foxhole of death gets closer, he might want to reconsider his eternal options. I pray that he will.
Once the ego gets ahold of a man’s view of religion it is very difficult for him to cross over. They view such a transition as a denial if self
I think part of this problem with atheism started with Charles Darwin and his The Origins of the Species.
I wont go into a complete refutation of his theory of evolution but we must NEVER forget his idea is a theory that scientists could replace tomorrow.
No one discovered it in a laboratory…only reasoned to by some of Darwin’s personal observations.
Personally I think the whole idea of random evolution is unprovable, irrational and not worthy of any serious consideration.
It is also dehumanizing and has on its political agenda–and don’t think for a minute that Darwinists are not hip-deep into politics–the reduction of human beings to lowers primates.
I do not know or understand how people can live without God or deny His presence.
My recent trip to the Canadian Rockies, especially Lake Louise was like a walk in one of God’s natural churches.
I do not understand how someone could look at the majestic beauty of this natural formation, with its rainbow of colors and its snowy peaks and not see the hand of His creation.
I took the following pictures that to me were like postcards from Heaven.
I also think evolutionary theory is also anti-intellectual.
It is a silly act of irrationality to say that this just happened. While Charles Darwin was not an atheist, his theory of evolution later became the adopted intellectual child of atheists around the globe.
I have written that liberals were mentally ill–perhaps this is just another such manifestation.
I just wonder what they say to themselves when they see these magnificent wonders of God’s handicraft.
Do they ever marvel in the awe of nature and shout the joys of wow?
Do their hearts leap up or sink to the earth? Do they sing praises to evolution or to Darwin? Or maybe they sing high hosannas to their Big Bang?
If so doesn’t that make them their little gods?
Years ago I saw the most beautiful animal I have ever seen in my life–a Bengal tiger at the St. Louis zoo. I remember being close enough to pet him but prudence won out over curiosity.
The animal had the most alluring combination of raw power, natural beauty and regal presence.
I ventured back to the zoo this year and to my disappointment there was no Bengal tiger, just a few amurs from China.
Such beautiful animals raises the question about how people can look at the animal kingdom, and not reason to a higher power than themselves.
Surely the PETA people must feel his presence when they do all sorts of weird things on their behalf.
Or maybe not! In effect in their delusional efforts to raise animals up to man’s level by giving them rights they actually lower man to the level of an animal.
They seem more interested in showing their natural beauty than appreciating the scenic wonders of God’s animal kingdom.
People like that must have some great hole in their hearts.
They remind me of a book I read in college that addressed this emptiness that has to confound those people without a scintilla of belief.
For more on this, look for: PART II
Baseball is much more than a funny game as Joe Garagiola quipped many years ago.
It is a refreshingly human game that brings to the forefront all the best and the worst facets of human nature.
We all know about the recent scandals with steroids and performance-enhancing drugs but even that is part and parcel of man’s human nature.
This flows from the very nature of the game. They keep score. There are winners and losers. Everyone wants to be a winner.
Conversely, no one wants to lose. But some teams do–just ask the old St. Louis Browns players, survivors from the 1962 Mets and the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, the linear descendants of the Browns.
We have it in our nature to bleed every chance we can to ensure a victory.
Players are no different. When skill is lacking, sometimes players will opt for guile. That’s why they have umpires.
Years ago I interviewed an author, Martin Quigley, who had made a study of the physics of the curve ball and other pitches of that era that broke, dipped, dropped or made some unpredictable movement.
His book was entitled The Crooked Pitch — a double entendre he used because many of these pitches were also patently illegal from a rules’ standpoint because they had been doctored that is, foreign substances had been added surreptitiously to cause the pitch to behave in a funny manner.
These crooked pitches included the shine, mud, coffee and the most infamous–the spit ball.
These pitches were outlawed for all but a select list of current pitchers who were grandfathered in.
This all happened in the wake of the death of Ray Chapman, who in August of 1920 became the first and so far onlymajor league player to be liked during a game.
A Carl Mays side-winding fastball struck him in the temple, breaking his neck in the process. After lingering for several hours he died the next morning.*
So dirty was the ball that Mays was using that Chapman could not see it.
Since then Major League baseball has done everything to stop this practice.
Early modern pitchers from the 50s-70s like Preacher Roe, and Gaylord Perry became notorious for teasing the public with does he or doesn’t he types of questions.
The doubt just added to their unpredictability.
In a book a few years ago, Derek Zumsteg documented just how players have cheated over the years.
When he was a player, Hall of Fame manager, John McGraw used to grab the belt of a tagging runner at third base, trying to impede his ability score.
He got away with this for a long time until, one player loosened his belt and as he took off to score, McGraw was left with the leather evidence in his hand.
Several students of the game, such as Harold Seymour, Roger Angel, and Bob Costas have sung the lyrical praises of baseball but few touched on the more emotional and sympathetic side of the human the game.
I was privy to a rare semi-public moment in baseball sentimentality in 1991.
I was at a LA Dodger game and as had been my wont I had brought my camera to snap anything in a uniform that moved.
Tom Lasorda, the Dodger manager and face of the franchise for several years was not expected on this trip because his only son, Tommy had died at the age of 32.
So I am standing over the LA dugout and Cardinal manager, Joe Torre comes out of the home dugout and starts walking right toward me. He goes down into the Dodger dugout.
Not that this is a violation of the fraternization rule but it was quite unusual.
Seconds later both Torre and Lasorda pop out of the dugout and they start walking toward the Cards’ dugout. Torre was comforting Lasorda.
I sent copies of my picture to both men and was able to get them both autographed.
Read Lasorda’s comment to me and you will see why this is one of my most treasured possessions.
It was writer Roger Kahn who chronicled the true human side of the players more so than anyone else with his 1972 book, The Boys of Summer.
This magnum opus of baseball literature explored the declining years of several members of the 1952-53 Brooklyn Dodgers.
It quickly became obvious that the focal point of the book w as racial pioneer Jackie Robinson who became the first black man to play Major League baseball since Moses Fleetwood Walker was exiled from the game in 1884.
Robinson’s health had deteriorated so much to the extent that by the book’s publication he was nearly blind from diabetes.
The other players paled by comparison.
There were the assorted physical difficulties, diseases, divorces, and financial reverses but none took center stage like Jackie Robinson who died shortly after the book’s debut.
Kahn’s lyrical title said it all. It was taken from a poem by Dylan Thomas that lamented: See the boys of summer. See them in their tragic ruin.
Pee Wee Reese, the Dodgers’ short-stop and Captain was also included in the book.
He was my first real hero and gave so much joy to my youth with his quiet leadership, easy manner, and dedicated play.
He had an instrumental role in assuring Robinson’s success. A Kentuckian by birth, Reese had several prejudiced friends and neighbors.
His approval meant a great deal to Robinson.
Cooperstown acknowledged his role in the Robinson saga on his own plague, which also hangs in its hallowed halls.
So important was Reese to me that I interviewed him in the same room that Kahn did in 1972 on my wife’s birthday.
Reese felt he did not belong in the book. And was probably right then but years later the ravages of age caught up with him.
His son Mark, whom I met that July night made a poignant documentary about his father’s heroic but losing battle with prostate cancer.
Pee Wee’s declining health had eventually proved Kahn right.
Like this country, I believe baseball is in danger of losing touch with its human roots.
Part of the problem is Sabermetrics, a neologism that emanated from the superior research of the Society for American Baseball Research.
I was a member of SABR from 1974 to about 1996.
I left it because it was giving too much weight to the numbers side of the game and they seemed to be lessening the importance of the human game.
It seemed as if they wanted to quantify every thing that was even remotely possible.
The NY Times now prints something called the baseball WHIP.
I really don’t understand what that means, unless baseball has now gotten into S&M and I don’t mean Slaughter and Musial!
I only liked the stats I could understand, such as RBIs, batting averages and even the more esoteric ERA for pitchers. Anything past that was more a distraction than a help.
Baseball does not hold the same fanatical attraction for me today. It seems to be losing its grip on the American imagination. The game has gotten so scientific and the games take forever.
It has gotten that one of the two games without an absolute clock, I now limit how far into a game I want to sit through.
Now they want to introduce an instant replay feature, which will only make the games even longer.
Nearly 40 years ago it was my view as a college teacher, who offered what was arguably the first accredited baseball course in the Midwest, that baseball reflected American life.
I think all the technology and excessive statistical analysis in baseball reflects the nation’s belief that the human side of the game is not as important. You can’t quantify emotion.
We seem to have forgotten the baseball adage that in base ball to err is part of the human game…and of life as well.
* I heard a great trivia question on a recent trip. A guy asked me “who was the pinch-runner for the dying Chapman?” The game was not cancelled or suspended. Send your answers and guesses to me at BBPROF@SBCGLOBAL.net.
And check out our St. Louis Browns website http://www.thestlbrowns.com
No, this is not about an old horror movie I found on cable.
It is about the belligerent, scandalous attitudes and policies of some of my fellow Catholics.
I believe they have poisoned the body politic with a venom worst than an army of scorpions.
I am talking about what my wife calls Catholics in Name Only.
The Republicans have their RINOs and now we have our CINOs.
The old term has been cafeteria Catholics, those who regard the individual teachings of the Church as they would food on a buffet line.
The sad fact is that virtually every Catholic in Congress is a CINO on the life issues.
By life issues, I am not talking broadly about the late Cardinal Bernardin’s seamless garment, which is probably the biggest single cause for this untenable situation with our Catholics in government.
I mean the big three–abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.
The new dodge of Cinos is the freedom of conscience gambit that grew out of the turmoil in the wake of Vatican II nearly 50 years ago.
The latest to use this clever bit of verbal legerdemain was Senator Richard Durbin recent admissions.
This past month, at their Faith Media Roundtable, several US Senators shared their views on the intersection of religion, politics and much more.
Illinois Senator Durbin explained his strong support for abortion rights by relegating it to a matter of his personal conscience.
Gone seemed to be any pretense of his being pro-choice, that is personally oppsed but publicly unable to force his morality on Americans.
No, the Senate Majority Whip, a practicing Catholic, has a new Bush to hide behind–his right to dissent from his Church’s traditional teachings.
I am always amazed at the verbal gymnastics that some people in public life will go to hide the truth of their lives from the public and maybe from themselves.
The truth of Dick Durbin is that he can not face the fact that he has put his soul in jeopardy by following the political dictates of Machiavelli, instead of the teachings of Jesus Christ, as presented by the Catholic Church.
I say this without the presumption that Mr. Durbin is a lost soul, only that he is taking a serious chance with his most prized possession in supporting and advancing such an unmitigated evil in American society.
While there is breath in his body, there is always the hope that he will admit his public moral degradation and repent for all the harm his support has wreaked on the unborn, the most endangered members of our human species.
ONE MAN’S CONSCIENCE
I say all this because Durbin’s position and that of all other Catholics, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former presidential candidate, John Kerry and several others, who have chosen to sit in his bark, which is not of Peter but of Satan.
All this being said, let me play the role of the Devil’s Advocate, a fitting analogy for my point.
I will allow the Senator his reliance on his conscience–how it was formed I have no idea since it is a such variance with the Church’s long and consistent teachings on life.
Perhaps he slept through most sermons that addressed the 5th Commandment—Thou Shalt Not Kill.
If Mr. Durbin is entitled to freedom of conscience, then other public figures should be allowed the same luxury.
This idea is self-evident in a society that coddles its criminals with all sorts of psychological excuses for some of the most heinous and brutal crimes under the sun.
Only Catholic priests and conservative figures, such as Mel Gibson are to be judged by traditional moral and legal standards.
I wonder if the Senator would allow secular historical figures of past history the same luxury, such as Roman emperor Caligula, Blackbeard or Billy the Kid.
Most likely he would follow the title of writer Nate Hentoff’s book from years ago, aptly entitled: Free Speech For Me: But Not For Thee.
That is a typical liberal idea–do as we say, not as we do.
But for argument’s sake, should not the important idea of freedom of conscience apply to say–Adolph Hitler?
Why should Senator Durbin and his fellow Catholics deny their prized freedom to a fellow Catholic, like Hitler?
I have read a great deal about Hitler and his personal motivations and his desire to resurrect Germany after its near destruction in World War I.
Hitler thought Germany had been sold out by the Dolchstoss or stab in the back.
I think it fair to assume that Hitler’s conscience told him that the best way to restore Germany to its past national glory was to rid his country of all the inferior races, cultures, and defective human beings, whom he classified as Untermenschen, a sort of underclass, he deemed unfit to live.
The term he used was Lebens unwertes leben-—life unworthy of life.
ANOTHER MAN’S CONSCIENCE
This is is the same rationale we have been fed since Roe v. Wade in 1973.
We have been told that the fetus is not human and is not worthy to see the light of day.
We could play this same scenario with Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and many others who have had the blood of millions on their hands.
If Mr. Durbin wants to use such a term of relativity–that is where there are no absolutes, then I am free to extend his idea to all others who might also find room in his bark.
This would make the Senator a commissar in the dictatorship of relativity.
He will deny any such comparisons, in the spirit of Hentoff”s book title above.
But that is what I would expect him or any other liberal worth his salt to do. Like the scorpion, it is in their nature.
I suggest the Senator find a new boat because his current vessel holds as much water as his reliance on his freedom of conscience.
6)Health Care is an entitlement.
Health Care–our own health care is a responsibility, not a right.
We all have a right to life but with that comes the responsibility of taking care of that life. That includes sleeping, eating moderately and living a moral life that avoids all sorts of over-indulgences.
We should not drive too fast, nor take any unnecessary risks with that life. As Sally Fields says, I have only that one life…
I am amazed at how many people take dangerous chances by racing cars, talking on a cell phone while driving, not paying attention to what they are doing, putting themselves in harm’s way and then and just throwing all kinds of caution to the wind.
And then these very same people have the temerity to expect someone else to pay for it.
It is a sad day when so many people are willing to trade their freedoms and responsibilities for the promise of government care and compassion.
This begs the question as to what has happened to America these past 50 years that its citizens are willing to trust their lives and futures to government bureaucrats?
There is never anything for free. My father taught me that everything has its price…no matter how little out of pocket-money you may have to spend.
People whose life styles are less than healthy had better understand that what the government gives it can take away just as easily.
Personally I think, the Obama health care is not about making anybody’s life any better or any healthier–it is an unmitigated power grab that will make our individual lives smaller and less free.
7) Diversity is a good thing.
When I was in grade school, the idiom teachers used for immigration was the melting pot.
Most of the people who came here were looking for the freedom to exist without undue restriction, not for free handouts.
They were willing to work, learn the language and become real Americans.
While that may hold true for many of our new immigrants, the first rule of being an American is to obey its laws.
Can we expect this same from La Raza today?
Since LBJ it has been more like a fruit salad where people are encouraged to maintain their different cultures..especially their language.
Ever since we started with the hyphenation of blacks, Italians and others, the country has foundered with a sense of lost purpose and human discord.
How diversity helps us become a better country is beyond me.
People that come here and don’t speak the language just divide a country into ethnic and racial compounds.
Can anyone say Tower of Babel?
I believe that if your allegiance is to another country, stay or go back there.
If you don’t want to make English your primary form of speech, you will never become part of the greatest experiment in human freedom in world history.
According to a new book The Post-American Presidency, by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, American identity is not based on race or creed but on a common value system.
If immigrants refuse to adapt to the American way of life they will invariably lead to violence.
Maybe that has been the idea all along–destroy America from within–use its freedom and compassion to undermine its people.
8) The Bush Tax Cuts costs hundreds of billions of dollars:
This is another of the left’s mendacious talking points.
Everyone with any understanding of history and economics knows for a fact that when Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush cut marginal tax rates, their cuts actually brought billions more of dollars of tax revenues into the Treasury’s coffers.
When President Clinton raised taxes in 1993, the reverse happened.
The empirical data is there, for those with eyes to see.
The problem with Bush and Reagan’s cuts was the fact that government spending trebled during these times when the revenue only doubled.
That’s Congress’ fault, not the tax cuts.
Rightfully followed Kennedy and Reagan
9) Homosexuals have a right to marry.
Marriage is not an absolute right. Societies have been regulating marriage for millenia.
No freedom is absolute, not even in a civilized society.
In any civilized society, no one has the absolute right to do whatever he or she wants.
People do not have the right to marry someone of their own sex, nor does anyone have the right to marry a minor, or a member of another species.
It has been that way in virtually all civilized societies since the beginning of recorded history.
No one is protesting their living together or arranging for some sort of civil union.
Homosexuals have garnered all the protection, insurance rights and legacy bequests that they need to protect their partners.
There is widespread tolerance for their life style, no matter how unhealthy or immoral they may appear.
So why do they persist and wanting to marry?
It is my guess they want to destroy the traditional marriage.
Lincoln had it right when he asked his associates How many legs would a cow have if you counted his tail as a leg? Most people said five
The correct answer of course is four. Calling a tail a leg does not make it a leg.
Lincoln was right
10) Hate Speech should be criminalized.
This might sound nice on its face value but the devil is in the details.
The shibboleth of hate speech has been used to shelter liberals’ protected species, like blacks, gays, Jews and now Muslims from any legitimate form of criticism and rational analysis.
Its draconian application in Canada and several European nations is to stifle and even criminalize free speech.
For example to even question any aspect of the Holocaust is construed as Holocaust Denial, and can be subject to criminal penalties, including jail time.
Just ask historian David Irving who spent three years in an Austrian prison for raising some questions of historical verification bout the gas chambers.
That offends my idea of free speech. It can and will happen here.
The following is a quote from my August Mindszenty Report. (Mindszenty.org)
A perfect example is the case of Kenneth Howell, a former University of Illinois adjunct professor who was recently fired from the Department of Religion for teaching in a class Introduction to Catholicism that homosexual acts violated the natural law.
The decision came after an anonymous student complained in an e-mail written by a friend that his comments constituted hate speech.
Howell had been teaching this class without incident since 2001.
His protests fell on deaf ears as political correctness had trumped freedom of speech.
I have learned to count to 10 when I hear one of these liberal lies.
It is a good way to deal with the frustrations of their violation of the 8th Commandment of bearing false witnesses.
I think liberals suffer from consistent Projection, another sign that they may be mentally ill.
BONUS FALLACY: The following might be the most dangerous of all of the fallacies considered:
11) All people are good–it is society that makes them do evil.
This idea emanated from the pen of Jean Jacques Rousseau and helped to foment the French Revolution in 1787.
By society it quickly became apparent that the left meant the Christian religion, private property and the traditional family.
Many of the above fallacies are directed against one or more of these American traditions.
According to French writer, Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, over the years this has morphed into:
a depraved taste for equality in the human heart that brings the weak to want to draw the strong to their level and that reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to equality in freedom.
This will inevitably lead us to OBAMATOPIA.