A friend regularly sends me his blog– mostly on his deep love of Houston baseball and history.
I usually don’t read them which is the downside for most bloggers but his last one really caught my attention.
Bill’s Hell’s Big Game, written in a stylistic poetic format, depicts a game in the nether regions below between the denizens of hell.
The teams seemed to be divided into dictators versus Arab terrorists with the usual suspects of Nazis, communists and other unpopular totalitarians pitted against the late Osamas, and Saddams of the world, ironically playing God’s game on fiery tundras as opposed to its usual verdant fields.
You can check it out @: http://bill37mccurdy.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/hells-big-game/
If you know something about the game, I am sure you will find strains of Bernard Malamud’s The Natural and Ernest Thayer’s Casey at the Bat.
Lately I have been writing a lot about Heaven and Purgatory but I have particularly shied away from the land of the damned, whether it be called Hell or Gehenna.
I think Bill is a fellow Catholic.
I know his doggerel is meant for fun and entertainment but in a serious vein as Catholics we are not supposed to presume the eternal damnation of any other human being.
That is one Umpire’s call that we cannot usurp
It is just not in our purview to know conclusively whether or not someone was damned to Hell–no matter how evil their earthly behavior was because God’s mercy is presumably infinite.
So his assignment of Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin-Laden and their fellow evildoers is presumptuous at best.
Of course both Michelangelo and Dante thought nothing of consigning their living enemies to the fiery dungeons below on the wall of the Sistine Chapel or in the page of The Inferno.
His poem did get me to thinking about ideas…ideas that may have sent millions to Hell or at least created a hell on earth for countless others.
I once knew a marvelous Jesuit who informed me two weeks after his ordination in 1969 that Catholics have to believe in a Hell but we don’t have to believe anyone , other than the rebellious angels are actually there.
Nice idea–I hope he’s right.
Perhaps it is only ideas that go to Hell.
I know this sounds like the liberal mantra for gun control, guns kill people, not bad people.
So I want to explore some of the nefarious ideas that millions have believed with a religious certitude, reserved only for the Almighty.
In watching an old movie the other night—One Man’s Hero, the intriguing story of the St. Patrick Battalion of Irish deserters from the United States army just before the Mexican War in 1847, there was a profound quote from one of the Irish lads.
In talking about the devil, who had just been assigned to his place in Hell, he had the personification of evil say: The Mind is its own special place. It can make a Heaven of Hell and a Hell of Heaven.
This is a serious thought that underscores so many of the contradiction in American life perpetuated by Liberalism–the #1 misanthropic idea in our culture.
Liberalism is at the root of our culture of death that has results in millions of abortions, murders, suicides, mercy killings, assisted suicides ad infinitum.
It is a cultural philosophy that heralds the belief that the State is god and all human beings exist for the good of the state.
It attracts millions of well-intentioned but profoundly naive souls to its way of thinking on the pretext that it really is helping human beings–the cannon fodder for most of its policies–create a better world.
Like the horse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, they always wind up in the glue factory.
Liberalism is a contrarian philosophy that turns a good into evil and an evil into good, just as the Irish soldier said.
It used to mean freedom in the 19th century, underscoring the major trait, along with reason that separates humans from the lower animals.
It was the early 20 century when Progressivism literally turned it on its head.
Liberalism has gone by many different names–socialism, communism, relativism, Positivism, and I will also throw in absolute libertarianism–read Objectivism, which appeals to a lot of conservatives.
All other insidious movements from radical feminism, gay liberation and environmentalism stem from liberalism’s flawed and sometimes pernicious reasoning.
Since the French Revolution this hellacious ideology has sought to destroy the three main pillars of Western Civilization–family, private property and the Christian faith.
Because they are all the workshops and incubators of individual freedom and responsibility.
Since Rousseau liberals have failed to understand basic humanity’s flawed human nature.
Liberalism contradicts the ways things are and as a result reduces its thinking to the level of an intellectual fantasy.
Consequently liberals don’t realize that, instead of a pure heart, human beings have the dark stain of the fall that manifests itself in a real world of pride, lust, envy, sloth and anger—all staples of the human condition.
These utopian avatars are attempting to turn reality on its head and create pie on earth in place of what they call pie in the sky.
But when the reality of their thinking settles in, it is a dystopian Hell they have created…not a Heaven.
Just look at what this pernicious philosophy is doing to Europe–the one-time Christian Europe that was the simmering pot for 500 years of Western Civilization with its advancements in literature, science, theology, philosophy and logic.
All that is gone under the tremendous weight of rampant nanny states that treat their citizens like children, promises them cushy government jobs with high pensions and early retirements, all at the expense of the producing class that is dwindling as fast as attendance at weekly mass.
Europe is a moribund portrait of what our future will be.
Abstract ideas always have leaders, advocates and original thinkers.
Liberalism’s thinkers and proponents deserve a great deal of opprobrium for what their devilish ideas have wrought on the history of the world
I am talking about Danton, Robespierre and more importantly its thinkers–Diderot, Rousseau, Voltaire and the rest of the philosophes.
Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky all derived their thinking from 18th century France, which left a bloody toll of millions dead in their wake.
In American circles, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Lyndon Johnson and even the charming Bill Clinton did untold harm with their ideas and policies.
Margaret Sanger, Alfred Kinsey, even Ayn Rand, whose thinking personified an anti-religious bigotry that dripped with selfishness, the root of all evil, and Saul Alinsky belong in this misanthropic group.
Now presumption prevents me from taking the same tact as Hell’s Big Game did in assigning these historical figures to the fiery furnaces of Hell.
But I think their actions and the ideas that propelled their behaviors should burn in eternal fire forever for all the harm they have done to mankind.
Just think about all the criminality,and violence their thinking encouraged when they undermined the judicial order through their warped sense of justice and fairness.
Think of all the starvation, disease and death their human engineering has wrought.
Consider the economic waste, and joblessness their policies produce.
How about the spiritual devastation, the broken homes and smashed marriages that free love, the pill and pornography have established as the new pillars of our civilization?
As Richard Weaver once proclaimed: ideas have consequences!
Because of the consequences of liberalism, it deserves its fiery final destination.
Now that’s a Hell of an Idea.
I have often paraphrase Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten.
Since my Catholic school did not have a kindergarten, I learned everything I need by the end of the first month of first grade.
It was all contained in a single question in thew Baltimore Catechism–the third one I believe.
Why did God make me?
The answer is of course: To know, love and serve Him in this world and be happy with him in the next.
As basic as that pity answer is it is loaded with high-minded theology and pregnant with all the philosophy and wisdom that any person, no matter how old or young needs to know.
Everything I have learned since then have ben postscript.
The word serve reminds me of the quote attributed to Lucifer right after the world’s first great rebellion of the defiant angels.
In his epic poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton quoted Lucifer’s after his fall that it was better to reign in Hell forever than serve in heaven for one day.
That statement goes a long way in explaining the behavior of atheists.
I guess that makes Lucifer the first atheist.
As we go more deeply into the 21st century, atheism is generating a lot more currency.
Prominent atheists are spreading their anti-gospel message in increasing numbers and generating many public debate on the place of religion in governments and societies in the modern world.
Thanks to the Internet they have been able to network together around the world.
Today about 2.3 percent of the world’s population identifies themselves as atheist with another 12 percent more describe themselves as agnostic or non-believers in any deity.
The ranks of scientists boast probably the largest concentration of atheists.
This is true because the very power and majesty of science instills a false sense of their own elevated intellectual abilities that adorns itself in godlike attire.
Supreme egotists, such as that fear the competition from a Being more divine than they are.
I was shocked to learn that many famous and highly regarded men and women are numbered in their ranks.
Their recorded ranks include Epicurus, Mick Jagger of the Rollin Stones, Andrew Carnegie, Freud, Clarence Darrow, Ayn Rand, and radical college professor, Noam Chomsky, Facebook’s Steve Zuckerberg, comedian George Carlin, and George Soros, one of the most ardent supporters of Barack Obama.
If I am not mistaken, Obama’s mother declared her atheism at one time.
While most of the above list will not surprise, the declarations of actresses Jodie Foster and the late Katherine Hepburn should raise a few eyebrows.
Warren Buffet the richest man in America might also be surprise.
He describes himself as religiously agnostic.
According to a 1995 biography, he adopted his father’s ethical underpinnings, but not his belief in an unseen divinity.
In case no one has noticed there is a new brand of militant atheists on the march.
They are angrily led by such non-believing luminaries, such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens.
Dawkins, the author of the 2006 best-seller, The God Delusion is their presumptive leader.
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 more than 175 million people at the bloody hands of atheistic governments during the 20th century.
Taken as a group these few angry men believe they have Christianity on the ropes because of it sexual scandals, loss of universal membership and the general demise of a religious and moral society.
Like their forebears from the French Revolution, they see the Church as an institution founded on unreason and superstition.
It is their sacred mission to chase such foolish ideas from the public marketplace.
Atheism has fascinated me for a long time.
For some reason I seem drawn to them.
While at WGNU radio I developed a long personal relationship with a fellow who sometimes used the handles of Gunboy Jim or Jim from Ferguson.
He was very bright, more of a library-educated philosopher who loudly proclaimed his atheism.
He was also ardently pro-abortion.
He would come up with the most creative arguments that he believed justified abortion.
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.
Despite my rage, Jim continued to call and challenge me.
These calls 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.
I never did fathom why he wanted to protect a woman’s right to choose…death for her child.
He lived with his mom, rode a bike, seemed to have no job, never talked about dating or having a lady friend.
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 aback when he thanked me for seeing some good in him.
That nearly reduced me to tears.
I told Jim I would pray for him.
Jim was a seeker who wanted to know and understand the reality of life but had been looking in all the wrong places.
I haven’t heard from him in a long time. I often wonder if he ever filled the void, that spiritual vacuum in his life that the absence of God leaves.
I really miss the exchanges.
Last July we were on a plane, flying to the West Coast when I started talking with a pretty blonde lady from Tennessee.
We talked for three and a half hours.
She told me about a physical malady she had–Titanium poisoning from the fillings in her teeth–that caused her to lose her job as a nurse and had virtually incapacitated her.
Vanity prevented her from removing the teeth.
She also mentioned a wayward husband whose philandering made her blame God for her misfortune.
I suggested she read Bishop Fulton’ J. Sheen’s book Life is Worth Living to raise her spirits and enhance her life.ecause she was done on life in general…at least her life.
We made a deal.
I had told her I told her my long interest in becoming a lector at our Church during Mass.
It as something I had on my mind for five years.
She would read the book and I would sign up in church.
Last January, I finally expressed my interest and told our pastor the whg\ole story, which is a lot longer than recounted here.
He asked if she had kept her part of the bargain.
I told him, I had no idea.
I didn’t even remember her name.
But I had given my word and it was between her and….God to keep her end.
My last example involves a morning at the abortion center in St. Louis.
I go there a few times every year to witness with my fellow pro-lifers.
One time there was this solitary figure who was witnessing against us!!
I engaged him a conversation that lasted over an hour.
My fellow picketers later thanked me for keeping him occupied as he does this on a regular basis.
His atheism was founded on an anger director toward the creator and by proxy His innocent human creations.
God’s crime was sending him a son who was a violent schizophrenic he tried to stab his wife in the neck.
He also floored me with his statement that he wished his mother had aborted him, so that he would be in Heaven with God.
I don’t know what his standing would have been.
He might know more than I do because I think Limbo is literally history.
I guess Paco, 12-year-old, I encountered on his video game connection,the other while my grandson and I were parallel playing, was right when he said that he didn’t believe in God because religion was too confusing.
So is the meaning of life and that’s really what it’s all about as Alfie once said.
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare asked the rhetorical question, What is in a name? For a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.
I beg to differ with the old Bard. Names are very important.
If a mother calls her son, Pimples or her daughter Slutella she is condemning that child to a lifelong battle with teasing, ridicule, derision. and now the near epidemic of bullying.
Names have always fascinated me.
If done with thought and prudence, the right name can be of great benefit to a child.
Family names and names of heroes, patriots and the like all serve to elevate one’s self-image and outlook for the future.
The wrong name can be devastating.
I am quickly reminded of the old Johnny Cash hit, A Boy Named Sue.
That boy learned to fight.
Every year the U. S. Social Security Administration releases its list for the prior year that details the most popular male and female names, for babies born that year.
On last year’s list, Emily was first for girls for the 16th year in a row the list since 1996.
Jacob has been number 1 since 1999.
Elizabeth returned to the top ten after a two-year absence.
The 2007 success of popular race car driver Danica Patrick undoubtedly inspired her first name moving from number 352 to number 307.
Shiloh, the youngest daughter of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, debuted on the list at number 804.
Maddox, the name of their oldest child, has seen steady gains since first appearing on the list in 2003 at number 583 and now ranking at number 226.
Suri, the name of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter, did not make the list.
I had erroneously thought that in 1943 my name William was number 1 on the official list.
Actually it finished out of the money behind James, Robert and John.
I did beat Richard however.
As I got older its popularity seemed to drop.
I hope it wasn’t my fault.
However since 1912, there have been over 3.7 million Williams registered.
That ranks number five all-time behind James, John, Robert and Michael.
It means protector and I have always been proud of that responsibility, even though I could always run better than I could fight.
There have been some very famous people named William.
The year my wife was born, her name was number 6 but when I was born, it had dropped to just number 13.
She hates it when I beat her at anything.
My favorite names have been Jim, Tom and Nancy.
They are the white bread of all nomenclature. Steady but unexciting!
My father wanted to call me Adam, after him, which means man.
My mother refused but did give me that as a middle name, which I respect to this day.
If I had been named Adam, I probably would have had more fights than I eventually did.
A recent article by columnist Christina Capecchi in the St. Louis Catholic Review, a paper for which I used to write, had an engaging article on this very subject.
( I checked out her blog and suggest you do as well @ www.ReadChristina.com )
Since she was writing for a Catholic newspaper, her bent is toward the abundance of family and religious names.
Mary at number 1 has had over 3.6 millions uses since 1912.
However that is surprisingly fewer than the Williams.
Of course there are several variations of Mary available.
Experts also may be surprised by the extent to which American parents are naming their daughters after spiritual and philosophical concepts.
Also represented were: Destiny (No. 41); Trinity (No. 72); Serenity (No. 126); Harmony (No. 315); Miracle (No. 461); Charity (No. 673); Journey (No. 692); Destini (No. 914); and Essence (No. 930).
One of the most popular names for girls (rising this year to number 31) is Nevaeh, which is Heaven spelled backwards.
Heaven, the real thing came in at number 263.
I have always marveled at the difficulty, especially among Hispanic families of naming their sons, Jesus.
Former SF Giant baseball player, Jesus Alou was probably the most famous athlete that had to live up to THAT divine name.
Christina then took this nomenclature to a new theological high with her citing of the book, One Thousand Gifts, written by 38-year old wife of a Canadian hog farmer Ann Voskamp.
She wrote of how Edenic is the art of naming.To be able to name one’s children or even pets is tantamount to a near act of God.
Ann pictured herself as Adam in the Garden as he named all the beauties of creation.
In doing so she discovered her own meaning and that of God. She was literally speaking and writing the language of paradise.
We do the same every time we name something significant such as our children or even our pets.
I wonder if Fantasy Football names count?
I have had better luck at picking names than players—last good name was Occam’s Razorbacks. (Won just three times)
We become God’s helpers in the story of creation.
All we have to do is open our eyes because Heaven is all around us.
It is a God-given joy that we should not ignore.
As an afterthought, the word paradise, literally means enclosed garden.
One writer recently applied that definition to a baseball park where green grass, sometimes real, is surrounded by outfield walls that designate the playing field.
For the diehard fans there can be a paradisiacal aspect to the game.
But that may be a story for another day.
Presidential pets would make a fascinating study.
To my knowledge, there has never been a book about presidential canines.
Of course we have all heard snippets about Bill Clinton’s dog, Buddy and how the president had the temerity to neuter the poor pup.
The country would probably have been better served if Hillary had had her husband neutered instead of Buddy.
And you wonder why a dog is man’s best friend.
I remember my high school history teacher telling us about how President Franklin Roosevelt’s dog Fala had soiled the carpet in the Oval Office.
To date much is not known about President Obama’s dog, Bo or his children for that matter.
Personally I don’t know if the president is a closet Muslim as many contend., but I really think he acts more like a closet cat person.
But cats are kind of regal and isolated from the general population.
It would not be good politics to have a cat person in the White House.
Of course the most famous president dog was Richard Nixon’s Checkers.
Pundits even named one of Nixon’s most famous speeches, the Checkers Speech.
Abraham Lincoln was an outdoorsman, so I assume he had lots of dogs for hunting and fishing and the like.
However I am not aware of any specific dog that was special to him or one that roamed the dusty corridors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But I do know that a dog–call it a composite dog, like Mr. Obama’s biographical sweetheart, who now seems to have a real face and a real name, according to the recent Vanity Fair, was the subject of one of his best folksy stories.
That story has great application for today’s social milieu.
Lincoln is alleged to have asked many of his visitors who wanted significant change in something this question:
If you counted a dog’s tail as a leg, how many legs would that dog then have?
Many fumbled with this apparent riddle and jumped to the obvious answer–five!
Wrong, the president must have said.
Just because you call a tail a leg does not make it a leg.
This is a great example of the Nominalism I wrote about in The Faces of God last week.
Every time I read about Obama’s idea of change, I have to think of what we call Gay Marriage.
Is it possible to have two men or two women in a sexual and emotional union without drastically altering the nature of the traditional idea of marriage?
Just what is a marriage? What determines if a marriage really exists?
Is it just a marriage or union or true minds or are the bodies part of the equation?
In other words are the participants in a marriage merely fungible pegs on a wall that can be juggled around without creating an entirely different right?
In today’s nominalist society the ideas of William of Ockham who taught this thinking seem to dominate.
Churches and theologians used to answer these questions.
Now we get politicos and gay lobbyists mandating their own definitions for us to swallow.
Let me go to the nature of things.
Liberals hate such arguments because they bleed a rationality and a logic that contradicts many of their inner-most feelings.
Using the Garden of Eden as a starting point and even tough this Biblical story may be just an allegory, there is little if anything that does not positively measure up against real people in the real world, not some utopian Marxist self-construct.
In other words, it is basically an accurate accounting of the way people are.
Genesis spoke of Adam and Eve…not Steve.
One does not have to be familiar with John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to know that men’s and women’s bodies are anatomically distinct.
In fact when joined together in the marital embrace, they fit perfectly.
Liberals will have a hard time understanding how Adam knew what to do without having had a sex education course but somehow he figured how to join with Eve in a marital embrace that consumated the first marriage.
There is no way that two men can complement each other’s bodies.
It is physically and morally impoossibly.
Men and men lack a certain obvious complementarity.
While they may complement each other emotionally, physically one usually has to pretend to be the girl.
So the whole union is essentially built on a lie.
My friend, Joseph Sobran had written about this very subject, just before he died a few years ago.
He opined that even societies that tolerate sodomy have seldom if ever seen any reason to treat such unions as marriages.
He reiterated that the practical reason for marriage has always been the breeding and upbringing of children.
Sobran knew that the call for same-sex marriage could occur only in a society that already takes marriage very lightly.
He strongly felt that to homosexuals there was little til death do us part but more an expression of a romantic impulse, made with their fingers crossed.
While procreation is not the only reason for marriage but the traditional family has always been the founding block of civilization.
If one alters that it is just another weakening of the pillars upon which our entire way of life these past 2000 years had been resting.
Like Samson they seem intent on bringing down the entire institution.
Maybe that’s the point.
The gay lobby is being used, encouraged and funded so that they can bring down the institutions and the culture that has been mean to them over the last 1500 years.
Personally I think the gay and liberal attack on marriage is childish and arrogant.
For one small group to demand that the world change to accommodate their needs and count a dog’s tail as a leg is an absolute act of infantile moral and intellectual arrogance.
I once asked a nurse friend of mine why some people became gay.
(There is absolutely no creditable scientific research proving that people were just born that way.)
And she said that it was arrested development.
That’s an interesting term that means something to the effect that they just did not get the proper male/female balance from their parents.
Given the near collapse of the family, is it surprising that so many young people, especially boys grow up with a confused and even twisted concept of their own sexuality?
I think arrested development is recognizable in our society to the extent that it is a driving force that affects, not just gay people but millions of straights, especially our male children.
The Peter Pan Syndrome has become part of our culture.
Millions have moved back to their parents’ home to live because they made wrong choice in education and work habits.
Liberals are great at demanding things for people who have done nothing to deserve the rewards of life.
With all the false talk about the rich, not paying their fair share, nearly 50% of our citizens pay no income tax at all.
In fact they take out over a trillion dollars of the government’s largesse, just for voting Democratic.
How long can a society lasts when its creative and productive class are being saddled with more and more financial demands?
Once we exceed the 50% mark the majority can take away most everything of what the productive has created and then the system will fall just as we are seeing in Europe–the Europe that liberals like our president want to imitate.
Benjamin Franklin lamented about freedom that once is was achieved, the real job is to keep and maintain it.
Stories like Mr. Lincoln’s dog go a long way in helping us recognize the multi-faceted threats to that liberty.