Thursday, April 18, 2013

The age of the heartless

Norma McCorvey is the Jane Roe of the infamous 1973 decision legalizing abortion. She was used by the radicals who promote infanticide and made to be their poster child.

Norma McCorvey is now a devout Catholic who is on the very front lines of the pro-life battle. In fact, in the cruelest of ironies, in 2009, while our pro-abortion president was speaking at, and being honored by, the University of Notre Dame, it was the original Jane Roe who was standing up for life. The story of Norma, though miraculous, is hardly unique. The person who was lost but now is found, was blind but now she sees.

Many will simply say that God touched Norma's heart and caused this miraculous conversion but that would be a tragic over-simplification of the truth. That God did touch her heart is undeniable but He did so, in great part, through human hands and human words. There were people like Randall Terry (now also a devout Catholic) who, day after day, ministered to her and tried to reach her. To help her understand how much God loves her. These were people that showed compassion for her, rather than contempt.

Are the people in the pro-abortion camp filled with anger and hate? There is no question. Is the same true with those who support the radical homosexual agenda? Of course. Yet, if we only seek to match their hatred, or even exceed it, what good are we?

What I see as the biggest failing in our world right now is a genuine loss of the virtue of love- the greatest of all virtues. Human love doesn't prevent sinners from falling from grace, nor can human love provide another person that grace needed for a person to be restored. What human love can do, however, is show someone what God's love actually looks like. We cannot be God nor can we even be mediators between God and man (and no catholic has ever denied this). What we can be are cooperators with that mediation or, what we Catholics call co-mediators.

It doesn't matter how many times non-catholics claim that "co" means equal and that calling someone a "co-mediator" violates 1 Timothy 2:5. It will be just as untrue the 100th time as the first. Only Jesus can be a mediator between God and man because only Jesus IS both God and Man. His mediation between the two natures of humanity and Divinity is a direct consequence of His possession of the two natures of humanity and divinity.

When the CEO of a company stipulates an ethics policy that is to be adhered to company-wide, everyone is expected to cooperate (act with) that policy. This is true from the Senior VPs who craft it's implementation to all the regional locations, to the property managers empowered to enforce it, all the way down to the night cleaner vacuuming the carpets, who is expected to follow it. All are expected to cooperate with that policy or face the consequences.

God's policy can be found in the 12th chapter of Mark's Gospel has two bullet points;
  • Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength.
  •  Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Love is the answer. Our non-catholic friends say that faith alone is what saves but that is not what the Bible says. The Bible says that it is Love, rather than faith, that covers a multitude of sins (James 5:20, 1 Peter 4:8). The Bible says that Faith, Hope and Love are the three cardinal virtues but it is love (sometimes called charity), not faith or hope, that is the greatest of the three (1 Corinthians 13:13).

These two simple commands, we are told, are all of the law and all of the prophets. In other words, everything you need to know about being a Christian is condensed into these two commands.

The first is a true reflection on what a human being is- not one person, but 4. Each of us is;
  1. An emotional person
  2. A spiritual person
  3. A mental person
  4. A physical person
All four persons must be given over to Our Lord, a process that must be done by the force of our will. The second is the very manifestation of the first. We cannot claim #1 if we are not living #2.

1 John 2:
9   He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness until now.

10 He that loves his brother abides in light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.

11 But he that hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and knows not where he goes, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Was the act that Norma McCorvey did in 1973 objectively evil? there is no question that it was- as even she will now attest. In the same way, in my life, I know that I have done horrible things for which I hold deep remorse and self-contempt.

Yet, how was it that Norma McCorvey was able to be reached? She was reached because people loved her with the love of Christ- a love that allowed her heart to be broken and filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes, there were people who did not want Norma McCorvey to get the just consequences of her actions- hell.

Recently, a former friend threatened me. He threatened to make known things from my past. Terrible things, from about a decade ago- things for which I have no excuse and no end of remorse. What this former friend does not understand (or does not want to) is that those sins were cast, by God, into the sea of forgetfulness and I am at peace knowing that what Jesus did on Calvary is greater even than what I did or what Norma McCorvey did. This person threatened to expose the hypocritical life I am leading. No, that would be a lie. I am not that person anymore. If he wishes to play the role of the accuser, he may go on (Revelation 12:10).

Heaven is filled to over-flowing with former murderers and adulterers and fornicators and extortioners and rebels and thieves and envious, jealous liars. What strikes me as odd and ironic is that this person holds to views that are a dichotomy to say the least. While holding to the view that salvation is a once-completed act and not a process, something that cannot be ever lost, what did he hope to gain by reminding me of my past, egregious transgression?

I can think of only a few possibilities, perhaps he could enlighten me beyond these. Could it have been;
  • To make me ashamed for what I did?
  • To dissuade me from speaking the truth by extortion?
  • To make me despair of the hope of salvation?
  • To win an argument by any means that he could not win on the merits?
  • To make himself appear a holier person by comparison?
Pardon my rather limited imagination but these were the only ones I could come up with. Let's examine them one at a time. If it was merely for the first reason, he could not possibly succeed in making me more ashamed of what I did than I already am. However, if it were for this cause-alone, I would be forced to concede that if his intent were to lead me to repentence, then it would be a holy intention. However, the Bible prescribes a way to do this.

Matthew 18:
15 But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.

16 And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.

17 And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

At no point, has this person ever attempted to do this. In fact, he threatened to make these things public if I did not bow to his demands. This is the sin of scandal. Admonishing a brother of his failings, in the hopes of healing him is to do the work of God. Threatening to make them public, with the sole motivation of causing pain and damage is the devil's work. This person has confided some of his gravest sins in me as well but I will not reveal them- ever. To do so would be evil and hateful and I am not going to engage in that kind of behavior.

This brings us to #2. Extortion. This is an act of malevolence that is explicitly condemned by Scripture  1 Corinthians chapter 6 tells us that extortioners will certainly not inherit the Kingdom of God. Unless, of course, they turn away from such behavior and repent of it. In addition to being a terrible sin, it would not have worked. I removed the post with no consideration to his threats whatsoever. I just do not need his maddening hate in my life right now.

#3 is even more futile. I know that Jesus died to give me the path to salvation. Through him, I am breaking free of all my bonds of my past and the addictions and phobias and other assorted boogey men that have haunted me and harassed me as they do all men. If anything, knowing my weakness helps me rely more on Him, not less. Knowing that I most certainly could lose my salvation helped my to get right with God, as we all must do. Of all the views a so-called Christian can hold to is the doctrine of once-saved, always-saved. It is hard to contemplate a more un-christian and blasphemous doctrine. God will render to each man (myself included) according to his deeds.

#4 is certainly true and this goes to the core of the end of our friendship. This is a person who simply cannot be introspect and admit that he could be wrong on any subject. He will stoop to anything- slander, rage and extortion included to avoid an honest, adult conversation on any subject on the merits. He regularly makes statements and takes positions that are morally indefensible and hates anyone who disagrees with his views. The end of our friendship began by his refusal to stop insulating a hate-monger from an honest, open debate. In fact, he has claimed openly, that she won a debate that never came close to actually occurring (despite ever single concession to the rules on our part and none on her's.) Claiming that non-existent arguments are winning arguments only succeed in making him look childish and insecure.

Simply said, this person seeks to win the argument by controlling the argument. By demanding that his arguments be presented and responded to while responding to your arguments with nothing more than venom. The reason for this is simple. Despite the fact that he is obviously an immensely talented person and does have an undeniably high level of intellect and at least an intention to be a good person, he is so all consumed by his own pride that he cannot see people of a differing view as simply misguided or possibly misinformed or even holding to a valid view informed by facts he may not have considered.

No, this man responds to mere disagreement with rage and a non-stop flurry of expletives. All of those on the other side are always wrong but not merely wrong, evil, irredeemable.....without any hope of salvation. These are destined to hell. He has even said to me numerous times that he hopes that _______ burns in hell.

This brings us to #5. Does one appear holy by hating his neighbor and holding him in utter contempt or by loving his neighbor and trying to reach him/her?

In Luke 18:10-14, which man was justified? Was it the one who hated his neighbor?

On the internet, all of us have engaged, at one time or another, in the my opinion is the right one schtick. For this person, however, it is a sickness. All who disagree must be punished. derided by videos insulting not only them but their entire faith, friends or any who dare associate with them.

This brings us back to Norma. There were those that heaped this kind of utter contempt on her. Did they aid in her conversion? What do you think?

On the contrary, it was the people who prayed peacefully, day after day, in front of abortion clinics and talking to her as a human being and not some sort of monster.

The person whom I am talking about knows who he is. We actually agree politically on a great number of things. Unfortunately, gun control does not happen to be one of them. Yet, my present tiff with him isn't about gun control. If he claims the NRA defends legitimate 2nd amendment rights, I will certainly disagree with the point and I certainly have no fear that he could make a meritorious argument in favor of it. The second ammendment guarantee of me to own a street-sweeper is the invention of the unstable, not a fact-based position.

Nevertheless, I left that argument unanswered because it was not the point I was making. The point I was making is that our nation's very system of government is based on the very spirit of honest debate that he reviles so much. If a grieving parent goes to Washington, DC to support gun control legislation, the appropriate response is not to villify the parent who just lost his/her 5 year old!

The proper response would be...

Dear Senator,
     I cannot express in words my sympathy to Mr. X Our nation grieves with him in the loss of his child. Further, I and all people of good will share his aim of stopping the senseless violence against our kids.

     Having said this, it is my possition that the legislation supported by Mr. X fails to meet that aim for the following reasons;
  1. Reason 1
  2. Reason 2
  3. Reason 3
  4. Reason 4
  5. Reason 5
Further, I think these provisions, if enacted, raise these problems and could actually be counter-producive in the following ways;

  1. Reason 1
  2. Reason 2
  3. Reason 3
  4. Reason 4
Therefore, as your constituent, I ask that you oppose this legislation and, instead, support the following alternative reforms;

  1. Reform 1
  2. Reform 2
  3. Reform 3
  4. Reform 4
Mr Y

Instead of actually accessing the very American political process he claims to uphold, he actually vilifies these parents for access it and said they are actually doing us harm! Huh? Doing us harm by expressing an opinion? If your arguments are better than their arguments (as you always claim), what are you afraid of?

Let's concede hypothetically that these parents are 100% wrong on 100% of their opinions (and I actually think they are right). Even if you could prove that empirically, it merely proves that they are mistaken. It certainly doesn't prove malevolence! Some one can sincerely believe they are right and sincerely believe they are doing what is best, even when they actually are not.

You, my former friend, are afraid of engaging in such a debate. You have reduced all peoples to exactly what our mutual friend Dr. Lyle Rossitor said of the left- victims and villains. This simple classification may work for you because it is convenient. It makes your life easy and keeps you insulated from dissent.

It also keeps you insulated from growth. I know. I used to be just like you- selfish and self-centered and angry and envious. Contemptuous of all who dissent.

If all people were like that, what hope would Norma McCorvey have?

I'll close by answering your challenge that I examine the true cause of my anger towards you. I actually know it with crystal clarity but I will try once more to make you understand.

The true cause of my anger towards you is not that I believe you are wrong. That alone, just makes me disagree with you. The real cause of my anger towards you is that the two of you are just plain mean and nasty people who derive sick pleasure from hurting people for no reason.

Of course, this statement will be met with a scoff which is why the Bible tells me to treat you like what you are- an unbeliever, infidel, heretic. (Matthew 18:15-18) Not because you do not grasp the truth fully but because you are too blinded with hate and bigotry to ever grasp it.

Take our little debate about the debate. You are still claiming that your friend was winning on the merits but you still can't produce a single argument she actually responded to. You wanted to control the debate so that her positions could not be exposed. Despite all your false bravado, you are really a very insecure man, scared to death that anyone might actually see just how little you actually know.

Ignorance is no shame. We are all ignorant of many things. However, rather than overcoming ignorance by education, you attack and hate those who have a different view. This was always said of you in the political chat room where we met but, for some reason, I couldn't see it.

If you wish to mend fences with us, just a wee bit of accountability will be due on your part. Shelve the hate and vindictiveness and learn to take an honest criticism without going thermonuclear.

Again, going back to the debate about the debate. In the end, you got everything you wanted and you still backed out. You got all of your concessions, we got none of ours. You still tucked tail and ran. An honest debate terrifies you and it terrifies her. In your hearts, you know you are wrong. That's the Holy Spirit convicting you (as He has many times convicted me).

You should talk less and listen more. Just a little friendly advice. Any insult and vulgarity free comments may be considered for publishing so long as there is an attempt to be constructive.

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