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Apr. 4th, 2010


Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious.
He both honors the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed: "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions".
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered heaven!
It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that slept.
To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.

Apr. 3rd, 2010


Holy Saturday

I've had the custom of calling the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday as So-So-Saturday.

No longer.

Holy Saturday is the day in which we celebrate Jesus Christ's descent into Hades. In this very act He has trampled down death by death and delivered the Gospels to those who have fallen asleep. So despite my heterodox naming convention, what I had described as happening in previous years was more or less the Orthodox understanding (Jesus going to Hell, kicking ass and taking names a la the Doomguy).

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the "Lamentations" service at the Greek Orthodox Church. (Remember in early Christian times sundown was considered the beginning of the liturgical day, so "technically" it was already Saturday). The celebration centered around a funeral of sorts for Jesus Christ with His icon placed in a casket-like structure adorned with flowers. They then led a procession around the church singing songs of mourning. And I got some flowers. Heh.

The Paschal (Easter) service will begin shortly before midnight tonight. I hope I will have some pictures.

Jan. 7th, 2010


Merry Christmas

"But Funnibunney," you ask, "Christmas was over two weeks ago!"

It's Christmas in the Julian calendar today. There are quite a few (read: Oriental Orthodox and Old Calendarist) Christians that still celebrate it on this day, Santa Claus be damned.

Also, keep these people in your prayers.

You'd be surprised at the number of people who tarry in the faith despite The World. I think that's part of what caught my eye at Eastern Christianity.

Dec. 25th, 2009


(no subject)


Dec. 24th, 2009


We are always wrong.

Christianity is viewed as a savage, violent religion (Native Americans)--until it is viewed as a weakening, nihilistic, effeminate religion (Gibbons, Nietzsche).

Whether God is angry and judgmental or loving and forgiving, He is viewed as a psychological construct.

When the benefits of prayer and praxis are shown through psychological study, they say, "Drugs are easier."

When some apologists mention that Christianity requires belief, the atheists say "That's irrational!" If they prove that Christianity is rational, the atheists say "I don't believe it!"

Whenever morality is brought up, it is usually sidestepped with utilitarianism, an evolutionary explanation or "the will to power."

Whenever purpose is brought up, there's a rebuttal from existentialists.

Whenever the perseverance of the Church is mentioned, despite the ravages of Muslims/Mongols/Atheists, it is handwaved as the power of delusion.

Miracles can't happen because of the supernatural because the latter doesn't exist.

And Christianity is just a mishmash of Mithraism, Gnosticism, Osirisism and Roman paganism. Nothing special about those, and they're all dead.

So why am I still a Christian?

Because on this night, God who came in the form of a servant was born, so that He may die and in doing so, give us life abundantly.

Merry Christmas!

Dec. 21st, 2009


Why do the god haters rage?

Let us, for a moment, suppose that Darwinian evolution is true and that there is no God.

In the Darwinian paradigm, species are selected for/against based on their ability to adapt to their surroundings. In a crude sociological sense, "the strong procreate; the weak die." All human, animal and vegetable effort revolves around gathering resources and passing down seed. In Darwinism, the way things are right now is a result of selection. (I refrain from using the "natural" qualifier because under Darwinism, what is the justification for human exceptionalism?) That includes the all human standards of behavior and, as Dawkins and Dennet argue, religion. The memetic theory of religion is that religious belief arose (or at least, was not selected against) due to its usefulness in survival and/or encouraging offspring. It, of course, has nothing to do with the existence of God.

Darwinism explains that all species that are not extinct are still here because they were able to adapt, survive, and reproduce. It does not give any justification for why any particular creature should be alive. Essentially, the Darwinian point of view is nihilistic (and apparently, naturalist Alex Rosenberg agrees with me).

If this is truth, then why do atheists hate the "lie" of Christianity? 

If there is no truth, if there is no purpose in life, then there is no basis upon which the New Atheists can claim superiority over any particular religion. The New Atheists are crude scienceists (that is not a typo) who wrongly think that religious belief destroys science. Anyone who is aware of the religious convictions of Newton, Maxwell, Mendell and (for a contemporary example) Francis Collins knows this is patently absurd. 

And besides, if the truth is that there is no truth, purpose, or destiny for mankind, what is the whole point of scientific advancement? We get  newer and shinier toys with each successive generation yet the fundamental problems of mankind--his cruelty to man, his selfishness and his mortality--still remain. Those who have faith in science hope that they will eliminate the last problem, but I find that highly improbable. And apart from humbling the self to God, there is no solution for the former problems mentioned.

The two ultimate possibilities are 1). the nihilists are right and 2). the nihilists are wrong. Choosing one over the other is an article of faith.

Dec. 4th, 2009


Have you ever heard Greek rap? If not, you will.

Translation? I had to hunt down the lyrics by Googling "Ellines tou exoterikou" and putting it through Babelfish. The Greek lyrics are mostly about living Greek culture outside of Greece, which apparently not many Greek kids do today. But you can get a sense of the nostalgia even from the scant English lyrics.

Nov. 7th, 2009


Some thoughts

To my Christian friends: Do not be upset or dismayed that non Christians attempt to explain moral behaviour in evolutionary terms. In doing so, they are are tacitly consenting to the necessity of moral standards even as they deny their source, as well as subtly denying the logical implications of extreme atheism; "if there are no standards, everything is permitted."

Oct. 7th, 2009


Answering an atheist lightweight

After a longish interest in Orthodox Christianity, YouTube decided to be a troll and decided to throw in a video that is a case for the atheist way of life (whatever that is). I didn't watch the video because the full text is available in the "more info" section.

Some argue that religious life is the best way to live. They claim life without a god is sad and depressing. Statements like "I could not imagine my life without God", and "My life would be meaningless without God", are common defenses for a religious life. The following is a list of advantages atheists enjoy over a religious life. I invite the religious viewers to submit a response video with the advantages of a religious life.

The strawman statements that Mr. FightingAtheist makes are defenses for the existence of God rather than the "a religious life." It has been shown that one can believe in the one without the other. There are those like Ilana Mercer who uphold the greatness of the Jewish tradition and law despite personal unbelief in God. There are also those who believe in a God without practicing the substance of a religious tradition; C.S. Lewis mentioned such people in Mere Christianity. Others, like Rev. Dr. Kathleen Ragsdale, honestly believe that women could and should have abortions to pursue their own happiness in direct opposition to centuries worth of Christian moral teaching (such as the whole "doing nothing out of selfish ambition;" oh, and the whole "thou shalt not murder" thing).

But that is besides the point. What I think FightingAtheist is getting at is that religious people are illogical. Let us see more.

Atheists can make moral decisions based on the specific context. Having absolutes like "Though Shall not Lie" stops people from thinking for themselves and making the right decision based on the situation at hand. In what situation would be okay to lie? Most religious people would say, never. Atheists would disagree. For example: If you were living in Germany hiding Jews in your attic during the holocaust, and Hitler's Nazis knocked on your door and asked if you were hiding Jews, would it be okay to lie to save the lives of the Jews in your attic? I believe trying to save their lives would the moral and proper choice. Atheists have the power to do what's right for all humanity, rather than the forced perspective of doing what is right for a god.

Unfortunately FightingAtheist shoots himself in the foot with this shaky example. "I believe trying to save [Jews'] lives would [be] the moral and proper choice" contradicts his earlier criticism of moral absolutes. Furthermore, from where is he forming these contexts, if not the inside of his ass? I agree with him that saving the Jews is correct, but that his reasoning is wrong. And what exactly is his metric of determining which commonly known moral precepts are rigid or flexible?
He also misunderstands the Judeo-Christian laws that he is trying to criticize. "Thou Shalt Not Lie" is a simplification of "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness." The context of this commandment is within the context of a Mosaic court of law (and thus divinely inspired). Furthermore, both Judaism and Christianity boil down all the laws to "Love the Lord Your God" and "Love your neighbor as yourself." These are the two greatest commandments. If anything you do contradicts either of these, you have transgressed. Loving one's neighbor means caring for their physical well being loving God means preventing evil. The atheist may not "need" God to act moral, but he cannot explain why certain acts are good or evil apart from His law.

Atheists can experience healthy outrage at the outrageous without fear of questioning God's plan. We can be outraged when a friend dies of a horrible disease, or is killed in a car accident. It is okay to be upset at disasters and horrible events. It is not a part of any plan. It is just a horrible event. Atheists try to learn from them and not just chalk it up to God's Plan. We use science to understand catastrophic events like hurricanes, and tsunamis. This gives us the ability to save lives. If we think a magical plan is going to happen no matter what, then why try to stop the events or make things better. Atheists do not wonder if a god is punishing us. Yes, there is cause and effect, and our actions effect how we live, you should save for retirement, and if your diet is bad you'll end up fat, or sick, or both. But if an airplane part falls on your house, it is an accident. If you find a 5 dollar bill on the sidewalk, it is an accident. No magical intervention, no magical wrath, these are just accidents. Life has an element of chance. This may not seem comforting, but here is another way to look at it: Your loved one dies in a completely random car accident where nobody could possibly be blamed. Is it more comforting to know the accident happened because of bad luck or is better to think the accident could have been prevented by an omnipotent being that could have stepped in and saved them from an untimely death, but your god decided to just let them die? You don't have to be frustrated thinking "Was it because I didn't pray enough?" "Was God mad at me or them?" "Maybe I should have prayed more." Atheist take comfort in knowing there is no plan.

Healthy outrage, but illogical outrage. FightingAtheist says nothing happens due to a magical plan. Then he says because of this lack of plan, we don't have to worry about anything. His tangent about scientific inquiry is quaint, but entirely beside the point.  If nothing is worth worrying about, then nothing is worth changing. He makes the (incorrect) assumption that religious people believe that absolutely everything that happens is due to God's "plan"
and then does a 180 and says that things like prayer and good works could affect the outcome of events. This is contradictory; if God had a plan, then no amount of prayer and supplication could affect it.

And I would love to see him approach a family dealing with the loss of a daughter in a car wreck with the comforting words of "I know the pain that you feel right now, but know that your daughter was a pawn in the game of chance known as life and this stuff just happens."

Atheist can be friends with everyone without having the thought in the back of their mind that this person's lifestyle may be evil. You have the power to accept people for what they are. Enabling you to enjoy their quirks rather than chastise them for being unique. Atheists can have relationships with people who have alternative lifestyles without feeling like they have to save them from some deity that is going to condemn them for being themselves. After all, if there was a creator, then he has made everyone the way they are. Atheists don't fear that a large part of the earth's population is going to hell for being true to themselves.

So can Christians.
 So, in fact, did Jesus. However, He came to Man in the manner that a physician visits the sick; in order to cure them. The difference between Christians and atheists is that the former believe that there is a definitive moral standard handed down from One greater than man; atheists (as mentioned before) pick and choose morals based on (preference/inertia/nothing in particular).
Christians do not chastise people for quirks; they convict others of sin. Christians who are not hypocrites are aware of their own sins and confess them to others. When a Christian criticizes or judges a person's uniqueness on grounds other than sin, that is a result of the culture and not the Christian law.

The problem here is that FightingAtheist is basically calling for a "whatever is good for you is good, so let's live in peace." The only problem is that this moral "system" only works if humans were islands to themselves. Going back to the "defending the Jews from Germans" example, the Nazi could tell FightingAtheist that killing Untermenschen is part of who they are and that mass murder is just one of their quirks. FightingAtheist is now torn between not worrying in the back of his mind that the Nazis are evil and protecting the lives, a moral code that he holds supreme for no reason whatsoever.

Atheists do not live with the fear of hell. This is one of the hardest things for religious people to shake and one of the best rewards. Religious people love the thought of heaven, but fear hell as a consequence. In order to lose the fear of hell, you have to let go of the false hope of heaven. Atheists have done both.

Living without the hope of heaven or fear of hell means that 1). any good thing you do while alive will never profit you anything and 2). any evil thing you do will never go unpunished. Death is the common fate of good and evil alike. One writer I read (I believe he was Polish) noted that it is not religion, but atheism that is the opiate of the people. The idea that for all of our selfishness, greed and sin we have no punishment is very
And the second to last sentence of that paragraph makes absolutely no sense. No, wait....

... none of it makes sense. This guy is an idiot.

Atheists raise freethinking children; let them pick a religion, or none. What would you have picked? This is hard for parents. If a child wanted to be another religion, or even atheist, it would be devastating to most religious parents. Why not teach them about all religions and tell them why you believe the one you do, and then let them choose? Atheists do not force atheism on their children. We simple let them see the evidence for and against religion and let them make up there own mind. They may change there mind several times. This is okay. Atheists love their children no matter what belief they are drawn too. That is the beauty of free thinking. You can raise your children according to your values without feeling as though you have to defend Bible stories that even a child can see are fiction.

The problem is that teaching no respect to the ways of elders not only can lead to a different belief system, but one so different that it contradicts everything that the parent holds dear. You cannot teach children free thought (read: tell them to pick a convenient moral code) and expect anything good to come out of it.

You can still love them, though. With this a Christian agrees. But don't be too disappointed if a "free thinking" child reasons his way past the swiss cheese-like logic of the "atheist life" as presented here and grows up to be a Neo-Nazi.

Aug. 15th, 2009


Bad (REALLY BAD) Super Smash Bros. Brawl fanfiction

Once upon a time, Snake fought Pikachu for Samus's hand in marriage.

Pikachu used his Thunderjolt but Snake dodged and threw a grenade at him. While Pikachu was stunned Snake closed in with a knee + elbow combo, sending the thunder rat to his death.

Snake was happy. "Oh baby I wanna bang you" said he.

But Samus was a lesbian and ran away with Nana to the South pole.

Snake hid in his box and cried and ate a land mine, killing himself to death.

Meanwhile Ike and Marth looked on and then had mansex. The end.

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