Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A wave of secularism erasing the Christian heritage of the West

By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press
VATICAN CITY October 11, 2012 (AP)

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council — the church meetings he attended as a young priest that brought the Catholic Church into the modern world but whose true meaning is still hotly debated.
Benedict celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Square, attended by patriarchs, cardinals, bishops and a dozen elderly churchmen who participated in the council, and later will greet the faithful re-enacting the great procession into St. Peter's that launched the council in 1962.
In his homily, Benedict urged the faithful to return to the "letter" and "authentic spirit" of the council found in the Vatican II documents themselves, rather than rely on the distorted spirit promoted by those who saw in Vatican II a radical reform away from the church's tradition.
"The council did not formulate anything new in matters of faith, nor did it wish to replace what was ancient," Benedict said from the steps of St. Peter's. "Rather, it concerned itself with seeing that the same faith might continue to be lived in the present day, that it might remain a living faith in a world of change."
The anniversary comes as the church is fighting what it sees as a wave of secularism erasing the Christian heritage of the West and competition for souls from rival evangelical churches in Latin America and Africa. Clerical sex abuse scandals, debates over celibacy for priests, open dissent among some priests in Europe and a recent Vatican crackdown on liberal nuns in the United States have also contributed to erode the church's place in the world.

Vatican Pope.JPEG

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's sqaure at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
The pope has spent much of his pontificate seeking to correct what he considers the misinterpretation of Vatican II, insisting that it wasn't a revolutionary break from the past, as liberal Catholics paint it, but rather a renewal and reawakening of the best traditions of the ancient church.
In that vein, he decided to mark the 50th anniversary of the council with the launch of a "Year of Faith," precisely to remind Christians of what the council truly taught and seek to "re-evangelize" those Catholics who have fallen away from their faith in the decades since.
He lamented Thursday that a "spiritual desertification" had advanced where people think they can live without God.
"In the council's time it was already possible from a few tragic pages of history to know what a life or a world without God looked like, but now we see it every day around us," he said, referring to the totalitarian, atheistic regimes of the 20th century. "But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women."
Benedict was the Rev. Joseph Ratzinger, a young priest and theological consultant to German Cardinal Joseph Frings when Vatican II began, and he has recently reminisced about what the council sought to accomplish, where it succeeded and where it erred.
"It was a splendid day on 11 October, 1962," Benedict wrote in a forward to a commemorative book about the anniversary published this week by the Vatican newspaper. "It was a moment of extraordinary expectation. Great things were about to happen."
Indeed, by its conclusion in 1965, the council had approved documents allowing for the celebration of Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin, and revolutionizing the church's relations with Jews, Muslims and people of other faiths.
Yet as great as that document on relations with other faiths was, Benedict wrote, a "weakness" has emerged in the ensuing years in that "it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion" that have become all too apparent.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Critical Action That Has Shaped Western World?


Taharqa the dual Pharaoh of the 25th dynasty of Kemet and Kush Now known as Egypt and Sudan.
He is noted in the bible in 2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9 as Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, who waged war against Sennacherib during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah and drove him from his intention of destroying Jerusalem and deporting its inhabitants—a critical action that, according to Henry T. Aubin, has shaped the Western world (Aubin 2003).
Click here for more

Henry T. Aubin, The Rescue of Jerusalem, 2nd edition, 2003, Anchor Canada.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Who was Queen Tamar (or Tamara) of Georgia?


AMAIC: Good question, considering our identification of (i) biblical Tamar with Abishag/Hatshepsut, 'Queen of the South'; (ii) the fact that both queen Hatshepsut and Georgian queen Tamar were 'king'; (iii) the alliance of both with a David; and (iv) the Georgian's relics being perhaps in Jerusalem. 


Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

Tamar Bagrationi was Queen of the kingdom of Georgia from 1184-1213. She ruled during what is generally regarded as Georgia's "golden age" and gained a reputation as an outstandingly successful ruler, dubbed "King of Kings and Queen of Queens" by her subjects.

She was born in 1160, the daughter of King Giorgi III (1156-1184) and Queen Burdukhan of Georgia. The king proclaimed that he would share the throne with his daughter from the day she turned twelve. The father and daughter ruled the country together for five years. After King George’s death in 1184, Queen Tamara was enthroned as ruler of all Georgia at the age of eighteen. She is called “King” in the Georgian language because her father had no male heir and so she ruled as a monarch and not as a consort.

She was a pious individual, an after her coronation, she convoked a local council to correct problems in church life. When the bishops had assembled from all parts of her kingdom, she called upon them to establish righteousness and stop any abuses.

Tamar's first husband was the Russian prince Yuri (known in Georgia as Giorgi) Bogolyubski (in 1185-1186). She had no children by Yuri. His marriage to Tamara exposed many of the coarser sides of his character. He was often drunk and inclined toward immoral deeds. In the end, Tamar’s court banished him to Constantinople, along with a generous allowance. Then she selected her second husband herself. He was the Ossetian prince David Soslan of the Georgian Bagrationi family, whom she married in 1188.

Tamar played an active military role as the commander of an army. In 1193 the Georgian army marched to Bardav. Following its triumphant return, a new campaign was undertaken against Erzerum. The army under Tamar and David attacked the Seljuks (Turks) wintering on the banks of the river Arax.

The Atabag of Azerbaijan Abu-Bakr was given command of the army of the coalition of Georgia's Muslim opponents. A battle was fought near Shamkhor in 1195 which ended in a Georgian victory. Numerous prisoners and huge amounts of booty were seized, including the Khalif's standard, which Tamar donated to the Icon of Our Lady of Khakhuli. The Georgians took the city of Shamkhori and the adjoining regions, and the occupied lands were turned over to the Shirvan-Shah on terms of vassalage. From Shamkhori the Georgian army marched to Gandza.

The Georgian victories alarmed the Muslim rulers of Georgia's neighbours, particularly Rukn ad-Din, Sultan of the Seljuk state in Asia Minor. The Sultan prepared for war in order to break the might of Christian Georgia and fought a major battle near Basiani in 1203. Despite the huge size of the Seljuk army - said to number more than 400,000 troops - the Georgian army under Tamar and David won a famous victory.

Under Tamar's rule, Georgia became the strongest power in the Near East and expanded its territorial influence considerably around the shores of the Black Sea. In 1204, Tamar became the main founder of the Kingdom of Trabizond on the southern shore of the Black Sea (now the Turkish province of Trabzon). This Kingdom was populated mainly by Lazi (Chani) Georgian tribes. In 1206, Tamar's army occupied the city of Kars.

Like other medieval monarchs, Tamar played an active role in promoting her country's religion and culture, sponsoring the construction of numerous Georgian Orthodox churches. The poet Shota Rustaveli commemorated Tamar in his epic poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin, in which her coronation gave Rustaveli the historical background for his sublime description of the coronation of Tinatin.

Queen Tamara carried out a regular, secret observance of a strict ascetic regime – fasting, a stone bed, and litanies chanted in bare feet, which finally took a toll on her health. The queen died in 1213 and was subsequently canonized by the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. The burial place of Queen Tamara has remained a mystery to this day. Some sources claim that her tomb is in Gelati, in a branch of burial vaults belonging to the Bagrationi dynasty, while others argue that her holy relics are preserved in a vault at the Holy Cross Monastery in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Was There a Garden of Eden?

[The AMAIC would agree with much of this, but not e.g. the dating]

Most people are aware that legends of a global deluge are
found in the ancient traditions of nearly all cultures on earth.
Less well-known is that stories remarkably similar to Genesis'
account of the Garden of Eden are also widespread. The Greek
myths of Pandora, Epimetheus & Prometheus, and the Golden
Fleece all contain basic elements of the Genesis account--plus
mysterious additional details that are not found in the Biblical
story, but are later reflected in rabbinical and church traditions.

Upon one of the oldest of all formal human records, a cylinder
seal from the ancient Sumerian civilization, is found an image of
a naked or sparsely-clothed man and woman standing on either
side of a tree, around which is entwined a serpent. To explain
this ancient artifact away, the skeptics assert that the Jews must
have taken the idea from the Babylonians. But then, where did
the ancient Chinese memories of the pre-flood world originate?

In fact, when ancient mythology in general is examined, most
of the tales of the promordial "gods" are from the period of the
pre-Deluge epoch of each cultural tradition.

It is to be expected that survivors of an age-ending cataclysm
would recall the recently-destroyed civilization as a much better
world than the post-cataclysm condition of ruin. Yet the Bible is
rather unique in taking the opposite view: The pre-flood world
was evil and decadent and deserved to be destroyed, Genesis
says [Gen 6:1-22]. Hence, it is ironic that Genesis would then
preserve the notion of a pre-Flood Paradise in spite of its view
that the old world was almost totally corrupt and wicked. Is it
possible there really was a Garden of Eden?

Until recently, there were few scientific tools which could shed light on this question
or the related issue of the historicity of Adam and Eve, the first couple always included
in the ancient myths of Paradise. Then, in the late 1980's, Dr. Rebecca Cann and a team
of paleo-geneticists observed that all human beings carry around genetic markers inherited
from our ancient ancestors that might provide clues to when and where we originated. So
Cann took genetic samples from all over the world to reconstruct our genetic family tree.

The results shook the foundations of science. Cann's team discovered that all females
carry a particular genetic marker that must have come from a single woman who was the
sole ancestor of all women now living. Moreover, they found that the time-frame for the
"genetic Eve" to have lived was relatively recent: Between 180,000 and 22,000 years ago.

Paleontologists had previously toyed with estimates as far back as 4,000,000 years for
our common ancestor. So even the 180,000-year age was far too recent for some of them.
But even more disturbing was how the 22,000-year estimate was derived. Cann's team
had argued that, if only two individuals were involved, then the couple must have lived in
even more recent times; the 180,000-year estimate assumed an initial group of thousands
of people among whom the "genetic Eve" had distributed her genes by having sex with a
large number of men However, if only a single couple had started the process, the date of
the pair could have been only about 22,000 years ago.

What upset many scientists was that this time-frame was uncomfortably close to the
chronologies of Genesis and other ancient traditons. They had good reason to be worried.
Other studies began to confirm this recent date. It was found, moreover, that roughly
23,000 years ago mankind had been located somewhere between Egypt and Mesopotamia
--in other words, in the region of Israel, at the time of the emergeance of modern genes.

Studies of domesticated animals were showing similar results, as were various human
migration studies. Again and again, the era around 25,000 years ago was found to be the
starting point for human civilization. Ironically, a book had been written back in the
1980's, before all the new genetic discoveries, which had noted the peculiar fact that all
the first evidences of human inventiveness and true artistic expression emerged rather
suddenly about 25,000 years ago; the title: The Creative Explosion.
The pieces were coming together rapidly in the late 1990's. By 1996, evidence showed
that the world's males had likewise descended from a single "genetic Adam" whose date
was uncertain, but compatible with the 22,000-year age. Further confirmation came in
1997 that all males derive from a single "Adam" and that mankind had not come together
from multiple simultaneous parallel populations developing in different areas, but from a
single population--and apparently a single couple--in one specific area: Near Israel.

According to both Islamic and Jewish tradition, the Garden of Eden was located in the
viciinity of Jerusalem. Although the Greeks spoke of Atlantis as a kind of Paradise, it
was not their Garden of Eden, which they had located in the land of "Cohchis" where the
Grove of fruit trees was guarded by a Dragon or winged serpent-god. Cholchis was to be
found by sailing south and east of Greece, but its exact location was uncertain.

The Nazis searched for Paradise in Tibet because they believed Helena Blavatsky's
claim that she had seen an ancient book in India which said survivors of the Deluge had
landed atop mountains north of India around 9,549 BC. The Nazis assumed these were
the Himalayas, but they could just as easily have been the mountains of eastern Turkey.
The Nazis forgot that the myths of India come from a people who had migrated into the
Indus valley from the north after the Mohenjo-Daro civilization collapsed c. 1,500 BC.
But Blavatsky wrote about survivors of the Deluge, not of the original Paradise.

Much confusion exists between the paradise-like Atlantis and the original Paradise of
the Garden of the first couple. Francis Bacon, the famous occultist said to have edited the
King James Bible, was writing a book when he died called The New Atlantis, in which he
argued for America being the remnant of Atlantis and a pre-flood Paradise.

In the Middle East there is no uncertainty. The Garden was located in the region of
Jerusalem. Genesis implies that Abraham and Lot had seen it during their travels:

"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well-
watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as
THE GARDEN OF THE LORD, like the land of Egypt, as you come to Zoar."
[Gen. 13:10]

Notice how casually the comparison to the Garden is inserted along with an ordinary
geographic reference to a place in Egypt, apparently the area near the Nile Delta from
which Abraham and Lot had recently come. The obvious implication of the passage is
that Abraham and Lot had also recently passed through "the Garden of the Lord" along
their journeys. And it was seemingly prior to their going into Egypt because Egypt is
mentioned after the Garden. Of course, the scribes knew that Abraham had passed by
the mountains of Moriah around Jerusalem before going on to Egypt. Abraham knew of
these mountains because he was able to recognize them from afar off when he later would
bring Isaac there.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Senior Liberal MP Kevin Andrews rates breakdown of marriage as greatest threat to the Western world

MARRIAGE may help prevent cancer, is the best chance of fulfillment in life and divorcing parents should get better assistance to reconcile, says the MP who could become Australia's next Families Minister.

Senior Liberal MP Kevin Andrews has rated the breakdown of marriage and the family a greater threat to the Western world than climate change, the financial crisis and radical Islam.
The Opposition families spokesman is today launching his book, Maybe 'I do' - Modern Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness, which says more needs to be done to protect and support marriage and family because "stable families are also the bedrock of successful societies".
The book is based on thousands of social science studies that detail the importance of marriage for adults, children and society, and proposes policy responses.
Mr Andrews argues it is the Government's business to promote marriage, which is the "best source of physical and mental health, emotional stability, and prosperity for adults and children. It is also the best bet for attaining happiness and fulfilment".
Married men and women lead more healthy lives than unmarried and are more likely to be richer, own a home and be successful in employment, the provocative book says.
"Marriage seems to protect from contracting cancer and offers a better chance of survival after diagnosis."
It argues growing up with married parents gives kids the best chance of learning "virtues, based on respect for human life and dignity".
"The recent retreat from marriage that was meant to free individuals from economic and emotional constraints has failed many people."
The ideal of "marital permanence" needs to be entrenched in a national family and marriage policy, affirming marriage as the best environment for raising children, the Catholic MP and married father-of-five writes.
While not advocating people stay in destructive marriages, research shows up to 37 per cent of couples regret divorcing, the book says.
It says studies have found couples who cohabit before marriage appear to have higher risks of divorce.
And it encourages young people to think about what they want in a relationship and the consequences of multiple partners.
"By moving from one relationship to another, many young people may be undermining their understanding of how to live a committed, faithful relationship," Mr Andrews writes.


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