Sunday, August 31, 2014

"The thousands of foreign jihadists serving with the Islamic State ... have made numerous videos warning that we in the West are next".

Senator Milne’s apparent solution to ISIS barbarism:
Let their victims die

I HAVE a question for Greens leader Christine Milne about what she agrees is the “slaughter of innocent people” in Iraq and Syria. 
So, Senator, what would you have us do?
I ask politely — no abuse, no anger — because what you said last week struck me as so horrible and heartless that there must be some mistake.
Senator, I must have misunderstood you.
You cannot possibly be so dead to what you say are the “images of barbaric behaviour” we’ve all seen from the Islamic State.
You cannot possibly mean what I understood you to say: Let them die.
Let the men be decapitated or crucified.
Let the women be raped and sold into slavery.
Let us not answer the screams for help from Christians, Yazidis, Shi’ites and Sunnis the jihadists deem not sufficiently devout.
Let our soldiers and airmen stay at home, watching on TV the astonishing cruelty they know they could stop if you would let them.
Am I right, Senator Milne? Is that what you really mean?
I ask because your words were not as clear and plain as mine.
So maybe I’m just slow to understand anything not simple. Or maybe — just maybe — you lacked the guts to tell us precisely what you’re urging.
So let me politely repeat what you actually told us last week, to see if I’ve been unfair.
You demanded the Prime Minister “rule out sending troops to Iraq for a third war”.
You said: “We cannot fix the tragedies and conflicts of the Middle East with more and more war. It is madness.”
You had deputy Adam Bandt echo: “I don’t think we should be going to war again.”
To be fair, you didn’t say we should do nothing at all.
“The Greens have said all along that we support humanitarian assistance,” you added.
Well, that’s nice, Senator. But here is what I don’t understand.
What humanitarian assistance do you want sent to the hundreds of men, like US photojournalist James Foley, who have had their heads cut off?
Band aids?
What humanitarian assistance do you want sent to the 250 Syrian soldiers who were last week stripped and then shot in their head, or the 670 men in Mosul that UN investigators say were executed in June, or the scores I saw on a video being shot and tossed into a river?
What aid should we send the hundreds of Yazidi women the Kurdish Regional Government says the Islamic State is holding in Mosul’s Badush prison, where they are sold off as brides for as little as $25 — or raped if they refuse?
New dresses? Toothpaste?
Senator, exactly how will your “humanitarian aid” stop that savagery?
Let me describe that evil to you in the words of someone for whom you normally have inordinate respect — the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.
What the Islamic State is doing, Pillay said last week, includes “widespread ethnic and religious cleansing”.
There was “cold-blooded, systematic and intentional killings of civilians” with “women and their children ... taken as slaves”, and jihadists “deliberately positioning the boys at the frontline in battle situations, as human shields”. But let’s stop pretending, shall we, Senator? No humanitarian aid of yours will stop any of that.
So I ask again: what is your plan? Indeed, what is the plan of so many of the Left, including even Labor MPs, now sneering at talk of sending in Australian forces?
You must have a plan, and not just because we could — with US and British help — stop the worst of this slaughter.
You see, this is not just about charity. It’s not even just about stopping millions more in Iraq and Syria from becoming refugees and crashing our borders to look for a new home or drown trying.
No, you must have a plan because the horror unfolding over there puts us in danger, too, if left unchecked.
The thousands of foreign jihadists serving with the Islamic State — men from Australia, Britain, France, the US, Austria, Canada, Holland, Norway, Chechnya and more — have made numerous videos warning that we in the West are next.
Australian boxer Mohamed Elomar, seen posing with two severed heads in his hands, even tweeted: “Don’t worry ASIO there is plenty of work for you guys coming up.”
Already one returned jihadist has shot dead four Jews in Brussels.
So I ask you again, Senator Milne: what is your plan to stop the slaughter?
Tell us, or just say it plainly: we should let those people die.
Originally published as What would you do, Senator?


Taken from:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"... the Bible tends to indicate that the river from the Garden of Eden originated in Judea and from there became four heads".


The Lost Rivers of the Garden of Eden

Where is Eden?

The quest for pinpointing the exact location of the Biblical Garden of Eden and the four rivers almost rivals the quest for the location of fabled Atlantis. And the theories that abound are almost as numerous as the interpretations of the seven days of Genesis. Before tackling this question let's review what is written in Genesis about the four rivers:
And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
(Genesis 2:10-14 KJV)
The Bible says that a single river flowed "out" of Eden and then does something that most rivers DO NOT do; specifically, split into four separate "heads" or rivers that flowed downstream, all fed from a common single river source. Almost all rivers start from a single source or are fed by multiple sources (tributaries). For example, the Ohio River actually begins where two rivers (the Monongahela and Allegheny) flow together at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The Ohio River terminates when it flows into the Mississippi river as one of that river's many tributaries. So the names of rivers are an arbitrary thing, usually denoting only a portion of a greater complex stream system, with one stream flowing into another, which in-turn, may flow into yet another. This pattern of rivers, as observed in nature, is just the opposite of what the Bible describes about the river of Eden.
For that reason, nobody has been able to look at modern maps of the regions mentioned in Genesis and figure out exactly where the Garden of Eden was, at least by the present topography of the lands of the Middle East. Only one river of the four, the Euphrates, is known by the same name in modern times. It presently originates in the mountains of Turkey and terminates when it merges with the Tigris River near the Iraq/Kuwait border region. Many have speculated that the Tigris is the river Hiddekel.
Tigre and Euphrates rivers
This has led to speculation that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in Turkey. This is assumed because the present headwaters of the Euphrates River originate in Turkey, as do the headwaters of the Tigris.
Others have proposed that the other end of the Euphrates River, where it meets the Tigris, may be the true location. This requires interpreting the Tigris river as one of the other three (the Hiddekel), then interpreting a tributary confluence of rivers as a river head, and then locating at least two more rivers (or old river beds) as the other missing two. Having done so, they then claim that the Garden of Eden was near present day Kuwait. This is a convenient solution, but not one supported by the literal wording of the Bible or the geological and geographical realities of what river "head" means, i.e. headwaters or source of origin.
You will notice that the present day headwaters of both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers originate in Tuekey very close to each other in mountainous terrain. Logically, one would assume that if two of the rivers started there, the other two must have done so, as well, if Turkey was the location of Eden. Neither the Pison nor Gihon rivers are ever mentioned again in the Bible. However, the Hiddekel River is:
"And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel;"
(Daniel 10:4 KJV)
This reference by the prophet Daniel comes from a vision he had while with the children of Israel during the Babylonian Captivity. This would put Daniel somewhere in the area of present-day Iraq and would make the present-day Tigris river a fairly good candidate for the "Hiddekel" river spoken of by the prophet, as it is the only other great river known in that region today. But the Bible says that this river "that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria" and a historical map of the location of Assyria, shows that the Tigris actually goes southeastward.
Map of Assyria
Keep in mind that the geographical area known as "Assyria" is not so easy to pin down. Although the Assyrian Empire was centered near Nineveh, the actual empire also extended into what is also present-day Syria and Palestine. However, lacking a better candidate, and knowing that the prophet Daniel was in that geographical area at the time of his visions, the Tigris appears to be the best possible modern-day candidate for the Hiddekel River.
Region around Assryia
We now must search out the probable locations of the other two rivers. It is here that the theories that the Garden of Eden was either in Turkey or Kuwait starts to lose credibility.
First, let's identify the geographical region of the Pison river. The Bible says: "Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold" and gives us two good clues. There is a recently discovered "Fossil River" that runs from the western mountains of Saudi Arabia towards Kuwait. This old river course is now nothing more than a dry riverbed. It was detected by satellite imaging. Many have speculated that this may be the ancient Pison, as it has been dry since about 3,500 to 2,000 BC. Although Saudi Arabia could marginally qualify for the land of Havilah, the fossil riverbed that flows across it had its origins in the mountains bordering the eastern side of the present day Red Sea, south of Israel.
Kuwait River in proximity to Euphrates
It should be pointed out that those mountains are mirrored by another range of mountains on the western side of the Red Sea. The Red Sea is a tectonic spreading zone and part of the Great Rift system that runs from northward in Turkey, down through the Dead Sea, down through the Red Sea and southward deep into the African continent. Obviously, when that mountain range was split by the Rift the source waters of the proposed Pison river would have dried up.
But this proposed river path may be somewhat of a "red-herring" because it does not seem to naturally "fit" the overall pattern. An even better fit may be for the river to have flowed down what today is the Gulf of Aden south of present day Yemen (southern tip of Arabia). Yemen has both gold and onyx and the eastward trending fault branch from the Afar triangle would have been a natural riverbed in the days prior to Noah's flood (when sea levels were lower than today).
Red Sea and Gulf of Aden
If this was indeed the Pison River, one of four that flowed out of the main one rising in the Garden of Eden, it does not correspond with the present-day headwater source of the Euphrates or Tigris up in Turkey. What's more, the geography of the last remaining river, the Gihon, further complicates the problem.
The Gihon is spoken of as: "Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia" which is the African land area west of the Red Sea and southward. Of course, the political boundaries of what we call Ethiopia today were certainly different in Biblical times, but the general area is correct. And if a river formerly flowed down what is now the Red Sea basin and southward into Africa at the Afar Triangle, it would certainly fit the description of a river that "compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia." (Genesis 2:13)
If we have correctly identified all four rivers, we now have 2 rivers (Euphrates and Tigris) originating today out of Turkey and another running down what was is now the Red Sea south of Israel and deep into Africa, following the path of the present-day Great Rift system. For the moment, we will also include the previously discussed "fossil river" running through Saudi Arabia. Look at the same map again:
The Four rivers
The yellow lines show the paths of the four rivers as proposed from what we have discussed so far. You should note that we did not trace over the Euphrates and Tigris rivers to their present-day sources, but terminated them close to the Great Rift fault zone line. You will also note that we have not continued the proposed path of the "Gihon" beyond the top of the Red Sea, and have terminated the proposed "Pison" at the Great Rift fault zone line.
All 4 of these rivers have one thing in common: All are connected to the Great Rift system. And that is the key to the mystery. Two rivers presently originate out of Turkey to the north and two other fossil rivers flowed south of Israel. The geographical "center" of these four points of flow is neither Turkey nor Kuwait; the center is somewhere near the general region of present day Israel and Jordan.
The Bible itself lends further credence to Israel (or someplace nearby) as the location of the Garden of Eden. If you run the name "Eden" through a search of the Bible, among several references the following ones provide some insightful clues:
"Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him."
(Ezekiel 31:3-9 KJV)
In this passage the Bible says that the Assyrian was in Lebanon. Spiritually speaking, the "trees" in this passage refer to men and leaders. Cedar trees are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible as references to Lebanon (Judges 9:15, Psalms 29:5 & 104:16, Song of Solomon 5:15, Isaiah 2:13, Jeremiah 22:23 and more).
Notice also in the last of the passage that the Spirit associates the trees with "Eden" that "were in the Garden of God." Lebanon, although not a part of modern political Israel, was a part of the Biblical lands ruled by the Kings of Israel in times past. From this we can infer that the Garden and the source of the rivers of the Garden was somewhere close to the land of Lebanon.
Assuming this postulation is correct, that the source of the four rivers was somewhere near Lebanon, the interconnection of the river systems would need to be somewhat like the map below:
Rivers tied to Great Rift Trace
What roughly emerges, when all four rivers are connected to trace of the Great Rift fault system, is a complex river network emerging from a common point of origin that flows both north and south, with each north and south extension splitting into two separate streams, for a total of four rivers. That adds up to four separate heads.
Of course, to propose such a reconstruction one would have to assume that the present day headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates were not the main source headwaters in ancient times. It is possible that there could have been older main tributaries previously flowing from Lebanon which were, at that time, the main headwaters of those two rivers.
But the so-called Kuwait River, which has been proposed as the lost river Pison, does not seem to match with the common denominator of the others, that is the Great Rift and branching fault systems. Based on the description of its path in the Bible which says, "compasseth the whole land of Havilah" and knowing from the geology of present day Yemen that onyx can be found there, then this part of the verse, "where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone" suggests an alternate path for the River Pison, to the south of Yemen, and that would give us the path indicated by the blue and yellow markings on the next graphic.
When all factors are considered (Bible text and geology), I believe the paths indicated by the dotted lines on the large map below are probably where those rivers flowed. And a southern path around Yemen puts the fourth river squarely into the basin of the Great Rift system, flowing east from the upwelling Afar Triangle.
Four river of Eden paths
These paths meets the requirement of the Biblical text because the single river water source, originating from high ground somewhere in or near present day Israel, hits the Rift Valley, then would have flowed both north and south along the path of the Rift zone, with both the north and south forks each splitting a second time when intercepting other fault zones.
Fault map of middle east
Keep in mind that the course of rivers around and through the vicinity of the Great Rift fault system may have changed or dried up because of block faulting all along the Rift zone. Certainly Horst and Graben faulting along the Rift could, and would, change the surface topography. Horst and Graben faulting is defined as "elongate fault blocks of the Earth's crust that have been raised and lowered, respectively, relative to their surrounding areas as a direct effect of faulting. Horsts and Grabens may range in size from blocks a few centimeters wide to tens of kilometers wide; the vertical movement may be up to several thousand feet."
Horst and Graben faulting
Image courtesy of Dr. M. Mustoe
But when did this happen? The most likely time frame would be in the years immediately following Noah's Flood. Keep in mind that the Bible says there was a significant geologic event that happened 101 years after Noah's Flood - The "Earth was divided" (see: Genesis 10:25 & 1 Chronicles 1:19). The Bible also describes what was probably tectonic/volcanic activity in the Rift valley in Abraham's days (the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah - See Genesis 19:28).
Imaging of the Dead Sea indicates that, at one time, the river bed of what is now the Jordan River once flowed across the land surface that is now at the bottom of the Dead Sea. This suggests that there was Horst and Graben faulting at the southern end of the present Dead Sea, which abruptly terminated the former flow of that river southward. And that stream was probably the feeder channel to the ancient Gihon River, which ran down the floor of what is now the Red Sea into Ethiopia and through the Rift basin south from the Afar Triangle. Supporting coincidental evidence for this is the fact that fish species down in the African Rift valley river and lake systems are very similar to those found in the Jordan River system:
Note: The aquatic life of the African lakes and rivers belongs to the so-called Ethiopian zoogeographical region. According to Annandale, the explanation of the Ethiopian affinity of the fish fauna of the Jordan is that the Jordan formed at one time merely part of a river system that ran down the Great Rift Valley. The Jordan was one branch of this huge river system, the chain of lakes in East Africa represents the other; and together they opened into the Indian Ocean. See R. Washbourn, The Percy Sladen Expedition to Lake Huleh, 1935, Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statements, (1936), p. 209. (Source website: The Great Rift and the Jordan)
Now, returning to the general area of Lebanon as the Biblical location of the Garden of Eden and the water source for the four rivers, let us take a look at the present-day geology and topography of that area. This map shows a great deal of block faulting in the area of Lebanon just north of modern day Israel.
Faulting in Lebanon and Iraq
Below is a satellite image of the entire area. You will note from the topographical relief that, had waters once flowed out of this area, they would naturally flow northward into the Euphrates Fault system river basin. At the time of the Garden of Eden the main headwaters of the Euphrates could have come from that direction. If the water flow at that time continued northward along the path of the Great Rift, it would also intersect the present-day Tigris river basin.
Satellite Photo of Dead Sea region
41G-120-0056 Dead Sea Rift Valley, Israel and Jordan October 1984 Seen from an altitude of 190 nautical miles (350 kilometers)
The prominent bodies of water along the Rift zone in this photo are the Dead Sea (bottom) and Sea of Galilee (top). They are connected by the Jordan River which flows south. Before the Earth was divided by the Rift, the mountainous land on both the Israeli and Jordanian sides were joined. You are looking at "ground zero" of what was once the Garden of Eden.
Here is another important point to remember. The Bible says that the river flowed out of Eden, but nowhere does the Bible give a geographical size for what constituted the actual area of Eden. Therefore, the actual source of the waters could have been south of Lebanon. More specifically, those waters could have originated in or near Jerusalem in present-day Israel, or even up welled from a massive spring under the sea of Tiberius.
The Israel/Lebanon region as the location of Eden and the lost river finds considerable support in the Bible. Support for this line of reasoning is found in the fact that God considers the land of Israel as His Holy land. It was upon one of the mountains in the "land of Moriah" (Genesis 22:2) where Abraham was told to sacrifice his son (a type of the Lord's sacrifice of Jesus). Solomon was told to build the Temple "at Jerusalem in mount Moriah" (2 Chronicles 3:1) and Jerusalem was where the Lord Jesus was actually crucified. By extension, we can assume that when God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve with its skin (Genesis 3:21), that animal was a Lamb (Revelation 13:8). Therefore, we can be certain from the typology that Adam and Eve, and the center of the Garden of God, were somewhere at or very near geographical Jerusalem.
Now, what exactly do those spiritual realities have to do with the location of the river of Eden? In the future, when the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His Kingdom and Righteous Temple in Jerusalem, the Bible speaks of a river flowing from below the Temple. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of seeing this in a vision:
Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side. And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.
(Ezekiel 47:1-12 KJV)
And this corresponds with what John said about the New Jerusalem:
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(Revelation 22:1-2 KJV)
Since the original "Tree of Life" was in the Garden of Eden, does it not make sense that when the Lord makes all things new again the future "Tree of Life" would be restored to its proper place? And that place is in Israel, the same place upon the mountains of Moriah (Jerusalem).
Yes, the Bible tends to indicate that the river from the Garden of Eden originated in Judea and from there became four heads. A forensic study of the region's geology tends to support the theory over the alternatively proposed locations of Turkey or Kuwait. What we have not shown is a geologic model for the source of these waters originating from the area of Jerusalem. Keep in Mind that Jerusalem sits just west of the Great Rift Valley. It is quite possible that the legendary river of Eden originated from a massive artesian aquifer, the source of which has long since been disrupted by block faulting along the Rift. We know for a scientific fact that there is a considerable amount of "fossil" water under the Middle East in the deep-rock sandstone aquifers of the region such as the Nubian sandstone aquifers and equivalent formations.
Also keep in mind that in the days of Adam and Eve a "mist" went up and watered the face of the Earth within the Garden (Genesis 2:6). Fountains of waters (underground waters under pressure gushing upwards) would certainly be a logical source for the generation of such a mist and would be a logical feed-source for such a river. Certainly, we cannot exclude this possibility.
In summary, although the modern-day geology and topography of the Middle-East does not readily reveal the exact location of the Garden of Eden and the four rivers source, guidance by faith from the Holy Bible and a forensic study of the region's geology reveals the matter. The available data appears to suggest that present-day Israel was the central location of the Garden of Eden.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"... the first pope from the Western Hemisphere is throwing open the gates of Vatican City and letting the world in".

by 25 Aug 2014

Catholics are often told to be in the world but not of the world, meaning that while they carry on ordinary lives, they should never forget their faith and what it demands of them.
In a similar way, Pope Francis seems to be urging the Vatican to be in Italy (or at least, entirely surrounded by it) but not of Italy. While geography and history have led to a dominance of Italians within the Vatican bureaucracy, both among clerics and laity, the Catholic Church is a worldwide institution, and the first pope from the Western Hemisphere is throwing open the gates of Vatican City and letting the world in.
On Aug. 23, The Spectator published a long, thoughtful piece by British writer Damian Thompson, who discusses his belief that the Roman Curia – the administrative framework of the Holy See, through which the pope conducts the Church's business, both spiritual and temporal – thwarted and ultimately derailed the papacy of Francis' predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
It's Thompson's assertion that, behind Francis' quick rise to popularity as a faith leader, moral force, and folk hero, his real business, the reason the cardinals elected this Argentinian outsider, was to clean up the Vatican, mired in cronyism and corruption and hamstrung by scandal.
While Thompson notes that Francis shares a strong, orthodox Catholic faith and a love of classical music with Benedict, he writes, "But there is one big difference. To quote a senior bishop, 'Benedict allowed the Roman Curia, and specifically the Italians in it, to kill his pontificate. Francis will not permit that to happen.' He will strike first."
He also points out, "As superior of the Argentine Jesuits, Bergoglio expected instant obedience."
Although their luster has considerably dimmed in recent years – ironically, because too often Jesuits, especially those in education, have become too much of the world and not enough of the Church – the Society of Jesus once had a reputation as a producer of fearless missionaries, explorers, and martyrs.
During Francis's recent trip to South Korea, it was pointed out that the first Catholic texts that led to the conversion of many Koreans came from Jesuit missionaries in China.
As Thompson writes, "The decline of the Jesuits is one of the biggest disasters to have hit the Church in recent decades, emptying countries of their brightest missionaries and leaving schools and parishes in the hands of jobsworths. Pope after pope has tried to reverse it, but perhaps only a Jesuit pontiff can force the order to start training its priests properly again."
At 77, Francis comes from the pre-Baby Boomer Jesuit tradition of muscular Catholicism (which seems to be making a comeback among younger Jesuits), so he's taking a no-nonsense approach to his reforms, starting with the dodgy goings-on at the Institute for Religious Works, popularly known as the Vatican Bank. In recent decades, it's been somewhat less of a bank and more of a sieve, with money disappearing into pet projects and cronies' pockets.
As quoted in July in The New York Times, Australian Cardinal George Pell, Francis' new prefect for economic affairs, said, "Our ambition is to become something of a model in financial management rather than a cause for occasional scandal."
Speaking to Catholic News Service (CNS) earlier this month, Pell said, "If we are going to help the poor, we need to have the wherewithal, and the better we manage our finances, the more good works we can do. I remember Margaret Thatcher's comment, that the Good Samaritan, if he hadn't been a little bit of a capitalist, had his own store of money, he couldn't have helped. We can do more if we generate more."
While much of the Vatican's wealth is tied up in historic architecture and works of art, world treasures which are open to all visitors, making sure there's a steady cash flow can ensure that when help is urgently needed it can be quickly delivered.
As an example of this, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the pope's personal envoy to Iraq, announced that Francis had made a $1 million donation to help Iraqi Christians and other persecuted and displaced minorities.
Speaking to Catholic News Agency, Filoni said that, when he traveled to Iraq earlier this month, he carried one tenth of the total sum and that "75 percent of the money was delivered to Catholics, and the remaining 25 percent to the Yazidi community."
Francis has also been intent on decentralizing power from the Vatican bureaucracy and returning it to local bishops, which is in line with the original intent for the Church's structure. So even as he wields his papal authority to correct what he sees as problems, Francis has called for synods of bishops, including one on the marriage and the family set for October, for which he's sought information on issues from the parish level. He's also created councils of cardinals from around the world and commissions of lay people to debate issues and advise him.
As the successor of St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome has the final say in many things, but individual bishops and cardinals have rights and powers of their own as fellow successors of the apostles.
As Pell explained to CNS, "We're a very flat organization. The individual bishops respond to the pope, and I fully understand this, and I want to maintain this authority and independence. I think it's more congenial to, you might say [encourage] the flowering of the prophetic spirit, rather than having individuals smothered regularly by national or continental conferences."
He continued, "We don't want big Roman bureaucracies, apart from the fact that we couldn't pay for them. But I think, as a matter of principle, practical authority should be exercised by bishops."
Francis has a Herculean task ahead of him, and, as he joked with reporters on the plane returning from Korea, "I know this will last a short time, two or three years, and then to the house of the Father."
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio may have been elected pope to change the Vatican and not the world, but if this spectacularly popular figure can play his cards right in the next "two or three years," Pope Francis just may be able to do both.

Below, see Thompson and others discussing "The Pope vs. the Vatican":


Taken from:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Anne Habermehl Drops Complete Bombshell On Tower Of Babel Studies

Figure 1


Where in the World Is the Tower of Babel?

by Anne Habermehl on March 23, 2011



The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is believed by many to be the record of a real historical event that took place after the worldwide Flood, at a time when the earth’s population still lived together in one place. The enduring archaeological question, therefore, is where the Tower of Babel was built. It is widely considered that Shinar, where the Bible says the Babel event took place, was a territory in south Mesopotamia; and that Babel was located at Babylon. However, an analysis of history, geography, and geology, shows that Shinar cannot have been in the south, but rather was a territory in what is northeastern Syria today; and that the remnants of the Tower must be located in the Upper Khabur River triangle, not far from Tell Brak, which is the missing city of Akkad.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Every Major Nation has a Flood Legend

[The AMAIC does not believe that the Flood was actually global, but vast]


Flood Legends from Around the World

Native global flood stories are documented as history or legend in almost every region on earth. Old world missionaries reported their amazement at finding remote tribes already possessing legends with tremendous similarities to the Bible's accounts of the worldwide flood. H.S. Bellamy in Moons, Myths and Men estimates that altogether there are over 500 Flood legends worldwide. Ancient civilizations such as (China, Babylonia, Wales, Russia, India, America, Hawaii, Scandinavia, Sumatra, Peru, and Polynesia) all have their own versions of a giant flood.
These flood tales are frequently linked by common elements that parallel the Biblical account including the warning of the coming flood, the construction of a boat in advance, the storage of animals, the inclusion of family, and the release of birds to determine if the water level had subsided. The overwhelming consistency among flood legends found in distant parts of the globe indicates they were derived from the same origin (the Bible's record), but oral transcription has changed the details through time.
Perhaps the second most important historical account of a global flood can be found in a Babylonian flood story in the Epic of Gilgamesh. When the Biblical and Babylonian accounts are compared, a number of outstanding similarities are found that leave no doubt these stories are rooted in the same event or oral tradition.



Take the seed of all creatures aboard the shipGen. 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring.
I boarded the ship and closed the door.Gen. 7:1 Come into the Ark
Gen. 7:16 The Lord shut him in.
I sent out a dove . . . The dove went, then came back, no resting-place appeared for it, so it returned.Gen. 8:8 He sent out a dove...But the dove found no resting-place . . . and she returned.
Then I sent out a raven . .it was the waters receding, it ate, it flew about to and fro, it did not return.Gen. 8:7 He sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the Earth.
I made a libation on the peak of the mountain.Gen. 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord (on the mountain) and offered burnt offerings.

D = Destruction by Water
.G = (God) Divine Cause
.W = Warning Given
.H = Humans Spared
.A = Animals Spared
.V = Preserved in a Vessel
D..HAV01 Australia- Kurnai
D.WHAV02 Babylon- Berossus' account
DGWHAV03 Babylon- Gilgamesh epic
DGWH.V04 Bolivia- Chiriguano
D..HAV05 Borneo- Sea Dayak
D..HAV06 Burma- Singpho
DG.HAV07 Canada- Cree
DGWHAV08 Canada- Montagnais
DG.HAV09 China- Lolo
D.WHAV10 Cuba- original natives
DGWHAV11 East Africa- Masai
DGWH.V12 Egypt- Book of the Dead
DG.H.V13 Fiji- Walavu-levu tradition
DGWHA.14 French Polynesia- Raiatea
D..HAV15 Greece- Lucian's account
DG.HAV16 Guyana- Macushi
DG.H.V17 Iceland- Eddas
DG.H.V18 India- Andaman Islands
D.WHAV19 India- Bhil
DGWH.V20 India-Kamar
D.WHA.21 Iran- Zend-Avesta
DG.H.V22 Italy- Ovid's poetry
DG.H.V23 Malay Peninsula- Jekun
D.WH.V24 Mexico- Codex Chimalpopoca
D.WHAV25 Mexico- Huichol
DG.H.V26 New Zealand- Maori
D.WHA.27 Peru- Indians of Huarochiri
D.WH.V28 X . Russia- Vogul
D.WHAV29 U.S.A. (Alaska)- Kolusches
DG.HAV30 U.S.A. (Alaska)- Tlingit
D.WHAV31 U.S.A. (Arizona)- Papago
DG.HAV32 U.S.A. (Hawaii)- legend of Nu-u
D..HAV33 Vanualu- Melanesians
D..HAV34 Vietnam- Bahnar
D..HAV35 Wales- Dwyfan/Dwyfan legend
351817352432Total Occurrences out of 35


Southwest Tanzania
Once upon a time the rivers began to flood. The god told two people to get into a ship. He told them to take lots of seed and to take lots of animals. The water of the flood eventually covered the mountains. Finally the flood stopped. Then one of the men, wanting to know if the water had dried up let a dove loose. The dove returned. Later he let loose a hawk which did not return. Then the men left the boat and took the animals and the seeds with them.


The Chinese classic called the Hihking tells about "the family of Fuhi," that was saved from a great flood. This ancient story tells that the entire land was flooded; the mountains and everything, however one family survived in a boat. The Chinese consider this man the father of their civilization. This record indicates that Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters were the only people that escaped the great flood. It is claimed, that he and his family were the only people alive on earth, and repopulated the world.

Gilgamesh met an old man named Utnapishtim, who told him the following story. The gods came to Utnapishtim to warn him about a terrible flood that was coming. They instructed Utnapishtim to destroy his house and build a large ship. The ship was to be 10 dozen cubits high, wide and long. Utnapishtim was to cover the ship with pitch. He was supposed to take male and female animals of all kinds, his wife and family, provisions, etc. into the ship. Once ship was completed the rain began falling intensely. The rain fell for six days and nights. Finally things calmed and the ship settled on the top of Mount Nisir. After the ship had rested for seven days Utnapishtim let loose a dove. Since the land had not dried the dove returned. Next he sent a swallow which also returned. Later he let loose a raven which never returned since the ground had dried. Utnapishtim then left the ship.

There was a man by the name of Xisuthrus. The god Chronos warned Xisuthrus of a coming flood and told him to build a boat. The boat was to be 5 stadia by 2 stadia. In this boat Xisuthrus was to put his family, friends and two of each animal (male and female). The flood came. When the waters started to recede he let some birds loose. They came back and he noticed they had mud on their feet. He tried again with the same results. When he tried the third time the birds did not return. Assuming the water had dried up the people got out of the boat and offered sacrifices to the gods.

A long time ago lived a man named Manu. Manu, while washing himself, saved a small fish from the jaws of a large fish. The fish told Manu, "If you care for me until I am full grown I will save you from terrible things to come". Manu asked what kind of terrible things. The fish told Manu that a great flood would soon come and destroy everything on the earth. The fish told Manu to put him in a clay jar for protection. The fish grew and each time he outgrew the clay jar Manu gave him a larger one. Finally the fish became a ghasha, one of the largest fish in the world. The fish instructed Manu to build a large ship since the flood was going to happen very soon. As the rains started Manu tied a rope from the ship to the ghasha. The fish guided the ship as the waters rose. The whole earth was covered by water. When the waters began subsiding the ghasha led Manu's ship to a mountaintop.


There is a legend of a flood called the Dreamtime flood. Riding on this flood was the woramba, or the Ark Gumana. In this ark was Noah, Aborigines, and various animals. This ark eventually came to rest in the plain of Djilinbadu where it can still be found. They claim that the white mans story about the ark landing in the middle east is a lie that was started to keep the aborigines in subservience. This legend is undoubtedly the product of aboriginal legends merging with those of visiting missionaries, and there does not appear to be any native flood stories from Australia.


A long time ago, perhaps before the golden age was over, humans became proud. This bothered Zeus as they kept getting worse. Finally Zeus decided that he would destroy all humans. Before he did this Prometheus, the creator of humans, warned his human son Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha. Prometheus then placed this couple in a large wooden chest. The rains started and lasted nine days and nights until the whole world was flooded. The only thing that was not flooded was the peaks of Mount Parnassus and Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is the home of the gods. The wooden chest came to rest on Mount Parnassus. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha got out and saw that everything was flooded. The lived on provisions from the chest until the waters subsided. At Zeus' instruction they re-populated the earth.

North America

The Toltec natives have a legend telling that the original creation lasted for 1716 years, and was destroyed by a flood and only one family survived.

Aztec- A man named Tapi lived a long time ago. Tapi was a very pious man. The creator told Tapi to build a boat that he would live in. He was told that he should take his wife, a pair of every animal that was alive into this boat. Naturally everyone thought he was crazy. Then the rain started and the flood came. The men and animals tried to climb the mountains but the mountains became flooded as well. Finally the rain ended. Tapi decided that the water had dried up when he let a dove loose that did not return.
United States
The Ojibwe natives who have lived in Minnesota USA since approximately 1400AD also have a creation and flood story that closely paralleles the Biblical account. "There came a time when the harmonious way of life did not continue. Men and women disrespected each other, families quarreled and soon villages began arguing back and forth. This saddened Gitchie Manido [the Creator] greatly, but he waited. Finally, when it seemed there was no hope left, Creator decided to purify Mother Earth through the use of water. The water came, flooding the Earth, catching all of creation off guard. All but a few of each living thing survived." Then it tells how Waynaboozhoo survived by floating on a log in the water with various animals.
Ojibwe - Ancient native American creation story tells of world wide flood.

Delaware Indians - In the pristine age, the world lived at peace; but an evil spirit came and caused a great flood. The earth was submerged. A few persons had taken refuge on the back of a turtle, so old that his shell had collected moss. A loon flew over their heads and was entreated to dive beneath the water and bring up land. It found only a bottomless sea. Then the bird flew far away, came back with a small portion of earth in its bill, and guided the tortoise to a place where there was a spot of dry land.

South America

During the period of time called the Pachachama people became very evil. They got so busy coming up with and performing evil deeds they neglected the gods. Only those in the high Andes remained uncorrupted. Two brothers who lived in the highlands noticed their llamas acting strangely. They asked the llamas why and were told that the stars had told the llamas that a great flood was coming. This flood would destroy all the life on earth. The brothers took their families and flocks into a cave on the high mountains. It started to rain and continued for four months. As the water rose the mountain grew keeping its top above the water. Eventually the rain stopped and the waters receded. The mountain returned to its original height. The shepherds repopulated the earth. The llamas remembered the flood and that is why they prefer to live in the highland areas.

Offsite Flood Legend References from Creationists

Secular Flood Legend References

Quote and References on Flood Legends

  • a . “It has long been known that legends of a great flood, in which almost all men perished, are widely diffused over the world ...” James George Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol. 1, (London: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1919), p. 105.
  • Byron C. Nelson, The Deluge Story in Stone (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., 1968), pp. 169–190.
  • “... there are many descriptions of the remarkable event [the Genesis Flood]. Some of these have come from Greek historians, some from the Babylonian records; others from the cuneiform tablets, and still others from the mythology and traditions of different nations, so that we may say that no event has occurred either in ancient or modern times about which there is better evidence or more numerous records, than this very one which is so beautifully but briefly described in the sacred Scriptures. It is one of the events which seems to be familiar to the most distant nations—in Australia, in India, in China, in Scandinavia, and in the various parts of America. It is true that many look upon the story as it is repeated in these distant regions, as either referring to local floods, or as the result of contact with civilized people, who have brought it from historic countries, and yet the similarity of the story is such as to make even this explanation unsatisfactory.” Stephen D. Peet, “The Story of the Deluge,” American Antiquarian, Vol. 27, No. 4, July–August 1905, p. 203.
  • C. H. Kang and Ethel R. Nelson, The Discovery of Genesis (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1979). [This excellent book shows that the classical Chinese pictographs contain many stories and details found in the early chapters of Genesis. The earliest people of China, 4,000–5,000 years ago, brought with them stories of past events that became imbedded in their language. (See Figure 37 on page 45.)]

Taken from: