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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

PEW: Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion

Posted by addisethiopia on June 21, 2013

pew1The Arab Spring, at least when it comes to religious freedom, isn’t yielding the bastion of free-thought and democracy that many world leaders once predicted. Just a few years ago, politicians and pundits were heralding disturbances in the Middle East as a potential first-step to improving human rights. But new information from the Pew Research Center is calling these claims into question.

In a study released on Thursday, the polling and research firm announced its findings, which show an increase in religion-based crackdowns, even in light of the Arab Spring and its promised ideological and legislative reforms. It’s likely that critics of the Obama administration will seize upon the research organization’s findings as proof that, despite positive predictions, the Middle East may be headed in an even more restrictive direction.

In a study released on Thursday, the polling and research firm announced its findings, which show an increase in religion-based crackdowns, even in light of the Arab Spring and its promised ideological and legislative reforms. It’s likely that critics of the Obama administration will seize upon the research organization’s findings as proof that, despite positive predictions, the Middle East may be headed in an even more restrictive direction.

“A new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the already high level of restrictions on religion in the Middle Eas

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t and North Africa – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – continued to increase in 2011, when most of the political uprisings known as the Arab Spring occurred,” reads the first line of a Pew press release.

To be clear, though, the religious freedom situation has always been a contentious one in the region. But instead of bringing important reforms and freedoms to the forefront, the study seems to show that, at least in 2011, the situation in the Middle East actually worsened.

According to the findings, the number of nations in the region that reported sectarian violence between religious groups doubled in size from five to 10 — and that’s only one of the findings.

In fact, the Arab Spring’s impact on the overall increase in religious crackdowns was apparently so prominent that Pew named the study, “Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion.” Here’s more from the study:

Among countries where Arab Spring uprisings occurred, government restrictions took various forms. In Egypt, for instance, the government continued to permit people to convert to Islam but prohibited them from abandoning Islam for another faith. In Bahrain, the Sunni-dominated government used high levels of force against Arab Spring demonstrators, most of whom were Shia Muslims. And in Libya, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, then chairman of the National Transitional Council, declared in October 2011 that Libya in the post-Moammar Gadhafi era would be run as an Islamic state with sharia law forming the basis of legislation.

Read the Pew religious freedom study in its entirety

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Infertile Muslim Woman Gave Birth to Son After Prayer to St. Nicholas

Posted by addisethiopia on January 22, 2011


A Muslim woman in Russian Republic of Bashkiria, who was unsuccessfully treated for infertility for 14 years, gave birth to a son after praying before the icon of St. Nicholas in an Orthodox church.

“I’m a Muslim, but for some reason I believed that it (the icon – IF) will help me,” the happy mother is quoted as saying by Ufa edition of the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

Her friends advised her to go to the church: her marriage has almost failed and the diagnosis sounded as a death verdict to family happiness – it is impossible to give birth with such decease.

It was the first time the woman came to the church, she was a little bit scared and did not how to pray. Parishioners told her “sincerely, from the heart” ask St. Nicholas.

Then she invented a simple prayer: “Nicholas the Wonderworker help me, give us a son, please…” Finally, the woman took off her favorite golden chain and left it near the icon – there is a belief that such gifts make a prayer more effective.

She understood that she is pregnant a month after. Her son Tamerlan makes his parents happy: he is so cheerful and clever.


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Christianity Taking Over Our Planet?

Posted by addisethiopia on January 15, 2011


What is the fastest-growing religion on Earth?

Most news reports suggest it is Islam — but it’s actually Christianity

The evidence suggests a new, or, perhaps, original form of biblically inspired evangelical Christianity is sweeping through places like China, Africa, India and Southeast Asia – making it, by far, the fastest growing faith on the planet.

In Megashift, author Jim Rutz coins a new phrase to define this fast-growing segment of the population. He calls them “core apostolics” – or “the new saints who are at the heart of the mushrooming kingdom of God.”

Rutz makes the point that Christianity is overlooked as the fastest-growing faith in the world because most surveys look at the traditional Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church while ignoring Christian believers who have no part of either.

He says there are 707 million “switched-on disciples” who fit into this new category and that this “church” is exploding in growth.

“The growing core of Christianity crosses theological lines and includes 707 million born-again people who are increasing by 8 percent a year,” he says.

So fast is this group growing that, under current trends, according to Rutz, the entire world will be composed of such believers by the year 2032.

“There will be pockets of resistance and unforeseen breakthroughs,” writes Rutz. “Still, at the rate we’re growing now, to be comically precise, there would be more Christians than people by the autumn of 2032, about 8.2 billion.”

According to the author, until 1960, Western evangelicals outnumbered non-Western evangelicals – mostly Latinos, blacks and Asians – by two to one. As of 2000, non-Western evangelicals outnumbered Westerners by four to one. That moved to seven to one this year.

“There are now more missionaries sent from non-Western nations than Western nations,” he writes.

This trend, says Rutz, has been missed by Westerners because the explosive growth is elsewhere.

Hundreds of millions of these Christians are simply not associated with the institutional churches at all. They meet in homes. They meet underground. They meet in caves. They meet, he says, in secret.

And what is driving this movement?

Miracles, he says.

“Megashift” attempts to document myriad healings and other powerful answers to the sincere prayers of this new category of believer, including, believe it or not, hundreds of dramatic cases of resurrections – not near-death experiences, but real resurrections of actual corpses.

“When I was a kid in Sunday school, I was really impressed that 3,000 people were saved on the Day of Pentecost,” he writes. “I thought, ‘Wow, that’ll never happen again!’”

But, Rutz says, it now happens around the globe every 25 minutes.

“By tomorrow, there will be 175,000 more Christians than there are today,” he writes

The essence of Rutz’s book is about how Western Christians can tap into what he sees as a mighty work of God on Earth.

“Very few people realize the nature of life on Earth is going through a major change,” he writes. “We are seeing a megashift in the basic direction of human history. Until our time, the ancient war between good and evil was hardly better than a stalemate. Now all has changed. The Creator whose epic story flows through the pages of Scripture has begun to dissolve the strongholds of evil. This new drama is being played out every hour around the globe, accompanied sometimes by mind-bending miracles.”



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What Can Money Buy?

Posted by addisethiopia on August 27, 2010

Money is nice to have but it can’t buy you the things that truly matter to make your life a happy life. Money you can lose and make again but there are things that if you lose them cannot be replaced. Money can’t buy you a life


  • Money can buy Position not Respect

  • Money can buy bed but not sleep

  • Money can buy books but not knowledge

  • Money can buy food but not appetite

  • Money can buy Finery but not beauty

  • Money can buy a house but not a home

  • Money can buy Medicine but not health

  • Money can buy Luxuries but not comfort

  • Money can buy Pleasures but not happiness

  • Money can buy Religion but not salvation.

Say not that this is yours and this is mine,
Just say, this came to you and to me;
So we may not regret the fading shine,
Of all the glorious things which ceased to be.

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Posted in Faith, Life | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Faith-Offending Movies

Posted by addisethiopia on July 22, 2009


UnHollywood

Hollywood and organized religion seem to be in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole. Just when the ire generated by one film has died down, anger from a different denomination flames up for a different studio.

Here are 13 of the most „Faith-Offending“ films

Visit my Photoblog…

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Can Cosmic Rays Provoke Fortean Miracles ?

Posted by addisethiopia on May 6, 2009

universe

Charles Hoy Fort was a Dutch-American writer and researcher into extraordinary phenomena.

In the early 20th Century, Fort published an abundance of carefully documented data which science is either unqualified or reluctant to account for. His most famous work, “The Book of the Damned” (1919) used the word “damned” to imply “the excluded” and contained what Fort believed to be “a procession of data that Science has excluded.” Today, the term “Fortean” is often used to describe a wide range of paranormal phenomena.

Charles Fort visited the libraries of New York and London for over thirty years, tirelessly reading and keeping notes on occurrences outside the established theories of science. He collected numerous accounts of aerial phenomena before the invention of aviation, including objects in the sky that today would be considered UFOs. Fort had the idea that “beings on Mars” were controlling events on Earth, and the reason that we never meet our overseers is because they have no interest in talking with their farm animals. According to writer Colin Wilson, Fort’s books imply, “People with a psychological need to believe in marvels are no more prejudiced and gullible than people with a psychological need not to believe in marvels.”

Robert LeRoy Ripley was an American cartoonist and globetrotting adventurer who created the world famous Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” newspaper series. Depicting authentic oddities from around the world, Ripley’s cartoon panel became a mainstay of American newspapers during the first half of the 20th Century. He financed publications of untold curiosities and established museums that he called “Odditoriums” in major cities.

Robert Ripley was a connoisseur of the odd and fantastic, “seeking stories of bizarre and unusual proportion.” He allegedly kept a 28-foot boa constrictor snake as a house pet and allowed squirrels and chipmunks to scurry about him while he drew his famous cartoons. According to the official Ripley’s website, “At age 58, Ripley died while taping the 13th episode of his television series, an episode that dealt with death and death rituals. He passed out during the show, was taken to the hospital and, soon after, was pronounced dead of a heart attack.” Today, the Ripley’s cartoon panel is still seen daily in nearly 200 newspapers worldwide. Every year, millions of people visit the Ripley’s museums.

Both men devoted their entire lives to tracking down the interconnectedness of the natural world and synchronicity — quirks not recognized by most scientists or academics. But why have our foremost researchers not considered probing such challenging phenomena? The answer might have something to do with “the management of research funds.”

In 1865, the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé said that he discovered the ring shape of the benzene molecule after having a vision of a snake swallowing its own tail. In 1873, Heinrich Schliemann, the man who unearthed ruins believed to be of the ancient city of Troy, had a dream of the beautiful “Helen of Troy” putting on a strange gold necklace. The next day he saw something sparkle in the excavation soil. It was the same gold necklace that he saw in his dream. Sir William Crookes was an English chemist who in 1861 discovered the element thallium. His studies of cathode rays led to the invention of the modern television. Crookes’s revolutionary work in this area became the basis of numerous discoveries that ultimately revised the study of chemistry and physics.

In 1870, Crookes decided that science had a duty to study paranormal phenomena. Although he pioneered the systematic study of out-of-body experiences (OBEs) Crookes’ definitive evidence irritated members of the scientific community so much that there was discussion of stripping him of his Fellowship of the Royal Society.

In the 1970s, Russel Targ (an inventor of the laser) and Harold Puthoff (an authority on quantum vacuum states) conducted major experiments at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI). As a result of their research, they both believed that Uri Geller, retired police commissioner Pat Price, and artist Ingo Swann all had genuine psi — or psychic abilities.

In 1980, James Randi, an accomplished stage magician and professional skeptic, launched a comprehensive debunking of the Stanford experiments. Randi called Targ and Puthoff “the Laurel and Hardy of psi” and claimed that their experiments were a heap of incompetence and fraudulence. Yet, just like Charlie Chaplin, Randi had no scientific training. He admitted that metal bending by Geller was observed in the Stanford laboratory. But Randi played down the fact that the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as advised by Andrija Puharich, was also in touch with Geller, Price and Swann.

In 1978, a survey of 14 active psi research laboratories by Dr. Charles Tart revealed that five of those laboratories had been officially approached by officials or agents of the U.S. government who were gathering information on psi. The total known figure, at the time, for funding to mainstream psi researchers amounted to several hundred thousand dollars a year. Almost all the researchers surveyed maintained that using psi for espionage or military purposes was a very real possibility, and several were certain it was being done.

Probably more than in other areas of scientific investigation, it is information about who funds psi research that is classified, not only what is being done. Former White House staffer, Barbara Honegger reported, for instance, that the very word “parapsychology” was classified at the CIA — that is, a directive existed that it is not to be used in telephone conversations except over secure lines; and that any report with the word in it is automatically classified.

Of all the services, the Navy has historically been the most open-minded about taking psi research seriously and funding it. In 1975, the Navy reportedly funded SRI to see if psychics could detect sources of electromagnetic radiation at a distance; and, in 1976, to see whether they could influence a magnetometer at Stanford University. The SRI scientists reported that they could. (Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD, “The Roots of Consciousness,” 1997)

It appears that “paranormal research” finances today are blocked or classified by government agencies, and perhaps even some clever debunking is done in the name of national defense cover-ups. But where does that leave the rest of us?

The Nobel Peace Prize is an award established in the 1895 will of Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of the explosive dynamite. The Nobel awards are actually six international prizes awarded annually for physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and the promotion of peace. The award ceremonies and their associated banquets are major international events to give attention to the Nobel laureates. Unfortunately, the inventor of dynamite actually believed it would lead to world peace. He once said: “As soon as men will find that in one instant, whole armies can be utterly destroyed, they surely will abide by golden peace.” He could not comprehend that nuclear weapons would soon replace the dread of his dynamite creation. In 1893, Alfred Nobel wrote in a letter:

I should like to dispose of a part of my fortune by founding a prize to be given every five years (say six times; for if we have not succeeded in reforming our present system within thirty years we shall inevitably revert to barbarism).

Over a hundred years later, the Nobel awards are granted in violation of the letter of his will. It appears to some critics that the self-styled peace prize has today become a “standard advertisement” for a major armaments manufacturer. Nobel Industries Limited was a successful explosives business established by Alfred Nobel in 1870. It merged into Imperial Chemical Industries in 1927 and Akzo Nobel in 1994. At present, Nobel Enterprises is a colossal chemical conglomerate in Scotland that still specializes in explosives. The original site “was almost like a community, and there were so many people employed there that a bank, travel agent and dentist were based on the site.” A Japanese trading firm now owns Nobel Enterprises.

How is it possible that a weapons industry is relied on to champion world peace prizes? Is it not as distasteful as a harlot presenting awards for chastity — only to promote a corrupt trade and increase its customer base? Princess Diana of Wales once raised the issue of Nobel Enterprises’ immoral involvement in the making of landmines. That would certainly have damaged the incomes of the weapons industry. But she is no longer with us. It is almost absurd that after Diana’s death the anti-landmine organization “won” the Nobel Peace Prize. That is only one of the numerous scandals surrounding Nobel Enterprises.

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. (Jeremiah 6:14)

The Nobel Prize is universally regarded as the most prestigious award one can receive. But it is also the most overbearing agenda controlling the management of academic research funds. If a new idea or discovery is not in some way related to the allusion of discord and response (i.e., the war industry) it will simply not be sponsored. And its pronouncements have repercussions in universities throughout the world.

Fort and Ripley received no academic funding for their hard work. They had to crisscross continents to gather material for their projects. But in our time, the Internet has brought amazing records within the reach of ordinary people. The “Anomalist,” for example, is a website that reviews unexplained mysteries and strange discoveries. On the average, at least ten “miracles” or sensational facts are reported every day. The reported cases are probably only the tip of an iceberg, which means there may be well over five thousand anomalous occurrences each year. This is not a trivial amount. But mainstream science continues to sweep them all under the rug. To continue writing them off as random flukes is not satisfactory. We need to uncover their underlying causes.

According to the Associated Press, mathematician Stephen Hawking said Pope John Paul once told scientists not to study the universe’s origins. In 2006, Hawking quoted the pope as saying, “It’s OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God.” The scientist then joked that he was glad John Paul did not realize that he had presented a paper at a conference suggesting how the universe began. “I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo,” Hawking said.

Nonetheless, the pope’s alleged remarks do not harmonize well with the Scriptures. Being uninformed was a medieval warning sign of unempirical simplicity. Jesus once said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7) He also said: “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” (Luke 8:17) We are accordingly commanded by Jesus to ask and to seek, not to remain satisfied with our lack of knowledge or to partake in mistaken notions. According to the Revelation, even the greatest enigma, “the mystery of God” will be made public when the right time is accomplished. Perhaps that time is much nearer than we think.

In the 1980s, parapsychologist D. Scott Rogo attempted to present a scientific rather than a religious justification for the little-understood events that we traditionally describe as miracles. He examined typical cases of levitation, bleeding stigmata, miraculous images, visions, weeping statues, and bilocating saints. His educated guess was that “miracles are generated by the formidable powers of the human mind itself.”

On January 16, 2009, a crippled U.S. Airways jetliner safely landed on the Hudson River. The incident was regarded as a miracle after no one died from the mishap. All 155 people on board the plane that crashed into the river survived. New York Gov. David Paterson described it as “the miracle on the Hudson.”

On the very same day, NASA scientists said “alien bugs” could be responsible for strong plumes of methane gas detected on Mars. “NASA Reveals Life on Mars,” boldly declared the front page of The Sun newspaper. Scientist Michael Mumma of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said: “This raises the probability substantially that life was there or still survives at the present.” UK Mars expert Professor Colin Pillinger told The Sun: “The most obvious source of methane is organisms. So if you find methane in an atmosphere, you can suspect there is life.”

The official Vatican newspaper had already published an article in 2008 called “Aliens Are My Brother.” Writing in the Vatican newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano,” the astronomer, Father Gabriel Funes, said intelligent beings created by God could exist in outer space. Science and religion need each other, and many astronomers believe in God, he said.

It is a bit paradoxical that Pope Benedict XVI now plans to update the Vatican’s current rules on investigating apparitions to help distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. “Catholics who claim they have seen the Virgin Mary will be forced to remain silent about the apparitions until a team of psychologists, theologians, priests and exorcists have fully investigated their claims under new Vatican guidelines aimed at stamping out false claims of miracles.”

According to “Petrus,” an Italian online magazine which leans towards conservative elements in the Vatican, anyone who claims to have seen an apparition will only be believed as long as they remain silent and do not court publicity over their claims. If they refuse to obey, this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false. The visionaries will then be visited by a team of psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health while theologians will assess the content of any heavenly messages to see if they contravene Church teachings. If the visionary is considered credible they will ultimately be questioned by one or more demonologists and exorcists to exclude the possibility that Satan is hiding behind the apparitions in order to deceive the faithful. (Jerome Taylor and Simon Caldwell, “Catholics ordered to keep quiet over Virgin visions,” The Independent, January 13, 2009)

How the general public will react to such stringent inspections remains to be seen. Take, for example, the Australian man who says that his life has been blessed since an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus appeared in his lava lamp. John Smith of Sydney has set up a shrine to the lava lamp in his home. The revelation of the lava lamp shows “the unmistakable image of the Holy Mary cradling the Baby Jesus,” according to Smith. “This is a true, tangible miracle that is not just an optical illusion,” he said to the press (Ananova).

Does the Holy Office really expect every John Smith to remain silent — perhaps by means of a stern warning of excommunication? And does the Vatican actually intend to dispatch a team of psychologists, theologians, and exorcists to determine if the lava lamp image resembles the Virgin Mary beyond a reasonable doubt? What about basic human rights — like freedom of speech? Pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger) has already been widely criticized for his past involvement with Nazi Germany and the Hitler Youth. Will this fresh “vademecum” not give tough opponents such as Dan Brown and others an opportunity to argue the chances of a new Inquisition — like Galileo? And as a final point, is there conceivably a Vatican profit incentive behind the latest rules for miracles? Who is going to pay for all those expert teams to travel worldwide and inspect every piece of burnt toast and bent pretzel that may resemble Jesus or the Virgin Mary? And yet, maybe they are indeed special miracles.

In 2005, the Chicago Tribune reported that thousands of Catholics made a spontaneous shrine of an improbable setting — a Chicago underpass whose smudged concrete wall produced a “water-runoff stain” many proclaimed to be a miraculous vision. Most of the crowd saw the big splotch as the Virgin Mary, dubbing it “Our Lady of the Underpass.” The image was reverently a “Rorschach Icon” in which a random pattern is “recognized” by the mind’s inclination, known as pareidolia, to construe unclear images as definite ones.

Another recent case was the face of a woman scorched onto a grilled cheese sandwich; one more was on a hospital window. The face of Jesus was also seen in a giant forkful of spaghetti illustrated on a billboard, while a different Christ portrait was found on a tortilla.

MyFoxNational Reports published similar photos of miraculous visions that had shown up in common items such as a potato, a tree and a cheese snack. Are devout spectators just imagining things or are these sightings wonderful signs from heaven?

Biblical Warning From a Talking Fish

(March 2003) A Jewish fish cutter in New York was busily slaughtering a batch of carp when one of them started shouting apocalyptic warnings to him in Hebrew, according to the BBC. “The fish shouted that everyone needed to account for themselves because the end is near,” said Zalmen Rosen, the fish cutter. The fish then commanded Mr Rosen to start praying and begin studying the Torah before identifying itself as the soul of a local man who had died the previous year.

After a moment of stunned silence all hell broke loose. Mr Rosen’s co-worker Louis Nivelo became convinced that the talking fish was the work of Satan and ran around screaming: “It’s the devil! The devil is here!” before finally collapsing into a pile of packing crates. Mr Rosen then began to panic and tried to kill the fish with a machete-sized knife. But the carp bucked so wildly that Mr Rosen succeeded only in slicing a huge gash in his own thumb and had to be rushed to hospital. After an exhaustive struggle, the fish flopped off the counter – still muttering in Hebrew – and was finally butchered by Mr Nivelo.

The Man Who Hadn’t Slept in 20 years

(January 2005) Ukrainian Fyodor Nesterchuk hadn’t slept for more than two decades. All attempts by doctors to put him to sleep have failed and they now say there’s nothing wrong with the 63-year-old man.

Brain Tumor Was Cured by Prayer

(March 2005) Andy Delbridge of North Carolina was diagnosed in 2002 with the most aggressive and dangerous type of brain tumor. He and his family asked for divine intervention. Today Delbridge is cancer free. Not only is the brain tumor gone, so are the growths that had appeared near his heart. They simply disappeared, without surgery.

The Girl with X-Ray Vision

(April 2005) Natalia Demkina of Russia claims to be able to see inside the human body. She can also spot internal injuries by looking at a photo. Professor Yoshio Machi at Tokyo University said: “Her ability is not x-ray vision, but she definitely has some kind of talent that we can’t explain yet.”

The Scientist Who Lived on Sunlight

(May 2005) Cancer researcher Dr Michael Werner claims to get all his energy from sunlight. He says he has eaten nothing for four years. Dr Helmut Oberritter who is investigating the phenomenon said: “Obviously this case needs a lot more investigating if we are to explain it.”

Shop’s Ghost Obsessed with Shoes

(May 2005) A shop in Cornwall called in a vicar to get rid of a ghost who had become obsessed by a pair of shoes. The shoes in the shop were usually on display with one crossed on top of the other. But the deck shoes continually ended up side by side. “It can’t be a coincidence,” said shop worker Helen Honey. “Because we have tried jumping up and down by the shelf to see if it wobbles, but nothing moves.”

The Lake that Vanished Overnight

(May 2005) Residents of a village in central Russia were trying to solve the mystery of a lake that disappeared overnight. Russia’s NTV channel showed a huge, muddy basin where the lake once was, in the village of Bolotnikovo. Village youngsters told the BBC the lake had appeared during the reign of the feared Tsar Ivan the Terrible and had been “shrouded in dark mystery” ever since.

Lions Rescued Ethiopian Girl

(June 2005) A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten by men was found being guarded by three lions that apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman told the Associated Press. “Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people,” Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo said. “They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest,” he said.

The Virgin Mary’s Statue Walked

(July 2005) Thousands of Italians flocked to a small town outside Naples armed with mobile phones in the hope of filming a statue of the Virgin Mary that residents said had miraculously moved its legs. Parishioners at St Peter’s church in Acerra said they had witnessed the plaster statue’s legs turn flesh-coloured and move “as though she were walking towards us.” One man told The Daily Telegraph that he had filmed the “miracle” on his mobile phone.

Superman Flew Over Serbia?

(August 2005) Serbian authorities were investigating reports of a real-life Superman after

people claimed to have seen a cloaked figure flying over their houses. Hundreds of residents in Ljubovija described seeing a cloaked person flying above buildings “as if he had an invisible engine on his back” and changing directions while in mid-air, the local daily Blic reported.

Psychic Heard Dead Woman in Lake

(September 2005) An Italian psychic who led police to the body of a missing woman at the bottom of Lake Como said an unworldly vision allowed her to unravel the three-year-old mystery. Maria Rosa Busi said she saw the last moments of Chiara Bariffi’s life before she plunged into the lake inside her car in late 2002, and even heard a message from the deceased. “I went to the lake, and I saw where it happened … I heard her, I saw her and I drew a map,” Busi told Reuters.

Ghostly Presence Haunted New Orleans

(September 2005) In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Sgt. Robin Hairston of the California National Guard told CBS: “I was in my sleeping bag and I opened my eyes and in the doorway was a little girl. It wasn’t my imagination.” Spc. Rosales Leanor said: “I was using the restroom and I just saw a little shadow, kind of looming in front of me.” Another member of the Guard unit said that she saw and heard a little girl laughing when she opened a closet that contained cleaning supplies. At a Baton Rouge marina, not a shred of paper could be found. Except for the pages of a Bible, which was found by a soldier. It was open to the Book of Revelations. At a nearby church, nearly destroyed, another Bible was found, showing the exact same passage from Revelations.

Blind Woman Recognized Colors by Touch

(October 2005) A blind woman baffled scientists after proving on TV that she could distinguish between colors by touch. Gabriele Simon, 48, from Wallenhorst in Germany, revealed her ability in her country’s most popular TV show Wetten dass. She used her fingertips to recognise the different colors of various t-shirts and blouses while blindfolded.

Visitors Flocked to See Image of Dead Priest

(October 2005) The image of what appeared to be a priest holding a child mysteriously appeared on the wall of a church in Chile. Visitors from all over the country were flocking to see the figures at the Christo Rey de Tome Church in Santiago, reported Las Ultimas Noticias. They believed it was the figure of Father Hurtado, who looked after needy kids when he was alive and was due to be canonised by the pope.

Perfect Memory Confounded Scientists

(March 2006) Jill Price has the astonishing ability to remember with remarkable clarity even trivial events that happened decades ago. Give her any date, she says, and she could recall the day of the week, usually what the weather was like on that day, personal details of her life at that time, and major news events that occurred on that date. Like any good scientist, James McGaugh was initially skeptical. But not anymore. “This is real,” McGaugh said to ABC News. He is one of the world’s leading experts on how the human memory system works.

For as long as he can remember, Brad Williams has also been able to recall the most trifling dates and details about his life. For example, he can tell you it was Aug. 18, 1965, when his family stopped at Red Barn Hamburger during a road trip through Michigan. He was 8 years old at the time. And he had a burger, of course. “It was a Wednesday,” Williams said to the Associated Press. “We stayed at a motel that night in Clare, Michigan. It seemed more like a cabin.” To Williams and his family, his ability to recall events and especially dates is a regular source of amusement. But according to experts, Williams’ skill might rank his memory among the best in the world. Doctors are now studying him, and Jill Price with similar talents, hoping to achieve a deeper understanding of memory.

Teenager’s Touch Cured Diseases

(July 2006) Adam is not your average 19-year-old. This Canadian college student makes more than most doctors do. He says he can heal people with just his hands. ABC News estimated that Adam would make more than $1 million a year. It was at the age of 15, Adam says, that he began manifesting bizarre powers. “All these strange telekinetic things [started] happening around me. Just little things like pencils flying out of my hands, erasers flying out of my hands,” he said.

Now Adam says he channels that power into healing cancers and infections. Linda Peterson, a fourth-grade teacher from Minnesota, says she experienced the healing benefits of Adam’s hands. Linda was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in 2004. She went to one of Adam’s workshops; then, two weeks later, when doctors took a look at her tumor, they discovered there was no tumor.

Cross Saved Girl from Lightning Strike

(July 2006) A Russian teenager survived a lightning strike, which was so powerful it vaporised a gold cross on her neck. The bolt hit Marina Motygina, 16, from Ekaterinburg in western Russia on the top of her head and seared through her body into the ground. The necklace she had been wearing was ‘atomised,’ leaving burns in the shape of a cross on her neck, Pravda reported.

Man Survived Fall of 15,000 Feet

(February 2007) A New Zealand parachutist survived a fall of 15,000 feet after his chute failed to open. He released amazing footage of his near-death plummet filmed by a camera attached to his helmet. Michael Holmes made headlines around the world after surviving the fall during a routine jump over New Zealand’s Lake Taupo on December 13, 2006. A camera attached to his helmet captured his plummet, which was aired in New Zealand. At 4,000 feet Holmes discovered his main parachute would not open. The reserve also did not work. Holmes’ camera shows him checking his altitude meter as he struggles to turn over onto his back to see what the problem is. In the final seconds of his fall, Holmes waves goodbye and yells “bye,” before the chilling image of his shadow growing larger beneath him fills the screen. The screen then goes black. A thorn bush broke Holmes’ fall.

Girl Was Born With 4 Arms and 4 Legs

(November 2007) Tiny Lakshmi Tatma was born in 2005 with four arms and four legs. The local population considered her the manifestation of a goddess. Her parents named her after the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth. A local circus even tried to buy her, but her parents chose health over fame and asked a team of doctors to remove her extra limbs. The surgery, conducted in Bangalore, ended successfully. It took more than 30 surgeons 27 hours to not only remove two of Lakshmi’s arms and two of her legs but also to rebuild much of her body and save her organs.

Zombie in Underground Tunnels

(Februaury 2008) Staff at a sewage works called in a “ghostbuster” because they were being stalked by a zombie-like figure that roamed the underground tunnels. Workers at Southern Water’s treatment plant in Eastbourne, East Sussex, said they were scared to enter tunnels after being followed by a “humanoid figure” as they went about their jobs. Mark Wey, a sewage treatment worker, got permission from his bosses to hire a paranormal investigator to launch an investigation into the sewage spirits.

Mr Wey hired parapsychologist Michael Kingscote who paid the tunnels a visit. The clairvoyant said: “There seems to be one particular area that’s giving people the creeps. People have seen and felt things. Michael instantly detected someone standing there and he was suspicious there was something quite unusual there. The conclusion is, we can’t prove it is haunted because of strong electromagnetic fields, which can cause the illusion of being haunted, the feeling of being touched or watched, but there is definitely paranormal activity.”

Man Targeted by Alien Meteorites

(April 2008) A Bosnian man whose home was hit an incredible five times by meteorites believed he was being targeted by aliens. Experts at Belgrade University confirmed that all the rocks Radivoje Lajic handed over were meteorites. They were investigating local magnetic fields to try and work out what makes the property so attractive to the heavenly bodies. But Mr Lajic, who had a steel girder reinforced roof put on the house he owns in the northern village of Gornja Lamovite, had an alternative explanation. He said: “I am obviously being targeted by extraterrestrials. I don’t know what I have done to annoy them but there is no other explanation that makes sense. The chance of being hit by a meteorite is so small that getting hit five times has to be deliberate.”

Ghost Doctor Cured Children

(May 2008) Twenty-five children were miraculously cured of everything from cancer to heart defects by a ghost doctor who appears out of nowhere, tends to his patients, and vanishes into thin air. This was what the staffers revealed at Sacred Heart Hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. “It has happened too many times to be some kind of trick or a hoax. This man, a ghost, is literally curing patients that medical science cannot help,” said Dr. Luke Martin, chief surgeon at Sacred Heart. “We’ve had at least 40 witnesses who have seen the spirit and they all agree: He is not of this Earth. He is from a world beyond.”

The mind-boggling drama reportedly began when the white-haired bearded spirit appeared at the bedside of a seven-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor in July of 1990. Hospital staffers who saw the spirit thought they were seeing an ordinary physician until the apparition stepped away from the child’s bed and vanished into thin air.

Since that time the ghost doctor has appeared to 24 other children in the hospital’s pediatric unit and cured them of cancers, birth defects, and other life-threatening afflictions with a few kind words and the mere touch of his miraculous healing hands. Nobody has been able to identify the spirit with any degree of certainty. But paranormal researcher Simon de Armas believes that it was the ghost of Dr. Carlos Martinez, who practiced medicine in the 19th century and died in 1879.

Man Survived 47-Storey Fall from Skyscraper

(June 2008) A windowcleaner who survived falling 47 storeys from the roof of a New York skyscraper has made a ‘miraculous’ recovery – and is walking again. Alcides Moreno, a 37-year-old Ecuadorian immigrant, plummeted almost 500 feet when cables connecting his cleaning platform to the roof failed. His brother, 30-year-old Edgar, was killed, but Alcides survived, and after months of operations and physiotherapy, the only physical reminders of his ordeal are a limp and a long scar on his left leg. On Christmas Day, he opened his mouth and spoke for the first time since the accident, and six months on, he is able to walk his dog. His wife, Rosario Moreno, cried as she thanked the doctors and nurses who kept him alive. “Thank God for the miracle that we had,” she said after the accident. “He keeps telling me that it just wasn’t his time.”

The World’s First Unicorn?

(June 2008) An Italian nature reserve claimed the world’s first unicorn after a deer was born with a single horn in the center of its head. “This is fantasy becoming reality,’’ said Gilberto Tozzi, director of the Centre of Natural Sciences in Prato, near Florence. “The unicorn has always been a mythological animal.’’ The roe deer was born in captivity in the research center’s park in the Tuscan town of Prato. The condition is believed to have been caused by a genetic flaw, the deer’s twin has two horns. Mr Tozzi, who had never seen the condition before, said such anomalies might have inspired the myth of the unicorn. The unicorn, a horse-like creature with magical healing powers, has appeared in legends and stories throughout history.

The Girl Who Bled Without Being Cut

(September 2008) Twinkle Dwivedi has a rare condition where she bleeds spontaneously from any part of her body. Twinkle, 13, has a strange disorder, which means she loses blood through her skin without being cut or scratched. She has even undergone transfusions after pints of it seeped through her eyes, nose, hairline, neck and the soles of her feet. Sometimes her condition is so bad she wakes up with her entire body covered in dried blood. Indian medics now believe her condition is an extreme version of a rare blood disorder for which they cannot find a cure. Her blood is watery and has the color of a light red wine – but they cannot find a treatment to make it thicker.

Man Caught a Bullet With His False Teeth

(September 2008) A terrified man survived an assassin’s bullet when it ricocheted off his wife’s cheek – and he caught it in his false teeth. The miraculous escape happened in Zagreb, Croatia, as the two men started rowing about an overdue debt. Within minutes one pulled out a pistol and blasted the couple at point blank range. “He was so close you’d think that one or both of them would be dead instantly,” said one police source in Zagreb, Croatia. But the bullet just grazed the cheekbone of terrified blonde Mirna Cavlovic and carried straight on towards her husband Stipe. Then amazingly the shot got caught in Stipe’s dentures and fell harmlessly to the ground.

Boy Suffered From Werewolf Syndrome

(November 2008) Pruthviraj Patil, suffered from a rare genetic disorder known as hypertrichosis — or “werewolf syndrome” — which causes a thick coat of hair to grow over every inch of his body except his palms and feet. A group of Columbia scientists, including dermatologist Angela Christiano, were developing a cure for Pruthviraj’s disorder, which is estimated to afflict fewer than 50 people on the planet. Christiano and her colleagues at Columbia were using injections of testosterone to stem the growth of hair.

Horse and Elephant Painted Art

(December 2008) A horse whose abstract paintings sell for more than £2,000 is to have his own exhibition in Venice. Cholla – pronounced Choyah after a desert cactus – uses his mouth to hold a brush and paints on an easel-mounted canvas in his paddock. Owner Renee Chambers of Reno, Nevada, said she first noticed Cholla’s hidden talent four years ago when she painted the fence of his paddock. She said: “He seemed really interested in what I was doing then one day my husband Robert joked to me that I should give Cholla a brush. He hasn’t looked back since then.”

Meanwhile, a female elephant, rescued from abusive treatment in Burma, can now paint a beautiful image of an elephant. Her trainer talks to her throughout the process as his gentle touch gives her confidence. She focuses on her work and seems to enjoy the approval of the audience. All of her training has been reward based. Touched by their horrific backgrounds and loving personalities, ExoticWorldGifts.com now supports “Starving Elephant Artisans” by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand.

Tree Man Grew Roots From His Body

(December 2008) An American doctor has given hope of recovery to an Indonesian fisherman who feared that he would be killed by tree-like growths covering his body. Dede, now 35, baffled medical experts when warty “roots” began growing out of his arms and feet after he cut his knee in a teenage accident. To make ends meet he even joined a local “freak show,” parading in front of a paying audience alongside victims of other peculiar diseases. Although supported by his extended family, he was often a target of abuse and ridicule in his rural fishing village. After testing samples of the lesions and Dede’s blood, Dr Anthony Gaspari of the University of Maryland concluded that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), a fairly common infection that usually causes small warts to develop on sufferers, causes Dede’s affliction. Dede’s problem is that he has a rare genetic fault that impedes his immune system, meaning his body is unable to contain the warts.

Blind Man Detected Objects He Could Not See

(December 2008) A man who was left completely blind by multiple strokes was able to navigate an obstacle course using only his “sense” of where hazards lie. Professor Beatrice de Gelder, from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands, who led the study, said: “This is absolutely the first study of this ability in humans.” Experts believe that “blindsight” trades on our subconscious ability to recognize things we cannot see. They think that even though the eyes do not identify objects, something in the brain can still respond to what they sense on a subconscious level.

Angelic Image in Hospital Doorway

(December 2008) On the afternoon of Nov. 5, teenager Chelsea Banton was hospitalized in an intensive care unit, facing dismal medical trials, and in an oxygen mask. As family and friends prayed for her, a nurse practitioner called her mother Colleen’s attention to a monitor showing the door to the pediatric intensive care unit. “On the monitor, there was this bright light,” Colleen recalls. “And I looked at it and I said, ‘Oh my goodness! It looks like an angel!” Colleen pointed her digital camera at the monitor and took a photo of the image.

The angel-like image gave her a peace that stayed with her when hospital staff removed Chelsea’s oxygen mask. And then, “when they took the mask off of her, her stats went as high as they’ve ever been. “Her color was good, and the doctors and nurses were amazed,” Colleen said. “The nurse practitioner who saw the image in the monitor said, ‘I’ve worked here 15 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.’” Chelsea was removed from intensive care on Nov. 14 and went home three days later. Her mother believes it was a miracle – attended by a very real angel bathed in light at the door to the pediatric intensive care unit.

Lucky Man Won Lottery 21 Times in 13 Months

(January 2009) The Colorado Lottery launched an investigation into a repeat winner when other lottery players complained that Tadeusz Krupa and his immediate family had won $1,000 or more in Colorado’s “Cash 5” game a total of 21 times since December 2007. His $158,000 haul, before taxes, includes seven $20,000 jackpots. “We know that this gentlemen didn’t scam the system,” said Colorado Lottery Deputy Director Tom Kitts, who disclosed there was no sign of any wrongdoing. “It was just an unusual occurance,” said Kitts. Krupa claims his first lottery win was also his largest, a $500,000 jackpot in his native Poland three decades ago.

Baby Was Born Two Days After Mother’s Death

(January 2009) An ice-skating coach who collapsed and died from a brain haemorrhage gave birth to a baby girl two days later. Jayne Soliman, 41, was declared brain-dead at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital but doctors managed to keep her heart beating long enough to deliver her little girl, Aya Jayne, by caesarean section.

Girl Laughed Non-Stop for 12 Years

(January 2009) A Chinese girl has been laughing non-stop for 12 years. The mother, Yang Longying, of Chongqing, says it started when her second child, Xu Pinghui, had a fever when she was just eight months old. “Ever since then, she has been laughing uncontrollably,” she told the Chongqing Evening Post. The couple say the situation worsened when she reached two years old because she lost her ability to speak and could only laugh. A neurologist at Chongqing Medical College is now suggesting a brain scan to try and establish the cause of the girl’s condition.

The above items are not from half-baked sources, but conventional news outlets such as Reuters, the Associated Press, and other reputable suppliers of news reports. They can all be verified. If reports of unidentified flying objects were to be added to the list, they would exceed several thousand — within a span of only a few years.

It is a well-known fact that cosmic rays can cause genetic mutations. Natural selection and evolution depend on it. But cosmic rays and solar cycles can also affect other things. They can bring about serious damage to power grids and other communications systems, which could prove to be catastrophic for world governments. I therefore propose that cosmic rays and solar cycles can also produce temporary “kinks” in the electromagnetic spectrum and momentarily distort the fabric of space-time – just long enough for anomalous phenomena to manifest. At least this is what our quantum physicists have been suggesting for years. But when asked to explain how anomalous phenomena or miracles happen, they will usually laugh and insist that such things are only imagined. Yet, if scientists truly want to remain in control of the situation, they must come to grips with the thousands of miracles and remarkable events that come to pass every year. It is no longer acceptable to simply sweep them under the rug with a cynical smile. “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Posted in Curiosity | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Human Race Is Composed Of Two Groups

Posted by addisethiopia on December 13, 2008

confusionatheist

 

Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie

 

In his book, Sinisterism, Bruce Walker argues against the traditional Left-Right distinction, in support of his theory that the behavior of power-intensive regimes such as Nazism and Stalinism is best explained by a shared hostility toward Christianity and Judaism.

 

It’s a very interesting book, with many outstanding ideas and realistic observations. It gives clear Information on the corruption of society when it loses its ties to its moral foundation in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

Bruce Walker’s book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie, is presented as a proposal for “a way of looking at what we call political ideology,” rejecting words such as “revolutionary” and “reactionary” or “Left” and “Right.” This is not a new approach to political theory, having been addressed by Ayn Rand, and in the 1970’s Robert Ringer attacked the American left and right as “demopublicans,” although he did so without the religious connection Walker introduces.

 

Walker begins with a general thesis that, “The human race is composed of two groups of people: in one group are those who seek power, by fair means or (preferably) foul, and in the other group are the rest of us, normal and decent people who wish to live our lives without owning other people’s bodies, minds, works and souls.” In this, he groups all power hungry people together, in much the same manner as Objectivists and Libertarians do. After attacking the “left-right” dichotomy as meaningless, he attempts to project much of modern political conflict as a war against Jews and Christians because their faith is based on certain ethical and moral principles which interfere with the power hunger which characterizes authoritarian systems, and social trends that lead to them. These social trends and power-oriented systems he calls Sinisterism, defined as a religion of no God, at war with true faith.

 

Much of what Walker is addressing is stated in the phrase, “Secular Religion of the Lie,” which forms part of his title. Where this seems directed is the simple fact that in order to obtain and then maintain power, rulers need to use deception. This is illustrated first by reference to George Orwell’s 1984, with its famous government motto including “Freedom is Slavery.” His point is simply that by changing the meaning people attach to words or concepts you change their thinking and their view of the world. Do it effectively enough and you have control of the population. An unfortunately brief discussion of how this was used in the USSR follows, and there is, at this point, little address to how it has been used in the United States along with the decline in educational standards and moral relativism. Both of these topics deserve greater exposition in the 21st century context.

 

Instead, Walker takes us into the world of the 20th century power cults of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, with particular emphasis on Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. In this he shows how much of the historical record has been muddied by educators and historians who ignore works penned during the 1930’s which show that what many of us have been led to believe about these regimes is not true. Nazis are not Fascists, and Nazi Germany was not always Stalin’s deadly enemy. The German-Soviet non-aggression pact then falls neatly into place and the power hunger of the political systems, which were so similar under their different surfaces, becomes obvious.

 

After discussing these topics in great detail, Walker next begins an examination of the Judeo-Christian relationship throughout history, beginning with Rome and taking it through the Middle Ages and finally to Europe during WWII. As a realist, he asserts that Jews and Christians are no different than other people, able to do right and wrong, to make mistakes and correct themselves. He suggests that on balance, there has been more good than bad, which is in all probability correct. Particularly important is his treatment of the position of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages, which differed from that of political opportunists and mob leaders. He also discusses briefly the myth of toleration in Moorish Spain, the role of Christians in scientific developments, and their contributions to the rise of the modern scientific method.

 

Even more important is the section containing Walker’s discussion of how the decline in Christian faith and rise of immorality during the late 19th and early 20th centuries allowed Nazism to rise to power. He takes great care to detail how the Nazis persecuted Christians as well as Jews, because at its core Nazism was a secular religion, worshiping man, instead of God. Walker also illustrates the close connection between Nazism, Islam, and to a certain extent, militant Hinduism. This discussion leads to an examination of issues of good and evil in society, and why psychology is the wrong approach for examining the behavior of people such as Hitler. While this again bogs down in some historical examinations, it later moves on to the relationship between power and abuse, which is at the heart of the matter. This culminates in a discussion of why power-intensive regimes dislike Judeo-Christian Religion, and the means by which they propagate the myths of hatred for their own purposes.

Walker concludes with coverage of the Judeo-Christian relationship in America, some important facts concerning the Puritans, and the relationships between several founding fathers and Judaism and Christianity.

 

Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie
ISBN: 1598002694
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: 01/2006
320 pgs., pbk.

Posted in Infos | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Don’t Worry!

Posted by addisethiopia on October 25, 2008

 

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet

I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:25-34)

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Thoughts Of An Ethiopian Monk

Posted by addisethiopia on October 4, 2008

 

It has been said that at the end of your life the only things that really matter are the people you loved, the people who loved you, and what you did for God. The importance of our other accomplishments, however great, does not have the same significance. They even tend to fade into oblivion and be forgotten. How then do we discern what is truly important in our lives? How do we make our major decisions (what career to pursue, whom to marry, etc.)? Obviously, the way to a meaningful life is to follow Almighty God’s will for our lives. But to know God’s will for ourselves implies that we are attuned to Him, that we have a spirituality that allows us to listen to Him. Here are several principles to help young adults develop and maintain such spirituality.

 

(1) Pray the prayer “Thy will be done.”


Almighty God’s will is always for our benefit and always out of love for us, even though we may not understand it at first and it may be difficult to accept. We see that things turned out best only later. The Holy Trinity sees what we do not see in our own hearts and in the hearts of others. As we grow, we will see that God is watching us very closely and is always in control. We thereby learn to trust God and always be at peace.

 

St. Chrysostom said, “I always pray, ‘Lord, not what I will, nor what any other creature wills, but may Thy will be done.’” Christ Jesus Himself prayed the same prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, in His most difficult hour. We also should always finish our personal requests to God with the same prayer, “not my will, but Thy will be done.” This prayer will give us clarity of vision, free us from disappointment, protect us from trying to bring the wrong people into our lives, and deliver us from man-pleasing and flattery. It does not mean that we won’t make mistakes, but even in our mistakes God will not abandon us, and we ourselves will seek to re-align ourselves with Him.

 

(2) Develop a world of interiority


Everyday we should strive to do something for God which is known only to Him and not to any other human being. In this way, no one on earth can take it away from us. This is what Christ Jesus meant when He said, “Let not your right hand know what your left hand is doing” (
St. Matthew 6:3). This was a source of strength to Christians of the past in times of persecution. It will also protect us when the conditions of our life change and we do not find ourselves near an Orthodox Tewahedo Church that is providing for our needs, or near an Orthodox Church period.

 

(3) Stay inspired, or you’ll expire


The daily, patient reading of the Holy Scripture is the best means to keep our heart warm to Almighty God. At first it may seem difficult, but as we read more we realize how deeply it speaks to our lives. St. Chrysostom even speculated, “Without the daily sweetening of the soul with the words of Holy Scripture, it is impossible to be saved.”

 

Also important is to choose inspiring Christian friends, and to associate ourselves with inspiring people. Our habits, speech, interests, etc., are influenced by those with whom we spend time. Choose your friends carefully. Spend time with those who lift you up, help you achieve your goals, and make you want to be a better person.

 

Finally, absorb and pursue the truly beautiful things in life. St. Paul said, “Whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are holy, whatsoever things are lovely, think on these things” (Phil 4:8). The modern media seeks to choke us with materialism and the baser things in life. Rebel against this by seeking a higher culture. Listen to Tewahedo spiritual songs, which can be found by the dozens on YouTube.Com or if you are like me, listen to works by W.A. Mozart, to Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, etc. You will not be disappointed.

 

(4) Be persistent and consistent


The spiritual life is not always easy. We will still make mistakes in life. But when we fall, we must get up. We must always move forward and never quit. Christ Jesus said, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (
St. Matthew 10:22). If we have down days or times of loneliness, we must fill them with stronger prayer to God. An Orthodox Tewahedo Christian is not a person who never fails – he/she is a person who has the courage to return to God, to get back up and strive to improve.

 

 

(5) Give your heart to God


“My son, give me thine heart” (Proverbs
23:26). This is what Almighty God requires of us, He wants our love freely given. He will not settle for second place. If there is a person or thing or ambition in our life that we may value above our relationship with God, it must be abandoned. This is what Christ Jesus meant when He said that whoever would come after Him must abandon all and follow Him. Yet He also added that whoever did this would receive a hundredfold in return. When we receive this hundredfold back, however, it no longer means as much to us. Christ Jesus is the main focus of our lives. Any other main focus can become a form of idolatry.

 

(6) Avoid negativity


“It’ll never work.” “Oh, what’s the use?” “Everyone else is doing it.” This sort of negativity can drag us down, and even become addictive. It will ruin our desire to be creative, courageous and energetic. It will encourage us to live by lower ideals and lower standards. Stamp out negativity from the start, don’t give it a chance, and don’t feed it.

 

(7) Keep a journal


It is a good practice and one followed by many Saints to keep a notebook in which we write down things that inspire us, things people say, things that happen in our lives that reveal Almighty God’s providence and care for us. In the future we can then look back and be edified again.

 

(8) Last and MOST IMPORTANT…Do not neglect the Sacraments


Last, but certainly not least, do not be absent from the Holy Eucharist – Qiddasie – Divine Liturgy, make every effort to attend Bible Studies, special prayers Services and Feast Days, and receive the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion – Qurban as often as you can. These Sacraments are a “forgotten medicine” today. They have a power not only to unshackle us, but to fill us with joy and strength. Holy Communion – Qurban especially, when taken with due preparation, can center and strengthen our whole life in Christ. It is where we are united with Christ, who said, “Without Me ye can do nothing” (
St. John 15:5).

 

Life is a great potential, a vast horizon of endless possibilities. Each one of us has a path, a calling, a purpose in Almighty God’s plan, and this purpose will bring us fulfillment and joy. But to follow this path takes struggle, work, and even sacrifice. It is a “narrow way” in the words of Christ Jesus. Follow Christ, and follow your path, the path Almighty God sets for you. Do not follow the path that the world sets for you, nor others who may not have your best interest in mind. As contemporary saying states, “Life is short, pray hard.” To be truly happy, to meet our goals, to spend our time on earth with those who would bring us the most joy and love, means that we are seeking to follow Christ Jesus with our whole heart and being. It is only Almighty God who gives every gift, and He does so without measure to those who love and follow Him.

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