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Thoughts about religion from a reluctant atheist.
Please update your links to: http://et-tu.blogspot.com/
Thanks for all the great suggestions about a title for a new blog. But I happened across a potential title this weekend that I'm really excited about. The title of my post from 2/13 reminded me that I'd seen that phrase somewhere else recently and I went looking through my email archives. Sure enough, I found three short words that explain in greater detail than I could with 50 posts where I am in my life right now. Here's the story:
Perhaps the most famous three words uttered in literature, "Et tu, Brute?" (Even you, Brutus?) this expression has come down in history to mean the ultimate betrayal by one's closest friend. This scene, in which the conspirators in the Senate assassinate Caesar, is one of the most dramatic moments on the Shakespearean stage.
The audience has just witnessed the arrogance and hubris of a ruler who has sought, within a republic, to become a monarch, comparing himself to the gods. Brutus, a friend of Caesar and yet a man who loves Rome (and freedom) more, has joined the conspirators in the assassination, a betrayal which is captured by the three words above. [from eNotes.com]
I happened to flip through Lesley Hazleton's book Mary the other day (not my normal reading material, long story there) and came across the following passage that tries to make the linguistic case that concept of the virgin conception was a simple case of mistranslation and misunderstanding, and that the Holy Mother was possibly a rape victim. I've heard this argument before but don't know what the Church's response is. Something tells me it's not, "Dude, we totally missed that! Thank you, feminist author, for pointing out what some of the greatest thinkers in Western civilization have missed for 2,000 years."
The original Hebrew uses the word alma, which referred to any unmarried woman...Matthew uses the Greek word parthenos, which generally meant physical virginity. The difference in meaning was not exactly Matthew's fault. The Hebrew bible had been translated into Greek three hundred years earlier. That edition, known as the Septuagint...was the one the Matthew author would have used.
It may be convenient to argue that parthenos meant a physical virgin, but that was not always the case. The word was also used for a girl who had been raped or was an unmarried mother. Faced with an evident pregnancy and no known father, the language allowed for there having been no father at all, despite the physical evidence. In short, prthenos was an ancient euphemism.
Alas, even Rachel Ray doesn't seem to be immune to the slut-chic trend that's omnipresent in our society (for those of you who aren't familiar with the perky Food Channel host, bio here). Is there no young female celebrity who won't strip down to her bra and panties and lick inanimate objects in the name of a little extra publicity?
PUBLICIST: I booked you for a photo shoot. It's set in a kitchen.
RACHAEL: Great! What should I pretend to cook to best represent my skills? Maybe baked goods? Or something grilled?
PUBLICIST: Actually, we were thinking of something more along the lines of you licking a phallic kitchen appliance. And maybe bending over in a short skirt wearing only your bra while taking something out of the oven.
RACHAEL: Hmm...but I'm a chef, not a stripper--
PUBLICIST: How do you expect people to be interested in your show and what you do if you don't show off your body? Speaking of which, how about doing the Rachel's Valentine's Day Special in nothing but a lace teddy?
I recently met up with one of my husband's good friend's wives. I don't know Mai very well but was happy to have the opportunity to hang out with her for a day and get to know her better.
I keep waiting for one of my commenters to finally tire of my ramblings and just write, "Maybe you should get into an RCIA class instead of pestering us with all these elementary level Catholicism questions!"
My city now has Relevant Radio. How sweet is that? It's really surprising considering that my city isn't all that big, and it's very liberal (I think it's a local law that you're required to listen to Air America and NPR around here).
You know, this whole process would be a lot easier if I could just have some Constantine-style flaming cross in the sky message and just be completely assured of God's presence, never to doubt again. (Maybe I should change the name of this blog to The Lazy Atheist). I know, I'm confusing almighty God with a cheap parlor magician who does neat tricks for my amusement again, but I've been thrown back into a period of frustration and doubt recently that's bumming me out and just wanted to take a moment to whine that I wish this were easier. :)
With human intercession we seek to inform another person of our wants, and then to sway his will on our behalf. Obviously neither of these considerations applies when we make our petitions to God. Our intention is not to divulge our needs and hopes, for God knows all things. Nor can the divine will be persuaded to alter a decision...Prayer is necessary for our sake, to make us reflect on our great needs and arouse our wills to desire what God wishes us to have.
We might add that God has foreseen our prayers from eternity and thus included them in his plan for the universe, to give us (and others) what he knew we would ask for. [emphasis mine]
Thank you to all who commented on my last post. I read each of your comments carefully and found that, indeed, I was missing something. Between your comments and this wonderful book I just finished (The Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot) I now understand why homeschooling is so appealing to so many people.
So I posted the "I don't get it" homeschooling post to my blog and got a bunch of great comments. I also finished that Mother's Rule of Life book which shed a lot of light on the subject. Here's a condensed version of why we should at least consider homeschooling:
- There is a lot of b.s. that goes on in public schools (e.g. the one commentor's daughter not being able to check out a library book because it was "above her reading level"; biased history books; kids terrorizing each other; etc.)
- Homeschooling younger children doesn't take that much time -- maybe 3 - 4 hours per day. When you cut out all the fluff that goes on at elementary schools and the fact that it's taught toward the lowest common denominator, you can give your kids an equivalent (if not much better) education in less than half the time they'd spend at regular school.
- There are plenty of ways to get your kids to interact with others. Most homeschooled kids get interaction with other kids a few days per week through: scouts, Sunday school, local homeschooling group meetings, sports, other church activities, etc.
- Your older kids can help you run the house. It's like you have your own little home management company at home. The elementary-school-aged kids can help with the babies, cleaning, dinner, etc. If you send your kids away just when they're that age you're perpetually in the "at home with little ones without help" phase. It also makes your family very close to have everyone interacting and pitching in and working together all the time.
- You can keep your kids in the moral path that you want them on. You can include religion in their daily activities and explain potentially troubling subjects (e.g. evolution) in light of what you believe.