Conservative Colloquium

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Archive for August, 2008

Chet Edwards: The Disgrace of the District (TX-17)

Posted by Tony Listi on August 19, 2008

Why the heck is Chet Edwards, a liberal Democrat, still representing the 17th District in Congress??

This district is overwhelmingly conservative and Republican. President Bush won this district by almost 40 percentage points in 2004. It is time for the 17th District to be represented by a conservative Republican like Rob Curnock. Chet doesn’t belong here.

Chet Edwards is skillful at talking moderate but voting liberal. This past session he voted 96% of the time along Democratic partisan lines with the San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi. He’s been one of the most liberal representatives in Congress. I told a woman in the last 2006 election cycle that a vote for Chet was a vote for Speaker Pelosi. She didn’t listen. Hope she’s listening now.

He voted to retreat from Iraq and cut off support to our troops in May of 2007 (HR 1591). If he and his liberal comrades had succeeded, we would not have seen the success of the surge.

Chet has a 100% pro-abortion rating from NARAL and voted to keep partial-birth abortion legal and to fund abortions with taxpayer money. The 17th District of Texas is a pro-life district. On this issue more than any other, it is a disgrace to have Chet as our representative. The Family Research Council gave Chet a rating of 18 out of 100. And Chet regards himself as a Christian, a Baptist?! Yeah, right!

He also has a very spotty record when it comes to protecting Texans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

Lastly, as poor and middle-class Americans continue to suffer high gas prices, Chet voted with Nancy Pelosi to take a vacation and ignore the problem. Moreover, Chet has voted to make our energy problems worse (HR 6, Roll Call 1177), burdening industry with more regulations, wasting taxpayer dollars on the ethanol boondoggle, and cutting off our own domestic sources of energy.

Chet Edwards is too liberal for District 17. It is time for a change and that change is Rob Curnock.

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Politicians, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Gospel According to Marx

Posted by Tony Listi on August 13, 2008

In the beginning was the Government, and the Government was with God, and the Government was God. All things came to be through Government, and without Government nothing comes to be.

Now Mary was with child, though she was not married to Joseph. And it came to pass during the reign of Herod that Jesus Christ was born out of wedlock in a Bethlehem stable (for Planned Parenthood had not been established yet).  Poor Mary and Joseph had sought shelter in many places, but the greedy Jewish innkeepers would not let them in. Three travelers from afar, from the distant national capital of Rome, came bearing gifts of universal health care, housing, and education.  And so they prospered as Jesus grew in enlightenment and diversity sensitivity.

As Jesus grew into a man, he saw so much suffering and poverty among his fellow human beings. He decided to become a community activist, the only way he would ever make a difference. And so one day as he was walking beside the River Jordan, he happened upon some fishermen. He began to talk to them about their wages and stir in them a zeal for economic justice. “Fishermen of Judea unite!” cried Jesus.

He befriended tax collectors and Roman officials as well and made them his disciples, for they were doing God’s work in resisting the bourgeoisie. “Let the proletariat with no purse, sell his cloak and buy a sword,” Jesus said. His ministry grew far and wide as he and his naked disciples went door-to-door demanding money from the wealthiest of Jews. Those who refused were threatened by the swords of Rome and easily surrendered their ill-gotten gain. And thus Jesus went throughout the land performing all manner of miracles, redistributing wealth to the poorest of people. The multiplication of wealth continued until 12 baskets full of coins were left over.

Jesus gathered the people around him and began to preach: “Blessed are the poor, for they deserve to be the kings of the earth. Blessed are those who cry, for government will comfort them. Blessed are the meek, for no one should be stronger or better than anyone else. Blessed are the peacemakers, for war is evil and should be outlawed.” The peace of Christ reigned throughout the land.

He then told them a parable. “The master gave five talents to three servants – to each according to their need. When the master returned days later, he found inequality among his servants. One had made another five talents. One had managed to hold onto his five. One had squandered his five in dissolution. So the master took five from the servant with ten to give to the one who had none. For to everyone who has more, more will be taken away. To he who has little, he shall receive in abundance.”

Now the religious establishment in the region, the Pharisees, was not happy about the revolution Jesus had been leading. They were cold-hearted and increased their power and wealth through the lies they told to the poor about morality and an afterlife.  So this group of bigoted, reactionary, hypocritical religious fanatics plotted to destroy Jesus.

But Jesus was intelligent and sophisticated. A certain disciple of his, Nicodemus, had infiltrated the Pharisees and informed him of their treachery. And in the dark of night, the disciples of Jesus raided the homes of the Pharisees and dragged them and their families onto barges from which they were sent down river to re-education camps in the desert.

With the land cleansed of all iniquity, Jesus performed one last wondrous deed. He gave all his followers eternal life on this earth through the power of science.

And so Jesus was elected emperor of the world forever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Christianity and Politics, Economics, Government and Politics, Just for Fun, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Poverty, Socialism, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is there a difference between an “apostle” and a “disciple”?

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

This is an especially important question in deciding who exactly has the authority to bind and loose as conferred in Mt 18:18—all Christian believers or the apostles and their successors alone?

In the beginning, there were only about 86 apostles: the original twelve (including Judas), Matthias, Paul, and the 72 sent out by Jesus. No more. But Jesus had more than 86 followers, or disciples, as the Gospels tell. I consider myself a disciple of Christ, not an apostle. Indeed, all the apostles were explicitly CHOSEN either by Christ himself (Paul and the Twelve, see John 6:70 and Acts 1:2) or by the apostles themselves as a group (Matthias). (The latter is also evidence of the concept of apostolic sucession with Catholic bishops as the apostles’ successors.)

In Mark 6:30 and Matt 10:1-5, the twelve are specifically referred to as apostles. The latter Matthew citation shows the interchangeability of the terms “disciples” and “apostles,” at least for the 12. For they are called the “12 disciples” in the first verse and the “12 apostles” in next one:

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew….”
-Mt 10:1-3

Disciples are called; apostles are sent. All apostles are disciples; not all disciples become apostles.

At various times in Matthew, it says the “disciples” got in a boat (e.g. Mt 14:22). Is it plausible that this referred to all Jesus’ followers? Again, in Mt 19:25-28, Jesus speaks to his “disciples” and refers to “12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel” that will be theirs. See also Mt 20:17 which says “12 disciples.” The Last supper passage Mt 26:18-20 also refers to 12 disciples. Mt 28:16 refers to the “eleven disciples” (Judas had already betrayed Jesus). 

Thus, it is quite clear that throughout the book of Matthew that the term “disciples” almost surely refers ONLY to the Twelve. And this makes sense: Matthew is the the most Jewish of the gospels and the Jews did not let just anyone make binding Scriptural interpretations! The notion of an authoritative hierarchy and the importance of tradition that came from Judaism were not done away with in the formation of Christianity.

Consequently, since Jesus is not speaking to a crowd of followers/disciples but to the Twelve in Mt 18 when he confers the authority to “bind and loose,” it is the Church leadership, NOT all Christians, who receive this authority. And this interpretation is born out in descriptions of Church organization in Acts and Paul’s letters as well as in the history of early Church practices.

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments »

A Change of Heart on Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

Dr. Ken Miller, a Roman Catholic professor of biology at Brown University, examines Intelligent Design as a political phenomenon and addresses two of its key objections: the paucity of intermediate organisms in the fossil record and, more importantly, Michael Behe’s theory of irreducible complexity. He takes these scientific objections to evolution seriously and then scientifically refutes them with specific examples. He does not dismiss such objections merely as “religious” and then end the discussion.

This video of his lecture has changed my view of the ID movement and my thinking on the science behind evolution. I’m more inclined to think evolution is a sound theory now.

It has not changed my belief that science should not be funded by the government nor that there is a hostile, secular, aggressively anti-religious bias within much of the scientific establishment and academia in general.

I am not a creationist and the Christian faith does not compel belief in creationism as literalist Protestants define it.

The natural process of evolution need not contradict the existence of God and his Providence. Thus, neither does it preclude the existence of morality. I mean, what would it say about morality if we really believed a material, natural process could influence its validity at all? That is what liberalism/secularism believes. Creationists make a dangerous misstep since their logic implies this too. Though evolution has certainly been used to justify horrible crimes, so has religion. And we should reject the flawed logic of such criminals that misuse both science and religion.

I am a big fan of Dinesh D’Souza’s biblical argument in defense of evolution:

“We read in Genesis 2:7 that ‘the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.’ Right away we notice something different: the Bible says that the universe was created out of nothing but it does not say that man was created out of nothing. Rather, it says that man was made or shaped from the existing substance of nature. ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shall return.’ So the Bible is quite consistent with the idea that man is made up of atoms and molecules and shares the same DNA found in earthworms, whales, and monkeys.

It is true, however, that the creation account in Genesis does not prepare us for the discovery that man has about 98 percent of his DNA in common with apes. In his Descent of Man, Darwin writes that ‘man…still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin.’ Our resistance to this is not religious; it is because we sense a significant chasm between ourselves and chimpanzees. Of course Darwin is not saying that man is descended from chimpanzees, only that apes and man are descended from a common ancestor. Whatever the merits of this theory, there is no reason to reject it purely on biblical grounds. Christians since medieval times have agreed with Aristotle that man is an animal–a ‘rational animal,’ but still an animal.

What makes man different, according to the Bible, is that God breathed an immaterial soul into him. Thus there is no theological problem in viewing the bodily frame of man as derived from other creatures. The Bible stresses God’s resolution, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Christians have always understood God as a spiritual rather than a material being. Consequently if man is created in the ‘likeness’ of God, the resemblance is clearly not physical. When Jared Diamond in his book The Third Chimpanzee refers to humans as ‘little more than glorified chimpanzees,’ he is unwittingly making a Christian point. We may have common ancestors with the animals, but we are glorified animals.”

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Education, Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Science and Politics, Science and Religion, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

“The Rock” in Scripture

Posted by Tony Listi on August 11, 2008

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus designates Peter as “the Rock” upon which he will build His Church. Protestants, so reverent of Scripture in all other cases, seem to blithely dismiss this title of Peter as of little significance.

But what exactly does the word “rock” mean in a Jewish/Scriptural context? After careful Scriptural study, Protestants might want to think twice before ignoring the preeminent authority that Scripture confers upon Peter. For in Scripture, “the Rock” is identified with shelter/refuge, strength, security, the foundation of an altar to God, the place of sacrifice to God, a stumbling block to the stubborn and disobedient, life-giving water (foreshadowing baptism?), the source of life and existence, salvation, the divine, Yahweh Himself, and Christ Himself.

“Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”
-Exodus 17:6 (KJV)

“Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
– Numbers 20:8

“And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said, Strong is thy dwellingplace, and thou puttest thy nest in a rock.”
-Numbers 24:21

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”
-Deut 32:4

“How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.”
-Deut 32:30-31

“And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted….”
-Deut 32:37

“But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.”
-Deut 32:15

“Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.”
-Deut 32:18

“And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
-Judges 6:26

“So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.”
-Judges 13:19

“And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.”
-Judges 20:45

“There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”
-1 Sam 2:2

“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.”
-2 Sam 22:2-3

“For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?”
-2 Sam 22:32

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.”
-2 Sam 22:47

“The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
-2 Sam 23:3

“And gavest them bread from heaven for their hunger, and broughtest forth water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and promisedst them that they should go in to possess the land which thou hadst sworn to give them.”
-Nehemiah 9:15

“They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.”
-Job 24:8

“Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place.”
-Job 39:28

“The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
-Psalm 18:2

“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?”
-Psalm 18:31

“The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
-Psalm 18:46

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.”
-Psalm 27:5

“Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
-Psalm 28:1

“Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.”
-Psalm 31:2-3

“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”
-Psalm 40:2

“I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
-Psalm 42:9

“From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
-Psalm 61:2

“He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.”
-Psalm 62:2 & 6

“In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”
-Psalm 62:7

“Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
-Psalm 71:3

“He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.”
-Psalm 78:16

“Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?”
-Psalm 78:20

“And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.”
-Psalm 78:35

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.”
-Psalm 89:26

“To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
-Psalm 92:15

“But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”
-Psalm 94:22

“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
-Psalm 95:1

“He opened the rock, and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.”
-Psalm 105:41

“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.”
-Isaiah 2:10

“Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips….”
-Isaiah 17:10

“And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out.”
-Isaiah 48:21

“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”
-Isaiah 51:1

“O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.”
-Jeremiah 48:28

What else does the Gospel of Matthew say about rocks?

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Mt 7:24-25

What else does the New Testament say?

“He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”
-Luke 6:48

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”
– 1 Cor 10:4

“And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
-1 Pet 2:8

Search Bible Gateway for yourself: http://www.biblegateway.com

Posted in Catholicism vs. Protestantism, Religion and Theology, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Obama is Running for Messiah of the USA

Posted by Tony Listi on August 3, 2008

What a great ad by the McCain campaign! They need to keep this up.

Finally, a concrete demonstration of liberalism’s tendency to idolize the “divine powers” of its leaders and to identify the state as its god (statolatry).

Presumption was Hillary’s downfall, Obama would do well not to repeat her mistake.

Maybe this early primary season was the best thing that could have happened to John McCain. It is going to be hard for Obama to sustain the thoughtless enthusiasm and idolatry of his supporters all the way until November. Hard, but not impossible.

Posted in Christianity and Politics, Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Just for Fun, Politics and Religion, Uncategorized, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Brave New World: The Liberal Vision

Posted by Tony Listi on August 2, 2008

What would the world be like if liberals took over the world? What would happen if they really could have all the CHANGE they wanted? What would life be like if all their HOPE and dreams were fulfilled? What if communism actually “worked” the way it was supposed to? What if we could see Alexis de Tocqueville’s “soft despotism” first hand? What if science finally triumphed over religion? What if we finally freed ourselves from all the “quaint” traditional moral norms, especially regarding sex?

It would be the cold, mechanical, perverse existence of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Have you read this book? If not, I urge you to watch it here. Everyone should read or watch it; only then may they realize the hell that liberalism wishes for us all. There is no better depiction of the liberal vision that conservatism opposes.

We must all watch it soon, for if we don’t, the sharp and grotesque satire of this story will slowly grow familiarly dull to us such that even this rich, powerful portrayal of our doom cannot reach our numbed souls.

Posted in American Culture, Culture War, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Science and Politics, Sex, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »