By Henry B.
In this day and age, the term Theocracy is a grossly misused word. Before we delve into the pro's and con's of Theocracy, let's actually define it. Theocracy: A form of government in which a God or a deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, the God's or Deity's laws being interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities. (Definition taken from Dictionary.com)
Now, there are two ways we can take the first part of this definition. The first way is we can recognize that all authority is ultimately derived from God. The second way is that God has commandments for every aspect of our life, down to taxes and roads.
Now the first is clearly correct from a Catholic point of view. All civil authority does depend on God for it's existence (John 19:11), and while that authority can often be abused, it does still stem from God. However, as Catholics we must reject the second view as thoroughly as we embrace the first. As Paragraph 62 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church reads:
"The Church does not assume responsibility for every aspect of life in society, but speaks with the competence that is hers, which is that of proclaiming Christ the Redeemer: “Christ did not bequeath to the Church a mission in the political, economic or social order; the purpose he assigned to her was a religious one. But this religious mission can be the source of commitment, direction and vigour to establish and consolidate the community of men according to the law of God”. This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization. This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ. The Church's competence comes from the Gospel: from the message that sets man free, the message proclaimed and borne witness to by the Son of God made man." (Emphasis added)
For the first part of the definition, our way as Catholics is clear. We must recognize the divine origins of Government, without giving to government that infallibility which is God's and Peter's alone. We must also, as Catholics, find a balance between assuring the Government fosters natural law and the common good, and between telling the Government the most efficient means of doing this.
We now move to the second of the definition, on the laws being interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities. This, to me, is the most essential aspect of a theocracy, and it is one which we must reject. The role of Government and the role of the Church overlap in many places, but are, nonetheless, quite distinct. To my mind, to have members of the Clergy as officials in the government will utterly corrupt the clergy while only beginning to drain the corruption within the Government. This fear of mine is hardly a hypothetical, when names like Richelieu, Talleyrand, Cesare Borgia, and Alexander VI come to mind. The fact of the matter is, we need priests who are humble and charitable, good shepherds willing to lay down their lives for their sheep. If you seek such men among politicians, you will have quite a hard search ahead of you.
By Henry B.
Over at the Matt Walsh blog, Mr. Walsh has an excellent piece on why a business should be allowed to do business with whomever they please. He largely approaches the issue from the perspective of Political philosophy, explaining why freedom entails a freedom of association. I don't think, however, he quite gets into the nuts and bolts of how discrimination works, so I'll give you a quick overview of it.
When a business owner chooses, for example, not to sell to blacks, what happens? Well, the storekeeper and the black man were going to make an exchange beneficial to them both, and solely because of skin color the owner chose not to. So now the business has foregone an opportunity for profit. This policy of segregation adds up over time. If two businesses are fiercely competing, then the willingness to sell to blacks is going to prove an enormous advantage. Over time, those businesses which engage in segregation will simply be weeded out by the market.
Precisely the same thing occurs with employment. If an employer hires a less qualified white, or pays a higher wage to one, then they will have a constant drag on their assets, and if they do not change, they will die.
The same thing applies in almost every walk of life. If sports managers refuse to play blacks, then talented blacks will go to other teams. If voters refuse to vote for qualified black candidates, then they will be punished by having a a less qualified person rule them. In very few fields will discrimination not be punished quite harshly by a free market.
In essence, the free market takes discrimination and puts a price tag few are willing to pay on it. Greed beats racism in the long run.
Since this is the case, why should we give the government the dangerous precedent of interfering in such an explicit way? Almost every ideology has been persecuted at some point in time, and almost every occasion was by the government. Everyone has cause to fear them. Why, then, should we give them such power when it is clearly unnecessary?
By Henry B.
Very often, when pro-life or traditional marriage activists are arguing for their respective points, they will argue something along the lines of : "If we allow X, than there is no reason for forbidding Y. And so Y will happen."
Usually, these arguments are met by a triumphant cry of: "Slippery Slope! Fallacy!"
However, when arguing like this, pro-choicers are actually committing a far subtler fallacy. This may be termed as the Fallacy fallacy. (Not a typo.)
They make the assumption that a fallacy cannot be true. As an example of how a fallacy can be true, look at the Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy. This fallacy is when someone assumes things that happened in rapid succession are related. If I go out for a picnic and it rains, I cannot assume that my going for a picnic caused it to rain.
However, just because a fallacy tells us something is true does not make that something false. If I pet my dog and he starts wagging his tail, it is extremely reasonable to assume that the petting caused the wagging. It hasn't been logically proved, but few would argue it had other causes.
Now, to return to the slippery slope fallacy. Many conservatives argue that allowing some abortion will lead to ever more abortion, ever more infanticide, and many other atrocities. The pro-choicers are correct to assert that this is a fallacy, but they are incorrect to simply leave it there. Yes, it is not a logically guaranteed thing that that Abortion will lead to infanticide and so on, but it is very, very probable. Because doing these things strips away the moral protections guarding things even the most modern ethicist finds reprehensible, it practically guarantees those things will occur in the future.
In conclusion, yes, the Slippery slope is a fallacy, but it is a fallacy that is so often correct that it cannot be dismissed by simply calling it a fallacy.
By Maddie C.
Every good Christian needs a good prayer life. Without prayer, how else would we be able to talk to God? Like Martin Luther King Junior grandly mentioned:
"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."
To sum it up in three words: Prayer is vital.
So here are a few steps/ways/opportunities to boost up your prayer life and your friendship with the Maker.
1. Make a time each day for prayer: I don't know if you have this too, but there is a little (slight exaggeration) period of time each day where I have to go to something called school. And it kind of takes up my whole life, with studying, writing, erasing and stressing. But to fully appreciate and understand God, we need to talk to Him! So every morning, dedicate a few minutes to God. You don't have to pray for an hour, you don't even have to for ten minutes. (unless you want to, of course.) Just give God your full attention for at least 3 minutes. And maybe after a few weeks of settling into that routine, boost it to five. Then seven. And so on and so forth. Let's just put it this way. God would much rather hear you pray to him for five minutes than here you mumble along half asleep for twenty. I know for sure if I were talking to my friends I would want to listen to something interesting for a short period of time than droning on about school for a million hours. :)
2. Use tools: Bibles, Rosaries, Novenas, Chaplets, so many different ways you can pray! And the good thing is, you don't have to pray the same way every time. So explore different tools you can use in prayer. Go to adoration, read a story about a martyr. Personally, I like reading and reflecting on the Bible because it is so peaceful and is a nice break from a stressful day. Like drawing? Draw a picture of Jesus and pray during it. Like writing? Write a prayer of thanksgiving. Find a way that you feel comfortable and happy and use it to contact God.
3. Share with others: If God wanted us to be alone, he wouldn't of created Eve to accompany Adam. God wants us to be with others and to share our great relationship with Him to everyone in the world! So maybe invite some friends over to adoration with you, or maybe church. If someone you know is sick, grab some friends and make cards or casseroles and cheer them up! Make a prayer group with peers, find people that you can lean on and ask for prayers. Prayer is powerful, but even more powerful with more than one person.
4. Read the Bible: The Bible is our handbook for life. Literally. Anything you want to know is in that book. It seems intimidating sitting there in all of its a million paged glory. But if you take some time to read what God is saying to you, it shrinks down in size, doesn't it? That book is God's actual words. Words that came out of His mouth or through the Holy Spirit, it's all in there. God is pushing through the door to speak to you, and all you got to do is open the Book to let Him in.
5. Live it Out!: The goal of our lives is to get others and ourselves to Heaven. Share with others! That is what God wants us to do: spread the Word to everyone that we know. And it doesn't have to be in a big way, just little ways. Compliment someone. Write letters to the lonely. Help out with the dishes. Get out of the lazy zone and find one way a day to help someone else. And like your routine with prayer, gradually grow a little bit.
6. Get to Know God: The more you know about someone, the more you can understand about them. It's the same way with God! The more we know about Him, the easier it will be to follow His example and his always cheerful mood. I promise you, the more you know him the more easy life will become.
Prayer is our communication with God, our way to talk to Him. So don't waste it! Use it up! The awesome thing about prayer is that the line is never disconnected. Any time, any place, any where you want to send a one way call up to the Big Man Upstairs, you can. It's that easy!
If you have any other ways that helped you pray, please don't be afraid to leave a comment! Thanks to all!
By Renee K.
She first saw him as she walked into a cafe on Second Street. The wind was blowing the leaves around in circles outside, and it seemed to push her right through the door. Later she would wonder if it had really been the wind, or if it had been the hand of fate.
A peppy French tune was playing over the radio, filling the building as thoroughly as the scent of roasted coffee that emanated from behind the counter. She took her pale blue scarf from her head, revealing her tousled hair as she eyed the patrons in the shop. Her gaze turned to the workers behind the counter.
That's when she saw him.
The beautiful French words suddenly faded into the background as she breathlessly watched him. She felt as if she were in a dream, or perhaps a wonderful movie. He was tall and thin, barely older than twenty, with sandy brown hair and hazel eyes. Stubble clung to his chin, framing a perfect smile made up of uniform white teeth.
She went towards him, drawn helplessly. Her heart started pounding and her hands began to shake as she took her place at the end of the line, never removing her eyes from his face. What should she say to him? How should she say it? After all, she had been dreaming of this moment for so long. It had to be perfect. He was the one.
She didn't need to see any pieces of documentation or ask for a test. She somehow already knew that it was him, the son from an unforeseen pregnancy, the baby that she had given up when she was seventeen.
The background song changed into one sung by a woman. The vocals were gentle and loving, thoroughly illustrating the sentiments that she felt rising up in her heart. He looked exactly the way that she had imagined him to: perfect. A miracle.
The line moved forward, towards the counter, and she moved with it. Closer to him. She felt her heart pound even harder as she looked at him and imagined being able to hug him; to tell him that she was his mother and that she had been looking for him almost since the very day she'd given him up. She’d never guessed that the long awaited moment would happen here, at a coffee shop in an outdoor mall. She hadn’t even planned on doing any shopping while on this business trip, in a strange town and state. Why had she stopped here on her way home from the meeting? Was this moment predestined? She looked back up at him as he ran a credit card through the machine, handed it back to a man, and then handed the appropriate sized cup to the girl who was making the coffees.
She suddenly wondered what his name was, and what hobbies he had. Was he in school? Belong to any sports groups? Have a girlfriend? She pictured taking him out to dinner and getting caught up on everything that she had missed in his life. Would she be able to see him get married? Welcome grandchildren into the world?
He smiled and thanked a customer who was standing only a few feet in front of her. She noticed how happy he looked, and she suddenly felt a pang of doubt. Why hadn't he ever tried to find her? Maybe he didn't want to know that he had a different mother, another family than the one that had raised him.
But why wouldn't he want to know? She had been searching for him so diligently, and this was at long last the end of her journey. Didn't she have a right to reveal herself to him, to claim what was her own?
Or had she lost that right on that snowy day twenty years ago, when she had brought him into the world in a dingy hospital room and then signed him away at the pressuring of her parents?
She was at the counter now. He smiled down at her, and she felt her breath stop coming. His voice, smooth and soothing, asked her how she was today and how he could help her.
You could come home with your mother! her heart screamed silently. She lost track of time for a moment as she looked up into his eyes.
The eyes of her son. Her baby. Her emotions welled up inside of her, each one fighting to be the one that would control her voice. She opened her mouth.
Whose happiness was more important?
“One tall coffee with cream, please,” she said, handing him her credit card. She watched his fingers grip the edges of the card, sliding it through the cash register. She flashed back to that night, when she’d first seen him, so tiny and red and wrinkled. His hands had been so small then. Now they were bigger than hers.
“Have a nice day,” he smiled, holding her card back out towards her.
She looked up at him for a moment, expecting herself to falter. To change her mind. To point out to him how much they looked alike, and ask him if he had been adopted by any chance.
But she couldn’t.
“Thanks,” she replied. Reaching out towards him, she took her card back and stepped away.
Fire of the Spirit Teen Group is pleased to announce the grand opening of ‘Fire of the Spirit’s’ group blog. This blog is being opened so that we can reach out to you, our audience, on a more regular basis. We are very excited to welcome Henry B. to the group in a higher position, our first blog manager. All of us at ‘Fire of the Spirit’ want to welcome our newest members, our bloggers: Renee, Anthony G., Catherine O., Maddie J., and Michael B.. We know that our audience cannot wait to see your talents shine and to meet you all via your blog posts starting over the next few months. We pray the Lord may bless this new venture ‘Fire of the Spirit’ is undertaking and that you our bloggers, present and future, may be given the courage and humility to speak from the heart in your posts. Now, without further ado let us go out and set the souls of this our world ‘on fire with Christ’!
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here