The Real Enemy

St. Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (6:12 RSV2CE) The Bible tells us that there are multitudes of spiritual beings that were created by God before man was created. Although most of them are loyal to God and help us, about a third of them rebelled against God. These demons, led by Satan, hate the human race because we are loved by God. They want to destroy us, and they ultimately do that to some of us by drawing us away from God to an eternity in hell. Note that they do not accomplish their goals if they merely kill us and we end up in eternal happiness with God in heaven.

The power of these beings is limited by God. They cannot do anything without God’s permission, and they are usually not allowed to directly touch us, but that protection from God can be forfeited by those who reach out to dark powers through witchcraft and the occult. The usual way the demons attack us is through lies. They can introduce deceptive and untrue thoughts into our heads. We can choose to reject those thoughts, but if we let them take hold, they can lead us into a downward spiral of sin.

Not only do these forces of darkness tempt individuals to draw them away from God, they also try to influence human history to establish structures in the world that will have a corrupting influence on us. I suspect that many of the times people think they see global conspiracies, what they may be seeing instead is coordinated efforts of demonic activity across the world, influencing various people to act in ways that work together for evil ends.

Because of God’s limits on their power, and the resistance of good and holy men and women, their plans do not always come to fruition. Even when they are able to bring about great evil, God is able to turn it into a greater good. This is illustrated most clearly in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the ultimate evil that brought about the salvation of the human race.

Because faithful Christians live in the power of the Cross, we have nothing to fear from these demons if we cling to God’s mercy. Nevertheless, it is good to know that they are at work. Indeed, I think we are entering a time when their operations will be even more manifest to those who have eyes to see. It is good to keep in mind that they are the real enemy. Men and women that may oppose us, although they bear responsibility for their actions, are also victims of the deceptions of the real enemy. This is why Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We never know the power of prayer, but it could lead to very unexpected changes. We should never give up on the most seemingly corrupted person. As long as they still have breath, the powerful grace of God can bring them to repentance. Pray without ceasing!

Edit 1/24/21: Add image.


Alternate Realities

There is growing division in our country, and many people have their theories on why that is. I believe an important reason for this division is two fundamentally different views of reality. I do not usually use the political language of left versus right. That division is related to what I am about to propose, but I think the real division goes much deeper than politics.

The first version of reality is what I will call the heavenly reality. It sees God as the creator and sustainer of the universe. Everything exists according to his design and purpose. Everything in the universe has its place, and the universe is full of meaning. Men and women need to seek to know God and how he intends for them to live so that they can be in harmony with their creator, each other, and the world around them. When there is a conflict between the will of a person and God’s created order, the person needs to submit their will to God and conform to his ways.

The second version of reality is what I will the earthly reality. It does not acknowledge God in any meaningful sense beyond a possible psychological construct that must remain a private affair of the individual. It recognizes no creator and no meaning in the universe. Men and women decide their own meaning for their lives, and if there is any conflict between their will and the natural order, they alter the natural order to fit their will.

By the way, Christianity, in addition to affirming the heavenly reality, also acknowledges that man has failed to follow God’s ways and is need of redemption. In Jesus Christ, God reaches down and becomes one of us to restore us to friendship with him and enable us to live according to his ways.

As Christianity spread through what became Christendom, the heavenly reality became the accepted view, even among those who rebelled against it. However, in modern times, many think scientific progress confirms the earthly view, and they hold tightly to it because they believe it gives them freedom to live however they like, not realizing it actually makes them slaves to their own restless desires. This so-called freedom is actually licentiousness.

The earthly minded come into conflict with the heavenly minded because the heavenly view of justice would place some restrictions on the licentiousness they hold dear. A common point of conflict is in the area of sexuality. The heavenly reality has a particular role for sex within the family because sex is the way through which God creates children who are made in his image, so sex is a very holy thing. These children deserve to grow up in a stable, permanent, loving family, so the sexual act that conceives them should only take place between the man and woman who will be the parents in such a family, and those parents must be bound together for life in marriage. This view of sexuality excludes fornication, adultery, and sodomy as violations of the divine order. However, the earthly minded want to engage in sex with whomever they want whenever they want. The fact that a baby may result from this activity is dealt with through abortion. This is why so-called abortion rights are sacred to them.

This conflict was already growing before Donald Trump became President of the United States, and it will continue to grow until it reaches a breaking point. If the heavenly reality is true, at some point either the earthly minded will convert, or God will intervene. It is because God is merciful that he gives us time to repent. I actually think the that earthly view will gain such prominence that the folly of it will become clear and many will repent. If enough people repent and turn to God, he will not have to intervene in an extreme way.

Edit 1/24/21: Add image.


Veritas in Texas

I’ve finally settled on a name for this blog. Veritas is the Latin word for “truth”, and truth has always been a challenge to find, but it is especially the case now. People are using words to manipulate and condemn with little regard to their truth.

Truth has long been important to me. It was the search for truth that led me from atheism to Christianity, and then on to Catholicism. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” I am convinced that what is more important than who is running the government is that Christians continue to speak the truth that God has given us, no matter what the prevailing culture says. There has been a steady movement in the United States since the 1960s to remove Christianity from the public arena, and most Christians, including myself, have yielded to this partly out of a sense of fair play. However, now it is clear to me that the other side is not interested in fair play, but wants to obliterate the Christian presence in our country.

I am determined to not be silenced, so I wish to use this blog to keep speaking the truth. I will not use the tactics of the enemy. I will not use deception, exaggeration, and misrepresentation to make my side look better and win a temporary victory. Instead, I desire to engage people in respectful rational argument, recognizing that we are all finite, fallen human beings. None of us has complete possession of the truth, so we can actually learn from our adversary sometimes. I will follow the charge of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians and speak the truth in love the best that I am able to do, trying to convince the person that disagrees with me, but also listening to him because God may use that person to correct me where I am mistaken.

Therefore, I invite the reader that disagrees with me to express themselves respectfully in the comments, and let’s engage in a discussion. The fact that it seems like everyone out there is yelling and maligning each other doesn’t mean that we have to do that here. I live in Texas, and the name of our state derives from the Caddo word for “friend”. So may we seek the truth together as friends, and may we be set free from the tyranny of lies by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Thoughts on leaving Facebook

I have wanted to leave Facebook for a while, and I did at one point, only to come back after a short time because it was the best way for me to keep up with family and friends. My objective at the time had nothing to do with national politics, but I objected to how Facebook manipulated the content I was trying to access and fed my data to advertisers. I often got frustrated with how their manipulation affected usability. I would see something on my news feed that looked interesting, but when I went back at a later time, I could not find it because Facebook had decided I should see different things now. I have played with the MeWe social media platform a little bit. Rather than being advertisement based, they are subscription based, and using it has been a breath of fresh air. I don’t feel like I’m wrestling with an algorithm to get to my content. The material I subscribe to is presented in a straight-forward chronological manner that is the same every time I go back to it. Also, there are no creepy ads that appear to be reading my mind because it is subscription based rather than supported by ads. If I’m going to do social media at all, I would rather pay $5/month than deal with those ads and manipulations.

For a while, I preferred Twitter to Facebook because Twitter gave me a straightforward feed of the posts of everyone I was following, and advertisements were non-targeted. Sadly, they decided to follow Facebook’s lead. They now manipulate the feed and have increased advertising, making it more intrusive. At the same time, I saw much of the conversation there becoming more viscous and non-productive, and it was too much of a distraction, so I decided to drop it a few months ago.

The tipping point for me to finally and irrevocably leave Facebook was their censorship of the President of the United States. I always thought this was a danger with a huge, monolithic social network like Facebook, and for a while there have been accusations of their political bias, but this act was a blatant disregard for the importance of freedom of speech. I know that as a private company, Facebook is not required by law to protect speech, but as primary communications platforms, Twitter and Facebook greatly affect the direction of discourse in our country and in much of the rest of the world. By silencing particular points of view, they open the door to tyranny. World leaders in Australia, France, Germany, Russia, and Poland have spoken out against this act. The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is no conservative Trump fan, is mounting a campaign against social media bans. I believe this issue is bigger than whether or not you are a “Trump supporter.”

Edit 1/24/21: Add image.


God’s response

I began a meditation on Psalm 2 in my last post, where we saw a rebellion against God by the powerful people of the world. Now I want to finish the psalm by looking at God’s response.

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “I have set my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”

Psalm 2:4-6 (RSV2CE)

We can get so worried when we see powerful people changing institutions and trying to erase our Christian heritage so that they can achieve what they think is freedom from accountability to God. As we can see here, God is not worried, and his answer is that he has established a king.

At the time this psalm was written, the king was David or one of his descendants reigning over God’s chosen people in Jerusalem, but Christians from the beginning of the faith saw Jesus as the fulfillment of this psalm, especially because of this next part.

I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

Psalm 2:7-9 (RSV2CE)

Although we should vote and try to choose the best leaders for our government, that is not where our hope lies. The United States and all of the nations belong to Jesus Christ, and he will ultimately bring justice by destroying the forces of evil. This last part is what we need to be doing.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling rejoice, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2:10-12 (RSV2CE)

Serve the Lord with your lives. Seek his wisdom in his Word. Do not be afraid of what you may hear in the news, but take refuge in the Lord and be blessed.


Why do the nations rage?

Many Christians are worried about the world today, and I believe a good answer to such worry is to pray using the Bible’s book of Psalms. This is something I first learned about 22 years ago, and it radically changed my prayer life. In the difficult year of 2020, I noticed several psalms to be especially relevant to the world situation, including Psalm 2.

In my favorite Bible translation, the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition (RSV2CE), Psalm 2 begins with, “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?” This is likely a very accurate translation of the original Hebrew according to the latest scholarship, but I also want to point out how the traditional King James Version renders this verse: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” I’ve always been struck by the word “rage” in this version, and I think it’s a vivid description of what is going on now, so I used it in my title.

The next two verses tell us what is prompting this question.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.”

Psalm 2:2-3 (RSV2CE)

Although we don’t have many kings today, we can substitute any powerful people here, which brings us to a principle for praying with psalms. They were written thousands of years ago, so there are cultural details that were different back then, but we can translate them into similar details in our day. What we will find is that the basic human experience is the same. So when you pray the psalms, look for how you can translate them to your own personal situation.

So the meaning of these verses today could be that there are powerful and influential people today that want to rid the world of the influence of Christianity. We see this in politics, media, and education. Western civilization, which is another way of talking about the Christian heritage of Europe and the Americas, is being portrayed as an evil influence that must be eliminated. The European union has essentially removed Christianity from their governmental structures and puts pressure against expressions of Christianity in their member nations. In the United States, since the 1960s, there has been a steady push to remove Christian influence from public life, including the removal of prayer in schools, the display of the Ten Commandments in court houses, nativity scenes on public property, and even saying “Merry Christmas.”

Why do they want to get rid of Christianity? The words used in the psalm are very instructive. They want to burst bonds and cast off cords. They see Christianity as restricting them. They want to get rid of Christianity in the name of freedom. This is truly a mistake, as Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32).

What is God’s response to this? I will cover that in my next post.


Welcome to my new blog

I have decided to start this blog using WordPress. I had a blog for many years on Blogger, but I decided that technology was outdated and created a new blog. However, being a software snob, I didn’t use the mainstream blogging software WordPress and then tried the Hugo blogging software for a while, which is very cool, but I found it too difficult to manage. That blog is here, but it may go away after a while, so some of that material may get rewritten here.

So, my hope is now that I’m using WordPress, I will write much more because there is a lot I want to write about. I believe there is a lot of irrational stuff being said these days, and although I don’t have all of the answers, I have a responsibility to at least share what I do know and believe.

Edit 1/24/2021: Change post title because blog title changed, and add image.