Pope to Mafia: Convert, Hell Awaits You if You Continue on This Road

The first godfather movie was something of a watershed in American culture. 

It wasn’t the first gangster movie. That genre went back to before James Cagney. But The Godfather was different. 

The bad guys were the heroes in The Godfather. That movie and those in the genre which followed it, presented us with an attractive view of an upside-down morality of killing-is-good, selling drugs/women/corruption is just business, and bribery, extortion, arson and theft are “honorable” practices if they are done according to a fictional underworld “code” of conduct. 

Organized crime, which is a chilling concept to begin with, was presented as a good, and the culture that housed it was depicted as a papa-loves-bambinos world of endearing tribal loyalties and oddball but real family values. In fact, almost the only family values movies have consistently shown us in these past 50 years have been in stories about the home lives of the professional serial killers of organized crime. 

The Godfather turned morality on its head by making the baddest of bad guys into good guys. It presented a world where evil was good and good was non-existent.  

Mafia movies have been a staple of American entertainment ever since. The most talented actors, best directors and finest writers have put their incredible abilities to work in the service of creating movies and television that is based on a sympathetic view of the sad, sick world of professional killers, drug pushers and purveyors of prostitution and porn. 

The acting and drama of these shows is so excellent that they are almost hypnotic to watch. There is a compelling draw to these presentations of evil that can entrap people, especially when it is packaged by some of the greatest artistic talents money can buy. Meanwhile, the spiral keeps twisting its way downward, as we find our enjoyment in on-screen depictions of sick and sicker murderers. 

But evil itself, when it steps off the screen and into our lives, is not so lovely or compelling. Murder isn’t entertainment. Buying, selling and otherwise dehumanizing people for money losses its gloss when you look into the eyes of its victims. There is nothing attractive about watching actual corruption, extortion and killing in progress. 

Serial killers are destroyers, not creators. Organized serial killers who kill for money are destruction on a societal scale. 

Pope Francis speaks against the Mafia with the prophetic voice of the Vicar of Christ. Yesterday, at a mass for the families of people who have been murdered by the mafia, he stood at the pulpit and spoke directly to those who are in the mafia. 

He warned mafia members that they can not take their “blood-stained power” and “blood-stained money” with them when they die. He implored them to turn away from the evil they do and convert. Then, he warned them that “hell awaits you if you continue on this road.” 

If Pope Francis told me that I had to change my ways or go to hell, I would change my ways.

It remains to be seen if any of the people who are involved with the mafia allow themselves to hear what the pope has told them and change their ways. The pope set before them life and death. I wonder if any of them will have the courage to chose life. 

At least one government official has voiced concern for the pope’s safety. He fears mafia violence against Pope Francis. But if our Holy Father worries about this, it doesn’t show. I think that’s because he’s already chosen life. He knows that no matter what happens to him, his destination is heaven.

Pope Francis is doing what a shepherd of souls does. He is calling the lost sheep home. 

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God is Not Dead Opens this Weekend

God is not dead opens this weekend.

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So, There’s a Devout Catholic Who’s Hiking

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Shame on Everybody: Michigan Senate Race Debate Over Abortion

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Shame on everybody.

I would love to single out one of the mud-slingers and propagandizers in this little set-to and say “Fie on you!” But I can’t. So, I guess I’ll just say “Fie on everybody!” and be done with it.

United States Congressman Gary Peters is running for the United States Senate in Michigan. He evidently drug his kids into a debate over an abortion law, saying that as the father of daughters

… I struggle with how to tell them that the state we love and where our family has been for generations is now unfairly discriminating against them and makes health care less affordable.

I understand why this comment would raise the ire of anyone reading it. What kind of man drags his own kids into something this ugly? And what a schlocky way to do it.

Thankfully, the other fine folks in Michigan didn’t attack the daughters directly. But their reply comes close to matching the Congressman’s for sheer jerkiness. According to the pro life people of Michigan, Congressman Peters “wants to make sure abortion is accessible and cheap for his daughters.”

Maybe the harsh winter has frozen their brains up in Michigan. Can anyone in that state talk about important issues without getting down in the pits? I can think of a lot of ways to defend Michigan’s pro life laws, all of them based on principle and a call to higher orders of thinking. I could also, if I wanted, defend a position in opposition to such laws without ever once painting a target on my kids.

ThinkProgressive, which reported this story, added the cherry on top with its painfully biased reporting. Here’s how the reporter who wrote the story described the law in question:

The statement comes in response to a controversial new abortion restriction in Michigan that took effect earlier this month. Women who buy health insurance in Obamacare’s private market are now barred from purchasing a plan that includes abortion coverage, even if they want to end a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest. They’ll be required to purchase a separate rider if they want an abortion procedure to be covered, which has led reproductive rights supporters to decry the measure as a rape insurance law.

I haven’t read the Michigan law, but there are a number of similar laws around the country. I am assuming that all this one does is not allow health insurance plans to pay for abortions. If someone wants to have abortion coverage in their insurance, then all they have to do is buy a rider providing it. I doubt very much that the questions of rape and incest enter into it.

I’m guessing that the Michigan pro abortion people couldn’t come up with an intelligent way to oppose this law, so they decided to claim that it is somehow aimed at victims of rape and incest. In my humble opinion, this line argument exploits rape and incest victims.

Evidently, a Michigan legislator joined the fray by talking about her own sexual assault in a speech. I’ve watched bits of the debate on this bill, and what I saw was a deliberate mis-characterization of the law in order to exploit women and girls who have suffered these horrible crimes against their humanity. I honestly regard it as a kind of social rape to do this to women.

I could really go off into a rant here, as the subject of violence against women always gets me going. I feel sorry for the legislator who talked about her own sexual assault in this manner. But, as I said, the bill does not address that issue. Conflating it with that issue is propaganda and exploitation of women who have suffered the dehumanizing effects of sexual assault.

I am also sick to the core of hearing people claim that abortion is the answer to rape. Abortion hides rape and lets the rapist off the hook. Abortion is, in a very real way, an accommodation to rape. It is disgusting to me that our idea of “helping” rape victims is to give them the option of adding the murder of their own child to what has already happened to them.

As I said in another post when I quoted a line from Rob Roy, it’s not the child that needs killing. I said this, even though I am opposed to the death penalty, because I want to make it clear who is at fault here: It is the rapist. We need to stop sexualizing and degrading women in our culture, and we also need to put these guys away and never let them out again.

I could say more, but I’m going to stop.

As for the fine folks in Michigan who, on both sides, have taken this debate about the value of human life and the humanity of women down in the basement: Shame on all of you.

What is Bill Maher’s Problem?

 

Bill Maher by David Shankbone

 What is Bill Maher’s problem?

Kevin Sorbo, the star of God is Not Dead, responded in the video below to yet another of Bill Maher’s ugly anti-God rants.

In this particular rant, Mr Maher raises the “God is evil” argument, basing it on the movie Noah. I’m going to write a post discussing the “God is evil” argument. But for now, let’s just look at Mr Sorbo and Mr Maher.

Mr Sorbo’s view of Mr Maher’s behavior is worth thinking about. What is behind all this ranting and raving? Is Mr Maher doing it because it attracts an audience and makes money? Or, does he believe it? Even if he believes it, why all the crazy carrying on?

I have never watched Mr Maher’s show. I have seen a quite a few scenes from it on You Tube. Based on that, I would say that he’s also nasty in his treatment of women. In fact, Bill Maher seems to be thoroughly ugly in the way he expresses himself on a number of topics.

But it seems that God is his special hate. In addition to rants like the one on this video, he also made an entire movie attacking God and people of faith. Again, I never saw — and don’t plan to see — the movie. But I have seen a few scenes from it. The pleasure he takes in attacking people of faith is rather striking.

So, what is Bill Maher’s problem? It would seem that, like the professor in the movie, it isn’t so much that he doesn’t believe in God, as that he hates God. He really goes off in this video. It’s as if he’s talking to God directly instead of his audience. Why all this rage about someone he doesn’t believe exists?

I’m sure Mr Maher makes a lot of money attacking God. But I think he probably means most of it. I think he’s as God-obsessed as he appears. I am guessing, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t also as vicious and unpleasant in person as he appears in these clips.

One connected point Mr Sorbo made is something all of us should consider: He doesn’t subscribe to HBO.

We subscribe to a rather expensive cable television package at our house. I honestly don’t know the particulars of this cable package, since my husband set it up and pays the bill for it. If there’s a way for us to dump HBO, we certainly need to do it. If not, we might ought to consider getting rid of the premium channels altogether.

Watching this clip made me wonder if we’re not unintentionally tithing a good bit of our money to support direct attacks on our faith.

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So, There’s a Priest and a Rabbi …

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Did We Really Need a Bishop to Tell us that Verbally Sliming Other People is a Grave Sin?

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Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, evidently felt that the people in the pews (not to mention a few priests) needed to remember that malicious gossip, calumny and slander are mortal sins. 

They are mortal sins, even when you commit them anonymously on the internet.

Do we really need a bishop to tell us that?

Stop for a moment and think about the dark pleasure that comes into your heart when you verbally destroy another person out of spite or malice. Consider the hard, sadistic satisfaction you take in thinking about the pain you are inflicting.

Do you really think that comes from heaven above?

No matter how self-righteously you proclaim that you are speaking Truth, you know, if you will just be honest with yourself, that what you are doing is practicing cruelty for the evil pleasure of practicing cruelty.

Just like a little kid, pulling the legs off a bug.

That’s you and your grandiose claims of a higher morality that allows you to inflict damage on other people for no other reason but that you get a dark satisfaction out of doing it.

These are, as the bishop tells us, grave sins. They are go-to-hell-for-eternity sins.

They come from the pit.

Don’t commit them.

From Catholic News Service:

MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — An English bishop asked Catholics to use Lent as a time to repent of sins committed on social media.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth described the uncharitable use of blogs, Facebook and Twitter as a “grave matter.”

Using social media for abuse or to attack the reputations of other people was a direct sin against the Eighth Commandment, forbidding people from “bearing false witness” against their neighbors, he said in a pastoral letter released March 19.


Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England, asked Catholics to use Lent as a time to repent of sins committed on social media. (CNS/Reuters) 

“We must exercise discretion, respect others and their privacy and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment,” the bishop wrote in the document that was to be distributed in parishes the weekend of March 22-23.

“We must avoid calumny, that is, slurring and damaging people, and not spread abroad their sins and failings,” he said.

The bishop encouraged the faithful to ask themselves “How do I use Facebook or Twitter? Am I charitable when blogging? Do I revel in other people’s failings?

“All this is grave matter,” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley: The Church Won’t Change Its Teaching on Marriage

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Cardinal O’Malley, who is a member of the Papal G8 that Pope Francis appointed to consider reforms in the Church, says that the Catholic Church is not going to change its 2,000-year-old teachings on marriage.

The Church will not change her teaching on the dissolubility of marriage, he said in an interview with Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register. 

He goes on to say that there may be a simplification of the annulment process, which he says “would be a wonderful first step for addressing a crucial pastoral problem for the Church.”

 

Let There be Light: The Religious Significance of the Big Bang Echo

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My eleven-year-old son put it better than anyone I have ever heard.

Homeschoolers socialize with other homeschoolers. We took our kids to movies together, enrolled them in activities that ranged from classes at the local science museum to participation in swim teams, homeschool soccer leagues and even a homeschool chess club.

We also had picnics, went to movies and other recreational activities.

It was after a homeschool picnic that my son gave me the best description of God’s viewpoint of us that I’ve ever heard.

We were full of food and feeling mellow and we got into a discussion of the first chapter of Genesis. We were all, including the kids, just kicking it around, expressing our own views. One of the homeschooling mothers took an absolutely literal, and, to me at least, narrow and inaccurate, view of the first chapters of Genesis. She believed that God had created the earth (and presumably the whole universe) in six twenty-four hour solar days.

I kept raising the buts inherent in her argument … but 24 hour days are based on how long it takes the earth to turn on its axis, and there was no earth and no sun “in the beginning,”

… but God created time, so in the beginning there was no time …

… but …

She would have none of it. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the idea that there was once nothing, absolutely nothing, and God created all creation out of this nothingness.

To her, and a lot of other people on both sides of the existence-of-god arguments, the idea of a beginning in which light, time, atoms, the rules of physics — everything, everywhere — simply did not exist was too incomprehensible to bother considering.

My eleven-year-old piped up, “but God created time,” he said. “God is not part of time. When God looks at creation, He doesn’t see a line, going off into the future. He sees a dot.”

My son’s comment didn’t make a ding in our friend’s thinking. It floated past her without engaging one brain cell.

But I was stunned by the simple understanding of an eleven-year-old.

He had said it all.

When scientists taught that the universe always was, they were dodging the obvious. The metaphysical implications in an existence which began from nothing are enormous.

If everything — everything — had a beginning, and that beginning was a sudden something when nothing exploded into all that is, then the question of “What, or Who, did this?” comes shortly after.

I’ve read comments about the discovery of the Big Bang Echo to the effect that the Big Bang Echo debunks the Biblical story of creation once and for all. I assume that by the Biblical story of creation they were referring, not to the Scriptures themselves, but to interpretations of those Scriptures like that of my fellow homeschooler.

The idea that God created the universe in seven 24-hour solar days has so many holes in it, from simple logic, that it won’t stand. If you read the thing literally, really literally, you’ll see that it doesn’t say any such thing. It says “day” and day, used this way, is poetic. It can mean almost any space of time.

The first chapter of Genesis is a poem. Anyone can see that. It’s what it is.

But it also describes, in poetic rather than scientific terms, a reality. God did create the heavens and the earth. He “spoke” existence into existence.

The discovery of the Big Bang echo doesn’t prove that. It doesn’t even address it.

What it does do is let us see it.

As my eleven-year-old son once said, God created time. He is outside time the same way that Henry Ford was outside and not part of the Model T, that I am outside and not part of this blog post. Mr Ford and I both leave our signatures all over our creations. There is an image of us in what we do. But we are not governed by the realities of what we have created. It is governed by us.

God created time just as He created everything else. He is outside of it. I think that when God looks at creation, he sees all of it, all at once, all the time.

When it comes to time, we, who are in it and of it, are like a grasshopper, standing in the middle of an interstate highway. From our vantage point, the highway of time goes on in both directions forever. It has no beginning and no end. But to God, Who is outside of time, the beginning, and the end, are both constantly in view.

That is what it means to be transcendent.

We, who are made in the image and likeness of God, possess the capacity to slowly and painstakingly unravel this mystery of how God did it. From inside our temporal prison, we can, by use of all our wits and by building on one another’s thinking, figure it out.

I believe that’s because we are made for more than this life. Where else did this drive to touch the face of God with our minds come from? What practical purpose does it serve for us to seek and find the echo of the Big Bang from which we came? We are made for more than what we appear to be. Our craving for transcendence is a hunger that we feed but cannot satisfy with the devices of our minds.

What we are hungering for is not the what of existence, but the Who that is behind it.

This Being Who spoke existence into existence, this Word that was there from the beginning, loves us. He left us clues to how He did it scattered throughout creation like Hansel and Gretel’s bread crumbs.

The Big Bang echo is one such crumb. It allows us, for the first time, to see creation as it was created. That is its significance. And its gift.

Science is not the enemy of faith. Ham-handed fools who try to use science to “prove” their personal prejudices can make it seem to be the enemy of faith. Occasional misapprehensions of the partial discoveries we make as we follow the bread crumbs can yield to this hubris and, again, make science seem like the enemy of faith.

But in truth, science is just us, figuring out the creation we’ve been handed.

Science misapplied can be our undoing, both spiritually, and, as we meddle deeper into the building blocks of our existence, physically. We can blow ourselves up or mutate our genes and end ourselves with science. The threat is right in front of us every day we live.

That’s because science is our creation, and as our creation, it is flawed in the ways that we are flawed. It a tool that our tool-making kind has devised to help us understand How He did it. Nothing more. Nothing less.

So, a Group of Cloistered Carmelite Nuns …

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If You Want to Disrespect the Pope, You Need to Go to Another Blog

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Public Catholic discusses any number of controversial topics.

Sometimes, the conversation gets blunt. There are days when I’m the bluntest of all.

But the purpose of Public Catholic is to equip people so that they can go out into the world and be the light that Jesus called all of us to be.

People who disrespect the Holy Father, are, in my opinion, speaking for the darkness.

I’ve deleted almost all such comments that have shown up here, with the exception of a few that I allowed as an illustration of what not to say.

I understand that Pope Francis has said things that unsettle people, and I have no problem with commenters who express their feelings of being unsettled. I have no problem with honest questions and honest seeking. In fact, I not only encourage them, I often share them. We are all seekers in our walk with Christ.

These are things we need to work through together, in faith.

But Pope Francis is the pope. He is Peter. I will not tolerate spiteful and malicious attacks on his character on this blog.

Tu est petra.

Et portae inferni non praevalebunt.

New Blood Test Allows Better Targeting of Which Babies to Kill

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Doctors can now target which babies to kill with even greater accuracy.

A new blood test allow docs to discover which unborn babies might have Down’s Syndrome. The best is touted as being far more accurate than previously used methods. According to a news report, this means that fewer expectant mothers will “be made anxious” by an inaccurate test telling them that their baby has Down’s Syndrome.

The new test is not the final step. If it comes back suspicious, then the woman is sent for either amniocentesis or chorionic villi sampling.

Doctors are recommending that all pregnant women should be “screened for Down’s Syndrome and other trisomies.”

Amniocentesis which involves sticking a needle through the wall of the woman’s abdomen and the wall of the uterus (a procedure which doctors blandly describe as uncomfortable) and extracting amniotic fluid, does have legitimate medical uses. It can be used to detect if the baby’s lungs are developed enough for it to survive. This can be life-saving for both the mother and the baby in certain circumstances.

However, I don’t know of a legitimate medical use for this blood test. It would allow older women to know that their baby does not have Down’s Syndrome. But the blanket move to have every pregnant woman take the test sounds very much like eugenics to me.

Does the test have any use other than targeting which babies to kill?

Why, other than trying to kill unborn children with disabilities, would anyone want every pregnant woman to take the test?

More and more, a medical license is becoming a license to exploit and kill. Everything from euthanasia, to egg harvesting, surrogacy and abortion is being sold to us as for our own good.

How can any of us trust doctors who are so willing to kill their patients?

Future Priests Embrace Celibacy

“The priesthood is too serious a call, not to have guys who are 100% committed to what they are doing.”

Amen.

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Harassing the Elderly: What Would You Do?

If you saw someone harassing an old person, what would you do?

I have to tell you, I am really proud of these people.

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So, Jesus of Nazareth is in front of the woman caught in adultery …

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Kentucky’s AG Refuses to Defend Marriage. Governor Forced to Hire Private Law Firm.

Divorce

This story is a couple of weeks old, but I’ve been too busy to take it on until now.

A few weeks back, a federal judged made the landmark ruling that Kentucky had to honor gay marriages which were contracted in other states. This ruling, if upheld, has the practical effect of legalizing gay marriage in every state of the union. The judge’s ruling was based on last summer’s hydra-headed Windsor ruling by the United States Supreme Court. Windsor overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA.)

In what has become a predictable dereliction of duty, Kentucky’s Attorney General, Jack Conway, announced that he would not defend the state statute, because “it was discrimination,” and, as he said in his announcement, “that I will not do.”

In other words, he’s appointed himself the legislature, court and will of the people of the entire state. He is also, flatly and obviously refusing to do the job he was elected to do. Pious pronouncements aside, this is a clear failure of integrity on his part. As I said before about other attorney general’s who have done this same thing, they don’t seem to know what their job is.

Attorney’s General are chief law enforcement officers. They are not lawmakers, and even though law enforcement rests in the judicial branch, they are not judges. Attorney General Conway obviously ran for the wrong office.

Now, Kentucky’s Governor, Steve Beshear, has announced that he will hire an independent law firm to defend the state.

Does anyone “get” what a dereliction of duty this attorney general is indulging in? Does anyone understand how wrong it is for the governor to have to spend tax payer money to hire outside attorneys to do the job that the attorney general of Kentucky was elected to do?

I am way past glad that the Governor is taking this step. This court decision is huge. It must be challenged.

In the meantime, I’m wondering if the people of Kentucky are so caught up in the gay marriage bubble that they don’t “get” the full significance of what their AG is going to them. I wonder if any of the people of this country can understand what a breakdown it is for so many attorneys general to refuse to do their jobs.

This isn’t a small thing. It’s a symptom of a very ugly infection of narcissistic dishonesty in the body politic. I am not talking about gay marriage, per se. I am not talking about any issue. I am talking about our system of governance, which depends on people who will govern by the law and by responsible action, not opinion polls.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has stepped in with a “ruling” of his own, saying that “states attorneys general don’t have to defend gay marriage bans if they view them as discriminatory.”

Isn’t that nice? The nation’s number one cop as decided to publicly indulge in selective law enforcement. He is unilaterally giving anyone who wants to violate their oath in support of the side of an issue that he happens to agree with a free pass from the Justice Department.

If the laws are enforced selectively — which is what the United States Attorney General is doing — then the laws are by definition unjust. Selective enforcement of the law is — dare I say it? — discriminatory on its face.

One interesting side note in this story: Both the governor and the attorney general are Democrats.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that his office would hire outside counsel to appeal a court ruling that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside Kentucky, just moments after the state attorney general, a fellow Democrat, said he would no longer defend the ban.

Jack Conway, Kentucky’s attorney general, said Tuesday that if he appealed the recent ruling, he would be forced to defend discrimination. “That I will not do,” he said in a statement. “As Attorney General of Kentucky, I must draw the line when it comes to discrimination.”

Beshear promptly announced that his office would continue the appeal, the Associated Press reports, saying there would be “legal chaos” if the courts don’t delay any changes until after an appeal. “Employers, health care providers, governmental agencies and others faced with changing rules need a clear and certain roadmap,” Beshear said. “Also, people may take action based on this decision only to be placed at a disadvantage should a higher court reverse the decision.”

The rapid-fire action and reaction underscored how states are struggling to respond to a wave of court decisions striking down same-sex marriage bans of various kinds. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said state attorneys general don’t have to defend gay-marriage bans if they view them as discriminatory.

 

The Big Bang has an Echo … Echo … echo

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The Big Bang has an echo, which is what you would expect from a “bang” that, blew creation into existence.

The elusive echo has finally been located in gravitational waves. The waves, which Albert Einstein first predicted in his General Theory of Relativity, were discovered with the use of a telescope at the South Pole.

What this means, among other things, is that the universe had a beginning, and that beginning was 13.7 billion years ago.

For a long time, scientists made the (at least to me) totally illogical assumption that the universe had no beginning. It just, according to them, always was. Even as a young child, I thought this thinking was daft.

It turns out that my young child intuition was, at least in this one instance, more accurate than the thinking of the big brains of earlier eras.

I think one reason why so many learned folk made this assumption was simply that the idea of a universe which had a beginning raised all sorts of questions that their world view didn’t allow.

That’s not science. It’s human nature, and every single one of us, including scientists, is a slave to human nature. We don’t see what we don’t want to see. Unless, of course, we have to.

The “have to” in this instance was the doppler effect, writ large. Just as a train whistle changes tone as it travels past us, so the light from stars changes color as it moves away. This simple bit of logic led to the realization that the universe, which had once been thought static, was moving away from us. It was expanding at great speed.

Computations based on this movement led us backwards to a point where the expansion began: The Big Bang.

The universe that always was became the universe that had a dramatic and sudden beginning. Existence exploded into existence.

Scientists have advanced all sorts of theories to try to explain away the implications of this Big Bang. Some of them have been quite fanciful.

But this discovery leaves those ideas flat. These gravitational waves are an echo of the Big Bang in much the same way that a tsunami is an echo of an earthquake.

The Big Bang happened. It is where everything, everywhere, came from.

The rest is religion.

Hishands

So a very devout Christian woman has a heart attack …

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