Monday Miscellany, 4/8/24

Monday Miscellany, 4/8/24 April 8, 2024


Cosmic coincidences and the total eclipse; adult baptisms soaring in France; and more evidence that most children with gender dysphoria grow out of it.

Cosmic Coincidences and the Total Eclipse

Today is the Total Eclipse.  (For the time and for how much you will see in each state, go here.)  Here in St. Louis, we’ll get “99% totality.”  We plan to drive a little ways to get the full effect.

In an eclipse, the moon comes between earth and the sun.  In a total eclipse the disk of the moon it totally blocks out the disk of the sun, making a brief period of darkness in the afternoon.

Isn’t it remarkable that the moon is just the right size to block the much-larger and much-farther away sun?  That the two disks seem to be the exact same size has been described as a “cosmic coincidence.”  My fellow Patheos blogger Randy Alcorn reflects on this, including a link to Exploratorium, a scientific education site, which explains the phenomenon (my bolds):

The Sun’s diameter is about 1,000,000 miles, and its distance from Earth is about 100,000,000 miles. What is the ratio of the Sun’s diameter to its distance from Earth?

The moon’s diameter is a bit less than 2,300 miles, and its distance from Earth is a bit more than 230,000 miles. What is the ratio of the moon’s diameter to its distance from Earth?

The moon and Sun share a coincidental relationship: From our perspective on Earth, each has a size/distance ratio of 1 to 100. Both the moon and Sun are about 100 times farther from Earth than the sizes of their respective diameters. This means that the moon will block out, or “eclipse,” anything behind it that has the same 1-to-100 size/distance ratio. This is the “cosmic coincidence” that makes solar eclipses possible.

Though the Sun is much, much larger than the moon, and much farther away, from our point of view on Earth the moon can perfectly cover the far-away Sun, resulting in a total solar eclipse.

Randy Alcorn says, an eclipse is “another one of those countless ‘cosmic coincidences’ that gave you the impression there really is someone who designed it that way.”  Actually, in the words of the title to his post, Because There Is A Creator, There Are No Cosmic Coincidences. He includes some good Bible verses for eclipse watching:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands. . . .O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man  (Jeremiah 32: 17-19)

[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Adult Baptisms Soaring in France

Europe has become mostly secularist, and France has led the way.  Yet this year the number of adult baptisms in France, as well as in Belgium, is soaring.

Just three months into 2024, the number of adult baptisms was 30% more than all of 2023.  The baptism of adolescents, aged 11 to 17, is up 43%.  The biggest jump is among young adults.   18-25.  According to a church report,

“All age groups are on the rise, but the biggest increase is among young people aged 18 to 25,” it said. “In fact, these young people represent 36% of baptized adults, compared with only 23% before the pandemic period.”

Church officials in these nominally Catholic countries are expressing surprise and bewilderment at what is happening.  According to Bishop Olivier Leborgne,

“In almost every diocese in France, people are coming to the Church to ask for baptism, confirmation, and the Eucharist, sometimes in a movement of bewildering proportions.”

“They have come about through identified paths, having intersected with our pastoral projects and missionary endeavors, but they also arrive as part of a personal process that has taken a completely unexpected path.”

“In a world in search of meaning, Christ and his Gospel are speaking to people who had never heard of him before. Many are witnessing authentic experiences of salvation, the kind that lift you up, straighten you out, restore your confidence, and reopen your future. How can we fail to give thanks?”

As for the jump in young people seeking baptism, Fr. Vincent Breynaert says,

“It is difficult to establish the profiles of these young people, because the social origins and the motivations that drive them are as diverse as their geographical distribution, but they have in common that they have had a spiritual experience and a personal encounter with Christ.”

“A certain number say they were touched by the beauty of a liturgy, the soothing silence of a church, the testimony of a friend.”

He added: “In a society where 80% of young people have received no religious education, these young ‘called ones’ have few preconceived ideas about the Church, but they are thirsty for formation, reference points, fraternity, and roots.”

More Evidence that Most Children with Gender Dysphoria Grow Out of It

Wesley J. Smith reports on an important new study of children with gender dysphoria, the syndrome of being discontented with one’s gender that is the pretext for transgender medical interventions on young children.  The study found, in the words of the title of his article, that “Most Gender-Confused Children become Gender-Conforming Adults.”

The study, Development of Gender Non-Contentedness During Adolescence and Early Adulthood , published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that “gender non-contentedness is most common around the age of 11 and that the prevalence decreases with age.”  That number is fairly large, nearly one in five.  But almost all of them grow out of it.

In the words of the report:

We identified three different developmental trajectory types of gender (non-) contentedness throughout adolescence and early adulthood: (1) the majority (78% of the sample) consistently indicated to never experience any gender non-contentedness, (2) a group reporting gender non-contentedness in early adolescence, but not any longer in adulthood (19% of the sample), and (3) a small group (2% of the sample) showing the opposite pattern of increasingly reporting gender non-contentedness with age.

And yet, many of those 11 year olds are being subjected to mutilating, sterilizing surgery and hormone treatments that will affect them the rest of their lives.  Just because they ask for it at the time, or are manipulated into it by social media or their teachers.  And doctors and even some parents do this to them, oblivious to the fact that they are only children who do not know what they are doing and whose feelings will change when they get older.

"Their democracy (bureaucracy) had to be fortified to protect from populism (unmanaged public sentiment).It was ..."

God in the Womb
"In the United States, the theory has been that our "pseudo-religious" foundations can be bought ..."

God in the Womb
"The managerial bureaucracy in government is one of those ideas that was created with good ..."

God in the Womb
"Managers at a basic level synchronize and organize the functions of large institutions. They are ..."

God in the Womb

Browse Our Archives