Category Archives: For the Benefit of Mankind

Take Up and Read: City of God

This current blog series on Reflections is intended to encourage Christians to read more vigorously by providing a beginner’s guide to some of the Christian classics in such fields as theology, philosophy, and apologetics. Hopefully, a brief introduction to these important Christian texts will motivate today’s believers—as St. Augustine was called to in his dramatic conversion to Christianity—to “take up and read” (Latin: Tolle lege) these classic books.

This week’s book, City of God, is by that same St. Augustine and is considered by many scholars to be Augustine’s magnum opus (Latin for “greatest work”). Along with being a timeless Christian text, this work is also considered a literary classic of Western civilization. It is encouraging to know the depth at which Christian writings have influenced classical literature.

Why Is This Author Notable?

Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) is widely considered not only the greatest of the Christian church fathers but also, in many ways, the theological father of Western Christendom. In fact, Augustine has influenced both Catholics and Protestants. His diverse writings touch on such fields as theology, philosophy, history, and apologetics. For more about him and his unique accomplishments, see my article “Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on St. Augustine.”

What Is This Book About?

Over his lifetime, Augustine wrote in excess of 5 million words, which makes him arguably the most prolific ancient author of all time. City of God (Latin: Civitate Dei)written intermittently between AD 413 and 427, is considered to be Augustine’s scholarly masterpiece. The title of Augustine’s work came directly from Scripture:

Glorious things are said of you, city of God.

Psalm 87:3

City of God stands as Augustine’s monumental world-and-life-view analysis. It is his longest (more than a thousand pages) and most comprehensive work, and it is considered by some to be his most significant contribution to Western thought. In this book, Augustine laid new foundations in the fields of Christian apologetics and worldview and in the analysis of Christian history.

City of God consists of 22 chapters and can be divided into two major parts. The first part of the work consists of Augustine’s refutation (“Against the Pagans”) of the charge made by some Roman citizens that Christianity was responsible for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. (Rome had been shockingly sacked in AD 410 by barbarian invaders.) Augustine concludes that the Roman Empire’s demise was not the result of it becoming influenced by Christianity in its later stages but rather the result of the empire’s inability to live up to its highly exalted ideas.

In the second part, Augustine developed his own tale of two cities: “the City of God” and “the City of Man.” The City of God, represented as Jerusalem, has a divine origin and a heavenly, or eternal, destiny. The City of Man, represented as Babylon, has a human origin and an earthly, or temporal, destiny. Augustine saw human affairs, like all things, as being under the control of the sovereign and providential plan of almighty God. In this work, Augustine gave the Western world its first philosophy of history, presenting and defending a distinctly Christian linear view of history.

Why Is This Book Worth Reading?

This volume is widely considered one of the most important Christian books ever written. It seeks to explain the proper place of Christ’s kingdom (or City) in relation to earthly political powers and authorities (the Greco-Roman world). According to Augustine, the City of God is motivated by a different devotion (love) and has a different destiny than the societies that make up the City of Man. Thus, a central theme of City of God is that God’s kingdom purposes—salvation through Christ—transcend all temporal human powers and authorities.

Original article: Take Up and Read the City of God

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One Uniquely Smooth, Regular, and Stable Star

In several of my speaking events, I remind my audiences that stars are like human beings: they are all unstable to some degree. Also, like humans, the most stable stars are those that are middle-aged.

A multidecade set of observations of the Sun and the most Sun-like stars now shows that the Sun may be the most stable of all stars.1 It is certainly the most stable of all stars for which astronomers have performed stability observations. That stability attests to a design and purpose for the Sun and human beings living near it.

All stars exhibit both activity and variability. By “stellar activity,” astronomers mean the flares that arise from the generation, evolution, and annihilation of magnetic fields in local regions of a star’s atmosphere and layers just below its surface. By “variability,” astronomers mean changes in the total luminosity or brightness output of a star.

A team of five astronomers headed up by Richard Radick of the National Solar Observatory—located in the appropriately named town of Sunspot, New Mexico—reported on a study comparing the Sun’s activity and variability with that of 72 Sun-like stars over the time period spanning from 1992 to 2017. While such comparisons had been done before 1992, the new observations have been achieved with unprecedented precision. Much of the credit for this greatly enhanced precision is due to the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) satellite (see figure below). This satellite was able to measure the total solar irradiance (TSI) to 0.001 percent precision.

Data from SORCE shows that solar flares manifest at least two orders of magnitude (at least a factor of 100) higher levels of variability than does the Sun’s TSI. The amplitude of TSI variability is only 0.1 percent, and this variation is in lockstep with the sunspot number and the corresponding 11-year sunspot cycle. The reason why the TSI varies so little is that it reflects the slight imbalance between the luminosity deficit produced by dark sunspots and the luminosity enhancement produced by bright faculae (solar “faculae” are short-lived convection cells that form bright spots on the Sun’s surface).

Radick’s team determined four conclusions from their comparative study:

  1. The variability of Sun-like stars younger than the Sun is dominated by dark starspots, which is unlike the Sun, where the facular spots dominate the variability.
  2. Sun-like stars older than the Sun show a direct correlation between total luminosity variation and chromospheric emission variations. (The “chromosphere” is the region beyond a star’s atmosphere where flaring activity is especially prominent.)
  3. The Sun is unique in that, unlike the Sun-like stars, it exhibits a smooth, regular activity cycle.
  4. The Sun is unique in that it manifests a low TSI variation relative to its chromospheric activity level and variation.

Radick and his team deduced that the two unique features they had found for the Sun perhaps show “that facular emission and sunspot darkening are especially well-balanced on the Sun.”2 What they did not comment on is that the Sun’s two unique features that they discovered especially benefit human civilization on Earth. The extreme climate stability that we have been enjoying for the past nine thousand years is due, in large part, to the Sun’s low TSI variation by its smooth, regular activity cycle.3 Without our current and recent past extreme climate stability, billions of humans could not live on Earth at one time, nor could billions of humans achieve the technology for billions to hear and respond to Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation and eternal life. Thank God for the Sun!

Original article: One Remarkably Smooth and Stable Star

Delaware: Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. 1, Ch. 13

Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, by Joseph Story, 1833

Volume 1, Chapter 13,  DELAWARE


§ 126. AFTER Penn had become proprietary of Pennsylvania, he purchased of the Duke of York, in 1682, all his right and interest in the territory, afterwards called the Three Lower Counties of Delaware, extending from the south boundary of the Province, and situated on the western side of the river and bay of Delaware to Cape Henlopen, beyond or south of Lewistown; and the three counties took the names of NewCastle, Kent, and Sussex.1 At this time they were inhabited principally by Dutch and Swedes; and seem to have constituted an appendage to the government of New York.2

§ 127. In the same year, with the consent of the people, an act of union with the province of Pennsylvania was passed, and an act of settlement of the frame of government in a general assembly, composed of deputies from the counties of Delaware and Pennsylvania.3 By this act the three counties were, under the name of the territories, annexed to the province; and were to be represented in the General Assembly, governed by the same laws, and to enjoy the same privileges as the inhabitants of Pennsylvania.4 Difficulties soon afterwards arose between the deputies of the Province and those of the Territories; and after various subordinate arrangements, a final separation took place between them, with the consent of the proprietary, in 1703. From that period down to the American Revolution, the territories were governed by a separate legislature of their own, pursuant to the liberty reserved to them by a clause in the original charter or frame of government.5

You Know Little

Everything you think you know about Christianity is probably very close to everything you think you know about science: dead wrong.

When you finally recognize the last fifty years has seen a premeditated corruption of meaning, terms & definitions, history and language…

And that the people who corrupted these cherished things are deluded Marxists and contemptible postmodernists…

You will quickly realize most of everything you’ve heard about these subjects is not just wrong, but opposite of what they really are.

You’ve been tricked.

You’re a victim of Orwellian double-speak, and because you were too [expletive] lazy to get off your ass and search these matters out yourself, you fell for propaganda.

The entire time you thought you were escaping myths, you were guzzling them down as fast as anyone could serve them to you.

You have only yourself to blame.

Now, get up, grab some truth and shake off the old frightened man you used to be.

Your cowardice will not pass as a defense at your trial.

Maps of Meaning 10: Genesis and the Buddha

More insights from Dr. Jordan B. Peterson.

Refreshingly lucid and exact.

Assessing the Impact of Father-Absence from a Psychoanalytic Perspective

Abstract

This article examines the role of father and effects of his absence within the context of psychoanalytic theory. The article begins by exploring some of the earliest psychoanalytic writings on the father and his role in child development. The literature describing the effects of father-loss/absence from a developmental perspective is then presented within the framework of the four central psychologies of drive/structural theory, ego psychology, object relations theory and self psychology. Treatment implications are then discussed in regard to five central areas of assessment: (1) the quality and nature of attachment to father; (2) father’s role during the first and second separation-individuation; (3) Oedipal issues; (4) father’s capacity to have functioned as an important selfobject; and (5) the nature and quality of the paternal representation. A case is then presented followed by a discussion of the clinical implications when assessing father-child dynamics. The article concludes by outlining societal trends that elevate the importance of understanding the father’s role in child development and the necessity for therapists to competently assess paternally based issues that clients bring to treatment.

Introduction

In 1900, Freud wrote that the loss of one’s father is the single greatest loss a person can experience. Some of the earliest psychoanalytic writings on the effects of father-absence emerged from Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham’s observational work during World War II in England’s Hampstead Nurseries. They observed that in fantasy, the mental images of the parents, particularly that of the father, who was the parent away most often, “undergo great changes compared with the real parent in the child’s past” (Freud & Burlingham, 1943, p. 61). It was noted that these fantasies developed in relation to the father, but were not directly due to the father’s influence (Freud & Burlingham, 1973). In fantasy, the paternal images “seemed better, bigger, richer, more generous and more tolerant than they have ever been” (Freud & Burlingham, 1943, p. 61). Many of the boys who possessed such an idealized paternal image had in fact never even seen their fathers in reality. Freud and Burlingham suspected that they acquired the paternal representation from other nursery children who had gone home and interacted with their fathers and then returned to “spread the conception of the father” through the rest of the group of youngsters (Freud & Burlingham, 1973, p. 658). As the missing, or in some cases, dead father, was idealized, Freud and Burlingham also observed a specific repression of any negative feelings toward the father. They noted that both the idealization and the warding off of negative affect “are used largely to embellish and maintain the positive side of the child-parent relationship” (Freud & Burlingham, 1943, p. 73).

The Role of the Father

The impact of father loss or absence can best be understood within the context of the father’s role in child development. The role of father, from a psychoanalytic perspective, was first described by Sigmund Freud, who thought the father played an important role in both the pre-Oedipal and Oedipal phases of child development. Freud suggested that the development of a loving attachment to the father, most particularly for boys, was crucial for both healthy development and resolution of the Oedipal stage. Freud hypothesized that boys experienced the father as a competitor and prohibitor of incestuous sexual impulses, an object of envy and hate, and someone who provokes guilt and fear (Freud, 1921). As Dorothy Burlingham (1973) pointed out, Freud also saw the father more positively–as a protector, and that of a “great” and “Godlike” being that is idealized by the small child. Up until the early 1940s, post-Freudian notions of the father-child relationship focused primarily on the father’s role during the Oedipal period. During the mid-1970s and early 1980s, a number of papers and books on fathering began to appear in the literature, mainly from American writers. In 1979, Ross referred to fathers as the “forgotten parent,” in the psychoanalytic literature. In the last several decades, proponents of ego psychology, object relations theory, and self psychology have expanded the role of the father in child development. Within the context of these theoretical frameworks, the father is seen as an attachment figure in his own right (Abelin, 1971, 1975; Lamb, 1997); facilitator of both the first and second separation-individuation period (Blos, 1967, 1984, 1985, 1987; Mahler, 1968; Mahler & Gosliner, 1955; Mahler & McDevitt, 1968; Mahler, Pine, & Bergman, 1975); as an internalized other (Davids, 2002; Fairbairn, 1941, 1944, 1952, 1958, 1968); and as a selfobject (Kohut, 1971, 1977, 1984). The father is also seen as aiding in the modulation of libidinal and aggressive drives (Herzog, 1980, 2001); tempering the ambivalence generated within the mother-child bond (Winnicott, 1964); as a container for projected anxiety that originates in the mother-infant relationship (Davids, 2002); and as originator of triadic psychic capacities (Abelin, 1971, 1975).

Continued…

Original article: Impact of Missing Fathers


Despite the contortions of the Far Left who still war against some imaginary Patriarchy — first expressed in their hatred of Moses, that ancient paternal lawgiver, and ending with God the Father Himself — the absence of fathers on children (boys and girls) is overwhelmingly negative.

Though far from a peer-reviewed control group,  I still recognize that the majority (90%+) of people I know who are Far Left, Marxist, communist, anarchist, or atheist, all had absent, adulterous, abusive, or alienated fathers (or mothers).

It is such a consistent precondition of the above philosophical and political positions,  I suspect they are almost entirely the result of trauma, abuse, or emotional alienation.

In short, they are the beliefs of men and women without fathers.