Our Lady of Light in Zeitoun, Egypt is number 4 in my countdown of the Top Ten Apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
Many of us now think of Egypt as a Muslim state and, perhaps, the land of the ancient Pharaohs. We forget about the Coptic, Christian faith that came sometime in the 1st century AD, long before the arrival of the Arab invaders (around 641 AD.) Christ never set foot in Europe or the Americas, but he did live with his parents, Mary and Joseph, in Egypt. Egypt was the haven to which the holy family fled when Herod ordered the killing of first born Jewish sons in the holy land.
The apostle Mark, widely acknowledged to be the first to write a gospel, was born in Libya in North Africa. He returned to Africa soon after Christ’s death to begin preaching in Alexandria, Egypt. Thus the Coptic church was born, and it continues (although persecuted) to this day. Members of the Coptic faith are extremely devoted to the Blessed Mother. Therefore, it shouldn’t …Continue reading
What is wrong with religion you ask? Well, at the risk of angering the masses, the simple truth is that just about all of them are willing to teach you “the philosophies of men, mingled with a little scripture.”
Now before you cry heresy and gather the lynch mob, let’s think about the statement. Let’s start with basic Christianity (for brevity sake I am limiting the scope here) and it’s countless denomination. The central figure is Christ of course, and he made some very absolute statements, which whether you believe them or not is irrelevant to the discussion, he still made the statements. Christ basically said, “I am the way,” and then he went about setting up a church to facilitate the understanding of what he said, nothing wrong with that. His followers thought it a wonderful idea to jot down what he did and said as part of keeping a record for posterity. There is nothing wrong with that either, so far so good. Note though, no one was getting rich out of all …Continue reading
With all the hatred in the world today, especially towards foreigners, and more especially towards Muslims, another group of people, the atheists, have also come upon the scene and added to the vitriol against particular groups. Believing in God is a mental sickness, they say. They would laugh God out of existence. We all have the right to choose our own faith and when you’re older determine if you are where you think you should be. Unfortunately, this is hard to do as we inherit the teachings of our parents and don’t know any better.
A child born into Christianity, Islam or Judaism knows who he is by the time he is four. He knows he goes to church, the synagogue or mosque. He has to have an identity. And so he takes on the teachings and the scriptures which his parents have taught him. By the time he reaches the age of thirty his beliefs are well entrenched. He lives his life as a Christian or a Muslim or a Hindu …Continue reading
Number 1 on my list of the Top Ten Apparitions of the Virgin Mary has to be Mexico’s Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Guadalupe is the rock star of Virgin Mary apparitions. Her image can be found on everything from shoes and t-shirts to pancake griddles. The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City is either the most visited, or the second most visited Catholic shrine in the world, depending on what source you check. She even has a her own hit television show on the Spanish-language channel Univision, called, ‘La Rosa de Guadalupe.’
Each week, Our Lady of Guadalupe saves one unfortunate person from his or her terrible fate be it un-wed motherhood or a fatal illness. Mexico’s biggest stars take turns guest starring on Our Lady’s T.V. show. Not to be outdone, Mexico’s hottest pop, mariachi and ranchera music stars stage concerts to Our Lady in her basilica. You can see a video of the hottest teen group in Mexico, RBD, singing to Our Lady of Guadalupe at her shrine below. …Continue reading
Spiritual health is very much like physical health. To be healthy is to be whole or in a state of well being. Sometimes people become spiritually sick, just like their bodies might become physically sick. Some injury or infection may render the spirit weak or broken. In this case, a solution must be found and the individual may feel a sense of urgency about the matter. Of course, because our society is very pragmatic, such a sickness may go a long time without treatment, since its nature is not very well understood.
Regaining Spiritual Health
There are many ways a spirit may become sick. Individuals are just that–the treatment one person survives may be poison for another. A difficult youth, a significant loss, a long physical illness–all these may leave a person feeling incomplete or unable to interact successfully with others and the world. An infection, in a spiritual sense, is also an issue for many. Even if all other circumstances are benign, the painful feelings of dealing with a social climate where profit …Continue reading
What is the purpose of our species? Does religion actually hold the answer? Where does it come from? These are just a few of the many questions Wes Nisker addresses in his book The Essential Crazy Wisdom. Nisker asking the questions at first seemed entertaining, until the epiphany of logic becomes overwhelmingly humbling.
What is the purpose of our species?
To answer the question “what is the purpose of our species” would make one a prophet among prophets. But we know what our species is not. We are not the missing link. We are actually the most ill-evolved species on the planet. As author H.L. Mencken is quick to disclose, “all the errors and incompetencies of the Creator reach their climax in man.” Seems like a bold statement until considering the fact that our brains are over-evolved to the point humans only use a fraction of it. We are the only species who think we know how to self-preservative, yet do the opposite…”huhum” Global Warming. The human species has no defense mechanisms that even compare …Continue reading
Religion is perhaps the most interesting facet of society. The idea that there is a higher being which exists and is looking after us is absolutely fascinating. There can never be a way to prove or disprove the beliefs of believers, and it will always be a topic of great debate for millennia to come. For many people, religion has become a relic of the past. Some children are just not instructed in the religious heritage of the family they come from, and when they go out on their own. They would like to learn more about it. This can be a very daunting task though. Ancient text such as the Old Testament in the Bible, The Torah, The Koran and the like are extremely difficult to understand for the casual reader. The internet is now changing that.
It’s called open source religion. The internet is allowing individuals to add their own commentary next to religious text, creating a collective database of information, think “Wikipedia for Christians”.
One of the projects is called “Blogging the …Continue reading
Religion, to me, is a set of beliefs that allow a person to gradually ascertain core values that make them productive members of society. Religion, to me, is meant to make a person a much better human being and should not be considered a boundary between cultures. Religions, nearly all, are merely sets of beliefs and values interpreted in various forms. Many Religions in our society share common characteristics, such as the universal concept of a deity or deities that guide individuals down pre-ordained paths. These cultures, from Christianity to Islam, all believe in a moral compass: what they believe their distinct deity would have them do.
Religion can be different things to different people; religion to some, can be hope, love, peace, honesty, compassion, courage, and so much more. However, Religion has become diluted to where these abstract concepts of inner revelation are morphed into mere political factions hoping to ascertain funds from their own gain. Religions, to me, are groups of individuals with faith in something higher, and benevolent, hoping to come together …Continue reading
Growing up in a dual religion family is not always easy, but it is very rewarding. I truly believe that I am the person that I am today because of it.
My Father was married before he met my Mother. He had four children who were all brought up in the Lutheran Church. After his wife passed away from cancer, he married my Mother, who is Catholic, and together they had me.
Growing up, I was raised in both the Catholic Church, and in the Lutheran Church. I received all of my sacraments from the Catholic Church, but I was also seen frequently with my Father and siblings at their Lutheran Church.
While Catholics and Lutherans are very similar in many of their beliefs, there are still several differences. These differences were all explained to me when I was young, and I was able to draw my own conclusions and beliefs from these teachings. As a result, I consider my beliefs a hybrid of the two religions.
Many people will not consider marrying outside of …Continue reading
Sermons on faith tackle one of the most difficult and abstract issues in all of religion. While people can toss the term faith around and claim to have it, it’s really not that simple to achieve it. It is probably a human trait to want proof of anything which demands our action, commitment, or sacrifice; yet religion (often called faith) requires faith without proof. How does anyone achieve that?
There’s a line from Paul Simon’s song “Proof” that goes “Faith is an island in the setting sun; but proof, proof is the bottom line for everyone.” These lyrics seem to sum up the human condition perfectly when it comes to relationships, fiscal transactions, and religion. Faith is an ideal which can give us great contentment; but we spend most of our lives pursuing proof, whether or not it makes us happy.
So what is a minister to do? Sermons on faith must be among the most powerful, eloquent, and persuasive thoughts that a man of faith may impart. The Old Testament God was angered by …Continue reading