John Keble’s Observation

This post is reblogged from my other blog, 19th Century Life, where I try to explore the way that the 19th Century shaped our present one.

Saints Stephen and Samuel

In 1833, Rev. John Keble gave a sermon in St. Mary’s Church, Oxford, entitled “National Apostasy.”

This sermon is widely regarded as the beginning of the Oxford Movement of the 19th Century which saw an exodus of priests and laypeople from the Anglican Church to the Roman Catholic Church.

Among these thousands of converts were John Henry Newman, Gerard Manly Hopkins and Augustus Pugin.

The sermon begins with a reference to the Old Testament Book of Samuel: ‘As for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.
—1 SAM xii. 23.

I have chosen an excerpt from Rev. Keble’s sermon, which seems particularly appropriate to our times.

One of the most alarming, as a symptom [of the Apostate mind], is the growing indifference, in which men indulge themselves, to other men’s religious sentiments.
Under the guise of charity and toleration we are come almost to this pass; that no difference, in matters of faith, is to disqualify for our approbation and confidence, whether in public or domestic life.
Can we conceal it from ourselves, that every year the practice is becoming more common, of trusting men unreservedly in the most delicate and important matters, without one serious inquiry, whether they do not hold principles which make it impossible for them to be loyal to their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier?
Are not offices conferred, partnerships formed, intimacies courted,—nay, (what is almost too painful to think of,) do not parents commit their children to be educated, do they not encourage them to intermarry, in houses, on which Apostolical Authority would rather teach them to set a mark, as unfit to be entered by a faithful servant of Christ?

Of course, Keble was preaching about his concern that the Church of England was losing its authority in that country, and that practical atheists were endeavouring to influence and control its government. Little did he realise that his desire to reform the Anglican Church would lead so many to reject its tenets in favour of Roman Catholicism. But, his observations about the rise of humanism, and its insidious influence are as relevant as ever. We have handed the governance of our ostensibly democratic countries to atheists, but expect them to pass laws which safeguard Christian principles. How did this happen? To find the answer to that question is something I often contemplate.
How did the world go from being almost completely evangelised, almost completely Christian to the immoral, post-Christian world, that we live in now, is the space of less than three centuries? I think Keble has given us a clue to the mystery.

Post-Abortion Syndrome – the ultimate empty nest phenomenon…

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There is always an air of urgency surrounding the entire abortion issue – because it is literally a matter of life and death. Legal access to abortion ensures the continuing destruction of unborn children – no one in their right mind can deny this. Less well understood is the impact that abortion has on the post-abortive mother and father, living siblings, grandparents, and society as a whole, which witnesses a callous disregard for human rights and enshrines it in law.

Post-abortion syndrome covers a range of mental-health issues, from addictions and depression, increased likelihood of subsequent abortions, inability to sustain meaningful, intimate relationships, through to suicidal tendencies. Relationships with living biological children of the post-abortive woman may be affected, and the syndrome could possibly be extended to cover those living siblings who suffer from a type of “survivor-guilt.” Maternal death rates increase for the post-abortive woman. Panic attacks and anxiety are common.Many post-abortive women claim to experience feelings of being “forced” or “coerced” into having their abortion – surely this is the polar opposite of the “empowerment” promised by the pro-choice movement.

The results from one study, conducted in New Zealand in 2005, were startling enough to convince the researchers to suggest that medical doctors should aim to reduce the number of referrals for abortions in that country, simply on the grounds that the emotional trauma sustained by a woman undergoing an abortion was greater than any risk presented by carrying her baby to term and delivering the child. This study is notable because the lead researcher had no religious affiliation, was in fact an atheist, and remained pro-choice after the studies were concluded. Another study, conducted in 2003, showed that post-abortive woman were 63% more likely to undergo mental health treatment in the 90 days following an abortion, compared to following a delivery.

The proliferation of support groups for post-abortive mothers in recent years gives an indication of both the undeniable existence of and  the need for education about post-abortion syndrome. Many of these groups have been begun by women who felt traumatized by the experience of an abortion; an experience which was compounded by a lack of disclosure by medical authorities of the exact nature of abortion and its aftermath.

We live in times of great uncertainty and moral upheaval. A cult of selfishness has evolved throughout the Western world, and the utmost importance is placed on the notion of ‘convenience.’ Our society appears to have suspended its train of logic and waits with collective bated breath to be told by the media how to live and what to believe in next. Many lies are being perpetrated and one of the most damaging lies of our age is that there are no consequences to the intentional termination of an unborn baby’s life. But, in fact, there is much evidence to suggest that post-abortion syndrome is a common, if not inevitable experience for a woman who has chosen to abort her baby; we all have a right to hear more about it.

 

Christmas – The Feast Day for Atheists

John Paul II wrote that ‘Christmas is the feast day of man.’

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

There is a young atheist who is following my blog; I’ve been to his blog a few times, and read some interesting comments by him and his readers about why they don’t believe in god/s. The contributors are very intelligent, and the blogger is very encouraging to his peers, as they articulate their beliefs.

Well, they have all been wishing each other ‘Merry Christmas’, which at first, seemed out of place. Christmas is obviously the Christian feast par excellence. Its message is so accessible to people of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds, including, it would seem, to atheists.

I was tempted to suggest that it was time for the atheists to make a stand and boycott Christmas. They could ‘fast’ from celebrating the day with their families, and ‘abstain’ from buying and receiving presents. I was going to suggest that they make a sacrifice in the name of their beliefs, as Christians have to do in some way, every day of their lives. For the atheist, Christmas could become a joyful day of rejecting Christianity.

But, reading John Paul put an end to that.

One of the billions of human beings who have been born and will be born on earth…
And at the same time, one, unique and irrepeatable.
If we celebrate the birth of Jesus so solemnly, we do it so as to testify that every human is someone, unique and irrepeatable…

Through Him and through His eyes, man is always unique and irrepeatable; someone eternally thought and eternally preselected; someone called and denominated with his own name…

This is for you, Larry – I am glad you enjoy Christmas. I hope you appreciate it and celebrate it every year, if not every day. And I hope that one day you know that the happiness you feel comes from the God you don’t believe in.