Film Freak: God’s Not Dead 2

notdead2A few years back, I reviewed the Pure Flix movie God’s Not Dead. I was not too happy with it, and at the time I was unaware that there was going to be a sequel, much less two. I believe that all three of these movies are terrible tools for evangelization. Now that Pure Flix has actually made a “franchise” out of this trilogy, I have decided I should go back and review the other two movies.

Although this movie is billed as  a sequel, it really has very little to do with the first movie. This time our main protagonist is not Josh Wheaton, but a high school teacher named Grace Westley. Josh is only mentioned in passing. Like the previous movie, this one has several different arcs, although much fewer and more tightly connected. The ones that don’t carry over now seem even more unnecessary than they were in the previous movie. If they weren’t going to carry over, why even have them in the first place?

Our story begins when Grace is talking with her class about Martin Luther King Jr. (coincidentally, it’s also the namesake of the school) When Brooke, a student she’s been consoling since the death of her brother, asks her about King’s own beliefs as a Christian, Grace affirms this. While this is going on, we see several students taking out their cell phones and texting to others, implying disbelief that a teacher would dare to bring up Jesus.

Brooke’s parents are outraged and even decide to get the ACLU to help them. This is one of my biggest problems with the movie. Despite what the right-wing propaganda people who made this movie want you to think, the ACLU is not some evil organization manned by atheists to persecute Christians. While they have brought cases against Christians (such as the infamous cases where bakers are sued because they refuse to bake cakes for same-sex marriages), the ACLU has actually helped Christians in many cases to defend their beliefs.  The whole name is AMERICAN Civil Liberties Union. I used to believe they were the enemy myself, but ever since I left the “right-wing” Christian mentality, I have reexamined my beliefs and learned that they are in fact an organization that helps ALL Americans, not just those who attack Christians. If you want proof of cases where they have assisted Christians, here’s a link! Yet every time we see their lawyer, he just can’t stop making evil glares and smiles. It’s a wonder we don’t see the lawyer rip a puppy’s head off the way they want us to know THIS IS THE BAD GUY!

Continue reading “Film Freak: God’s Not Dead 2”

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One Faith, Many Paths: Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC

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This month as part of my interview series, I have chosen Patheos contributor Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, who lives in Rockview, Maryland. His blog at Patheos is called “Through Catholic Lenses” and he just joined my Autistic Christians group on Facebook.

1. What was your childhood like? Are you a lifelong Catholic or a convert?

My family was very loving. Today, other than myself in religious life, my other siblings have chosen to live on the same street as mom and dad, next door or few houses down. I was a bit quirky and nerdy in that after school, I would prefer to come home and read a book about dinosaurs than go play sports a lot of the time. I was sometimes teased and usually excluded from the “cool” friend-groups at school, but I didn’t really care much as I have always worked more on internal than external motivation. I am a cradle Catholic, although I did have a lot of doubts and questions around middle and high school.

2. Were you diagnosed as a child or adult? What was your reaction?

I was diagnosed in my 30’s, as a Catholic priest. During the drive home, I was somewhat devastated. I wondered if my whole life was a farce or if I would have been better off staying in computer engineering, which was my major before entering religious life. However, as I read up on autism, all of a sudden so many things I never understood became clear. Imagine being in your 30’s and thinking everyone consciously analyzed social situations only to read that non-autistic people do this subconsciously.  I count it now as a blessing because being diagnosed allowed me to resolve a lot of things and set myself up for ministries I’d excel at rather than trying to repeatedly in ministries not so suited to someone on the spectrum.

3. What made you decide to become a priest?

To me it was not so much deciding but feeling called. I had thought vaguely about it as a possibility from when I came back from doubting the faith in high school, but didn’t think too much of it. Aptitude tests, interests, and a job to support a family all focused around computer engineering, so I felt fine there. Then listening to John Paul II in February 2001, something clicked  when he said “Be not afraid to be the saints of the new millennium.” From that moment, something clicked in my mind and I knew God was calling me.

4. What evidence can you give for God’s existence?

I exist, therefore a power able to make me exist must exist; nothing can make something exist from nothing but God; I am not nothing, therefore, God exists. I have experienced the love of God personally. Beyond that, many works explain it. I find that The Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Kreeft and Taceli has a good rundown of many arguments, although The Christian Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas Etienne Gilson has a few key arguments far more in-depth.

5. What is your favorite biblical passage and why?

When Mary Magdalene encounters Jesus at the empty tomb. To me this is the model of how we often encounter Jesus when we don’t expect him.

6. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus and why?

Mary, for obvious reasons. However, I also like a rather minor character, Ananius. You may not even remember who he is, but he’s the one who goes and helps Paul once he gets to Damascus after his conversion experience. He baptizes him, makes the scales fall from his eyes, and instructs him in Christianity. I always imagine the courage he must have had to go to Saul, who must have been such a persecutor of Christians. Also, he is an otherwise unknown Christian responsible for bringing up possibly the most famous Christian of all time.

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“Healing Autism” Book Pulled From Amazon!

We have a victory, everyone!

Years ago, I posted an article about the dangers of the awful MMS “cure” that has been peddled by the Genesis II “church”. The cult has been peddling a book called “Healing Autism” for years on Amazon, and we autistics have been clamoring for them to remove the book from their online catalog. Now today, it finally has happened!

Healing Autism is not based on scientific research. It is not advocating anything that would help an autistic child. Instead, it tells parents to administer MMS, a chemical that is similar to bleach, as an enema. It does NOT cure autism. Read this article for more information.

Not only has this book been removed, but so has Jenny McCarthy’s book on “healing” autism as well. McCarthy is not a scientist. She is an anti-vaccine nutjob who founded Generation Rescue, an organization similar to Autism Speaks. Both organizations claim that vaccines cause autism, despite a multitude of research to the contrary. Why has this book been removed as well? Not only because advocates have protested, but also because these phony claims have caused measles outbreaks to resurface. Before this, we thought measles and mumps were a thing of the past. But phony research is endangering children. Some kids have shown their parents that they are actually smarter than their own parents, though.

This is a victory for autism advocacy everywhere. We have saved lives with our actions. Now all we have to do is get the church the justice they so richly deserve.

Notre Dame Cathedral Aftermath

notre dameWhen I first heard about the Notre Dame Cathedral, I was saddened. You see, I have never been to France. But, I am a native of Louisiana, which has a rich French heritage. Not only that, I have French and Italian ancestry in my blood, so I’ve always had a sort of connection to the country. And of course I’m Catholic. And one of my favorite books is Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. (And I love Les Miserables–the musical anyway. The book is…a chore. A rewarding chore, but still)

Of course, the morning radio around here had a pretty dour attitude about it. The radio station is pretty right-wing, so of course they didn’t believe the official report. They spent more time talking about mounting another attack on Muslims and bombing their mosques than talking about the casualties and damage. I didn’t want to hear that, so I dug around on less politically-motivated news sources so I could get some kind of tally on that. I’m not a vengeful person. When 9/11 happened, my first thought was not “let’s go kill Bin Laden and make them pay!” My first thought was “Oh no! How many people died and how are we gonna find people who actually managed to survive?” I did not even ONCE consider any kind of assault. All that does is make things escalate even more! I prayed for the families of the victims, but I did not let violence enter my mind. And I tried my best to do the same with Notre Dame.

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Debunking Lies: The “Trolley Scenario”

Trolley_problem

(Image: A representation of the “train” or “trolley” scenario. A trolley is shown on a track, and there are two sets of victims. If you don’t pull the lever, 4 people die. If you do pull the lever, the trolley switches to the other tracks, and kills the other person who is tied to the tracks instead.)

In the first Toby Maguire Spider-man movie, there is a scene in which the Green Goblin has train cars suspended from a cable, and sadistically asks Spider-man to make a choice. Will he save his girlfriend, or “suffer the children”. The train scenario is based on the same idea. You are standing next to a lever. One track has four people tied down to it. The other has only one person tied to the tracks. If you don’t pull the lever, 4 people die. But if you do pull the lever, only one person dies. The scenario asks this question: would you pull the lever?

I’ve seen atheists use this scenario as a way of saying “gotcha!” to Christians, to show that they can’t always do the right thing. Using the scenario in this way fails to acknowledge a Christian principle known as the “double-effect” principle. I once heard it said that every good is someone else’s evil. We are only guilty of intended sin. If I don’t pull the lever and save those four people, I am not responsible for killing that one person. That’s because I didn’t intend his or her death.

I understand the purpose of these scenarios. They’re a good way to test one’s sense of ethics. But please, don’t use them as a means to mock Christians. From what I read on Wikipedia’s article, that was not the intended purpose.

Amino Tips and Tricks

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I’ve been a contributor to the Amino app communities for quite some time. (I had to set up a new account now that I have a Kindle, but that’s not what this about.) My username is Radical Edward (My old username, Rock Lobster, is still there, but I no longer use it). This post is designed to give tips on how to use the app.

  • Don’t use it on a phone or iPod touch. It takes up too much memory and will crash. Plus, tablets have a bigger keyboard anyway. The desktop version doesn’t allow you to edit or make posts, but you can leave comments.
  • Level up as much as you can when you first sign in. Many communities are blocked at the earliest levels. You can add reputation points by signing in, leaving comments, posting articles, basically contributing in any way. But if you just lurk, nothing happens.
  • Get to know the curators and leaders. They are admins for your community, and deserve your respect and support.
  • You don’t need to access Amino+ to enjoy the app. Amino+ is just extra stuff that you have to pay for. I never use it.
  • Always obey the community standards. Again, the admins deserve respect.
  • Once a week is the ideal contribution schedule. That’s what I do.
  • The wiki is always available for you to contribute to, but if your topic is already filled in, it’s best to pick a different topic. The wiki is basically a Wikipedia for the community, and you can contribute to it.
  • Use hashtags at the end of your article or in the article yourself. This allows the search engine to find the articles. It also increases your chance of getting featured on the main page!
  • And finally, have fun contributing. Again, look for me as Radical Edward!

 

 

Worst Star Trek TNG Episodes: Sub-Rosa

subrosaI’m currently on the final season of Star Trek: TNG, and although I do like the grand finale for the series, I’m at a point where I’m like “could we have skipped to the end?” Granted season 6 did lose a little steam, but it still had some good moments. The problem was at this point, Deep Space Nine was currently in its second season, and Voyager was in its planning stages as the flagship for the UPN Network. This meant that the writers were running out of ideas and too busy trying to work on making those shows the favorites they’d become once TNG had run its course (although both spin-offs did have considerable hurdles before they got there.)

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