Monday, March 18, 2013

What would you do if you learned of potential bank runs across Europe and in the US?

Let’s just say that creditor nations get their way and insist that bank rescues must and will be funded at least in part by depositors.  That is what is in the process of happening to Cypress depositors.

Let’s also pretend that that Europeans became so skittish over what is occurring to depositors in Cypress that they think it may happen to their deposits.  Let’s say the concern becomes to real and imminent that a run on banks occur first in Greece, Italy, and Spain, and after a few days spread to Euro-nations with sounder economies throughout the “Zone” .

Suppose these runs result in failures of some of the largest banks in Europe.  And since the US banking system is tied to these large banks in many ways, fear spreads here in the US and folks begin withdrawing their funds from US banks in droves.

My question to you is this:  Is it worth it to you to withdraw all or a substantial portion of your funds from US banks?  Would you only leave enough to pay your bills each month, or would you take it all out?  If you took it all out, how would you pay your utilities, your mortgage and car payment, would you be able to purchase anything from Amazon or any other retailer further than a short drive from your house?  How would a “cash only” existence affect your day to day activities?

These are some of the things that are increasingly worth our while to consider.

Let’s go a bit further with these scenarios.  What impact would bank runs and bank failures have on the value of the dollar?  Would taking 10% from everyone’s bank account cause the dollar to be worth more, less, or will its value remain the same?  Theoretically, if money is taken out of circulation, the value of the dollar increases.  But are these dollars really taken out of circulation?  Or are they just taken out of our control and into the circulation of the government or bankers?

What affect would bank failures have on the value of the dollar?  Again, to the extent that money remains in failed closed banks, that money is at least temporarily taken out of circulation.  Of course there are FDIC guarantees, but the FDIC has only enough backing to cover a small minority of deposits in US banks.  Eventually the “good faith and credit” of the US government “may” supplement depleted FDIC funds.  What would that do?  That ADDS to the money supply which in turn reduces the value of the dollar, creating inflated prices for everything.

Any way you look at it, our use of money will be disrupted in some manner for some unknown period of time, whether it be days, weeks or months.  We need to be keeping our eyes out for these events that can overtake us in a matter of days or hours.  Or they may never occur.  We don’t know. 

What we DO know is that events in the banking realm are getting dicey.  We know that people often react to uncertainty and fear in irrational ways creating unanticipated consequences.  I’m just suggesting we think about these things and what we can do to position ourselves to minimize the emotional and financial trauma that is more likely to result if we ignore what is happening.

I would love to hear about the steps that some of you may be considering to help you cope with what may be increasingly likely scenarios.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catholic decline; Islamic resurgence: Coincidence?

No truth and the consequences

Is it a coincidence that as the Catholic Church has descended into malfeasance, watered-down doctrine, and loss of faith and church attendance that Islam has come alive?  Or is there more to it?

There are several ways to look at this inverse relationship between these two belief systems:

  1. Coincidence, which I don’t really believe in.
  2. Islam is filling a void left by the Catholic Church
  3. Islam senses a weakness in the devoutness and will of the West led by the troubles and decline of the Catholic Church
  4. God enables evil to fill a void created by the unfaithfulness of the Catholic Church and Christians generally.

Focusing on the Catholic Church, the clear evidence of trouble has made the headlines over the last several decades.  In recent history, trouble began soon after the Second Vatican Council concluded in 1965.  Here are some of the faith destroying events that have occurred since the ‘60’s:

First, watering down of doctrine purportedly to be more “user friendly” to the liberalizing masses was accomplished by the Second Vatican Council.

The Second Vatican Council (Latin: Concilium Oecumenicum Vaticanum Secundum or informally known as Vatican II) addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on 8 December 1965.  From Wikipedia

Examples of such “watering down” of Catholic doctrine are provided in the Lumen Gentium, a doctrinal statement created in 1964 contemporary with the Second Vatican Council.  Portions of this doctrinal statement declare a semi-universal salvation:  In so many words, many may be saved without knowledge of,  trust  in, or commitment to Christ.  The statement appears to minimize ANY threat of punishment or Hell for those who don’t know the Gospel, Christ, or even God of the Bible.  All of this is with the intention of being kinder and gentler to win adherents.  

More specifically, Section 16 deals with those who have not yet received the Gospel, or the evangelical/missionary message of “how to be saved” or “how to avoid hell” or “how to receive ‘eternal life’”, depending on your religious persuasion.  Section 16 is provided in its entirety at the end of this blog, but here is an important excerpt:

“But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator.  In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”  (underline/italics added)

This statement literally shouts unadulterated ignorance of Islam and the nature of its pagan god.  The Islamic god had no son.  The Islamic god is not knowable.  The Islamic god does not express love.  In virtually every significant way, the Islamic god is different or opposite the Judeo-Christian God of Catholic doctrine.  Yet astoundingly, this statement declares Islam worships the same God. 

Just as amazing, the statement places Muslims above all others among the unsaved for God’s mercy.  Why?  On what basis?  There are non-Muslim pagans all over the world subject to God’s grace.  What about the millions of Hindus, Buddhists, and Siks who may inwardly have a better understanding of God than unmaleable, malevolent Muslims?  How about the Jews who are at least in the same ball park of knowing the same God?  Why were Muslims proclaimed in “first place?”  What message did the Catholic hierarchy receive in the mid-60’s that caused that sort of nonsense?  Was it a result of Islamic intimidation?  Blackmail for as yet unrevealed sex acts by Catholic hierarchy?  A deal struck with the devil?  Middle East funding for remodeling the West Wing of the Vatican?  Centuries of wishful thinking?  A bout of extreme political correctness?  Nothing else would explain this insane statement.

In any case, here we have it.  Not only is knowing Christ and his character and ultimate sacrifice not required for salvation, but Muslims are first in line to receive His grace.

Then in the next decade we begin hearing rumblings about sex abuse and cover-up in the church involving Bishops and possibly Cardinals, becoming full bore headlines in the ‘80’s and 90’s.  The Church is still paying out millions.

Related but a clearly a separate and equally serious problem is the so called “gay mafia” within the Vatican hierarchy.  These individuals are likely the ultimate proponents of child molestation cover-ups.   They are most likely trying mightily to further erode Catholic Doctrine to promote gay marriage and to legitimize their gay lifestyle throughout the church.

Not only were the temporal punishments of the Medieval, Spanish and Roman inquisitions ceased for folks failing to convert to Catholicism removed from Catholic practice centuries ago, now even the consequence of eternal, spiritual punishments have been removed for non-belief.  Why bother with religion at all?

And the statistics show it.  The result?  A precipitous decline in membership, attendance, and faith over the past 50 years.

  • The number of priests, graduate level seminaries and churches without a resident priest/pastor declined nearly 50% between 1965 and 2012
  • A Gallop poll indicates the percentage of Catholics age 20-29 who attend church declined from 56% in 1963 to 30% in 2003.  This doesn’t include the likely decline in those claiming they are Catholic.
  • Any modest growth the Church has enjoyed over the past decade is due to the huge influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal, from South of the border.  If only longer-term US citizens are considered, those counting themselves as an “active Catholic” would be in significant decline.

Contrast the above with the resurgence of historical orthodox Islam.  From Wikipedia:

Islamic revival (Arabic: الصحوة الإسلامية‎ aṣ-Ṣaḥwah l-ʾIslāmiyyah, "Islamic awakening") refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, speech and media censorship, and values by Muslims.[1] One striking example of it is the increase in attendance at the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, which grew from 90,000 in 1926 to 2 million in 1979.[2]

From a Western perspective, two of the most important events that inspired the resurgence were the Arab oil embargo and subsequent quadrupling of the price of oil in the mid-1970s, and the 1979 Iranian Revolution that established an Islamic republic in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini. The first created a flow of many billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia to fund Islamic books, scholarships, fellowships, and mosques around the world; the second undermined the assumption that Westernization strengthened Muslim countries and was the irreversible trend of the future.

The “revival” or “resurgence” of Islam has emboldened Muslims around the globe to reassert their orthodox Islamic ideology.  Islam’s fundamental doctrines promote not only condemnation of and hatred toward everyone who does not convert to Islam, but requires conversion under threat of temporal death or subjugation.  These were maintained below the surface of most of the world’s awareness prior to the 1970’s.  And now they have erupted full bore.  So now, once again not only does Islam promise eternal punishment for failure to convert, but it metes out temporal punishment for failure to convert.  Contrast this with the declining state of spiritual urgency of Christians and especially Catholics.

The result:  A dramatic resurgence in Islamic activism, fervor, supremacism, and terror.

The Church is being dealt the consequences of their failure to promote the truths that were handed down to Her from the Apostles as well as ignoring the realities of Islam which are hell bent on washing over the Catholic/Christian millieu with their fascist, satanic ideology.

For an example of the damage that can be done to Christianity and westerm culture by careless, poorly articulated, or downright ignorant Christian pronouncements, see this article about the actions taken by one US Catholic Bishop against a noted Catholic Islamic expert HERE .(


Excerpt of the “Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” known as Lumen Gentium:

16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

So what IS our responsibility before God?

Assuming a person believes “there is a God”, what is his responsibility to that God?

First, is He a personal, knowable God as in Judeo-Christian understanding?  Or is he an unknowable entity as in the Islamic system?  If He is unknowable, responsibility toward such god cannot be knowable, either.  So the question posed in the title must focus on our responsibility to a “knowable God.”

The popular understanding of our responsibility toward God in Christian circles is 1) acknowledging that God exists, 2) understanding that Christ is His son, 3) believing that Christ’s mission was to forgive sin and thus provide us future eternal bliss.  Period.

Our role and responsibility in this Christian belief system is virtually non-existent.  Oh, some believe we should attend church at least occasionally and perform some “good works” now and then.  Beyond that, “once saved/always saved” becomes the believer’s “get out of hell free” card.  Our personal responsibilities toward God are rarely mentioned.  And then there is the “free gift” salvation pulled from Scripture which also infers we have no responsibility, no role whatsoever, in our eternal life.  In Catholicism we have the infinitely repetitious, perpetual, always forever and ever amen confession and forgiveness routine that comes to our rescue.  Think “Catholic mob hit man”.  We are saved as often as we express regret.  The sincerity of the regret and conscious, diligent, persevering effort to make amends and change our ways is rarely mentioned.

So, what does our knowable, personal God expect of us beyond what is most often expressed in the “feel good”, entertainment-driven, no personal responsibility, perpetually-ignoring-and-excusing-immorality churches?

Well, at least a balance between judgment and grace.  Grace is certainly a gift of God and a significant part of what God provides, but so is judgment.  Without judgment there could be no grace.  In 100 years the churches in this country have gone from all judgment, fire and brimstone to all grace, little morality, and inconsequential personal responsibility.

God expects our recognition of what is moral and immoral in His sight.  He expects us to make known to others around us what is moral and immoral in His sight.  He expects us to take His commandments and teaching seriously, for ourselves and for others.  He expects that there be temporal antipathy toward society’s  immorality, even though He offers eternal pardon.  Instead, churches admonish us not to judge and accept and defend every behavior.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.   These new-age concepts are based on unbalanced, out of context misrepresentations of historic Christian thought.   God expects us to respect and follow our own faith not so that we can believe every other belief system is just as good and acceptable, but so that we deeply believe and understand that our belief system is superior – the only one ordained and acceptable to the Creator of the Universe.  And that our actions follow these beliefs.

Today’s Christian faith appears to be “tolerate everything” – be critical of nothing.  There are people who more energetically believe the moon is made of crème cheese than the manner most Christians relate with their God.  And there is undeniably greater enthusiasm of Muslim leaders toward their ideology than the average Christian leader has toward his.  This contrast in energy and enthusiasm will not only spell the end of our Judeo-Christian-based culture in this country within a couple of decades but will ensure an emergence of a fascist ideology in the image of Islam.

More clueless Christians

I engaged in a conversation with a couple at dinner recently. In the course of conversation I learned that the husband was a former school teacher and is self-described as having been a well respected school disciplinarian. Learning this gave me the perfect opening to ask

1) his take on the state of student respect and behavior in the schools today compared to a couple of decades ago, and

2) what he thought the reasons were for the collapse of self-discipline and respect in the schools.

He readily confirmed the answer to my first open ended question: Public schools had become unteachable dens of disrespect. He admitted he was glad to be out of that profession due to that very fact. His answer to my second question took more prodding. His first attempt at an answer: The parents side with their disrespectfully disobedient little Timmy, not the teacher. "But why?", I probed. He seemed stymied. He couldn't quite put his finger on it. After I suggested a reason might be the consequences of an "anything goes" culture, hoping to hear the "no prayer/no God" answer, he revealed he was a deacon in a Catholic Church and spends dozens of hours preparing sermons to help the overworked Priest. A Deacon in a church who is clueless (or worse, knowing but silent) about the reasons for moral decline in our schools?  Red lights flashed in my head. "Clueless apostate deacon alert!!! Warning. Warning!" (That was the counter-cultural, judgmental side of my brain kicking in, thank God.)  Imagine that. A man who regularly gives sermons who cannot give a spiritually-based reason why kids have reverted to animal behavior in schools over the past 20 years. Clue: It has something to do with God, or rather the absence thereof.  But wait!  There’s more!

A bit later, the subject of Islam came up (Ok, I probably made some unflattering comment about that demonic ideology.) This perked up clueless' wife's' ears. She jumped to Islam's defense so quick it made my head spin. Clueless II insisted Islam is just another religion, no better, no worse than Catholicism, citing the Crusades, naturally (gee, a matched pair of cluelessness.)  Moral equivalency strikes again – and anachronistically in a different millennium.  I asked how she came to this conclusion.  She gave the same story most other ignorant defenders of Islam give: She knew a nice Muslim. She called him "a young boy." "And", she went on, "Islam is really all about peace." At that, the spaghetti I was eating was nearly snorted out of my nose. I mostly recovered and asked "how old was this 'young boy'". "Seventeen", she offered. I interjected "just old enough to practice taqiyya and kitmam" after which I explained the meaning of these terms as well as the Islamic doctrine of abrogation. I gave a two minute lecture to which she politely nodded and, I am quite sure quickly dismissed due to the total absence of follow-up questions or any further discussion of the topic.  These fools don’t really want any more information than what they already gullibly believe.  I really do need to learn how to engage clueless people a lot better.

This left me with a stark and disappointing confirmation of my experience with too many church leaders and those whose ignorance of our "tolerate everything/judge nothing" culture that causes them to be incredibly naive.

Is the Catholic Church (and most of Christianity in the US) in trouble?  Yes indeed it is - on two fronts: Their leader’s refuse to grasp and address the reasons for the precipitous moral decline in this nation as well as their gross ignorance of and lack of concern about the Islamic threat to our nation and freedoms is an epidemic. 

Too many Christian leaders have watered down the basics of Christian doctrine to please and attract too many for the wrong reasons (e.g. for “the music” and entertainment, for “feel good” pandering, for perpetual/repetitious forgiveness for perpetual/repetitious personal moral failings, for its social life or business connections).  Many believe that Christ died to enable us to continue sinning without temporal or eternal consequences; that His purpose was to make us rich, happy and perpetually forgiven with little or no responsibility on our end.  Consequently many leaders and attendees have convinced themselves that their own “faith” is no better or worse than any other – even Islam.  That kind of faith truly is no better than any other product peddled by snake oil salesmen and fascist Islamists.  The doctrinal pendulum has swung from pure hell, fire, and brimstone to the other extreme of pure irresponsibility.  This has created a moral vacuum that is being filled by whatever militant tripe comes along.

My private, after-the-fact visceral reaction to this dinner conversation was "God. Help Us."