Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mark 1:21-28 Unicorns and So Much More


(Click here for readings)

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught….All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.”

I feel so bad for unicorns. In some recent comments, some nasty readers have been so cruel to them! Insisting that they don’t exist! How mean! How awful! Why? Why such disdain for unicorns?

“So, if you say that there is a 50:50 chance that God exists, are you saying that there is a 50:50 chance that unicorns exist?” Hush now, please! I wouldn’t want a single child to hear such horrible lies. After all, unicorns do exist. It’s not a 50:50 chance they exist, it’s for sure they exist! Ask any adult if they have seen a unicorn and they will know exactly what you mean. Ask any young person and they too will know what you mean. They may even draw one for you. Ask a child and they will tell you, a thousand words a minute, not that one exists, but that millions exist!

And they will be absolutely correct! For unicorns exist in movie theatres, in art galleries, on top of desks and computers, in bedrooms and in toy stores!

“Now, hold on a second. They don’t really exist! They are not made out of flesh and bones.” Let me get this straight: in order for something to exist, it must have flesh and bones? Does a rock need to have flesh and bones in order to exist? Poor plants! Poor moon! Poor sky! Poor computers! Poor Internet! Why must you be so insulting? Why can’t you let them “be”? From insulting every child are you now determined to insult every creator, every inventor, every man? Have you no decency, man! Are you jealous? Must you take credit away from someone who deserves it?

What constitutes existence? Do ideas not exist? Of course they do.  Do representations of ideas exist! Of course they do, check out any blueprint!

For Plato, Forms (or ideas) were the blueprints of all that exists, and being intelligent meant being able to grasp the world of Forms with one's mind. For what you build must first be conceived!

As for me, by dismissing unicorns, you dismiss every idea ever conceived. With one illogical thought, you dismiss the world of every video game. With the wild swing of an axe, you chop the heads off of every character ever created and every invention ever made. Why? Because “they don’t ‘really’ exist”??? And they don’t “really” exist because “they are not made out of flesh and bones”?

They do exist, sir, and there is a lot to learn from them, for they exist in a very familiar way:  they are an image and likeness of man and his world.  There is no shame in saying that we imagined them, created them and made them, and that they dwell in a virtual world created by us! Now, they may be inferior to us, stuffed by us, sculpted or plastered and painted by us, but that's only because that's the best we can do...for now. For I have no doubts that one day we will be better at it, just like God is.

The problem with comparing God to a unicorn is that a unicorn belongs to man’s created world, not in the heavens.  They belong to us while man belongs to God’s created world.  We can take credit for the unicorns.  We can't take credit for the narwhals. 

Yes, unicorns, as well as computers, the web, the internet, the virtual world, all belong to the world created by man.  And unfortunately, just like an atheist, all of them (unicorns included), know not who their creator is.

That’s divine justice for you!

Unicorns exist from the creative minds of men, just like men exist from the creative mind of God; and just as unicorns are made in the image and likeness of horses, so man is made in the image and likeness of God. After all, something cannot come from nothing, not even an idea.

“A man with an unclean spirit cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” I have no doubts that one day, maybe thousands of years from now, man will create a “flesh and bone” unicorn. Maybe they will even create a type of “humanoid”. Let’s hope and pray that they are not as ignorant as “Dolly” was or as rebellious at their creator as man is.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a pattern here.

9 comments:

  1. I sense that some atheists bristled like crazy when you called them out a few posts ago for their commitment to one group and not another, citing a lack of consistency in their logic. I hope the rash of skeptical comments didn't overload your e-mail. Judging from other blogs who actually find fault with atheist ideology, the response, and the accompanying vitriol, had to have been overwhelming.

    Although one might try to make the activity of doubting a principle, it it really just the absence of one. Hence, as you say, the atheist will have to find some new Truth to give their support to--it just has to be one that flatters their ego, the intellectual part of it, the sensual part of it, the emotional part of it, or all the above. Catholicism confounds the egotist to an infuriating degree. The believers seem to give up their moral autonomy, their originality, and the right to their appetites. It's like going to school or something. However, like school, the paradox of this ceding one's control is that he will gain even greater control of oneself and his surroundings afterward.

    Comparing a unicorn to God is a false analogy to the extreme, and hopelessly misunderstands the Catholic's understanding of God. I'm glad you delved a little into Plato to show the profound nature of belief, being, and proof thereof. Skeptics need to know well what their standards of truth actually rest on. While forsaking the existence of abstracts and the human's ability to think discursively makes the skeptic's argument against god that much easier, it also negates the point of arguing in the first place since arguments and proofs wouldn't have any reason to exist in the first place. Then we'd be animals content with what was in our line of sight and little more. And the people who make that argument call themselves humanists! There's nothing human about a strictly empirical view of the universe.

    Such a stupid reduction of religion also eliminates the need to question. After all, why bother with ideas you can't see? Are doubters afraid to ask? I wonder sometimes. It seems like some people never ask the essential questions about their nature or existence in general and imagine that it all happens accidentally and spontaneously. If they actually thought about this, they might come to realize that absolute randomness becomes a harder claim to maintain than the existence of a loving Creator.

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  2. Great meditation Fr, thanks for giving us some joyful thoughts in the morning to go out there and live everyday better

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  3. What exactly is the distinction you are making between unicorns and God? From what I can tell, they exist on basically the same level: there's been a lot written, sung, etc. about them but they have no clear originator, going back to biblical times and before. Just like a unicorn can be recognized when seen, so too can God be recognized in other people.

    Also, did God create man, or did man create God and then rewrite history to say that God created man? The evidence I've seen, minus miracles, signs, etc. which could just be random occurrences, point to the latter. ("Rewrite" is a strong term, since to be honest there really wasn't a "history" in the sense used today, but hopefully you understand)

    Science has created an account of history going from an attosecond second or two after the "Big Bang" to the present day; there are some gaps, perhaps, but I don't think the scriptures can fill those gaps except as another data point. Once you have history, you can predict the future; again, I don't see much place for scripture there (there are prophecies, but most of them have already happened and the rest are so vague as to be relatively useless). Once you have the predictions, all it takes is picking among possible futures; I think it is only here that scripture starts to come into play, with things like the Ten Commandments; but even here it is lacking; it's frustratingly non-specific. I don't think there are any precedents for whether you should push someone off a bridge to save five others, for example. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, of course)

    Anyways, that's where I come from; scripture is increasingly becoming irrelevant, and the Church is adapting so slowly to science that its statements look naive and uninformed. But there's no clear replacement, so everyone is muddling along with whatever morality seems easiest.

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    1. I agree with you that the progress that science has made has given us a much more comprehensive view of our material universe. I'm not sure why you lambaste the church for being out of keeping with this progress. The Big Bang theory, which you use as a starting point for history, was created by a Catholic priest. No joke, just look (it's Wikipedia, no Catholic revisionism here): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre. Far from "adapting to science," the Church creates science. Catholic clergymen and Catholic universities, have made significant contributions to the world of science. After all, we have faith in a intelligent creator who created an intelligible universe. It's not a coincidence that many scientific and mathematical theories originated with Catholic thinkers.

      As far as the rewriting of history, I'm not sure what you mean. Human history? Catholic made up Rome, the Medieval Ages, the Enlightenment, and the rest? Were such a ridiculous claim true, such a conspiratorial feat would have to have some divine power behind it. However, history is what it is (or was), and it makes no sense to say that we've invented history just now. Furthermore, to go back to the very first conception of man, Adam, and cry foul for lack of evidence, makes little sense as proof against God. How, in any way, does this equate God with unicorns? It's non-sequitor logic: we have no photos, data-readings, and peer reviewed articles of God creating Adam; therefore, God is just as made up as unicorns.

      Your feud with the Ten Commandments unfortunately betrays some ignorance of Christianity and Judaism. Nothing about the ten commandments, or the beatitudes, is vague. Deep, yes, but still clear enough. If you're interested in specifics, you can read through the other 250 or so commandments included in the later books of the Pentateuch, and the letters of Paul in the New Testament. As for resolving your scenario essentially asking the material value of a life and the virtue of saving one of them a few of them or not, you might not find an explicit answer. The Bible does not take such a utilitarian view of man, evaluating man like a commodity worth saving. Maybe a French Revolution dictator could tell you which people should be snuffed out and which should be preserved. The Bible, in all of its books, rather cherishes the life of every individual (see: the parable about the lost sheep), so much we care about their eternal life even more than their earthly life. Death of the body is sad, but the death of the soul, to the point where that person sees no life beyond this one, is even sadder. Hence, scripture treats the sinfulness of man more than possible contingency plans for hostage situations on a bridge. Obviously these hypothetical situations should never be realized in the first place. Honestly, my first response to your scenario would be: Why the heck am I in a situation where I'm being asked to push someone off a bridge to save five other people? Is this what people do? Is this really a test of morality? Perhaps we could solve this problem before it starts by introducing the lunatic to Christ, befriending him, teaching him righteousness, and praying for his conversion--all before he goes and asks us to do horrible things to people on a bridge. Perhaps an insufficient response, but I can't think of any humane morality that would give you a sufficient answer.




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    2. My reply ended up going beyond the 4096-character limit, so I put it on my blog: bloghttp://insearchoftheultimateprogramming.blogspot.com/2013/01/reply-to-scott-walker.html

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  4. The difference is very simple: we can take credit for unicorns. We can't take credit for narwhals. We may be able to take full credit for the Internet like Al Gore, but we can't take credit at all for the Universe. It's that simple.

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    1. I did not ask about the universe, but about God; what is the your distinction between unicorns and God? I don't see why humanity can't take as much credit for coming up with God as it can for unicorns.

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    2. "What is your distinction between God and unicorns?" Answer: One is the Creator, while the other is a creation. Now if I was forced to group God with something similiar to Him, then I would group God with his image and likeness: man, since both are "Creators" in their own way. And if I had to group them by "cause and effect" then I would group God with narwhals and man with unicorns.

      Now you know that narwhals and unicorns do not explain their own existence. You also know that narwhals, horses and birds belong to a world you (man) had nothing to do with. Now to say that God does not exist but narwhals do, is like saying a painter does not exist, but a painting does; or a man does not exist, but unicorns, computers, the internet, and avatars do.

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    3. If I can take "credit" for God, then I can take credit for narwhals.

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