The Environment, our home in ruins… By Blogger Christopher T.

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Picture this.

Adam and Eve, free to frolic about in the beautiful, lush, vibrant garden and given the role to look after the precious ecosystem. All the living creatures are free from disease, death and suffering. Eve picks up this large, ripe fruit after being tempted by an odd-looking, elongated serpent. Eve takes a bite from it and Adam takes a bite after. Adam and Eve becomes more worried on how they are seen rather than caring for the garden. God banishes them from paradise.

Now stop imagining.

Look at us now. We have become Adam and Eve’s true descendants. We are more worried about ourselves and our own personal image that now, humanity is literally ‘vacuum-cleaning’ the Earth dry of raw materials to fuel our own consumption, our own desires. The environment is affected through deforestation, pollution, Climate Change, desertification, Rising Sea levels, Coral Bleaching, Mass extinction of endangered species, Mining, Genetical engineering,  overfishing, poaching, soil degradation and garbage disposal issues just to name a few. In case one is unaware, Climate Change is when long-term change affects the Earth’s temperature and climate.

Pollution is produced to meet our energy needs.

Pollution is produced as waste while meeting our energy needs.

How does society view the environment?

Most people in society agree that the environment isn’t looking too good. Those who believe that the environment is falling apart blame rich companies, factories, the government, society and human beings for Global warming.  Those who believe that the environment is alright tends to blame scientists for fabricating a story like Global warming for research money however, those that don’t believe in Global Warming are likely to be rich company owners, conservatives in government and people with little understanding or who choose to ignore the matter. The one thing that is clear is that most in the world see that the environment has problems affecting it’s ecosystem and that it is up to humans to clean up their own mess.

churchwindWhat does the Catholic Church say about environmental matters?

The Catholic Church sees the Global Warming and other environmental problems as issues that needs to be dealt with. In the Bible, Genesis from Chapter 1 to the end of chapter 2, it states how God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. From the Heavens and Earths, to the Creatures of the air and the sea, It was here in the Bible that we are given order over all things ‘Created’. The Catechism states that in section 327 summarising the Creation of the world in Genesis. Sections 338 to 339 goes on to talk in detail about God’s creation, our relationship with the Creator and the ‘Created’, and how we and other created works originated. For example, the creatures governed by instinct today were in fact creatures that had once possessed perfection.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” –Genesis 2:15

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” –Genesis 1:28

In the verses above, it states the original purpose of why humans were created; to serve and tend the garden of Eden.  To look after it and be stewards of the Earth. Being beings governed by free will and morality, we are given God’s image and likeness which is the Dignity of the human person; to allow us to be able to experience the fullness of majesty and wonder  of God’s creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”- Genesis 1:26

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” –Mark 10:6

Looking at Mark 10:6, Jesus had known that everything Created had a role, a responsibility. Mark Chapter 10 at whole was  talking about certain moral issues like divorce and adultery. The Pharisees asked Jesus on divorce and claim to settle the issue when relating it to when Moses allowed divorce, whilst Jesus replied that men and women all have a role and that God has a plan.  Hence, God made men and women in the beginning for a certain purpose which was to love each other. It is God who had the intent of creating a plan and giving husband and wife a role which is the same plan that governs the role and interconnectedness of  the ecosystem.

My opinion

As Christians, we should in fact be trying in every way possible to salvage and save God’s Creation from catastrophe. To encourage groups like the Salvation Army or Greenpeace to find  a way to contribute to the saving of the Earth. As said in the Bible, we are created for the reason of caring for the Earth.  Our dominion over all other life forms gives  us power and responsibility. Thereby I’d like to conclude with a quote from Spiderman, “With great power, Comes great responsibility”.

A video on what Pope Francis says about the protecting the environment and fighting evil.

A clip on God’s Creation by the Movie Noah (2014)

Links:

For more on the Catechism on God’s Creation, Click Here.

For more on the Bible and what it has to say on the environment, Click Here.

For more on what companies like shell think about the environment, Click Here.

An in depth article on the Catholic Church’s view on the environment, Press Here.

For more on Christianity’s relationship with the idea of environmentalism, Click Here.

For a larger of idea of how Evangelicals take action to help the environment, Click on this Evangelical Organisation link.

Capital Punishment or life? By Blogger Christopher T.

Taking only fifty seven minutes, Joseph Wood was executed by law for the committing of two murders in 1989. On the 23rd of July 2014, he became one of the many criminals to be punished by the Death penalty in Arizona, USA. In the Middle East, women are seen as inferior to men and women are still being stoned to death by their male counterparts for being disloyal. In last year alone, 778 people were put to death in 22 countries and that’s excluding China; which is estimated to have executed more people than all other countries that have the death penalty combined, according to Amnesty international.

Firstly, What is Capital Punishment and how is it brought about?

Capital punishment is ‘the killing of an individual as a form of punishment for one’s crimes and is authorised legally’, paraphrasing the Oxford dictionary. The Death penalty is debated heavily on whether if the law has a right to punish those by death for one’s crimes. However, many see this form of punishment as unethical, uncivilised and something of the past. In case one is curious, this form of punishment can be performed via an injection of a lethal drug able to kill; a firing squad to kill entire groups; an electric chair that can fry one’s internal organs; by hanging which can strangle the criminal to death or by guillotine which could decapitate someone’s head clean off just to name a few.

How punishment is brought about...

Does anyone deserve this?

 

Who is said to deserve the Death Penalty?

A criminal who has committed a heinous crime whether in the murdering of others or inflicted mass atrocities is said to deserve such a punishment however the Death Penalty varies  in different countries depending on the law, religion or society’s specific worldview in a specific time period. Capital Punishment has been performed countless times throughout history to bring about the law and justice. For example, Jesus Christ was punished by the Romans for being considered to stir up trouble hence Jesus suffered crucifixion; the normal punishment of the time period .

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What does the Catholic Church say about punishment via death?

The Catholic church has had a history of mixed views on the issue of sentencing one to death. Presently, the Church is leaning towards an abolition of the death penalty for the dignity of the human person as stated by the Catholic Catechism in section 1700 of section 1. Being created in the God’s image and likeness does not gives us a reason to kill others regardless of what they have done. Scripture backs this up through Genesis 1:27. The fifth commandment of the ten commandments in Exodus 20:13 says ‘Thou shalt not kill’ implying that any form of killing, even by the law, is seen by God as still killing a human being. Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr both forbid killing as a means to enforce the law.

“When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits the violence that is condemned by public laws, but he also forbids the violence that is deemed lawful by men. Thus it is not lawful for a just man to engage in warfare, since his warfare is justice itself. Nor is it [lawful] to accuse anyone of a capital offense. It makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word, or by the sword. It is the act of putting to death itself which is prohibited. Therefore, regarding this precept of God there should be no exception at all. Rather it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred creature.”

Lactantius of 260 to 330 AD wrote this in his book ‘The Divine Institutes’ of book 6, chapter 20.

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To discuss this issue, we must discuss the core Christian concept of why we commit crimes.  Simply we have inherited sin; the church preaches that all have sinned, all have fallen short of the God’s standard. This is stated by Saint Paul in Romans 3:23. Thereby, even if one doesn’t commit a crime, he has sinned in his heart and in his thoughts. If one has hatred towards another, one has already murdered in his heart.  It is evident that the reason why Jesus came into this world was to forgive all sins including atrocious acts for God understands that we are sinners. We justs needs us to admit to them. The best verse summarising our sins was John 3:16.

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 

-what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-45 calling upon us to love our enemies, forgive them and hope for the best for them.

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An interesting point seemingly placed to make one feel intrigued by why we are to kill to bring justice.

Those punished for witchcraft were sentenced to death and hanged.

Those punished for witchcraft were sentenced to death and hanged.

 On the contrary, the Church has at some point in time allowed Capital punishment.

There is a whole history in the Medieval age of gruesome contraption designed to punish and kill. Contraptions for drowning; stakes for burning*; poisons for poisoning*; ropes for hanging* and axes for decapitating*  just to keep order in the realms of the past. People like Thomas Aquinas and Saint Augustine had a stance on Capital Punishment to deter the wicked and look after the innocent.

This is apparent in St. Augustine’s book The City of God, Book 1, Chapter 21; The same divine authority that forbids the killing of a human being establishes certain exceptions, as when God authorises killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time.”  

The Catechism also states in section 2265, a reason behind Capital Punishment as a grave duty for defence for the lives of others.

2265 Legitimate defence can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defence of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.  

 

If you don’t understand Section 2265, watch the video for more on what the Catholic Church says on the Death Penalty. Please consider watching the video above and think about the matter and on the Catholic Church’s perspective.

 

Hence, where does this place the Catholic Church?

The Church just like secular society is mixed on the view of the Death Penalty. One side supports that every human has dignity and that it isn’t our calling to end one’s life. However, those who agree with the Death Penalty points out that Capital punishment is an effective way to deter people from doing wicked crimes. What has to be made known is that the church like culture, human understanding and human morality is changing and is continuing to change as time progresses. Leaning more away from the Death Penalty, Pope Francis insists that the death penalty compromises human dignity and St. Pope John Paul II states offenders should be always offered life over death; to be given other punishment rather than death.

My Opinion on the Death Penalty and the ever evolving daughter that is the Church…

I am seeing that since Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, all sins are forgiven if one asks for forgiveness. The Catholic Church should be seen as a changing entity, not a fixed element. Just as a daughter is ever changing in the eyes of the father, the church however great or however bold in it’s thinking, is the Father’s daughter and sometimes the daughter thinks of one thing or another like whether she likes something or something else different. This metaphor describes the ever-changing church as a growing daughter who tries to expand in her worldview and learning in the steps of the father, not the narrow-mindedness of an establishment.

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Executioner_3 Links:

For more statistics on Capital punishment by Amnesty international, click here.

For more on an article regarding world statistics on the Death penalty, click here.

For more on the story of Joseph Wood and other criminals who were executed, click here.

For more on the death penalty in China, click here.

For more on who Justin Martyr is, how he’d became the first Martyr and how one can learn from the church fathers, click this link.

For more on the Early Church’s view on the death penalty, click here.

For more on the Christian’s view of Capital Punishment by the BBC, click here.

For more on the Secular view of the death penalty, click here.

For more on the dignity of the human person and what the Catechism has to say, click here.

For more on the respect of the human dignity and issues raised in the Catechism, click on the link.

For more on modern methods to execute, click here.

For more on St. Pope John Paul II take on the death penalty, click here.

An  article on Pope Francis’ meeting with Sudanese Woman who was sentenced to death and then freed.

*No links added for death penalty in Medieval ages. If you want to know how the people in the Medieval age execute, google it yourself.

We should abort Abortion! By Blogger Christopher T.

Abortion; the one word that could cripple the ethical stance of civilised society. Ever since ancient times, people have considered to abort for the sake of terminating. Either out of embarrassment, the fear of maternal death or seeing that the child would be born with abnormalities; there are many reasons for one to terminate their pregnancy. In today’s world, many are divided on the issue with a heavy stance on either for or against Abortion. Those against Abortion considers that it violates the right to life whilst those against considers abortion as a right for women to give them a choice.   In case one doesn’t know, Abortion can be performed by a drug that can kill the embryo or a surgical procedure that can physically remove it.

The Catholic Church takes a stand to Abortion, but why?

This is due to the fact that  that abortion is a Grave sin. As justified by one of the Ten Commandments in Exodus Chapter 20:30, ‘Thou Shalt not kill”. Some however may consider it killing the embryo because it is hard to tell or recognise a human baby and a single-celled organism. Hence, the church recognises abortion as ‘murder’. In section 2270 to 2275 and in section 2258 to 2298 of Article 5 of the Catholic Catechism, the church believes that  ‘life is sacred’ and ‘only God has the ability to take life away just the same as he creates life.’

It also comes back down to what human dignity is if we are to understand why Abortion is such a big ethical issue. In the bible, Genesis 1:27, ‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’  The Catholic Church preaches that human dignity is inherited by being created in the image and likeness of the Creator. Thereby, we have his or part of his attributes like the ability to understand, to feel emotions, to be self-aware, to be sentient, to empathise, to create, to have a soul and to be beings governed by morality. Surely as moral beings, it is ethically wrong for the abortion of a human embryo whether recognised as a baby or as a biological machine from single-celled to multi-celled, because it makes us reflect on what makes us, human; as cold-hearted machines, or as moral, loving beings.

 You wouldn’t murder a baby, then why would you kill an embryo?

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In the world, many countries take to Abortion purposely to wipe out the human embryo. Women who were raped and want an abortion is one of many complex issues regarding abortion and moral ethical foundations of the Catholic Church  however life is sacred and thereby the child must be brought up through birth. Overpopulation in China for example is another complex issue relating to abortion for there simply isn’t enough food to feed the 1.3 billion mouths hence abortion is forced and there is a ‘One Child Policy‘ to restrict birth. Many problems pose for abortion as many issues become interlinked and creates a web of complexity regarding abortion. However the seriousness of the situation, the church will and always firmly implant it’s feet into the metaphorical ground against all forms of abortion.

Please reflect at the quote below.

“I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘Abortion’, because it is a war against the child… A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘Murder’ by the mother herself… And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love… And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts…”― Mother Teresa


Pope Francis talking about the Human Dignity and how Children are abused hence abusing Human Dignity –

 

Links:

For more on the Catholic Catechism on Human dignity; look at this link… http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s1c1.htm

For more on what Abortion is; press this website that was created by the Victorian Government on better health…  http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Abortion_in_Australia

For more on abortion around the world, http://www.nowfoundation.org/issues/reproductive/050808-abortion_worldwide.html

A link to Issues and concerns regarding overpopulation in China…  http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2006/ChinasConcernOverPopulationAgingandHealth.aspx

A  count of abortions this year worldwide… http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/