And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
– Matthew 6:7 (NIV)
I love the phrase, “do not keep on babbling like pagans.” It’s funny (why some people think that God doesn’t have a sense of humor is incomprehensible to me), it sticks in the brain, and it also makes the point; God is not a machine where I just pull the lever (perform the prescribed ritual) and the blessing that I want comes out. This theme is continued in the immediately following verses, in which Jesus teaches his disciples that when they pray they should address God as “Father,” and in the larger context of the portion of Matthew’s gospel that this verse comes from – the passage known as the Sermon on the Mount – in which the major idea is that neither God nor other humans are to be treated as objects (whether as a means to get what we want, or as obstacles in our way), but rather as people who are valuable in themselves.
“Some of us have met people who can speak three or four languages but cannot say anything sensible in any of them, including their own.” – Cornelius Plantinga
“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.” – Theodore Dalrymple
All I would add is that it’s not just communist societies. This is not primarily a political blog, however, and I’m not really interesting in starting fights, so I’ll leave the identification of specific examples as an exercise for the reader.
Filed under Politics, QOTD
“Roger Clemens goes on trial for lying . . . to politicians. Which is a bit like putting a woman on trial for flashing her breasts at a stripper.” – The Agitator
Filed under Politics, QOTD
Guilt may be good for contemporary American souls; but guilt, as much as pride, is a way of asserting one’s own version of history. The current liberal preoccupation with the conquest of America as a scenario of the triumph of white greed over red innocence too often serves merely to cast the Indian as a straw man of defeated virtue. One does not have to learn about the Indian himself; it is enough to find out that our grandfathers killed him and then go off to feel sorry for it. – Stefan Jovanovich (From the introduction to Adolf Bandelier’s The Delight Makers.)