Got these from Adee via email:
* I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night.”
* I’ve learned that our dog doesn’t want to eat my broccoli either.
* I’ve learned that when I wave to people in the country, they stop what they are doing and wave back.
* I’ve learned that just when I get my room the way I like it, Mom makes me clean it up again.
* I’ve learned that if you want to cheer yourself up, you should try cheering someone else up.
* I’ve learned that although it’s hard to admit it, I’m secretly glad my parents are strict with me.
* I’ve learned that silent company is often more healing than words of advice.
* I’ve learned that brushing my child’s hair is one of life’s great pleasures.
* I’ve learned that wherever I go, the world’s worst drivers have followed me there.
* I’ve learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it.
* I’ve learned that there are people who love you dearly but just don’t know how to show it.
* I’ve learned that you can make someone’s day by simply sending them a little note.
* I’ve learned that the greater a person’s sense of guilt, the greater his or her need to cast blame on others.
* I’ve learned that children and grandparents are natural allies.
* I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on and it will be better tomorrow.
* I’ve learned that singing “Amazing Grace” can lift my spirits for hours.
* I’ve learned that motel mattresses are better on the side away from the phone. Age 50
* I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
* I’ve learned that keeping a vegetable garden is worth a medicine cabinet full of pills.
* I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terribly after they die.
* I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
* I’ve learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
* I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
* I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
* I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
* I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with kindness, I usually make the right decision.
* I’ve learned that everyone can use a prayer.
* I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.
* I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love that human touch – holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
* I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.
According to Aquinas, Islam appealed to ignorant, brutish, carnal men and spread not by the power of its arguments or divine grace but by the power of the sword.
Aquinas contrasts the spread of Christianity with that of Islam, arguing that much of Christianity’s early success stemmed from widespread belief in the miracles of Jesus, whereas the spread of Islam was worked through the promise of sensual pleasures and the violence of the sword.
Mohammad, Aquinas wrote, “seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure.”
This has always been a sticking point for me – Mohammed’s version of paradise closely resembles a cabaret, and that has never seemed to be appropriate for an afterlife environment. I mean, after the first thousand years or so, sex just becomes ho-hum. I mean, do you rotate out those 72 virgins for new ones, or are you facing the same ones repeatedly? And who wants to drink wine without getting drunk? It’s an eternity of brainlessness, and I think I want better than that, and I think my God does, too.
Such an offer, Aquinas contended, appealed to a certain type of person of limited virtue and wisdom.
“In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men,” he wrote. “As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity.”
Because of the weakness of Islam’s contentions, Aquinas argued, “no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning.” Instead, those who believed in him “were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Muhammad forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms.”
Islam’s violent methods of propagation were especially unconvincing to Aquinas, since he found that the use of such force does not prove the truth of one’s claims, and are the means typically used by evil men.
Just because I may be forced to convert through force, does not mean the religion is real. It’s a weak religion that depends upon force. A good idea will spread on its own. Truth will draw people, while lies require deception and brutish behavior.
At the time Aquinas was writing, Islam was generally considered a Christian heresy, since it drew so heavily on Christian texts and beliefs. Aquinas wrote that Mohammed “perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law.”
I read somewhere that Mohammed got information about Christianity from some improperly informed Christians who didn’t fully understand who Jesus was, nor how the faith was constructed. That’s how he got so much wrong.
According to the noted historian Hilaire Belloc, Islam “began as a heresy, not as a new religion. It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy. It was a perversion of Christian doctrine. Its vitality and endurance soon gave it the appearance of a new religion, but those who were contemporary with its rise saw it for what it was—not a denial, but an adaptation and a misuse, of the Christian thing.”
In his Summa contra gentiles, Aquinas ends his argument against Islam by offering a backhanded compliment to Mohammed, noting that he had to keep his followers ignorant in order for them to remain faithful.
It was, Aquinas wrote, “a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.”
“It is thus clear that those who place any faith in his words believe foolishly,” he wrote.
Quintana Beach – Where She’d Rather Be
Big, big world,
Held in such a small heart.
All of salvation,
In a tiny hand.
Hope of a world
In swaddling clothes.
Love for all,
Such a big gift,
In a tiny package.
Merry Christmas to all, and may the blessings of the season be upon us all!