Friday Five – Volume 66

Friday Five_notepad

— 1 —

What happened to us? Who hurled us into the depths of evil and misfortune, and why? Who extinguished the light of goodness in our soul? Who blew out the lamp of our conscience, toppled it into a dark, deep pit in which we are groping, trying to find the bottom? … [In the past] we lived with a light in our soul … so that we would not wander in the darkness, … scratch out each other’s eyes, or break our neighbor’s bones. … They stole it from us and did not give anything in return, giving rise to unbelief, an all-encompassing unbelief.

To whom should we pray? From whom should we ask for forgiveness?

— 2 —

The passage above is from a short story by Viktor Astafyev in the May 1986 issue of the Moscow literary journal Our Contemporary. His theme was the abandoned morals of his Russian homeland, stemming from a the century that witnessed the erasure of God, His Churches, and the Ten Commandments from life and memory.

In his book Praying with the KGB (Multnomah Press, 1992), Philip Yancey recalls how a group of Western church and mission leaders met with General Stolyarov in his KGB office and managed to say a prayer with him. They invited the general to visit the U.S. and when he reached Chicago later that year he told them how he, like millions of his countrymen, was searching for a new direction and a new moral compass. “My country has forgotten the Ten Commandments,” he was to say during his visit, “and now we are paying the price for it.”

I read the headlines today…see the stories shown on the news both on television or online…and ask myself the same questions of my own country in 2013 that Viktor Astafyev was asking in 1986.

I would argue that the answers to his questions in the first paragraph can be answered with “We did.”

I would also volunteer to state that a majority in this country would answer the two questions in the second paragraph by pointing to the image they see reflected in their own mirror.

— 3 —

Santuary of Tophet. Image courtesy of historvius.com

Santuary of Tophet. Image courtesy of historvius.com

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought for control of the Mediterranean between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. The third and final Punic War involved the successful siege of the city of Carthage, located in modern north Africa. For years, Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator, notably ended all his speeches, regardless of topic, with this assertion: Carthago delenda est. “Carthage must be destroyed.”

At the Tophet (“roasting place”) in Carthage, the largest cemetery of sacrificed infants in the ancient Near East was discovered in 1921. An estimated 20,000 urns were deposited there. It is well established that the rite of child sacrifice originated in Phoenicia, ancient Israel’s northern neighbor, and was brought to Carthage by its seagoing colonizers. The burial urns were filled with the cremated bones of infants, mostly newborns, but even some children up to age six years old were discovered.

According to Roman author Diodorus Siculus’ account of the area known as the Sanctuary of Tophet:

There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus (Moloch) extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.”

Plutarch, a Greek author, adds that: “The whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.”

When Roman general Scipio Aemilianus Africanus and his forces finally breached the walls of Carthage, they found a huge pit in the center of the city containing the skeletal remains of countless dead infants sacrificed to the Punic gods. Scipio promptly burned the city to the ground.

— 4 —

In June author Dean Koontz released the latest installment in his Odd Thomas series, Deeply Odd. I’ve watched interviews with Koontz and am interested in loading these books onto my Kindle because the books reject moral relativism and are a critique of America’s culture of political correctness. If I do I’ll probably write more about them, but in Deeply Odd the hero makes the following comments:

Evil is not imaginative. It inspires the same transgressions over and over again, with such infinitesimal variation that only the weak-minded are not quickly bored by that way of living. It seeks to destroy, and destruction takes no imagination. Creation takes true imagination, the making of something new and wondrous, whether it’s a song or an iPad, a novel or a new cooking surface more durable than Teflon, a new flavor of ice cream or spacecraft that can travel to the moon.

Enter California:

Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants could perform a type of early abortion under a bill approved Monday by the state Senate, leaving the measure one step from the governor.

The measure by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would let those medical professionals perform what are known as aspiration abortions during the first trimester. The method involves inserting a tube and using suction to terminate a pregnancy.

So how does lowering the standards of providers square with the concern for womens’ health from pro-abortion activists? How does this make this already legal procedure “safe and rare?”

I continue to be unable to comprehend the logic behind those who militantly protect and defend this right. Though if I consider it not a right but instead a “rite”, such as the one performed at the Sanctuary of Tophet, I do begin to get a sense of clarity regarding the mindset involved in this anti-science, anti-humanity unholy sacrament.

Cronus is flourishing in America, in particular California. The old unimaginative evil is still new. Kermit Gosnell has taught us nothing.

Whither Scipio?

— 5 —

Palate Cleanser o’ the Week: Pie Jesu. Even Howard Stern was impressed.

(No teddy bears or foam fingers required.)

Pious Jesu,
Who takes on the sins of the world,
Give them rest…

Lamb of God,
Who takes on the sins of the world,
Give them rest,
Everlasting
Rest…

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