Idol Chatter

What if we are at the center of the universes? What if the most foundational principle in cosmology, the Copernican Principle, was wrong?  The documentary “The Principle” will explore these questions and could alter what you learned in science class.

Nicolaus Copernicus first theorized that the earth orbits the Sun. The Copernican Principle states that the earth is nothing special and basically the Bible got it wrong. Copernicus believed we were not at the center of the universe as the church stated and Scripture was just taken out of context.

The Copernican Principle reached a level of dogma centuries ago and science and the elites of the industry have tried everything to maintain this principle even at the expense of common sense. This started the battle between science and faith. Rick Delano is the writer and producer of the film and believes that the Bible does account for creation. We can read about it in the Book of Genesis when God tells Abraham to look at the number of stars. “Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” This was the beginning of faith and the beginning of science. 

“The question of our place in the cosmos is the greatest scientific detective story in all of the history. The world has been shaped by two great assertions: one places us in the center of it all and the other one relegates us to utter insignificance. Amazingly, “The Principle” is the first documentary to examine this persistent puzzle at the heart of modern science,” said Delano.

Delano respects science, but people are ignoring the evidence that is showing that the earth is indeed special.

“They haven’t proven that something can come from nothing. “Strong evidence shows there is a special direction in the cosmos and it points toward Earth. This is a serious claim that could indicate that perhaps the Bible was true in its account of creation and they’re ignoring it.”

If you want to become enlightened and challenged check out “The Principle.”

CaptureFaith and technology have been combining over the last decade, and Christian leaders are taking notice.

Bishop Christopher J. Coyne of Burlington, Vermont is active on social media, sharing his faith with his 13,000+ followers on Twitter alone. By 8 a.m. each day, his followers know the day’s saint, gospel reading, and latest news from the pope.

Bishop Coyne says using social media is as much a part of his ministry as visiting the sick. “It’s where we need to be,” he says. “It goes to the core of spreading the good news.”

With the religiously unaffiliated now making up 25 percent of the American population, pastors are looking for new and innovative way to reach the masses. Faced with declining membership and participation, priests, ministers and rabbis are now popping up on Youtube discussing tattoos, tweeting about the dangers of gossip, and posting podcasts on living your faith. Some are even checking Facebook analytics, trying to uncover if posting at 6 a.m. reaches more people than posting at 7 a.m.

Meredith Gould, author of “Social Media Gospel: Sharing the Good News in New Ways,” advises churches and clergy on developing a social-media strategy, and she sees a lot of wariness. “When it’s always been done one way, changing that is scary,” says Dr. Gould.

Often, clergymen feel they need to maintain proper distance from their congregations and fear too much of an online presence can alter that. Others are afraid it will take away from the importance of in-person Sunday worship. Almost all feel that they have no clue where to even begin.

But with the changing times and heavy focus on technology, many Christian leaders are realizing the necessity of making a presence online. It can help get their churches name out, allow them to participate in talk about public events, and create a positive image. For example, a priest can highlight their churches work in homeless shelters.

Social media can also deepen relationships. People constantly flip through social media, at the office or standing in line at the grocery store. A fellow church member may post about having to drop their mother off at the hospital. This gives other members and Christian leadership a chance to say “Hey I saw you posted this, I am praying for you” or similar.

“Connecting with members online allows you into their lives in a different way and be a part of the conversation about whatever is going on in their life,” says David Hansen, a 38-year-old fourth-generation Lutheran Minister from Texas.

Hansen makes sure to build time for social media in his calendar. Each Monday, he schedules a week’s worth of Facebook posts that reflect on the past Sundays sermon and looks ahead to the next. He also posts an invitation on Facebook for prayer requests regularly, which sparks conversation and engagement with the wider community. He has since helped his father, also a Lutheran minister, to set up a Facebook page.

The hardest thing, Bishop Coyne said, is the learning curve. He has a video-editing tool but hasn’t figured out how to use it. His knowledge has grown exponentially, however, learning that satire and irony doesn’t always work but videos perform phenomenally.

It has become commonplace for leaders to join the social media bandwagon, and they are beginning to learn how to get the Word out to the masses in a cool new way.  Bishop Greg Rickel of Washington blogs about gun violence and the Central American refugee crisis, and posts his sermons on his webpage, below a picture of him taking selfies with children. His goal, in part, is to reach those 35 and younger.

“We have to learn their language and the world they live in.” Rickel says.

In February of 1891, a peculiar advertisement began to appear in the papers. “Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board,” exclaimed dark ink, and the ad advised readers to “Come and see this wonderful game”. The origin of this ad was a Pittsburgh novelty shop called Danziger & Company, and it promised that this mysterious talking board could “answer questions concerning the past, present, and future with marvelous accuracy”.

The small ad goes on to say that the board forms the link which “unites the known with the unknown, the material with the immaterial”.

And that was it—the first emergence of the Ouija board, materializing right out of the 19th century American obsession with spiritualism.

In the 1800s, spiritualism took hold in America, offering solace in a time when the average life was no longer than 50 years, when men died in war, women in childbirth, children, by disease—it was  a time marked by a an incredible feeling of unpredictability and vulnerability.

It is no wonder, then, that Americans turned to spiritualism, engaging in numerous activities which promised continued contact with the dead, and the revelation of truths. Dinner parties featuring such activities as automatic writing, table turning, and séances were common, socially acceptable, and even seen as wholesome.

These aforementioned methods of contacting the spirits of the dead proved to be fairly boring affairs, and after the invention of the telegraph, which made human communication easy and fast, Americans began to crave an easier and faster way of communicating with spirits.

The Kennard Novelty Company sated this craving with the invention and patenting of the Ouija board. Based on the new idea of the talking board—a flat surface, etched with numbers and letters which were selected by guiding a pointing device on small casters—that was sweeping through spiritualist gatherings, the Ouija board gave Americans a new way of contacting the dead that was both fast and entertaining.

The inventors of the Ouija board needed a name for their own invention, and so, naturally, they consulted the board, itself, laying hands on the planchhette—the pointing device. The planchhette began to move, slowly spelling out the word “Ouija”. When the group asked what the board meant, it spelled out “Good luck”. And that was it. The board had named itself.

But there was still yet one more obstacle. A patent had to be filed, which meant the inventors had to demonstrate that the board worked. When the inventors traveled to the patent office in Washington, the chief patent officer demanded a demonstration of the board’s abilities. The deal with this: if the board could spell out the patent officer’s name, which was unknown to the inventors, he would clear the patent.

Together, they sat, consulting the board. Soon after, a visibly shaken chief patent officer emerged from the room on February of 1891, and gave the go-ahead for the Ouija patent to proceed.

The board had spelled out his name.

Fast forward over a hundred years, and the Ouija board retains its popularity—the only remaining artifact from an era marked by all manner of spiritual communication methods.

Today, the Ouija board is sought after not so much for family fun, but out of a sense of danger. The film, “The Exorcist,” changed the way America saw the supernatural, and became the turning point for how the Ouija board was perceived. Suddenly, users were no longer contacting the dead—they were contending with unknown, potentially dangerous forces.

A more modern example of the contemporary view of the Ouija board is the film “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” which opened on October 21st, 2016 to rave reviews. In the film, use of the board invites an evil spirit into a family’s home, which possesses their young daughter.

This is the official stance of the Catholic Church, which classifies the Ouija board as a form of divination—seeking information from supernatural forces. From a Christian perspective, human spirits do not reside on earth, and cannot be contacted. In fact, according to the Church, the thing on the other side of the wooden board is a wholly different sort of entity altogether.

It is a demon.

While the Ouija board works as a psychological trick the majority of the time, relying on subtle and automatic muscle movements—or blatant deception—the Church outlines the very real spiritual dangers involved in its use.

To return to the example of “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” the afflicted family began using the Ouija board for what they felt was a good purpose—contacting the spirit of a deceased family member. Thrilled when the board answers a question to which only this family member would know the answer, the family continues contact.

But the plot darkens when something creeps from the immaterial to the material, possessing the family’s young daughter, who goes on to terrorize them all.

While this is a sensationalized account, made theatrical to terrify audience everywhere, it contains a grain of truth. Scripture forbids occultic practices—in Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Moses proclaims, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord”.

Why? Because to do so is to entreat a power other than God, to ask something else for favor. And that something else does not have your good in mind. It holds, in fact, your corruption, imprisonment, and ultimate destruction, in its heart.

Few who touch the demonic realized what dark pit they’ve reached a trembling hand into. But the Church, through scripture, defines a boundary which must not be crossed, even in jest, lest our lives be touched by subtle horrors. Rather, turn to God in your need.

That is where truth lies.

If you think you are a sports fan, think again. Maybe you never heard of John Risher who is 106-years-old and loves the Virginia Cavalier football team. In fact, he’s a legend when entering the press box and the media room because of his dedication. You see Risher has been following the team since 1919 and played a game during the 1931 season back when players wore leather helmets. He graduated the following year and earned a medical degree in 1936. In 1963 he volunteered to do the game-days stats and solidified a place in team history.

The passion has never left and the fact that he still drives an hour from Lynchburg to Charlottesville with his brief case to cover games instead of resting on a beach somewhere makes him a superfan.  For the road games the centenarian reportedly drives to Tom Fenstermaker’s house with a bucket of chicken. Fenstermaker heads up game-day stat operations for the team and views Risher as the go-to guy.

What does the nation’s most dedicated fan do to remain healthy? The answer will surprise you and it has very little to do with eating like a rabbit.  The New York Times reported outside of fried chicken  Risher likes grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate milkshakes, Coca-Cola, fried oysters, ice cream, hamburgers and rare roast beef. He also loves bacon and waffles.

“Everybody asks me, ‘How have you lived so long?’ I tell them, ‘luck, mostly.’ I’ve always been active in athletics, but I’ve never amounted to much,” he shared with the Roanoke Times. Like Risher there are more Americans living to the age of 100. In 2014 there were 72,197 in the U.S. aged 100 or older–an increase from 50,000 in 2000.

Maybe it is fried chicken, luck or sports. One thing is sure, the oldest living Virginia football alum is not slowing down.



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