Beliefnet
Beliefnet News

wlablack/shutterstock

wlablack/shutterstock

According to a new Church document, the Vatican has formally opened debate on allowing older, married men to become priests in remote areas like the Amazon in South America.

A working document called the “Instrumentum Laboris,” was prepared prior to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region. This assembly is scheduled to take place in October, the Christian Post reported.

“Affirming that celibacy is a gift for the Church, the document states that, for the most remote areas of the region, the possibility of priestly ordination be studied for married men with families,” reported Vatican News.

“The clause, that aims to ensure the Sacraments that accompany and support Christian life, specifies that these men must preferably be indigenous elders who are respected and accepted by their community.”

One of the big reasons the debate opened up is because of the lack of priests in the region. In these areas, there are so few priests that Catholics may go weeks or months without attending a Mass.

In addition to the consideration of allowing the ordination of married men were questions presented about the parameters for women to be in “official ministry.”

“It is demanded that the role of women be recognized, starting from their charisms and talents. They ask to re-appropriate themselves of the space given to women by Jesus, ‘where we can all find ourselves,’” Vatican News reported.

“There is also a proposal to guarantee them their leadership, as well as wider and more relevant spaces in the field of formation: theology, catechesis, liturgy and schools of faith and politics.”

The Roman Catholic Church currently mandates celibacy for its priests, thought there are situations where exemption is given,

lisafree54/flickr

lisafree54/flickr

Scientists are seeing incredible results from early testing of microchips inserted in the brain to boost memory. Is this a medical breakthrough, or the mark of something more sinister?

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been very involved in the development of brain chip implants, spending upwards of $77 million in the last five years. They are hopeful that the technology can restore the minds and memories of victims of traumatic brain injuries, such as military veterans hurt in combat.

So far, the tests have shown positive results. One patient had his memory capacity jump from 15 percent to 18 percent. Another study that can be found in the Journal of Neural Engineering showed a memory boost of 35 percent. This was both for short term and long term memory.

Entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have invested in similar technology. They have looked into BrainGate, a technology that wirelessly connects the human mind to computers. Musk has taken it a step further and developed Neuralink, which he thinks could help save the human race.

The question that is starting to be placed on everyone’s minds, however, is if this science has gone too far. At what point are we healing humans, and at what point are we giving them superhero abilities?

These ethical questions plague the Christian community. We see ourselves as being created perfectly in God’s design, so having technology come in and change the basic human anatomy can sound like it’s overstepping.

Furthermore, the technology causes uneasiness for many due to recent concerns over privacy violations and the improper handling of sensitive data. If someone can read the brain chip, then there is always someone who can hack into it.

Many prophecy watchers and evangelical Christians are convinced that a chip inserted into one’s body is this prophesied mark. Articles, books and websites offer a cacophony of wildly different ideas on this subject.

Revelation 13:16-17 says, “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name”.

There is no easy answer to the question. These medical breakthroughs can bring so much happiness and a better quality of life to those who are severely struggling. The technology, though, has the potential of growing out of hand and crossing ethical lines in the sand for many. How do you think we should move forward as a society?

We want to know what you think.

shadow_figures

More people are convinced that extraterrestrials do exist.

More than half of Americans believe in God. Surprisingly, the number of people who believe in aliens is only slightly lower.

As these numbers increase, Diana Pasulka, a professor at the University of North Carolina, claims that a belief in aliens could replace religious beliefs in the near future, according to Daily Express.

This belief is expressed in her new book titled “American Cosmic.” The book addresses why humans believe in the supernatural and how she believes we use God and aliens to explain the unexplainable.

The reason she thinks the paradigm is shifting from one to another is because she claims no proof in God has been discovered in human history, while alien life could one day be confirmed.

In an interview with Vox, Pasulka talks about this in more detail.

“I’m a historian of Catholicism, for instance, and what I find when I interact with people in Catholic communities is that they have faith that Jesus walked on water and that the Virgin Mary apparitions were true,” Pasulka said.

“But there’s something different about the UFO narrative. Here we have people who are actual scientists, like Ellan Stofan, the former chief scientist of NASA, who are willing to go on TV and basically make announcements like, ‘We are going to find extraterrestrial life.’” Pasulka said. “Now, she’s not exactly talking about intelligent extraterrestrial life, but that’s not how many people interpret her.”

The belief that UFOs and aliens are potentially true and can be proven makes this a uniquely powerful narrative, Pasulka said.

“Is it fair to call this a new form of religion? I think so,” Pasulka said.

We want to know what you think.

Acslaw1776/WikiCommons

Acslaw1776/WikiCommons

In a recent CNN interview, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Cory Booker dismissed sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims of gun violence as BS. Evangelical Christian leader Rev. Franklin Graham is firing back.

Graham said that Booker “obviously doesn’t know the power of prayer.” He also addressed the importance of America called on God in these dark times, saying that until we as a nation call on God for help in the human heart, “violence of all types will continue to escalate.”

Sen. Booker sat down with David Axelrod on his CNN show, The Axe Files. During the interview, he addressed gun violence and gun policy.

“When I’m president of the United States, I’m taking a fight to this issue like folks have never seen before, because we’re better than this as a country. It’s a uniquely American problem. No other country has this kind of courage.”

“We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which to me is just bullsh**,” Booker said. “And I’m sorry to say it as a main of faith, but I was taught that faith without works is dead.”

Graham commented on Booker’s remarks in a post on Facebook, writing:

“Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker obviously doesn’t know the power of prayer,” said Graham. “He said that thoughts and prayers after gun violence is BS. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“When people have lost loved ones, they need the comfort and strength that can only come from God,” he said. “The solution for the problem in this country is much deeper than more laws.”

Graham added, “The Bible says, ‘…out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…’ (Matthew 15:19). Jesus’ words are true, and only He can transform the human heart.”

“I’m sorry that some of our politicians have turned their backs on God,” said Graham. “I’m going to continue to pray for victims of violence and their loved ones, and I’m going to continue to urge others to pray for them when these tragedies occur.”