4. In Egypt the Hebrews are enslaved by the Egyptians for the first time in their history. It will not be the last time that they are under oppression by a foreign power. Why does this fate befall God's chosen people?
The Y2K situation is a reminder of how wrong Christian technical analysis can be. Certain people - Gary North, Ed Yourdon, Michael Hyatt, and Chuck Missler - were incredibly wrong about what would happen! The Bible commands us to watch if prophesies come true in Deuteronomy 18:20-22: "But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, 'How are we to know what word was not spoken by Yahweh?' When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh and the thing does not happen and the word is not fulfilled, then it has not been spoken by Yahweh. The prophet has spoken with presumption. You have nothing to fear from him." My Bible does not contain exemptions for prophets who were just trying to make sure people were prepared.
Abandoning this perspective requires a further abstraction: i.e., recognizing the emergence of properties that cannot be simply deduced from the sum of the properties of the parts; the existence of organizing principles, in both inert matter and in living things, which seem to affect the material structure while remaining independent of it; the existence of basic, elementary properties that characterize what material components can do, but whose ultimate explanation does not depend on matter itself; the presence of information, in addition to matter and energy, in the making of the universe. Such abstraction would also lead to acknowledge the presence, in human beings, of a free and personal behavior that does not depend on matter and transcends it, even if manifested only through material physiological components. Finally, a further philosophical abstraction is necessary in order to recognize the contingency of matter: when we consider matter as eternal and as the ultimate foundation of all reality, we inevitably run into a number of contradictions. We easily realize that whenever this “supplement of abstraction or reflection” is not performed, or it is left implicit, many will continue to think that the success of a scientific knowledge based on empirical measurement supports the idea that materialism interprets quite well the reality in which we move and exist.
18th- and 19th-century chemistry, which used the notion of atoms to explain changes in elements and compounds —particularly atomic physics from the 20th century onwards— understands “atoms” as something very different from what Leucippus and Democritus meant by the same term. Nevertheless, many aspects of the old atomistic view still raise some interest today. We cannot deny that ordinary people (and great part of popular imagination) tend to consider atoms and elementary particles as material components, able to explain all the phenomena that are object of sensible knowledge, going as far as attributing to atoms some of the same properties singled out by classical philosophers (eternity, simplicity, incorruptibility, etc.). Scientists are well aware that this transposition in contemporary terms is not possible —think, for example, about the decay of unstable particles, about the very complex quantum phenomenology, or about the interactions among matter, radiation and virtual energy. Yet, scientists as well as ordinary people implicitly continue to draw many elements and views from this classical perspective. For instance, matter and energy are considered as different dimensions of one same material nature; the measurability of physical phenomena, including quantum phenomena —a request that underpins any scientific activity— is based on the idea that reality can be known only thanks to a measurable material substratum. Moreover, the success of the analytic-reductionist method favors in many researchers the idea that in order to know reality we must consider it as a set of material components to be divided up and analyzed.
We owe to Plato the remark that materialism constitutes the first form of and represents, in some ways, its origin. If matter makes up all reality and the only reality, no room is left for spirituality, intelligibility and divinity. Plato extends his criticism of materialism to pre-Socratic philosophers generally, who posit a material, natural principle at the origin of all things, even if they end up ascribing divine prerogatives to it. For Plato, denying the reality of the intelligible and supra-sensible world means to deny divinity: materialism, therefore, would constitute the most radical negation of God (Gr. theós) and of the divine (Gr. theion) as spiritual realities. In order to get past this materialistic framework, he proposed, as is well-known, the notion of the “second navigation,” through which we can finally access a supra-sensible and intelligible world where ideas, rather than matter, are the core of reality (cf. Phaedo, 79a; 99d). In line with his Socratic education, Plato sees the acknowledgment of the spiritual nature of the human soul and of its transcendence over matter as the major refutation of atheist materialism (cf. Laws, X, 891a-892b).
While money comes as number one priority for some people, other think that it is not of that importance. Money can but many materialistic assets , but it falls behind when it comes to intangible relations. Personally, I do not think what wealth can buy happiness.
“The most terrible thing about materialism even more terrible than its proneness to violence, is its boredom, from which sex, alcohol, drugs, all devices for putting out the accusing light of reason and suppressing the unrealizable aspirations of love, offers a prospect of deliverance.” This quote, stated by Malcolm Muggeridge, says that people get bored with the things that they have when they get new things all of the time....
The progression of materialism in the western world has caused a decrease in the happiness and overall well-being of the people that reside in the society....
To render palpable "the ignorance that has prevailed with regard to the habits and customs of this people when in their wild state", Grey provides one remarkable example, a citation from his fellow explorer, Captain Stuart, who, upon encountering a group of Aboriginals engaged in gathering large quantities of mimosa gum, deduced that the "unfortunate creatures were reduced to the last extremity, and, being unable to procure any other nourishment, had been obliged to collect this mucilaginous".
I reject the idea that evolution and Christianity are always and must be in opposition to each other. I reject the notion that if the scientific theory of evolution is true, then Christianity must be false. I reject the idea that people who accept evolution must be atheists. I reject the idea that the scientific theory of evolution fundamentally denies the idea of God the Creator. I reject the idea that evolution and Christian faith are inevitably in conflict with each other and cannot be reconciled.
M'Calman states that 'the welfare state has been derided as the nanny state.'1 She is saying that 'nanny state' is intended as a derogatory term used to ridicule the welfare state, whose job is to assist people who genuinely require financial assistance in order to better the quality of life for themselves and their children....
The goodness of the material world can also be inferred from the fact that nature can lead to God, allowing human beings to recognize the marks of its Creator (cf. Wis 13:1-9) in it. The material world is like a reflection of God, a book written by His finger whose dignity is not lesser than that of the sacred books that the Holy Spirit has inspired throughout the history of the Jewish people. Certainly, the greatest demonstration of the value and dignity of matter in the Christian universe is the fact that God Himself is believed to have become a man in Jesus Christ, God’s Word Incarnate (Jn 1:14). The uncreated person of the God Son —coeternal and co-substantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the one and only God— takes on a human nature by being born by a woman, yet without losing His divine nature. Precisely this birth as an individual of the human biological species, in a given place and at a given time, reveals the capacity of the material world to be summarized, summed up in Jesus Christ (cf. Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:15-17). Along the Christian religious tradition, the union without confusion of the human and divine natures of the Incarnate Word will be able to engender a specific logic, called lex incarnationis, where matter has a precise role. This role is expressed through the liturgical rituals where sacraments are administered, which use material elements in order to signify and realize a spiritual sanctification: water in baptism, bread and wine in the Eucharist, oil in Confirmation and in the anointing of the sick.
In order to understand the origins of the dialectic between matter and spirit —still present, today, in many aspects of Western thought— it is important to recall that, in the archaic era, Eastern thought had developed several forms of cosmological-religious dualism. Both the natural world and the moral life of human beings were understood as the result of the dialectical opposition between two eternal co-principles: good and bad, light and darkness, spirit and matter. Already in 4th-century B.C. China, this dualism took a form that presents itself even today: all existing things can be divided into two categories, the yin (corresponding to coldness, withdrawal and the female gender) and the yang (coinciding with warmth, expansion and the male gender). Some centuries later, many elements of this perspective reached the Western thought, especially through the influence of the Persian philosopher Mani (3rd century A.D.), from whom so-called “Manichaeism” originated. Once sympathetic with this current, Augustine of Hippo (354-430) opposed it in many of his works. Manichaeism tried to merge with Christianity, thus engendering many diverse forms of gnosis. Several Fathers of the Church, such as Tertullian (160-215 ca.) and above all Irenaeus of Lyon (130-200 ca.), strongly opposed the Manichaean gnoses, underlining the positive value of matter and of the flesh (we should recall that, in the biblical-theological context, the concept of “flesh” indicates the frailty, mortality and weakness of the material dimension of living entities). An exception in this sense was represented by Origen (ca. 185-253), for whom the material world did not derive from God’s free decision, but came about as a punishment for the sin of spiritual creatures.