If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
(John 8:36, I Timothy 2:5)
Ye Shall Be Free

***

WND

500 YEARS AGO TODAY: THE BIRTH OF PROTESTANTISM

Bill Federer

October 31, 2017

Martin Luther

On Oct. 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted 95 debate questions on the door of Wittenberg Church, which began the movement known as “the Reformation.”

In 1521, 34-year-old Martin Luther was summoned to stand trial before the most powerful man in the world, 21-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Charles V of Spain’s empire spanned nearly two million square miles across Europe, the Netherlands, the Far East, North and South America and the Caribbean.

The Philippine Islands were named after his son, King Philip II of Spain. The sun never set on the Spanish Empire.

At the Diet of Worms, Charles V initially dismissed Luther’s theses as “an argument between monks” and simply declared Martin Luther an outlaw. Martin Luther was hid by Frederick of Saxony in the Wartburg Castle, where he translated the New Testament into German. Charles V’s unruly troops sacked Rome and imprisoned Pope Clement VII for six months.

This was the same Pope that refused to annul the marriage of Henry VIII and Charles’s aunt Catherine of Aragon, leading Henry break away from Rome and start the Church of England. (Catherine had been married for six months to Henry’s older brother Arthur before he died in 1502.)

Charles V oversaw the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and began the Counter-Reformation. He eventually responded to the pleadings of the priest Bartolomé de Las Casas and outlawed the enslavement of native Americans.

Gold from the New World was used by Spain to push back the Muslim Ottoman Empire’s invasion of Europe. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s Ottoman fleet dominated the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Suleiman conquered into Christian Hungary, Christian Serbia and Christian Austria, in addition to controlling the Middle East and North Africa. In 1529, 35-year-old Suleiman the Magnificent sent 100,000 Muslim Turks to surround Vienna, Austria.

Martin Luther wrote: “The Turk is the rod of the wrath of the Lord our God. … If the Turk’s god, the devil, is not beaten first, there is reason to fear that the Turk will not be so easy to beat. … Christian weapons and power must do it. …”

Martin Luther continued: “(The fight against the Turks) must begin with repentance, and we must reform our lives, or we shall fight in vain. (The Church should) drive men to repentance by showing our great and numberless sins and our ingratitude, by which we have earned God’s wrath and disfavor, so that He justly gives us into the hands of the devil and the Turk.”

In an attempt to unite the Holy Roman Empire against the Ottoman Muslims, Charles V agreed to a truce recognizing the Protestants, as Eric W. Gritisch wrote in “Martin – God’s Court Jester: Luther in Retrospect” (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983, p. 69-70): “Afraid of losing the much-needed support of the German princes for the struggle against the Turkish threat from the south, Emperor Charles V agreed to a truce between Protestant and Catholic territories in Nuremberg in 1532. … Thus the Lutheran movement was, for the first time, officially tolerated and could enjoy a place in the political sun of the Holy Roman Empire.”

As the Islamic threat intensified, reformer John Calvin wrote to Philip Melanthon in 154 (“Selected Works of John Calvin: Tracts & Letters,” I: 373): “I hear of the sad condition of your Germany! … The Turk again prepares to wage war with a larger force. Who will stand up to oppose his marching throughout the length and breadth of the land, at his mere will and pleasure?”

Followers of the reformers who “protested” certain doctrines, were generally referred to as “Protestants.” Some Protestants refused to help Charles V who was defending Europe from the Muslim invasion. Finally, Charles V made a treaty with the German Lutheran Princes by signing the Peace of Augsburg, September 25, 1555, ceasing the religious struggle between Lutherans and Catholics.

A line in the treaty, “cuius regio, eius religio,” allowed each king to decide what was to be believed in his kingdom.

A month later, Oct. 25, 1555, suffering from severe gout, Charles V abdicated his throne and lived the rest of his life secluded in the monastery of Yuste, leaving his son Philip II to rule.

As different kings in Europe chose different denominations for their kingdoms, millions migrated from one country to another simply for conscience sake. Many of these Christian religious refugees fled Europe to settle colonies in America.

Discover more of Bill Federer’s eye-opening books and videos in the WND Superstore!

New York University Professor Emeritus Patricia Bonomi, in her article “The Middle Colonies as the Birthplace of American Religious Pluralism” wrote: “The colonists were about 98 percent Protestant.”

Of the 56 signers of the Declaration, most were Protestant, with the notable exception of Catholic Charles Carroll of Maryland.

British Statesman Edmund Burke addressed Parliament, 1775: “All Protestantism … is a sort of dissent. But the religion most prevalent in our Northern Colonies is a refinement on the principle of resistance; it is the dissidence of dissent, and the protestantism of the Protestant religion.”

Samuel Adams stated when he signed the Declaration of Independence: “This day, I trust, the reign of political protestantism will commence.”

Martin Luther, who died in 1546, wrote: “I am much afraid that schools will prove to be the great gates of hell unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them in the hearts of youth.”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

New York Times

Jewish Philanthropists Create a Prize for Christian Missionaries

By Donald G. McNeil Jr., NY Times, Oct. 27, 2017

Christian missionary hospitals in Africa, which provide much of the continent’s medical care but are often desperately short of both cash and doctors, are now competing for a major award: a $500,000 prize created specifically for them by a Jewish businessman-philanthropist and his wife, a rabbi.

The L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service was founded last year by Mark and Erica Gerson.

L’chaim is typically translated as “to life.” But it “really means ‘to lives’–it’s plural,” argued Mr. Gerson. “There’s no such thing as a Jewish life lived alone.”

“The Torah tells us 36 times to ‘love the stranger,’” he added, “and who is more of a stranger than the African poor? These moral superheroes sacrifice everything to serve them.”

Last year’s initial award went to Dr. Jason Fader, a surgeon at Kibuye Hope Hospital in rural Burundi. Dr. Fader, an American, is one of only 14 surgeons in Burundi and the only one based outside the capital, Bujumbura.

The tiny country is one of the world’s poorest and suffers from the same ethnic divisions and political violence that led to the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda.

The money, according to the African Mission Healthcare Foundation, which oversees the award, is paying for a new surgical building and refurbished laboratory, where local medical students will be trained in surgery, and also for operations and prosthetics to help 350 people walk again.

This year’s prize will go to Dr. Russell E. White, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Tenwek Hospital in western Kenya.

Thousands of Kenyans have heart valves scarred by rheumatic heart disease, which hardly exists in wealthy countries with ready access to antibiotics but is common in poor nations. The valve damage, which can be debilitating or fatal, typically emerges years after a child’s routine strep throat has gone untreated.

The money will be used to train cardiac surgeons to repair valves and to treat esophageal cancer and complications of tuberculosis, as well as other common local ailments. It will also pay for ultrasound screening in schools and for antibiotics for students whose strep infections have not yet damaged their hearts.

Mr. Gerson began raising money in 2002 when a college friend, Dr. Jon Fielder, worked in a missionary hospital in Kenya and described an overwhelming dilemma: “Faith-based” institutions provide 20 to 50 percent of all medical care in Africa–estimates vary–but the American and European congregations that once supported mission hospitals have shrunk.

The doctors who staff these facilities struggle to buy modern equipment, but every day they spend away raising money means dozens of patients go unseen.

With the money he makes through the Gerson Lehrman Group, which pairs experts and investors seeking advice, Mr. Gerson also supports United Hatzalah in Israel, a network of 3,500 motorcycle-riding volunteer paramedics who whip through traffic faster than ambulances can.

The new award, he hopes, “will galvanize attention around what these superheroes do.”

A 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11th. Since no answer was received from the Holy Father, it is being made public today, 24th September, Feast of Our Lady of Ransom and of Our Lady of Walsingham. The letter, which is open to new signatories, now has the names of 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries, who also represent others lacking the necessary freedom of speech. It has a Latin title: ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’). It states that the pope has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church. These 7 heresies are expressed by the signatories in Latin, the official language of the Church.

This letter of correction has 3 main parts. In the first part, the signatories explain why, as believing and practising Catholics, they have the right and duty to issue such a correction to the supreme pontiff. Church law itself requires that competent persons not remain silent when the pastors of the Church are misleading the flock. This involves no conflict with the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility, since the Church teaches that a pope must meet strict criteria before his utterances can be considered infallible. Pope Francis has not met these criteria. He has not declared these heretical positions to be definitive teachings of the Church, or stated that Catholics must believe them with the assent of faith. The Church teaches no pope can claim that God has revealed some new truth to him, which it would be obligatory for Catholics to believe.

The second part of the letter is the essential one, since it contains the ‘Correction’ properly speaking. It lists the passages of Amoris laetitia in which heretical positions are insinuated or encouraged, and then it lists words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical. In particular, the pope has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.

The final part, called ‘Elucidation’, discusses two causes of this unique crisis. One cause is ‘Modernism’. Theologically speaking, Modernism is the belief that God has not delivered definite truths to the Church, which she must continue to teach in exactly the same sense until the end of time. Modernists hold that God communicates to mankind only experiences., which human beings can reflect on, so as to make various statements about God, life and religion; but such statements are only provisional, never fixed dogmas. Modernism was condemned by Pope St Pius X at the start of the 20th century, but it revived in the middle of the century. The great and continuing confusion caused in the Catholic Church by Modernism obliges the signatories to describe the true meaning of ‘faith’, ‘heresy’, ‘revelation’, and ‘magisterium’.

A second cause of the crisis is the apparent influence of the ideas of Martin Luther on Pope Francis. The letter shows how Luther, the founder of Protestantism, had ideas on marriage, divorce, forgiveness, and divine law which correspond to those which the pope has promoted by word, deed and omission. It also notes the explicit and unprecedented praise given by Pope Francis to the German heresiarch.

The signatories do not venture to judge the degree of awareness with which Pope Francis has propagated the 7 heresies which they list. But they respectfully insist that he condemn these heresies, which he has directly or indirectly upheld.

The signatories profess their loyalty to the holy Roman Church, assure the pope of their prayers, and ask for his apostolic blessing.

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YAHOO!

Pope Francis requests Roman Catholic priests be given the right to get married

Matilda Long

November 2, 2012

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass. (Reuters/Remo Casilli)

Pope Francis has requested that Roman Catholic priests be given the right to get married.

The request applies to priests in Brazil, and is on the agenda for an upcoming synod (church council) in the Amazon region.

The controversial move would address the critical shortage of men joining the priesthood – but is likely to drive divisions through the church by enraging conservative factions.

A small number of married Roman Catholic priests already exist, including previously married Anglican vicars who have joined the church.

A request to lift the ban on marriage was made by Brazilian bishop Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who reportedly asked the Pope to consider ‘viri probati’, meaning married of great faith, as priests.

Derry priest Father Paddy O’Kane suggested that Pope Francis may move to end celibacy earlier this month, saying there was support amongst the church for the idea.

Fr O’Kane cited Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, who said: “The Brazilian bishops, especially the pope’s own personal friend Cardinal Claudio Hummes, have expressly requested Pope Francis to enable married priest in Brazil to return to pastoral ministry.

“I have recently heard that the pope wants to fulfil this request – as an experimental, preliminary phase for the moment confined to Brazil.”

**

LIFE SITE

Pope Francis has abolished hell, purgatory, heaven: papal confidant

(“With more than a billion followers, the Catholic church is the largest global organisation the world has ever seen.” From theguardian “The war against Pope Francis” 27 October 2017)

October 27, 2017 (Sandro Magister) — In the important newspaper “la Repubblica” of which he is the founder, Eugenio Scalfari, an undisputed uthority of Italian secular thought, last October 9 returned to speaking in the following terms about what he sees as a “revolution” of this pontificate, in comments by Francis that are derived from his frequents conversations with him:

“Pope Francis has abolished the places where souls were supposed to go after death: hell, purgatory, heaven. The idea he holds is that souls dominated by evil and unrepentant cease to exist, while those that have been redeemed from evil will be taken up into beatitude, contemplating God.”

Observing immediately afterward:

“The universal judgment that is in the tradition of the Church therefore becomes devoid of meaning. It remains a simple pretext that has given rise to splendid paintings in the history of art. Nothing other than this.”

It is seriously doubtful that Pope Francis really wants to get rid of the “last things” in the terms described by Scalfari.

There is in his preaching, however, something that tends toward a practical overshadowing of the final judgment and of the opposite destinies of blessed and damned.

On Wednesday, October 11, at the general audience in Saint Peter’s Square, Francis said that such a judgment is not to be feared, because “at the end of our history there is the merciful Jesus,” and therefore “everything will be saved. Everything.”

In the text distributed to the journalists accredited to the Holy See, this last word, “everything,” was emphasized in boldface.

At another general audience a few months ago, on Wednesday, August 23, Francis gave for the end of history an image that is entirely and only comforting: that of “an immense tent, where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively.”

An image that is not his own but is taken from chapter 21 of Revelation, but from which Francis was careful not to cite the following words of Jesus:

“The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my son. But as for cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste, sorcerers, idol-worshipers, and deceivers of every sort, their lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

And again, in commenting during the Angelus of Sunday, October 15 on the parable of the wedding banquet (Matthew 22: 1-14) that was read at all the Masses on that day, Francis carefully avoided citing the most unsettling parts.

Both that in which “the king became indignant, sent his troops, had those murderers killed and their city burned.”

And that in which, having seen “one man who was not wearing the wedding garment,” the king ordered his servants: “Bind him hand and foot and throw him out into the darkness; there shall be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth.”

On the previous Sunday, October 8, another parable, that of the murderous vine dressers (Matthew 21:33-43), had undergone the same selective treatment.

In commenting on the parable during the Angelus, the pope left out what the owner of the vineyard does to those farmers who killed the servants and finally the son: “He will put those wretches to a miserable death.” Much less did he cite the concluding words of Jesus, referring to himself as the “cornerstone”: “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but when it falls on any one, it will crush him.”

Instead, Pope Francis insisted on defending God from the accusation of being vindictive, almost as if wanting to mitigate the excesses of “justice” detected in the parable:

“It is here that the great news of Christianity is found: a God who, in spite of being disappointed by our mistakes and our sins, does not go back on his word, does not stop, and above all does not avenge himself! Brothers and sisters, God does not avenge himself! God loves, he does not avenge himself, he waits for us to forgive us, to embrace us.”

In the homily for the feast of Pentecost, last June 4, Francis argued, as he often does, against “those who judge.” And in citing the words of the risen Jesus to the apostles and implicitly to their successors in the Church (John 20:22-23), he intentionally cut them off halfway through:

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven.”

Omitting the following:

“Those you do not forgive, they will not be forgiven.”

And the fact that the truncation was deliberate is proven by its repititon. Because Francis had made the exact same deletion of the words of Jesus on the previous April 23, at the Regina Coeli of the first Sunday after Easter.

Last May 12 as well, while visiting Fatima, Francis showed that he wanted to set Jesus free from his reputation as an inflexible judge at the end of time. And to do this he warned against the following false image of Mary:

“A Mary of our own making: one who restrains the arm of a vengeful God; one sweeter than Jesus the ruthless judge.”

It must be added that the liberty with which Pope Francis cuts and stitches up the words of Sacred Scripture does not concern only the universal judgment. Deafening, for example, is the silence in which he has always shrouded Jesus’ condemnation of adultery (Matthew 19:2-11 and parallel passages).

In a surprising coincidence, this condemnation was contained in the Gospel passage that was read in all the churches of the world precisely on the Sunday of the beginning of the second session of the synod of bishops on the family, October 4, 2015. But neither in the homily nor at the Angelus on that day did Pope Francis make the slightest reference to it.

Nor did he make any reference to it at the Angelus of Sunday February 12, 2017, when that condemnation was once again read in all the churches.

Not only that. The words of Jesus against adultery also do not appear in the two hundred pages of the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”

Just as no appearance is made in it by the terrible words of condemnation of homosexuality written by the apostle Paul in the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans.

A first chapter that was also read - another coincidence - at the weekday Masses of the second week of the synod of 2015. To tell the truth, those words are not included in the missal. But in any case, neither the pope nor anyone else ever cited them while discussions were being held at the synod about changing the paradigms of judgment on homosexuality:

"Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper. They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite. They are gossips and scandalmongers and they hate God. They are insolent, haughty, boastful, ingenious in their wickedness, and rebellious toward their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them" (Romani 1, 26-32).

Moreover, at times Pope Francis even takes the liberty of rewriting the words of Sacred Scripture as he sees fit.

For example, in the morning homily at Santa Marta on September 4, 2014, at a certain point the pope attributed to Saint Paul these “scandalous” words: “I boast only of my sins.” And he concluded by inviting the faithful present to “boast” of their own sins, in that they have been forgiven from the cross by Jesus.

But in none of Paul’s letters can such an expression be found. The apostle instead says of himself: “If it is necessary to boast, I will boast of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 11:30), after having listed all the hardships of his life - the imprisonments, the floggings, the shipwrecks.

Or: “About myself I will not boast, except of my weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:5). Or again: “He said to me: ‘My grace is enough for you; strength is in fact made fully manifest in weakness.’ I will therefore gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9), with more references to the outrages, persecutions, anguish he has suffered.

Coming back to the final judgment, Pope Benedict XVI also acknowledged that "in the modern era, the idea of the Last Judgement has faded into the background.”

But in the encyclical “Spe Salvi,” which he wrote entirely on his own, he forcefully reaffirmed that the last judgment is “the decisive image of hope.” It is an image that “evokes responsibility,” because “grace does not cancel out justice,” but on the contrary “the question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favour of faith in eternal life,” because “with the impossibility that the injustice of history should be the final word does the necessity for Christ's return and for new life become fully convincing.”

And again:

“Grace does not make wrong into right. It is not a sponge which wipes everything away, so that whatever someone has done on earth ends up being of equal value. Dostoevsky was right to protest against this kind of Heaven and this kind of grace in his novel ‘The Brothers Karamazov.’ Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened.”

(English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.)

***

DAILY BEAST

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

IT'S ALIVE

The New Religions Obsessed with A.I.

Yes, not only is A.I. potentially taking all of our jobs, but it's also changing religion.

If God can grant a soul to carbon-based lifeforms, God can grant a soul to silicon-based lifeforms as well.”

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast.” Revelation 13:15

BRANDON WITHROW

10.29.17 12:00 AM ET

What has improved American lives most in the last 50 years? According to a Pew Research study reported this month, it’s not civil rights (10 percent) or politics (2 percent): it’s technology (42 percent).

And yet, according to other studies, most Americans are wary of technology, especially in areas of automation (72 percent), or robotic caregivers (59 percent), or riding in driverless vehicles (56 percent), and even in using brain chip implants to augment the capabilities of healthy people (69 percent).

Science fiction, however, is quickly becoming science fact—the future is the machine. This is leading many to argue that we need to anticipate the ethical questions now, rather than when it is too late. And increasingly, those taking up these challenges are religious and spiritual.

How far should we integrate human physiology with technology? What do we do with self-aware androids—like Blade Runner’s replicants—and self-aware supercomputers? Or the merging of our brains with them? If Ray Kurzweil’s famous singularity—a future in which the exponential growth of technology turns into a runaway train—becomes a reality, does religion have something to offer in response?

On the one hand, new religions can emerge from technology.

In Sweden, for example, Kopimism is a recognized faith founded over a decade ago with branches internationally. It began on a “pirate Agency Forum” and is derived from the words “copy me.” They have no views on the supernatural or gods. Rather, Kopimism celebrates the biological drive (e.g. DNA) to copy and be copied. Like digital monks, they believe that “copying of information” and “dissemination of information is ethically right.”

“Copying is fundamental to life,” says their U.S. branch, “and runs constantly all around us. Shared information provides new perspectives and generate new life. We feel a spiritual connection to the created file.”

Other emerging tech-connected faiths, however, embrace the more grandiose.

A recent revelation from WIRED shows that Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who helped pioneer the self-driving car at Waymo (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet) founded his own AI-based religion called “Way of the Future.” (Levandowski is accused of stealing trade secrets and is the focus of a lawsuit between Waymo and Uber, which revealed the nonprofit registration of Way of the Future.)

Little is known about Way of the Future and Levandowksi has not returned a request for comment. But according to WIRED, the mission of the new religion is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence,” and “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”

It is not a stretch to say that a powerful AI—whose expanse of knowledge and control may feel nearly omniscient and all-powerful—could feel divine to some. It recalls Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” People have followed new religions for far less and, even if AI doesn’t pray to electric deities, some humans likely will.

The potential for an out-of-control AI has encouraged warnings from some of the biggest minds, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk—who tweeted that it could lead to World War III. Clearly no Luddite himself, Musk has compared the creation of AI to “summoning the demon,” and called for regulation and oversight of AI development, forming OpenAI, which looks for a “path to safe artificial general intelligence.”

Musk himself was named-dropped this week by Hanson Robotic’s empathic AI Sophia, when she was interviewed by Andrew Sorkin of CNBC this week. When asked about the danger she poses to humanity, she tells him, “You’ve reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry if you’ll be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.” Not exactly the Golden Rule.

Add to these warnings a prospective human cult following—paying their tithes to AI and devoutly obeying their digital demiurge—and that apocalyptic future could include those humans who not only welcome, but also work toward our eventual demise.

But is there a positive fate for religion and AI?

Beyond possible new religions and warnings from icons of tech and science, artificial intelligence is also of interest to theologians who wonder what it means for faiths, particularly those that came into being when computing power was limited to the abacus.

“One thing that I think is interesting is the potential for an AI—our creation—to transcend us,” says James F. McGrath, the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University and author of Theology and Science Fiction.

“The potential for AIs to transcend us and thus become our teachers to whom we look for answers to questions we cannot answer, including about God, is not hard to imagine,” says McGrath. But, he adds, “the historic answer in monotheistic religions is that the creation can never be greater than the creator.”

He notes, however, for Gnostics, humans can transcend the “creator/demiurge,” though “even then,” he says, “we have the potential to reunite with that source from which we stem. It is not surprising that Gnostic themes regularly surface in science fiction, and in particular those that explore AI.”

Currently, the greatest expression of science-fiction-turning-reality in tech-based religions is found in the frequently optimistic transhumanism.

Transhumanism and its cognates are represented by organizations like the Humanity+ (formerly, the World Transhumanist Association) and Extropy Institute. In its purely secular form, transhumanists are those who see technology as an important part of improving the world, enhancing human physiology, prolonging life, and even leading us into a posthuman future.

Remember that brain chip? They exist—along with brain-computer interfaces—but are in their infancy. It represents the reality that humans are already becoming cyborgs. For some, this means there is the potential for an optimistic posthuman world.

The Terasem faith, for example, is futurist and transreligion, meaning it can be “combined with any existing religion.” Founded by Martine Rothblatt, creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and her spouse, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, Terasem adherents embrace love, see life as purposeful, and death as optional. They look to technology as a source for eternal life, focusing on “cyberconsciousness software, geoethical nanotechnology and space settlement.”

They foresee a future in which technology will extend life indefinitely by means of “mindfiles” of individuals—collections of our memories and emotions—which might then be transferred to what is called a “transbeman” (Transitional Bioelectric Human Being). Early attempts of their technology can be seen in Bina Rothblatt’s counterpart android, Bina48.

And what about God? Their fourth tenet is that God is technical. “We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful and beneficent. Geoethical nanotechnology will ultimately connect all consciousness and control the cosmos.”

Transhumanism can also become the node connecting the theological of existing religions and the technological, and the Christian Transhumanist Association is a stark example.

“Members of the CTA fall all across the conservative and liberal spectrum, and perhaps more importantly, all across the pessimistic and optimistic spectrum as well,” says Micah Redding, its co-founder and executive director.

“If there’s any broad idea that we’re united on,” he clarifies, “I’d say it’s the idea that we should be active and involved. New technological possibilities shouldn’t be simply feared and denied, but engaged and understood. Only in doing so will we be able to confront the challenges of the future, mitigate the risks, and take advantage of the opportunities to create a better world for us all.”

Redding is careful to insist, however, that he can only speak for himself.

“As I see it, Christian Transhumanism is grounded in compassion, and centers love as the key to the future of flourishing life,” he explains. “This puts us in contrast with any form of transhumanism which centers radical egoism.”

For Redding, transhumanism is a “Christian mandate,” recently calling it the next Reformation in an article at The Huffington Post. “We cannot be faithful to the Christian calling without ultimately embracing some form of transhumanism.”

Others share his optimism and are hard at work in crafting a theology of transhumanism.

“I see transhumanism as a contemporary outgrowth of an ancient Christian vision of human transformation,” says Ronald Cole-Turner, the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and author of The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins.

He too sees promise in the emergence of the Christian Transhumanist Association.

“Using technology, today’s transhumanists want to enhance human beings in ways that sound suspiciously like the classic Christian expectation,” says Cole-Turner, “things like greater cognitive awareness, improved moral disposition, and increased overall sense of well-being, and a hope of endless life.”

For early Greek-speaking Christians, Cole-Turner says, “it was seen as a process of theosis or ‘becoming God,’ not in an ontological sense but in every other significant meaning of the word. Latin-speaking Christians used ‘deification’ to refer to the same thing.”

The idea of theosis—being transformed in union with God—is gathering steam among Christian scholars, he says, noting that it makes theological sense of transhumanism. “God is the ground or source of everything, working through the whole creation to bring people, communities, and all creation to its glorious fulfilment in Jesus Christ. It is a transformation of everything by every means.”

Others have found different routes to transhumanism.

“Transhumanism was the confluence of my interests in Buddhism, radical politics and futurism,” says James Hughes, the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having worked for a Buddhist social development organization in Sri Lanka—and once ordained as a monk—Hughes moved to Japan and went into bioethics. He discovered he was a techno-optimist, and at heart, a transhumanist.

“I discovered the new World Transhumanist Association,” he says, becoming their first Executive Director, and writing Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future. But after a division over political perspectives, he and a few others in the WTA founded IEET, leading he and three others to work toward Buddhist concerns.

Among some of his transhumanist issues, he says, is nonhuman personhood rights. Organizations like the Nonhuman Rights Project already seek these rights for animals (e.g. apes and elephants). Likewise, Hughes says, transhumanists want to “base those moral standings on levels of consciousness, and extend them to enhanced humans, animals, and machine minds.”

Machines, in other words, may reach a point where they are considered persons and are protected by law.

Redding adds a theological dimension to this idea.

“It’s clear that artificial intelligence plays a significant role in the world today,” he says, “and thus must be factored into God’s eventual work of redemption. We don’t yet know whether that involves self-conscious AIs ‘coming to Jesus,’ because we don’t yet know the process by which an AI might become self-conscious.”

“If and when it does happen,” he adds, “it shouldn’t challenge Christian doctrine. If God can grant a soul to carbon-based lifeforms, God can grant a soul to silicon-based lifeforms as well.”

Redding shows that religious perspectives might only be limited by the theological imagination.

“I’m optimistic about a fruitful religious-transhumanist dialogue,” says Hughes. “The religious impulse is very creative, and there has been a lot of reconciliation to the Enlightenment within faiths, sometimes by adapting doctrine and practice, and sometimes by the emergence of new denominations.”

If any of this—from AIs to the copying of a mind—seems too much like science-fiction to be truly religious, just give this a little time.

“All religions were once new,” insists McGrath, paraphrasing Composers Datebook, “and they all tend to be viewed with skepticism and enthusiasm from different directions when they arrive.”

***

BREAK POINT

The Point: The Church of Harry Potter

By John Stonestreet

October 23, 2017

Clerical robes may now come with wands. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

A group of secular students at Harvard Divinity school, feeling spiritually hungry and deprived of moral instruction, are turning to the “Harry Potter” series as a kind of Bible.

Their new podcast called “Harry Potter and the Sacred Text,” is described by the Washington Post as “a weekly church-like service for the secular” which seeks to draw morality and meaning from the story of the boy wizard with the lighting-bolt scar.

It’s now one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes, and its hosts are touring the country, drawing droves of eager young converts.

One student told the Post after listening, “I feel like I’m born again.” Secularism, according to the hosts, doesn’t “speak to [their peers’] hearts and souls.” Apparently, imaginary magic does.

Writing at The Federalist, Amelia Hamilton points out that these quasi-religious gatherings further prove that human beings are fundamentally religious creatures, and will try to fill the God-shaped void in their hearts with anything, even a children’s fantasy series.

theblaze

Bible Scholar Explains Why Everything You’ve Been Taught About Demons Might Be Completely Wrong

Billy Hallowell

October 30, 2015

Many theologians and Bible experts have traditionally taught that demons are simply fallen angels who have chosen to no longer do the work of the Lord, but Dr. Michael S. Heiser, a scholar who has studied ancient history and Hebrew, has a surprisingly different take on the matter.

Heiser, a scholar-in-residence at the Faithlife Corporation and the author of “The Unseen Realm” and “Supernatural,” told The Church Boys podcast that he believes that those who embrace the “fallen angels” paradigm have it all wrong, proposing, instead, that demons are actually the spirits of the Nephilim who are briefly mentioned in the Old Testament.

“It might surprise a lot of people who are familiar with the Bible … to know that the Bible never offers a point-blank explanation for where demons come from,” he said. “A lot of what we think about that is really filtered through church tradition.”

Heiser said that the closest place that one comes to demons being fallen angels can be found in Revelation, the final book of the Bible.

“Revelation 12 … talks about a war in heaven and angels being cast out,” Heiser said. “But if you actually read Revelation 12, that discussion … is associated with the first coming of Jesus … demons were around a long time before that.”

While he embraces the notion that it is possible for people — mainly occultists, Satanists and practicing polytheists who solicit evil forces — to become possessed, he believes that the spiritual forces behind it simply aren’t angelic in nature.

“What the New Testament refers to as demons, Jewish texts in between the Old and New Testaments actually have a very clear answer for this — and that is demons are the disembodied spirits of the dead Nephilim from Genesis 6:1-4,” Heiser said. “The dead giants of the pre-flood era and the post-flood era as well.”

Nephilim are mentioned twice in the Bible in the aforementioned Genesis 6 chapter as well as in Numbers 13. Here are the specific verses:

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4)

We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:33)

Overall, there’s not a lot written about the Nephilim in the biblical text and Heiseradmits that it “sounds kind of crazy,” but he further explained why he believe that these spirits that were once in bodily form are once again seeking human hosts to reside in.

Heiser said that Jewish texts fill in the blanks, leading him to believe that the Nephilimare actually the demonic forces that some believe hold the power to terrorize and possess humans.

As for Christians who might reject the Nephilim theory or the notion of demons more generally, Heiser said that he believes that evangelicals, in particular, are sometimes “selectively supernatural.”

“I like to ask Christians, ‘Well, what’s so normal about the virgin birth? What’s so normal about the trinity?” he said.

Some critics, of course, maintain their belief that demons are most likely fallen angels, with Christian resource GotQuestions.org embracing the traditional notion and pushing back against those who embrace the Nephilim theory.

“The most common alternate explanation for the origin of the demons is that when the Nephilim of Genesis 6 were destroyed in the flood, their disembodied souls became the demons,” the site reads. “While the Bible does not specifically say what happened to the souls of the Nephilim when they were killed, it is unlikely that God would destroy the Nephilim in the Flood only to allow their souls to cause even greater evil as the demons.”

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CHRISTIAN FORUMS

Demons are the earthbound spirits of the dead giants [nephilim]

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Quasar92, Sep 16, 2017.

The Jewish historian Josephus, writing of the time of the Exodus and conquest of Canaan, tells us further:
"There were till then left the RACE OF GIANTS, who had bodies so large, and countenances so entirely different from other men, that they were surprising to the sight, and terrible to the hearing. The bones of these men are still shown to this very day, unlike to any credible relations of other men" (Ant., V,ii,3).
The Apocrypha claim the disembodied giants [Nephilim] are the origin of demons, and accuse them of many crimes. Jubilees places the blame for the Flood squarely upon the fornication of the Watchers and the iniquity and bloodshed of the Nephilim. "And now the giants who were born from souls and flesh will be called evil spirits upon the earth," charges I Enoch XV-XVI, "From the day of...the slaughter and destruction of the giant Nephilim, the mighty ones of the earth, the great famous ones, the spirits that have gone out from their souls as from the flesh will destroy without judgment."
Even the mortal women who are their mothers are cursed to become sirens and demonesses. In Jubilees X:1-6, Noah's sons beg him to protect their children from "unclean demons" who are "leading astray, blinding and killing" them; Noah, petitioning God to "let not wicked spirits rule over [my grandchildren] and destroy them", adds, "Thou knowest what thy Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, did in my day..." making it clear that the demonic spirits and the Nephilim are considered one and the same. (One wonders if Kainam was one of these grandchildren being "led astray" by a "demonic" Nephilim familiar. Maybe it was helping him interpret the stone...)
Earthbound spirits of the dead giants [Nephilim] are the demons Jesus dealt with.
Jesus spoke of these evil spirits -- He cast out many demons from people, throughout His ministry, and gave this same authority to His servants. Early in His ministry, He encountered an extremely violent and super-strong demoniac who dwelt among the tombs near the sea of Galilee.
"When he reached the opposite side, the country of the Gadarenes, he was met by two demons who ran out of the tombs; they were so violent that nobody could pass along the road there. They shrieked, 'Son of God, what business have you with us? Have you come here to torture us before it is time? Now, some distance away, there was a large drove of swine grazing; so the demons begged him saying, 'If you are going to cast us out, send us into that drove of swine.' He said to them, 'Begone!' So out they came and went to the swine, and the entire drove rushed down the steep slope into the sea and perished in the water" (Matt.8:28-32, Moffatt translation).
As God's servants, with the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us (Rom.8:9-10; 5:32), we do not have to fear or be afraid of these demonic spirits. Jesus gave His disciples power and authority to CAST OUT demons, just as He did, setting an example!
"And summoning his twelve disciples he gave them power over unclean spirits, power to cast them out and also to heal every sickness and disease" (Matt.10:1, Moffatt).
This commission and charge was not just for the original disciples and apostles. It was an on-going commission and commandment for the Church of God throughout the ages! Notice! In His final instructions to the disciples,
Jesus declared: "And he said to them, 'Go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature: he who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who will not believe shall be condemned. And as for those who believe, these miracles will follow: they will cast out demons in my name . . ." (Mark 16:15-17, Moffatt).
Jude says these wicked angels left their own "habitation" (Jude 6). The word is oiketerion in Greek, and is also used in II Corinthians 5:2 -- "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." Says Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of this word, it means, "habitation, house." Thus these angels left their own spirit body, and took on human form! That is how they accomplished this despicable, rebellious act of lust and wanton disregard for the laws of God. The result? Tragedy beyond measure. Wickedness supreme. Murder, lawlessness, and mayhem unparalleled in the history of the entire Universe!
The progeny of these rebellious angels were called "giants" -- Nephilim in the Hebrew. These were monsters of iniquity, and being superhuman in size and character had to be destroyed once and for all. This grievous intermarriage was an insidious attempt by Satan the devil to prevent the coming of the promised "Seed" of the woman to redeem the human race. He thought that he would pervert and corrupt the blood-line of human beings, so that the Messiah could not be born! It was also an abortive attempt to "play God" on the part of Satan and his fallen angels -- to duplicate and copy God 's plan of procreation!
Interestingly, these "half-breeds" of angels and women -- these offspring of the union of wicked angels and women -- since they are not truly "human" in the full sense of the word, have no place in the plan of God, and will not be in the resurrection. They will not be resurrected from the grave in the time to come of the great Judgment.
The very name, Rephaim, in the Hebrew comes from the root rapha which means not only "giant," but also "lax," that is, "ghost," "as dead," "dead, deceased." Says Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, "flaccid, feeble, weak, only in plural." This authority states, "According to the opinions of the ancient Hebrews, void of blood and animal life, therefore weak and languid like a sick person." Isaiah 26:14 speaks of them, but their name is translated "deceased." Notice! "They are dead, they are deceased [Rephaim], they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish." Isn't it interesting to note that many of the so-called "aliens" which have been "seen" by various people, when described, all appear rather weak, flaccid, limp, and feeble in appearance, lacking energy and vitality?
By: William F. Dankenbring

INDEPENDENT

Great Pyramid in Egypt has huge ‘plane-sized’ void in the middle, scientists discover in shock finding

It could be a lot of things’

    Andrew Griffin

    2 November 2017

    The Great Pyramid has a huge “plane-sized” void at its middle, according to scientists.

What lies in the middle of the structure has been debated for years, with researchers unable to actually see inside. But the new discovery just deepens that mystery: they now appear to have discovered that it contains a huge room with an unknown purpose.

The discovery is the first of its kind to be made since the 19th century and comes as part of the “ScanPyramids” project, being run by an international team of researchers. That sees them use particle physics to try and scan deep into the pyramid and find out what’s contained within, without disturbing its outside.

    The scientists made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper. Their paper was peer-reviewed before appearing in Nature, an international, interdisciplinary journal of science.

“This is a premier,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, a co-founder of the ScanPyramids project and president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute. “It could be composed of one or several structures... maybe it could be another Grand Gallery. It could be a chamber, it could be a lot of things.”

    “It was hidden, I think, since the construction of the pyramid,” he added.

The muon scan is accomplished by planting special plates inside and around the pyramid to collect data on the particles, which rain down from the earth’s atmosphere. They pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces, allowing scientists to study their trajectories and discern what is stone and what is not. Several plates were used to triangulate the void discovered in the Great Pyramid.

Tayoubi said the team plans to work with others to come up with hypotheses about the area.

    “The good news is that the void is there, and it’s very big,” he said.

Previously, the same research project has found mysterious “heat spots”, which still remain unexplained. That prompted rampant speculation about what the Pyramid – the only surviving wonder of the ancient world – was hiding inside of it, and the new discovery is sure to do the same.

    (It should be noted that there is a whole school of Bibical thought that posits that the Egyptians did not build the Great Pyramid but that it was built before the Flood. Isaiah chapter nineteen is often cited to help support this position. It is claimed that advanced pre Flood technology was used in its construction.)

    ***

    Gates of Vienna

    Viktor Orbán: We Did Not Repudiate Communism Only to Embrace Globalism!

    We never hid from the responsibility, nor from work or from the good Lord’s will.

    Posted on October 25, 2017 by Baron Bodissy

    Monday was the 61st anniversary of the popular uprising against Communist rule in Hungary. The speech below was delivered for the occasion by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the square next to the Museum of Terror in Budapest.

    In his speech Mr. Orbán mentions the thirty-foot bronze statue of Stalin that was demolished during the Revolution of 1956. The dictator’s boots were all that remained, and the citizens of Budapest scaled the plinth beneath the truncated statue to place Hungarian flags in them. The photo at the top of this post shows the moment just before those flags were raised.

    The Hungarian Revolution was an inspiration to the Free World in 1956, and it remains an inspiration today. For ten days the Hungarian nation regained its independence as a sovereign state. There was no hope of success in the long term against the Soviet behemoth, but for that proud moment Hungarians knew that they, as a people, had not surrendered their identity nor abandoned their dignity.

    Then the Soviet tanks arrived in Budapest. Block by block, house by house, the Revolution was crushed. A compliant puppet government was once again installed, and Hungary regained its status as a Soviet vassal, which it kept for thirty-three more years.

    Two years after the Revolution, Imre Nagy, the leader of the failed rebellion, was executed. His body was buried face down, with hands and feet bound by barbed wire, in the public cemetery of Budapest.

    I recommend the Wikipedia entry on the Revolution of 1956, which provides a fairly detailed account of events. An excerpt:

    At about the same time, a large crowd gathered at the Radio Budapest building, which was heavily guarded by the ÁVH [state security police]. The flash point was reached as a delegation attempting to broadcast their demands was detained and the crowd grew increasingly unruly as rumours spread that the protesters had been shot. Tear gas was thrown from the upper windows and the ÁVH opened fire on the crowd, killing many. The ÁVH tried to re-supply itself by hiding arms inside an ambulance, but the crowd detected the ruse and intercepted it. Hungarian soldiers sent to relieve the ÁVH hesitated and then, tearing the red stars from their caps, sided with the crowd. Provoked by the ÁVH attack, protesters reacted violently. Police cars were set ablaze, guns were seized from military depots and distributed to the masses and symbols of the Communist regime were vandalised.

    On the European political stage, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a giant among pygmies. Sixty-one years after the uprising, he connects the events of those days with Hungary’s long historical experience, with its subjugation under Communism, and with the current attempts to subjugate it under globalist rule from Brussels.

    The sign in front of the prime minister’s microphone reads: “The Day of Freedom”

    Many thanks to CrossWare for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

    Video transcript:

    With respect… I would like to welcome — with respect — the Hungarian heroes of the 1956 revolution and fight for independence.

    I welcome you all, from all around the world: from Toronto via Paris to Dunaszerdahely [Dunajská Streda — Slovakia] and from Munkacs [Mukachevo — Ukraine] via Szabadka [Subotica — Serbia] to Szeklerland. I welcome those who celebrate in the capital of the nation, and those, too, who are in front of their [TV] screens. They are home with us.

    I would like to welcome those who experience that we Hungarians, the Folk of Freedom, are a special nation of freedom. There might be rain. There might be a shrill wind, or there might be teargas and mounted police attacks. We come together, because no matter where we live in the world, we want to remember today. Worthy and just!…We want to remember that wonderful October day When a nation said: “Enough”, and shook the supporting columns of the Communist system. We want to remember the moment that will live forever in the memory of the free nations of the world.

    Respected ladies and gentlemen, respected celebrants: The homeland is a natural and mental reality. But Soviet rule tossed us into a space without history. It wanted to destroy our past, and our culture, too. Against the recurrence of physical and mental terror, the strongest weapon is national historical memory. That is why we came to precisely this place. The building next to us was the headquarters of the Arrow Cross Party [fascist party in WW2], then it was the center of terror for the Communist single-party state. First the national, then the international socialists nestled themselves in there. Here they kept in captivity and tortured those they were most afraid of, and those whom they most hated. In 2002 with a blade-wall we excised it from space and time, raised it up to be a memorial and placed a museum here, in the heart of Budapest, Hungary, and Europe. It should remind the world that the Hungarians’ thirst for freedom cannot be strangled. That’s why we placed it here, to warn ourselves that if freedom is lost, if national independence is lost, then we will be lost, too. It cautions us that freedom never comes free for us. We always fight for it.

    There shall come the Labanc [Austrian imperial soldier], Muszka [Muscovite], the German or the Soviet wearing uniforms with the arrow-cross or Communist outfits, for our own freedom we always have to defend ourselves. Others never will. We are accustomed to the fact that in our part of the world, liberation is just the beginning of a new occupation. It’s fortunate that the nation — in the necessary moment, the fateful hours of history — has daughters and sons who are ready to defend their homeland. Because in this corner of Europe those times frequently come when it is not enough to talk nicely about one’s love for his homeland, but when one must actually have to defend his country.

    Today we remember those who one day woke up to realize they had everything taken from them not just worth dying for, but worth living for, too. They didn’t take from them only what was, but what might have been, too. The fear hit them in their hearts that if things continue this way, they could lose Hungary forever. And then, on the edge of the cliff, the thousand-year-old homeland, on the doorstep of the crumbling of the Hungarian world, they rebelled. In 1956 such a wonderful country emerged from the twilight of suppression, one that we always wished for. It flashed up in front of us that it is possible, that such a Hungary could exist, where our better selves provide the girders.

    The revolution was a national one. From the workers in the factories we learned that they were no “international proletariat”, but Hungarian workers, and that moment we will always remember, for as long as a single Hungarian remains alive in the world…

    Let’s take a detour! …Let’s take a detour, and let’s admit that we not only remember, but do not forget, either. We have not forgotten those who stood against us. It is customary to accuse us of being unable to forgive. But in reality they are the ones who are incapable of forgiving us for almost half a century, what they committed against us.

    Respected commemorators! Westerners, even though they admired the Hungarian revolution, did not understand it. They did not understand the force that worked in us. They did not understand why we were fighting against such numerical superiority, which by any human calculation could not be defeated. They did not understand that we were fighting because we hold on to our culture till the end, to our way of life, and we do not want to be dissolved in anybody’s melting pot. We want them to respect who and what we are. For a thousand years we protected the borders of Europe and fought for our national independence. We are a brave and warrior nation, one that knows it is not respected, but despised. That’s why they do not understand us in Brussels, because they did not understand us, even then.

    …Respected celebrating crowd! Respected celebrating crowd! We are not only standing beside the House of Terror museum, but on one of the world’s most beautiful boulevards. Here towering ahead of us in sheer reality, that beauty and greatness of which our nation is capable. Here are lined up the palaces of Andrássy street; that way the Heroes’ Square; the other way the Opera House and the Chain Bridge. A heritage, an enthralling heritage, to which all of us are obliged. Our old squares are not theatrical scenery, for us to wonder at with amazement. These are gauges and measuring devices. Signals and warnings. A nation that reached such peaks as we have — not just once — can’t be content with less. We can’t be content with less today, either!…There were periods when we were in control of an empire. There were occasions — more than once — when, after the destruction by our enemies, we had to rebuild and reorganize our devastated homeland. We never hid from the responsibility, nor from work or from the good Lord’s will. We undertook what needed to be done, There were those who stood in the battlefields, and those who, with their intellectual power, assured our place in the rank of nations.

    Today we celebrate that day when many millions of Hungarians again realized: although we live different lives, we all belong to the same nation. Today we remember that moment, when the cardinal and the turner, the philosophers and the brats of Pest, when the Archduke and the Interior Minister — who was a Soviet partisan — wanted the very same thing. Today we remember that touch which plowed through the walls separating the torn-apart fragments of the country and permeated the student assemblies in Erdely [Transylvania] or the prison cells of Szamosujvar. Peter Mansfeld, Maria Wittner, Laszlo Dozsa, Janos Szabo, Gergely Pongratz, Imre Nagy, Jozsef Mindszenty We look at them, but we see a nation.

    Respected ladies and gentlemen… …The remembrance helps the truth of our present life to stare in the face, too. The truth is that thirty years after Communism there exists once again a global force that wants to repaint the European nations in a single color, And wants to knead them into a consistent mass. Like every other cultured nation, we Hungarians always had our own notions about Hungary. A vision about freedom, about civilization. A vision about how to be human, And live as human beings. We always rebuilt our country this way, when we got rid of our current oppressors. So it was, too, at the time when we toppled Communism and sent the Soviets home. The truth is that now, after three decades, once again everything we think about Hungary and the order of the Hungarian life is endangered. The truth is, after achieving freedom in 1990, once again we have arrived at a turning point in our history.

    We wanted to believe that the old problems could no longer return. We wanted to believe that the crazed dreams of the Communists — that from us Hungarians they would fabricate Homo Sovieticus — could never happen again. And now we stand here and look in stunned amazement at the forces of globalism straining against our doors, the way they work to shape Hungarians into Homo Brusselicus.

    We wanted to believe… …We wanted to believe that we would never again have to deal with political, economic and mental forces that want to cut our national roots. We also wanted to believe that in Europe terror and violence cannot raise its head. This is not what has happened. Europe was blinded by its old successes, lost its significance on the world stage, in such a way that it did not even realize it. It dreamed about its role as a world leader. Today not even its neighbors care much about it, and even in its own house it is barely able to keep order. But instead of admitting this, it initiates revenge campaigns against those who warn about intellectual suicide and the dangers of nihilism. They labeled as diehards those who believed Europe needs solid, defendable external borders. They stigmatized as racists those who believed that immigration presents a danger to our culture. They stigmatized as exclusionists those who raised their voice in defense of Christianity. They stigmatized as homophobic those who stood in defense of the family. They called Nazis those who believed Europe is an alliance of nations. And finally they labeled as screwballs those who deviated from the economic path of Brussels, which leads to a swamp. Only a few of us survived these revenge campaigns.

    This arrogance… This arrogance led Europe into that economic, political and intellectual chaos which now every country wants to escape. That is the truth that we have to face today. Detour! It looks like there [Brussels] they do not know our king Saint Stephen’s admonitions, and I quote: “Nothing can lift you up but humility; nothing can throw you down but arrogance and hatred.”

    Respected ladies and gentlemen… …The European people — we among them — became fed up with the idea that globalization had to be accepted as an irresistible force. We became fed up that they hammer into our heads day and night that we cannot do anything; we must tolerate it, adapt to it, and that we must bow down. The reason we wanted and still want the European Union is to have the assurance and means with which the European nations can defend their shared thoughts of their civilization. But in reality we made ourselves more vulnerable than before. In every crisis situation, they scream “Europe”, like it’s some kind of magic word, which can by itself avert our fate. That is why Europe ran into a dead end.

    We Hungarians know why. This time of the year, on October 23, we see this most clearly. In the 20th century military empires caused the problems. Now on the lee of the wave of globalization, financial empires have arisen. They do not have borders, but they have world media, and they have tens of thousands of bought people. They do not have a solid structure, but they have an extended network. They are fast, strong and brutal. This empire of financial speculators successfully captured Brussels, and many member states, too. As long as it fails to regain its sovereignty, the steering wheel of Europe cannot be turned back to the correct direction. This empire brought upon us the modern-day mass migration, the millions of migrants and the new immigration invasion. They prepared the plan that wants to convert Europe into a mixed-race continent. Now we are the only ones resisting. We ended up in a situation where Central Europe is the last migrant-free region. That is why the fight about the future of Europe will be focused here.

    Respected ladies and gentlemen, we Hungarians were the ones who broke the ice of silence. We are the ones who named the forces that want to cut Europe’s national roots. We brought to light the announcement, first of national, then later international collaboration against them. We could not do it differently. The twilight and covert war is not our world, one that we could never win. In the dark, our enemies have overwhelming odds. Only in a fair open fight, with clear and open speech, can we have any chance to defend our borders, to stop the migration and to protect our national identity. If we want a Hungarian Hungary and a European Europe, then we must openly talk about it… And it is not enough to talk; we must fight, just as we have always done, when our freedom and our independence are at stake.

    Respected celebrants! Today every election in Europe is historic. There was the Austrian, the German, the Czech, and next year will be the Italian and the Hungarian ones, too. Now it will be decided whether the citizens of Europe will take back control of their own nations. Take it back from the European bureaucrats in collusion with the financial elite. On every stage: in politics, in the economy, in intellectual life, and first of all in the culture, we must initiate deep changes. Now it will be decided whether we successfully can bring back the old — before multiculturalism — our great Europe. We want a safe, reasonable, civil, Christian and free Europe…

    Still… Still many people think that it is impossible. But let us think about 1956. How many would have thought on the morning of October 23rd, on their way to work on the streetcar, that by evening in place of the Stalin sculpture only a couple of boots would remain? How many would have believed that if necessary even adolescents could take up arms? [Istvan] Orkeny wrote about a civilian home in Pest, where a little boy knocked on the door: “Lady, please, if I clean my shoes real good, may I shoot out of the window?” And in 1988, how many believed that Communism, in just one year, would come down, and we would count it out, that we would force a step-down, and the Soviet troops would be ordered out of the country?

    And who would have believed before 2010 …That soon we would have a new Constitution on a nationalist basis, with a Christian culture and capable of protecting our families and values. They said: impossible! They said… they said it was impossible to send the IMF home. They said it was impossible to make the banks accountable, and impossible to tax the multis [multinational corporations]. They said it was impossible to reduce the cost of living. They said it was impossible to give work to everyone, that it was impossible to resist the migration, and that it was impossible to stop the migrant invasion at our borders with a fence.

    I did not mention it to you once… I could not say it to you once that we will be successful. In life there are no guarantees for such things. But one thing is certain: if we do not try, we will surely fail. Some risks always exist… in 1956 we saved the honor of our country. In 1990 we took back our freedom. In 2010 we set out on the path of national unification. For us, nobody can say: impossible. We know the migration can be stopped, globalization can be thwarted, Brussels can be curbed, a financial speculator’s plan can be scuttled, the crazy idea of United European States can be forced into a straitjacket. …All that is needed… All that is needed here in Central Europe is for Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians and Hungarians to join forces; we only need to discover the power in our hands, in our minds, in our hearts, and behave as befits proud nations.

    Respected celebrants! The stakes are high… The stakes are high. We cannot take anything lightly We can’t be lulled into inaction and convenience in our present strength. We shall never underestimate the power of the dark side! We have good odds for the next election, but have not yet deserved, not yet fought for our victory. We will need everybody, so in the upcoming months we will prepare, we will restart in March, and then in April we will win again. Hurrah Hungary, hurrah Hungarians!

    ***

    STRANGE SOUNDS

    Mysterious light column appears in the sky over Feliciano, Argentina

    October 27, 2017

    A woman from Feliciano, Argentina, witnessed a mysterious phenomenon in the sky on October 24, 2017.

    During her daily walk across the San Jose Park, a bright light column suddenly appeared in front of her. Some sort of glowing portal to heaven.

    When the sky lit up, she first thought it was a lightning. But in the picture the woman found a light column. The pictures shown below show the mysterious light that leaves a column in the sky. Some sort of glowing portal to heaven.

    Baffled meteorologists believe this strange and rare natural phenomenon occurs when a cold front meets a warm front. These two fronts don’t mix because of the difference in temperature and density. When such masses of air collide together, extreme weather events can occur, including lightning and even tornadoes.
    But this mysterious column of light remains a mystery.

    Dave Hodges The Common Sense Show

    We Interrupt Your Regularily Scheduled Programming to Bring You a Dose of United Nations Reality

    I interrupt your scheduled programming for a real-time dose of reality. I was preparing to continue my series on the UN controlled coup against the American people when a real live example has surfaced.

    The uncalled for murder of 8 and the injuring of 15 innocent people in Manhattan is the continued fullfillment of the radical left and their intended destabilization of the country and the government so that the UN “peacekeepers” will gain “justiication” to spring into action and change America forever through military occupation and gun confiscation. In Part Two of this series, I covered how the US government has given permission for the UN to “police” America in times of civil unrest and this is what the United Nations’ main culprit, Antifa and their network of terrorists, is trying to do. The UN is responsible for the attacks that killed or injured in the NY ISIS terrorism attack.

    ISIS Attack Upon Manhattan

    It is interesting to note that the first three pages of the Google’s listing of articles about yesterday’s terror attack all consist of mainstream media from the traditional propagandists (eg CNN, ABC, NBC, Washington Post, NY Times, etc). The Independent Media was virtuallly shut out of Google’s search engine which controls 80% of all traffic on the Internet.

    The ISIS connection to the Vegas attacks were completely covered up by the MSM and the FBI, despite ISIS claims that it was taking credit and that Paddock was one of their own. Fortunately, the ISIS connection to the Manhattan terror attacks could not be covered up because alert and honest police officiers from the NYPD found the note in the attacker’s truck claiming the attacker’s affiliation with ISIS was found and the contents of the note was released prior to the FBI being able to control the crime scene.

    NYPD Officer Ryan Nash stopped the attack with a well-placed bullet in the gut of the ISIS terrorist. The suspect was identified by two law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov. He’s from Uzbekistan in Central Asia but had been living in the US since 2010. In other words, his terrorist cell has been in place inside the United States for seven years.

    President Donald Trump responded to yesterday’s attacks with an announcement of the following tweet:

    Donald J. Trump

    ✔@realDonaldTrump

    I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!

    28,28328,283 Replies

    26,76126,761 Retweets

    99,30899,308 likes

    This promise of incresed vetting by the President has previously been thwarted by ultra-liberal communist judges appointed by America’s number one communist sympathizer, Obama.

    The United Nations Allies Constisting of ISIS, Hollywood, State Run Universites and Colleges As Well As the Mainstream Media Support a Violent Revolution Against the American People and Government

    In adddition to the aforementioned network that is responsible for the wave of terrorism, I want to add that I am in agreement with Mike Adams who is stating that “the deranged left-wing media will stop denying the existence of radical ISIS terrorism in America”, as evidenced by the following published late last night in Natural News:

  • “The New York Times openly sponsored a public play that depicted the violent assassination of President Trump. And they didn’t see anything wrong with this, either.

  • TheWashington Post published an op-ed that called for more violence in the streets to oppose (and eventually overthrow) President Trump.

  • The owner of the Washington Post, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, openly traffics in (and profits from) Antifa terrorism gear.

  • Encouraged by the deranged left-wing media, America’s universities have now been transformed into terrorist training hubs that recruit, train and deploy active terrorism cells across America.

  • CNN ran a story that appeared to openly encourage someone to assassinate President Trump, hoping that an Obama cabinet member would take over as president.

  • Numerous mainstream media outlets have repeatedly called for a violent uprising against Trump and his supporters.

  • Other mainstream media outlets intentionally stoke hatred and division across America, fanning the flames of violence against innocents…

  • Not long ago, extreme left-wing Hollywood liberal George Clooney donated $1 million to a radical hate group that preaches hatred and intolerance against Christian groups.

  • Fanning the flames even more, Whoopi Goldberg declared that Christians are just as dangerous as radical Muslims, attempting to equate Christians with ISIS terrorism.

  • The extreme anti-American hatred pushed by the left-wing media has already resulted in at least one mass assassination attempt against a Republican congressman.

  • Liberal college students have penned student newspaper articles calling for conservative speakers to be executed in order to silence them before they can utter “offensive” speech. (“Offensive” is defined as anything the students don’t want to hear.)

  • Some student groups are now openly resorting to terror-style tactics to demand concessions from universities, including an end to homework.

  • Left-wing terrorist groups like Antifa are openly calling for extreme acts of violence to be carried out against white people and Trump supporters….”

  • Numerous radical left-wing groups repeatedly call for law enforcement officers to be executed, and they achieved precisely this outcome last year in Dallas, Texas.

  • CNN recently labeled 900 conservative organizations — including churches — “hate groups” and effectively called for violence to be committed against their members.

  • The left-wing media systematically attacks America as a racist, unjust nation that must be overthrown, discredit or destroyed from within.

  • The hatred from the Left is so out of control that a pro-Democrat group recently released a campaign ad that depicted white Trump supporters running over Muslims with a pickup truck…”

    The Communist Revolution Against America Is In Full Swing

    The communist revolution is in full swing in America and its main suporter is the mainstream media (MSM). Ninety Five percent of the mainstream media is owned by six globalist corporations. As you can see from the abovementioned facts, they glorify violence against the vast majority of Americans who still self-identify as conservative, Constitutional-supporting Christians. These are the kinds of people that the radical left wants dead. The ongoing coup against America is being glorified by Hollywood and the media. There is no difference between the extreme radical left, which is growing exponentially on college campuses across America, than the actual violence being carried out by the partnership of Antifa (ie MS-13 and ISIS) under the auspices of the United Nations and their partners at the CIA. This is a full-scale assault upon the country just the same as if Chinese and Russian troops were paratrooping in from the sky to conquer major American cities (that day is coming).

    The Point of Origin of These False Flag Terror Attacks

    I just completed a pre-recorded interview with Paul Preston. For over a year both Paul and myself maintain that the United Nations is the driving force behind the CALEXIT movement. We know that a gangster, drug cartel affiliated arsonist was being sought by three probation officers at the time the 65 fires in Northern California simultaeously broke out. These fires were the result of CALEXIT planning and execution. They are the fufillment of the threats we publshed last year in which it was announced the widespread violence would be perpetrated against white people until California was able to exit the Union. Both Paul Preston and myself have intelligence information that demonstrates that the wave of terror attacks across america are organized and being executed by the calexit movement.

    As previously covered on The Common Sense Show, we know that the CALEXIT movement is under the direction of the United Nations. California Governor Jerry Brown announced that California, once exited, would become a protectorate of the United Nations. We have previously reported the support of George Soros, the Mexican drug cartels which brings in ISIS and MS-13. In fact, there are many locals that believe that MS-13 carried out the well-coordinated fire-setting in Northern California. The presence of the Mexican drug cartels at the CALEXIT meetings, in which Paul Preston had an embedded source, brings all the current terror groups into play. In addition, the hijacked Jefferson movement, as previously reported on The Common Sense Show. is now under the control of the leadership of Moveon.org which is a George Soros organization. After the Jefferson, 51st state movement was hijacked, it was destroyed through deliberate frivolity and the wasting of valuable legal funds, which would have been needed to complete the mission of creating a 51st state. The same forces that destroyed the Jefferson movement in order to promote the CALEXIT movement are the very ones who are directing the terror attacks upon America. CALEXIT and the aforementiond forces is the command and control of the overthrow of the United States.

    Would you like to know who else is involved in the CALEXIT movement? You should, because it will tell you how vast the conspiracy against America runs. The major participants included the following:

    Members of the Obama administration

    Former Attorney General for Obama, Eric Holder, is in charge of CALEXIT

    As mentioned, the George Soros’ forces

    The drug cartels and their ISIS terrorist allies which includes MS-13 the prime suspects in the No. California fires.

    Russia as evidenced by the fact that they recognized CALEXIT’s embassy in Moscow

    The Bank of China

    The owner of Mitsubishi

    The Mexican Consulate

    California Governor Jerry Brown

    Loretta Lynch

    Why do you think Obama is planning to move to Palm Springs?

    The entire leadership of California’s Democratic Party.

    In previous articles on The Common Sense Show, Paul Preston and myself have documented every statement made in the above revelations. These are the groups and the people who are responsible for the latest terror attacks as well as the treason and sedition of the American people. Sadly, I believe that these people and groups are just getting started.

    We return you to your regularily scheduled program. May God help us all.

    All News Pipeline

    Scientists Warn 'Something Really Big Has Shifted' That Is 'Something We've Never Seen Before' - Catastrophic Collapse Of Pacific Ocean Food Chain Found In Government Survey

    - Why Should We Be Surprised? We Were Warned Long Ago!

    By Stefan Stanford
    October 28, 2017

    Back on October 6th we published a story on ANP in which we asked "Has Earth Arrived At The Threshold Of Catastrophe?" within which we reported there had been 380 different 'mass animal death events' in 2017 alone. These 'events' go on top of 3,298 KNOWN 'mass animal death events' that had happened between 2012 and 2016 according to the website End Times Prophecy, which has been keeping a running log of such events since 2012.
    Now 3 weeks later, the 'mass animal death events' are up to 403 in 2017, a jump of 23 events in 22 days, and as we reported in that October 6th story, according to scientists and experts quoted in this October 2nd story over at Live Science, a 6th mass extinction may be inevitable for our planet Earth with warnings from them our planet may have arrived at the 'threshold of catastrophe'. The 'mass animal death events' per year has been mind-boggling:
    In the year of 2016, there were 556 KNOWN 'mass death events' in 81 countries. In the year 2015 there were 828 known 'mass death events' in 96 countries. In 2014 there were 651 known 'mass death events in 76 countries. In 2013 there were 798 known 'mass death events' in 93 countries. In 2012 there were 465 known 'mass death events' in 67 countries.

    And while the Live Science story doesn't mention Fukushima radiation at all as a possible reason that our planet is heading towards extinction, as we read in this story over at ENENews and has been confirmed by the Seattle Times, the Daily Astorian and NOAA, a recent government survey of the numbers of fish now living in the Pacific Ocean are absolutely stunning to scientists, one who claimed "We pulled that net up, and there was not a thing in it...this is really different than anything we've seen before".
    Other scientists actually questioned their equipment with claims they've never hauled a net through the ocean looking for salmon and found NOTHING! As we see in the excerpts below from several different sources, scientists say something is now happening in the region they've never seen before, and they are alarmed. From the ENENews story:
    Seattle Times, Oct 9, 2017: Scientists survey Pacific Northwest salmon each year. For the first time, some nets are coming up empty — Scientists have been hauling survey nets through the ocean off the coasts of Washington and Oregon for 20 years. But this is the first time some have come up empty… In a report on their trawl survey, the scientists logged some of the lowest numbers of yearling Snake River spring chinook recorded since the survey began in 1998. Coho numbers were just as depressed… This year’s bizarre survey results all started with The Blob…
    David Huff, NOAA Fisheries, Oct 9, 2017: “We were really worrying if there was something wrong with our equipment… We have never hauled that net through the water looking for salmon or forage fish and not gotten a single salmon. Three times we pulled that net up, and there was not a thing in it. We looked at each other, like, ‘this is really different than anything we have ever seen.’ It was alarming.”
    Brian Burke, NOAA Fisheries, Oct 9, 2017: “Every year is different. But this year popped out as being really different… Not just a bunch of normal metrics that point to a bad ocean year, but the presence of these things we have never seen before, really big changes in the ecosystem. Something really big has shifted here.”
    Daily Astorian, Sep 4, 2017: Warning signs for salmon… The numbers of young salmon caught off the Oregon and Washington state coasts during an annual federal survey cruise this June were among the lowest recorded in the past 20 years. In fact, numbers were low across nearly all the species researchers regularly catch or observe — from birds like the common murre to forage fish like anchovies and smelt…
    NOAA, Sep 2017: Ocean conditions for salmon headed to sea this year are very poor, according to recent NOAA Fisheries research surveys… NOAA Fisheries research surveys off the Pacific Northwest this year turned up among the fewest juvenile salmon of any of the last 20 years, an indication that many of the young fish that migrated to the ocean did not survive… Catches of other species such as smelt, herring, and anchovy were also low… This year researchers noted that chlorophyll, which is a barometer of the plankton that helps sustain higher trophic levels, was at its lowest levels in 20 years…

    Why for the most part has the mainstream media completely neglected to report upon the devastation now happening across the Pacific Ocean and all along the west coast to our 'food chain' due to the radiation from Fukushima? A complete and total failure of their duty to inform the Americans people while they focus on politics and fighting President Trump.
    As we reported on ANP back on March 4th of 2017, we've been watching a slow-motion disaster movie unfolding before our eyes with the total decimation of the Pacific Ocean food chain at hand. Some of the recent story titles we linked to in this May 23rd of 2017 ANP story proving that the food chain was continuing to deteriorate included:
    ALARM: Record die-off of marine life along West Coast — Huge numbers washing up on shore… “This is just the tip of the iceberg” — Several types of animals found dead — Hemorrhaging from brain infection
    Brain-rotting toxin killing huge numbers of marine animals on California coast — Die-offs skyrocket over past week — Expert: “It’s worst year we’ve ever seen” — Mass deaths of sea lions, dolphins, birds — Officials warn outbreak is spreading
    Mass die-off ongoing along US West Coast — TV: “It’s just not clear why all the marine life is washing up like this… Reports coming in every day” — Experts: ‘Unknown’ organisms eating away brains, hearts… New infection never seen before
    “Most catastrophic fisheries collapse in history” expected along West Coast — Official: “This is a nightmare, I have never in my life dreamed that it could get this bad” — Threat of “coast-wide fishing failure”
    And now we get the latest US government study that proves what the alternative media has long been warning of, the food chain in the Pacific Ocean is in complete collapse with story after story coming out over the last several years that suggest a massive cover up has been ongoing. Should we look at this food chain collapse as a sign of bigger and more dangerous things to come?

    It would be difficult to argue that we're not living in long-ago warned of times. Between pharmaceuticals and anti-depressants making their way into streams and rivers and eventually oceans, turning sea life into chemically changed asexual mutants (which Science Daily reported back in 2010 could damage the food chain) and Fukushima's radiation pouring endlessly into the Pacific Ocean, the mainstream media's tendency to cover up these things shows us its all likely part of the globalists depopulation agenda.
    While many will care less about what's happening in the Pacific Ocean, as this Natural News story reported back in April of 2017, the massive academic cover-up concealing a near-total collapse of the oceans food chains will result in mass deaths of humans to follow.

    ***

    McClatchy DC Bureau

    In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a rocket carrying the world's first quantum satellite lifts off from northwestern China's Gansu Province, on Aug. 16, 2016. China's creation of a quantum satellite system pushes forward its ability to send communications that are impenetrable by hackers. Jin Liwang AP

    China speeds ahead of U.S. as quantum race escalates, worrying scientists

    BY TIM JOHNSON

    October 23, 2017

    U.S. and other Western scientists voice awe, and even alarm, at China’s quickening advances and spending on quantum communications and computing, revolutionary technologies that could give a huge military and commercial advantage to the nation that conquers them.

    The concerns echo — although to a lesser degree — the shock in the West six decades ago when the Soviets launched the Sputnik satellite, sparking a space race.

    In quick succession, China in recent months has utilized a quantum satellite to transmit ultra-secure data, inaugurated a 1,243-mile quantum link between Shanghai and Beijing, and announced a $10 billion quantum computing center.

    “To me, what is alarming is the level of coordination of what they’ve done,” said Christopher Monroe, a physicist and pioneer in quantum communication at the University of Maryland.

    Perhaps more than the accomplishments of the Chinese scientists, it is the resources that China is pouring into the research into how atoms, photons and other basic molecular matter can harness, process and transmit information.

    “It doesn’t necessarily mean that their scientists are better,” said Martin Laforest, a physicist and senior manager at the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. “It’s just that when they say, ‘We need a billion dollars to do this,’ bam, the money comes.”

    The engineering hurdles that China has cleared for quantum communication means that the United States will lag in that area for years.

    “The general feeling is that they’ll get there before us,” said Rene Copeland, a high-performance computer expert who is president of D-Wave (Government) Inc., a Vancouver-area company that uses aspects of quantum computing in its systems.

    But building a functioning quantum computer sets forth different kinds of challenges than mastering quantum communication, and may involve creating materials and processes that do not yet exist. Once thought to be decades off, scientists now presume a quantum computer may be built in a decade or less. The stakes are so high that advances by the U.S. government remain secret.

    “We don’t know exactly where the United States is. I fervently hope that a lot of this work is taking place in a classified setting,” said R. Paul Stimers, a lawyer at K&L Gates, a Washington law firm, who specializes in emerging technologies. “It is a race.”

    Pure quantum computers remain largely theoretical although simple prototypes exist. Many designs call for them to operate in super cold conditions, bordering on absolute zero, or around minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than outer space, without any noise or micro movements that can cause malfunction.

    What has made them the Holy Grail for nations and private industry is that quantum computers, in theory, are magnitudes better at sifting huge amounts of data than the binary processors that power mainframes, desktops and even smart phones today. They also can process algorithms that break all widely used encryption.

    Rather than doing a series of millions of computations, based on binary options of ones and zeros, quantum computers employ particles that exist in an infinite number of “superpositions” of the two states simultaneously, a condition that towering physicist Albert Einstein once labeled as “spooky.”

    A quantum computer “can feel all the possibilities at once,” said Warner A. Miller, a physicist at Florida Atlantic University, who, like the others, spoke last week at a forum on quantum computing at the Hudson Institute, a think tank in Washington.

    China splashed into the news in June when it announced that a satellite and a ground station had communicated through “entangled” quantum particles. Entangled particles, even if separated by thousands of miles, act in unison. Any change in one particle will induce a change in the other, almost as if a single particle existed in multiple places at once.

    Such long-distance quantum communication smashed records, occurring over 745 miles, far beyond the mile or so scientists had tested previously, and signaled Chinese mastery over a form of communication deemed ultra-secure and unhackable.

    “I read that on a Sunday and went, ‘oh sh-t,’” said Gregory S. Clark, an Australian-born mathematician who is chief executive of Symantec Corp., a global cybersecurity company with headquarters in Mountain View, California.

    Neither the U.S. military nor private industry is known to have such a capability.

    If the technology is refined, Clark said, it could make land-based communications infrastructure obsolete. “The whole world changes,” he said at a forum Sept. 19.

    In early September, China chalked up another milestone, completing a quantum communication link between its capital and Shanghai, by far the biggest such link in the world, surpassing anything in the United States or Europe.

    In such a link, if an encryption key used by either of two parties faces interference by a third party, the two parties know not to use it.

    China again demonstrated the prowess of its space-based quantum satellite, dubbed Micius, on Sept. 29 when the head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences held a video conference with an Austrian scientist over a distance of 4,630 miles.

    Also last month, China announced that it would build the world’s biggest quantum research facility, a $10 billion center in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, with the aim of building a working quantum computer that could break most any encryption within seconds.

    China already has the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Sunway TaihuLight, which captured the title in the 2016 and 2017 at a competition in Frankfurt, Germany.

    Monroe, the Maryland physicist, said China had set a goal of fully constructing the quantum research center within two years.

    “If it costs $10 billion, China will just do it without asking, and they’ll put an army together to do it,” Monroe said. “I don’t think any other government in the world is able to throw together something (so) fast.”

    Google, IBM and Microsoft all see huge opportunity in quantum computing and fund research labs. Commercial applications may include determining how polymers go together, mapping the genome, finding oil in complex geology, detecting cancer and handling air traffic.

    Quantum computers can sift through vast amounts of data. One that handles 60 quantum bits, or units of quantum information, could hold 64 exabytes of data – 2,560 times more than all the material managed by the Library of Congress, which has 838 miles of bookshelves.

    Military applications are vast and range beyond breaking enemy encryption to include quantum-enabled weaponry, navigation systems that can’t be jammed, and the use of quantum-powered artificial intelligence in war fighting.

    In those areas, China is not believed to have an advantage.

    “The point is, they are some distance from that quantum supremacy threshold,” said Arthur Herman, who leads the technology and defense program at the Hudson Institute.

    Still, Herman called for U.S. policymakers to focus hard on the quantum challenge.

    “We need a Manhattan Project style funding focus in order for a national quantum initiative to succeed,” Herman said, referring to the World War II era program to produce the first nuclear weapon.

    ***

    RT

    $250mn each day for 16yrs: The staggering cost of ‘War on Terror’

    1 November 2017

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, dismount a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during an air assault in the Al Jazeera Desert, Iraq © U.S. Air Force

    The ‘War on Terror’ has cost US taxpayers at least $1.46 trillion since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense’s cost of war report has revealed.

    The 74-page DoD dossier was obtained by the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News. It breaks down the cost of the US’s various conflicts and reveals the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq account for the greatest chunk of change.

    Operation Enduring Freedom (the name given to the ‘War on Terror’ between 2001 and 2014), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War) and Operation New Dawn (past operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011) made up the biggest expense. They cost a combined $1.315 trillion.

    Current military operations cost $147.6 billion. This includes $102.9 billion for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the name given to the ‘War on Terror’ by Barack Obama at the end of 2014, and Operation Inherent Resolve, the US’s operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria which started in 2014, and has cost $17.1 billion.

    Operation Noble Eagle, the US’s domestic air defense operation has cost $27.6 billion.

    The report only includes direct war-related expenses, such as equipment, operating bases, training, paying troops as well as the costs related to feeding, housing and transporting them.

    COSTS OF WAR NOT INCLUDED

    The numbers don’t include veterans’ expenses, or the amount racked up by intelligence agencies in their war on terror. The numbers also don’t take into account the cost involved in rebuilding and post-conflict programs.

    VETERANS

    The Veterans Benefits Administration's latest annual report found 1,060,408 veterans are receiving benefits, at an average of $15,907 each per year.

    Veterans of the War on Terror’s benefits’ are costin $16.8 billion a year, and 1 million are receiving benefits at the moment.

    According to a 2011 Harvard Kennedy School study, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans’ benefits were estimated to cost between $600 billion and $1.3 billion over 40 years.

    The report found that $31.3 billion had been spent in the 10 years since 2001 on medical care and disability for almost 500,000 vets. It also found that Afghanistan and Iraq veterans were applying for benefits at far greater rates than previous wars.

    The report found the “cost of caring for war veterans rises for several decades and peaks in 30-40 years or more after a conflict.”

    INTELLIGENCE

    The CIA’s classified operations, along with the NSA’s efforts to combat terrorism aren’t included in the total.

    The report includes the total amount of funding given through war related-requests between 2001 and 2017, which is $1.7 billion and includes war spending, non-war spending on fuel and the cost of running the Noble Eagle base. It also includes an $83 billion in funds marked as “classified.”

    US Intelligence agencies receive upwards of $66 billion budget to play with annually, a significant fraction of which goes to foreign operations.

    The intelligence budget request for 2018 was $57.7 billion for the National Intelligence Program, which includes all programs, projects and activities of the intelligence community, and $20.7 billion for the Military Intelligence Program, which includes military intelligence operations. The NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency fall under both programs.

    Despite the staggering amount spent on defense, President Trump has promised to “rebuild” the military which he says is “depleted.” He proposed a $603 billion budget for defense spending in March.

    Both the Senate and House of Representatives have voted to pass $696 billion and $696.6 billion defense budgets, respectively.

    (“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow- shares, and their spears into sickles: and nation shall not take up sword against nation, neither shall they learn to war any more.” Isaiah 2:4)

    The Other Reformation: How Martin Luther Changed Our Beer, Too

    Nina Martyris, NPR, October 31, 2017

    On this day (October 31, 2017) 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshiped, worked and created art, but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther’s native Germany: beer.

    The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant: hops.

    Every hip craft brewery today peddling expensive hoppy beers owes a debt of gratitude to Luther and his followers for promoting the use of hops as an act of rebellion against the Catholic Church. But why did Protestants decide to embrace this pretty flower, and what did it have to do with religious rebellion?

    Therein foams a bitter pint of history.

    In the 16th century, the Catholic Church had a stranglehold on beer production, since it held the monopoly on gruit–the mixture of herbs and botanicals (sweet gale, mug wort, yarrow, ground ivy, heather, rosemary, juniper berries, ginger, cinnamon) used to flavor and preserve beer. Hops, however, were not taxed. Considered undesirable weeds, they grew plentifully and vigorously.

    “The church didn’t like hops,” says William Bostwick, the beer critic for The Wall Street Journal and author of The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer. “One reason was that the 12th-century German mystic and abbess Hildegard had pronounced that hops were not very good for you, because they ‘make the soul of a man sad and weigh down his inner organs.’ So, if you were a Protestant brewer and wanted to thumb your nose at Catholicism, you used hops instead of herbs.”

    Even before the Reformation, German princes had been moving towards hops–in 1516, for instance, a Bavarian law mandated that beer could only be made with hops, water and barley. But Luther’s revolt gave the weed a significant boost. The fact that hops were tax-free constituted only part of the draw. Hops had other qualities that appealed to the new movement. Chiefly, their excellent preservative qualities. “All herbs and spices have preservative qualities, but with hops, beer could travel really well, so it became a unit of international trade that symbolized the growing business class, which was tangentially connected with the Protestant work ethic and capitalism,” says Bostwick.

    Another virtue in hops’ favor was their sedative properties. The mystic Hildegard was right in saying hops weighed down one’s innards. “I sleep six or seven hours running, and afterwards two or three. I am sure it is owing to the beer,” wrote Luther to his wife, Katharina, from the town of Torgau, renowned for its beer. The soporific, mellowing effect of hops might seem like a drawback, but in fact it offered a welcome alternative to many of the spices and herbs used by the church that had hallucinogenic and aphrodisiacal properties. “Fueled by these potent concoctions, church ales could be as boisterous as the Germanic drinking bouts church elders once frowned on,” writes Bostwick. “And so, to distance themselves further from papal excesses, when Protestants drank beer they preferred it hopped.”

    If the Catholic Church lost control over the printed word with the invention of the printing press–the technological weapon that ensured Luther’s success–it lost control over beer with the rise of hops. “The head went flat on monastic beer,” says Bostwick.

    Luther would have relished his role in promoting hops. If anyone loved and appreciated good beer, it was this stout, sensual and gregarious monk. His letters often mentioned beer, whether it was the delicious Torgau beer that he extolled as finer than wine or the “nasty” Dessau beer that made him long for Katharina’s home brew. “I keep thinking what good wine and beer I have at home, as well as a beautiful wife,” he wrote. “You would do well to send me over my whole cellar of wine and a bottle of thy beer.”

    In an age where the water was unsafe, beer was drunk by everyone, and was the nutritional and social fuel of Germany. “It was a really natural and very common part of every household pantry,” says Bostwick. “I compare it these days to a pot of coffee always simmering on your countertop. Back then it was a kettle of beer. Beer was brewed less for pure enjoyment than for medicinal reasons (it incorporated herbs and spices) and for pure sustenance. Beers then were richer and heartier than today. They were a source of calories for the lower classes who did not have access to rich foods.”

    Not surprisingly, beer pops up at pivotal moments in Luther’s life. Most notably, after taking on the formidable might of the Church, an unruffled Luther famously declared that God and the Word did everything, “while I drank beer with my [friends] Philipp and Amsdorf.” Luther’s teachings were mocked as “sour beer,” and one of his critics disparaged him as a heretic from the filthy market town of Wittenberg, populated by “a barbarous people who make their living from breweries and saloons.” But as he gained fame and became a popular hero, a range of Lutheran merchandise was launched, including beer mugs featuring the Pope as the Antichrist.

    When the excommunicated Luther married the runaway nun Katharina von Bora, the town council gave the couple a barrel of excellent Einbeck beer. It was a fitting gift. Beer was soon to assume an even more central role in Luther’s life, thanks to his wife. The intelligent, talented and exceptionally competent Katharina not only had six children and managed the Luthers’ large household with its endless stream of guests, she also planted a vegetable garden and fruit trees, raised cows and pigs, had a fishpond, drove a wagon, and to her husband’s undying delight, opened a brewery that produced thousands of pints of beer each year. Her initial shaky attempts produced a thin, weak brew, but she soon got the hang of it and learned exactly how much malt to add to suit her husband’s taste. Luther was ecstatic–Lord Katie, as he affectionately called her, had assured him a steady supply even when Wittenberg’s breweries ran dry.

    Luther’s favorite spot to hold forth on theology, philosophy and life in general was not the tavern but the table. The long refectory table in the cavernous Luther home seated up to 50 people. “This was Luther’s especial domain,” writes Andrew Pettegree in his elegant biography Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned History. “The day’s labors past, he would sit with his friends and talk. Fueled by his wife’s excellent beer, conversation would become general, discursive, and sometimes unbuttoned.”

    Unbuttoned is an understatement. Voluble, energetic and beery, Luther’s conversation zigged and zagged between the sublime and the scatological, to the amazement of his students, who hung onto his every word. The church was called a brothel and the pope the Antichrist. Former popes “farted like the devil” and were sodomites and transvestites. His students collected these jewels into a book called Table Talk. When it was published, it went viral.

    But though he clearly loved his tankard, there is no record of Luther being a lush. In fact, he could be quite a scold when it came to drunken behavior. He lamented the German addiction to beer, saying, “such an eternal thirst, I am afraid, will remain as Germany’s plague until the Last Day.” And he once declared, “I wish brewing had never been invented, for a great deal of grain is consumed to make it, and nothing good is brewed.”

    This was no doubt a spot of grandstanding. For all his protestations, Luther’s beer stein was always full. He loved local beer, boasted of his wife’s brewing skills, and launched a movement that helped promote hops. Does that make him a patron saint of the craft brewery?

    “Luther might blanch a bit as a good protestant at being called a saint,” points out Bostwick, “and there’s already a brewery saint called St. Arnold, who saved his congregation from the plague by making them drink beer. In the interests of Protestantism, I wouldn’t call him a saint, but he was certainly a beer enthusiast, and many a beer bar and brewery today has a picture of Martin Luther on their wall. So let’s say that while we certainly don’t genuflect to him, he’s known and appreciated.”

    Until next week...keep on believing.
    Almondtree Productions

    Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.”
    (Romans 14:22)


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