What And Where Is God?

12 05 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

God is “Infinite Intelligence of which our own intelligence is merely a part.”  I wrote those words many years ago.  The entire recollection of my experience with God is as follows:

I had essentially a “near-death” experience some years ago, similar to what others have described, during which I experienced God . . . as an intense bright light at the end of a tunnel, and as Infinite Intelligence of which our own intelligence is merely a part.  God was neither masculine nor feminine.  My mother had died months before it happened, and I felt her presence and I knew she was with God.

From that moment forward, I have never doubted that God exists, or that God created everything—heaven and earth and everything in between.  However, I continually seek to understand how God operates in my life, on a day-to-day basis.  The closest I have come is my belief that God acts through us as faith, inspiration, prayer, miracles, and perhaps most of all, love.  I believe that in expressing love, each of us is God in expression.[2]

In my mother’s Bible, she marked a passage that I discovered after her death:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 26:3 (King James Version).  In other words, God will keep you and me in “perfect peace”—not just peace alone—if we keep our minds focused on God, and trust in God.

Also, another passage from the Bible is important to me as well:

[W]alk by faith, not by sight.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (King James Version).  It was cited in a message that I read one day, which I have read almost every day since.

Its complete version reads as follows:

As a child, I needed someone to steady my bicycle when I first learned to ride on two wheels.  As a teen, I had a parent or teacher in the car beside me as I learned to drive.  In each case, there came a time when I had to let go of the need for support and put my faith in my own abilities.

Now when I have a decision to make or feel that I am being called in a particular direction, I might seek the advice of friends, family, or a professional, but I know that my strength comes in putting my faith in God within and trusting the guidance I receive through prayer.

As I pray, I let go of any doubt or fear or any thought of unworthiness, and I place my trust in God.  Each step I take is a step in faith, for even though I may not know what the outcome will be, I know without a doubt that God is with me and all is in divine order.

I walk by faith with my heart open to the fullness of God’s love, and I receive the promise of unlimited possibilities and the assurance that every situation in my life will work out.  The highest and best blessings are unfolding for my loved ones and me.

I surrender to God’s love and walk by faith.[3]

God is as close to you and me as our next thought or breath.  God is present in a child’s laughter, and the rustling of leaves on a tree, and a bird in flight, and the love expressed by one human being or animal to another.  What is God?  Infinite Intelligence, and Love.  Where is God?  Here, there, and everywhere.[4]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War.  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com).  He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University.  He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars.  He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years.  See, e.g.www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles

[2] I added at a later date:

Once prior to that experience, and again many years later, I survived an auto accident that might have killed me, and I did not fall from the side of a mountain when I was hiking and had very precarious footing, which might have killed me too.

[3] This entry was for the “20th Day of Lent,” March 15, 2007, which appeared on page 33 of a booklet entitled, “Enter the Garden: Spiritual Preparation for Easter 2007,” which was published by Unity (see www.unity.org).

[4] Also, it worth remembering that all life is a miracle; and why be afraid of tomorrow when today is all we have.


Actions

Information

37 responses

12 05 2010
naegeleblog

For A Lovely Woman Named Cynthia Whose Faith In God Will Help Her

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote a book many years ago entitled, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” My distillation of what he said is that more often than not the bad things that happen are a result of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.

But where was God in the midst of the most horrific events imaginable, such as wars and the like? Why didn’t God prevent them? God gave man free will, for good or evil. God was present, providing meaning to events that seem so random and unfathomable and hurtful at the time, and giving us the courage to go on, as Rabbi Kushner has written.

We do not fail God, nor does God punish us—or so I believe. And yes, God blesses each of us in very different and special ways. The fingerprints of no human being are the same as those of another; and so too, our paths to God are unique and very personal. No one has all the answers, or is even close.

There is no “magic” way to follow the yellow brick road. And yes, some things—like the loss of a child, the onset of a catastrophic illness, or being shot and disfigured—can never be explained or understood fully. They leave gaping holes in one’s heart and belief system. It is so easy to blame God, or to believe that God has deserted us or is punishing us when bad things happen.

If you have not read Rabbi Kushner’s book, I urge you to do so. I bought it and set it aside for several years, and did not read it until I was ready to do so.

See http://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happen-Good-People/dp/0380603926 (Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”)

Also, I am reminded of the verse, “Footprints in the Sand,” by Mary Stevenson:

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

See http://www.footprints-inthe-sand.com/index.php?page=Poem/Poem.php

Like

4 09 2010
naegeleblog

Stephen Hawking Baldly Asserts That God Did Not Create the Universe—Which Is Rubbish

The Wall Street Journal has published a rambling book excerpt by Cambridge professor Stephen Hawking and Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow entitled, “Why God Did Not Create the Universe.” This is nonsense. Even Einstein believed in a higher power . . . and Hawking is no Einstein—or Newton or Aristotle.

See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704206804575467921609024244.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEADNewsCollection; see also http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/stephen-hawking/8515639/Stephen-Hawking-heaven-is-a-fairy-story-for-people-afraid-of-the-dark.html (“Stephen Hawking: ‘heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark'”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106025/Stephen-Hawking-visits-California-swingers-sex-club.html?ITO=1490 (Physicist Stephen Hawking frequents sex clubs); but see https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god

It is tragic what has happened to Hawking physically, but as he approaches the end of his life, it is no time to blame God for his infirmities. He should be reveling in the wonder and splendor of God’s works, not denying them. Men (and women) are not “the lords of creation,” as Hawking and Mlodinow would have us believe.

Hawking is like the emperor in Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Everyone was afraid to challenge him until one little child said at last: “But he has nothing on at all.” Sadly, the same is true of Hawking’s latest fanciful observations. Yet, nowhere in the article do Hawking and Mlodinow deny that God exists.

See, e.g., http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

Hawking and Mlodinow are like two atheists baying at the moon.

Like

13 10 2010
Timothy D. Naegele

Chilean Miners Rescued

What a miracle!

See, e.g., http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11489439#video

In a world beset by wars, economic tsunamis, and other calamities that destroy the human spirit, this rescue effort is truly a breath of fresh air.

God did not create the miner’s problems, but it is truly a miracle that they survived and were rescued!

. . .

In an interview with miner Mario Sepulveda, he said:

‘We were in total darkness. The heat was oppressive. We all felt the Devil was down there with us. We prayed and prayed. It was a dark, black hole. We were buried alive. We were all so scared. We begged God to help us. We were worried we would starve to death or that the water would run out and we would die horribly from dehydration.’

. . .

[W]hen the drill broke through, the men ‘danced around the tunnel like crazy things’.

‘We then all believed we would be saved. The Devil was down there and so was God. I didn’t see either but I felt both. They were in a battle for our souls. And God won.’

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1321230/Chilean-miners-World-exclusive-interview-Mario-Sepulveda.html

Like

26 01 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

True Heroes In Life

Patrick and Patty Horan

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Tucson, which killed six people and injured 13, media attention has turned to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and her seemingly-miraculous recovery. USA Today has an article about Army Captain Patrick Horan and his wife, Patty; and his road to recovery after suffering brain damage similar to that of Giffords, having been accidentally shot by an Iraqi soldier in July 2007. The article is worth reading.

See http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-01-26-head-wound-patient_N.htm

My mother was sick and in a wheelchair, and almost died when I was a kid. Yet, she recovered after having her right leg amputated, and went on to live a full life. Indeed, she and my father are my only heroes in Life. I suspect that Patrick and Patty will be heroes too—to lots of people whom they do not know—just like a lovely woman named Cynthia is a hero as well.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/#comment-426

Like

23 04 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

78 Percent Of All Americans Believe Jesus To Be The Son Of God

The highly-respected Rasmussen Poll has found that “78% of all Americans believe [Jesus] to be the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins.” It added:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that only 13% of Adults do not share that belief. . . .

Seventy-four percent (74%) believe Christ was resurrected from the dead, while 14% disagree. Another 11% are not sure.

Eighty-three percent (83%) also believe that the person known to history as Jesus Christ did actually walk the Earth roughly 2,000 years ago. Eight percent (8%) do not believe this to be true.

. . .

Women tend to believe more strongly than men in all cases.

As in past years, Evangelical Christians believe more strongly in the divinity and resurrection of Christ than other Christians do. Among Evangelicals, 100% believe Christ was the son of God, and 98% believe he was resurrected from the dead.

Eighty-six percent (86%) of other Protestants and 87% of Catholics believe Jesus is the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins. Eighty-four percent (84%) of Catholics believe Jesus rose from the dead, as do 82% of non-Evangelical Protestant adults.

Those who attend religious services more regularly feel stronger about the divinity of Christ and His resurrection than those who attend less often.

See http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/holidays/april_2011/78_believe_jesus_christ_was_the_son_of_god

Regardless of one’s religious beliefs—or if there are none—I believe each of us is a child of God.

As I concluded in the article above:

God is as close to you and me as our next thought or breath. God is present in a child’s laughter, and the rustling of leaves on a tree, and a bird in flight, and the love expressed by one human being or animal to another. What is God? Infinite Intelligence, and Love. Where is God? Here, there, and everywhere.

And in the footnote that followed:

[I]t worth remembering that all life is a miracle; and why be afraid of tomorrow when today is all we have.

Like

23 04 2011
Mary

Thank you for the information and your opinion. Quite meaningful and nice to read on this Holy Saturday.

I have been reflecting today and found this verse from Revelation. I like it immensely and it helps to know those who deal with pain, will one day be free from it. From the book of Revelation 21-4:

He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out in pain, for the former world has passed away.

Like

28 07 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Cancer-Stricken Father Beats Disease By Stopping Chemotherapy Because God Told Him To Do So

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

With a ten per cent chance of survival, he needed a miracle—and that’s exactly what God gave him.

Jacob Berger, from Indiana, was diagnosed in 2002 with stage four cancer that was spreading from the upper part of his throat to his brain.

With the size of the tumour, doctors said the chances of him being alive in three or four years was ten per cent.

. . .

Berger is now cancer free after, he said, God spoke to him and told him to stop his treatment. He did, and he attributes that message to his life and says he is living proof that beating cancer sometimes takes more than medicine.

Not only that, but when he was undergoing aggressive chemotherapy and radiation to shrink his tumour, he became sterile. Or so he thought.

He now has two children and another on the way.

Speaking to ABC, he said: ‘I woke up in the middle of the night and felt like God told me to stop taking the treatments, and told me it was over now.

‘I had confidence that my prayers were going to be answered, and that God was a healer and was going to take care of me.’

He listened to the divine advice and when he went for his next MRI, he learned his cancer was gone.

. . .

Although he believes divine intervention worked for him, he would never recommend that anyone stop their treatments.

He told ABC: ‘I’ve personally ministered to people with cancer and told them don’t refuse what doctors are saying, don’t just be ignorant and not go to the doctor.

‘I tell them to let them confirm that God is moving in their life.’

Dr Renato LaRocca, Boger’s doctor and director of the Kentuckiana Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, said the odds were against Mr Boger’s surviving.

He said that while his four treatments played a part in his recovery, he can’t explain why Mr Boger is still cancer-free nine years later.

He said: ‘Maybe his immune system woke up, maybe there was a lot of mental and spiritual depression, and once he got that focus, that’s what helped, but I never underestimate the power of the mind.’

But Mr Berger is defiant.

He said: ‘It was absolutely a miracle. The bone that had eroded has been replaced by brand new bone and there is no scar tissue.’

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2019403/Miracle-Cancer-stricken-father-defies-odds-beats-disease-stopping-chemo–God-told-to.html; see also http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2105122/I-willed-Timothy-beat-cancer-In-diary-extracts-raw-emotion-SHANE-SPALL-reveals-film-star-husband-overcame-terminal-cancer-fulfilling-vow-deathbed.html (“[H}usband overcame ‘terminal’ cancer and is now fulfilling a vow he made to [wife] on his deathbed”)

I know miracles happen, and that turning to God in prayer works, because it has happened to me more than once. For example, in anticipation of a painful divorce and the prospect of not being with my two kids full time whom I loved deeply, I developed unbelievable anxiety attacks and thought that I was losing my mind. My doctor prescribed Valium, which I took until it was “doping” me up, and then I stopped. I had no idea that they were addictive too.

One day driving home from work, I got a sense that I must turn my life over to God, and I did; and that made all of the difference.

Like

8 08 2011
Mary

It is difficult for me to reply to this one. Without a doubt when stricken with a major crisis in our lives, many of us turn to God. Perhaps He has been with us always in every aspect of our lives, but when the “big ball drops”, we CLING to Him. He embraces us and holds us in the “Palm of His hand.” He does not judge our past, but rather welcomes us and of course never wants to lose us either.

Science and Faith abide with each other, but that is not what is professed in a secular society. As I read about this man’s life and and what he did, I cannot in good conscience suggest others do the same. I have never directly had a call from our Lord saying “Mary do this or do that, or this is what will happen in your life because I have directed it to be so.” Never have I been instructed as this man has to not do something. He believed, and it appears he received instructions not to continue chemo, which we know is often used to prevent cancer from spreading and killing the recipient. It goes against medical intervention and healing in today’s cancer remedies. Why this man even had children when on all accounts he should have been sterile.

I don’t have answers, nor does he (the man written about), nor does the medical profession in this situation. I do have faith though. So did this man. But I would do everything medically possible to help someone get well for I believe through my faith journey that in this time of medical advances, our Lord would expect me to use all the expertise man has accomplished to help “make me well.” In our country we have the best means of doing so, and we are called upon, or so I believe to use those sources throughout life. Other countries don’t have the resources we do in all medical advances. We must use our talents for that is what is expected of us…………………and that means helping others get well.

Personally, I lost a brother to Cancer many years ago. He never blinked an eye when it came to the role his faith played in this sickness. When he went for his check ups, he could only marvel at the small children who were also there, energized, happy and examples to him of how one could make it through this struggle in life. He knew he would not see the same children again for their days were numbered. How appreciative he was to have lived several years before being stricken with a not yet curable disease. The children were always on his mind as he dealt with his sickness. I wonder, was that a miracle too? He died unexpectedly one day in August and my father’s words to all of us were, “we had him 12 years longer than originally thought. We just thought because of how well he was doing that he was cured.” The extra years were miracles. There had to be days when life was bleak for him, but he never let on. He showed us how to benefit from medicine, never taking an eye off the ball of our Creator. His doctors shared with us that he fought the invasion of cancer to the hilt and they believed his faith and family helped him through excruciating times. He showed peaceful strength. Jerry knew the Lord was always there. His calmness and great love for life indicated it always. So yes, I believe God is always with us, even when we question if this is so. As my brother once said to me, “He doesn’t want to lose you, Mary.”

Like

9 08 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your thoughts . . . and especially your thoughts about Jerry.

Like

7 10 2011
Katherine

Sir,

Thank you for sharing your writing. There is a wonderful book called The Hiding Place about two sisters in a concentration camp. They smuggled a bible into camp, and held bible studies with the other inmates. In giving thanks one sister thanked God even for the flea investation. It turned out the guards wouldn’t go into their bunks because of the fleas.

Like

7 10 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Katherine, for your comments.

Yes, indeed, God works in often “mysterious” ways.

Like

8 10 2011
Mary

WOW, thanks Katherine for sharing a book with us. I will have to go out and get the “Hiding Place.”

Recently I attended a Memorial Service honoring a friend of mine’s father. My friend does have faith, but needs many prayers to help through this difficult time. You see, he has lost his mother, brother, sister, sister-in-law and father in the past two years, and is the only person remaining in the core family. At fifty eight years old, he finds himself without a family. This is a tough time for him. While knowing all of his losses, I couldn’t help thinking of those who lost their families during the Holocaust, so I have gained from your writing Katherine.

I’m praying my friend will not give up nor forget that our Lord is always there helping him, even when he doesn’t understand why all his family members were taken suddenly and quickly. Please pray for him.

Like

8 10 2011
Timothy D. Naegele

Only God Is Perfect

None of the rest of us are.

A number of years ago, I had a law clerk who worked for me while he was a student at UCLA’s law school in Los Angeles. He was excellent, and ferreted out solutions to legal issues that none of my other talented law clerks could; and he remains a dear friend and someone whom I trust completely to this day.

Before he entered law school, he received his engineering degree, and had been an engineer in Saudi Arabia. One day when I was “hyper-critical,” and being a consummate perfectionist, I “climbed all over him,” verbally, for a relatively-minor mistake in a legal brief that he had drafted for me.

He stopped me mid-sentence, and asked if I knew how the Oriental rugs were made that are sold in Saudi Arabia, and I said “no.” He answered that they were made by hand or by machines; and that a mistake is made in each and every one of them, intentionally. He asked if I knew why this was so; and of course I had no earthly idea why.

He said that those who make the rugs believe that only Allah, or God, is perfect.

Indeed, he added that the Arab, Persian, or more generally, Islamic rug makers will always put a small flaw in their work, often in a corner. Other craftsmen will do the same in their trades (e.g., a mason making a wall will put a slight flaw in an out-of-the way portion of the wall). This is to show humility before God, his own maker, and the Master Craftsman of all Master Craftsmen.

I have remembered what he told me ever since that day; and each time that I have gotten angry or impatient with myself for some mistake or shortcoming, or with others, I try to remember what he said.

Only God is perfect; none of the rest of us are.

It is sobering, humbling and humanizing to realize this. 🙂

Like

8 10 2011
Katherine

God gave us life and free will. Also forgiveness, which we ALL need.

Mary, I have offered prayers for your friend.

It seems to me often God will let us experience troubles in order for us to learn how to help another person. When my son was an infant, he was ill. The only way to give him medicine was drop by drop inside his cheek. Many years later as my father lay dying, I was the only one of my brothers or sister who knew how to give him the medicine to ease his passing.

Like

9 10 2011
Mary

Thank you, Katherine, for your prayers on behalf of my friend. I believe prayer is powerful in many ways. My friend shared this with me, so I will with you. He talked with his doctor, telling him he could not stop crying. The doctor said, now you are supposed to cry, let the tears come. After my friend told me this, I asked if he remembered that the priest read the passage that had the words, “the Lord is close to the broken-hearted.” He said “thanks, Mary, for telling me that because I don’t recall all that was said at the funeral service. Your remembering those words helps me right now.” I truly believe He is closest to us when we are in the most pain or suffering. It seems you do too. How wonderful it came full circle for you to minister to your father that which you had done for your sick infant. No matter the age, God surely plays His role in our lives. May your father be happy in heaven.

Like

19 02 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Parents And Child Who Have Refused To Give Up

Ryan Marquiss and sister

UK’s Daily Mail has a wonderful article about young Ryan Marquiss of Pennsylvania and his family, and how they have persevered. The photo above is of his sister and him.

He was born with his heart outside of his body, and only half a heart. Yet, doctors at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. never gave up; and Ryan and his parents never did either.

Please read the story. It is a miracle—and testimony to faith, and never giving up.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2103342/Boy-worlds-survive-born-heart-outside-body.html

Like

5 03 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Miracle Of Henryville

Tornado

In an article entitled, “Terrified mother loses her legs after throwing herself on her children to save them from deadly tornado that flattened their home,” the UK’s Daily Mail reported:

Stephanie Decker, 36, lost one leg above the knee and the other above the ankle, yet her son and daughter escaped without a single scratch after the tornado flattened their Henryville, Indiana home.

Henryville was nearly entirely flattened by a series of tornadoes that ravaged the South and Midwest on Friday, killing 39 and leaving thousands homeless.

But while the Decker family lost their ‘dream home’ to the severe weather, they are celebrating their safety. Mrs Decker is now in a stable condition at University Hospital in Louisville, her husband said.

‘What I told her was: “You’re alive and you get to see your kids grow up,”‘ Joe Decker told the Louisville Courier Journal, adding: ‘There’s no way anybody should’ve lived.’

Decker told the paper that he had texted his wife from his workplace to tell her a tornado was heading for their three-story home.

She rushed their eight-year-old son Dominic and five-year-old daughter Reese into the basement, where she lay across them to protect them from the storm.

Speaking to the Courier Journal outside his destroyed home, Mr Decker said his wife, who is using a ventilator tube, typed out what had happened by using an iPad in the hospital.

She said she saw part of the house collapse on her and pulled her daughter out of the way.

‘She doesn’t remember anything after that,’ Mr Decker said.

Dominic then alerted the neighbours who came to find Mrs Decker, even though many of their homes had been crushed to the ground.

One neighbour, Brian Lovins, a Clark County Sheriff’s officer, used a tourniquet to stop severe bleeding and drove her until he could flag down an ambulance, which took her to hospital.

The home, which was partly built by Mr Decker and his wife’s father, is now completely destroyed, with a bathtub 200 feet away in a nearby field, the Courier Journal reported.

The house ‘took about nine months to build and about four seconds’ to fall, Mr Decker added.

Writing on Facebook on Sunday night, Mr Decker said the ventilator has been removed and his wife is now breathing on her own and will undergo further surgery this week.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2110513/Henryville-Indiana-tornado-2012-Stephanie-Decker-loses-legs-saving-children.html

So tragic, yet what an heroic woman. May God bless her and her family forever!

. . .

Once again, one wonders where God was when the deadly tornadoes struck, killing and injuring so many. Perhaps the best explanations are set forth in Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

See http://www.amazon.com/When-Things-Happen-Good-People/dp/0380603926 (Rabbi Harold S. Kushner’s “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”)

Like

11 04 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

Miracle: Mother Finds “Stillborn” Baby Alive In Morgue 12 Hours After She Was Pronounced Dead

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

A ‘stillborn’ baby was found alive in a drawer in a hospital morgue by her distressed mother 12 hours after the girl was declared dead, it emerged today.

Analia Bouter was 26 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to her fifth child prematurely at a hospital in Resistencia, in Argentina’s northern Chaco province.

But after medical staff told her that the infant was born with no vital signs, her distraught parents went home with a death certificate.

Twelve hours later Analia and her husband decided to go to see their baby’s body, which was being kept in a refrigerated drawer at the Perrando hospital morgue.

Mrs Bouter told Argentina’s Clarin newspaper: ‘That night, we went to the morque. We wanted to take a photo of our daughter. But when a worker opened the drawer we heard a cry and she was alive.’

She said she ‘stepped back and fell to my knees’ after she ‘saw her stretching,’ the mother added.

‘My baby was born at 10.24am and at 11.05am was already in the drawer. She spent 12 hours in the freezing cold of that morgue. I saw for myself the ice on her body.’

Mrs Bouter said that her pregnancy was normal until she suddenly went into early labour on April 3.

She said: ‘At first the doctors said that she was born dead, then said she had died shortly after birth because she was too small to survive.

‘I don’t know who is to blame, and I’m not thinking about it at this moment. The joy of knowing she’s alive is covering every other feeling. I’m a Christian, and I believe this was a miracle of God.’

And she said that her daughter is ‘getting stronger by the minute’.

The parents, who were going to call their daughter Luciana Abigail, said she will now be baptised Luz Milagros, which means Light Miracles.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2128032/Analia-Bouter-finds-stillborn-baby-ALIVE-morgue-12-hours-pronounced-dead.html

Like

14 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

The Power Of Hope

An article in the UK’s Economist about this subject is worth reading.

See http://www.economist.com/node/21554506

Hope and faith in God are needed today, and will be required during the balance of this decade, more than at any other period in our lifetimes. People will be tested like never before.

Compare https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/the-economic-tsunami-continues-its-relentless-and-unforgiving-advance-globally/#comment-2160 with https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/ (see also the footnotes and comments beneath both articles)

Like

18 05 2012
Timothy D. Naegele

What Is An Evangelical Christian?

I was asked recently:

Can you define an “Evangelical Christian” from just the run of [the] mill “Christian”? The reason I ask is that I’ve seen so many different definitions that I want to know YOUR definition so I can see where you are coming from.

I answered that the question was a good one; and I set forth what I believe are some of the characteristics that seem to apply to “Evangelical Christians,” recognizing of course that one size does not fit all. In making these comments, it is not my intent to belittle them or make light of their beliefs. It is wonderful that they believe in what they do.

First, among Evangelical Christians, there seems to be a need for “personal conversion,” or the notion of being “born again.”

Indeed, hand-in-hand with the need for one’s own conversion seems to come an imperative to convert others, and a belief that anyone who is not “born again” is somehow a lesser being, inferior and “defective.”

I find the notion of someone trying to force his or her views on someone else—much less a person’s religious beliefs—to be repugnant.

Also, my guess is that many if not most “born agains” have not “experienced” God—or Jesus—in any near-death or other similar experience. Yet, they hold themselves out as being superior to other Christians and “pious.”

Years ago, I had essentially a “near-death” experience, similar to what others have described, during which I experienced God. For a long time after it, I seldom if ever talked about it to anyone, because it was very personal—and it changed my life in many ways.

I did not write about it until I encountered so many Americans and people of other countries who genuinely did not believe in God or that God exists, and who were searching for some answers and meaning in their lives, and something to hold on to in troubled times.

Indeed, if I had not had my experience, I too might not believe that God exists today or have any faith at all. Certainly no “born again” or Evangelical Christian could convince me of that when such a person had never experienced God, but was merely reciting “platitudes.”

In the only article that I have written on the subject, which appears above, I do not try to convert anyone, or to hold myself out as a superior being—and others as lesser beings. The article was written so that “non-believers” in God might at least keep an open mind to the idea that there is a God after all, or some Higher Power than all of us.

Second, among “Evangelical Christians,” there seems to be a high regard for biblical authority, and a need to actively express and share the Bible. Once again, in many cases, this entails the imperative to convert others—or the notion of being “born again.”

Third, there seems to be a mixing of politics and religion, certainly in the United States. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state.

Fourth, in making the comments that I do here, I would be remiss if I did not add that I believe strongly in the idea of freedom of religion, which undergirds our great country’s strength. America is the world’s only true melting pot.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/america-a-rich-tapestry-of-life/

With religious freedoms comes the freedom to believe or not, and then to choose what to believe. Most if not all of us are on a life-long individual path or journey to “belief,” and no other person is on that path with us. At the very least, it is a fascinating path to be on.

I have friends who are Christians of many different denominations, Jews, and other faiths; and I believe it is wonderful that they believe in anything. I am genuinely pleased about their beliefs, but generally keep my beliefs to myself. I certainly do not try to “convert” any of them.

Like

28 05 2013
PalomaGenios

Awesome…I missed all of this on your blog. I knew God linked me here for a purpose!

May God keep you strong Mr Naegele. He has work for you to do yet!

Gary

Like

28 05 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Thank you, Gary.

And God has work for you too.

Like

27 07 2013
4 12 2013
Timothy D. Naegele

Nigerian Man Survives 3 Days At Bottom Of Atlantic

Nigerian Rescue

The Washington Post has published an AP article that states:

About 100 feet down, on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, divers had already pulled four bodies out of the sunken tugboat. Then a hand appeared on a TV screen monitoring the recovery.

Everyone assumed it was another corpse, and the diver moved toward it.

“But when he went to grab the hand, the hand grabbed him!” Tony Walker, project manager for the Dutch company DCN Diving, said of the rescue in May.

Harrison Odjegba Okene, the tug’s Nigerian cook, had survived for three days by breathing an ever-dwindling supply of oxygen in an air pocket. A video of Okene’s dramatic rescue—

—was posted on the Internet more than six months after the rescue and has gone viral this week.

As the temperature dropped to freezing, Okene, dressed only in boxer shorts, recited a psalm his wife had sent him earlier by text message, sometimes called the Prayer for Deliverance. “Oh, God, by your name, save me. … The Lord sustains my life.”

To this day, Okene believes his rescue after 72 hours underwater was the result of divine deliverance. The 11 other seamen aboard the tug Jascon 4 died.

On the video, there was an exclamation of fear and shock from Okene’s rescuers, and then joy as the realization set in that this hand belonged to a survivor. “What’s that? He’s alive! He’s alive!” a voice can be heard exclaiming.

“It was frightening for everybody,” Walker said of that moment, speaking in a telephone interview Tuesday. “For the guy that was trapped because he didn’t know what was happening. It was a shock for the diver while he was down there looking for bodies, and we (in the control room) shot back when the hand grabbed him on the screen.”

Walker said Okene couldn’t have lasted much longer.

“He was incredibly lucky. He was in an air pocket, but he would have had a limited time (before) . . . he wouldn’t be able to breathe anymore.”

The full video of the rescue was released by DCN Diving after a request from The Associated Press. Initially, a shorter version of the rescue emerged on the Internet. The authenticity of the video was confirmed through conversations with DCN employees in the Netherlands. The video showing Okene was also consistent with additional photos of him on the rescue ship. The AP also contacted Okene, who confirmed the events.

Okene’s ordeal began around 4:30 a.m. on May 26. Always an early riser, he was in the toilet when the tug, one of three towing an oil tanker in Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta waters, gave a sudden lurch and then keeled over.

“I was dazed and everywhere was dark as I was thrown from one end of the small cubicle to another,” Okene said in an interview with Nigeria’s Nation newspaper after his rescue.

He groped his way out of the toilet and tried to find a vent, propping doors open as he moved. He discovered some tools and a life vest with two flashlights, which he stuffed into his shorts.

When he found a cabin of the sunken vessel that felt safe, he began the long wait, getting colder and colder as he played back a mental tape of his life—remembering his mother, his friends, but mostly his wife of five years, with whom he hadn’t yet fathered a child.

He worried about his colleagues—the Ukrainian captain and 10 Nigerians, including four young cadets from Nigeria’s Maritime Academy. They would have locked themselves into their cabins, standard procedure in an area stalked by pirates.

He got really worried when he heard a loud sound in the water outside—sharks or barracuda, he supposed—fighting over something big.

As the waters rose, he made a rack on top of a platform and piled two mattresses on top.

“I started calling on the name of God,” Okene told the Nation. “I started reminiscing on the verses I read before I slept. I read the Bible from Psalms 54 to 92. My wife had sent me the verses to read that night when she called me before I went to bed.”

He survived on a single bottle of Coke.

Okene really thought he was going to die, he said, when he heard the sound of a boat engine and an anchor dropping, but failed to get the attention of its crew. He figured, given the size of the sunken tugboat, that it would take a miracle for anyone to locate him. So he waded across the cabin, stripped the wall down to its steel body and banged on it with a hammer.

But “I heard them moving away. They were far away from where I was,” he said.

By the time the divers found him, relatives already had been told there were no survivors.

Using hot water to warm him up, the rescue crew attached Okene to an oxygen mask. He was put into a decompression chamber and then safely returned to the surface.

Before the slow ascent began, a voice on the video could be heard asking Okene to give a thumbs up if he understood what was about to happen. Slowly he raised his hand and stuck out his thumb.

“Good job, my friend. Well done,” the voice says. “You are a survivor.”

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/man-survives-60-hours-at-bottom-of-atlantic/2013/12/03/cd1e432a-5c4c-11e3-8d24-31c016b976b2_story.html

Like

12 01 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

Worth Watching . . .

Like

4 06 2014
Timothy D. Naegele

EVERY DAY IS SPECIAL, SO MAKE THE MOST OF IT

Athena Orchard

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported about a heartbroken family who found an inspirational 3,000-word message written on back of mirror after their daughter died of cancer:

A 13-year-old girl who died following a battle with a rare bone cancer left a heart-rending secret message hidden on the back of her mirror.

Athena Orchard tragically died last Wednesday after losing her fight with the terminal disease.

But just days after her death, Athena’s father Dean discovered a heartfelt note written in marker pen on the back of his daughter’s bedroom mirror.

The message was written after Athena was diagnosed with cancer—which she discovered after finding a tiny lump on her head in December last year.

Before she died, she penned the lengthy message which remained undiscovered until days after her death.

In her note, Athena talks about the disease which would later take her life, writing: ‘Every day is special, so make the most of it.

‘You could get a life-ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day… Life is only bad if you make it bad.’

Last Christmas, Athena collapsed at home and the family began to fear there was something seriously wrong with her health.

She was diagnosed with bone cancer osteosarcoma and, in the following months, underwent intense chemotherapy to treat the disease in her spine, her left shoulder and her head.

She had to have a seven-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the tumour on her spine and wore a wig to cover her hair-loss.

Despite the difficulties, Athena’s note showed an unshakably positive outlook on life.

She wrote: ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves… Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story… The purpose of life is a life of purpose.’

Mr Orchard, 33, said: ‘It was a stand-up mirror in her room, and it was always lent up against the wall so we never saw behind it.

‘She never mentioned it, but it’s the kind of thing she’d do. She was a very spiritual person, she’d go on about stuff that I could never understand—she was so clever.

‘When I moved the mirror after she died I couldn’t believe it, I saw all this writing, it must have been about 3,000 words.

‘It’s so touching. When I first saw it, it just blew me away. I started reading it but before long I had to stop because it was too much, it was heartbreaking.’

Athena, who leaves behind six sisters and three brothers, wrote: ‘I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.’

She also wrote: ‘Love is not about who you can see spending your future with it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without. Life is a game for everyone but love is the only prize.’

Athena’s mum Caroline, 37, said: ‘We knew that Athena loved to write, that was part of who she was, it made her happy.

‘When we read the message it blew us away, Dean started to try and read it but then he just broke out in tears—when it got to the part about her illness, he couldn’t finish.

‘She was an incredible girl, so bright and so strong, she continually amazed me.

‘She was always positive, even when she was in the hospital she would be looking after me, making sure I ate and telling me not to cry.

‘We knew the cancer was very aggressive, the doctors had never seen anything like it. She fought it as long as she could but eventually she became too weak to get out of bed.

‘She was so beautiful and athletic, she loved boxing, it was horrible to watch her become gradually weaker.

‘We’re keeping the mirror forever, it is a part of her we can keep in the house, it will always be in her room.

‘Just reading her words felt like she was still here with us, she had such an incredible spirit.

‘We found a box of songs she wrote, we didn’t know she wrote songs, the words must have been important to her or she wouldn’t have kept them.’

. . .

‘EVERY DAY IS SPECIAL’: EXCERPTS FROM ATHENA’S MOVING MESSAGE

Happiness depends upon ourselves. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending, maybe it’s about the story.

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

Happiness is a direction not a destination. Thank you for existing. Be happy, be free, believe, forever young. You know my name, not my story.

You have heard what I’ve done, but not what I’ve been through. Love is like glass, looks so lovely but it’s easy to shatter.

Love is rare, life is strange, nothing lasts and people change. Every day is special, so make the most of it, you could get a life ending illness tomorrow so make the most of every day. Life is only bad if you make it bad.

If someone loves you, then they wouldn’t let you slip away no matter how hard the situation is. Remember that life is full of ups and downs.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about. I want to be that girl who makes the bad days better and the one that makes you say my life has changed since I met her!

Love is not about how much you say I love you—it’s about how much you can prove it’s true. Love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can’t see it. I’m waiting to fall in love with someone I can open my heart to.

Love is not about who you can see spending your future with, it’s about who you can’t see spending your life without. . . . Life is a game for everyone but love is the prize. Only I can judge me.

Sometimes love hurts. Now I’m fighting myself. Baby I can feel your pain. Dreams are my reality. It hurts but it’s okay, I’m used to it.

Don’t be quick to judge me, you only see what I choose to show you… you don’t know the truth. I just want to have fun and be happy without being judged.

This is my life, not yours, don’t worry about what I do. People gonna hate you, rate you, break you, but how strong you stand, that’s what makes you . . . you!

There’s no need to cry because I know you’ll be by my side.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648394/Maybe-not-happy-ending-maybe-story-Heartbroken-family-inspirational-3-000-word-secret-message-written-mirror-daughter-12-dies-cancer.html (emphasis added)

Like

7 01 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Religious Freedom . . . in Paris

Paris attack

As the Wall Street Journal has reported:

[G]unmen killed 12 people in the assault on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a magazine targeted in the past for cartoons that some Muslims found offensive.

In turn:

Muslim leaders strongly condemned the deadly attack on offices of a French satirical magazine but at the same time, some cautioned that the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe risked strengthening support for jihadists across the continent.

See, e.g., http://www.wsj.com/articles/muslim-leaders-condemn-attack-warn-on-anti-islamic-sentiment-in-europe-1420654885 (“Muslim Leaders Condemn Attack, Warn on Anti-Islamic Sentiment in Europe”)

Imagine someone attacking Judaism and those who follow it?

It is estimated that there are 14 million Jews worldwide, which is a pittance when compared with Christians (2.2 billion) and the followers of Islam (1.6 billion).

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations#Adherent_estimates

Comment boards would light up immediately at the Wall Street Journal and other major Web sites, with every slur imaginable being thrown at the commenters, starting with “anti-Semitic” as a means of silencing them. Such comments would be deleted instantly, at the behest of those who cannot tolerate freedom of speech.

The commenters would be ridiculed, yet when Christianity and Islam are attacked, this seems to be all right, with a gross double-standard being applied. How does the tragic killing of 12 people in Paris compare with the estimated killing of 2,200 people in Gaza by Israel last year alone?

. . .

In the final analysis, religious beliefs (or the lack thereof) are very personal, and not worthy of anyone’s attacks . . . as long as they do not physically hurt someone else.

Like

22 08 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Heroes . . . And Three Friends [UPDATED]

Three friends

This photo shows three American childhood friends who attended the same Christian high school in California, and who were touring Europe when they stopped a Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist on a train, and instantly became global heroes.

They are, left to right: Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos from Roseburg, Oregon, who had been deployed in Afghanistan; U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Spencer Stone (standing) of Carmichael, California; and Anthony Sadler, a senior at Sacramento State University in California.

Their heroics are described in numerous articles, too many to cite. However, two in the UK’s Daily Mail stand out, which should be read and the videos viewed. An emotional video interview with Sadler’s father, a Baptist pastor, in the second Daily Mail article is especially worth watching.

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207243/True-American-hero-airman-tackled-beat-disarmed-Kalashnikov-wielding-terrorist-French-train-treated-tending-stab-wounds-emerges-hospital-humble-wave.html (“A humble wave from a hero: Wounded US airman who took down AK47-wielding terrorist on French train, then treated others before tending to his own stab wounds emerges from hospital with a smile“) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3206977/Spencer-airman-charged-Kalashnikov-wielding-terrorist-Paris-bound-train-hearing-load-gun-toilet.html (“‘Let’s go!’ How hero American airman charged Kalashnikov-wielding terrorist on French train, tackled him and beat him unconscious with the help of his comrade in arms and a friend”); see also http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150822/eu–france-train_attack-5be2fb37d9.html (“3 Americans praised for subduing gunman on European train“) and http://www.wsj.com/articles/two-u-s-soldiers-help-subdue-attacker-on-french-train-1440238328 (“[President] Obama spoke with the three Americans and expressed his gratitude”) and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3208541/Passenger-wrestled-Paris-train-terrorist-servicemen-Briton-disarmed-revealed-American-professor-Hollande-thanks-preventing-carnage.html (“Three Americans and a British grandfather who tackled Paris train terrorist are awarded France’s highest honour for bravery for preventing ‘carnage’ – as first hero passenger is revealed to be a U.S. professor [Mark Moogalian]“) and http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/french-train-attack/french-train-hero-spencer-stone-earns-promotion-staff-sergeant-n455006 (“French Train Hero Spencer Stone Earns Promotion to Staff Sergeant“)

The entertainment news magazine “Extra” has reported:

Before Sunday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers presented personalized Lakers jerseys to the three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train in France in August.

This past summer, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, and Anthony Sadler tackled a gunman and prevented any fatalities on the train on which they were traveling as tourists. The trio, who saw firsthand what a terrorist attack could look like, chatted with “Extra” about the Paris terror attacks that took place on Friday. Alek commented, “Obviously, we’re just as shocked as anybody, and maybe it may have touched a little bit more of a nerve with us because of what we went through, obviously, and just because you stop one terrorist attack it doesn’t mean they’re going to stop coming anytime soon.”

Spencer shared some advice to those who may be confronted with a similar situation. “You gotta overpower them… They’re always going to pick a place where there is more people than them, so if everyone just has the same goal to rush them and take them down, at least not that many people will get hurt.”

Anthony chimed in, “You gotta act, so we can stop terrorism.” On that note, Spencer added, “We can’t sit down.” Alek reiterated, “You’re going to die anyway, so you might as well give it a shot and get lucky like we did.”

Anthony and Spencer also had messages for the families affected by the tragedy. Sadler said, “To keep hope alive, prayers and thoughts out to them for sure.” Stone added, “Praying for everyone in France and I pray for President Hollande to be making the best decisions he can to deal with the problem and to stay strong.”

See http://extratv.com/2015/11/16/paris-train-attack-heroes-reflect-on-fridays-violence/ (“Paris Train-Attack Heroes Reflect on Friday [the 13th]’s Violence“) (emphasis added)

French flag with black ribbon

Like

4 12 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

A 61-Yard Winner: The Miracle in Motown!

Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers hits Richard Rodgers with a 61-yard touchdown pass to end the game in Detroit.

“Two guys from Cal connect!” 🙂

Like

23 12 2015
Timothy D. Naegele

Miracle: Gun-Toting Father In Three-Hour Standoff With Police Saves Son

Miracle father and son

The UK’s Daily Mail has reported:

A father took a gun into hospital to stop doctors taking his son off life support – and during the three-hour stand-off the young man squeezed his hand.

The sign that he wasn’t brain dead meant he was kept alive – and he is now recovering and doing well.

His father, 59-year-old George Pickering II, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after marching into Tomball Regional Medical Center in Texas with a gun.

His 27-year-old son, George III, had been declared brain dead after suffering a massive stroke in January.

After doctors declared there was no more hope for him, they ordered a ‘terminal wean’ – whereby life support is slowly withdrawn to end a life.

Pickering’s ex-wife and other son had agreed to the move, and the young man had already been placed on an organ donation register.

But Pickering Sr told KPRC: ‘They were moving too fast. The hospital, the nurses, the doctors. I knew if I had three or four hours that night that I would know whether George was brain-dead.’

During the three-hour standoff, Pickering threatened hospital staff. His other son was eventually able to get the gun from him.

Pickering admitted to being drunk and aggressive but said it was only because he knew his son wasn’t ready to die.

During the standoff, Pickering’s faith that his son had been misdiagnosed never wavered and after he finally got the response he wanted from his boy, he surrendered peacefully to authorities.

‘During that three hours, George squeezed my hand three or four times on command,’ he said.

His son later came out of his coma and is now fully recovered.

The charges against Pickering were eventually reduced and he was released earlier this month.

His son said: ‘There was a law broken, but it was broken for all the right reasons.

‘I’m here now because of it. It was love, it was love.’

See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3371236/George-Pickering-II-standoff-Tomball-Regional-Medical-Center-Houston-brain-dead-son.html (“‘The law was broken for the right reasons’: Gun-toting father in three-hour standoff with police as he blocked doctors from pulling the plug on his ‘brain dead’ son – and the 27-year-old SURVIVED”) (emphasis added)

One of the comments beneath the article said:

All “Worlds Greatest Dad” mugs should have his picture on them.

Amen to that one, in spades.

The lesson learned: Have faith and never give up!

Like

23 03 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Has America Lost Its Faith?

Bernie Sanders praying

It has been reported:

The United States formally separates Church and State, but it’s hard to deny that America is inundated with religious innuendo, from its controversial pledge of allegiance all the way down to its Judeo-Christian courthouse displays and faith-espousing legal tender. Yet fewer Americans pray or believe in God than ever before, according to a new study in the journal Sage Open.

Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who claim they never pray reached an all-time high in 2014, up five-fold since the 1980s. Over the same time period, belief in God and interest in spirituality appears to have similarly declined, especially among young adults.

The findings suggest that, “millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” says Jean M. Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University and coauthor on the study, in a press statement. “Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years.”

The notion that the U.S. is inching away from organized religion is nothing new. Throughout the 2000s, studies repeatedly found that many Americans had lost faith in religious institutions. But scientists suspected the shift was from organized religion, rather than spirituality—that Americans had stopped attending formal services, but that they still prayed and believed in private.

And it made sense. The Catholic Church’s highly publicized sexual abuse scandals had shaken America’s faith in religious leadership right around the same time that our faith in non-religious institutions was beginning to wane. One 2014 study found that Americans had grown skeptical of Church power in much the same way that they had grown suspicious of all major institutions, including the media, the medical establishment and Congress.

But this new study suggests that Americans have a problem with God—and that our spiritual issues run deeper than paltry mistrust of religious institutions.

For the study, researchers pulled 58,893 entries from the GSS, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. The results suggest a steep decline in the number of Americans who pray, believe in God, take the Bible literally, attend religious services or identified as religious—all factors that should have relatively little to do with America’s skepticism of large institutions.

As of 2014, nearly one third of thirty-somethings who matured in the 2000s said they were “secular” and one fifth reported that they were not even “spiritual”, suggesting a decline not only in religious affiliated but also in the core beliefs of Generation Y. “Decline in religious affiliation and participation has now extended to private practices and beliefs,” the authors write.

The next generation, often referred to as iGen, is even more secular. By 2014, the number of 18 to 22-year-olds who reported no religious affiliation rose from 11 percent in the 1970s to 36 percent; the percentage who said they never pray rose from 4 percent to 28 percent. Belief in God and attendance at religious service[s] declined by half while self-reported spirituality declined five-fold. “This suggests that iGen will continue the decrease in religious orientation rather than reversing it, even in spirituality,” the authors write.

One odd quirk, however—Americans have become slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife, even as they are abandoning prayer, belief in God and rituals. This, too, is perhaps a telling sign of America’s newfound relationship with old-time religion. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality,” Twenge said. “Thinking you can get something for nothing.”

See http://www.vocativ.com/news/299168/americans-pray-think-heaven-is-real (“Americans Skeptical Of God But Think Heaven Is Real, Somehow”) (emphasis added; charts omitted)

As terrorism spreads globally, and as the global economy sours beyond anything that we have known, and as chaos spreads, the trends described above may end. More and more people may need to cling to something, and that may be a “higher power” or God.

See, e.g., https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/the-obama-great-depression/ (“The Obama Great Depression“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/global-chaos-and-helter-skelter/ (“Global Chaos And Helter Skelter“)

[Note: The photo above is of Bernie Sanders praying. He is a presidential aspirant, and a U.S. Senator from the State of Vermont. He is Jewish. His father was born in Poland; and he immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 in 1921. His mother was born in New York City to Jewish immigrant parents from Poland and Russia. Many of his father’s relatives who remained in Poland were killed in the Nazi Holocaust.

See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders]

Like

24 03 2016
Mary

Excellent portrayal of what we have come to, certainly in the US. Sad, but I notice it every day.

Liked by 1 person

26 04 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

If God Is Dead . . . [UPDATED]

This is the title of an article by Pat Buchanan—an adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and a former GOP presidential aspirant himself. I disagree with the premise that God is dead, as indicated in my article above. However, Buchanan writes:

In a recent column Dennis Prager made an acute observation.

“The vast majority of leading conservative writers … have a secular outlook on life. … They are unaware of the disaster that godlessness in the West has led to.”

These secular conservatives may think that “America can survive the death of God and religion,” writes Prager, but they are wrong. And, indeed, the last half-century seems to bear him out.

A people’s religion, their faith, creates their culture, and their culture creates their civilization. And when faith dies, the culture dies, the civilization dies, and the people begin to die.

Is this not the recent history of the West?

Today, no great Western nation has a birthrate that will prevent the extinction of its native-born. By century’s end, other peoples and other cultures will have largely repopulated the Old Continent.

European Man seems destined to end like the 10 lost tribes of Israel — overrun, assimilated and disappeared.

And while the European peoples — Russians, Germans, Brits, Balts — shrink in number, the U.N. estimates that the population of Africa will double in 34 years to well over 2 billion people.

What happened to the West?

As G. K. Chesterton wrote, when men cease to believe in God, they do not then believe in nothing, they believe in anything.

As European elites ceased to believe in Christianity, they began to convert to ideologies, to what Dr. Russell Kirk called “secular religions.”

For a time, these secular religions — Marxism-Leninism, fascism, Nazism — captured the hearts and minds of millions. But almost all were among the gods that failed in the 20th century.

Now Western Man embraces the newer religions: egalitarianism, democratism, capitalism, feminism, One Worldism, environmentalism.

These, too, give meaning to the lives of millions, but these, too, are inadequate substitutes for the faith that created the West.

For they lack what Christianity gave man — a cause not only to live for, and die for, but a moral code to live by, with the promise that, at the end a life so lived, would come eternal life. Islam, too, holds out that promise.

Secularism, however, has nothing on offer to match that hope.

Looking back over the centuries, we see what faith has meant.

When, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the West embraced Christianity as a faith superior to all others, as its founder was the Son of God, the West went on to create modern civilization, and then went out and conquered most of the known world.

The truths America has taught the world, of an inherent human dignity and worth, and inviolable human rights, are traceable to a Christianity that teaches that every person is a child of God.

Today, however, with Christianity virtually dead in Europe and slowly dying in America, Western culture grows debased and decadent, and Western civilization is in visible decline.

Rudyard Kipling prophesied all this in “Recessional”:

“Far-called our navies melt away; On dune and headland sinks the fire: Lo, all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!”

All the Western empires are gone, and the children of once-subject peoples cross the Mediterranean to repopulate the mother countries, whose native-born have begun to age, shrink and die.

Since 1975, only two European nations, Muslim Albania and Iceland have maintained a birthrate sufficient to keep their peoples alive.

Given the shrinking populations inside Europe and the waves of immigrants rolling in from Africa and the Middle and Near East, an Islamic Europe seems to be in the cards before the end of the century.

Vladimir Putin, who witnessed the death of Marxism-Leninism up close, appears to understand the cruciality of Christianity to Mother Russia, and seeks to revive the Orthodox Church and write its moral code back into Russian law.

And what of America, “God’s country”?

With Christianity excommunicated from her schools and public life for two generations, and Old and New Testament teachings rejected as a basis of law, we have witnessed a startlingly steep social decline.

Since the 1960s, America has set new records for abortions, violent crimes, incarcerations, drug consumption. While HIV/AIDS did not appear until the 1980s, hundreds of thousands have perished from it, and millions now suffer from it and related diseases.

Forty percent of U.S. births are out of wedlock. For Hispanics, the illegitimacy rate is over 50 percent; for African-Americans, it’s over 70 percent.

Test scores of U.S. high school students fall annually and approach parity with Third World countries.

Suicide is a rising cause of death for middle-aged whites.

Secularism seems to have no answer to the question, “Why not?”

“How small, of all that human hearts endure, That part which laws or kings can cause or cure,” wrote Samuel Johnson.

Secular conservatives may have remedies for some of America’s maladies. But, as Johnson observed, no secular politics can cure the sickness of the soul of the West — a lost faith that appears irretrievable.

See http://buchanan.org/blog/if-god-is-dead-125152

I disagree too with the notion that Russia’s Putin has any respect for or belief in God or Christianity. He is a brutal killer and an opportunist, similar to Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.

By the same token, Israel may not survive because its leaders such as Netanyahu have morphed into their ancestors’ Nazi oppressors.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-death-of-putin-and-russia-the-final-chapter-of-the-cold-war/ (“The Death Of Putin And Russia: The Final Chapter Of The Cold War“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/is-israel-doomed/ (“Is Israel Doomed?“)

Buchanan may be mistaken too that Christianity is dying in America; and that God only works through Christians.

He is correct when he writes: “[E]very person is a child of God.”

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/#comment-1569 (“78 Percent Of All Americans Believe Jesus To Be The Son Of God“) and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/islamophobia-is-un-american/ (“Islamophobia Is Un-American“); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/#comment-1865 (“Only God Is Perfect“)

Lastly, I have written:

[A]s the global economy sours beyond anything that we have known, and as chaos spreads, . . . [m]ore and more people may need to cling to something, and that may be a “higher power” or God.

See https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/what-and-where-is-god/#comment-8571 (“Has America Lost Its Faith?“)

[Note: the photograph, “Sunset, Morro Bay, California,” was taken by Sean Patrick Flaherty]

Like

26 04 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Dog Dies From Exhaustion After Rescuing Seven People From Earthquake [UPDATED]

Rescue dog

Adam Boult of the UK’s Telegraph has reported:

A four-year-old white Labrador called Dayko has been hailed as a hero after rescuing seven people from the aftermath of the Ecuador earthquake – before dying from exhaustion.

Dayko, a rescue dog for the Ibara fire service, died last Friday, having spent the previous days searching for survivors in the rubble left by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake which hit Ecuador last week.

According to a post on Ibara fire service’s Facebook page the cause of death was “massive coronary myocardial infarction and acute respiratory failure.” He had been working as a rescue dog for three and a half years.

“We regret to inform you that today the [fire service] is in mourning because [we] just lost Dayko who participated in the work of searching in Pedernales,” said the fire service.

“This four legged friend gave his life in the line of duty. Thank you Dayko for your heroic efforts in Pedernales and in various emergencies where you were present.

“You held high the name of the K9 unit.”

More than 2,000 people were injured in the quake on April 16, which ripped apart buildings and roads and knocked out power along the Pacific coastline. At least 654 people have been killed.

President Rafael Correa, said last week: “Reconstruction will cost billions of dollars,” and the impact on economic growth “could be huge.”

Around 500 specialists from Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela have been assisting local fire brigades and special forces. Supplies have been arriving by air from less-affected parts of Ecuador and survivors flown for treatment to Quito, the capital, and Guayaquil, the biggest city.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/26/dog-dies-from-exhaustion-after-rescuing-seven-people-from-earthq/; see also http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/664347/earthquake-rescue-dog-dead-exhaustion-Ecuador (“Rescue dog dies from EXHAUSTION after saving seven people from earthquake rubble”—“’Dayko joined our canine program when he was just a year old'”—“’Since his arrival, he captivated us with his compassionate gaze and his friendly character.’ The award-winning pooch was buried with full honours, with his fellow rescue dogs and fire fighters paying tribute to the selfless comrade”)

May God bless Dayko and others who perished, as well as the survivors and their life-savers.

Like

26 04 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Bright Flash Of Light Marks Incredible Moment Life Begins When Sperm Meets Egg [UPDATED]

Fetus

Sarah Knapton, science editor of the UK’s Telegraph has reported:

Human life begins in [a] bright flash of light as a sperm meets an egg, scientists have shown for the first time, after capturing the astonishing ‘fireworks’ on film.

An explosion of tiny sparks erupts from the egg at the exact moment of conception.

Scientists had seen the phenomenon occur in other animals but it is the first time is has been also shown to happen in humans.

Not only is it an incredible spectacle, highlighting the very moment that a new life begins, the size of the flash can be used to determine the quality of the fertilised egg.

Researchers from Northwestern University, in Chicago, noticed that some of the eggs burn brighter than others, showing that they are more likely to produce a healthy baby.

The discovery could help fertility doctors pick the best fertilised eggs to transfer during in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

“It was remarkable,” said Professor Teresa Woodruff, one of the study’s two senior authors and an expert in ovarian biology at Northwestern.

“We discovered the zinc spark just five years ago in the mouse, and to see the zinc radiate out in a burst from each human egg was breathtaking.

“This means if you can look at the zinc spark at the time of fertilization, you will know immediately which eggs are the good ones to transfer in in vitro fertilization.

“It’s a way of sorting egg quality in a way we’ve never been able to assess before. “All of biology starts at the time of fertilization, yet we know next to nothing about the events that occur in the human.”

Currently around 50 per cent of fertilised eggs do not develop properly and experts believe that faulty genetic code could be responsible.

Some clinics take videos of the egg developing to try pick up problems early, while others check for genetic mutations, but that is an invasive procedure which can damage the tiny egg. Often it is just down to a clinician decided which eggs look the healthiest.

But the new findings could give and extra indication that an egg is flourishing. A video of nine human eggs coming into contact with sperm enzyme showed two flashed much brighter than the rest.

“This is an important discovery because it may give us a non-invasive and easily visible way to assess the health of an egg and eventually an embryo before implantation,” said co-author Dr Eve Feinberg, who took care of the patients who provided eggs for the basic science study and collaborated with the research team.

“There are no tools currently available that tell us if it’s a good quality egg. Often we don’t know whether the egg or embryo is truly viable until we see if a pregnancy ensues.

“That’s the reason this is so transformative. If we have the ability up front to see what is a good egg and what’s not, it will help us know which embryo to transfer, avoid a lot of heartache and achieve pregnancy much more quickly.”

The bright flash occurs because when sperm enters and egg it triggers calcium to increase which releases zinc from the egg. As the zinc shoots out, it binds to small molecules which emit a fluorescence which can be picked up my camera microscopes.

Over the last six years this team has shown that zinc controls the decision to grow and change into a completely new genetic organism.

In the experiment, scientists use sperm enzyme rather than actual sperm to show what happens at the moment of conception.

“These fluorescence microscopy studies establish that the zinc spark occurs in human egg biology, and that can be observed outside of the cell,” said Professor Tom O’Halloran, a co-senior author.

In a companion paper published in Scientific Reports on March 18, a zinc spark is shown at the precise time a sperm enters a mouse egg.

This discovery was made by Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern. Little is known about the events that occur at the time of fertilization, because it is difficult to capture the precise time of sperm entry.

The study will be published April 26 in Scientific Reports.

See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/04/26/bright-flash-of-light-marks-incredible-moment-life-begins-when-s/ (emphasis added; illustrations omitted)

As I have written in the article above:

I had essentially a “near-death” experience some years ago, similar to what others have described, during which I experienced God . . . as an intense bright light at the end of a tunnel, and as Infinite Intelligence of which our own intelligence is merely a part. God was neither masculine nor feminine. My mother had died months before it happened, and I felt her presence and I knew she was with God.

From that moment forward, I have never doubted that God exists, or that God created everything—heaven and earth and everything in between.

[Note: The photo directly above, “Sunset, Morro Bay, California,” was taken by Sean Patrick Flaherty]

Like

13 07 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Mom’s Hug Brings Newborn Back To Life

Kate with twins Jamie and Emily

The Sydney, Australia-based Morning Ledger has reported:

News about a mom bringing her dead newborn back to life with a tender embrace took the internet by storm in 2010 and the photos of the child being cradled by his mom went viral. Couple Kate and David Ogg refused to give up after the doctor informed them about the death of their son.

Kate gave birth to twins but while 27-weeks-old Emily was healthy, her twin Jamie stopped breathing and his heart stopped beating. After being told their son had passed, the heartbroken mother hugged her baby close to say goodbye but after minutes of skin-to-skin contact and Kate’s embrace[,] miraculously [] Jamie started showing signs of life. Although the doctors gave up, Kate’s embrace miraculously brought Jamie back to life as he started moving after five minutes of cuddling. Reports reveal that the baby gasped, opened his eyes, started breathing and grabbed his father’s finger.

After a rough start and being a dead newborn back to life through a mother’s love, Jamie is now a healthy five-year-old and the story of the miracle that made him live still touch[es] the lives of many people up to this day. Because of his survival, the Oggs became advocates of the skin-on-skin contact for newborns which is also called as the “Kangaroo care.”

“Kangaroo mother care” or “Kangaroo Care” is defined as the care of preterm infants carried skin-to-skin with the mother. Babies are exposed to early, continuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with the mother which also ideally include exclusive breastfeeding, according to the World Health Organization.

UNICEF advi[ses] mothers to hold their newborn child close to their chest to help them adapt to the new environment and cope with the stressful birth process. With this, the child’s heartbeat and breathing will be better controlled.

Newborn babies should spend their first two hours of life with the mother while breastfeeding and having skin-to-skin contact. Interruptions during said mother-baby interaction are strongly discouraged for this might reduce the chances of initiating early breastfeeding.

Baby Center also added that Kangaroo Care helps to maintain the baby’s body warmth, gain weight, regulate heart and breathing rates, spend more time in deep sleep, spend more time being quiet and alert and will spend less time crying.

The skin-on-skin interaction can also help the mother to improve breast milk production. A mother will also be ensured that she is providing intimate care for her baby.

See http://www.morningledger.com/mom-hug-brings-dead-newborn-back-to-life/1384282/ (emphasis added)

Miracles do happen!

Like

31 08 2016
Timothy D. Naegele

Sully


[Image by Ryan Melgar for Variety]

James Rainey, Senior Film Reporter at Variety, has written:

Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, “Sully,” is landing at an opportune time for feel-good entertainment.

The picture, centering on the 2009 miracle landing of a U.S. Airways jetliner on the frigid Hudson River in New York City after the plane ran into a flock of geese, is more unapologetically optimistic than anything the 86-year-old veteran filmmaker has directed in recent memory.

“In the political atmosphere we’re in, there are an awful lot of points being made on [the notion that] you can’t count on people and institutions because they’re all broken — that none of them work,” said Tom Hanks, who portrays pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in Warner Bros.’ Sept. 9 release. “Well, that’s nonsense. They’re not all broken. And you can still have faith in them. And, in that regard, I think this movie makes a really strong case.”

In Los Angeles to promote the film, Sullenberger is diving into the kind of publicity tsunami he treated gingerly when he was first thrust into the public eye on Jan. 15, 2009. Today, the 65-year-old aviator makes his living mostly as a motivational speaker. He does not bat an eye at back-to-back-to-back media interviews. More than six years removed from his last professional flight, he deems himself “thrilled” at the movie that Eastwood, Hanks, and company have created.

“I wanted that sense of our common humanity to be a big, underlying current in the film, and it really is,” Sullenberger told Variety. “This happened at a time, after the 2008-2009 financial meltdown, when it seemed like everything was going wrong. People were wondering if everything was about self-interest and greed. They were doubting human nature. Then all these people acted together, selflessly, to get something really important done. In a way, I think it gave everyone a chance to have hope, at a time when we all needed it.”

In the months after Sullenberger brought the crippled jetliner and its 155 passengers to a safe landing on the Hudson, he suffered from nightmares, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. He says he found it comforting to receive the support of a nation, in the form of some 50,000 emails and letters.

He recalled that in one correspondence, a woman from Sacramento, Calif., talked about how she had lost her job and her house and suffered through the death of her father and a close friend. “Quite frankly, I lost my faith, and you, sir, gave it back,” the woman wrote.

Sullenberger said the note “meant more to me than anything.”

“Sully” relives the pilot’s split-second decisions after the Airbus A320’s engines flame out following a hit by a flock of Canadian geese. He flips to auxiliary power, aborts a return to LaGuardia International Airport, and works through possible landing spots with ground control.

But the film also captures a wider cast of everyday heroes: co-pilot Jeff Skiles (played by Aaron Eckhart), who plows down an emergency checklist; three flight attendants who calm passengers and instruct the how to brace for impact; ferry boat captains chugging to the rescue without waiting for commands from above; and passengers who remain calm as they wait to be bailed out from the nearly frozen river.

Those scenes from the day of the crisis are interwoven with glimpses of the youthful Sullenberger learning to fly a crop duster as a teenager in Texas, then graduating to the Air Force. But, as the character notes in the film, it’s not his career in the air, but 208 seconds over New York that will make or break his reputation.

[T]he project got its start with the adaptation by Todd Komarnicki (“Perfect Stranger”) of Sullenberger’s memoir “Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters,” co-authored with Jeffrey Zaslow. Eastwood initially was said to be unsure about what he could bring to the project, until he read about the aftermath of the incident, and the second-guessing of Sullenberger’s actions.

The $60 million movie, produced by Eastwood, Frank Marshall, Allyn Stewart, and Tim Moore, with Kipp Nelson and Bruce Berman of Village Roadshow Pictures, was co-financed by Warner Bros., Village Roadshow, and RatPac-Dune Entertainment, and shot over five weeks on location in New York, Atlanta, and the back lots at Warners and Universal. The “Sully” crew floated a real Airbus jet on Falls Lake at Universal, to be backed later by green-screen images of the Hudson.

Eastwood included some of the real-life rescuers in the river scenes. “That was in the spirit of Sully saying, ‘Everyone did their job that day,’” said Hanks. “If you were there that day, you could come and be part of the shoot, and what was going to be a part of the popular record of what happened that day.”

The spine of the film’s narrative became the National Transportation Safety Board’s hearings into the forced water landing. “Sully” takes creative license by collapsing the time frame — making it appear the sessions came immediately, when they were held more than a year after Flight 1549 went down.

“For me, the real conflict came after,” Eastwood said, “with the investigative board questioning his decisions, even though he’d saved so many lives.”

The director disdains over-intellectualizing the stories he puts on screen, but in many of his films, he has taken a look into the soul of America. In “Unforgiven” he examined bloodlust; in “Gran Torino,” bigotry and forgiveness; and in “American Sniper,” our ambivalence about war. In “Sully,” it’s how we deal with a crisis.

Eastwood’s upbeat view of the events on the Hudson creates a wave of good feeling, not just for Sully, but for his flight crew, scores of rescuers, the passengers who survived with hardly a scratch, and even the investigators who turned from potential villains into grudging admirers.

Hanks seconds the idea of “Sully” resurrecting the notion of America as a “can do” place.

“If ‘Sully’ resonates in the broader sociological sense,” Hanks said, “I think it’s because it’s an example of our institutions actually living up to their responsibilities. I think people are ready for that.”

See http://variety.com/2016/film/news/tom-hanks-clint-eastwood-sully-1201847050/ (“Tom Hanks, Chesley Sullenberger Hail ‘Common Humanity’ of Clint Eastwood’s ‘Sully’”) (emphasis added; graph omitted)

Sully is an authentic hero, whom God has blessed—as he has blessed others, whose lives he saved.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_(film) (Other heroes: “The film is based on the real events of the 2010 mining disaster, in which a group of thirty-three miners were trapped inside the San José Mine in Chile for more than two months”)

Like

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: