It takes courage and skill to tell people something they find uncomfortable
If a doctor knew you had a serious life threatening illness but for fear of upsetting you withheld the truth and sent you away with inadequate information and treatment you would be deeply concerned and angry – and rightly so. Yet everyday at religious funeral services people are being told that it doesn’t matter how we have lived, who or what we have or haven’t believed in, everyone goes to heaven anyway.
This message, spoken to bring comfort and hope, is a familiar one but while it’s understandable for kindly sentiments to be expressed at such services, the message preached is misleading and scripturally unsound because it suggests, contrary to biblical truth, that no preconditions for entrance to heaven exists and that personal faith in Christ alone for our salvation is unnecessary.
Furthermore, difficult and challenging Gospel truths, concerning our sin and judgment, are discreetly ignored or watered down in favour of a more acceptable message of abundant mercy and forgiveness for everyone.
Because this message is separated from a true biblical narrative and context, with little or no sobering emphasis on the enormity of death – should we reject the Son of God as our living saviour – it’s little wonder that those listening come away with unwarranted optimism and a fake sense of assurance concerning their eternal future. And given the message is so comforting and appealing why wouldn’t they?
Yet just as a serious medical condition demands careful attention so too does a spiritual one. Because unless we are told we are spiritually sick we won’t believe that we are and will see none to address it.
In difficult and sensitive circumstances it takes great skill and courage to tell people something they may find uncomfortable to hear and difficult to accept. No responsible doctor enjoys bringing unsettling news to a patient but out of utmost concern for that patient’s wellbeing it is something they must do.
We are told in John I verse 14 that Jesus came from the Father full of grace and truth. Knowing that many would reject and revile him, and ultimately execute him for doing so, he nevertheless fearlessly spoke God’s truth concerning faith, sin, life death and mankind true spiritual condition and did so in a thoroughly challenging, thought-provoking manner. But he also graciously offered the only effective powerful remedy for these matters and the only enabling living faith to bear the sorrows, trials and weariness of life and overcome the fear, mystery and consequence of death – he offered himself. And for that same reason, and in light of all that is going on around us now, it’s surely time for those who presently lay claim to being Christ’s official representatives to realise they need to start doing likewise – for all our sakes.
Britain in time will come to regret its decision to leave European Union
The British have left the EU and I feel that in time to come the UK will come to regret their leaving.
The vast majority who voted for Brexit were senior and older UK citizens who, in my opinion, were suffering from nostalgia and who were looking back on days of glory and empire that are long gone and no longer exist.
By voting to leave they hoped this would be restored. But in the real world this won’t happen.
They have destroyed the future prospects of the younger British citizens from working in the EU and going to college and university in countries like Germany and France. Quite a number of the leave people it is said voted for Brexit for reasons of racist opinions as they wish to see EU citizens leave Britain. If this is true it may backfire on them.
Britain was never fully committed to EU membership from the time they joined the EU in 1973. They did not want to join the Euro single currency and dragged their feet on every move towards integration. They were never fully European.
The UK were asked to join the EU in the 1950s but did not join till the 1970s. By then the EU was made in the structures and image of what the Germans and French wanted it to be and when the British could not get their way they now have left with sour grapes in their mouth.
The US thought they could control the EU and rule it on the backs of the UK but now that’s not happening as Britain has left Europe the Americans will drop the Brits like a hot potato. Donald Trump has no more need of them and will flush the special so-called relationship down the toilet and Boris Johnson’s Britain becomes a puppet of Uncle Sam as it goes from the frying pan into the fire.
Sligo, Co Sligo
Respecting human life
I noticed an interesting trend in the general election results. In the final Dáil vote on legalising abortion in 2018 – 15 TDs voted against this bill. Each and every one of them was re-elected in this general election. Several of them topped the poll.
There are likely many factors why they were re-elected. But it’s remarkable that not one of them lost their seats in an unpredictable election with a massive move towards change and Sinn Féin. Meanwhile, many high-profile TDs who had been most vocal and active in favour of legalising abortion lost their seats.
For Carol Nolan to hold her seat as an independent candidate previously with Sinn Féin, in a redrawn constituency with several candidates from main parties and winning more votes than minister for justice Charlie Flanagan, is a significant achievement by any standards.
Peter Fitzpatrick also left his party Fine Gael and ran this time as an independent, and Peadar Tóibín left Sinn Féin and was re-elected as leader of the Aontú party. Well done to them and to Seán Canney, Michael Collins, Michael Fitzmaurice, Noel Grealish, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry, Mattie McGrath, Marc McSharry, John McGuinness, Mary Butler, and Éamon Ó Cuiv.
The people have spoken through the democratic process and have clearly said – there is a place in Irish politics in 2020 for public representatives who respect human life at all stages.
Criticism of Amnesty International justified
Joseph McGleenan (February 11) is right to question why Amnesty International spend ‘large amounts of funds’ on newspaper advertisements ‘on issues like abortion’. Does abortion stop a human ‘heart’, crush a unique ‘diamond’, lift a ‘club’ against a woman’s maternal feelings, and metaphorically use a ‘spade’ to bury one human life per second globally? Abortion, it might be argued, is the illegitimate ‘joker’ in the human rights ‘card pack’. Looking at Spuc’s iconic sculpted human foot scale model lapel pin; the humanity of an unborn child in the third month of pregnancy is visible, palpable, inescapable, and undeniable.
Mr McGleenan is right to criticise Amnesty International. The small and flickering flames, of up to 60 vulnerable human lives, may have been extinguished by abortion in the time taken to read these two paragraphs. A recent Journal of Medical Ethics article commented: “Overall, the evidence, and a balanced reading of that evidence, points towards an immediate and unreflective pain experience mediated by the developing function of the nervous system from as early as 12 weeks.”