Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) has a series of great articles about how parents and teachers can engender a love of reading in kids. If you have a little free time, they’re worth your attention, even if you don’t have kids and even if you’re not a teacher. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘religion’
When you turn off the highway to head toward Melnik, there is an ancient volcanic crater. It is the one-time home of Baba Vanga, a Bulgarian clairvoyant who convinced many that she possessed paranormal abilities. It’s an interesting place, housing an entire compound of buildings and volcanic hot springs. Vanga’s house is preserved there, and an Orthodox shrine stands guard over her grave.
Even the most jaded Bulgarian will state with firm conviction that Vanga was no hoax – that her powers were real, at least to some degree. To this day, there are posters of her on the walls of homes in Blagoevgrad, and other Macedonian villages. I don’t know whether the invisible creatures, whom she said gave her information about people and events, were figments of her imagination or spirits. It doesn’t matter; people came to her to prophesy about their newborn, or unborn, children.
Vanga is the epitome of the Bulgarian mindset. Part Orthodox traditionalism, part pagan mysticism – she bridges the gap between the ancient Thracian traditions which still hold sway in the Balkans, and the newer (if you call a few hundred years) traditions of the Orthodox faith. Vanga always gave glory to God for her powers, powers that are admittedly at odds with the tenants of most Christian faiths. It’s an interesting dichotomy.
Vanga’s disciples believe she knew the precise date of her own death. They claim that she prophesied the arrival of her successor before she passed, a 10-year-old blind girl living in France who was to inherit her gift.
In the December 2003 Imprimis, Michael Novak writes about the so-called separation of church and state. Much of what he has to say is really informative (go read for yourself), though I think I’ll have to read some more of the writers he referenced in his piece.
His discussion of tolerance was right on. I could not agree more, nor say it any better than he did, and so I shall quote him here:
…among Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and others there have been examples of generations of “tolerance.” But tolerance is a different (and less profound) concept than the right to religious liberty. Tolerance may arise merely from a temporary lack of power to enforce conformity; it does not by itself invoke a natural right. The concept of religious liberty, on the other hand, depends upon a particular conception of God, a particular conception of the human person, and a particular conception of liberty. Reaching these conceptions took Jews and Christians many centuries. They had to be learned through failure and sin and error, and at great cost. But they were eventually learned.