Bible Archaeology

Virtual Tours of Archaeological Sites in Israel

This is a fantastic new website that provides virtual tours of archaeological sites in Israel:

The Virtual World Project is designed for educational purposes, with teachers and students in mind. The project offers two modes for viewing the archaeological sites (Tour and Presentation mode). See the help screens for further information on using the project. Audio commentary is being added to many of the sites (see Herodium, Dan, Qasr Bshir, and Ramm, among others).

The project is continually being updated. Find out what is new in the project by visiting the project’s Blog. Click on the “Project Blog” link here or below. The project should be linked and accessed through its own domain at www.virtualworldproject.org

(HT)

Interactive and fun!

I’ve just visited the Garden Tomb… Love that place…

Church

Muslims Terrorizing Christian Girls in Iraq

Heartbreaking indeed

I edited and translated a most heartbreaking testimony by Sister Hatune of the Syrian-Orthodox monastery in Warburg, Germany. She makes an amazing effort to help and  protect the ruthlessly persecuted Christians in Iraq.

In recent years, a horrifying number of kidnappings, rapes and mutilations of Iraqi Christian girls has been perpetrated by Muslim gangs. Some 700,000 Christians are fleeing this terror, but often find themselves exposed to similar dangers when they arrive in neighboring Muslim countries. With no rights and no help from authorities, they are surely in the most desperate of situations.

Please take the time to contemplate why this is not being reported more often.

And visit Sister Hatune’s foundation for more information about her great work.
 

Culture

This Is Not A Painting

This is awesome!

What you’re looking at isn’t a painting. It’s not a Photoshop job or an artist’s rendering. It’s a photograph, taken by National Geographic‘s Frans Lanting, that captures the camel thorn trees of Namib-Naukluft Park at the most perfect moment imaginable.

Click the image to biggie size for the full effect. That orange backdrop? That’s a dune reflecting Namibia’s rising sun. And while the trees themselves look like etchings of a dream, they’re a very real part of one of the country’s largest national parks. It’s beautiful, it’s serene, it’s surreal. And it’s still almost impossible to believe that the only paintbrush used was nature’s.

I’ve been to that area frequently and the desolate landscape can indeed be spectacular!

Culture

Pensioners Come Forth for Fukushima

High levels of radiation and uncertainty as to how long it might take to get the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi stabilized mean that the health of workers and people in the area is becoming an increasingly important concern. 

The authorities are already finding it difficult to find enough people who are willing to go into the contaminated area and carry out necessary construction and decontamination work…

“My acquaintances and I talked very intensively about the accident and about how we could help contain the disaster,” explained 72-year-old Yasuteru Yamada who came up with the idea.

 “A functioning cooling system is indispensable,” he pointed out. “But who is supposed to build it? Only people can do it. So why not us? Since we don’t have such a long future ahead?” 

Yamada is a former engineer who studied metallurgy. He set up “Qualified Veterans for Fukushima Nuclear Plant No. 1″ as a registered charity to convince the authorities of its seriousness…

Yamada and his friends have now contacted 2,500 people in Tokyo and the surroundings. Some 450 people have already offered their help and 90 of them – all in their 60s – have agreed to work in the plant itself. He says they are “worried about what’s coming. But should we not do anything just because we are worried?”

“I’m worried especially because I can’t yet picture it all,” Kazuko Sasaki, another volunteer, agreed. “But I sympathize with the young people who have to work there in such terrible conditions – people who still have their lives ahead. That’s why I really want to help.”

The above and more is here.

Sacrifices are being made…

Church

The John Jay Study

Yesterday, the John Jay College research team released their report on the clerical sex-abuse scandal, titled “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010.” First, hats off to the U.S. bishops for commissioning the report and outsourcing the investigation to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as indeed sexual abuse is a crime against the law, a grievous mortal sin in the Church, and an offense to God.

One myth that is dispelled in the report’s pages is that there are many pedophiles in the priesthood. Of nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse over the past half-century (only 5 percent of the total number of priests during that period), less than 4 percent of those could be considered pedophiles — that is, men who prey on children. Any percentage is too high, but clearly pedophilia is statistically very rare in the Catholic priesthood. The researchers also note that celibacy is not the root of the problem, and that priests may be less likely to abuse than men in analogous professions.

However, there is still something strange here: The researchers found no statistical evidence that gay priests were more likely than straight priests to abuse minors. The disproportionate number of adolescent male victims was about opportunity, not preference or pathology, the report concluded. But a very high percentage of the abuse (excepting pedophilia) was of teenage boys, and not teenage girls. Is the report telling us that a majority of the abusers were heterosexual priests abusing teenage boys? This strains credulity. I sense an agenda for the homosexual priesthood is behind this conclusion…

Read on here.

CNN runs with: “No single ’cause’ of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests” was identified in a wide-ranging report released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops released Wednesday. Read it here.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a Press Release concerning the report of the John Jay. It can be read here.

While the John Jay Study self can be downloaded in full here (pdf).