Baby Charlotte: Remarkably Improved, But Still Condemned to Die

[Previous entries on Charlotte here and here.]

Baby Charlotte was thought to be “blind, deaf, severely disabled and with only a 5% chance of surviving the winter,” “[b]ut this month, it is said Charlotte can see and hear and show enjoyment when she is bathed or tickled.” “Doctors said she was in constant pain and derived no pleasure from life.” [I have to wonder again, did they ask her? How could the doctors possibly know whether she “derived…pleasure from life”?] Not only that, but a lawyer(!) says, “She will still suffer terrible indignity and pain if ventilated.” She will suffer “terrible indignity”? So that’s what it’s come to, when babies are to be starved lest they suffer “terrible indignity,” whatever the … that means.

The parents have lost this round of appeals, but there is hope. According to the article, much has changed in the last few months:

Then Doctors described her as “slowly dying” with a 5% chance survival of the winter

Now Going home “could happen in the future”

Then Constant pain

Now Pain free most of the time

Then No smiling and she derived no pleasure from life

Now Enjoys her bath and being tickled

Then Could not see, no evidence she was visually aware

Now Looks at a toy above her head and derives pleasure from following objects in front of her

Then No sense of sound

Now May well have relatively good hearing

Then Made no deliberate actions

Now It is believed she attempted to hold a bauble

Then No head growth, length or weight increase

Now Head has grown a few millimetres and she has gained weight and length equivalent of 10 weeks in age over 12 weeks

Then Quality of life described as “terrible… dominated by pain and suffering”

Now “A better quality of life”

One thing has not changed: the prayer. Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison!


All Dog–er, All People Go To Heaven

According to 1,004 Americans surveyed by Newsweek/Beliefnet, 79% believe that “a good person who isn’t of [their] religious faith” will go to heaven. Not surprising. Slightly more surprising is this: 68%, 83%, and 91% of “Evangelical Protestants,” “non-Evangelical Protestants,” and “Catholics,” respectively, believe that that same hypothetical “good person”–emphasize “hypothetical”–will go to heaven.

Now, there are some ambiguities in the results. For example, how the researchers define “evangelical” and “non-evangelical.” If they let the respondents choose from only those few choices, where the heck is a Lutheran supposed to fit? [See this post.] I see now: according to this question, the respondents could choose from the following: “Evangelical Protestant”; “Non-Evangelical Protestant”; “Roman Catholic”; “Mormon”(!); “Orthodox Church”; or “Other Christian” (that’s me!). It also says 22% were Roman Catholic, or around 220.

There is also the question of how they define “your religious faith.”
Do they mean Christianity, or do they mean Lutheran, Episcopalian, Catholic, etc. It appears to be the former, but how did the respondents hear the question? Can it be true that 91% of Roman Catholics believe that non-Christians will go to heaven just because they’re good? (Of course it can, but is it, even in spite of the Magisterium?) That brings up the whole question of how many of each “faith group” were questioned. If you survey 1,004 Americans and only 30 are Roman Catholic, naturally that can’t be considered representative. It’s not that I doubt the veracity of the findings; American Christianity can only be so shocking anymore. However, to find out how representative the numbers really are, I’d want to know more.

Nevertheless, once the centrality and scandalous particularity of Christ and His Cross have been lost, there is nothing left to hold back the floods of Spirit-less “spirituality.” And we should not forget this truth: the Spirit only testifies to what Christ has said–nothing less (lowest-common-denominator religion), nor nothing more (Enthusiasm of the “feathers-and-all” type). Steven Waldman, and, according to Waldman, Newsweek, has it right: “Americans have become so focused on a very personal style of worship—forging a direct relationship with God—that spiritual experience has begun to supplant dogma.”
Oh, you like chicken? I like beef. It’s all good, man. You say to-mae-to, I say to-mah-to. To each his/her/its own.
Hey, like, whatever works for you, you know?


The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel: Thesis X

“In the sixth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the preacher describes faith in a manner as if the mere inert acceptance of truths, even while a person is living in mortal sins, renders that person righteous and saves him for the reason that it produces in him love and reformation of his mode of living”(C.F.W Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel reproduced from the German edition of 1897 by W.H.T. Dau (St. Louis: Concordia, 1986), 2).