Monthly Archives: November 2009
This is the first of a cycle of Hymns I wrote mainly while at University. This is a picture of me taken at that time.
They will be reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
1. “O LORD OUR GOD, HOW GREAT THOU ART”
First published 10th January 2004
O Lord, Our God, how great
Thou art, in all the Earth!
How excellent Thy name
Who causedst heaven’s birth.
Who hast Thy glory set on high
O Lord, Thy name we magnify.
Out of the mouths of babes
Thou hast ordained strength
Thine enemies to still
And be avenged at length
Lord, when Thy weak ones cry to Thee
Thou art at hand to set us free.
When I consider all
The works Thy hand hath made
The sun, the moon and stars
Whose courses Thou hast laid
Then what is man, that Thou shouldst send
Thine only Son, his soul to mend?
Thy mercy unto man
Transcendeth all our thought
Our sins were sore to scan
But Jesus Christ us sought
He bore our curse and misery
In agony on Calvary
Because Christ all hath done
We hurry to believe
And bitterly repent
New, holy hearts receive
In filthy rags we did despair
But now Christ’s righteousness we wear
Redeemed, restored we stand
Thee ever to adore
By grace constrained to love,
We seek to know Thee more
In full assurance of Thy grace
We press to bow before Thy face
” 1. O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5. For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7. All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8. The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8, Authorised Version)
I had a correspondence briefly with one of the people behind this fairly well-known project:
I was asked by a person from UMG involved in this project who was not anonymous, but I find it fairer to make him anonymous as I did not agree the blogging of it in this particular way, to talk about the music on my blog, and in a sense I am – by repeating the correspondence I had with him.
I have no beef with UMG, by the way – I like the solution they have found with YouTube. It’s not a perfect solution, but then again I don’t know what a perfect solution would be. If anything I would go the extra mile for Universal, but what I told him and am now sharing with you is my theological problem with collaborating with his project. I hope you will find that my response was duly gracious to a brother who is from the Catholic Church outlining our differences. I found his response to me at the end which I will also give was perfectly gracious.
Here goes, first the initial letter from him to me:
Greetings, Viktor Dmitrievich!
My name is P*** ******, I am a practicing Catholic and I am currently working on a music project on behalf of Geffen/Universal. The project is called Music From The Vatican http://www.musicfromthevatican.com
The album is entitled Alma Mater and is recorded in the honor of the Virgin Mary.
We would like you to talk about it in your Blog!
If the project is something you could indeed imagine writing about in your blog then you can access more information including music and articles here:
User name: **** Password: ****
To find out more about this project immediately, please view this Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/musicfromthevatican
Please let me know if I can send you more information.
My response to this letter:
It is nice of you to invite me, but as a practicing Protestant I do not personally believe that it is the will of God for worship to be directed to even the best human beings, with the single exception of Jesus Christ, as He, apart from being a perfect human being, is, was and ever shall be God.
According to most Protestant theology, Mary the Mother of Jesus is probably the most admirable woman ever to have lived. But we do not see in Scripture itself people being commanded to accord her worship, instead there are commands in scripture only to worship and pray to God.
The Church included the ability to worship Mary and pray to her and other saints by doctrines such as supererogation, and also the immaculate conception that are post-Constantine. In many cases, they were the result of people wishing to increase the appeal of the Church to pagans, who were used to things like gods and goddesses, and who indulged in tree worship, pilgrimages to special places, and had holidays at solstices and at times of the year determined by nature. The syncretism of these things by the Church may have been perfectly well meaning, or it may have been the result that the question of political power in the Church after it became insitutionalised was competing with importance with the Gospel of Christ, or both – as the one does not exclude the other at the level of consciousness priests and missionaries had at the time. I personally do not accept that apostolic succession lasted beyond the acceptance of Christianity as Rome’s mainstream religion. I believe that Christians, especially in this age of great education and information, have an obligation to re-refer to those things which were already set down, by the time the Church was institutionalised and politicised (and at the same time automatically subverted from Christ’s original purpose) and that means to examine in the light of the Bible and the Nicene Creed all other matters of faith and practice and to treat matters such as prayer to saints, prayer for the dead, priestly celibacy and other later doctrines with a certain skepticism.
Above all, we should, as Christians, be, in the words of Paul “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith”. Jesus is the one who unites all Christians together and unites us to God. Not the local priest, not the Pope, not saints, not ritual, not even beloved Mother Mary. We are not even asked in the Bible to worship the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, who testifies of Christ to us and comforts us. We are not besought to pray and worship to any of these. Only Jesus. None but Jesus. We cannot go wrong, with Jesus.
This is just my personal view and not that of the people who work with me, where all individuals have their own views on these matters and probably most of them are Catholic. I have no agenda to try and turn Catholics into Protestants – as salvation is nothing to do with denomination, (and to be honest a good many Protestant churches seem to have lost the plot far worse than Roman catholicism, and it’s no surprise to see Protestants becoming Catholics) but through faith in Jesus – but to always, whatever the theology is, put the focus back onto the One who is hanging on the cross, rather than those who are kneeling beside. I also feel that Benedikt XVI also is much more in this direction than was the previous Pope, Jean Paul II, who was very focussed on the cult of Mary.
Nevertheless, I thought it was better to explain my reasons, rather than just say no. You are welcome to argue back if you want to.
As for the music, I am sure that it is beautiful, but I can never hear a beautiful piece dedicated to Mary without some regret at the fact that it was not rather dedicated to her Son. Maybe she feels the same.
Viktor D. Huliganov
Well, the response of my Vatican friend to this was, as I said, very gracious. Whatever he thought of the theology – and he wasn’t drawn on that – he gave an exemplary reply:
Dear Viktor Dmitrievich,
your email made some interesting reading. Thank you for your opinion and I understand your decision.
So, there we have it. Same theological arguments as 400 years ago, but this time no war, no burnings at the stake, no kneecappings, no coersion, no veiled threats – only polite conversation.
The world has moved on. Well, at least the Christian part of it has…
Serious artistic endeavour
The second ever “musical muckaround”. Sophie attempts “Think of me” from Lord Scruffy’s Phantom.
Some people think it inappropriate of me to refer to the composer of this and other lovely music as “Lord Scruffy”, but I have to say I think it quite justified. His Lordliness was conferred upon him by Her Madge as a recognition of his musical and other gifts to humanity and to the Nation, and who am I, who are any of us, to detract from that?
Birdy song bride
A few seconds long only, like quite a bit of my early stuff, this shows a bride performing the birdy dance at her wedding reception with her new husband’s nieces.
In much of contentinental Europe, the performance of the birdy dance by a bride dressed in her wedding dress, at her wedding, with children, is a powerful fertility rite. The more iterations of the song performed in this way, the more children you are likely to have.
Mucking around to Beauty and the Beast
This may appear pretty senseless, but it’s the first of the “musical muckaround” ones I’ve done with Sophie, which got a lot better with time. I think it’s obviously dire, but I’m including it as an example of the early stuff so that people can see how it started and how it developed.
You don’t get kids interested in music by being a perfectionist, you have to treat it as a game, and that’s always been my way with Sophie.
My wife singing the Professor Lebedev Russian lyrics to the Numa Numa song at a friend’s wedding.
This video got the usual crop of nonsense comments from the YT electorate, but I just think she looks great on it.
Geophagus hondae babies
As an adjunct to the earlier film on the fish with a mouthful, this shows the babies whenever they come out. They don’t need long to go back in again whenever danger threatens.
Quite a few animals use their mouths to protect their young, mouthbrooding is especially associated with fishes but also is practised by crocodiles.
It is quite surprising that it is not more broadly practiced throughout the animal kingdom, as it is a very interesting and practical survival trait. If evolution were true, surely there would be much more of this going on than in a few disparate families?
Evolutionists of course will quickly point out the downside pay-off – they will say that a fish with its mouth full of young itself becomes more tempting a morsel for predators and cannot escape so easily, or that it cannot fight, or that it can’t eat while it has a mouthful of young. Each of those defences are fairly facile, but typical of the sort of dreamt up nonsense that is trolled out regularly to support the theory of evolution.
I was asked by Frank J, on talk.origins:
Assuming for the sake of argument, that “the world” was created, and life too, *how many years ago* do you think that the first life on Earth was created? And do you think our species was created in a “biological continuum” or did it require its own origin-of-life event? If the latter, how many years ago was it?
I personally think that human kind has been around for 70 generations before Christ and is now coming up to 70 generations after Christ, at which point it will end.
I think this is a version of events with about one adherent at the present time.
I think that in the Scripture it gives 14 generations from Christ to the captivity, 14 from the captivity back to David and 14 from David back to Abraham. This then stops, but shows the existience of a certain pattern which we can follow. It must be there for a reason. I discovered that working forwards from the beginning of Genesis there are 14 generations to Peleg, which name infers the division of the world, a reference I believe to the Babel event. The scripture does not hold, or claim to hold, a complete reference to all generations between Peleg and Abraham, and this is natural as there was no normal language at that time, so there are about 5 generations which have lost information – a very interesting period of earth’s history, by the way, about which there are probably more unanswered questions than any other – we have basically things like funnel beakers and cave paintings and that to go on.
Basically this means that Ussher probably assumed too literally that the generations between Peleg and Abraham were fully recorded in Genesis, but there simply isn’t enough time to get from a Babel scenario to the world as described in the time of Abraham in that space of tgime. In addition for this space of time there are divergent chronologoes in Chronicles and in Genesis, which for those who believe in inerrancy of Scripture ought to be a clue that the Bible is telling us that in that area it is not trying to give us a complete account.
14 generations between Adam and Peleg, 14 between Peleg and Abraham, 14 between Abraham and David, 14 between David and the captivity, and 14 between the Captivity and Christ. That’s seventy generations.
That’s a perfect number. And because Christ is the central figure of history, he comes in the middle of the generations.
The generation length, which I personally define as the age of a woman at the birth of her median surviving female child, can be placed at about 30 years. This means that 70 generations take around 2100 years. We live in the time where the 70th generation is being born, one of whom will be Antichrist, and maybe already is, and we also live in a time where the Gospel has been taken to every tribe, where the Jews have returned to Israel and where there is continual threat of war around Israel. We live in a time where we are being faced with monetary and political union and control to an unprecedented degree, and where the falling away from true religion has also been unprecedented. In short, almost all the prophecies that needed to be fulfilled before the Return of Christ in glory, and the garnering up and resurrection of those who accepted him in faith, be they alive or dead. The close of this creation and the unveiling of the new Creation outside of the restraints of the particular physical laws that have governed this one. We cannot die or suffer in it, we will know God and find bliss. We shall sing and fly like angels, dive like orcas and find wonder and beauty in every everlasting corner of it.
However the generations before Christ were not always 30 years. The chronologies show that before the Flood the aging process was much slower. It is possible that oxygen levels were lower and the free radicals responsible for aging less prominent – even now longevity is more seen in mountain populations as in the Caucuses, where oxygen is more scarce. The release of the waters and the process of their assuaging clearly changed the amount of oxygen available in the atmosphere. If you separate out hydrogen and oxygen as gases, instead of water vapour, then the hydrogen will wander off into space as it cannot be held by gravity. Hence during the assuaging of the Flood the amount of atmospheric oxygen increased strongly.
The first generations were therefore longer. The median child of a woman could have been hundreds of years. This means that we cannot say that these 70 generations lived only over 2100 years. They may have lived over 4900 years, which is the figure I get if I assume about 300 year generations until Noah’s generation (9th), and then that tapering down to Peleg’s. That gives 4900 BC and 2100 AD years for a total of 7000 years of creation.
So I think that life was created some 6900 years ago. Put in place looking mature and pre-existant, with Adam even having a navel, although he had no mother, and with radioactive isotopes in igneous rocks already partly decayed. This was no deception by God, as Adam knew perfectly well where he came from and always was able to hand down those facts through his generations, as did many people in the time when God communed more freely with man, but it was there to enable mankind in the latter generations (where overwhelmingly most of the human souls occur – especially in the last few generations in the modern era post Darwinism) to find an alternative to believe if they rejected God. It was made that way precisely so that we can believe whatever we choose. It was made that way precisely so that millions of human beings like you and me can have this debate, whether with each other or in the privacy of their own minds, and that some might be drawn to believe still in their creator and their redeemer, even when the world is dragging them to interpret the things God made in an atheist way, and that in the exercise of faith they may be separated ought, have their imperfections and iniquities forgiven and restored, and come to a knowledge of God in love and be enabled to join with him in a relationship of children to a father.
That’s what it’s all about. Be part of it. Believe, and be part of reality.
On the Google Beta group Huliganov and Friends, one contributor, lepenseur, asked:
When you are doing the distillation process, what number do you use? Example if you are distilling the first list do you use 1 – 25 or the next number? How do you know (if that’s important) to what list that list belong to?
Generally you treat each of the four “corners” of the exercise book as separate lists run with their own sequential numbering through all the pages of the book. The head list is top left, so the first page has 1-25, the second has 26-50 and so on very predictably. The 20th page will have 475-500. This is for ease of counting the input into the system, as well as being a convenient and appropriate portion for memory work before you should take a 10 minute break.
The top right hand of each page is the first distillation. It is sequentially numbered through the book, but the numbers will be about but not exactly 30% smaller than the numbers on the Head list. Page 1 may be 1-18 only. That would make page 2 start at 19, and if that adds another 16 then the second page will be 19-35, and the third 36-say 52 or 53 – it’s roughly going to be predictable but it can vary a bit. Similarly the bottom right hand will be 1-12 or 13, second page 13 or 14 through to 23, 24 or 25… and you get the idea.
A hard word which isn’t filtered out may for example be number 990 in the headlist, number 672 in the first distillation, number 503 in the second and number 378 in the third, but it will always be on page 40 of that first exercise book you use, which I call “the Bronze Book”. When you transfer to the second level book, the “silver book” in order to do distillations 4 through 7, the number this hard-to-remember word may have could be say 246. And this time it will no longer be on page 40 but in the second book it will already have moved up to page 10, because distillation number 4 also has 25 word blocks, like the Headlist.
If the word makes it to Gold Book, which is distillation number 8 and final, then it will be not in a group of 25, but will be written as beautifully as you can on a beautiful book using all the space as you think fit aesthetically. You can also mix languages in the final gold book, whereas I would advise keeping the bronze books and the silver books for one book at a time, and three or four bronze books will distil into one silver book. You would never use up a 96 side hardback book on one language once we got to the gold level, distillation 8. three thousand words at that level of distillation would have been 40 to 50 thousand at headlist. There is no sense in learning that number of words in a single language. Much better to learn with the same time 12,000 words in four languages than 48000 in the one foreighn language, which you will never use in ordinary conversation. Either way you are looking at many years to process such a lot of vocabulary properly into your memory. 48000*3/25/3 gives you 1920 hours. That’s an hour a day on average for a little over 5 years. With language school style learning it’d probably take you ten.
Lepenseur, many thanks for a good question. I shall also add this answer to my blog called Huliganov TV. I’d like to welcome everyone of you over there as there are also things going on over there for languages gthat will overlap a bit with here, but some completely different stuff too.
One of my strange habits is that I don’t tend to walk around with the book I’m reading – I would be more likely to go somewhere with my goldlist book and my podcast player – but I do read a lot. I obviously read a lot on-screen, as does everyone in the internet, but this reading is a bit like the finger buffets where people are bringing you little bits of food all the time, and for people like me who need to control their intake it’s a nightmare, as you soon lose count. Whereas on the other hand sitting down to a plate meal where you can see what there is, that’s a bit like reading books. And I do a lot of that as well. Books … and plate meals also, as you can readily imagine.
Instead of taking the book with me, though, I have different books all parked in different places. I have one in one toilet, one in another toilet, one in the car to read when waiting for my wife to go into some shop, some at the Prague flat, some at the office, etc. Right now at my Prague flat I am reading the third book of Mr Germy Claxon, who is gradually becoming in the third book a bit boring and repetitive, which is something I’ll obviously have to watch out for if I intend to do any amount of writing. And also I’m reading Professor Richard Dawkins’ latest offering, “The Greatest Show on Earth”.
Some people may rub their hands in glee at the idea of a creationist finally reading Dawkins and getting some sense put in his head. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve read a good deal of the “best” evolutionists’ literature, including Dennett, Dawkins, Darwin himself, and the talk.origins FAQ finger buffet, to the degree that it is becoming, a bit like Germy Claxon himself, a bit predictable and repetitive.
Dawkins claims that in his new book (by the way he even gives this as his ‘raison d’etre’ for the book, like anybody ever needed an excuse to make a load of money) that he would put together the proof for evolution and finally put to bed the idea that there is any scientific doubt about it.
OK, so I started reading it in the hope that he will be successful. If he could prove it, it would change my worldview radically, of course, but I like to think I’m not so stupid as to go against something which is proven by what I understand to be scientific empiricism. Colour me disappointed then, but not in the least surprised, as I advance through the pages of this sizeable tome, to be confronted with, instead of any proof (and remember just one objective proof-in-total will do) a very long argument based more on rhetoric than on objective logic, which he calls “a softening up” procedure. He describes once again the ideas of evolutionists intertwining them with observations from Nature, some of them very well observed and well written, but all of which have more than one way of interpreting them, and he ignores the interpretations that a Creationist might give and links them in instead to his developing argument. This is a fine, readable work of interpreting a bunch of Natural History observations so that they fit one framework. It still doesn’t contain one single proof. If it did, it wouldn’t need to be so long and involved. Effectively, like so much other popular science literature, it is an exercise in making you think that they know things about how we got here which remain their faith-based mere conjecture.
Let’s face it, recently we had the 200th Anniversary of Darwin’s opus “On The Origin Of Species”, which led the press to dredge up such interesting facts on the incomplete success of evolutionist ideas as that most people on Earth still believe in some form of Creator, and where are the ideas of Creationism held most strongly? In the world’s most advanced country and most powerful economy, the United States. This is not a result of people being sheltered in Bedouin huts from the progress of science – this is a result of “science falsely so-called”, as the scripture identifies certain thinking, being unable to furnish adequate proofs to convince even the more sophisticated populations that it is anything more than an alternative system built on as much faith and wishful thinking in the final analysis as our religious one is.
And it has always been my view that in the end it depends on what you wish to believe. If you wish to believe that there isn’t a God, if you wish there were no God, then naturally you will allow yourself to be persuaded by these long books which in the end all go around in circles and prove nothing. If you wish to believe there is a God, then you can read anything that the humanist press have got to throw at you and you’ll find it quite faith-confirmatory to see that the thing the atheists believe has unanswered questions that you could drive a truck through.
Let’s be clear – people who think that they can “prove” evolution are as misguided as people who think they can “prove” creationism, so-called creation scientists, who are, basically, Christians and Muslims who need some kind of empirical prop when they ought to know better. God patently hasn’t ordered this world so that either side can find true proofs of their convictions. He has clearly ordered this world to give you the possibility to believe what you choose, even in the face of a convincing alternative. In so many areas we have a problem with freedom of will. We want to be good but the flesh stops us, we want to do this and do that but we have to contend with the world, the flesh and the devil, but at least in one area we should, every one of us, consider ourselves free, and that is to select whether we choose to believe in God as Creator and Redeemer, or some faceless algorithm that sees no sins and offers no redemption. You make that choice in your heart and mind, regardless of whether you are “good enough” to believe it. Forget about that. All God wants is for you to choose to believe Him, the main recurrent theme of the Bible, and especially the Gospels. He is perfectly able to do the rest, and did do it, on Calvary.
In some cases Richard Dawkins argues very well for things which I as a Creationist believe in and he actually strengthened my arguments, rather than destroyed it. So much for the Evolutionists thinking that we only don’t believe their guff because we won’t read it, we want to be sheltered from it, and we do read it, we are too stupid to understand it. He shows, for example, in an early part of the book how fast selection can lead to speciation, and it turns out this is a good deal quicker than science has in the past believed. The origin of the silver fox is a great illustration drawn by Dawkins for this point. This is a great argument in favour of my view that an awful lot of speciation has indeed taken place since the Flood, only without additional genes being added – these speciations have basically been attenuations of the genetic variation that was intrinsic to created animals in the first place. This is why we have many more species today, despite extinctions, than could possibly have fitted into the Ark, and yet the Ark account given in the first Book of Moses is, in my view, authoritative history.
If both systems, creationism and evolution, in the end boil down to what you believe, and not proof, then of the two I prefer the one which predicts a world in which you need to take things on faith, namely the Christian model, rather than the one which anticipates that we will find answers to everything by science, which is the so-called “rationalist” model which favours evolution. What we actually see, ie, that neither side knows the answer and can only believe, is consistent with much Christian philosophy, but undermines the premises of rationalism entirely, which is based on the idea that we only accept empirical proof, making the presumption that things which we are to accept and understand are susceptible to such empirical proof. Religious texts tell us straight that they are not susceptible, and that, in the words of Christ, we may not “put the Lord our God to the test”. Empiricism is entirely about testing, by its very definition. Therefore Christ dismisses empiricism, which should embolden any Christian to question the rationalists’ approach to science, in which they seem to promise that sight proofs will be forthcoming. Christ made this world, and He did not make a world that was going to answer empiricists’ questions. He made a world in which every single scientific discovery actually raises more questions that it answers: questions whose answers we will fully know in the promised resurrected eternity.
There is too much bluff and show in “the Greatest Show on Earth”. In fact, that’s pretty much a summary of what it is. It certainly contains fascinating facts, beautiful writing, great photography and images, but in the end it is true that Evolutionism is the greatest show on earth. It is a show, and not reality. So thank you for admitting it.
Rounding off for aesthetics’ (please note – not “atheistics”) sake with the same analogy I came in on, I will say that Dawkin’s book is a large plate of tasty food, but it is comfort food. It is not a balanced diet. You need protein, carbohydrates, fats, roughage, vitamins, minerals and water all in balance. To get a proper world view you need to use your faculties, you faculties for both rational an logical thought and onference from objective observation on the one hand, and your capacity for faith in what is revealed that you cannot have proven, on the other. That is a balance that Dawkins seems to have lost. I’m not getting my mental five-a-day from his latest book, just a re-hash of the same old arguments claiming to be what they’re not. It is a plate of philosophical bubble and squeak, with the odd reheated bit of sausage turning up in it – but a far cry from the greatest meal on Earth. There’s another Book that lays claim to that, and it tells us far more about the Origin than modern science can.