Friday, August 28, 2009

Gender Failure

For whatever reason, as of late I have been hearing and talking a lot about gender roles, especially within marriage. Along the same subject, I've been hearing a lot about gender conflicts within marriage. I have noticed that there is a lot of conflict on the truth of the subject and a lot of disagreement about the properties and foundations of gender in general.
I will say straight out that unless you are a theist, or at least are open to the authority of scripture, you probably won't like what I have to say because the culture we live in has twisted the very nature of gender roles and those two words used in the same sentence are usually considered blasphemy by today's 'progressive' standard.
The Bible is quite clear on the roles of men and women in today's world. It is clear we were built for different things and Scripture affirms that. Unfortunately, society has twisted and obscured the words of scripture both those who subscribe to it and those who don't. Here is a passage from Ephesians 5 that is commonly used (by men) to describe gender roles in marriage:

"22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything."

Many men for many years have been using passages like this as an excuse to exert some sort of dominance over women. The first reaction I have to that line of thinking is that when I look at Christ's relationship to the Church, I don't see a relationship of dominance and slavery. We have free will and Christ loves us no matter what sin we fall into. Jesus does not come down from heaven and beat us when we mess up. Just as a husband should not beat his wife when she doesn't subscribe to his will as he sees fit. The second reaction I have to this absurd logic is the context of scripture that is often overlooked. Here is the next passage:

"25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her...28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

No, this does not mean tough, punishing love. It means when you beat your wife, you beat yourself spiritually. "...just as Christ...gave himself up for her..." is a profound and beautiful image. Christ died for us and Paul is telling husbands to love their wives in the same way.
But we see more than just beating women in the context of gender conflict. We see constant dominion from men and rebellion from women. The word 'submit' has been turned into a curse word by today's culture and monogamous sex is a form of slavery now.
I remember vividly the first time I saw the Vagina Monologues and I got my first insight into what women in this culture are being told. Its pretty obvious why, but women find submission and the sex that goes along with it to be a sort of slavery. Its not surprising when men treat them like slaves. But what I see now, as an absolutely wrong reaction, is women now degrading men. Complaining about the lack of orgasms during sex, how ignorant and stupid men are, they can only think with their penises, and, in other words, building a mindset that is interested in self satisfaction above all else and until you find a guy that meets the standard of pleasure you want, you are going to find pleasure wherever else you can.
I was told once during a lecture by Mrs. Debbie Brezina, a renowned speaker, that "Feminists believe that the family is a tool of oppression." And, as follows, chauvinists believe its a tool of oppression as well. I would say that many men subscribe to the latter, but there is no doubt that the dominant 'truth' that the culture currently heralds is the former.
Mrs. Brezina also said "The feminists push for divorce forcefully to force women into the workplace." This is obviously reactionary to mans abuse of women as a result of misconstruing scripture for their own benefit, but nonetheless, we now see the attempted destruction of gender roles and family not through enlightenment, but rather through conflict that has entered a stalemate. We see in this culture that man's abuse of his position and woman's abuse of hers has started a long conflict that seems to be approaching a point where man has decided to abandon his position and woman has decided to take one of self-preservation and self-interest.
We have exchanged a model where women love their husbands and submit to them above themselves and where husbands love their wives so that they would die for them for a model where men use their wives and where women don't submit to their husbands, or anyone for that matter.

Having touched on the roles of gender within marriage and family (and its corruption), I will be publishing two more notes on the roles of man and woman specifically as individuals in order to further explore and build the topic. I am writing the note on masculinity and I will be working with my first ever guest writer, Ms. Emma McVey, who will be writing on femininity.

Mythology of Modern Science pt2

In my last note, I wrote about the effects of scientism on the academic world in regards mainly to psychology. I mentioned metaphysics, but the subject went unresolved. The issue currently facing the academic world in regards to metaphysics, which has probably already been decided regardless, is whether or not to eliminate it to pave the way for physics.

The study of metaphysics, in of itself, requires or acknowledges the existence of the supernatural, and furthermore necessitates it in conclusion. Seeing as how it is focused on something that defies what we know of the natural world, it is not any surprise that the academic world today, which, as I have mentioned, is so biased towards naturalism, would even consider eliminating this school of study. One of the important distinctions to make when considering this discussion is that metaphysics is not a physical science and cannot be measured, it is rather a matter of philosophy. So the first real tension we see in this conflict is one of trying to replace a philosophical study with a scientific one. If you have broached the subject of philosophy at all, you would know that this is an absurdity since philosophy is a study of the questions of existence, not a measurement of the physical world. Science, by its very nature, cannot explain what metaphysics approaches, no matter how advanced it becomes. Science, and naturalists or whoever else worships it, has the extreme bias of only recognizing the existence of the physical world, or the cosmic “box” as it is sometimes referred to. So when we talk about replacing metaphysics with just physics, you have not only denied the existence of anything beyond the physical world, but you have denied even the investigation beyond the only world you accept as real.

Science, for that matter, relies on metaphysics in a lot of ways that we just assume are scientific. The discussion of origins, for example, is a metaphysical study. Origin of life and the origin of the universe, which people who think that science is the only answer subscribe to evolution and big bang theories for, can never be explained by science, seeing as how they already happened, so there is no way to test it, and since we have no way to naturally prove that matter can be created from self perpetuating energy that exists from nothing or that life can be created from organic material and we never will. Because we are just reasoning that it is the only possible explanation means it is a matter of metaphysics. Reasoning the answers to questions that are naturally impossible to answer doesn’t sound very scientific or physical…rather more like the definition of metaphysics.

I wrote these pieces on science because I have not only noticed that more and more students, professors, and people in places of power are subscribing to ideas that entrench this worldview in our society because they think it’s the only fair way of doing things. In fact, people seem to think that the only way to have a real discussion is to not involve anything that’s not physically proven or any spiritual ideas. The religious right is seen as trying to destroy science when in reality the naturalists are trying to eliminate spirituality from existence. It’s a threat to their worldview and any society who has a major component of spirituality will not be the materialist society they want. The French Revolution was an excellent example of this transition. All priests and monks who didn’t take a vow to the state to dictate how they conduct their religion were killed and/or exiled. All church property became property of the state and the state sought to ultimately control people’s religions as well as their property. If you take a look at where France is now, a socialist, borderline fascist, state style where students aren’t even allowed to wear religious symbols at school. It conflicts with the secular humanist nature of the state where religion is a threat to the state.

This is a precedent in the current academic world now, too. Spirituality is something to be studied as a social phenomenon, not a claim to truth. The supernatural is scoffed and rejected on the outright in the classroom. This country has been enduring a purge of religions that conflict with naturalism for some time, and the materialistic, secular human, mass consumer, aggressive society we see today should be no surprise as an outcome. There should be a battle for truth in the classroom, not a force feeding of one truth claim. If you are a naturalist, you might not have any problem with the direction of our society or the state of academia, but just because you have the high ground socially does not mean it should be that way.

Mythology of Modern Science pt1

Its been awhile since my last note, but I decided to write this one in lieu of a conversation my brother, Jared, and I had, one that many will, no doubt, find disagreeable. However, it is one of my largest issues with the academic world today.
I am speaking of the modern 'religion' of 'science.' I put it that way not because I am opposed to scientific study, but rather because the people who dominate the field and the rest of the academic world have subscribed to scientific study as the answer for everything. This is a form of naturalism, where everything that is and ever was and ever will be is a physical realm that can be rationally studied. So usually spiritual and philosophical arguments, and by that I mean real philosophy, not the ivory tower of denying reality, are actually ignored because they dont fit the rules of naturalism, or in this case, scientism.

While I have been aware of this, and spoke about it before, the conversation I had with my brother made me think a lot more about it. In one of his classes, the students had a discussion about whether metaphysics and epistemology should be replaced with physics and psychology. If you dont already know, metaphysics, for lack of a better explanation, is more or less the study of reality that transcends scientific study. Epistemology is the study of the mind or soul. Now, due to the fact that a discussion had to happen, it would follow that many people dont believe such things exist.

The first conclusion I would like to draw for everyone, to narrow things down, is that spirituality is then nonsense as are all supernatural occurrences. So this is a worldview battle between naturalists and the rest of the world.
It is easiest to address the psychology dilemma. Jared pointed out that if we had no mind, we were just controlled by our brains, that our brain chemistry would process stimuli and make the appropriate reaction. So, given the stimuli, we could predict what a person or group of people would do in any situation. Sadly, there are times where this is almost true. An example would be the diffusion of responsibility principle where if there are a lot of people around, people wont stop to help a wounded dude because the responsibility is not theirs specifically. While I would say diffusion of responsibility is only an illusion created by our minds, and very telling of people in our world, the responsibility is each witness' fully. Psychologists would argue that no such responsibility exists on an individual level. Is that true? Modern psychology is more interested with trying to prove that humans are mechanisms of evolution than anything else. Things like Mazlow's hierarchy of needs is one of those great lies that have perpetrated our academic world. Is the most important thing in life survival?

The fact is, while humans react to stimuli predictably a lot of times, the prediction is not perfect and, more importantly, some people have the will to do otherwise. I say some because most people have a mind, but dont use it as much as they could. Like in a diffusion of responsibility situation. Because people actually buy into this stuff! We live in a culture that subscribes to science as having all the answers and the scientists are telling us the most important priority of our lives is to survive! After we fill our hierarchy of needs, thats it. There is nothing else beyond survival and then self-satisfaction. There are many who have broken free from that cycle primarily because there are other things in life science cannot explain.
The man who gives everything he owns to those who are in need, the soldier who will dive on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers, a father who is willing to give his own heart, and die, to save his son's life, missionaries to China who stand up to the government for what they believe, a firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save a child, or even a child who is willing to sneak bread through the wire fences of a concentration camp at the risk of being shot. While psychologists would evaluate them as having some previous death wish or being mentally disturbed, I evaluate it as heroism. How would you evaluate it?
More later...

Four New Years, How Will You Live Them?

Like many of you, I'm sure, I just had the opportunity to watch Obama's inauguration and the following speech. I decided to write this note last night, with the expectation of mixed reactions to this event.
I will say first that the speech was excellent. He said a lot of great things that, as he stated, have run true for all time. I heard something besides the words "hope" and "change" over and over, which was much more engaging than his usual dogma. Not only was the speech excellent, but it is so powerful to see the transition we have made as a country to elect a black man as president. It is truly amazing to view the perspective on how blacks have been treated in this country, and are still being treated and still elect a black president.

It is easy to get lost in the moment and the powerful words he spoke this morning. Lost enough that you overlook some of the things he says. He used phrases like "re-making America" and a "new system." The vast implications of many things he said are things I want a president to see, but the vast implications of subtle insertions to things that are familiar to us are just as profound and very dangerous. I'm not going to pick through the speech, obviously, but I will comment on what I heard.
What I heard was a speech that was clearly inconsistent with the man we elected. A man, who is an outspoken socialist, (for those who disagree, I will make it plain and simple by using the word in its raw definition in regard to his belief in the redistribution of wealth) who is attempting to lift almost all regulations on abortion, who belonged to a fanatic black power religion for 20 odd years, and who ultimately doesn't believe in the American ideals he proclaims to in this speech. Unless, of course, he's been a Constitutionalist all along and somehow fooled all of us. Surprise! But focusing on reality, the way he is trying to morph American thinking opens up a dangerous plethora of possibilities and is fundamentally an attack on our ideals rather than a enforcing of them. No matter how much he claims to support some of them, when he starts changing them, changing the meanings, and inserting new ideals, the more we lose the ground this country was built on.
But, that is all just fair warning for anyone who doesn't believe me or those who were somehow swayed by his speech.

The stronger message I wanted to convey here is one of gratitude. Obviously, I don't agree with Obama on...well just about anything. But he is president now. Complaining about it will not help anything, like so many did during the Bush era, which we currently characterize as a period of outspoken dissatisfaction and political chaos. It ruined the morale of the country constantly. Now, we could possibly be headed for some bad times with the new president, who knows? But complaining and criticizing is not going to help us along. I'm not saying not to think critically, like I did here in this note (which will probably be one of the last about the president as I'm not allowed to speak my opinion about him as a soldier) but I'm saying that complaining and attacking the president at every move he makes is not going to help the country. What will help is being grateful for a stable leader in a stable 'democracy' where you are free to criticize the president, but instead give your support to make the best out of this term as all possible.

Now if you are a revolutionist, thats a different story all together. Just do what you do for our country and I don't need to know about it.

WALL-E: The Future We're Afraid Of

I had the opportunity to see the movie WALL-E for the first time a couple days ago. I know, I'm a little behind, but I had been wanting to see it for a long time. I will say it was an amazing work of art that held my attention for every second.
The movie, for those who have not seen, I highly recommend you see it. It essentially about Earth in the distant future after humans have destroyed it with our pollution. Humans took off into space to look for greener pastures and left automated robots behind to clean up. The film is motivated by this overall plot, but also by themes of love, conspiracy, and what I find to be an interesting commentary on the human race.
I decided to write this note to talk about all the things this movie said about people through either obvious, or more subtle, ways. I am trying to write the note so as not to give any spoilers, but I apologize if I let one slip.

Let me begin with the clear issue of environmental degradation. The earth in the future is totally filled with trash, what appears to be mostly solid waste, that we apparently just ran out of room for. The surface is totally devoid of water, presumably there is no ground water either, and the air is devoid of clouds in the normal sense. The clouds in the movie are brown, suggesting nitrogen or sulfur gases. There is no plant life, as there is no water, and the surface is more like a desert than anything else. Dust storms, or what appears to be dust, regularly plagues the air. The scenery described by the movie is a metropolitan area full of trash and abandoned buildings. The birds eye views picture the once massive, glorious skyscraper towers spread for miles, pinnacles of human achievement. The reminisce of human civilization is bittersweet.

This portrayal of Earth describes, what I think are, two major points. One, that humans are destroying our planet. The magnificence of civilization comes at a cost that we cannot afford. Environmental degradation is not only forcing irreparable climate change but is sucking the planet dry of the very life that sustains us and itself. We are creating so much waste, waste we cannot eliminate, that eventually it will take up more space than the world has to offer.
Further this point is saying that if we do not stop what we are doing now, the world will look like that in a couple hundred years. Basically, the authors are extrapolating current conditions for several hundred years. Without commenting on the political implications of this, which I'm sure you can guess at, I will say that one of the big errors many people make when studying trends is extrapolation. In general, conditions will change or there is a leveling off point for any trend. Of course something needs to change, but I am confident that it will.
The second major point this portrayal of Earth conveys, more artistically, is the perspective of time. The movie makes today seem so insignificant. The theme of everything rotting to dust, or sand, paints a perfect picture of how temporary our material wealth is, or for that matter how temporary we are. This movie seems to be void of real historical figures who make lasting effects on humanity. In the end, we are but dust in the wind. The dust storms are almost the ghosts of we who destroyed the planet still haunting it and the towers, the pinnacle of civilization, are but crumbling to sand.

The second issue the movie hits hard is the pathetic mentality of the human race. The legacy left behind on Earth and the move to space seems mostly to be motivated by a large corporation, resembling Wal-Mart, called Big and Large. The world is ruled by it's CEO, and B&L stores, franchises, and merged branches are everywhere. On the ship where humans now reside, completely owned by B&L, people are saturated in advertisement, convenience, and leisurely lifestyles.

The world was presumably destroyed due to heavy, unregulated economic growth, motivated mostly by the corporation B&L and the consumerism motivating it. Humans are so concerned with what they want, all the stuff they can get. Material possessions are so important that people are completely oblivious not only to the horrendous political situation of having a corporation running the world, but to the idea they are destroying it. As long as they get what they want and life is easy, then there isn't a problem.
This is a result of extrapolation of current human behavior. Consumerism is also a problem today. Markets are flooded with things to make life easier and more leisurely. Credit card debt is massive, advertisements are abundant, and the idea that money buys happiness is the message that people buy every day. Over-consumption, leading to obesity, the number one disease in America, is everywhere. Peoples desires are satisfied without restraint. This mindset is nothing short of a disease plaguing our society. We are finding more ways to satisfy people's unlimited wants and its not only hurting mental and spiritual health, but its taking its toll on our resources, the planet, as described in the first point. I know it seems uncharacteristic of me to criticize economically driven society, but when economic development is mingled in with a society of people who care more about what they own than anything else, it turns into consumerist prostitution, which is something, ashamedly indeed, the US resembles most in the world.

This leads directly into my third point. Peoples striving to get more of what they want at the cost of everything else inevitably invites laziness. This is easy to show, as the more people have, the less they work. The more provided to you, the more convenient it is, and the more satisfying it is, the more desirable it will be because it means you can have unlimited enjoyment for the minimum monetary cost. I read that and see a major goal of economic thought. Here is the problem presented though: when people are told what they want, when they believe everything they're told, and when the cost of satisfaction becomes so cheap that you hardly have to work for it, then people rely on everything else to give them what they want. The only real way for that to happen is for resources to reach an abundance where the point of diminishing returns (where you start getting less stuff for the same amount of work) is unreachable (I would claim that the only thing preventing the US from looking like the WALL-E future is the this condition). In the movie, the Axiom, the ship where humans reside, can be seen floating next to a nebula, presumably harvesting its massive number of resources. In addition, everything is automated. Robots literally do everything for people. People, not having to do any work are "devolving" into a state of obese, ignorant, bliss.

This touches on several theories. One, that humans are becoming too reliant on technology to give them everything and in the future we become totally reliant on it. There is plenty written about robots taking over, humans being turned into robots, robots turning evil and destroying humanity or harvesting us for energy, and all productivity being managed by robots for us to be aware of the danger of making too many robots. In WALL-E's world, all the robots, though intelligent, have a prime directive that prevents them from doing much besides what they were designed to do. But the point remains that reliance on robots for everything has never really been a thinkable solution. But people might not care for the sake of making life easier.
Two, that automated work will replace the human worker completely due to the increasing availability in the technology. Three, that people, not having to do anything for themselves, won't do anything for themselves and "devolve" as the movie suggests they will. Not only that, but there will be no motivation to change behavior. Currently, we are seeing a popular push for greener industry, healthier people, and less consumerism, predominantly in our generation. Things not only will change, but they are changing currently because we need to change to cope with today's problems. In the future, on the Axiom, there is a large deck completely devoted to waste. Giant robots scoop up the waste and dump it into space. Obviously, we don't know if space will ever run out of space, but the concept of the matter, that we are turning resources into waste and they will run out eventually, still remains.

The movie also shows a world devoid of thinking or spirituality. The population is not illiterate, but rarely reads anything that does not fall under daily routine. Pictures dictate most of communication, but words like "lunch" and "cup" and such are easily recognized. Everyone moves around in hovering chairs, never walking, absorbed in holographic screens in front of their faces, displaying either some form of television or video communication with other people. Meals come in what looks like slushie cups, eaten through a straw. People are so absorbed in eating, their holoprojectors, and their daily routine to even open their eyes to their environment. The people don't even know what the ship looks like for the most part. They only know whats in front of their faces. Love and marriage seem to be gone completely, yet must exist in some form for the population to sustain itself. Apparently its something that never gets past the bedroom. Religion is completely gone. While many would celebrate this, it is not only a sign in the elimination of diverse human thinking, but it is the elimination of open-minded thought about what is beyond the material world. Philosophy falls under the same category and is also non-existent. The human spirit has been all but crushed by time and the weight of consumerism. Friends seem to still exist, but the friendships are not substantial, given that life is not substantial, so there is nothing to really have a relationship about other than mutual interest in a sport or past time. In this sense, there is no motivation to do anything except what your belly says and what feels good at the time. Its almost as if we humans have been domesticated like animals. It is nothing short of disgusting to even think about.

Obviously, nobody wants to see this future. I am optimistic that we won't have to. It is clear that economic interests change as peoples desires change. People have been desiring a better society for some time. I think not only will we see a push for more spiritual and philosophical thought in our lifetimes, but a push for greener, more efficient industry, less waste, and more encouraging development in human thinking in general. Either way, things will change eventually, even if it isn't in our lifetime.
I think the majority of people still need to look up and open their eyes to the world even today. While someone not voting is a sin among my peers, only about a third of the country voted. Only one third of the country cares about who the president is going to be. I wonder how many of them actually read the news enough to know why it matters.
This movie is encouraging change now for the sake of the future. To what extent the authors intended, I'm not sure, but they certainly hit the nail dead on the head with the analysis they made of how things are going today.

From Chuck Colsen:

The fact that the hit movie WALL-E has a plot that even a child can follow doesn’t mean it’s juvenile. Released earlier this year, the Pixar film follows the story of a little robot named WALL-E. While the rest of Earth’s inhabitants have embarked on a 700-year cruise-like vacation aboard a space station, this little robot is left behind to clean up the planet.

As WALL-E sifts through the trash, he begins to learn what it’s like to be human. A Rubik’s Cube says something about the human capacity for logic and play; an old VHS tape of Hello Dolly teaches him about the human capacity for creativity. One hand-holding scene, which WALL-E plays over and over, teaches him about love.

The little robot continues, day in and day out, to do his task of cleaning up the earth, until a “female” robot, aptly named EVE, comes along. EVE, or Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator, is on a mission to see if the earth can once again sustain life. If so, humans can one day return to it.

Ironically, while WALL-E is trying to learn about what is to be human, humans adrift in the cosmic space station have grown robot-like, tethered to machines and out of touch with each other and their own creative impulses.

Many critics saw the film as an environmental movie. But while WALL-E has a lot to say about the stewardship of the creation, it is ultimately about much more. Filmmaker Andrew Stanton, an outspoken Christian, recently explained to World Magazine that what really interested him in the story line was “the idea of the most human thing in the universe being a machine, because it has more interest in finding out what the point of living is than actual people.”

“The greatest commandment Christ gives us is to love,” Stanton says, “but that's not always our priority. So I came up with this premise that . . . irrational love defeats the world's programming.” That’s why Stanton created WALL-E and EVE to work literally against their own robotic programming to demonstrate love, first for each other, and then for humanity.

In contrast to robots learning to love, Stanton wanted to show how humans had become machinelike. Our routines and habits, he argues, have programmed us “to the point that we're not really making connections to the people next to us. We're not engaging in relationships, which are the point of living—relationship with God and relationship with other people.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Another thing you’ll notice about the film is that all the humans are enormously obese. This was the result of Stanton’s imaginative logic of what would happen to humans as the result of living long term in zero-gravity conditions. But, Stanton told Christianity Today, it’s also what humans would look like when we become “big babies with no reason to grow up.” Stanton explains, “I was going with the logic of what would happen if you were in a perpetual vacation with no real purpose in life.”

Through the stark depiction of such perpetual laziness, viewers rediscover something that all of us can easily lose sight of: the value and beauty of meaningful work.

Sacrifice, love, logic, playfulness, creativity, connection, work—take some time this Christmas and let a little robot remind you what it means to be human, created in God’s image.

My Apology to Islam

An interesting concept was introduced to me today. Its a mystery to me why its never been introduced or, if it has, why I never grasped it. I was watching a documentary film about the Kansas board of education and its hearings in 1999 to decide the definition of science for its students and subsequently to teach microevolution and big bang science. One of the witnesses called to the stand during the hearing was a man from Istanbul, Turkey. He was a Muslim and an educated man, though I'm not aware of his exhaustive background.

For years all I hear out of Muslim criticisms of the US revolve around us not being "spiritual enough" and our imperialistic, capitalist brainwashing being the root of all evil in the world. Of course, all I hear is nonsense. That doesnt make any sense to me, nor should it.
On the other side of that, all I've ever said about Islam are things ranging from criticisms of the Quaran and Mohammad to attributing the physical wars on the US to the idea that Muslims hate our Constitution and our way of life, being a product of a clash of civilizations. If thats all it was, then yes, it is a manner of black and white and they are wrong.
What this man said was phrased a way in which I had never heard it before. He said something along the lines of the idea that Muslims are opposed not to a Christian way of life, our constitution, or our ideals of liberty. He said America has fundamentally changed in the past 50 years in such a way that is clearly problematic to humanity. He made the example of watching American TV in the 80's, where a popular show in Turkey was "The Little House on the Prairie." He then drew a comparison to TV today, which is comprised of reality shows and vulgar humor, and made a black and white distinction I began to see clearly.

Muslims hate the same thing I hate: the pungent disease rotting this nation from the inside-out called secular humanism. It comes in flavors like Atheism, Scientific Naturalism, Materialism, and Socialism. And Christians in this country are far from exempt from the infections it causes. As a society, we have been morally decaying, and I dont mean that in the way that fundamentalists often site it as an argument against gay marriage legislation. I mean that in the way of "open your eyes and see the country we live in." The norm for students is getting drunk every weekend. Boys and girls are deriving their self worth from each other, usually in the form of hooking up as often as possible. Drugs are everywhere, self injury and depression are commonplace. And I'm not gonna get all high and mighty conservative style and say that you dont have the right to do that, and I joined the US Army to fight for you to have those rights, but that doesnt mean the complaints arent legitimate. Its all about ourselves. How much money? How much status? How good does it feel? Whats in it for me? I love the free market and I love democracy, but this nation clearly has issues that go much deeper than simple problems of governance.

It makes me sad to think about all this and really analyze the problems in this country, but the Muslims hit the nail on the head. Now I still have major problems with Mohammad and the Quaran and I am not ignorant of the fact that many fundamentalists Muslims have decided to use abhorrent measures to attack us, but I want to thank my fellow believers in God for your steadfast stand against this destructive worldview and for holding true to real faith and morality and I'm sorry that I have judged you so harshly when we have much in common.

The Great Depression 2.0?

I decided to write this because I am getting extremely tired of people complaining about the crappy state of the economy. I have had multiple discussions with people (most of whom trying to convince me I'm wrong rather than listen to what I have to say) and everyone seems to be convinced not only that the economy is in a dire state on the brink of collapse, but that they have the problem nailed which is why they are voting for candidate x because x can fix it.

Now, right here I'm gonna use a lot of economic lingo thats gonna sound like nonsense to those who dont study it, but its necessary.
Looking at the definition of a recession, we see that the combination of decreases in aggregate demand or aggregate supply culminate ultimately in the GDP falling below the long run aggregate supply, or long run equilibrium as defined by full employment of the economy, in what is called a recessionary or contractionary period, aka recession. When looking at the four factors that can cause a decrease in aggregate demand, consumption, investment, government spending, and net exports, we can obviously conclude that investment has decreased a lot due to a drop in the demand for houses. In looking at the three stages of the aggregate supply curve, we see the classical range, the normal range, and the Keynesian range. So we have seen a decrease in the aggregate demand such that it has slid downward along aggregate supply curve. The question to really look at in defining an economic collapse is seeing how far down the aggregate demand has slid.
Well the classical range, being on the high end of the curve, is a period where prices can change without productivity changing. Does that sound like something America has been experiencing in the past 10 years? It can only reach this point during a time of heavy inflation. Energy prices skyrocketing, food prices going up, land prices increasing heavily? I've heard more people complaining about corporate profits than about environmentalism lately.
The second phase is the normal range where prices decrease as production increases and vice versa.
The third phase is the Keynesian range where we observe that productivity can change without prices changing. This is the range that is characteristic of a downward economic collapse.

The last time we have observed the economy enter the Keynesian range is the Great Depression. Lets talk about that for a second. There were long lines to get your ration of food for the day, people killed themselves over historic price drops, less than 50% of the people in the country had a job, you had to conserve everything or else you couldnt get by, and all of this was the norm for the people of the US.
Does that sound anything like today? No because our economy has not collapsed and is not collapsing. A recession is necessary in order for our economy to cyclically operate around long run full employment. Lets look at all the great things:
For one, who is psyched about falling gas prices? I know I am. The value of the dollar will now increase, the budget deficit (I hope) will start balancing due to cutting government programs, and we will see overall decreases in prices throughout the economy. Makes me want to go out and spend personally.

So we are seeing a movement along the short run aggregate supply curve down from the classical range into the normal range, where the economy is actually supposed to be, and a nice healthy recession to change up the state of the economy. The reason it is such a big shock to people is because due to actions by the Fed, recessions have not happened for like 70 years. When one finally does, its gonna be a lot of recessions waiting to happen at once.

I have been saying this stuff for weeks, but never really taken the time to explain in this detail. Candidate x, unless the candidate calls for eliminating the IRS and the Federal Reserve, cannot "fix" the economy because not only is there nothing wrong with it (yet) but the idea that the president could fix it is absurd because the economy will do what it does regardless of government action. Notice how the $700 billion plan was almost completely ineffective. The economy will develop on its own without our helping it.

So How About that Infanticide?

This video, for those who havent seen it, is a pretty profound statement about the kind of change America is going through. ature=related.

Now, if you watched it, you know that I don't have to explain why this video is important. I don't have to explain why infanticide is wrong. In fact, I don't even have to explain what this says about Obama as a person.
I would like to leave aside a certain aspect of discussion in this note, though. And that is the question of when life begins. The reason for this being that it is undisputed that these babies were alive and born and partially because no matter when you believe life begins, there is still an important moral aspect involved in evaluating the actual act of abortion.
It is something that is rather looked over, overshadowed if you will, by the debate of when life begins. What I am referring to is the concept that you are killing (and I mean that in the most literal sense of the word) life that you created, are responsible for, and if is not yet human, will undoubtedly be (unless something horrible goes wrong) your human child for selfish reasons that only keep temporary, material things in mind, such as reputation and money. Classic arguments like "its her body" or "its not a human yet" are in actuality quite ineffective against the actual science and paradigm for human growth and birth.

So what I intended to write this note about what the politics of the matter or rather what truthfully should be the politics of the matter. And I say that it is not the way it is due to the clear lack of passion about the issue in this presidential race. Of course, Obama has passion against it, but McCain has made little effort to show that he has taken a side on the issue. In addition, it is an issue that has been overlooked more and more in light of recent events, such as economic recession and military activity.
According to several sources, including USAtoday, the economy is actually the number one issue for voters right now. Really, that shouldnt be surprising. Just like the moral flaws we talked about with abortion above, self-interest is the defining characteristic of the human psyche. People are more concerned with their pocket books than protecting our infants? More than protecting our civil liberties? Last time I checked, there were an atrocious amount of violations to the Constitution in the category of civil liberties.
People have asked me why my number one issue isnt the economy. I'm an economics major, an extreme capitalist, cornucopian by nature, and obviously aligned and attuned with economic issues. Sure the economy is important, but its about time that I got to the point. Which is:

The sanctity of human life is the most important thing that defines a society.
People are more concerned with the value of stocks than they are with the value of a child! Its abhorrent to put it mildly. We have someone running for president, and leading in the polls, who promoted the practice of throwing babies into disposal bins to die, there are clinics which not only will provide tools for young women to destroy precious life everywhere, also telling them that it is totally normal, totally ok, and good for society, and senators that openly support all of this as well as full term abortions.
I'm ashamed to live in the same country as these people and certainly hope there is some change that we can believe in soon because right now, with both politicians lying through their teeth, I don't see this country getting in any better shape no matter who wins.

Save the Trees or Save the Children?

So I heard a news event today that greatly disturbed me.

Yeah, I know, Canadian press, but its actually one of the better articles I found on this. Basically six Greenpeace activists were deemed not guilty by a jury in court in the UK for vandalizing and causing 35,000 British Pounds of damage to a coal plant. The jury said that the threat of global warming was apparent enough to provoke and justify the crime.
I say crime because this jury is clearly stupid enough (yes, I mean stupid) to believe that not only that the enhanced global warming effect being caused by humans is by any means a statement that can be confirmed, that it can be used in court, that vandalizing a coal plant will help this situation, that global warming is even a threat that we can quantify, or that its ok at all to vandalize other peoples property.

What we have here is the British court system promoting vigilantes. But not all vigilantes, just vigilantes who do expensive property damage to companies they believe are polluting enough to make global warming that much worse. Just vigilantes who think that the threat of global warming is worth immature, childish action to incite conflict. Where will it end? Are the families who rely on these plants for power expected to suffer when Greenpeace decides that immature vandalism wasn't enough? What about when they decide to use violence to get their way? This court decision would support that because it is claiming that any means can be used to stop a greater threat. Since people are so convinced that global Armageddon is coming if we dont reduce emissions, what greater threat is there? Is there any measure too big to stop the end of the world.

The world isnt ending, and I called these Greenpeace idiots terrorists in Environmental Policy class where this article was brought up, because they need to resort to stupid crap like painting names on smokestacks to make a point. The only point I'm seeing made here is that these people are incompetent. Greenpeace can vandalize as much property they want, just like insecure adolescents, and the only thing they will change is that people are stupid enough to let them off the hook for it.

Relationship Drama in a Marriage-less Society

When I sat down to write this note, I had a lot of things jumbled in my head. Obviously the recent news of McCain's running mate has taken the spotlight from nearly everything else. I discovered today that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant, and I just dont think anyone cares enough to regard that in their decision of support. I had an interesting conversation today with someone who was attempting to view Jesus in a modern political sense, which was interesting and something I would like to work out in my free time. Many should know by now of all the relationship drama I've had in my life, but I don't think I can adequately or appropriately articulate my feelings toward all that. Thats what I write songs for. Chuck Colsen hasnt done much lately and I figured I was at a loss of what to write.

But then I thought to myself, "I'm not the only one who's having relationship issues," as I glanced at my news feed to see the immense amount of breakups/getting back togethers.

So I tossed around the idea of writing a note that might be a little risky and probably gonna get some nasty remarks (whats new, right?) about a topic only talked about on Sunday morning and in Congress anymore: marriage. No, nothing about traditional family values, anti-homosexuality, or divorce or anything like that.

I would like to ask a simple question: What is marriage?
The answers I have received over the years have varied a lot. I got a lot of people who thought that it was just the state's approval of two people being legally one unit. I've heard some say that it is the acceptance of a couple's lifelong commitment by the community. Others say that it is when the church approves of the union of man and woman.
I really dont feel any of these answers really define marriage. When God designed marriage, it had nothing to do with the state, the community, the church or any of that. The first marriage happened when none of those things existed. The best, Biblical definition of marriage is: the process of a man and a woman becoming one flesh.
So what does that mean? Well, if you havent found a good answer in your Bible, which those of you who dont read it probably havent, I will do my best to explain.
For the sake of simplicity I'm going to categorize "flesh" as having four components. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
I know some people don't believe in spirituality, so I'm going to put it like this: the Jasperian split is the idea of being conscious of your consciousness. In other words, being able to critically think and rise above instinct of your body. Spirituality is just that: rising above the instincts of body and mind in order to achieve or understand something greater. Building a society takes spirit, eating does not.

So a man and woman would have to be united in mind, soul, body, and heart. When I say mind, it should be understood that I am talking not about attitude or intelligence, but rather the mental energy and thinking it takes to consciously choose to love someone. Which leads me to talking about the heart. Desire is a very important part of a marriage, but it does not constitute love. There is something that everyone knows about but nobody pays attention to called the "in love" experience. Its what makes us flirt, exchange numbers, make out the next night and all of a sudden you're a couple the next morning. What it is, is a evolutionary mechanism for finding a mate. A chemical euphoria that creates a desire that is perceived as a need in order to go after that girl and make babies. Its reported to last two years, though I've never been in a relationship that has lasted that long.
So when I talk about heart, I'm not talking about that desire, I'm talking about the desire of commitment, honor, genuine care...basically the desire to love someone, not the desire for someone.

To be united in spirit is similar, as will most of the components be. Being united in spirit is mostly about understanding. Not just understanding the other persons point of view, understanding together in a consistent, identical view of truth. The Bible was right on when it said that two should not be yoked unequally. That "in love" experience I mentioned earlier often makes us forget that one of us has a do what feels good philosophy when the other leads a disciplined lifestyle of right and wrong. When the euphoria goes away, a lot of arguments can come from an non-unified spirit.

To be united in body...well suffice to say that its what hormones are for. The culmination of physical intimacy resulting in sex. Everyones favorite part...

So what am I getting at with all this? People have forgotten the focus of marriage. In our little world of state-approved marriages with the church condemning dating and people telling us that sex is just for fun, we have forgotten what marriage is about. Its not about what the state or church says, its about a commitment made in the complete unification of a man and a woman. How do you think that unification can happen if you are shutting yourself off completely with this dream that the "right one" will magically appear and you will somehow know when you see her?
People break up over the most meaningless crap sometimes and will be together for just as crappy a reason in the first place. Others dont think that unity means much in a relationship because it has to end sometime anyway so might as well make sure you dont get hurt and make it a learning experience.
DUDE! Thats the exact reason that 60%(i think?) of marriages in this country end in divorce.
Its become a state title and not a process of unification. Its become obscured by the church saying you need to stay away from guys until the right one appears.
So, seeing as how so many people are dealing with relationship drama, I would say this: if you or your lover did not have in mind that being united in mind, soul, heart, and body was a goal, then it was definitely gonna end as soon as someone found a reason for it to. Because thats what relationships are anymore: feel good tools and learning experiences when they should be serious times for contemplation, communication, and formulation of commitments and goals while beginning the long road of unification.

Reinventing Man

This was a commentary done by Chuck Colson recently that I wanted to express my stern objection to.

If you have been watching the Olympics, you cannot help but be awed by the strength, speed, and skill of Olympic athletes. Take Michael Phelps, the phenomenal American swimmer who took gold in event after event. Or Dara Torres, a 41-year-old American swimmer who bested much younger athletes, winning a silver medal.

These men and women have spent years training, strengthening, and perfecting their skills and their bodies. As much as we applaud their accomplishments, we marvel at their effort.

Now, imagine not long from now, watching an Olympic games featuring athletes who never had to train like Phelps and Torres have. Instead, their skills and physique were planned before their birth, enhanced through nanotechnology. The games would be called the "Bio-Olympics," in which competitors have artificially enhanced features, like superhuman strength and speed.

Sound like science-fiction? It's not. Not long ago the President's Council on Bioethics wrote about such a possibility.

We talk often on "BreakPoint" about bioethics, especially when it comes to cloning, embryo-destructive research, genetic engineering, and so forth. But science is bringing even greater ethical dilemmas right to our front doors now.

As my friend Nigel Cameron points out in the latest issue of BreakPoint WorldView magazine—which, by the way, you can subscribe to for free at—science is moving beyond improving or fixing humanity, to remaking humanity.

Thanks to genetic, robotic, information, and nano technologies—collectively known by the ironic acronym GRIN—mankind is poised for what some call "engineered evolution." Nigel warns that the very technologies that can "help us restore function to the disabled and fight disease, can also be used to bring in the 'Brave New World'—in which what it means to be human, made in the image of God, is fundamentally lost."

Not only will the results of this "evolution" be unprecedented, but so will the speed at which it happens. "Pain vaccines," "memory pills," and "gene doping," which may turn even the scrawniest kid into a Hercules, are being tested as I speak.

But who will enjoy the fruits of such enhancements? As Nigel writes, developments in "blending human nature and machine nature through such means as the implanting of brain chips for memory, skills, or communication . . . could compound both the intelligence and the wealth of a small segment of society." This could lead "to a new feudalism, in which power of all kinds is concentrated in the hands of 'enhanced' persons."

This raises unimaginable ethical problems, and Christians must be engaged in the debate. As Nigel writes, "At the heart of the agenda for the 21st century lies the need to build a policy framework in which ethical principles set the ground-rules for our use of these new powers." We must, he says, "secure human nature from commodification."

I could not agree more. Humans and human nature are not commodities to be manipulated, bought, and sold. In the rush to "make life better and easier" by "improving" the human body, we cannot allow human life to become less human.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I believe that God made us with the ability to do such things to improve ourselves. The same philosophy that drives Christian Science, many members of which die from illness, drives this point of view. That God made us how we are, if He wanted us to fight disease, He would have built it in us. Chuck is saying the same thing here, except saying that if God wanted us to be stronger, faster smarter, and healthier, that He would have made us that way. Humans have operated on improvement for thousands of years. Life expectancy has increased, technology increased, population size, capabilities. For that matter, God put us on the earth, and now that we have left it, are we defying His order?

The bottom line is that the Bible's words do not oppose human progress. And as I have always said, Its words remain true today just as they were 2000 years ago. Now why would anything change then? Are we no longer in God's image because we are stronger? The fact is, that the issues central to the plan God has for humanity (loving Him, loving others/spreading His good news, multiply, subdue the earth) will not change just because we are tougher. Humans will still have to face the same problems that turn us to God in the first place. Emotional dependency, desire for love and intimacy, mental reasoning, and whatever else the human condition entails. We will still die, most importantly.

Another argument he brings up is the idea that a feudal system would form around those who are enhanced. I have two things to say about this. Biological enhancement will never effect the human spirit, and those who are determined, who make that effort, will not be eliminated or phased out. And one other thing, just because a feudal system might form (which in this country I actually find unlikely) doesnt mean that it will or that such fear is a good motivation to hinder such progress.

Last time I checked, the image of God had nothing to do with being able to see for miles, jump 20 feet in the air, or lift 1000lbs consistently. I welcome anyone to find a scripture that says we are no longer humans in the image of God when we become tougher. Sampson would agree I think.

The Coming Persecution

July 1, 2008

It is all about equal rights, the gay "marriage" lobby keeps telling us. We just want the right to marry, like everyone else.

That is what they are telling us. But that is not what they mean. If same-sex "marriage" becomes the law of the land, we can expect massive persecution of the Church.

As my friend Jennifer Roback Morse notes in the National Catholic Register, "Legalizing same-sex 'marriage' is not a stand-alone policy . . . Once governments assert that same-sex unions are the equivalent of marriage, those governments must defend and enforce a whole host of other social changes."

The bad news is these changes affect other liberties we take for granted, such as religious freedom and private property rights. Several recent cases give us a sobering picture of what we can expect if we do not actively embrace—and even promote—same-sex "marriage."

For instance, a Methodist retreat center recently refused to allow two lesbian couples to use a campground pavilion for a civil union ceremony. The state of New Jersey punished the Methodists by revoking the center's tax-exempt status—a vindictive attack on the Methodists' religious liberty.

In Massachusetts, where judges imposed gay marriage a few years ago, Catholic Charities was ordered to accept homosexual couples as candidates for adoption. Rather than comply with an order that would be harmful to children, Catholic Charities closed down its adoption program.

California public schools have been told they must be "gay friendly," as Roback Morse notes. But it will not stop with public schools. Just north of the border in Quebec, the government told a Mennonite school that it must conform to provincial law regarding curriculum—a curriculum that teaches children that homosexuality is a valid lifestyle. How long will it be before the U.S. government goes after private schools?

Even speaking out against homosexuality can get you fired. Crystal Dixon, an associate vice president at the University of Toledo, was fired after writing an opinion piece in the Toledo Free Press in support of traditional marriage . . . Fired—for exercising her First Amendment rights!

Promoters of same-sex "marriage" seem to go out of their way to target Christian businesses and churches. Their goal, it seems, is not the right to "marry," but to punish anyone who disagrees with them.

Clearly, there is a spiritual battle going on here: Christians are under attack because they are a public witness to the fact that a holy God created us male and female, and we will always put obedience to Him and His laws above obedience to any earthly demand for loyalty.

The coming persecution of Christians is one more reason why we need to get involved with efforts to pass laws at the state and federal level defining marriage as a legal relationship between one man and one woman. We must protect, not only genuine marriage, but also many of the freedoms we now take for granted: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom to use private property the way we see fit—all are under threat.

And we must tell our friends and neighbors why gay "marriage" is not just about equality: It is about forcing religious believers to accept the validity of the homosexual lifestyle—or else.

Commentary by Charles Colson

I would say that this sums up a logical case for the "Christians" side in this, assuming Christians are bent on winning over the law. Personally I have to ask the question: Why does the government need to do either of these things? I can see bad implications of both. For example, if freedom for gays to express gayness is hindered, then thats not constitutional. But to force churches to recognize gays as married is unconstitutional. To even force recognition that gays can get married is unconstitutional because of the origin of marriage. Why cant we just let people do what they do and leave the government out of it?
I always say that while I do wish for everyone in the world to get along, have free peace, free trade, a non-materialistic, altruistic, happy society, that is no reason to force the government to take responsibility for those things. We should be loving Christians and loving people out of our own accord, not because we'll go to jail if we dont. It is not the government's job to make us loving people! Nor is it the governments job to force anybody to follow laws that are based on spiritual principles. If people are allowed only to make "good" moral decisions, they arent doing it because they want to...

The Starving American Children

During a discussion I had recently, it was, and not for the first time, brought to my attention the severity of the problems that people were having around the world. Specifically, as typically used as an example, that there were children starving in Africa, living in the streets, and dying of AIDS.

Again, far be it from me to prioritize the world's problems, but consider this.
There is just as much suffering in America as in Africa or anywhere else. People talk about our nation like we just have all this money and stuff and that makes us secure and content and just fine. They couldn't be more wrong and its because that mindset makes the assumption that material security, if there is such a thing, creates happiness and safety.
For anyone who knows about the problems materialism creates, you know thats not true. Materialism is temporary, destructable, addictive, and consuming. While poor, young girls are starving in Africa, girls in America are starving themselves so they can look like that gal on the front of Cosmo magazine. While AIDS is spreading like mad in Africa due to lack of education and overpopulating certain areas, there are plenty of STD's wracking the US because people are a slave to desire. Some girls will do anything to get attention from guys, while girls in other countries are married off.
We in America suffer from addiction. We are addicted to our desires for attention, satisfaction, intimacy, money, power, and self-glorification.
Now educated people would say that physical needs will always outweigh mental ones, and maybe thats true in most cases, but I will not classify the disease and starvation that Africans suffer as any worse than the disease and starvation that Americans suffer.

Why Does God Allow us to Suffer?

I felt it appropriate to write this note now because of circumstances in my own life as well as the lives of those close to me.

Let us start with the basic logic behind this question...

Why does a omnicient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent God allow evil?
If God were good, he would destroy evil.
If God were all powerful, he could destroy evil.
Evil has not been destroyed.
Therefore, there is no all good, all powerful God.

These also beg the question; Why did God let this happen to me?

Let us analyze the logic of how humanity came to its present situation.

God's creation was good.
Free will is an essential part of true humanity.
Humans are not good.
So humans, then, have defiled God's creation.

"...the entire canon...tells a story which, from the bewildering variety of angles, is all about what God is doing about evil." N.T. Wright

There is a flaw with the basic assumption behind the logic that God is not good. That is that "Evil has not been destroyed." In reality, evil has not been destroyed yet.

Let us also remember that God suffered with us and suffers with us, as Jesus, who is human and God. He understands our suffering and suffers with us.

"Evil is only the absence of God."

"Therefore, consider it all joy, brethren, when you encounter various trials as they foster perseverence and patience in faith."

(Notes taken from lecture by John Stonestreet)

Sometimes suffering will occur in our own lives, such that we think to ourselves that God must not exist or this would not be happening. When in reality we are not really seeing that evil is not a thing that can exist, it is rather a lack of what should be, and in reality is caused by us.
The idea that God is going to make everybody feel better in this life is wrong and misconcieved. He has given us fellowship for that. His job is to love us and let us come to Him so that we will no longer be hindered by the things of this world. Sickness, death, and the suffering of the innocent, are all temporary and our concern with them should not extend beyond what we are doing about it at the moment.

Free Market or Free Press?,2933,331106,00.html

I was sent this link today. This is a scary situation. Basically it has come to the point where Google banned a free press organization for sketchy reasons and people are pissed about it.

Now, if you know my philosophies on social and political action, I believe the market fixes and rations scarce resources. There are two problems that arise in this situation. One...the search engine "market" is virtually controlled by Google and two: news is not a scarce resource. News creates news creates the point of infinity, as far as perceptions can read.
My first reaction was to think that maybe the government needs to force Google to maintain free press...but Google is a private organization and they reserve the right to include who they feel like. I then thought that maybe it is time for this guy to expand his news service so that he doesnt need Google to promote his press...why cant he operate a news business just like all other successful news organizations?

That might be a good solution, but at the same time, the demand for this kind of news might not be high enough to actually promote growth within that area of the market. In which case, one might view this situation as a negligable loss to society since people dont demand this news anyway.
The bottom line is, if people want to read this guys news, they can go directly to his website, use yahoo search, or the owner can expand his press himself or promote it in another fashion. Google is not in charge of the internet and they cannot stop news from travelling. Google is going to get a lot of negative attention for this, as Fox news has already given them, and I believe this was a poor business move on their part and they will have to deal with the consequences in the future...namely less profit.

Oh, the Poor African Children

It was recently brought to my attention that there are problems in Africa that we should be worrying about more than our own government.
Maybe, but I would much rather discuss the problem and the solution rather than trying to take responsibility for the problems in the rest of the world.
The problem, as stated, is that the conditions in Africa are bad. Specifically, we see tyrannous warlords/dictators taking advantage of people, there is a shortage of food/wealth, child labor is rampant, disease is rampant, children are stolen from parents to become soldiers, war is rampant, and nothing seems to be happening to fix it.
I think it would be fitting to first talk about why these problems exist. Because of PROPERTY RIGHTS, or the lack thereof. I should qualify this statement: the removal of property rights has acted as a prism in the spreading of the beams of hatred that have come into play since the colonial era. What is this beam of hatred? It is racism, or nationalism, or religious discrimination. They are all part of the same thing in Africa. Africa was organized into tribes before the imperialist era. Then we came in with our boom-boom sticks and moving castles and took away their rights. Africans didnt like that, so after WWII, we decided that it was bad to govern them like that. So we organized them into autonomous states. The problem is that we failed to consider that putting 3 different tribes together in one government might not end up as a happy story. Well, it didnt. I am going to speak on Nigeria, mainly because I have studied it the most. Nigeria, previously owned by the British, now with its own autonomy, is a mess. There are 3 main ethnic groups that are at odds with each other at a time. There are massive amounts of political parties. And whoever takes control of the military takes control of the country.
These people are blinded so much by their own tribal hatreds that they are constantly in a state of war with each other and the state.
Solve the problem of tyranny, solve the problem of Africa.
If free trade was allowed to occur with protected property rights, people in Africa could enter the marketplace, trade, make money, get food, live a good life (by their standard).
If property rights were protected, children wouldnt be taken off to war every day.
If free trade had occured, people wouldnt have to drink the dirty water and eat the dirty food they eat and disease wouldnt be such a problem.
If we would stop giving them pain relievers (food, medical supplies, schools), and start curing the disease (tyranny/racism), Africa would be a much different place. Not that pain relievers are bad, but they are only short term, limited solutions.
Now, of course, it is foolish to think we can fix racism, but we can fix the reasons for racial activism. If, for example, the 3 ethnic groups in Nigeria didn't have to vie for power in the same state, they would have a lot less problems. Conflicts come from people choosing whats right for their own ethnic groups over others. If every ethnic group could choose for themself what is good for them, maybe they wouldnt be so mad about the different governments in power. I'm not saying that they wont compete for resources, but they would have an incentive to start caring for their people instead about what everybody else is doing.

The Slippery Slope

You've heard the term used over and over referring to homosexuality legislation in the past. Technically, it just means following an idea to its logical consequences. The term is grossly oversimplified in many people's minds and I am going to use it in a new way.
The Senate just passed a bill to "broaden government's spying programs." I'm not sure what I was thinking when I last voted for Senate, but I'm pretty sure that the power of the government wasn't on their campaign platform. Some people are still astonished that this is happening. Oh, wait a second though...lets think about this! A member of the government is voting to enhance government powers. Duh?
Its kind of like when congress votes to raise their own salary. And then votes for more federal taxes to raise their own salaries some more. Duh?
Are we just going to sit and act like sheep? All we care about is if the food is on the table and we can watch TV after driving home from work. When the government is taking our money.
Did you know that the IRS is unconstitutional?

I bring up all these points to tell you of a slippery slope thats happening right before our eyes. We are voting, or not voting, to put the same people in power year after year. They are all democrats or republicans. And then, when they vote to increase government power, we ignore it!
So then, they realized that people don't care how many of their rights are violated as long as they are warm and satisfied. So they vote to create more government programs and institute more government powers. And we ignore it again.
When will it stop? The US Constitution was designed to let the people stop these things as they happen. Yet, most people don't care.
Its a sad world we live in.

The Vagina Monologues

I went to go see the performance of the famed Vagina Monologues. People seemed to think I would only come to the show to make fun of it, as if I were some kind of shovinist pig. I had no idea what to expect from the show and as I walked in, the first thing I saw was a t-shirt describing marriage "for life" and as "domestic abuse for life." As I looked at the other t-shirts, I found myself touched by the pain these women have felt and I felt disturbed by what could be implied by it. I thought that this might actually be a very good show, despite what I have heard from lots of dudes.
The show was intense to say the least. I was definately entertained, found it humorous, found some things profound, but I was appalled by others. Specifically the strange and perverse sexual exclamations. I suppose some people are down with that stuff though.
My analysis of the show is difficult and possibly misinterpreted, but I believe I have generated an accurate photograph of The Vagina Monologues.
The Vagina Monologues waved the banner of "Stop domestic violence against women." Something I am totally in support of, as I believe domestic violence is wrong. But I saw this banner as being waved in front of an army that wanted something else than that. This presentation had the goal of declaring that women should be freed. Freed means sexually promiscuous, unhindered, able to get whatever they want, and independent from men.
I am all for equal gender rights as well as progressive social movement. But this definition of freedom I find to be problematic. Sexual promiscuity does not free a woman, or a man for that matter, it instead makes them a slave to it and/or their desires. There is no freedom in that. And I am going to put this plainly:
Welcome to the real world.
I, as a man, am not unhindered, dont get whatever I want, and am not independent from women. I am single and can have as much sex as I want, but that does not make me free. As I child I relied on my mother, just as a man I long for someone to love and be committed to. I can speak first hand about being a slave to desire, as I have struggled with this in the past, and still do, along with many other guys. It sucks, its hard, and you dont want it.
I am not going to assume that these women are speaking as if they were the only victims in societies, but I will make this point. I am hindered in almost every aspect of my life and I certainly dont get what I want. I instead, to progress in society, must suck up to my superiors just like anyone else. Women are not the only ones who have to take it up the ass to make it.
The agenda behind The Vagina Monologues, if it were just to stop domestic violence, would be acceptable. However, I doubt this to be the case. I instead see a case that women are to be exempt from the rules and left wing ideology, being consistent with the show, promoted, such as the criticism of the Iraq War, for example. It also portrayed homosexual life to be redeeming and totally ok. I do not support such ideals, nor believe in such fantasies, and I would prefer not to discuss them here.
As the show closed though, my analysis was thrown out of my mind to hear the heartbreaking story of the girl who was raped. I literally almost fainted listening to her talk about it. I salute you and all those who have experienced such abuse. The only males who oppress women like that are cowards who are insecure about their own masculinity.
Please feel free to comment. I would like it if you had evidence to say that the show had no ulterior agenda. All of you who participated did a great job and I enjoyed the show, so please, no calling me a hater. This note was purely ideological.

Killing and Torture

I was recently confronted with the question, "How do you think God would feel about torturing people?" The question was, of course designed to make a point that torture was a sin. My immediate answer was, "Well, its unlawful to torture so we don't do it anyway." This was a cop out answer.
I thought more thoroughly about the question and found an old truth show up in such a difficult scenario.
It begins with the right to life, property, and pursuit of happiness. We assume all men to have these rights while in the state of nature. However, upon entering the state of war, people give up those rights. So in this situation, the American military has captured somebody who has willingly fought America, or given up their rights. If there is information, that they are willingly keeping, that could help us save lives, especially innocent ones, then they are continuing their war against us. Torture can be looked at as a battle on a different front, and it is our obligation to extract such information from them. God would not want us to just let the man go so that whatever plan the enemy had could come to fruition. We are not only using a principle of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, but it is within our rights, as they gave up theirs, to use the means available to us to save many more.
This does not mean I endorse cruel or unusual punishment or random tortures, but sometimes torture is the only way to extract information to save many people. The person we torture may not like it, but we are forcing him to suffer so that many more don't have to. I will also concede that there are plenty of situations that do not require torture and plenty of times where torture isn't really worth the trouble. I would also say that it is a sin to let people die because you didn't want to hurt somebody. That is not only cowardice, but will not help anybody.