Archives for category: hard things

An unrelated article brought this to mind.

Argue all you want, complicate all you want, but God is, or God is not. If you prefer, there is a divine ultimate, or there is nothing.

If we acknowledge the divine, then we are eternal, it seems a certain consequence.

I assert free will. “Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!” (Fyodor Dostoevsky [c8p2, c8p3])

There is no free will if one may not choose eternity to at least the extent of with-God or without-God.

I assert the good. I assert that choosing to add harm to life is the evil.

We have before us life or death, good or evil. Therefore, choose life.

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Sin

We usually define it as messing up, missing the mark. We know, for the most part, what we need to aim at, yet we often miss, either from simple failings or bad choices.

We don’t get around to doing the things we should. We don’t show a kindness when it was deserved. Or we know good and well we shouldn’t do a thing, yet we did it.

Most such, we deal with by repenting, formally for the religious, but in other ways for all the rest. Charitable giving, resolutions (especially at the New Year), we all do it, trying to make right, trying to do better. Good. That is the way of it, and nearly all of us get it, and most of us are pretty tolerant of it because we’ve been there, done that.

There is another sin, though, of knowingly causing harm, inflicting suffering. In general, such are what we, as a society, judge as worthy of punishment and prison. For the most heinous intentional harms, we tend to want our officials to take the sinner’s life. For better or worse, that is the way it is. (It could change. Perhaps we should engage.)

There is a sin, however, one that causes grave harm, that nearly everyone commits, and no one is ever punished for: Supporting compulsory education.

Making laws and forcing people to send their children to government schools, school designed to indoctrinate and to regiment, schools necessarily forcing compliance, conformance, and all things sedentary. These schools would be better for simply removing the compulsory requirements. Why do you support something that so obviously, demonstrably, repeatably, results in harm for so many?

You force it. You cause it. You are responsible. Why do you persist?

Outlaw truancy laws. End this intentional harm.

 

Sex is natural. Sex is as important, and as natural, as breathing and eating.

But sex is so much more.
Sex is part of each of us. It is part of what we are. Our mental state, our psyche includes sex.
That is why it is so personal.
That is why it is so important.
Sex makes up a part of our very soul. Deny its importance at your own peril.
More importantly, deny its importance to your partner, and you become responsible for an increase in evil in the world.
Yes, if you carelessly, inconsiderately, involve another in your sex, you are hurting them. You are causing pain and increasing suffering. That is evil. Don’t be evil.
Frankly, sex is sacred. Sure, being so natural, there is a fair bit of liberty many can take with little ill effect, but not all. Not all! Some people can’t, and you really don’t want to be the one who contributes to that person’s suffering.
Don’t take advantage of people.
Your sex is between you and your partner and god. (Yes, I’m not defining god, here, beyond the divine spark within you. That is god as you must deal with, god as you must answer to in those quite moments, those dark moments. You know I’m right even if you claim to believe in no particular god.)
Your sex is nobody else’s business. Frankly, if society can’t handle the several exceptions, society needs to improve. As long as most of us accept sex as properly natural and properly sacred, and we act with faithfulness and integrity toward one another, especially with our partners, things will stay good for society overall.
No need to fear those who don’t follow the old rules. Integrity and honor. We need that. We suffer together societal when integrity and honor slip.
Who doesn’t hurt with these victims of sexually related improprieties? Who isn’t angry with the perpetrators? Who doesn’t want punitive action against those who’ve abused their positions, power, and authority?
Know that you have a higher duty when it comes to sex. It isn’t just a base instinct. It isn’t a simple hunger. Read the Proverbs and the wisdom of so many other cultures. Sex is a big deal. Don’t take it lightly. Never abuse it. Ensure you have developed trust and know you have consent. Otherwise, run away. What did Jesus say? Gouge out your eye? I hope no one goes to that extreme, but extreme measures of restraint on you, your own part are warranted whenever sex, even simple sexual implications, are involved. Don’t be promiscuous. Don’t be evil.
Respect!
God we need more respect, more integrity, more honest consideration.

Eternity is not a long time. It has nothing to do with time.

In time, it takes time and energy to do anything. We use them up.

In eternity, everything that might need doing is done. Yet, there is always work, challenges, always more to accomplish.

I believe that, but I think we cannot really understand it.

Get this: It is impossible for us and our universe to be some sort of computational simulation. Impossible.

Of course, we can throw caution to the wind and suppose anything we want. Reasonable people will ignore us when we do that.

Spooky when you think of it:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/physicists-find-we-re-not-living-in-a-computer-simulation

Not only can we not investigate the supernatural from the natural standpoint, we seem to not be able to investigate all the natural, at least not at its extremities. Some problems are truly intractable.

Bonus: Quantum Hall Effect is Beautiful

In church ( #Wickline ) this morning, Pastor spoke about Noah. He pointed out that the Noah story is not really a kids story. It is practically R-rated. I’ve been listening to #JordanBPeterson recently, and I think he influenced me to strike on something Pastor Eric Snyder said that made me realize the primary point of Noah. All these years, all the study, all the careful reading, rereading, and researching, and I finally noticed the point: It was God’s fault!

Look at the telling of the Noah story. The whole point is that God decided He’d messed up. He was going to wipe it all out. Yet, he noticed Noah. Noah apparently loved his neighbor. Noah apparently wasn’t about doing evil continually.

So, God gave Noah instructions. Noah obeyed. God saved Noah.

The story tells us that everyone else died, including all the critters. What a tragedy! Yet, that is the point. Again Referencing Peterson, we humans are wired to handle tragedy, but malice breaks us. That seems to be the point of the fifth verse of chapter 6. It seems God noticed that humans were malignant, bad, causing pain (as I understand Strong’s for “wickedness”). The whole of human thinking, every thought of the heart, was only to do evil (malignancy, bad, cause pain) all the time.

They were hurting each other so bad it made God regret the whole thing. Read v. 6-7. It is clear in the English.

Granted, I don’t accept that as good theology, but there it is, right there in the bible. It works with the story. It makes the point of the story.

The divine nature was so touched by the deliberate malice of his creation, that he thought it necessary to wipe it out. Thus, the point. God brought the tragedy, not to end the suffering, but to thwart the cause. It has taken a long time, and we still have miles to go before we rest, but we are learning that betrayal is the gravest sin. Malice is bad. Deliberately causing pain is wickedness in the extreme. Coercion is evil. We are learning. The wise author of the Noah story knew it would help.

Besides, it is good to be able to get mad at God for tragedy. Hopefully, we can pray, even rant and scream, to God and work out our furry on the Almighty, who is more than enough to handle it.

So, feel free to blame God if you think you need to. He’s big enough to take it. He won’t take offense. He won’t hold it against you. Remember, God loves you. God himself died for you because he knew you understand that.

And when it comes to you, you against the world, stand! Keep the faith. Trust God and walk in love and mercy anyway. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Even if the world goes to hell around you, you can trust that God notices, and you just might be that light that sets it all to working again, just a little better this time.

We humans tend to look for the strong to protect us, instead of realizing that the power of the strong corrupts them, and they will abuse us.

Do we really need to outlaw plagiarism?

Does copying someone else’s work without attribution pose a threat so grave that we must send armed forces to stamp it out?

I think not.

It truly is important to think through every law. We must stop and say, if my grandmother was engaging in this prohibited action, do I think it worth pointing a loaded gun at her to try to make her stop, and is it justifiable to pull the trigger if she refuses compliance?

If we review our laws that way, I think we will repeal most of them.

First, an aside, am I justified in calling all law to be so scrutinized? I don’t think justification is involved. That is what we do. If we pass a law, we are threatening to send aggressive, armed forces, law-enforcement, to coerce compliance. When we write a parking citation, we are counting on most people to simply comply and pay the fine, rather than challenge the authority, because when the sheriff shows up, we don’t want to risk the fact that the deputy will probably eventually pull the trigger and put us down permanently because the law backs the enforcer.

It isn’t an academic question. It is what we do. We enforce all law, tax law, civil law, criminal law, and environmental regulations, by putting a loaded gun to the head of violators, held by enforcers willing to pull the trigger if ultimately needed to enforce compliance. It is what we do. We have institutionalized coercive violence and prettied it up such that we can pretend it is a tame beast, but it is not. It, all of it, the institution and the violence and all that pertains, is a fearsome, destructive monster, always ready to pounce whenever unleashed, even in the smallest of instances.

Again, we pretend it is not so harsh because we count on individuals to comply before violence ensues, before the guns come out, but ultimately, if the individual (or the group, or mob) determines to be noncompliant, the bullets will eventually fly. Coercion is evil, but most of the time it is easy to pretend otherwise.

Back to plagiarism: How do we know what anyone wrote before Anne?

Mostly, we know who wrote what, and who originated ideas, because of the honor system. For the most part, replicators of ideas or writings wanted to attribute the origin because of credibility. It was more for personal honor and reputation than for honor of the originator. There was limited commercial value before the printing press. And, since ideas mattered, the surest way to have your ideas gain purchase was to attribute properly, especially to persons who already held the respect of their peers, especially if fame extended to the masses. Attributing your idea to Einstein just might get it accepted even if Einstein never thought of it; just provide a plausible story to make the connection.

It seems at least partly that copyright originated to protect the publishers, not the authors. Monopolies were extended, and that can never be counted good, even if at times it might be argued necessary.

It seems copyrights and intellectual property rights are primarily intended to protect those earning profits from it, not the originator who is the actual rights holder. Copyright and intellectual right, together, are simple; if I wrote it, if I originated the idea, I hold property right to it. I really see a huge disconnect between that simple idea and implementation and enforcement. Freedom and free-market interplay will work better. We need simple protection of the property right, not the profiteering rights.

I think those calling for liberty in intellectual property are on the right track. We really don’t need the guys with the guns to enforce honorable action in ideas, speech, writing, free thought, and all the related spread and influence of information.

We can let freedom ring.

Let’s work for freedom.

Sure, TANSTAFL, but it sure seems everything works out better the more freedom, and everything works out worse for more regulation and centralization.

 

 

We need not fear which administration holds sway, either right or left or in between.

We have only cause to fear the ever-growing government itself.

I was quite impressed by Reggie Hamm’s articles (reblogged previously), and I was sharing Scott Adams’ ( @ScottAdamsSays #ScottAdams ) blog post on Facebook, and I wrote more than I expected. I’m reproducing it here, since Facebook is so hard to find anything on. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Veterans’ Day.

I am thankful for all who have served, even those who never managed to fit the legal definition, like myself. Those who sign, all, pledge their lives. When I signed, I knew I was likely to never have a dangerous assignment. I knew I would likely never point a lethal weapon at another human being with the intent to kill. However, I knew I might, and I knew I was ready. I would have. I could have.

Remember that when you honor a veteran. That person promised a lot, whether called on your not. That person might have delivered on those promises, perhaps is incomprehensible ways.

I am thankful that HDR will not be Commander in Chief over my son and the rest who serve. Each would have continued to fulfill the oath. Yet, I am glad we will never know the darkness that might have fallen had HDR been Commander in Chief of the most deadly fighting force the earth has ever known.

Again, I am thankful this Veterans’ Day.

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

——————————

Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

Watch these:

Nine Months that Made You

Find the episodes on TV or watch online. The first episode is available already, and the remainder should be available shortly after airing. (Episode two aired just before I decided to write this note.)

We must stay open minded, and we must learn. We do not have full truth, and we cannot, but we can know more, and we can understand each other better.

Do you part, and do your research. These shows are a good start for many concerns at the forefront today.

This image is pasted in as a link from PBS.

Additional detail in Stark’s Triumph of Christianity, chapter 7, where he discusses early Christian history with regard to women, he gives some eye-opening specifics.

I’ll admit I’m biased toward marriage. It seems clear that marriage and a nuclear family are essential to society in all forms we know. Without it, we are probably looking at something like the Borg (of the Star Trek fantasy universe) to expect humanity to continue rather than go extinct.

Stark points out that the Greek’s considered Roman marriage practices to be cruel, but Greeks were little different, mainly only ensuring the young women were past puberty before given in marriage.

The fact was, Christian women could expect to be physically and emotionally mature before being married, and they would have at least some say in who they married. They also had much more secure marriages, since men were also expected to be chaste and faithful, and couples were not allowed to divorce, except for marital infidelity.

Dr. Stark sites studies estimating that men in Rome outnumbered women 131 to 100. That is a lot of frustrated dudes. (Such is often suggested as a significant factor in wars. Killing the young men in battles tends to lower such troublesome ratios.) He also indicated that in most of the empire, the ratio was closer to 140 males to 100 females. The state even penalized women under 50 years of age who didn’t remarry if widowed or divorced. He gives examples, including Tullia, Cicero’s daughter, as married at 16, widowed at 22, remarried in a year, divorced at 28, remarried in a year, divorced at 33 (I assume she was pregnant) and she died at 34 after giving birth.

I think it worth mentioning the gruesome abortion procedures advised by Roman medical writer Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Relatively recently, historians have established that contraceptive methods were known and available, and generally effective. It is sad that women were of such low regard as to be subjected to such harsh and crude medical procedures to extract an unborn baby, especially when it was legal to just abandon the infant after it was born. I can only suppose most of the men of the era felt it shameful to do so. Or, perhaps they knew it was harder after seeing the baby. Regardless, it is disgusting and sad that men subjected women to such harm.

While many ancient philosophers justified abortion and exposure, even arguing it should be mandatory for women over the age of forty, the Jewish and Christian voices denounced it. “The second chapter of the Didache orders: “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born.””

I comment from time to time that I am willing to compromise with regard to abortion. It seems clear that even societies that condemned abortion allowed for it very early on, primarily, they would allow for no penalties or criminality if an accident or negligence (or violence) caused the miscarriage of a child if the child was unrecognizable as such. This is where I am willing to compromise. If we can societally and legally agree upon a demarcation in pregnancy  where before it is not considered, and after, we accord full personhood, individuality, and due process, I believe we will help our society. We will get along better. We will flourish more.

However, objectively, there is no way to demarcate a human being after conception. Once a unique egg and sperm join, that is a living human being. There is nothing easy about it, but we all like to think of ourselves as fair. There is nothing fair about arbitrarily taking another human’s life. “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.” Clint Eastwood line (as Will Money) in Unforgiven.

Continuing with the hard stuff, I consider rape the same.

Accordingly, I’m willing to afford a raped woman more latitude than most of the rest of us.

Finally, while I can use history, pretty much all of it, to justify some allowance for abortion, at least from secondary causes, the same can be said of slavery, and hopefully all of us alive today hold slavery and human trafficking to be intolerable abominations, reprehensible evils that justify the harshest punishments. We are also justified in making stern effort to quell such activity, and protect every person from such, and to seek out all such purveyors of such evil.

So, I hope we will all take stock of the past and resolve not to let such happen again. I pray for the time when abortion will be considered the same as slavery, considered simply unconscionable. We are not there yet. Some advancement of ourselves or our society or of our technology seems likely to accomplish it. I believe the day is far off but will come. In the meantime, let us work together, discuss publicly and reasonably, let us debate in our legislatures, and let the courts stand down. We the people can work this out. We can compromise and live together on the subject.

https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2016/07/03/summer-reading-3/

https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/summer-reading-2/

Revisiting my marriage bias, I am convinced the key is for those who believe in the value of the traditional family to live as exemplars. Family in most of our societies is far better off than in most of history. I hold family as key, but society seems to have a wide tolerance. Those who hold different views and values can be tolerated! We simply can accommodate. Nontraditionalists (excluding the violent) are no threat.

White Heart gave the indictment many years ago, “Are they working harder at what we think is wrong, Than we are at what we know is right?

With Gandalf (JRR Tolkien), I believe that it is the common folk doing the small kindnesses and simple toils. I believe it is everyman standing for his belief. This is how we progress toward rightness. Live as Micah prophesied. We know what is right. God has shown us. It is only this He requires of us: live justly, love mercy, walk humbly.

We simply have no standing to hold differently. I must do what I know is right and work to teach others what is best, but I have no justification whatsoever to impose or coerce. If I am right, I must show it by proof of action and result. I cannot enforce it by power, by violence, by politics. No.

Every single person must be respected as such. To each his own, and we all owe it to protect that.

What is God? I think that is a good question.

It seems necessary to assume God is who rather than what, but we think of ourselves and others with regard to what we are.

A man I look up to likes to refer to God in the feminine. I’m good with that. I don’t suppose masculine/feminine applies to God, so either convention works for me.

So that is a bit of the what. God transcends gender, and sex certainly doesn’t apply to spirit. However, it is not attributes like that which are prompting me to write. Sometimes we have to write to know what we think.

God is good, just, and merciful. That seems impossible to balance, so the omni-attributes seem essential. I’m still stuck with trying to figure out what that might mean.

I suppose I have an understanding of what is good, and what justice is, and what mercy is. I have to be on guard (thus the title) that I don’t start assuming I really know these thing. Moreover, I must not assume I can figure out God based on these things, and I must not presume in any way with regard to God.

It does seem that there are some things I have to expect, and accept.

God is the reason and the meaning. There just isn’t much point in worry about the notion otherwise. There are several atheistic tenets that assume no ultimate reason or meaning. And, that is what has me writing.

The orthodoxy of Christianity seems mostly required in order for me to hold a cogent and coherent foundational concept of God. The way other religions frame God leaves me flat. I find very little worth supposing. I can see how to build a thorough concept of God from some religions, but Christian orthodoxy seems to come closest. Note that I’m referring to orthodoxy primarily to identify the heterodoxies, the heresies.

When I think of God in the way Calvinists have tried to explain to me, I find a capricious God that fits justice so poorly as to judge it no different from simple atheism in the practical world. The God of Calvin doesn’t actually lead me any better than Richard Dawkins. Either way, nothing I do matters. Since I hold God as the meaning, things have to matter. Unless I want to suppose I’m just a puppet, robot, automaton for God, I cannot accept that what I do ultimately means nothing. What I do means something, even to God.

I can’t accept nothing, and I have to be on guard that I don’t accept my rejection of such as evidence of my beliefs.

To me, the God explained by the Calvinists is devilish and against me. I’ll be better off in hell than with a God like that. Or, if Calvinism is as close to the truth as religion has gotten, then it seems to me that atheism must be even closer to the truth, and I just cannot accept such as possible. Calvinism and atheism are not reasonable.

Similar results obtain when considering universalism. This notion has always been around. Jesus seems to have went out of his way to indicate there are some people he never knew, and since I accept Jesus as an aspect of the triune God, and utterly timeless, the statement indicates eternal damnation in the traditional, orthodox, sense. Some people don’t make it to heaven, and never even tried, even though some pretend to try, even doing what they suppose to be mighty works for God.

Jesus talked of hell a lot, and how the torment there never ends.

People rationalize however they want, but Jesus seemed to be trying to make a point that not everyone enters into eternal life, not ever.

Free will is not an illusion. We are finding at all levels that the nature of the universe is not deterministic. We are finding that if anything at all is real, we have a freedom of will and choice. Being finite and nearly powerless, our choices are limited. I think that is why some rebel against the responsibility of free will. Some seem to find it unbearable that they cannot choose whatever they want, so they reject freedom entirely.  Some prefer to think that a random confluence of strings and quarks happened to interact such that we have an ongoing fluctuation disturbance in the nothingness that seems to give us a momentary illusion of something. In other words, the answer to the ancient question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” gets answered as, “It is all an illusion. There is nothing, never was.” I reject that notion as nonsense. It assume there is no such thing as reason, and that is not reasonable.

When I try to consider all we know, physical and spiritual, scientific and religious, it is all too much. There is more to it than we can discover. Much more than any one of us can know. It is foolish, simplistic, shallow, and worse to suppose we understand God, but I do think we can know enough to know it matters. Nonorthodox views substitute the meaningful mystery for meaningless platitudes.

If God ultimately, through punishment, or persuasion, or some set of processes and procedures reconciles all souls to Himself, what has been the point?

This life is too small in all regards. What use does an omnipotent creator have for us? We trust that He loves us, and we argue that this life lets us see that for ourselves. Yes, but if we ultimately cannot reject what He gives us, what is the difference of not having it at all? Why have this life-but-a-vapor-vanishing-away, if the end result is the same as not having experienced evil and suffering? Is there some wisdom in knowing how to harm your brother? I don’t see any possibility for it.

I believe there is a reason for this life, and I believe we all get to do with it as we please. I believe God will judge. I believe God will judge based on our choices, not on our sins. There is no choice if there is ultimately only one option. Accordingly, we would could never be judged on choice. There can be no judgement is if there is only one possibility. I choose to view God’s judgement a just, not imaginary. If there is such a thing as good, there is such a thing as evil, and there will be a day of reckoning.

Ultimately, there are two, and only two, possibilities. God, reason, meaning, purpose, reality, are real, or not. If yes is assumed, then two conditions must be real and eternal possibilities, with God, or not with God. None of it makes any sense otherwise. Of course, nothing hinges on whether or not it make sense, to me or anyone, but I just have nothing else to go on. If I assume God gave me this mind, and that reason is real, then I must do my best. My best rejects universalism at all levels.

To suppose the universe is only a few thousand years old makes God out to be a deceiver. I reject that notion and all that leads to it. To suppose universalism makes God out to be trivial and triffiling. Again, I reject that notion and all that leads to it.

There is only so much time. We’ve already used up about 13 billion years worth. That raises all sorts of questions. We don’t know how much more time there is, but a few hundred billion more years, something less than 100 times what has already passed, seems reasonable from what we know so far. And that is an unimaginable amount of time when considering less than a century for us humans.

Eternity is unimaginable even in light of hundreds of billions of years. And orthodoxy has assumed that eternity starts somewhere near the end of this brief moment of breathing. Nearly all of the greatest minds have agreed for two millenia now. Yet some think they know better. They have an easy way, and they are sticking to it. No, nothing is easy.

I believe in justice; I believe in God’s justice, and I do not think anyone is judged unfairly or without all that was needed for a favorable judgement. I don’t believe non-Christians all receive unfavorable judgements. I don’t believe the innumerable souls who died before Jesus, before Abraham, all receive unfavorable judgements. I believe each of us knows what is right, and if we choose to do it, I trust God’s mercy and judgement. Justice will be served, and that judgement comes at some point and eternity follows. There is no more time. No more possibility of appeal or commutation. The preliminaries are complete at that point, and with God or without, the real journey begins. Like the rich man in Jesus’ story of Lazarus, no one can cross over from one side to the other. Distance obviously didn’t matter, but the divide was immutable. Eternity must be immutable, or it is not eternal. (Thus, time, for now.)

If free will means anything, and nothing else can mean anything at all without it, then these are the things I must hold. This is what I must accept if I am to be honest.

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