Archive for category Law

Love Does It My Way

coverThere have been very few instances in my life where someone has shown me a book, I’ve read it, and it significantly changed my life for good or ill. So when, for nearly a year, my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline routinely had quotes from and reviews of Bob Goff’s book Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, I had cautioned optimism that perhaps there might be something I was missing out on by not yet having read it myself. So, after finishing a fiction book this summer, I decided to finally give the book a try. My cautiousness was warranted. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Abolition of Man

There are very few things in life that are quite as satisfying as a good answer to a very tough question. Last night I had an opportunity to find one of these answers that had been bothering my thoughts for probably over a year. So for this article I decided to regale you all with the question and the answer I found.

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It’s Not Logical Captain

As I was sitting down after finally having a chance to write this week in semi-peace, I thought about something I had heard a few days ago and it made no sense to me at all. And although it doesn’t take much to flummox my meager little mind, this was something that no one else I asked seemed to have the answer to either; not even the people who said it to being with.

The matter in question is that of what has been described to me as “earthly logic.” Now obviously we are on the earth. And we do use logic. Therefore, all logic on earth is earthly logic. Even that was logical. But the term is only used when I am in the presence of Christian types who apparently get their kicks from giving me a terminal migraine. You would know them as those crazy fundamentalists. The term “earthly logic” is used by them to be juxtaposed against its obvious counterpart: “heavenly logic.” So logically, these two are mirror images of each-other and using one means not using the other.

Now apparently, this “heavenly logic” is somewhat different from “earthly logic.” The way I understand it, it means, well… no logic. In other words, a statement completely void of any rationality and would in any other setting (and it is) be discounted and rubbish and thrown into the garbage can after a good laugh and pat on the back. But lets have an example shall we? First let us consider a simple statement using “earthly logic” and then after that use “heavenly logic” to prove something in the same manner.

So, “earthly logic.” Given: When a computer is on, its power light glows. The power light is glowing. Therefore, the computer is on.

And, “heavenly logic.” Given: Whatever the Bible says is true. The Bible says the Bible is true. Therefore, the Bible is true.

Now obviously the first syllogism has a problem, the given statement before the logic could be false. The light might be out and the computer could be on anyway. But by and large the first “earthly logic” statement would be considered logical. However, the second example, the “heavenly logic” is a paradox. It is self-fulfilling and thus also self-contradictory. Plus, the given statement is something of an opinion and is not provable using the current logical information provided.

The example I have shown you is a common theme in Christianity today. Whenever a Christian doesn’t like an argument, they usually pull out the old “well thats earthly logic” routine to downplay any point the opposition has put forward. I have heard this statement personally from ministers on down through the memberships and even into the teens. They all seem to think, or at least propose for the sake of winning their argument by default, that there exists a separate logic with which to play by: that of heavenly logic.

Now far be it from me to use this article to try and say that Christianity is illogical. Far from it! I believe whole-heartedly that all of Christianity… well at least rational Christianity is well… rational, and subject to testing via all logical arguments. What I AM saying in this article is that there are no differences between “heavenly” and “earthly” logic. All logic is logic. ((Wikipedia – Logic))

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by turning the “heavenly logic” around on itself. Lets supposed I make the following observation: the bible could be a simple collection of stories. Stories are not always true. Therefore, some of the bible may not be true. Now I don’t believe this, but I’m using it as an illustration. A “heavenly logic proponent would say, “You are using earthly logic, what you are saying isn’t true.” Lets look at their argument based on their own observation: “earthly logic” may not always be true. What I just said was “earthly logic.” Therefore, it may not (or as always in these cases, IS not) true. Sound familiar? It’s the same argument but wrapped up in something that looks like “heavenly logic.”

“Heavenly logic” can then be described in two ways. One way is to say there is no difference so they are using the same logic we are. And this is reasonable to say. In fact God himself uses logic all the time, “earthly logic” I might add. The second way, and normally the way it should be interpreted is, no logic or an anti-logic. A way of reasoning that suspends all rational thought and instead substitutes personal wishes or quotes of authority.

This second way sheds light on the people who say it: anti-intellectuals. ((Wikipedia – Anti-Intellectuals)) These are people who would rather not try and reason their way through a paper bag in case they find something, like in my bible logic syllogism, that could tear their whole life apart. The reason this can happen is that they have set themselves up for this to happen. Like in the “the bible is true because it says so” case, most of their reasoning, if you can call it that, is self sustaining and will crumble if challenged. Thus, these people decry all intellectual pursuits as counter to their own cause. They say that science and schools are out to get them because something science has found has disproved one of their non-changing and irrational beliefs that holds up an entire chain of other facts. ((Their Own Version of a Big Bang by Stephanie Simon – LA Times)) If the one link fails then they all fail.

The most common of these is the Creation (again). Fundamentalists and anti-intellectuals will say: What the bible says is true because God wrote it. If the bible says it happened in 6 days, it happened in six days. All other notions are wrong. Now should something come along and say, “but this notion seems to be right,” bad things happen to the argument. If one other notion is right, then the Creation may not have happened in 6 days, therefore the bible is wrong, therefore God is wrong, and therefore God does not exist. It is for this reason that most evolutionary science is denounced as a purely atheistic propaganda vehicle with no other purpose than to disprove God.

Now it is true there is some logic behind this thinking, its very very bad logic, but it is logic. The problem is that logic is an interlinking thing, especially when it comes to something as complex as the Christian religion. Just because one previously held theory (yes THEORY) of how to interpret the bible has failed in light of some external factor, does not mean that another one will come in to take its place. When the six-day theory failed, the day-age theory stepped in. If it fails, another will take its place. Logic chains this complex can adjust to new information to make the web more and more complete and sturdy.

Logic is tool that is to be used as a vehicle for proofs and for deduction. Proving that the computer may be on despite the power light not being on does not mean that there is no computer. Just as proving the six-day theory wrong doesn’t mean God exist. It means you need to back up and change the logic and see if it fits with the new information. Are there other ways to see if the computer is on? Yes, many. Then there are also many logical arguments that will always lead back to God and all are based on “earthly logic.” It’s only logical.

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Open, Closed, or Slightly Ajar?

What is it about skeptics and their unrelenting urge to call me close minded? They say I’m not open minded enough. They say I’m too fixed on one position and unwilling to listen to their arguments. However, I believe it is they who are close minded. And I’ll prove it too.

What is open minded anyway? Let us consult a dictionary shall we? says open mindedness is:

o·pen-mind·ed (pn-mndd)

Having or showing receptiveness to new and different ideas or the opinions of others.

So, what does this mean? From the looks of it, it means being ready and able to take other people’s opinions and views on issues, considering them thoroughly and then either accepting or rejecting it based on evidence previously collected. I sure don’t see anything about believing the other person’s view, or stopping the belief in my own views.

In my book, being open minded is about listening to the other person or group. Its about debate and logic. And ultimately its about rejection or acceptance. Beyond that, its about respecting the other person’s view and the choice that they made to accept that view and the expectation that they will show you the same consideration.

What about close mindedness? What is that? Going back to good ol’, we see that close minded means:

close-mind·ed (klsmndd, klz-) or closed-mind·ed (klzd-)

Intolerant of the beliefs and opinions of others; stubbornly unreceptive to new ideas.

So what does this mean? Looks like, the moment you hear someone’s opinion and it doesn’t agree with yours, and you haven’t considered that view thoroughly before, and you reject it outright or you use ad homonym attacks rather than logic to debate the view, that is close mindedness.

Now, lets look at what I do. Say I go into a chat room and there are wiccans or democrats, or whatever, talking. My self, I would listen to their views and try to understand why it is they believe what they believe. Not only does that increase my knowledge, but it helps me understand their view and how, if necessary, to debate them on topics. I would ask a lot of questions, some to get answers, and some to make them question their own views so we both can understand the basis for their stance. I have gotten a lot of respect for my approach from various people who will go unnamed. And I in turn learn to respect their opinion, and if well presented and debates are well argued, we learn to agree to disagree and build mutual respect for each other’s views.

There is one group of people who I run into problems with. That would be the group of “open minded” individuals called liberals, or anti-religious, or anti-conservative, or anti-morals, you get the picture. When I try to ask questions to them, I’m called stupid or an idiot. If I try and bring up a point, they shoot it down with nothing more than an argument similar to “thats a retarded stance” or “you’re just a puppet for the religious right.” If I try and debate them, they use old, worn out arguments that have substantial evidence to the contrary. If you show them the evidence they claim its fabricated or untrustworthy. If you challenge their argument you’re a moron. In other words, if you dont believe them, then you have no standing.

So my question is, who is open minded? I’ve been called everything by these people. Holy roller, jesus freak, homophobe, neo-con, nazi, idiot, jew (so much for that diversity stuff they believe in), arrogant, freak, etc, etc, etc. In contrast, unless they start in on the ad homonym attacks, I dont believe I have ever personally attacked a debate partner before. I may be wrong, but if I have, I can’t remember it. (cept where Ger is concerned) But it is I who am the close minded one. Why? Because, I have considered their arguments before and have concluded that their arguments are not substantial enough to warrant accepting. If I only saw things their way, I would be open minded again.

Maybe its time for them to consider MY arguments thoroughly. Maybe its time they considered the idea that THEY may be wrong once and again. I have, believe me. I have challenged more stuff about God and the bible than most of them every have, in any real sense anyway (you know, the kind of challenges that require real thought and not blatant “i hate religion so it must be wrong”) And yet now that I have decided on what is truth, I am close minded because, even though I’m willing to listen and consider, I’m not always willing to take them at their word.

Come on guys. You’re not open minded. You’ve locked yourselves away in a vault and refuse to even peek out. How about we just say its time for you just be a tad bit ajar-minded?

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The Moral Blue Wall

Too many times I hear the phrase “the moral police” used in accordance with over zealous christians who want to impose their view of morals on the people of this world. And as much as I would love to say the opposite, the people of the world are right on this one.

Christians out there, Im talking to you. What give us the right to tell other people how to live? What gives us the right to dictate what others do or what they take into themselves. Be it music, art, television, movies, whatever, I hear too many times “well, that just shouldn’t be on TV” or “That music is horrible, it should be banned!”

Where does the Bible say “And ye shall smite the infidel with the law of God” or “Make disciples of all nations, by holding them at gunpoint”? Because thats basically what you’re admitting to doing by engaging in such reckless disregard for the free will of others. Is it not the muslims who convert by sword? Was it not the nazis who converted by gun? Who then are we when we say “take such-and-such off the air so no one can see it”? How are we any better?

People are not going to see the error of their ways because you quash their entertainment. In fact the opposite will occur! Take away a child’s toy and he will hate you. Hide something from a child and he will want to see it. Forbidden fruit is tempting and all the more delicious because it is forbidden. So then, if vile and disgusting media exists, and we hide it from everyone, what do you think will happen? They will want to see it all the more.

The fact of the matter is that we cannot change anyone by changing the media. The world is the world after all and we are told to not become like it yet still live within it. Not once in the New Testament is someone changed by destroying all that conflicts with God’s word. In fact just the opposite. Paul used the Unknown God in Athens to teach people about the true God. What do you think would have happened had he gone in and destroyed or stolen all the idols of Athens? He would have been executed by a mob. And what good would he have done to the world had that happened?

Matthew 7:1-5
1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Judging the world by your standards is ridiculous by any stretch of the imagination. If we did something here in America that was illegal in Japan, is it just and fair for the Japanese to come arrest us? No! So then, why do we consider it just and fair to chastise those who do not submit to the law as we have? For their souls? To save them from God’s wrath? The ends do not justify the means!

We submit to the law voluntarily, meaning we have a choice to submit or not too. Yet then some turn around and want to force others to submit without a choice because they think they know what’s best for them. But how could they? The Bible does not teach this kind of practice. In fact it teaches the opposite.

In every case in the New Testament, people were converted by the word. And I don’t mean the word in so far as how it would send them to hell if they don’t follow it. They were persuaded by the fact there was salvation for them. Only then did they accept to be judged by God. I know you ask “well, how do they know they needed salvation?” Because the word appealed to them as human and they saw they were messed up on the inside.

But if they were told they were messed up inside instead of coming to that conclusion on their own, that would only have served to alienate them. You cannot dictate who is sinning and who is not! Who is the judge of such things? Is it not the one who writes the law? And is that you? No! You are but a follower of the law. You are not the judge.

Therefore, the way to conversion is through a personal means. If you want to make someone not listen to music, sit down with them as a friend and ask them why they listen to it. Ask them why it appeals to them. And work from there. Screaming “sinner” will get you no where and will only serve to make those you want to preach to hate you and despise your kind.

Personally, I think those who want to ban the world from practices which are worldly are those who are unsure of their own faith. They are too weak in their own mind to resist the world and are tempted by worldly things. Instead of fleeing from the temptation, like we are taught to, they seek to destroy it for everyone. Instead of dealing with their own weakness they simply want to destroy the source of the temptation. Thats like trying to fix a termite weakened house by trying to kill every termite in the world one by one. It cant happen.

We are to individually deal with temptation. Worldly things will exist as long as there is a world. Does this mean that they are not subject to the same laws we are? By no means. God will judge by his law. But we are not his hammer. If you don’t like the music, turn it off. Don’t want your children watching trash? Teach them why it is trash. But don’t target producers and labels when you cant control yourself or raise your children to be conscientious about sin.

“The Devil made be do it” wasn’t a valid excuse for anyone before. Why now is it a valid excuse to blame media when you control the remote?

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