Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

WHERE IS THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM?

May 26, 2014

Today, there is a lot of talk about the wonders of science and technology, with little mention of any downside. The same science used to create medicine and jumbo jets has also resulted in nuclear and bio weapons and, has left our planet polluted possibly beyond repair. A science that produced the world wide web and remote controlled devices, has created an alternate reality where people interact face-to-face, less and less.

Modern technology is making us more introverted, self-engaged and lost within our own “virtual” existence. This can be dangerous on many levels, creating a social environment with less and less love and feeling for each other. It seems like American society is becoming less and less friendly; a society where everybody talks and nobody listens.

I was raised in working-class neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, where the majority of families were supported by a single wage-earner’s income. Yet I never once heard of a child without access to health, dental and optical care. Out of 3800 mostly working class students in my high school, I never heard of a single one who was either hungry or homeless.

The term “homeless” was essentially off the public radar in Southern California until after I graduated from high school in 1968. I don’t recall this word being mentioned in any media or in any conversation during my entire childhood. “Poverty” referred to people living on Indian reservations, in Appalachia, Central and South America and especially Africa. There was virtually no conception of poverty within our own blue-collar environment.

As children, we interacted with a large group of other kids outside for hours nearly every day. We often played after dark and in local parks without parental supervision or fear of abduction. We learned to interact with each other on a face-to-face peer basis and experienced a healthy childhood reality.

Kids today often spend a lot of time alone or with one or two close friends, interacting with computers, movies, television, computer games, texting and talking on cellphones. Rather than interacting in real life situations, our children are growing up in a virtual world of digital unreality.

Many studies indicate obesity, suicide, attention deficit disorder and other serious problems are on the rise. Every year brings more media reports of growing school and public space violence. Our nation is artificially divided by a profit-driven media into “red” and “blue” sides, even though the vast majority of us share common complaints about corrupt leaders and concerns of our children’s future.

Today, many Americans working two or more jobs don’t earn nearly enough to provide what working-class citizens once took for granted. Meanwhile, American cities are “dealing” with growing poverty by arresting and criminalizing the poor. Apparently, we incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other nation on earth.

Albert Einstein reportedly said: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” Where is the great American dream?

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CAN CHARLES DARWIN BE TRUSTED?

April 3, 2014

Historical people, like the rest of us, sometimes contradict themselves and often change their minds over time.  It is generally fair to conclude what scientists say in their older age represents their true lifetime professional opinion, rather than what they might have said when they were younger.

Human language definition often changes over historical time and words sometimes develop multiple meanings.  To be fair and accurate, one must consider how words were defined when they were spoken, rather than how those same words might be defined today.  Careful historians apply a discipline called “philology” to help understand human language in historical context.

For example, broad-brushing the American founders as “deists”, a consistent bad habit of modern educators, is a historical lie.  The majority ascribed to some form of Christianity and, the very few who claimed to be deists apparently believed God hears prayers and interacts with human affairs.  There is no evidence any American founder was a deist as the term is normally defined today.

Charles Darwin, in the opening sentences of his final revision of “On The Origin of Species”, is humble enough to credit our Creator for being behind whatever universal processes and reality there may be. This edition was published about five years prior to Darwin’s death and thus, it represents a lifetime conclusion.

Some ‘scholars’ today, pretending they can somehow know Darwin’s intentions, claim that he only mentioned God to make his wife and family happy and to otherwise appease the religious leaders of his day.  Because Darwin throughout his lifetime consistently openly debated with religious leaders and others concerning his ideas, such a claim has no historical merit.  One might fairly ask, if we can’t trust Darwin regarding this most fundamental of human beliefs, how can we trust anything else he said?

Perhaps Darwin made no mention of our Creator in his first edition because the overwhelming evidence for creation was agreed to by the vast majority of scholars of his time.  Maybe only after the publishing of his theories had caused considerable controversy, did Darwin then find it necessary to place our Creator where he, like Einstein and Jefferson apparently believed God belongs, far above all human science, reason and understanding.

In a letter published two years before his death, Darwin strongly denies being an atheist, saying his mind was “mainly agnostic but not entirely”.  Because agnostic at that time sometimes referred to distrust in religion and human claims about God, rather than questioning God’s existence, Darwin could attest to our Creator and still remain agnostic but not entirely without contradiction.

Is it fair to pretend one of human history’s greatest scientists can’t be trusted to be honest regarding what he fundamentally believed?  Is it fair to just arbitrarily ignore various words ascribed to Jefferson, Einstein and Darwin because modern liars don’t like what they actually said? Is it fair to speak for historical people, rather than allowing their own words to speak for them?

Can Charles Darwin be trusted?  You decide.

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WAS HURRICANE KATRINA GOD’S JUDGMENT?

December 28, 2009

One would assume that if Pat Robertson and John Hagee are correct about Hurricane Katrina being God’s judgment on the liberal folks of New Orleans, then it logically follows that recent extensive tornado damage in the conservative rural South and, extending into Hagee’s own home turf of Texas, represents the Creator’s wrath against pro-war, right-wing religious conservatives.

A recent infestation of zillions of ants in the greater Houston area sounds a whole lot like biblical plagues to me, but who am I, an untrained common layman, to argue?  However, what about the recent invasion of tiny frogs in Bakersfield?  What does the Creator have against Merle Haggard?

And logically following, since citizens of Pat Robertson’s red state of Virginia recently voted in record numbers for “godless” liberals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the home of Robertson’s onward Christian soldiers of fortune must be high on the Creator’s retribution list.

It becomes a rather selective and dangerous path to tread down when those claiming to represent Jesus, while promoting the opposite of what he actually said and did, determine within their own self-righteous minds, to point the fickle finger of judgment at others.  Perhaps there is a good reason why Jesus taught to “judge not, that you be not judged”.

If weather is a fair and reliable barometer of God’s judgment, then one must consider recent earthquakes in China and Iran, not to mention the great 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resultant Tsunami.  And, one could go on and on, about recent horrific fires worsened by severe winds in California, drought in several farm belt states and unusually severe winters in the Northeast.

If one truly believes the New Testament record, as Robertson and Hagee claim to do, then according to what Jesus actually said, God will judge the United States and every other nation by whether or not we help the sick and poor.  And according to the prophet Ezekiel in the Old Testament, God destroyed Sodom because she did not help her sick and poor.

Logically one would assume then, that the most patriotic thing for Pat Robertson, John Hagee and the rest of us to do, would be to stop pointing a finger of judgment at everyone else and instead, start using our energy and excess financial resources to help the less fortunate among us.

Come to think of it, perhaps Robertson and Hagee have a point.  Just why wouldn’t our Creator be angry with a nation that is responsible for the deaths of over a million Iraqi civilians and the maiming of millions more, while it’s citizens back home continue to ignore homeless seniors, veterans and children, vote for leaders who oppose universal healthcare, allow imprisonment without trial and torture and, purchase SUV’s in the face of looming oil shortages and a global warming crises?

Maybe we have been weighed in the great divided red-blue state historical balances and found more than a little severely wanting.  Was Hurricane Katrina God’s judgment on New Orleans?  You decide.

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WHY IS BILL MAHER LYING TO AMERICANS? ~ Does Belief in God Really Cause War?

October 17, 2009

Unlike in the time of Thomas Jefferson, when “Creator”, “religion” and “church” represented three distinct ideas, “religion” today is a very loaded term.  It is entirely inaccurate, as Bill Maher and other atheists often do, to lump belief in God, organized religion and the evil that adherents of a particular religion engage in, together under a common term and then, to place the blame there for humanity’s problems.

For example, Jesus is very clearly not the founder of Christianity or anything remotely like it, nor is it any more fair to blame Jesus for what people do in his name, than it is to blame Copernicus and Isaac Newton for Hiroshima.  The same applies in varying degrees to Buddha, Confucius, Zarathustra and certain other so-called “founders” of various religions.  There is no greater critic of fundamentalist religion or religious hypocrisy in history than Jesus, nor is there any greater advocate for personal, local and global peace.

Like religion, science and education are historically intimately entwined with war and human oppression on a massive scale, tracing back from ever more effective designs for ancient war chariots, DaVinci’s war-machine inventions and, on up through the Manhattan Project, the modern-day military industrial complex and ever worse weapons of mass destruction.  The American, French, Russian and several other revolutions were fomented by so-called “enlightened” intellectuals.

It is correct to say religion is a tool often used to foment war and human oppression and, it’s just as fair to point out science and education are often used for the same purpose.  However, it is not accurate to pretend either one is a root “cause” of human aggression. Believers in God and scientists both often leave a positive legacy and, many of history’s most revered individuals demonstrated a profound personal belief in God.  Jesus correctly singled out religious hypocrisy, rather than belief in God, as having a significant negative societal impact.

Since the invention of printing, which helped break the societal stranglehold of organized religion, justification for war has more and more been shifted away from religious to other excuses.  In a so-called “post-Enlightenment Age”, wars are now often fought in the name of democracy, freedom, communism, socialism, anarchism and even human rights.  Those who blame belief in God for war, rather than placing the blame for war where it squarely belongs, on individual human beings making their own poor choices, are plainly liars.

According to Jesus and some New Testament authors and, according to ALL known scientific and historical evidence, the root cause of humanity’s problems is sin, causing individual human frustration, greed and aggression, resulting in negative choices being made by individual human beings.  Families, tribes, cities, states, nations, armies, religions, political parties, corporations, unions, educational institutions, professional scientists and all other “groupings” of human beings, are made up of individual people, each making their own individual choices.

It would be refreshing if modern educators and people like Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens could grow up just a little and, begin placing the blame for humanity’s problems where it belongs, squarely on our own self-contradicting shoulders. Perhaps then, a modern species in grave peril of losing it’s own commonly shared global habitat, could begin to have a little more unbiased and accurate understanding of where Jesus and the authors of the Bible are actually coming from.

Were the American, French, Russian and Chinese revolutions, WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Iraq, among hundreds of other wars from the 20th Century forward, caused more by belief in God, organized religion, intellectual idealism, nationalism or just plain old common human greed, as ALL wars can invariably be traced back to?  Does belief in God really cause war?  You decide.

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IS RICHARD DAWKINS SMARTER THAN JESUS?

October 17, 2009

Many intellectuals claim some of what Jesus taught was first said by other people and, Jesus himself might be the first to agree.  Human rights, morality and ethics are clearly based on a shared human conscience, something the authors of the Bible, Thomas Jefferson and the historical evidence all strongly agree concerning and, something the ACLU, Richard Dawkins and many other ivory tower pedagogues apparently, have entirely overlooked.

Unlike many modern educators, Jesus is not about stroking his own ego by pushing his own private vision and agenda.  Rather, Jesus is about promoting the “best” idea that will best help humanity.  Thus, if an idea was already the best, Jesus used it, if it could be improved upon, he improved on it and, if he had a better idea, he taught that instead.

This is a far more advanced and “enlightened” concept of education than we find in this so-called “post-Enlightenment” age, where various “pop” pundits are out to make it big on best seller lists by pushing “their” supposedly “new” ideas.  As the Bible says, “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Regardless of how we change and re-arrange terminology, violence, human oppression, suffering, sorrow and, the solution for alleviating and eliminating them remains the same.

We live in an age of extreme soapbox bias, an age of defending various political, intellectual, religious and other “sides”, rather than an age centered on a search for what is really true and, what actually might be the best idea.  Modern education is divided into distinct categories like “science”, “history” and, “religion”, as if we can divide up reality and expect to have any idea what is actually true.  We conveniently place Jesus in “religion” category and thus, our children entirely lose out on the best ideas in human history.

Jesus taught that treating other people like we want them to treat us is the sum of all wisdom; does Richard Dawkins have a better foundation for human rights?  Jesus implied the more we know what is true, the more free we will become; does Richard Dawkins have a better foundation for education?  According to Jesus, a common grass flower is better clothed than Solomon was; does Richard Dawkins have a better foundation for environmental awareness?

Jesus taught the way to honor God is to love our neighbor as ourselves; does Richard Dawkins have a better foundation for morality and ethics?  Jesus taught the way to achieve peace is to put away our swords and spread peace and goodwill, rather than like scientists, create more and bigger swords, which is the Greek, Roman, American and world civilization history method of “securing the peace”.  Does Richard Dawkins have a better idea?

Why do modern scientists, after 10,000 years of moral education to the contrary, continue to create weapons of mass destruction?  In a post-Enlightenment age of atheism, science and wonder, why does war and the poor still remain with us, as Jesus predicted they would?

Richard Dawkins implies Jesus was delusional.  Is he smarter than Jesus?  Is anybody smarter than Jesus?  You decide.

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