Posts Tagged ‘independent’

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?

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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IS THE GOLDEN RULE REALLY THE BEST IDEA?

May 28, 2010

What is today known as the “golden rule”, is found in similar form in at least 37 often non-connected cultures.  Thus, the laws of God are clearly written on the conscience of humanity, as the Bible claims and as Jefferson echoed in the Declaration of Independence.

According to Jesus, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets”.  The added, “for this is the law and the prophets” in the society of Jesus, meant similar to as if today someone said, “this is the foundation of human rights and the sum and purpose of all reason, wisdom, philosophy, science, education, morality and ethics.”  Is this really the best idea for achieving human rights in the modern age?

Upon closer examination, most of the so-called “golden rules” found in other societies, including the one attributed to the Jewish teacher Hillel, are considerably different than that taught by Jesus.  A similar one to Jesus is found in a saying attributed to Mencius.  But unlike Mencius and all of the other known sages of history, only Jesus gives this positive, pro-active version the all-important status of being the foundation for all that matters towards positive human enlightenment and achievement.

So-called “golden rules” found in most societies instruct us not to harm others as we do not wish them to harm us.  But Jesus teaches us to reach out and help other people, even if they do not first help us. Consider how much less effective it is to tell a child not to harm someone, than teaching the same child to pro-actively treat others as they like to be treated.  For example, is a homeless widow better off if someone just doesn’t harm her or, if someone provides her food and shelter?  Isn’t it far more effective to teach us to help each other than just saying we should do no harm?

Some modern intellectuals claim we should instead, treat other people as “they” wish to be treated.  This supposed “improvement” contains at least two significant flaws:  1) It is rather difficult to know how another person wants us to treat them unless we first befriend them as we wish to be treated.  2) If we treat others as they wish to be treated without any measurement against our own well-being, we will soon be extremely tired, penniless and destitute.

Today, the term “empathy” is favored by many, apparently because it is less religious sounding than the idea of loving our neighbor as ourself.  Although it is a good idea to empathize with others, is this idea really an improvement over teaching us to pro-actively love our neighbor as ourselves?

Is the Jesus version of the golden rule the best idea?  Does anybody else have a better idea for curing what ails a race called “human”?  Do we want less than the best for our children?  You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

GOD: a perspective

April 4, 2010

Ancient Galilee covered an area of approximately 1,000 square miles. The area of the earth is about 197 million square miles.  Thus, it would take approximately 197,000 ancient Galilees to cover the surface of the earth.

Earth is larger than it’s immedite neighbor planets.  But, roughly 1,400 earths would fit by volume inside of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.  And yet, the sun compromises over 99.8% of the total mass of this same solar system.

Most astronomers believe our sun is larger than an average star.  Yet, our sun is tiny compared to a star called Arcturus.  And, Arcturus in turn, is very small compared to another star known as Antares.  VY Canis Majoris is the largest known star in the universe and next to it in illustration in a typical book-sized drawing, our sun becomes essentially invisible to the unaided eye.

Even this largest of stars would easily fit within the vastness of our own solar system.  But our solar system is but a grain of sand in a Milky Way galaxy of 200 billion stars, which is about only 1/5 the size of galaxy M-31, also known as Andromeda, estimated to be 220,000 light years in diameter.  And yet, M-31 is miniscule compared to the estimated 6 million plus light year diameters of the largest known galaxies.

Space is so vast, that the nearest star to our sun is over 24 trillion miles away and yet, there are an estimated 100 billion galaxies of stars in the observable universe.  Some scientists believe that the currently visible approximately 13.5 billion light year radius, represents an area smaller than a period on this page, compared to the actual size of our universe.  And some scientists believe there may be as many universes as there are stars in our own.

It is fair to say that creation may go on forever and ever.  And thus, someone standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee today might feel overwhelmed and incredibly insignificant. But this is only part of a much larger or as some might argue, smaller picture.

There are an estimated 10 trillion cells in an average adult human body, perhaps 50 times as many as there stars in our Milky Way galaxy.  And about 100 trillion micro-organisms live in a typical adult human gut, about 100 times as many as there are stars estimated to be in the Andromeda (M-31) galaxy.

About 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms are thought to be contained in a typical adult human body.  Atoms are similar in size of our solar system in relation to the sun and and planets, in comparison to the size of various sub-atomic particles within them. And similar to the sun in relation to the planets, the nucleus of an atom contains over 99% of its total mass.

If someone were to illustrate an atom in true scale, showing its protons and neutrons as being about 1.5 inches in diameter, then electrons and much smaller yet other particles, would be less than 0.1 millimeter in size and, the atom itself would be about 6.25 miles in diameter.

Human beings are very large in the light of subatomic particles and, very small compared to the size of the observable universe, thus we are placed inbetween the largest and smallest expressions of creation art.  And, just as a great artist like Rembrant might paint a large mural and yet, pay close attention to the smallest detail of facial expression and slightest variation of color, how much more then, does our Father in heaven, in a grand expression of creation art, pay close attention to the most microscopic realities of creation?

And then, there is the sacrifice of God’s son for the human race on a Roman cross, the ultimate expression of God’s love beyond any and all magnitude of comprehension. Thus, it is no small wonder that no one can deserve God, no matter how righteous, intelligent, strong or otherwise superior to others, we in vain may fancy ourselves to be.

Many people casually assume their religion or viewpoint of God is mainly correct, without ever stopping to consider what and who the known evidence demonstrates God really is and, how little they actually know about either God, life, love or anything else.  Atheists and agnostics pretend the grand design of the universe could somehow magically exist without any Grand Designer, as if a living being as incredibly complex as a fruit fly, could somehow randomly appear on it’s own and magically over time, change into a somewhat less credible human being fancing him or herself as being “educated”.

Thus, we should be quite careful about trusting religionists, scientists and other educators to actually know much more of value than the average truck driver or motel maid.  And, we should be even more careful about passing on to our children what we supposedly know is true about God.

Or otherwise, will the lies we tell our children and mis-information we leave them, come back to haunt us for a very, very, very long time? After all, as the Bible says, let God be true but every man and woman a liar and, there is a most obvious of reasons for the cross.

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

IS THE BIBLE REALLY ACCURATE?

February 8, 2010

This question of necessity raises several other fundamental questions, forcing one to think outside the modern English language box in regards to long-cherished and deeply-held beliefs of religious orthodoxy, historical, intellectual and other misconceptions.  And if that doesn’t adequately describe 21st Century American religious, scientific, educational, political and other confusion, most likely nothing ever will.
For example, note the rather threatening tone implied in the King James English:

1) Thou shalt not kill,
2) Thou shalt not steal and
3) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

The conservative religious sounding tone and threatening archaic style of this language here in a digital age land of once shining seas, likely comes across as threatening, mean-spirited and religiously offensive to most Americans, as it does to me personally.

Instead of insisting on using the flowery archaic King James version commonly found and far less commonly followed, in many conservative fundamentalist hard on one’s backside pews of today, consider how the original Hebrew could and arguably should be translated into our modern common usage English reality:

You shouldn’t kill.
You shouldn’t steal.
You shouldn’t say untrue things about your neighbor.

By revising the same English language into modern usage form while remaining fair to the original source, a much more reasonable sounding, kinder and less threatening God suddenly emerges, in language making perfect sense if God actually cares about people.  As opposed for example, to a vague and distant “deist” type of God, who doesn’t give a damn about how we treat each other or otherwise, rape, pillage and pollute his creation to the  high heavens, kingdom come and beyond to our collective capitalist enterprising hearts’ content. 

Virtually all modern progressives are in complete agreement with these three basic moral laws, even if they don’t ever read the Bible or even believe in God.  Thus, among other things, this short illustration demonstrates how language and other cultural barriers, in particular from centuries past using the same “English” language, often leads to all manner of erroneous misconceptions, conclusions, deliberate falsifications and outright lies.

Today the archaic King James English version is invariably branded by liberals as belonging in a category labeled “religion”, being entirely undesirable to even mentioned in a supposed “free and democratic society”.  While the less religious sounding updated English example is universally viewed as being basic to human rights, common decency, morality and ethics.

And, it remains a significant cornerstone of not only American, but global ethics, morality and legal law.  Not to mention, it is both prudent and correct to adhere to such common moral decency if we are to have any hope of living in a peaceful and just 21st Century reality.

How accurate is the Bible? Perhaps a better question is, just how badly deceived and otherwise completely and entirely misinformed, are modern-day Americans in general and, often hard working, tax paying and, most unfortunately for everybody including their own children, “church going” sincere religious fundamentalists in particular? 

You decide.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article

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.

Link to footnotes and documentation for this article