Wednesday, August 27, 2014
If you see writing here, then Google finally condescended to GIVE the blogging service it claims to be giving. I'm trying to record here a thought I've long had.
There's one problem with the currently popular preference for saying "He made good choices" or "He made bad choices." This way of talking can come across as if you're saying that the person DIDN'T KNOW WHAT he was choosing between -- as if he was presented with two closed boxes and could only guess what was in them. Now, many decisions in life ARE made, even HAVE TO be made, on a blind guess.... but not ALL decisions. There are also cases when a person DESIRES IN ADVANCE to do wrong, plans it and looks forward to it. In those instances, there is no accidental "mistake" involved, but rather intentional wrongdoing.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
Calvinism arose in resistance to arbitrary tyranny by the Church of Rome. Calvinists then proceeded to imagine God as _also_ being arbitrarily tyrannical. We read in Matthew 22:14 that many are called, but few are chosen. A perfectly sufficient explanation for this is that most _refuse_ God's invitation by their own will; but for Calvinists, that explanation doesn't seem to make God "sovereign" enough. Obsessed _only_ with God being powerful and invincible, Calvinists base all their thinking on His power and control; then they say that _anything_ they imagine Him doing _must_ somehow be good-- which, of course, is the same thing that trembling lackeys will say about any _human_ tyrant. So they insist that God entirely _forces_ people to refuse or accept His invitation, without _them_ ever having any say about it. Yet, in language which their own doctrine renders meaningless, they still _claim_ that He's calling to everyone. Of course, if God unilaterally _makes_ most people reject Him, He _isn't_ calling all people, He's only pretending to. In order to protect their morally-bankrupt ideas from being challenged, Calvinists will say, "It's a mystery, and the argument will never be resolved in this world." What they really _mean_ is that they want NON-Calvinists to shut up, while the Calvinists keep right on preaching micro-predestination as aggressively as ever.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
As of this entry, I am very close to completing Volume One of the Eliot Granholm saga. This introductory novel, set in the years 2166 through 2168, is titled "Journey of the Grey Eagle." Eliot Granholm is a pediatric surgeon, and the VERY LAST Christian on Earth (although by this time the planets Mars and Mercury have been colonized, and Christians enjoy freedom of religion and speech there). What prevents Eliot from simply being stomped on like a bug is the fact that he acquires superhuman powers. Sort of like a kinder, gentler version of X-Man Wolverine escaping from the experimenters.
Friday, November 1, 2013
If you create an alternate-universe television series, imagining if Sherlock Holmes lived in modern times, this gives you plenty of latitude to put words in the mouth of the 21st-century Holmes. The reputation for genius of the original Holmes character means that _anything_ you want to tell your audience, once placed in the mouth of _your_ Holmes, can be made to seem brilliant and indisputable. But if you are a bootlicking lackey of the politically-correct pop culture, you won't try to provide any _actual_ wisdom to the viewers; instead, you'll use your Holmes-bot as a flattery device for leftwing urban audiences. You'll program him to tell those yuppies that whatever they wanted to believe anyway, is the peak of sophisticated insight.
Several episodes ago, the p.c. Sherlock in the series "Elementary" did the bidding of his p.c. scriptwriters, trying to make sure that the expression "intellectually bankrupt" would mean what the viewers wanted it to mean. It isn't hard these days to find authentic examples of intellectual bankruptcy: it can be found co-existing with _moral_ bankruptcy. There are men, for instance, who display their intellectual and moral bankruptcy by saying a woman is worthless unless she is "hot," who _define_ "hotness" in ways that real-world women can scarcely manage to live up to, and who meanwhile don't even TRY to be pleasing to the women in return. There are women who display their intellectual and moral bankruptcy by proclaiming how all-important "freedom to choose" is when they want to kill their babies, but who refuse to see ANY importance in "freedom to choose" when abortion is forced on Chinese women who _didn't_ want to kill their babies. And of course, millions of American men and women display their intellectual and moral bankruptcy by insisting that our government should be able to distribute unlimited welfare giveaways to countless people for endless time, and by pretending that anyone who contradicts this fantasy must be a racist. There's no end of genuine idiots to point to. But whom did the revisionist Sherlock Holmes identify in dialogue as being "philosopher-in-chief to the intellectually bankrupt"? He identified Ayn Rand, author of "Atlas Shrugged."
Ayn Rand contradicted the fundamental delusion of welfare-state thinkers. The viewing audience of "Elementary" includes limousine liberals who perpetuate that same delusion. Surprise surprise, Revisionist Sherlock was made to side with the limousine liberals. Ayn Rand had to be the one who was intellectually bankrupt, so that the elite crowds of the east and west coasts could continue patting themselves on the back for being hip and progressive.
That much was bad enough. But then came the "Elementary" episode broadcast on Halloween night. In it, they showed Lieutenant Gregson's wife deciding that she was tired of him and wanted to shop around. This kind of thing has become the _norm_ for detective shows, with either spouse equally likely to break the vows; but in this instance, it set up the opportunity for Sherlock Holmes to flatter the leftwing audience again. He told the female Doctor Watson that Gregson would do _better_ as a detective without a wife, because MARRIAGE ITSELF was unnatural and unhealthy. This, to please the crowd that goes for frivolous divorce, shack-ups and one-night stands.
The way this plot thread was handled had an additional purpose: using ambiguous talk about "partnerships" as a way to serve notice to the audience that it _would_ be possible for Sherlock's relationship with Joan Watson to become a romantic one someday.... only, it MUST NOT AND WOULD NOT ever, ever, ever be a matter of that yucky, outmoded custom called marriage.
Funny thing about the female Watson: I was never a fan of Lucy Liu before, but she does such a _superb_ acting job as Joan Watson that now I am a fan of hers. It is really _only_ for her sake that I still watch the series. Between her skilled portrayal of a smart lady with a likeable personality (unlike the abrasive shrew she portrayed in "Ally McBeal"), and her simply spectacular physical attractiveness, she provides a female-lead character whom any unattached male-lead character _ought_ to fall in love with. But for the sake of gratifying the chic-nightclub set and the campus-hookup set, the writers of "Elementary" have installed their own kind of glass ceiling: a ceiling intended to prevent any Sherlock-and-Joan affection from rising to the level of -- oh, _merely_ the sacred life-commitment on which civilization was built.
Ironically, Ayn Rand was _also_ not a champion of Biblical marriage, or of Biblical faith. But as I have remarked before now, the hard left in the United States has its own version of setting high standards. You're not allowed to agree with the left merely on _some_ things; unless you fall into lockstep with the left on _every_ subject without exception, you remain vulnerable to being accused of hate speech, greed -- or intellectual bankruptcy. Miss Rand opposed socialism, so she fails inspection just like that. Readers of Miss Rand's books need not marvel at this; after all, you're not even allowed to be Sherlock Holmes anymore unless you conform to the hard left.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Trendy neo-pagans (including those who operate inside churches, pretending to be Christians) frequently insist on worshipping a female Deity -- either as a solitary female supreme being, or in a dualistic father-mother pairing. Marion Zimmer Bradley, in her pagan Arthurian fantasy "The Mists of Avalon," opted for the dualism, pretending that this promoted "tolerance" and "equality;" but she made sure that, in her story, _only_ the goddess really counted for anything. Christianity had nothing to offer. In real life, there is one result which this goddess-worship usually _does_ produce, and then there's a _claimed_ result which often _doesn't_ work out as advertised. Let me first identify the one which doesn't work out. It is the claim that if we worship a goddess, then women will be set free from patriarchal oppression. To refute this, we need look no farther than pre-modern Japan. In traditional Japanese mythology, a _goddess_ was the absolutely supreme head and unequalled ruler of the pantheon: Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, who had no male equal. But this theology did _not_ spare mortal Japanese women from being subordinated to a male-dominated social system in actual practice. In fact, it was not until Japan was conquered by the United States, a nation with a _Christian_ background, that Japanese _women_ became empowered to vote in elections. Now for the result which _does_ commonly occur where modern people reject the God of the Bible in favor of a goddess: PANTHEISM. In case anyone reading this doesn't understand the term, "pantheism" is the belief (with several variations possible) that everything is divine.... that all is one.... that everything is everything else.... that we never have to obey a God Who stands _above_ us, because "the light is within us all." Pantheism is one of the poisonous fruits of goddess-paganism. A pagan author has demonstrated this for me. In 2004, Hay House of California published a book titled "Mother God: the Feminine Principle to Our Creator." The author, Sylvia Browne, is known for books which publicize astrology and psychic powers. In "Mother God," Ms. Browne, like Ms. Zimmer-Bradley, opts for the dualism, the male-female cosmic couple. She credits a "spirit guide" with informing her that the goddess member of this couple goes by the name of Azna. _Again_ like Zimmer-Bradley, she uses this "equality" to _eliminate_ everything that makes Christianity what it is. On page 108 of "Mother God," Ms. Browne states, "If there is a God the Father who always was, there was also a Mother God. For that matter, there were also all of us.... WE ALL ALWAYS WERE." This is near enough to a flat-out proclamation of pantheism. If each of us has always existed from eternity past, then we didn't need to be really _created;_ thus we have to be divine in and of ourselves. Now, if we are _that_ self-sufficient, we are not likely to believe that we need _moral_ redemption; so the atoning work of Jesus must also be dispensed with. And sure enough, Ms. Browne dismisses it, very early in the book. On page 5, she demotes the Savior down to a trivial assignment: "the messenger Christ, who was the emissary to show that we cannot divide the intellect from the emotion." Fooey. Even when I was a teenage agnostic, I _already_ realized that we human beings have intellect and emotion both operating in our lives, both making us human. What kind of Christ is that, whose only achievement is to tell us what a teenager already knew? Well, actually, when Ms. Browne assigns Jesus to be a kindergarten teacher, she re-interpets His teaching to support her divine-feminine doctrine. This includes claiming that the Virgin Mary is identical with Azna (which was not _quite_ the intent of even the most Mary-obsessed Catholic). _Anything_ to deny that the Lord Jesus was and is WHAT HE SAID HE IS. Near the end of her book, Ms. Browne "generously" says that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit still are entitled to attention. She can afford to say that, when she has _redefined_ the Father, Son and Holy Spirit beyond recognition. This whole occult-and-pantheistic mess (complete with New Age "visualization" exercises) boils down to what the _real_ Jesus warned about in John 5:43. People resist the actual gospel, because their pride balks at the thought of themselves needing to be _forgiven_ for something; instead, they'll jump at anything that seems cool and hip, strokes their ego, and helps them to get laid at parties.