Monday, May 8, 2017

Concerning the Literature of Self-Pity

Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me forbeing different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different! Poor, poor me, they hate me for being different!

Did I say that too many times? I said it BARELY ENOUGH TIMES to reflect the excessive overuse of that complaint as the plot for all sorts of stories, in print or in mass media. The uncounted armies of poor-me-I'm-different writers evidently have completely failed to notice a certain fact of life in the real world.

NOT EVERY hatred occurs because one person is different from another. It is equally possible for one to hate another precisely because THEY ARE SO MUCH ALIKE.

Think of two football jocks, exactly alike in character, who hate each other because they are competing for prestige. Think of two fashion models, exactly alike in character, who hate each other because they are competing for fame. Think of two gang leaders, exactly alike in character, who hate each other because they are competing for territory. Think of two researchers, exactly alike in character, who hate each other because they are competing for grants.

In past generations, there were plenty of stories written or filmed which DID portray rivalries between persons who were alike, hating each other BECAUSE they wanted the same things. But the present-day victim-group mentality has caused a fixation on poor-me-I'm-different stories.

And since I'm taking the trouble to point this out, I must be--different! Poor me.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Another Author Who Preaches to the Anti-Christian Choir

 For as long as there have been men and women living and working together in any kind of organized societies, there have been men and women who wanted to take the easy, lazy way in any activity. If they were clever enough, they would even invent rationales to the effect that cutting corners and ignoring specific requirements produced a _better_ result.

The Body of Christ has not been immune to the lure of the shortcut and the compromise. Thus Franky Schaeffer, son of the famous Christian author Francis Schaeffer, could sink so low as to endorse the gospel-mocking book "Devangelical," an autobiography by a woman calling herself Erika Rae (Emergency Press 2012). Mizzzzzz Rae is the chief editor of Scree Magazine, and (not at all to my surprise) lives in Boulder. Her book is yet one _more_ book pretending to be daring and bold as it simply recycles what hundreds of "refreshingly irreverent" books have been doing for decades: pouncing on every example of professed Christians _not_ practicing the love of Jesus, and pretending that the hypocrites discredit the basic doctrines _about_ Jesus. And when Franky Schaeffer praised her, he wasn't taking a brave stand, he was taking his risk-free turn in line to beat a dead horse.

Throughout the book, Mizzzzzz Rae inserts "clever" little explanations of Christian jargon. For instance, she defines Evangelism as "The act of letting everyone around you know your spiritual stance, so that they will be dazzled by your certainty enough to also decide to believe as you do, thus gaining the reward of eternal life for all concerned." She similarly sneers that Godliness is "Often confused with pretending one is actually God in matters of judgment, piety, and denial of human desires." Mizzzzzz Rae apparently relies on us not to have noticed just how stuck-up and arrogant
the _secular_ culture can be about momentous issues like what's a fashionable outfit to wear this year, or which teams will make it to the NBA playoffs.

Near the end of "Devangelical," she offers the great punchline: again, simply recycled from all the other "liberating," "innovative" testaments of same-old same-old secular humanism. She says:

"Feed the hungry. Clothe the poor. Take care of those who need it. Relieve the burdens of others. This is what is REAL. The problem for me is quite simply that the larger Evangelical culture has gotten away from this somehow, and it has become impossible for me to overlook the disconnect. The core message of Jesus -- that there is no law above loving God, and your neighbor as yourself -- has been twisted so thoroughly that it looks a whole lot more like: glut your soul with pep talks, if you have any cravings for life on Earth use these approved substitutes, prioritize the saving of souls over destitute bodies, decorate your buildings, and then go there and hide."

The shortcut, the easy way, would be to nod, smile, and agree that Erika Rae is _ever_ so profound. But those who know me, know that I try to get past the surface appearance to the roots of things. Therefore Mizzzzz Rae doesn't get a free pass with me. Of course, those who _don't_ want to look past the feel-good language will desire to believe that if I criticize Mizzzzzz Rae AT ALL, this must mean that I want poor people to starve. Too bad if they think this. Reality is reality, and I'm digging up some reality here.

The single biggest flaw in her same-old same-old humanist creed is that, in claiming to identify "the core message of Jesus," she is claiming that Jesus' mission on Earth WAS NOT ABOUT ANYTHING BIGGER THAN merely declaring a message. If you make Jesus out to be _only_ a teacher, you show that you want no part of the _actual_ Incarnate God.

Teachings about generosity and charity already _were_ available to humanity _before_ Jesus entered incarnate life. And both before and since His earthly life, the problem with humanistic charity has been that people aren't consistent with it. It is not only churches that may have greedy, self-serving leaders; plenty of _secular_ charity organizations also turn out to be channeling most of the money they receive into the bank accounts of their directors. And in the case of the supposedly noble United Nations, you can find blue-helmeted "peacekeepers" EXTORTING SEX from impoverished
women and children as "payment" for the delivery of humanitarian aid. So exactly how is getting rid of churches going to ensure better performance of humanitarian service?

If you say that people's _material_ welfare is the _supreme_ value, then the provision of this welfare will increasingly be in the hands of people who _don't_ have the Spirit of God living in their hearts. Thus, for instance, we get John Hickenlooper, when he was Mayor of Denver, devoting an enormous budget to ending homelessness in Denver-- and finding by the end of his mayorship that homelessness HAD NOT DECREASED. This kind of thing was understood by C.S. Lewis, who wrote that if you exalt the secondary values above the primary ones, you WON'T EVEN fulfill the secondary values.

 Jesus also understood this, well duh; so He _didn't_ come to Earth merely to _tell_ us, "Be nice." He came to atone for our _failure_ to "be nice." He came to redeem the eternal souls that Mizzzzzzz Rae pretends are of little importance. As for hiding in decorated buildings: yes, that happens-- but I already said that Erika Rae was choosing to regard the worst examples as the typical model. In my more than forty years as a believer in Jesus, I have _never_ been part of any church that _wasn't_ actively involved with tangible aid to needy persons. If Mizzzzzz Rae wants to play with straw
men, she won't get far playing that game at the doors of the food bank my church supports, or on the White Mountain Apache Reservation where my church assists young people facing the problems of adolescence, or in African countries where my church and other churches help to provide safe-water wells in rural villages.

Mizzzzzz Rae can always find ignoramuses for whom it will be the path of least resistance to nod and smile and pretend she is "daring." But I know Christians who have _actually_ done brave deeds, and I'm not impressed by Mizzzzzz Rae.

 In writing his endorsement for Mizzzzzz Rae's book, the disgraceful apostate Franky Schaeffer pretended that America was suffering from "the stranglehold of insane religion." His saying this was just one more example of the phenomenon that Mr. Lewis aptly described as "rushing about with fire extinguishers when there is a flood, and crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under." And Franky Schaeffer's expecting to be taken seriously proves that HE REALLY KNEW that, far from being dominated by evil religious bigots, America's culture was already deeply under the sway of the sort of unbelievers who would welcome Erika Rae's politically-correct irreverence. That's how it is with today's fashionable scoffers: they play-act at "heroically speaking truth to power," while knowing that their own side IS ITSELF THE POWER which enjoys a license to censor the actual truth.

Daring to Commit the Sacrilege of Defying the Icon Betty White

Outside of kung-fu movies, nobody thinks that it's possible for a human male to have testicles which AREN'T vulnerable to crushing. When anyone speaks of a man as "ballsy," or as "really having cojones," neither the speaker nor any teenage-and-up listener EVER thinks for a single instant that a literal claim of invulnerable testicles is being made. They all understand that the real reference is to the energizing role played by HORMONES FROM the testicles.    

But no trivial consideration of actual truth was going to deter Betty White when, something like five years ago, she "cleverly" said that testicles should not be associated with strength and bravery because testicles are physically fragile. The vagina, she insisted, should be the symbol of strength and bravery, because the vagina is designed to endure extreme physical stress.

But a vagina, in and of itself, is not what makes a brave woman brave either. We tend, quite reasonably, to speak of a brave woman as having a brave HEART.

Betty White scored a totally phony Gotcha, by "refuting" a claim THAT MEN HAD NOT BEEN MAKING. She was allowed to get away with it because she's a celebrity, and because lots of women were looking for the next chance to high-five each other and screech fake laughter over an imaginary "proof" of female supremacy.

When a Facebook meme was made of Mizzzzzz White's words, it used a photo of her doing a forced triumphant wink. She can wink until her eyelids rupture, but this won't make a badly-aimed cheap shot not be a badly-aimed cheap shot.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Barking Up The Wrong Tree, As Usual

Two recent science-fiction movies, in the future-dictatorship sub-genre, happen to bear similar titles and a shared theme. "Equilibrium" and "Equals" both tell the audience that the way a dictatorship holds on to power is by suppressing all impulsive emotion in the people, forcing them to be logical and calm. Based on what I see of popular culture, the writers of those movies were (as it SO often happens) "rushing about with fire extinguishers when there is a flood."

Well, it's possible that a dictatorship would use that strategy AFTER IT IS ESTABLISHED; but I never heard of any dictatorship anywhere that ACHIEVED power by keeping everyone logical and calm. On the contrary, revolutionaries deliberately appeal to the emotions of a population. Hopes (be they realistic or not), fears (be they warranted or not), and grievances (be they justified or not) have always been what uprisings relied on for fuel.

So don't be quick to say, "Look out, someone's promoting logic and calmness, he must be a communist or a fascist!" Would-be tyrants of course will DO some thinking; and they may use an APPEARANCE of wisdom to inspire loyalty; but be sure that mob hysteria has its place in their plans.

Not everyone who appeals to emotion is trying to enslave us....but EVERYONE who wants to enslave us will have appeals to emotion in his toolbox.  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Purity Shouldn't Be Asceticism

The God of the Bible is not a mindless, merciless legalist, eagerly looking for every excuse to punish people for the very tiniest slip. He wants us to succeed, not fail, at being transformed into His moral image; thus, He is patient with us. But this doesn't mean that He doesn't have an ideal of righteous conduct that He wants us to MOVE TOWARD. Sadly, the progress of His children toward a more Christlike spiritual condition is often hindered when some of US turn into those mindless, merciless legalists.

Where this bitter, condemning spirit prevails, even persons who are promoting the right KIND of behavior may promote it FOR THE WRONG REASONS. They may correctly identify some action as sinful, but horribly botch the job of explaining WHY that action is sinful.

One area where this happens a lot is the area of sexual purity. Too many preachers have given only one reason why God would be against sexual sin: BECAUSE PEOPLE ENJOY IT. Just that, without further explanation. So the take-away is that if you feel ANY pleasure that has ANY connection with earthly life, it MUST be evil. I'm not exaggerating. One anger-driven pastor in my experience claimed that a boy and girl doing nothing more sensual than HOLDING HANDS were behaving just as sinfully as if they fornicated. This was almost forty years ago, so by now that pastor has probably had to report in at the judgment seat of Christ and have his work evaluated. Of course I don't know, but I would be VERY surprised to learn that in all of his career he ever helped EVEN ONE PERSON to walk in a truly God-centered purity -- for what I know of his preaching serves only to illustrate why worldly people find it so easy to claim that Christianity is "hateful" by its very nature.

When I talk about the Christian standard for sexuality, I talk about how our sex-related conduct AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE. Both physical sexual intercourse, and the emotional interaction that leads to it or follows after it, will create EXPECTATIONS in the minds of those involved. Unfortunately, the expectations formed in the woman's mind are often TERRIBLY different from those in the man's mind, so that at least one of the partners will end up disillusioned and hurt. Usually the woman. This is only one of the ways in which people may injure other people when sex is in the picture; but this whole area of CONSEQUENCES needs to be more widely understood.

A man who would laugh at you for telling him, "Pleasure is evil BECAUSE it's pleasant," might nonetheless have enough conscience in him that he would stop to think if you told him instead, "SELFISHNESS is evil, because it hurts others who have the same right to be treated well as you have." If the entire world were a church, maybe it would always be enough to say, "Don't do this, because God says not to do it;" but since the entire world ISN'T a church, we need to provide a REASON for being against certain actions.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Strength of Stupidity Is That People Desire and Choose It

A foolish woman raised a panic to the effect that poor innocent American Muslims were going to be "forced into camps just like the Japanese-Americans." Refusing to believe that there could be ANY cause for us to be on guard concerning Islam, she insisted that when Muslim men rape women, it has nothing to do with Islam. So, fatigued though I am from years of having to refute the same nonsense over and over and over, I replied....

Exactly how does anyone BECOME a violent criminal? He has to be able to MAKE EXCUSES FOR his destructive, selfish actions. Which makes it relevant to inquire what sort of role models people choose to admire.

Jesus Christ did not force himself sexually on a nine-year-old girl, nor did he lead armies to conquer people for his own self-serving gain. Prince Siddhartha, the first Buddha, also did not do those things. MUHAMMAD DID. There is a way-big difference among founders of belief systems.

Professing Christians or professing Buddhists, if they commit rape or other violent crimes, are obviously DISOBEYING their faith-founders. But Muslims who commit violent crimes are ACCURATELY FOLLOWING the example of their faith-founder. Wherever you see a Muslim who doesn't wish to harm or enslave anyone, you are seeing someone who has MOVED AWAY FROM the actual roots of Islam.

"Innocent until proven guilty," definitely not a Muslim concept, rightly protects Muslim citizens from being groundlessly assumed to be a threat. But considering that CHRISTIANS in the United States get accused of wanting to commit murder if they so much as raise a SPOKEN OBJECTION to homosexuality, it is not any outrageous bigotry against Muslims if we EXAMINE THEIR WAY OF THINKING. Ideas have consequences; and one Islamic idea which is currently in active practice is that THEY STILL KEEP SLAVES in Muslim countries, when other nations have long since abolished slavery. Not to mention literally stoning women to death for the "crime" of BEING raped.

Where I live, the notion of Muslims being rounded up into concentation camps is laughably distant from reality. Here in the Denver area, so far from being persecuted, Muslims are allowed to stage big, noisy demonstrations, completely unhindered. I have watched this with my own eyes.

Be sure to let me know if you hear of Jews, Wiccans, Hindus or Sikhs mutilating the genitals of young girls. But I won't ask you to report the results if you go to Saudi Arabia and SAY ANYTHING on a street corner that contradicts anything in the Koran. In such a case, you won't be alive to report to me.

Speaking of the Koran, the Fourth Sura therein says that a Muslim husband not only is allowed to punish his wife if she disobeys him, he can even punish her if he so much as SUSPECTS that she MIGHT be disobedient. This is not my "Islamophobia," it's in THEIR book.

When apologists for Islam try to argue that "the Bible is just as harsh," they have to dig back thousands of years, and point to practices that were discontinued long ago. Ironically, Islam pretends to represent PROGRESS BEYOND Judaism and Christianity, but it is Islam that treats women as property RIGHT NOW. """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
During the hour or so that followed, the woman could not come up with EVEN ONE FACT that countered anything I had said; ALL she could offer were stubborn emotional denials. These will not do her a bit of good if America falls under Sharia Law.

Monday, November 7, 2016

On the Eve of Something

I have heard more than enough of people saying, "Oh, politics is so divisive and icky, let's forget about politics." But in its Greek origin, the word has nothing at all to do with large numbers of bloodsucking parasites, notwithstanding the tedious unfunny joke to that effect. "Politics" means nothing other than "the public business of a society." So are we concerned about what happens to our society, or aren't we?

The call to ignore politics appears to be coming mostly from two categories of Americans:

1) Doctrinaire leftists, the self-designated Cool People, who figure THEY CAN AFFORD to have less discussion of politics, because they ALREADY ENJOY enormous undeserved advantages: their side's domination of the media and show business, their side's domination of the educational system, their side's freedom from worrying about facts because they play only on emotion, and their side's ruthless concentration on having power. They want THE REST OF US to stay quiet, but you can bet that the leftists WON'T be quiet if they think something's at stake for them.

2) Compliant, submissive people, who may still practice traditional values privately, but who are so desperately eager to appease the Cool People and be accepted by the Cool People, that they will censor themselves, and tell others to go belly-up also.
That's why it is that the Cool People got away with first saying that man-caused global COOLING would destroy the world, then flip-flopping and saying that man-caused global WARMING would destroy the world. That's why the Cool People could first say that an unborn baby was fair game to be killed because it was ONLY part of the mother's body, then later say that the unborn baby was fair game to be killed because it WASN'T part of the mother's body. They say it's all about "the right to CHOOOOOOOSE;" but they didn't raise a peep of protest against Red China forcing pregnant women literally at gunpoint TO have abortions. They spent the whole Dubya Bush presidency insisting that "Dissent is patriotic;" but the instant Barry Soetoro stepped into the White House, they suddenly decided that ANY dissent against HIS policies was racism and Islamophobia. Not enough Americans call the Cool People out on their self-contradictions.

Until recently, the Cool People told us that every woman who complains of sexual harassment MUST be believed automatically. But then they decided that a woman's complaint of sexual harassment must be IGNORED-- if it involves the woman's private space being invaded by a man who pretends to believe HE is a woman. The Cool People boast of being against racism; but they allow the Latino-supremacist Reconquista movement to get away with having the slogan, "Everything for The Race, nothing for those outside The Race."
The Cool People boast of being "compassionate," but many of them are ONLY compassionate with other people's money. They want unrestricted license to enjoy any pleasure that appeals to them, but don't want to be required to think about the harm that some pleasures may bring. They protest, VERY SELECTIVELY, against rough language by a candidate for office; but I can attest from direct knowledge that their freedom TO protest against things is protected by men and women in uniforms who ALSO often use rough language.

I've done what I can. In about twenty-four hours, we'll know if the Cool People have gotten their way. If they get their way, there will be STILL MORE cynical, transparent lying to justify absurd, unworkable policies. The lies will frequently stick to the theme of "equal distribution" of everything -- never addressing the question, "If we lose all our productivity, how can there BE anything left TO distribute?"
I will not close with Second Chronicles 7:14. Well-meaning Christians have been invoking that Scripture nonstop, day and night, for almost fifty years, AND they've been faithfully doing everything that Israel was called upon to do in that Scripture.... but the United States has just kept right on falling down the toilet. When enough citizens of a nation get up in the morning INTENDING to be gullible fools, this will tragically have an effect.

And given the number of American citizens who wanted to believe the LIE that an internet video caused the Benghazi killings, I'm afraid we have a LOT of people who have chosen to be gullible-- because what matters to them is gaining the approval of the Cool People.

Well, I can be killed. I can be imprisoned. Contrary to movies, I can probably be broken by torture. But I at least CANNOT be made to believe in my heart that good is evil and up is down. So I'll do what I can for truth in 2017, whatever the election outcome is. The Cool People had better not hold their breath waiting for me to be fooled.