Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I can't believe that Israel gets blamed for retaliating against Hamas' military targets when Hamas targets Israel's civilian population. If Hamas laid down their arms tomorrow there would be peace. If Israel laid down their arms they would be wiped out. Freaking idiots.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I'll even go out on a limb and prophesy that Spring is coming, followed by a freaking hot Summer, then Fall and... wait for it... wait for it... TAA DAA! Winter again.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
"Iraq's Christians, a scant minority in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, quietly celebrated Christmas on Thursday with a present from the government, which declared it an official holiday for the first time." <--Click the link to read the whole article.
well, there's an unexpected victory.
I "prophesy" that the media will spend the next ten months pushing an increasing amount of stories to the effect that life-long, rank-and-file Republicans are considering breaking with their party so they can hoist Hillary upon a golden Roman shield and proclaim her Empress of all the Americans. WRONG!
I "prophesy" that the same media will continue to prop up John McCain--sort of like the dead guy from "Weekend at Bernie's"--so they can pose with him and proclaim his immanent comeback. WRONG!
I "prophesy" that "non-radicalized" "Muslim youth" will riot in some European country, scaring the Bejezzus out of people too wussy to kick their little non-radicalized asses and put them in jail.
NOT THAT I EVER HEARD OF...
I "prophesy" that some "atheist" sitting somewhere in front of his computer will have an actual life crisis non-related to the safe, antiseptic, comfortably controllable cyber-world and turn to God for salvation. NO ACTUAL EVIDENCE ON THIS ONE, I'M GONNA TAKE IT ON FAITH.
I "prophesy" that people on the right and left of the political spectrum will proclaim the looming doom of the world--in high-def, 3d, Technicolor with Dolby sound--while the rest of us just live our lives, as usual. RIGHT.
I "prophesy" that the media will spend the next nine months telling us how horrible BIG BUSINESS is, how they rape the average person and how the world would be better off with a socialist economy--followed by three months of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth about how terrible it will be if the next Christmas season doesn't generate more sales and profits than ever before. RIGHT.
I "prophesy" that no matter who wins the presidential election next Fall, the world will NOT end on the second Tuesday in November 2008. I am confident in this prophecy because Jesus said "No man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return."RIGHTEO!
Don the Baptist is not an actual, certified card-carrying prophet. All prophecies are for entertainment purposes only. Don the Baptist assumes no liability in the event of a Don the Baptist prophecy actually impacting your life.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Glory to the new born king
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With th' angelic hosts proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark the herald angels sing
Glory to the new born king
For he alone is worthy
For he alone is worthy
For he alone is worthy
Christ the Lord
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Then they found something REALLY weird; a drug-awareness educational clip about LSD. It's labeled as propaganda, but really its just poorly done; like it was filmed by a bunch of high-schoolers with an old Super Eight Bell & Howell movie camera.
The LSD film tells the story of a girl who "dropped some acid" at a friend's house and went out for a hot dog. Suddenly, the hot dog began screaming, begging the girl not to eat him. She threw it on the ground and stomped it into the pavement. That's not propaganda, stuff like that is pretty common "Acid Trip" fare from what I've heard. But that's not the best part.
The moral of the story, according to my son is: "kids, don't do acid or you might waste your supper."
Thing is, I had no excuse. I heard the Christmas story every year. I mean there were School programs where we sang the carols… Somebody managed to drag me to VBS at least once a summer. We even had a backyard Bible Club in my neighborhood. I went. If that wasn’t enough, every year I listened to Linus telling Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas, right out of the Gospel of Luke.
And yet… I got nothin’.
But, maybe it’s not so surprising after all. The twelve men whom Jesus chose to spend his public ministry with—to pour his life into—were just as clueless.
31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again."
34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. Luke 18:31-34 (NIV)
They got nothing, too. Zip. Zero. Nada. They didn’t understand because what Jesus told them was contrary to their desires. The message was hidden because they didn’t want to hear it in the first place. They wanted a Mighty King not a Suffering Servant.
So what about you…? Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it all before: Baby Jesus, meek and mild… Yada-Yada-Yada…Here’s a surprise, from the point of view of Jesus’ sacrifice, it IS all about you. God became one of us; not just LIKE us, but one of us. He experienced nine months in the womb. He had all the childhood diseases. He had to take care of whiny little brothers and sisters. He made the ULTIMATE sacrifice for you: He VOLUNTARILY went through puberty and the teenage years… He had acne For YOU. That’s what I call suffering before the cross. This little child came specifically to live thirty years as one of us BEFORE giving his life as a ransom for YOU.
Are you like I was? Like the disciples? Are you clueless or do you understand?
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It snowed in the Antelope Valley today. Oh, it often snows here in the winter. Once it even snowed on Easter Sunday. But our "snows" tend to be more a one-day-wonder frosting than an actual Buffalo, New York SNOW.
But not today. Today we got SNOW, at least by California High Desert standards. I just looked out the back window and the patio table has somewhere between 8-10 inches. Cool. We even have a snowbound guest who cant get home because of the snow. Now THAT'S a storm. I know, I know, non-Californians go ahead and laugh, but we don't see this stuff too often. It's still a novelty.
I had business in town all day and driving was bracing, to say the least. I do have one rule for snow driving in California--if you need chains STAY OFF THE ROAD. I did my snow driving basic training in the Ozarks, too many Californians did theirs on Nintendo.
Merry White Christmas Bing.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Friday, December 12, 2008
1. Bush should resign now so Dick Cheney becomes President (that would REALLY irritate certain people).
2. Cheney then appoints Condoleeza Rice as Vice President.
3. Two weeks later, Cheney resigns. Then Condoleeza Rice, a Republican, becomes the first BLACK and the first WOMAN president.
The cost of all this; nothing. The value: Priceless.
Monday, December 8, 2008
In this holiday season, Americans hear lots of talk about “Hanukkah” but most Christians—and most Jews, for that matter—don’t know what that word actually means. No, Hanukkah doesn’t mean “Festival of Lights,” or “Festival of Tolerance” – the Hebrew word means, simply, “dedication.” It refers to the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C., after its desecration by Hellenists who worshipped Greek Gods in the shape of men. The holiday calls for our re-dedication to resisting secularism and assimilation, and recommitting to God’s commandments. The word “Hanukah” has the same root as “Hinukh” –education—emphasizing that there’s no meaningful education without dedication to divine truth. At the darkest time of each year, the glowing candles of Hanukkah signal dedication to bring light to a world that too often worships men, instead of God.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
This year December 8 is on Monday. Have fun!
The whole idea is to pretend for the day that you are a traveler from a different time - except that, of course, you can't actually *tell* people you're a time traveler, because they'll think you're crazy. There are, of course, options as to how a traveler from a certain other time might act:
1) Utopian/cliché Future - "If the Future did a documentary of the last fifty years, this is how badly the reenactors would dress." Think Star Trek: TNG or the Time Travelers from Hob. Ever see how the society in Futurama sees the 20th century? Run with it. Your job is to dress with moderately anachronistic clothing and speak in slang from varying decades. Here are some good starters:
- Greet people by referring to things that don't yet exist or haven't existed for a long time. Example: "Have you penetrated the atmosphere lately?" "What spectrum will today's broadcast be in?" and "Your king must be a kindly soul!"
- Show extreme ignorance in operating regular technology. Pay phones should be a complete mystery (try placing the receiver in odd places). Chuckle knowingly at cell phones.
2) Dystopian Future - This one offers a little more flexibility. It can be any kind of future from Terminator to Freejack. The important thing to remember is dress like a crazy person with armor. Black spray painted football pads, high tech visors, torn up trenchcoats and maybe even some dirt here or there. Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they've gone back in time. Some starters:
- If you go the "prisoner who's escaped the future" try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you've never seen it before.
- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there's still time!" and run off.
- Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO"
- Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.
- Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say "In thirty years dial this number. You'll know what to do after that." Then slip away.
3) The Past - This one is more for beginners. Basically dress in period clothing (preferably Victorian era) and stagger around amazed at everything. Since the culture's set in place already, you have more of a template to work off of. Some pointers:
- Airplanes are terrifying. Also, carry on conversations with televisions for a while.
- Discover and become obsessed with one trivial aspect of technology, like automatic grocery doors. Stay there for hours playing with it.
- Be generally terrified of people who are dressed immodestly compared to your era. Tattoos and shorts on women are especially scary.
Well, I guess it beats national Talk like A Pirate Day.
SOME NOTEWORTHY EXAMPLES:
"Where can I find the nuclear wessles?"
"Too much LDS in the sixties."
"Marty, I'm sure that in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drugstore, but in 1955 it's a little bit harder to come by!"
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I'm not writing this to brag about my compassion. I want to praise the deputies. Of course I've seen them doing their duty with the stern conformity to the law that you'd expect. That's not a surprise. What did surprise me was a ride I did last week. My eyes were opened to the fact law enforcement officers can be compassionate people, too.
The first call we went to was an attempted suicide. I was impressed how well the two deputies cooperated with the firemen and interacted with distraught family members. But that was just the beginning. Later we went to a seedy street lined with empty duplexes. The call said dope was being sold from one of them. All we found was a lone guy sleeping in an abandoned building. When the deputies headed for their cars I asked if they were going to do anything about the squatter. Mine said something like; "he's not robbing a store, he's not burning the place down; its 40 degrees out and I'm not going to hassle him."
Those are two examples. I've seen more and talked with the deputies a bit. These are not wooden, authority-figure, cardboard cut-outs. They are people trained and dedicated to protecting you and me. They are people doing a largely thankless job. Without their efforts our cities would be ruled by chaos. I want to say thank you.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
First I have to flush my brain of fours years at a liberal arts College and three years of academically critical graduate school. Why? Because Christians are all uneducated, stupid people, that's why. I learned that from watching TV. Thanks Hollywood!
Second I've gotta run out and get myself fitted for an explosive vest so I can commit ritual siucide (taking a goodly number of infidels with me, of course) in some crowded public place. All for the greater glory of God.
Third, every single time someone makes fun of Jesus I have to throw a huge public protest, burn pillage and kill--or at least threaten--those who did the deed. It's common knowledge that Christians still live in the seventh century along with radical Islam.
Hummm... what else? Oh, right! I hate you because you are different from me. (did I quote that line properly? can't be too careful when you are helping people be comfortable with their delusions)
Wow. That IS a lot of work. No thanks. I'll just stick with my OLD tried and true faith: I am a fallen creature in need of salvation. God became human in Jesus the Christ and died in my place, bearing the burden of my sin. He rose from the dead and promises everlasting life to those who believe.
I know a lot of people who are critical of Christianity. But so many times it turns out they are actually critical of a carefully constructed straw man in their own mind. Apparently its not enough to disagree with someone, you have to trash them as well in order to feel really good about yourself.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Yeah, what's up with the prez-elect re-hiring virtually the entire Clinton administration? Is there nobody not part of Washington party politics who might be, oh I don't know... a CHANGE from business as usual?
This is not change I can believe in, this is another heaping helping of ho-hum, been-there-done-that Democratic Party nostalgia.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I voted yes on proposition 8. I was fully prepared to lose on election day. Had that happened I would have been disappointed and fumed about the state of things here in the State of Confusion, but that would have been the expressed will of the people.
I was prepared to win and see the constitutional amendment go immediately into endless litigation.
I was even prepared to win and watch as the State Supreme Court summarily tossed out the will of the people.
I was NOT prepared to listen to endless, "No fair!" whining from people who suddenly think democracy is not such a good idea. Oh, sorry, I meant to say democracy seems to be okay with them until they don't get their way. And while you're kidding yourself, let me point out that the people of California had already spoken on this issue. The "right" removed was bogus in the first place, something conferred by a few activist judges with an agenda, not the result of a truly legal (and I might add, DEMOCRATIC) process.
Neither was I prepared to endure the biased cheer leading from mainstream media, eschewing even a pretense of objectivity. You guys stink.
My personal favorite whine was; "hey, the vote was only 52 to 48%! that's barely a majority!"
Really? The Obama camp calls that split a mandate from the people.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times." --George Washington
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
This won't affect the major news outlets because they fervently believe that stacking five liberals against one conservative IS fairness. The "Fairness" Doctrine is a blatant attempt to shut down talk radio which for the most part is conservative in content. There is a reason for that; conservative talk radio sells advertising because it draws a huge audience. Liberal talk radio does not because it does not. The highly touted Air America went belly up in just a few months.
So, what do political liberals do when confronted with speech they don't like? they try to shut it down. Free speech to political liberals means speech they agree with. Speech they don't agree with is ipso fatso; "hate speech."
The concept of free political speech is enshrined in our county's heritage. I have nothing but contempt for double-speak which blathers nobly about "freedom of the press" while trying to muzzle individuals' rights to free expression. It is nothing less than hypocrisy.
When I was in college--lo, these many long years past--my liberal professors were quite proud of the liberal tradition. Many times they announced with great pride, "I may disagree with you, but I will die for your right to disagree." That's a far cry from the crybabys in today's liberal camp.
"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
George Orwell, Preface to Animal Farm
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
John McCain's concession speech was nothing but class and a fitting valediction for the man. I wish President Elect Obama a great presidency. I pray for his safety. Most of all I wish for an end to the tit-for-tat, You-dissed-my-guy-so-I'll-diss-yours-politics of the past sixteen years. Can we get on with our normal lives again?
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
We had been asking Syria to deal with this guy to no avail. For those of you crying about the evil United States blatently invading a soverign nation, let me ask you; How may of YOUR children are you willing to sacrifice to protect Syria's nasty little gamesmanship?
As the SEALs say, "you can run, but you'll only die tired."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It is not the business of the government to get involved in business; it stinks at it. When businesses have a money problem they re-budget and find a way within their means to fix the problem. When government bureaucrats have a money problem their inevitable response is to demand more tax dollars. For instance, the city of LA fervently believes that the best way to get more people to use public transportation is to continually raise fares.
Government run economy? health care? energy? God help us. Have you tried to access ANY government program lately? How much fun did you have? Does the DMV (Department of Maniacal Vampires) ring any bells?
This morning, there was a letter to the editor in our local paper that said it well. I'll reproduce it for your enlightenment:
"Back in 1990 the government seized the Mustang Ranch brothel in Nevada for tax evasion and, as required by law, tried to run it. They failed and it closed. Now we are trusting the economy of the world to a pack of nitwits who couldn't make money running a whorehouse and selling booze in Nevada."
That sums it up for me.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Finally, after three tries, I climbed Half Dome. It was the hardest physical labor I've ever done in my life. To put it in perspective, last week I hiked ten miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. The altitude varied from around 2500 feet to about 4500 feet. That hike took me five hours. Half Dome, from Little Yosemite Valley and back is approximately eight miles, ranging from @ 6,000 feet to 8,400 feet. THAT trip took me over nine hours to do round trip. It is brutal. And all the helpful SKINNY people along the trail, concerned I was going to have a myocardial infarction, were a real encouragement.
But I did it anyway. One woman, about 100 feet up the cables, asked me if Half Dome was my demon. I had to say yes, but now its exorcised. It was fantastic, majestic, downright awe-inspiring, but barring a radical change in health I'll never do it again.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Gonna do it this time, weather permitting.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I'm still FAT.
I talked with a guy I grew up with who's a doctor. He told me that the combination of diabetic meds I'm on guarantees that I'll put on weight no matter what I eat. It must be the stuff my old hog company used to give to the pigs to fatten them up. I'm truly frustrated. It's hard to stay motivated to work out when the best I can hope for is to get fatter SLOWER. In fact, it sucks.
When we hear about how somebody has a bad disease but is a FIGHTER, I guess that means they stay at it even when it makes little difference.
Please don't tell me that muscle weighs more than fat; at some point there should be LESS fat.
Don't bother pointing out the long term health benefits of exercise; What? I'm supposed to live LONGER as a grotesquely fat person?
As for getting stronger, I just get sore and tired. There's nothing you can say that makes it any better. It just is.
Today I went to buy a pair of pants; see I've ballooned up from a size 42 to a 46-48 this summer. That's WITH exercise, mind you. Wanna hear a funny story. I couldn't find any size 46 cargo pants. Ha, Ha. I went to JC Penney's Big And Fat section. If I wanted jeans or dockers they got me covered; No cargo pants though. I went to Wal Mart; no go. The largest cargo pants I found were size 42, my FORMER size. The sign said extended sizes are two dollars more. But since they didn't HAVE any extended sizes, go ahead, laugh, it's funny; Ha, Ha.
Nothing makes you feel like an unwanted member of society like being irrelevant when it comes to clothing sizes.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
See, with bikes if you aren't training for the Tour de France, forget it; you're nothing. If I go walking, dressed any way I like, I wave to other walkers and they wave back. If I go shooting I talk with the other shooters about their equipment and it doesn't matter to them if I'm dressed properly or have the "right" gun. But with bikers, sheesh! If you don't have the right kind of bike and wear the de rigeur rainbow, spandex clothing, many of them will not give you the time of day when you pass.
Good thing I like guns.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
THAT'S AN INSULT!
Sarah Palin is reputed to be a much better shot than the current Veep.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
News Flash—PRAYER OF JABEZ FOUND
Associated Press Writer
And Jabez called on the God of
The prayer, actually one of twenty-seven copies, was found engraved on small plaques with notches on the back. Archaeologists speculate they were made to hang on the living room walls of devout Jews. Senior archaeologist Merle Puckerd expressed puzzlement that the original prayer was written in standard King James English, rather than the normally expected, ancient Hebrew.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The Brita water filter people are currently running a series of commercials which show people going about their earth-destroying, negligent daily lives. Prominently featured in each commercial is a plastic water bottle--AKA Brita's arch nemesis. In one, an evil, uncaring, earth hating person is depicted blissfully sleeping while the ice caps melt and the seas burn; an evil, plastic water bottle is perched on the bedside table, waiting to strike. Over the person a seemingly innocent caption appears: "Eight hours in bed." Then a truly frightening caption appears over the water bottle: "Forever in a landfill." GASP! We're Doomed!!!!
Excuse me, what's so horrible about landfills? Landfills are where Archaeologists do much of their work. No garbage, no archeology.
Guilt IS the gift that keeps on giving, but I'll give Brita a big raspberry on this one.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens often attack religion on the basis of the problem of evil. Why do good people suffer? Why do bad people prosper? What kind of God doesn’t intervene to deliver the righteous and punish the wicked? Their answer is, God is either cruel, or doesn’t exist at all. For many, this is an insurmountable barrier to belief in the Almighty. Admittedly, it is a difficult and uncomfortable question for believers. It is not, however, an impossible question to answer.
Let’s start by defining the Problem: How can we say there is a good God who rules the universe when there is so much evil and violence touching innocent people, while allowing evil people to continue committing unspeakable acts of wickedness?
There are five traditional answers:
1. You’re suffering because you did something to deserve it.
2. God does not exist so it is foolish to expect justice in a mindless universe.
3. God would really like to help, but is just as bound by the laws of the
universe and of cause-effect as we are.
4. God is beyond good and evil: essentially, he doesn’t care anymore than you do when you spray for roaches.
5. Evil doesn’t really exist, it’s a figment of the collective imagination—cue Twilight Zone theme music.
The problem can be illustrated by William Hendricks’ “Triangle of Reality,” seen above.
The problem is, how can God be great and good while evil exists? Many people try to resolve the problem by taking away one or more sides of the triangle. God is not great, God is not Good, evil is not real. But the perception of the problem remains because deep down mankind believes in God and the experience of our lives tells us that evil indeed exists. The triangle does not explain the problem of evil; it illustrates why there is a problem.
There are actually two reasons for our perception of a problem. The first is obvious, we question why God allows suffering. The second is a bit more subtle, for some reason we expect justice despite the experience of our lives. That’s odd. Okay, it makes sense that believers should have a problem, but aren’t we westerners living in a “post Christian,” secular society? Why do unbelievers persist in a belief in ultimate right and wrong, justice and injustice?
“But wait,” you say, “they don’t.”
To which I reply, “bologna!”
If there is no God, there is no problem. Without God there is no reason for an expectation of cosmic, external, transcendent right and wrong. Nonetheless, everybody and his grandmother persists in recognizing that there is a problem.
We are often told that "right" is subjective and everyone decides what is "right" for themselves, right? That’s what I keep hearing. Yet, the same people who claim there is no such thing as objective truth—and therefore right or wrong—are the very ones who turn around and demand that everybody else accept their standard. We ought to help the poor, we ought to feed the hungry, we ought to stop global warming. Why? Sounds like they believe some things are morally right and others wrong.
This is why there is a problem with the concept of evil. Animals don’t cry and whine about injustice. We do. The human race, whether we admit to belief in God or not, believes in objective right and wrong. In his letter to the Roman Christians the Apostle Paul said that the knowledge of God is written on human hearts. Our persistent belief in right and wrong is evidence of that statement.
That said, its time to move toward a resolution of the problem: If you think about your own experience, there is no answer that completely satisfies when you personally are hurting. Even when the answers are logically consistent, they fail to satisfy on an emotional level. When a grieving person cries, “why me O God?” they are not necessarily looking for an answer. They are seeking comfort. They are, in fact, crying out that they don’t deserve it.
The Christian answer is that freewill carries the necessary corollary of the possibility of evil. Since God created mankind as free moral agents, able to make moral choices, than the freedom to choose evil is a possibility. In fact, it is a reality. In other words, it is more important to God that humans be free, than that humans be good. Yes, I know you don’t like that. Put it on the back burner to simmer for a while. It makes sense on further reflection.
But how can God be omnipotent if man has freewill? In every philosophy class I ever took this was a major question, eliciting great awe and mystery. Nuts. Lets ignore the point that omnipotence is a Greek philosophical concept, rather than a Biblical term. The Bible would simply say God is almighty. Fine, I wave the objection; God is "omnipotent." I point out that Being omnipotent is not the same thing as exercising omnipotence. God, in omnipotence, allowed mankind limited freewill so that our response to him (love or hate) would be genuine. Therefore, from the divine perspective, the suffering of this life is somehow justified by freewill played out through eternity. That is the Christian answer.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The Onion has a great parody of Al Gore's idiotic The Sky Is Falling! rhetoric. You can read the whole SUPERMAN!-inspired satire titled, Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet by clicking on this link.
Friday, August 1, 2008
We're having a hot, dry summer in California. Somebody put it this way... Its so dry that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling; the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks, and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water... And the Jews are looking for Elijah, too.
Nelson DeMille describing a Catholic mass in Saigon, 1997
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
In the Old Testament the word “Soul” is found in the King James Version in Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The Hebrew words translated “living soul” are nepish hayah. It has been used as a proof text to show that man has a soul, distinguishing him from the animal kingdom. However, the same words are used of the animals: Genesis 1:24. Even the NIV fudges a bit, using the phrase “living being.” Since nepish Hayah is used of both man and animals 2:7 could more accurately be translated as “living creature.” It cannot refer to a human soul in the commonly understood meaning of the word.
The biblical difference between man and animal—found in the same 2:7—is that though both are made from the dust of the earth, only man received the breath or spirit of God directly.
New Testament usage is also problematical. The Greek word for soul is psyche. The Greeks used it to refer to the unsubstantial spirit that survives the body’s death. Though psyche is often translated “soul” in English, it seems that first century Jews and Christians used the term to mean spirit.
My problem is the way “soul” is used in popular theology. I’ve often heard the assertion that since man is made in the image of the triune God than man is a trinity as well: body, soul and spirit. Because of the above, I feel there is a confusion of soul and spirit. It goes against popular usage but I see no biblical evidence that the ancients had a concept of soul that was substantially different from that of spirit. In fact, until quite recently it was commonplace to see a headline like this: “Titanic Sinks With Loss of Some 1,500 Souls.” The meaning here is obviously referring to the whole person.
The Apostle Paul assures us that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” However, it should be remembered that in Christian theology we shall spend eternity in a resurrected body: body and spirit reunited.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another gas station because this one's just too icky.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress - $5000; tux rental - $100.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood, ALL the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you to something, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
Everything on your face stays its original color.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life.
One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
On "Meet the Press" last weekend, Gore called on America to be carbon dioxide-free within 10 years. In the same spirit of pointlessness and futility, I call on America to be 100 percent oxygen-free within 10 years."
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment--a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation for the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori commitment to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, the materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
Richard Lewontin, New York Review of Books, 1997
Lewontin and his brethren have a perfect right to be materialists and to view the world through atheistic-tinted glasses. They do not have an intellectually honest right to assume that their a priori commitments are absolute and might not have a different explanation. I think it's reasonable to interpret what he says as being willing to skew information to keep God's foot out of the door. That is why many religious people, even those not inimical to science are skeptics of "scientific" announcements that "the Bible" has been "disproved."
I still think the scientific method is useful and in fact a fine way to examine what I like to call GOD'S CREATION. At the same time, I find some "scientists" to be as dogmatically blind and agenda driven as the most unthinking "fundamentalist."
I have hopes that there are people who can actually exchange knowledge and ideas--even ideas about scientific knowledge & revelational knowledge--without the need to demonize one another. See my post on The Common Foundation of Faith and Reason for further thinking on this subject.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Rambler... A customized Rambler. That's like customizing a tractor. C'mon! it shows a serious misunderstanding of what a cool car is. A Rambler was a granny car for pete's sake; a family car--for farmer families.
If you are not catching my drift it's because YOU are not a former denizen of those much cooler times. It would be like customizing a Dodge Caravan. ...Why?
Certain cars are just too ugly or mundane to be cool. The Rambler would be at the top of the list. I guess you might restore a Rambler or an Edsel or a Kaiser--if you wanted to waste your money--but they are simply not cool enough to customize.
If you simply had to customize one of those hunks of old iron you ought to have the grace to do it Big Daddy Roth style. That is, grotesqueify the snot out of it: behemoth engine sticking out of the hood, gigantic fat tires, ten-foot high stick-shift poking through the roof, itty-bitty windows; the works.
If a tricked out Edsel pulled up next to a '55 Chevy and the driver shouted, "Gears for beers!" the Chevy driver would die laughing.
We came, we saw, we almost conquered. Two out of the seven of us made it to the top of Half Dome. Not Me. We made the ascent on the hottest day on record in a long, long time. 104 degrees on the Valley floor, and hovering near 100 in the high country. I drank over six liters of water. Not only that, but lightening strikes had ignited three fires within the park boundaries, pumping smoke and particulate matter into the air. It was sort of like hiking the scenic seven levels of Dante's Inferno.
I know I can never try this as a day hike again. I just don't have the legs to hike for seven miles above 6,000 feet and then climb another four miles going up 2,000 more feet. Then there's the eight miles back down. The John Muir Trail--AKA, the Devil's Escalator--was not designed for middle-aged legs.
A couple of us are thinking of trying it again in the Fall. This time we'll backpack up to Little Yosemite Valley, spend the night and make the four mile, 2,000 foot ascent fresh in the morning.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Tomorrow's the BIG DAY: "Y" Day, to be specific. No...I guess "Going to Yosemite National Park to camp and climb Half Dome" would be specific. But "Y" Day is easier to type. Twelve intrepid adventurers--okay, half of them are non-hiking slackers--head up the central California highways to YNP.
We'll set up at Bridal Veil Creek campground and maybe take a short day hike to the valley rim. Wednesday is for sight-seeing and another short hike. The idea is to acclimate our selves to the altitude before tackling Half Dome on Thursday.
Half Dome is an ALL DAY deal. We set out from Glacier point about O-Dark Thirty and head down to the Illouette river. We'll cross the raging torrent then climb a massive chunk of granite up and over to Nevada Falls. From there we cross Little Yosemite Valley then head up, up, up for a tough four mile climb to Half Dome itself.
AFTER we do the Rocky Dance at the summit we head back down. This time we go downhill ALLLLLL the way th Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley itself. There we meet up with our prepositioned cars for a leasurly journey back UPHILL to the caampsite. Hopefully we get back to the valley in time for a HOT celebratory meal. If not, trail mix in the car will have to do.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion...