Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Political Posturing

'Nuff said...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Truth is in the Middle of the Pendulum

I'm concerned about so many of my Christian brothers and sisters buying into neo-conservativism, hook, line & sinker. After all... I used to. I can't call myself Republican or Democrat.

I agree with conservatives when it comes to ethics and morality, however because we don't live in a theocracy, I agree with liberals that the morals associated with traditional religion should not necessarily be legislated.

Jesus told His disciples to go out into the world and make other disciples, not go into the world, take over Governments, change their laws and force people to live out a Christian ethic. God looks on the inside of the heart, not on the outside. Even if the law could prohibit a person from sinning, that wouldn't make a person a Christian.

Christianity teaches that man has a sin nature. So I'm naturally suspicious of Government because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But my faith also tells me that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. So I am equally suspicious of corporate interests. Corporations are buying politicians. You can see why this might happen when you consider how expensive it is to run for higher office. Unless you're an independent millionaire, how can an aspiring public servant ascend? They have to sell themselves.

I believe in helping the poor, but I reject enabling the sluggard.

So am I a conservative? Or am I a liberal?

G.K. Chesterton once noted, upon reading criticisms of Christianity written by different skeptics that one skeptic would say Christianity was too feminized, while another would claim it to be too aggressive. One critic would claim it was too pacifist, while the other would claim it was the root cause of violence. He'd read one critic who would say that it liberated women too much and another that claimed it restricted them too much.

As a skeptic himself, he concluded that whatever this Christianity might be, it is a peculiar thing since it garners such criticisms from both extremes.

And then Chesterton came upon a startling epiphany:

And then in a quiet hour a strange thought struck me like a still thunderbolt. There had suddenly
come into my mind another explanation. Suppose we heard an unknown man spoken of by many
men. Suppose we were puzzled to hear that some men said he was too tall and some too short; some
objected to his fatness, some lamented his leanness; some thought him too dark, and some too fair.
One explanation (as has been already admitted) would be that he might be an odd shape. But there
is another explanation. He might be the right shape. Outrageously tall men might feel him to be
short. Very short men might feel him to be tall. Old bucks who are growing stout might consider
him insufficiently filled out; old beaux who were growing thin might feel that he expanded beyond
the narrow lines of elegance. Perhaps Swedes (who have pale hair like tow) called him a dark man,
while negroes considered him distinctly blonde. Perhaps (in short) this extraordinary thing is really
the ordinary thing; at least the normal thing, the centre. Perhaps, after all, it is Christianity that is
sane and all its critics that are mad—in various ways.
- Orthodoxy pg 51.

The pendulum continues to swing because the truth is in the middle, pulling it down and into motion...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Truth is Ugly and Her Mother Dresses Her Funny

Benjamin Franklin once said that "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner." We often treat our beliefs the same way, "voting" for what we want to believe out of convenience. Any worldview that has no inconvenient truth should be held in suspicion.

Franklin also said, "The sting in any rebuke is the truth."

Truth is not always pretty. In fact, she is quite ugly and her mother dresses her funny....

“Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good." - Thomas Sowell

What do you believe in? What do you believe regarding the world we live in and life itself? Is it a convenient belief demanding nothing of your own life?

On the other hand, Woody Allen took the negative approach:

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."

Shakespeare expressed his pessimism this way:
“I am sick at heart. . . . To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day. To the last syllable of recorded time; life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” (Act V, Scene V)

As Chesterton explains in his book "Orthodoxy", we need a worldview that allows us to see the brokenness of the world, but values it enough to motivate us to make it better.

The pendulum can swing from one extreme to the other, but in the middle is a balance between a God that is good and a world that is broken. In this balance, my eyes have been opened to the flaws of this broken world, and a passion that has been a given a song to heal it.

My faith in Christ presents to me the unattractive truths of eternal judgement. It demands the price of my life, given as a sacrificial act as I attempt to discipline it and bring it under His subjection. However, this very act of sacrifice is also an act of worship and in that worship, I am given meaning, purpose, passion.... Nothing worth attaining comes without a price. Life comes with a price tag. Are you willing to invest?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

We Seek Answers To Questions Not Asked

In the book of Job, in the midst of his suffering, he and his friends ask a lot of questions as to why he was suffering.

When God finally speaks from the whirlwind, He doesn't provide answers.... instead He offers questions. The questions make Job think about who he is, not why he was suffering.

Job was seeking answers to the wrong questions. When we suffer, we often ask "Why?". But God's questions asked "Who"?

I DO believe in asking "Why". I believe we should, "Continue to ask "Why?" until you are forced to ask "Who?"."

On the opening to the T.V. series X files, Moulder had signs hanging around his office reading, "The truth is out there" and "I want to believe".

But there was an assumption on the show that the answers to Moulder's questions would set him free. But was he asking the right questions?

The story of Christ is a story of goodness that surrenders itself to suffering and pain for our redemption. But its not a story that tells us why we might suffer in our personal lives.

However, it whispers this message:

You are not alone. In the midst of suffering God is there because God suffered loss also.

I admit that I prefer resolutions to empathy, but I also prefer over-eating over exercising, fried foods over salads and answers to questions that I am asking vs answers to questions that I'm not wise enough to ask.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Seeing Beyond the Visible

Scientists were puzzled. They were observing a beta decay experiment and taking measurements accordingly. Accordingly to the laws of conservation and momentum, they were expecting to find that no energy should be lost when comparing the "inputs" to the "outputs" of the experiment.

They had already confirmed that no mass was lost, so they were very surprised to see that they were measuring less energy at the end of the beta decay than at the beginning.

How were they to account for the loss? They could have assumed that they were witnessing the first exception in the very strongly established laws of conservation and momentum. But we live in a universe that doesn't bend its laws.

So instead, they postulated that there must be a subatomic particle that they were observing that was massless, or had such a small mass that it couldn't be measured by their experiments. They called it the neutrino.

While the scientists had not SEEN this neutrino, it fits their scientific models very well. It fit them so well that they lived with this belief in a particle that was so far invisible to them.

It wasn't until 25 years later that scientists developed the means sufficient to finally detect this elusive particle.

This story presents something that is profound to me. Facts alone are so finite. We can never truly know the world with just facts. However, these scientists used empiricism, combined with rationalism to predict something that they would have otherwise never seen.

They predicted the existence of something that was elusive to empiricism alone.

There is an online movie called the Zeitgeist Movie at

It makes outrageous, but very convincing conspiracy claims regarding Christianity, 911 and the financial system of the United States.

Its claims, on the surface are very convincing. However, they suffer from a severe problem. As I watched the video, I asked questions like "How can I KNOW these people are telling the truth?", "How can I know these people don't have agendas to push just like the conspiracists they accuse?"

I can't...

And I don't have to. You see, the scientists who discovered the neutrino, did so despite the limitations of empiricism alone. They used what is called "logical positivism", ( the combination of empiricism and rationalism to discover what was beyond man's finite reach.

I'm still struggling with terms and phrases, but I would call this "logical positivism" philosophy and worldview.

I know the Zeitgeist claims are false because I have a worldview that is predictive. In my case, its a Christian worldview that says both that humanity is flawed, yet it lauds the possibility of altruism.

We see this altruism in Christ's sacrifice.

It only takes one altruist, a person who can't be bought, bribed or threatened to blow the top off of a conspiracy theory. Because of this, the more complicated a conspiracy theory is, the less likely it can be true. The more conspiracists you have, the more implausible it becomes.

I had never even been to the World Trade Center towers, but I know they weren't blown up by conspirators because I know human nature. I know it would have taken such a large group of people to pull off the claims of this movie that I can flatly dismiss them.

In this sense, what I am calling logical positivism, and can also call worldview and philosophy, has eyes that can see things that can otherwise not be seen.

Open these eyes and see the true world that we live in.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stephen Hawking's question: How can the human race survive the next hundred years?

I thought I'd share my answer to Stephen Hawking's question as posed here:

As I attempt to answer this question, I first looked at other's inputs and I was amazed at some of the naivety in the answers.

For those who say "get rid of war". Great! How? Outlaw it? Murder is already against the law but it has not be obliterated.

For those who say we ought to unite and love one another... that's great too but how?

For those who say we ought to move to another planet because of global warming, I'm not convinced in light of the fact that scientific evidence exists to support the notion that the earth has experienced repeated periods of global warming and cooling. Since we are here, we know that such periods aren't a significant threat to mankind.

Some are saying that technology is the answer, but Einstein didn't see it this way when his scientific theories were used to produce the atom bomb:

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

The obliteration of war, poverty, murder and the use of technology for good, can only be changed if the world buys into a worldview that cultivates love to mankind, tempered with self-control and discipline. Such a worldview would have to motivate with incentive over deterrence and have to be convincing enough for us to not justify alternatives in order to hold on to our indulgences.

I see such a worldview in the teachings of Christ and believe that only He can save the world.

Mr Hawking, instead of advising that we move to the heavens, I advocate, like my savior, that the heavens move into our hearts.