Fear and Loathing in America

I know, I know, I am polemical.  I polarize people with my words.  I piss people off because I am ever seeking to destroy pretense.  And yet at this juncture in my life I understand this irksome gift as a God-given trait that must be used.  This does not mean that I am perfect, of course, or exempt.  It does mean though that just like the prophets recorded in the Old Testament I cannot remain silent. I am will ever be forthright and forth telling…


Pervasive throughout our land is the avoidance of asking the hard questions.  We shun the real questions about life and death, about God, about good and evil, about the body and soul, about reason and revelation and about eternity and time. 

 Yesterday I happened to watch The Lord of the Rings (LTR):  The Return of the King.  Putting the above statement into LTR terms, we want to live peaceably in the shire with never having to venture out and deal with the Ring which has consequential power over us. We may say to ourselves, “Why destroy the ring when we can pretend it doesn’t exist? We may have doubts that all that the shire presents to us is all there is to life but we will ignore those doubts in order to avoid conflict and to live peaceably. We choose the immediate surroundings to avoid the dangerous quest that truth demands. We fear what it might take to make the journey.  We fear we will lose ourselves on the way and never return to the shire. We fear what it might take to fight the good fight.

 We fear conflict. Conflict is the evil we most want to avoid.  Our “dialectics” begin with opposites and end in synthesis.  We seek conflict resolution, bargaining, harmony and therapy, no-fault divorce, etc.  Because of this we find it easier to believe nothing of import so that we do not have to fear disagreement, ostracism or even death for what one believes. And because we do not believe in anything then we cannot be responsible for outcomes.

 To choose to believe nothing means that absolute truth is discharged from our lives.  Its voice is no longer heeded.  In fact its voice is now being drowned out.  The commotion that you hear daily is man’s raucous resistance to leaving the shire ~ his tweeting and texting of empty words, the ever streaming pop/rock music filling the void, the Surround sound of ubiquitous blaring entertainment.  It is as if men and women were walking around in the dark calling out to each other and never finding the light switch. They have chosen to stay in the purgatory of their fears.

 The avoidance of pain and conflict has become our primary goal in life.  This is seen in the young voter’s desire for Obamacare.  The health care reform is seen by them as in line with their “values”.  The reform is also seen as providing a sense of self-esteem in that it affirms the young voters wish to avoid pain and insecurity at all costs. On the surface Obamacare appears to provide security for themselves and for others while in truth it is a compromise of what is good and what is evil – the good being the desire for your well-being and the well-being of others and the evil which is the lie that Obama and the government will somehow provide self-esteem and security for you and others and do it with altruism. Remember, God has now been replaced by social science, social science based on rationalism and egalitarianism (think John Rawls, Laurence Tribe, etc.) all under the banner of “Social Justice.”  Rationalism’s,’ “Social Justice” trumps God every time.  Social science is now becoming the creator of society’s values, e.g., God is not to be talked about in public but homosexuality must be.  All of this in spite of the fact that rationalism without revelation could never create value. As Benedict XVI said in 1969:

“What is essential is that reason shut in on itself does not remain reasonable or rational, just as the state that aims at being perfect becomes tyrannical. Reason needs revelation in order to be able to be effective as reason.”

 The avoidance of truth with its inherent conflicts with other than the truth affects our relationships, our sexuality, our creativity, our culture. In place of absolute truth Americans, as mentioned, have latched on to “values.” And our new “value” system has a new way of talking:  “lifestyle”, “Be Yourself;” “Be original;” “Let go and be;”  diversity;” “I have my rights.” But now “rights” are no longer the natural inalienable God-given rights “of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Now “rights” have morphed into feelings worn on our sleeve.  We demand that others accept what we feel and that others be open and tolerant. This is what we value above all else. Right and wrong (and love (read not sex)) no longer have a place in our psyche. “Values” – a synthesis of good and evil dominates our diseased culture. And when we ignore serious questions we create words with synthetic meanings to describe our lives.

 “Charisma” is one of those words often heard today. Charisma was once considered a God-given grace but has been used as cover for the “banality of evil” as Hannah Arendt, political philosopher, notes when talking about Hitler’s appeal.

  Allan Bloom, another political philosopher, notes in his 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind:  How Higher Education Has failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students, “Charisma both justifies leaders and excuses followers.  The very word gives a positive twist to rabble-rousing qualities and activities treated as negative in our constitutional tradition.  And it s vagueness makes it a tool for frauds and advertising men adept at manipulating images.” Consider that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have both been called charismatic leaders.

 In the introduction to his book, Bloom writes about what he sees in the classrooms of higher education: 

“There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of:  almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes that truth is relative….They are unified only in their relativism and their allegiance to equality….They have been equipped with this framework early on, and it is the modern replacement for the inalienable rights that used to be the traditional American grounds for a free society…The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance.  Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.  Openness ~ and the relativism that makes it only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings ~ is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger.  The study of history and culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism, and chauvinism.  The point (now) is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all.”  (emphasis mine)

  In a later chapter titled The German Connection, Bloom relates how Nietzsche, Heidegger, Hegel, Weber, Freud have influenced American thinking.  Americans, within a “pro-choice” democracy, have assimilated this German thinking sometimes turning it on its head.   Bloom writes, 

“…there is now an entirely new language of good and evil, originating in an attempt to get “beyond good and evil” and preventing us from talking with any conviction about good and evil anymore.  Even those who deplore our current moral condition do so in the very language that exemplifies that condition.”

“The new language is that of value relativism and it constitutes a change in our view of things moral and political as great as the one that took place when Christianity replaced Greek and Roman paganism.”

“Value relativism can be taken to be a great release from the perpetual tyranny of good and evil, with its cargo and shame and guilt, and the endless efforts that the pursuit of the one and the avoidance of the other enjoin. Intractable good and evil cause infinite distress – like war and sexual repression – which is almost instantly relieved when more flexible values are introduced.  One need not feel bad about or uncomfortable with oneself when just a little value adjustment is necessary.  And this longing to shuck off constraints and have one peaceful, happy world is the first of the affinities between our real American world and that of German philosophy in its most advanced form, given expression by the critics of the President’s speech.”

 Here Bloom is referring to the clamor arising when President Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the “evil empire.”  When yet at another time Reagan said that the Soviets had “different values,” this statement was met “at worst with silence and frequently with approval,” thus revealing our loathing of absolutism in the former statement.

 At the beginning of the chapter Values, Bloom, relates, “We have come back to the point where we began (in the book), where values take the place of good and evil.” (emphasis mine)

And so like Gollum we place the utmost value on the ring of power, becoming blind to its tyranny over us. Along with the ring we call our values “My Precious.”  Under the yolk of temporal “values” and without facing the serious questions of life we lose ourselves, we lose the real.  We lose love, romance, culture, art ~ everything meaningful to us.

 Love or charity, a virtue which must be constantly worked at, is replaced with easy sex. Consider that in our culture sexual activity is not to be repressed or disciplined but rather it is to be given preeminent unrestrained “value.” Think Sandra Fluke and contraception. Think in-your-face homosexuality. Does America “confirm her soul in self-control” or not?

 Romance, apart from truth is portrayed in movie after movie as just a response to nihilism. Nowhere to be found is the expectation, the unrequited desire and the hoped-for revelation of real romance. Without absolutes there can be no true romance.

 We are a culture that seeks therapeutic counseling.  Yet modern psychology, the sworn enemy of shame and guilt, refuses to talk about good and evil and therefore offers nothing for the soul. Freudian psychology only brings the patient back to repressed sex.

 Modern art has nothing of consequence to offer. Consider the pop art of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

 Deafening music, pop or rock, pummels our ear drums daily evoking barbaric passions and depriving the soul of its senses.

 Tattoos deface our bodies so as to reveal our disdain for the discipline that purity of mind and body requires. Inking is given the (non-)value of counter-culture and rabble-rousing.

 Religion, wherein serious questions are faced, is being replaced by positive thinking as preached from the temples of TV.

 In view of the fact that our nation is becoming increasingly devoid  of absolutes and truth while at the same time becoming  increasingly laced with relativism and sliding scale “values” consider this:

 Jesus, the Son of the Living God, says, “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Free from what? Free from fear.  All fear:  the fear of the unknown, the fear of facing accountability, the fear of death, the fear of loss and personal suffering, the fear of evil.  Jesus’ perfect love casts out all fear. Because of this we can face the serious questions of life head-on knowing that He loves us, that He stands with us and that He has gone before us through the same difficult places. Seek Him and He will be found.

 Going back to the LTR analogy do you remember how Frodo and Sam and the rest rejoiced that the ring had been destroyed, that their arduous life and death journey had been accomplished? Their courage and resoluteness saved the shire, themselves and Middle Earth even while the others in the shire had no clue as to what was going on.  You and I are about to do the same.

“I Am Thirsty”

“I am thirsty.” These words spoken just before Jesus gave up His spirit on the cross reveal the need for life’s most basic requirement:  life-sustaining water for the body and the soul.

 The crucifixion’s slow and agonizing death with its depletion of bodily fluids would cause a human body to dehydrate to the point of suffocation.  The blood pouring from the Lord’s hands and feet and from His lash wounds would deprive His body of its normal blood flow, blood flow which carried necessary oxygen to all of the body’s organs. Water was desperately needed. Instead, Jesus was mockingly offered a sponge soaked with wine which had turned. After tasting it he rejected the old wine and its numbing effects.

 “I am thirsty” indicates the Lord’s need for water but more importantly these words also reveal that the Living Water, God the Holy Spirit, was also leaving the Lord at this point in time.  Because Jesus bore the sins of the world He could not have fellowship with His Father and the Holy Spirit until His work of atonement was complete.  Until then The Trinitarian Well of eternal fellowship was cut off from the Son of God.  In place of this Well, Jesus chose to drink from the bitter cup of God’s will.

 King David prophesied about the relational and physical torment that the Messiah was to suffer on the cross.  From Psalm 22:

 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
   Why are you so far from saving me,
   so far from my cries of anguish?
 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
   by night, but I find no rest….

I am poured out like water,
   and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
   it has melted within me.
 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
   and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
   you lay me in the dust of death.

 In this act of substitutionary atonement the Lord’s body bore all the sin of all men for all time.  On the cross Jesus rapidly became depleted from loss of fluid and, as Psalm 22 tells us, from the loss of Living Water –  Jesus was forsaken by the Father and the Spirit.  “Because he poured out Himself to death” Jesus became as a barren desert, a desolate place with no water.  He was made sin for us. 

John’s Gospel account offers the Creator’s context for the words “I am thirsty.”

 In the gospel narrative the apostle John relates the true story of Jesus meeting a woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well. 

 The well and the field surrounding it were gifts from Jacob to Joseph.  And you will remember Joseph. He is the one who received good gifts from his father (the coat) and bad treatment from his brothers. I have no doubt that the well was, well, well-known to many who traveled though the area.  I’m sure it was on the map of those seeking to quench their thirst, thirst brought about by the day’s relentless heat.  John’s account tells us that as Jesus was traveling from one place to another he became tired and thirsty. He stopped outside the town of Sychar at the well to rest.

 As Jesus sat down near the edge of the well he told his disciples to go and get some food in the nearby town. It is midday. The sun is directly overhead and the heat is stifling. Jesus had no means of retrieving the water from the well. You can imagine someone being thirstier when they know that water is just out of reach.

 As Jesus sits resting a woman from the town of Sychar approaches the well carrying her clay jar (I am assuming some things here.).  The woman comes to the well in the middle of the day because, I believe, no one else will be there during the hottest part of the day. She has her reasons for not wanting to be around the other women of the town:  she sleeps around.

 Jesus, thirsty, asks the woman for a drink:  “Will you give me a drink?”

 The woman was at a loss as to what to think:

 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

From the gospel account:

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (emphasis mine)

  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

  He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

  “I have no husband,” she replied.

   Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

  “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

(Note:  The woman, like most of us, wanted to deflect the accounting of her sinful life.  Becoming polemical the woman quickly changed the subject and pressed Jesus about a heated religious and geopolitical issue of the day.)

Jesus, having already gotten the woman’s attention by recounting intimate details of her life, responded to her question about true and valid worship as the Source, the well-spring of Truth.

    “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

  The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

  Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

Water flows through John’s gospel.  John the Baptist baptized “with water so that He (Jesus) might be revealed by Israel.  In the above passage we learn about Jesus chatting with a woman as he sits next to a well. There He talks about the everlasting living water which wells up inside you if you accept it.  In a previous passage John recorded Jesus’s first sign:  turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana.  In the passage after the Jacob’s well story John tells us about a lame man who had been trying for thirty years to enter the healing pool in Bethesda.  The water of the pool would bubble up with curative power whenever the Spirit stirred it. But the man had his excuses for not being well. In a later passage John recounts Jesus walking on the water to meet the disciples in the middle of a lake.

Then one time …

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (emphasis mine)

Are you thirsty? Are you trying to quench your deepest thirst with the things of this world, things that quickly run ‘dry’ from everyday use?  Do more clothes, more electronic gadgets, more Facebook friends, more entertainments, more tattoos, more tipping points, more of anything this world has to offer satisfy your deepest thirst?

The woman at the well had her life of men.  She had her connections.  She also had her water bucket.  She brought this bucket to the well everyday to get the water she needed to survive.  The woman could argue religion and politics with the best of them but she was thirsting for something more.  She may have wondered “is that all there is?”  Is that all that life has to offer someone like me, a woman of Samaria marginalized by my own community and holding on to an unsure belief in an object of worship others are telling me to believe in.

Unknowingly, it was of the True Well of Life that she made her request:  “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” Jesus responded:  If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

We know that drinking water is necessary for life.  We listen closely to health programs that tell us to drink several glasses of water a day to sustain our bodies, to help them function properly and to replenish the oxygen our systems need. As you would imagine the quality of water that you drink is critical.  Undoubtedly, water that contains filth would do more harm than good.  Is the well water you are drinking clean and pure, refreshing and restorative?  Or, is it filthy with parasites making you weak and sick?

The water that Jesus offers to you and me is greater and purer than the most abundant compound found on earth:  H2O.  It is the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.  This water teems with Abundant Life, the very oxygen of heaven. Once received its Spirit-life effervescence bubbles up within a person.  It then overflows your spirit and converges with the rivers of Living Water that have never stopped flowing throughout all of eternity except for that dark hour when the Gift of God Himself was poured out as a drink offering and He cried, “I am thirsty.”


Shechem’s Archaeology

Looking Out for Number One and Finding Zero

 This past week, while riding the commuter home I sat down on an upper row seat not far from a young Indian woman. Her head was covered so I believed her to be a devoutly religious person. On her lap was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I wondered about her interest in Rand’s lengthy novel.

As you know much has been said in the media recently about corporate greed and fairness. OWS protests, though largely unfocused and self-trivializing, seem to want to generate a discussion about what is ethically the “right thing to do” in the world of money and specifically money as power or a force to use for “good” and not for selfish pleasure. It should be noted, though, that the message of the OWS protestors is certainly compromised by their own envy and greed. Their desire (and demand) to have the same things that someone else has stands as witness to their hypocrisy. But, let’s get back to the woman reading Atlas Shrugged.  Briefly, let’s look at the philosophy behind the book.

Ayn Rand’s (1905-1982) novels portray the philosophy of Objectivism. The (paper) weighty Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead clearly identify the key tenets of Objectivism: objective reality, reason, self-interest, capitalism.

Ayn Rand’s Objectivism:

Objective reality: a tree falls in the forest. The sound of the falling tree occurs whether you are there to hear it or not. There is no spiritual realm. When you are dead you are dead.

Reason: direct stimuli from nature; there is no God, no soul, no intuition, nothing beyond what we determine though reason.

Self-interest: your own self-interest and happiness is what life is all about. You take care of number one.

Capitalism: Objectivism’s ideal political expression. Capitalism for the Objectivist is all about individual rights and private property; self-reliance, free trade, entrepreneurship and initiative all operate freely and without coercion within capitalism and the free market system.

Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is atheistic, rejecting faith and religion. It believes only in reason and what the self can determine. This viewpoint is born out of a godless evolutionary view of life, the Enlightenment era and philosophical naturalism. Objectivism is blind faith in your self.

Rugged individualism, for Rand, was a force like other forces of nature and something to be reckoned with. As you might imagine this type of thinking would certainly feed the ego and especially if the person who embraces Objectivism is successful in life. For these people pride of place means you’ve made it to the top of the heap. Your self-esteem is rewarded. You are recognized by your peers as having objectively “made it.” (BTW: OWS protestors want to make it, too.)

Ayn Rand’s extreme philosophy is most likely a reaction to her early life in Russia during the Communist Revolution. As a child she learned to despise coercion, government intrusion and totalitarianism. She came to oppose statism and collectivism while she promoted social systems which protected individual rights and personal initiatives. As a romantic realist she hated the dystopian effects created by those seeking to create a man-made utopia. Though a polemic, Rand never insisted that others be made to accept her philosophy. She was “laissez faire” with respect to others.

Before Rand another voice of philosophical naturalism and the evolutionary world view had chosen a different atheistic force with which to respond to “the law of life.: Jack London (1876 – 1916).

London, the author of The Call of The Wild wrote about the rugged individualist in a Darwinian world where and at a time when man was being considered as just another evolved animal. London wrote about animal instincts (the dog Buck) including survival of the species. For the philosophical naturalist life was essentially a matter of staying alive. This meant a primordial existence: eating, having sex, avoiding pain, etc. There was no higher purpose.

Over time, though, London drifted into materialism as most atheistic evolutionists do. He became a member of the Socialist Party of America. He embraced materialist thinkers such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche. It may be that because London, as depicted in his writings, saw humans at the mercy of nature’s massive forces that he decided that the best thing to do was to fight back by joining forces with other human animals via collectivism.

It could be said that both philosophical novelists, London and Rand, saw life as a Darwinian atheist did: having no divine purpose; first matter emerges then mind and then will-supplying force. And force, per Jack London and Karl Marx (and even these days, Obama) may be pooled into a collective. Or, force in the hands of Ayn Rand’s character Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, can be the individual who does it “My Way.” Either way, force is the means to an end: the “survival of the fittest,” a now-common phrase given to us by Herbert Spencer, nineteenth-century British philosopher who was huge proponent of evolution (and a significant influence on Jack London and it seems also of the OWS protestors).

As a Christian I believe that there is a lot about the basic wording of Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism that rings true while at the same time Rand’s self-directed fleshing out of the philosophy has nothing in common with Christianity.

To be sure there is objective reality but for the Christian it is the True Reality of the Kingdom of God. And those who have “ears to hear and eyes to see” can detect this Kingdom. It is spiritual and at the same time more real than this present world. Christians have wide-eyed belief in God.

Being created in the image of God a Christian also understands that reason is not an end in itself but a means to be in relationship with God and to work together with God to bring about His kingdom on earth.

Christian self-interest is the model for how we are to take care of others: “Love your neighbor as yourself”; “Husbands love your wives as yourself.” Our self-interest is not an end in itself. It is not bent inward. Remember, the Good Samaritan cared for the wounded man as he would have wanted to be cared for in the same situation. He wasn’t the rugged individualist who walked on by. Instead, he was the rugged individualist who cared for others.

Christian capitalism, man’s free, voluntary and individual exchange with others, is to be guided and tempered by a Christian’s self-governing virtue of justice – giving every man his due, of temperance, of prudence and of charity and not by government fiat. Remember, we are told in Scripture to “Pray for those in authority over you.” We pray for those in authority so that we can live in peace – a peace which means no government authority interfering in our lives. This allows for the free exchange of God’s goodness.

Collectivism, on the other hand, finds no place in Scripture apart from a brief mention of the early New Testament church. Yet, there are social engineers and social gospel advocates who build vast socialist ideologies around snippets of this New Testament history.  The U.S. Government is not the church of Jesus Christ. The world and the church are two separate entities. Governments are impersonal and do not have virtues. Governments are coercive and make demands.  In a democratic republic like the U.S. we must not elect leaders who create ever more egregious and imposing laws in hopes of creating the virtues we want to have around us. Be the virtue instead.

The Indian woman on the train woman reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged may find that “the survival of the fittest” individual means that she cuts herself off from God and others to obtain it all. And, those with a humanistic-collective bent may find that they will lose themselves and God in the mix.

Jesus – The Way, The Truth and The Life.  Let The Way Occupy you.


Shakespeare had it right when Hamlet says. ‘And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’

Here are some related posts:

Wrestling With God

Just Say No

What’s Left. To Be Decided.


How Shall I Then Live?

A ‘Naturalized’ Woman

Transgender. The word sounds surreal, mysterious and out-of-the-comfort-zone scary. Transylvania, transubstantiation and transmogrification have similar unsettling effects on the hearer.

In a less frightening usage, “trans”, the Latin prefix “across”, evokes thoughts of crossing a border or a change from one type to another. Consider the words “translate”, “transition”, “transportation”, “transposition” and “transformer.”

The chemical usage of “trans” in describing food may also promote consumer acceptance or rejection based on whether or not a product contains “Trans Fat.”

In personal use I do not use the word “transgender” to describe myself. I find it reproachful and slighting, in fact, due to its connection to the LGBT community and the connotations that this community has engendered for the word.

I realize that there are many in the LGBT community who use the word “Trans” to describe themselves:  “I am happy to be a Trannie.” But this was never true for me.

To begin with I am not associated with the LGBT community whatsoever. There are reasons why I am not involved in the LGBT community and I have written about those reasons elsewhere in previous posts. But to mention it briefly my choice not to be involved in that community has to do with the fact that I am a Christian. Because I follow Jesus Christ I do not encourage or promote homosexual or bisexual behavior of any kind. Beyond this I certainly do not base my life or center my life around sexuality as do the members of the LGBT community.

In conversations with others I have often found that if a person says that someone is living a “lifestyle” they are in fact seeking to buttonhole that person into a predefined category. And certainly there are some people who want to be buttonholed.  You have probably seen the tee-shirt that says “Out and Proud”. But someone using the word “lifestyle” to define who I am and what I am about would be demeaning to me.

Often, the tag “lifestyle” will be used in a pejorative sense:  “Why are you living this lifestyle?”  The speaker presumes that he or she has a legitimate life and that in my case I, by cross purposes, have a faux or superfluous life, a life opposed to the “normal” conventions.  I find their point to be pointedly dismissive. Thankfully, though,  I am not thin-skinned. I don’t let their verbal barbs scratch the surface. And you can’t let others control the narrative of your life by giving them the chalk to draw a box on the ground for you to live in. Especially when you need to make the change that I and others have made, changes that were never as frivolous as a “lifestyle”.

I began living as woman several years ago. Since then I have written only a few posts regarding the topic of my change. To be honest, the whole “change” business bores me to death.  And yet there are times when I feel the need to dredge up the words and ‘splain myself to others. I do this because I have learned over the course of many years that people usually fear, dislike and even hate what they don’t understand.  So here goes.

Though not born with female body parts, I became woman through a naturalization process. I call the process “a naturalization process” because it is similar to becoming a naturalized US citizen: a person not born in this country can become a ‘naturalized’ citizen by acceptance of its Constitution, its language, its laws and so forth. You get the picture.

The naturalized citizen acquires all of the benefits and responsibilities of their new country. Likewise, as a naturalized woman I have acclimated to my new country: I go to work, I go to church, I go… as woman. If asked (and thankfully I never am), I would say that I am a “naturalized” woman as opposed to saying that I am “trans-gendered.”  In doing so I take the conversation out of the gutter to a whole new level.

As a person who was gender “stateless” before my naturalization process I felt I needed to find a place where I could live in one place without segregating the mind from the body. And having always believed in a God-given binary gender – male and female – I knew that I had to be one or the other. And though the out workings of so-called masculinity and femininity are  relative only to the opposite gender I could never see myself as an effeminate man or as a butch female. I had to be female and not a bastardized version of one or the other.

The genesis of my gender understanding and the psychological disconnect with my body was most likely genetic and pre-natal hormonal influences on my brain along with a good portion of mystery. It is not exactly clear as to why I desperately needed to make the change. But of course, along the way I have met those who see things “clearly”, who believe that you do not need to make the change. In their words, “”just bear your cross (gender).”

 Over the years I have been involved in para-church ministries where the gender dysphoria issue is lumped in with the main issue of homosexuality. These church ministries talk about “trans-genderism”  or gender confusion because of its guilt-by-association with homosexuality: the gender dysphoric participants practice homosexuality and they are looking for a way to stop.  

Now, every follower of Christ accepts that homosexuality is expressly forbidden by the Lord.  But gender dysphoria, on the other hand, is not talked about by the Lord and is not mentioned anywhere in Scripture (no matter how much hermeneutics parse or stretch the Scripture to fit a certain “Bible-ized” social ideology).

The leaders of these ministries will tell you that gender dysphoria comes from a broken place in the person. They will use the word “broken” (along with various psychological terminology ) in their spiritual diagnosis so as to make their underlying assertions: such a change would be morally wrong, a sin; it’s not “normal” because God doesn’t work like that; it doesn’t fit God’s redemptive purposes. But I disagree.

Over the years I have also had Christian psychologists tell me that if I wanted to become a woman that they could not help me with the change. And yet the very same Christian “professionals” told me that I should see a psychiatrist in their clinic to get a mind and mood altering drug prescription to help avoid depression. They were very willing to change the state of my mind but not the state of the rest of me.  Why? One remedy is seen as “Biblical, the other remedy is deemed not “Biblical.”   One can see where the true disconnect is and how much the subjective, inaccurate and unverifiable field of psychology influences Christian thinking! (I find it ironic to say the least that Christians will whole heartedly accept the unproven theories and conjectures of psychology to guide their lives in tandem with Scripture but they will not accept the  theory of evolution, a theory which has overwhelming evidence to support its claims.)

Now I would have to guess that Christian psychologists seek to alter your behavior via mind altering drugs and remedial counseling in order to be in keeping with Scripture’s own prescription:  “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Translated this means that you change your way of thinking to be in line with what most people think and not your body, at least not in the mysterious gender dysphoria realm where the trollism of homosexuality may be lurking. “If you are obese or anorexic or addicted to mind altering drugs (see above) or whatever else then we will help you change your body.”

 At one point in his ministry Jesus spoke this practical polemic:  “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.”  This is a direct and terse statement of transition from one physical state to another and clearly doesn’t come across as a metaphorical mind purging laxative. In this case His path to wholeness was to cut off that which causes you to sin (that which doesn’t make you whole or holy) and not deal with it anymore. He didn’t seek to medicate or to counsel the issue to some undefined conclusion.

J.B. Phillips once wrote a book called “Your God Is Too Small.”  I agree with the basic premise of the book that people’s conception of God is most readily based on a projection of their relationship with their parents, with male and female figures authority figures and so on. For Christian counselors, ministers, et al I would amend the title based on my experience with their counseling: “Your God is Too Much Like Sanitized Societal Norms.”

Those in the ministry who do not have gender dysphoria (and that would be most) think that it is something that can be dealt with or overridden with therapy, prayer and redemptive (bear the cross I am handing you) suffering. They will place a diagnostic label on you and curtly denounce you for living a “lifestyle.” This stereotyping happens over and over again in these ministries. 

A theologian at this point may say that such a change is working at cross purposes with God, that  the ‘naturalized’ person is not getting their understanding from Scripture (though the New Testament writers desire that people be trans-formed and put on Christ). The theologian may also say that they have ‘bastardized’ what God has created. A Christian psychologist may go further and say that they suffer a neurosis.  Others may say things like “God doesn’t make mistakes (implying that they know the mind of God because they have reason on their side.)” I have heard it all.

Now you should know that my gender understanding and change are both coupled with my understanding of God’s grace – God’s elbow room for sinners like me. But, at this point, let me make something clear: I don’t practice homosexuality. I am celibate. I have been given the grace to make the change and to be celibate. This has been a wonderful healing/direction for my life.

Grace and elbow room. Do divorced people receive God’s grace? If you listen to Christian talk radio the answer is yes.

Divorce, not a feature of Adam and Eve’s garden relationship came about because of the hardness of men’s hearts since the garden. Today we have Christian radio personalities who are divorced. Did God, who sanctifies marriage, allow divorce – the One becoming Two? Does God’s grace allow you to divorce your husband because he looked at pornography? Does grace (both God’s and yours) allow and enable you to stay with your sinner of a husband as a salient witness for Christ in the marriage? What’s the appropriate use and measure of grace? Is grace the wherewithal to transition from a broken state into a temple for the Holy Spirit? Is grace the transmogrification of a person’s point of view? (see Flannery O’Connor’s short story, A Temple of the Holy Ghost. )? Is it all of the above? I think so.

God hates divorce but he allows it to take place. His grace works with man’s brokenness. Should I be judged or weighed differently than a divorced person? But let’s not think about the subject of my change in relativistic terms. I don’t. I think about my change in terms of grace, in terms of unction, in terms of personhood, set apart not for sin and the world but for God.

There was no doubt that I was divided or split about my gender since my earliest remembrance. To resolve the matter I spoke to all manner of counselors. And, as mentioned above, psychologists will often use the word “neurotic” to describe someone who is ‘severely’ divided in their thinking. But I have since learned not to accept the unproven ‘science’ of psychology and its “naming” conventions as truth. And since I am not Woody Allen-esque enough to need regurgitation of emo and hypochondria three times a week or even once a week I stay away from counseling. Counseling, for me, has been nothing more than the ebb and flow of mindless goo.

Beyond all this, there will always be people who want to nail down the morality of my change as something bad. Some will seek to nail me down to their own cross but I’m not going there. I have my own cross to bear.

Wholeness, I have understood and accepted, could be achieved through a “naturalization” process where mind and body could coexist in a stable peaceful state – the beginning of the thousand-year reign of Christ in my life. I can live within God’s grace and with God’s blessing. And, I can now concentrate on God’s Kingdom.

It was Abraham Lincoln who said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And, it was James, the brother of my Lord, who said, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” And, it was Carol King who sang, “You make me feel like a natural woman.”

Jesus said, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

It was me who said, “Amen.”

Towering Babel-ist in America

I would like to think that the American voter is trying really hard to make a go of it in this oppressive economic climate created by Obama and the Democrats. I would like to think this is the case but I have also come across another kind of voter:  the life’s victim-voter.

 This victim-voter, because of their constantly reinforced victim status, is basically mush – a supine non-thinker who asks government to bail them out of life’s difficulties, out of life’s pain and losses.  Instead of pursuing happiness though hard work this voter demands that government guarantee that their life will be easy and trouble-free. They say to themselves:  “Life is hard. If God won’t take away our pain we’ll make government do it.”  They may also argue, “Others are doing it why don’t I.”

It is this same victim–voter who continually seeks the balm of government hand-outs. The same victim–voter will instantly and freely give up their liberty for the license to be a perpetual needy victim. And, at the same time, this type of voter will seek to impose government restrictions on others thus fulfilling their need to keep others under control and/or paying the bill.

 Now I wonder, do these same voters just want to go about their lives doing their art, taking self-photos to post on Facebook, watching crap TV and movies, surfing the internet, smoking, drinking, tattoo-ing and living a life apart from the having to deal with reality? (I would like to write about other things but our nation is being dismantled by Obama and the progressive movement.)

 Now, why is Obama telling you and me what to do? Why is Obama, as announced recently, giving us a compromise regarding contraception?  Why is he involved at all in this very personal conversation? He and the Dems need to get the hell out of our lives.  They are absolutely intrusive, overreaching and becoming more totalitarian by the minute.

 Ask yourself:  “Why is Barack Obama involved in my personal stuff? ”

 Why does the government need to be intimate with the details of my medical records? Of my earnings? Of my life?

 Why is BHO telling me how much I can have?

 Why did Barack Obama tell the world that we are not a Christian nation?

 Why does Obama pick and choose who wins and who loses? (think car companies, unions and big banks)

Why is Barack Obama trying to create a climate of discontent? A climate of covetousness?  Of envy?

Why does Barack Obama conflate Scripture (“to whom much is given, much is required”) with class warfare? (Why,  brother Obama, sow discord and disharmony among the brethren? Perhaps you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing!)

 Why is AG Eric Holder allowing the Black Panthers a pass on voter intimidation? Or, allowing guns to be sold to drug dealers which in turn kill our own officers?

 Why is Michelle Obama telling me what I should eat?

 Why did Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats pass a national health care bill and then say “we had to pass the bill to find out what was in the bill?”

 Why are dictatorial judges (think 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, San Francisco) ignoring the Constitution in their legal decisions? Why are the rules changing for special interest groups?

Why did Ruth Bader Ginsburg (now in the SCOTUS) say that Egypt should have a different Constitution than the Constitution of the most free and Democratic republic in the world? Does RBG not like the Constitution under which she is to make her rulings? She should recuse herself and retire Jan 2nd, 2013.

 Obama and the Dem’s progressive overreach: Health care, contraception, faith, marriage, the family, earnings, investments, inheritance money, what you eat, omnipresent and oppressive regulations and…

 “Hope and Change.”  These words, verbal promissory notes to the militant Left during the 2008 presidential campaign, are code words replacing “Progressivism and radicalism.”  The 2008 election of BHO, as I see it, became the beginning of the end for America, an America once of the people, by the people and for the people. Our country is now being radicalized, being rewired into a dystopian matrix of parallel connections all wired and channeled to a small political ruling class of elites. (Think Obama’s czars. Think the EU – the European Union.)

 Why would BHO trash America?  Because he and those like him believe they have a better way for you to go – a hopey and changey pablum kind of way – a way we are told that transcends God, the church, race, gender and economics.  We are told that this “better way” transcends everyone and everything and for your own good. The inference being here that we the people are too stupid, too inept and out of control (read free) to live our lives without the better “Way.”

 The Hope and Change Lie has been told and re-told.  Those who voted for Obama in 2008 believed that the world would be a better place (?) if BHO was in the White House.  Without a denial of the facts, the effect of his presidency and the Democrat majority Senate has been the destruction of our nation’s economy, an encouragement to blatantly disregard the American Constitution, the torching of American exceptionalism (read flag) and the implementation of a scorched earth ideology that replaces everything in its path with the word “Fair” – fairness as defined by an elite group of people. 

 You, the voter, get a say for now but soon your say will be silenced by this political ruling class and the increasing murmur of illegal immigrants entering our country. The value of your own interests or concerns, once your own business, will soon be decided by the Obama government.  Remember, you are thought to be too stupid to act for your own good. Sadly, I think there are, as I have mentioned above, victim-voters who quickly acquiesce because they don’t want to think about what it takes to live this life. They, instead, want Obama and the Democrats make their life decisions for them.

 We are repeatedly told by the Obama-led progressives that we need this change so that we as a nation of diverse people and needs can get along fairly, equally. BHO sees himself as the champion of the little guy.  He will, in fact, promote himself as such for the 2012 presidential campaign. But, you should know that he is walking up the ladder of ascendant power on the backs of the little guys.

 What I have also seen is that Barack Obama seeks to create strife among the races (race “carding” any dissent; think Al Sharpton, MSNBC and the media); strife among economic groups (class warfare), strife among workers (union and non-union); strife among church and state; strife among people of every stripe and color. He does so in order to promote himself as the gentle, wise old black man (a Morgan Freeman-like narcissistic typecasting) to help the poor embattled nation (now at odds in its Barack Obama-incited civil war). Obama creates the problem and then reveals himself (the “level-headed” One) as the solution to the problem. And, it is this One who wants to bring “peace and harmony” to the nation ala Abe Lincoln (more narcissistic typecasting).  Barack Obama is politically motivated to play you and this nation at every level in order to build his tower of Babel overlooking his constructed world.  Many let him do it.  But why?

 What is now truly transcendent is the totalitarianism of Barack Obama and the federal government. And, the over-reach continues:  Obama will feign moral high ground when he opines professorially “we (the political elite) know best, we are above the bickering.” This is the Hope and Change Lie re-packaged to encourage supine surrender to the elitist tyranny.

 The voter must be ever vigilant against the totalitarianism of sincere motives in the hands of a few.  Some of you bought the lie in 2008.  It is almost too late.  The Lie, with its ring of totalitarian power, must be thrown into the fires of Mount Doom and be forever destroyed.

(I have flavored this post with plenty of metaphors in hopes of giving the reader a bitter taste of what is happening to our liberty under Obama.)

 There is hope, though:

“The Tea party Movement is nourished by a very American creed, namely that governments don’t have the answers, that reform comes from below, that people are wiser than their leaders.” British MEP Daniel Hannan in The New Road to Serfdom:  A letter of Warning to America

 And, this video tells it like it is:

Wrestling with God?

Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011. God rest his free will.


Out of fear of creating a post too long and drawn out (as it turned out to be) and one that no one may read I will try and summarize as best I can my take on the video posted below. Please view the video first. (You will need several cups of coffee.  Hold the scotch.)


As you will see and hear in the video, Christopher Hitchens’ (Hitch) arguments for atheism (or against theism), after many dead-end asides, were centered on his aversion to having anyone telling anyone what to do.  His followers readily know that over the years Hitch has repeatedly taken umbrage on paper or in one-upmanship debates against totalitarianism and against any authoritarian person or religion having a say in his life or in the lives of others. For the record, William Lane Craig (marker 13:59) noted that Hitch despised and hated religion.

Hitch was certainly OK, though, with authoritarian imposition upon others if he felt the cause justified removing other authoritarian figures from the lives of those he thought were oppressed.  He, to the horror of the liberal elitists, aligned himself philosophically with G.W. Bush regarding the Iraq war and the war on terror against radical Islamists.

In the February 2012 issue of Vanity Fair, Salman Rushdie penned In Memoriam, Christopher Hitchens: 1949-2011. Rushdie wrote about Hitch’s return to the left:

“Paradoxically, it was God who saved Christopher Hitchens from the right. Nobody who detested God as viscerally, intelligently, originally, and comically as C. Hitchens could stay in the pocket of god-bothered American conservatism for long.  When he bared his fangs and went for God’s jugular, just as he had previously fanged Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa, and Bill Clinton, the resulting book, God is not great, carried Hitch away from the American right and back toward his natural, liberal, ungodly constituency.”

As a way of life Hitch sought to stand juxtaposed to the universal rule of law (his own conscience) in an antinomian position while at the same time declaring moral diatribes against religious and political authorities he considered too over arching in their imposition. He also liked to keep his conscience well inebriated and his roving moralist eye ever looking elsewhere ~ looking outside and not within ~ denial and pretense being typical liberal traits.

With atheistic cowardice and hubris, Hitch attacked Mother Teresa, a little old lady. He apparently wanted to feed his prurient desire to neutralize any authority figure (overt or implied) by trying to bring her down several notches in people’s eyes.  Why? He claimed she was pushing her authoritarian teachings onto the helpless. He accused her of hypocrisy in her dealings (an easy, self-serving claim for an atheist to make against any Christian). He may have felt threatened by her devotion to an unseen God and her ability to make things happen for others and doing so as a little old lady.

Why would a grown man verbally attack a helpless woman who indeed went about helping others who themselves were under the totalitarianism of poverty and squalor?  Maybe Hitch thought she wasn’t helpless. Maybe it was a direct attack against God. It certainly was an act of unmatched intelligential cowardice. To be sure Mother Teresa fought the unseen authorities of this world (the “powers of darkness”) by physically helping the outcast, the hungry and the hurting with an agape-powered love and not verbal hubris.

Hitch, on the other hand, fought the very public “seen” authorities of this world by aligning rhetorically with causes which he felt were important for him. He should have noted that he and Mother Teresa were fighting the same issue ~ human suffering at the hands of others (whether a dictator or a false religion) -from two different sides. Yet, he chose to denigrate Mother Teresa. I believe he did this because he felt threatened by her belief in the unseen God.

Hitch postures that Christians, especially Christian missionaries like Mother Teresa, are hypocrites who say things they know to be true and good but live disconnected lives apart from such truth – their deeds not matching match their words. This argument (?) against God was replayed in his use the La Rochefoucauld quote “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue.” Yet, this hypocrisy argument folds in on itself if one were to hold any moral standard at all. Perhaps Hitch, a polymath, saw moral laws as “many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.” (The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe)

Clearly Hitch’s excessive lifestyle (his immoderate drinking, smoking, etc. have been noted elsewhere) made his salacious attacks against God all the more the more forthcoming and lubricious.  His lifestyle had also proved his belief in nihilism – life is nothing if not suffering. So he apparently used a “get it while you can” justification to medicate the blows between verbal jousting contests.

His liquid lifestyle also spoke to the fact of Hitch’s drive for “freedom” from any limitation imposed on his person including by his own person – his physiology. He chose against himself again and again.  He did this while throwing the world a bone now and then, choosing willy-nilly causes to deflect away any personal soul-searching which might lead to accountability to any higher authority. (see marker 25: 5, If god does not exist then objective moral standards don’t exist – a self-satisfying argument.)

Hitch detested dictatorships of all kinds and he did so while as a potentate of his own world. He would not bend the knee to anyone or to anything.  He would fight, as Salmon Rushdie recalled in the same Vanity Fair article remembering his friend, for anyone who was made to do so.  Hitch’s rebellion was against dictatorial authority of any kind and not just in the political and religious realm.  And he certainly rebelled against authority stated as codified truth – the Bible and the recorded history of the resurrection of Jesus.  His moral relativism, stated above, is characteristic of most atheists (and the “ungodly constituency”) since they affirm that no moral standard exists outside one’s self.

In the video Hitch asks the universal question posed to theism:  why would a God who was all powerful and good allow suffering?  My answer:  suffering comes out of created man’s free-will choices in a fallen world. God has allowed it for a time but not forever. Justice will be meted out and suffering will end.

He continues his disbelief:  “Why would God spend eons of time in creating a world that he could set up in a blink of an eye?” He went on to say that Christians are now co-opting evolution theory in accordance with the Creation argument, evolution being a position long held by atheists.  He “christens” this “tactic” or “style” of argument as “retrospective evidentialism” or as a “second thought.” (marker 37:40)

As a Christian theist I see no conflict whatsoever with science and creation.  I believe in theistic evolution-a finely tuned theistic universe, a personal cause of the universe and a theistic objective morality. As scientific evidence becomes available it should be used and not discarded.  Beyond scientific proofs, my own belief in God is vindicated every day because I, a rational human being, know that God exists. I continue to pursue Him actively and I submit to His authority. Hitch, on the other hand, fled from any such authority outside of himself and employed his own existentialist belief system where he felt safe from intrusion.

Also in the video, Hitch uses the Creationist argument of a literal seven days to say that we as Christians are basically lunatics to believe such things. Again, I see no conflict with a Creationist’s position of a literal seven days and the theory of relativity which could make thousands of millennia appear as seven literal days.

Hitch takes another jab at Christian theism by invoking his own god-like view point when questioning why God would do what Christian theists believe He did. He balks (and I’ll paraphrase):  “…the eons of time that God has created-evolved ~ that all of this fine tuning, mass extinction and randomness is the will of a Creator God (marker 40:21) and that all of this happened so that one very imperfect race of evolved primates might become Christian ~ all of this was “with us in view” is a curious kind of solipsism, a curious kind of self-centeredness.”  Hitch jests that he thought Christians were modest and humble, not self-centered with certain arrogance to the assumption that this “was all about us.” And, “The tremendous wastefulness of it, the tremendous cruelty of it, the tremendous caprice of it, the tremendous tinkering and incompetence of it, never mind at lease we’re here and we can be people of faith.” This projection from one who, with a free will, spoke from a self-centered and solipsistic core!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Creator, was always meant to bypass the wise of this earth: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”” (Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church).   A priori rebellion coded as cleverness is found in the Mitochondrial DNA of man.

Apart from free-wheeling self-directed solipsism, there is a bounty of sound arguments for theism and William Lane Craig (WLC) highlights them artfully:  “No good argument that atheism is true, there are good arguments that theism is true ~ not via social questions or ethics (marker 16:00).

WLC philosophical arguments in quick notation:

Cosmological argument:  things exist, not nothing; the universe began to exist not infinite, not eternal ~ Big Bang Beginning, ex-nihilo, a cause by an UnCause beyond space and time;  David Hillburg ~ The infinite;  there must be a cause of creation. This Being must be uncaused, timeless, space unfathomable & personal and not abstract thought or object; The universe has begun to exist and is not infinite, not eternal (astrophysics concur); Past event are real, there must be Personal creator of the universe, transcendent intelligent mind

Teological argument:  (marker 20:00) finely tuned universe ~ mathematically constants (e.g., gravity) not determined by the laws of nature & the arbitrary conditions (entropy, balance between matter and antimatter); any change in these would be the end of life itself (the atomic weak force being altered)

Chance?  Odds are incomprehensibly great, life prohibiting universes are more probable

It follows logically by Design ~ intelligent argument, intelligent designer

Moral argument (marker 25: 15):  if god does not exist then objective moral standards don’t exist; if God exists then valid and binding; the morality that has emerged proves that god exists ~ via moral experience; we understand that there are things that are really wrong.

Historical fact (marker 27:40):  The resurrection of Jesus a historical fact not just a belief;  tomb discovered empty eyewitnesses;  individuals and groups saw Jesus, appearances to believers and unbelievers;  the original disciples believed in the resurrection and Jewish religion believed otherwise about when resurrection occurs; Christian die for the truth of the resurrection (marker 30:26)

Experiential knowledge:  The experience of God or claim to know that God exists – properly basic beliefs part of a system of beliefs including the belief of an external world;   Context of physical objects; grounded in our experience of God; God immediate reality

Hitch responds (marker 33:16):  arguments the same across religions ~ belief in God but differences; presuppositionalists (by faith) and the evidentialists a distinction without a difference.

As you will note Hitch’s arguments are all basically dismissive of Christian belief and are not evidentiary in favor of atheism; note his “rather sweet” dismissal of those who believe ~ that those of faith should have evidence.  (Hitch once again conveniently dismisses the facts of the resurrection and the improbability of causation by chance.)

Hitch: “We argue that is no plausible or convincing reason, certainly no evidential one to believe that there is such an entity…all observable phenomena is explicable (marker 42:00); I don’t believe that following the appropriate rituals…

“Even if this deity did exit it doesn’t prove that he cared about us…cared who we had sex with …care whether we lived or died… (marker 42:32)

“Miracles suspend the natural order ~ Christians want it both ways (“promiscuous”) (marker 44:00); The natural order – “It is miraculous without a doubt”

“I have to say that I appear as a skeptic, I doubt these things.” (marker 46:16)

“The theist says it must be true…”Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”;

Too early in the study of biology…to make these claims.”

Perhaps Hitch, the verbal grappler, was as a sound and fury professional wrestler who was successfully agile at avoiding a real match-up with Truth. But now, the fight has ended, the match is over. All that’s left in the empty corner is a book ~  God is Not Great.   His last words?

European Vacation Part III

I have an answer for those who would like to see America become like Europe:  take a slow boat to Europe.

 If you are young and hold a useless degree (liberal arts, gender studies, “identity” studies, African-American studies, etc) and are jobless in spite of Obama’s Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 than take your worthless piece of paper and flee to the cafes of Paris or Rome.  Spend your Recovery summers and winters, springs and autumns in Europe.  Become one of Europe’s intellectual elites. Better yet, become the vagabond that you have always dreamed of becoming– just you, nature and Kumbaya.  Become the insipid whiner who decries American liberty for having too much opportunity and too much choice and not enough government programs making choices for you.

 If you are seeking European style health care then the perfect answer for you would be to relocate yourself and your citizenship to a European country.  After all, America, having paid for the defense of Europe during WWII to the tune of 80 plus billion dollars and with thousands of American lives, allowed European nations to turn their swords into plowshares, their guns into socialized medicine. America effectively paid for the implementation of Germany’s health care system. And, doesn’t America still have a military base in Germany protecting German interests as well as American interests, freeing up German defense dollars for healthcare?

 Socialist Europe is held up as a model of “just behavior”; but the Left forgets that for seventy-five years America defended Europe from the Communist threat, and bore the cost, which would have bankrupted Europe, and which, in the event, bankrupted Communism.  The Left looks at the peace of Europe since World War II and forgets that it was not only ensured, but created by American military strength and determination (and funded by the Marshall plan, which is to say, by a surplus of American industrial wealth.) And now the Left has elected a President who thinks it good to go to Europe and apologize for our “arrogance”, who proclaims the benefits of appeasement both at home and around the world.[1]

 Coming out of a decisive victory made possible by America, the Marshall plan funneled huge amounts of money into the rebuilding of European nations devastated by the Third Reich. America paid a steep price to free Europe from her enemies. Europe responded by turning inward and to pampering herself with socialized health care.  The facts now reveal, though, that under European style socialized health care you will get a small bang for your Euro in Europe, unless of course you are really looking for legalized drugs.

 And, if you are looking for top-down centralized government and the chance to really all-out criticize and complain about America then Europe is the place for you. Over there, in the Elysian Fields where there is “blessed” life after life in your despised America, you can rail against the Yanks for being so greedy, so selfish, so uncaring, so hard-working and so American.  Forget about WWII. Forget about the fact that America is the most charitable nation on earth (a common good interventionism) and a strong defender of liberty against totalitarianism. And forget, too, that millions of people left their homelands for the chance at American prosperity and for the freedoms of speech, religion and choice.

I believe the incredible wealth of this country will allow it to survive quite awhile on its hundred years of production and upon its natural resources and historic culture of productivity.

But the Change which Obama’s rhetoric referred to preceded and will follow him, accelerated by him and his policies, accepted by a drugged populace and supine press.  It is the unfortunate descent of a productive nation into socialism, which, as I understand it, is robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I don’t think it’s any more complex than that.[2]

 In Europe, give in to your to your passions and to your righteous anger.  Go riot in the French streets about banal differences in French cinema. Find your mojo among the militant Left Euro-Sophists. Stir your Café Americano pensively, smoke your Marlboros and sit around in distressed blue jeans chatting smugly with others of your herd about your almost extinct planet and the need to create a global warming franchise like Al Gore has done.  You have earned it.

  A vagabond status of passive living is so incredibly ‘60s.  Peace and love baby.  Go for it.  Experience the experience. Become one with the world. Find yourself.  COEXIST with yourself in Europe and please leave America to the Americans.

 If you are looking for “Hope” and “Change” look no farther: America’s promise of liberty, opportunity and choice is filled with “Hope”.  To be sure, American hope is born out of character which is born out of perseverance through trial, through hard work and yes, through suffering and not out of European-like nanny state programs which enable sloth, intemperance, envy and even despair.

 “Change” comes when you begin to fully appropriate America’s “Hope.”  “Change,” thus, begins and ends with you, right here, right now.  Or, board the next boat to parts unknown.

[1] David Mamet, The Secret Knowledge: On Dismantling of American Culture (New York:  Penguin Books:  Sentinel, 2011, http://davidmamet.com/) 44.

[2] Ibid, 64

Course Correction Needed: 2012

Currently, we as a nation have as our leader the only un-American President ever to hold the office.  He is un-American not because he is black or because there have been questions about his place of birth.  He is un-American precisely because he wants to transform America into a completely different country ~ effectively, an EU style nation under centralized control. And as such the liberty of the individual will convert to the power of the state and its elite contingent.

Here is what a member of Britain’s Parliament said in a recent book warning Americans about the Europeanization of America:

The alarming thing is that President Obama, the former chair of the Senates’s Europe Committee, seems genuinely to believe that the United States can usefully learn from the European political and social model.  The platform on which he was elected, and the policies he is now implementing, are not a series of initiatives lashed randomly together.  They amount to a sustained project of Europeanization:  state health care, government day care, universal college education, carbon taxes, support for supra-nationalism, bigger government, a softer national policy.

 Of course European leaders are flattered by the mimicry.  But, in their hearts, even they know that pursuing such an agenda leaves a country less prosperous and less free.[1]

In order to accomplish this change Obama regularly uses blatant demagogic rhetoric of the class warfare type to stir up fears.  And, with a sliding scale of European-like moral relativism coupled with the Left’s anthropocentric humanism, he ultimately promotes the worship of man and his material needs – One nation under man and his “fair share” of material goods.

With all the arrogance he can muster and an uncontrained vision of top-down government Obama truly seeks to unsettle Americans from their long-standing moral and religious heritage and move them into the framework of a secular democracy based on nothing more than rational humanism and anthropocentrism. He plays to the fear of inequitable outcomes (materialism) and encourages envy cleverly disguised as egalitarianism.  But consider these telling words from economist Thomas Sowell:

 “Those who want to take our money and gain power over us have discovered the magic formula:  get us envious or angry at others and we will surrender, in installments, not only our money but our freedom.  The most successful dictators of the 20th century ~ Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao – all used this formula, and now class warfare politicians are doing the same.”

  “Envy plus rhetoric equals “social justice.”

Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. (emphasis mine)

 Nor is economic failure the worst of it.  The millions slaughtered by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot for political reasons are an even grimmer reality.

Obama daily brines us with acerbic fairness talk hoping to stir up a maelstrom of unrest and radicalism, hoping to push the U.S. into a European model of government where the rule of “Fairness” and “Rights” replaces Truth and Love.  In this madness Obama is helped by the influence of the European George Soros, his money being channeled into progressive media outlets.

Obama dislikes the U.S. because he envies Europe.  He does not want to exalt America’s exceptionlism and its unmatched charity.  Rather, he wants to extol Europe’s elitism and its useless intellectual humanitariansim.  He believes Europe to be superior to America in many ways including societal issues and in the nature of its governance.  He certainly believes Europe to be on the height of societal evolution when in fact Europe is cutting off its own moral foundations at the root.

As a student of radical SDS terrorist Bill Ayers Obama also bows to the 60’s radical’s vision of democratic revolution, but he does so now in a new button-downed guise of “Hope and Change.”  (BTW:  the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear in the Constitution. The phrase was coined by Bill Ayers in 1975.)

Since the 1960s when the radicalization of democracy began it has continued to undermine all authoritative institutions and even Truth itself. The 60’s radical prostrates himself before pure autonomy and consent, offering nothing of value in exchange. Beyond all this Obama wants to place over America the banner of “One World” ~ “One World Under Man and Materialism

Under such a “One-World” banner Obama would pledge U.S. allegiance to international energy, environmental, economic, judicial and social policies. This banner would replace our own hard won historically, philosophically and religiously birthed constitution with an Eric Holder type of pick and choose demagoguery – a tyranny of the unconstrained vision to which Obama, Holder and Europe fully embrace. It is a banner of an abstracted democracy which encourages people to abandon self-governance and the idea of Truth. Under such a banner “The pressure builds to defer to elite opinion, to the requirements of humanitarianism and egalitarianism, to the moral authority of international law.”[2]

Not just because of the ineptness of his leadership, his lack of statesmanship, his neglect of history, his political cronyism, his scorn of facts or his faux spirituality should Obama be a one term president.  If  Obama were to be elected again America would lose its heart, mind and soul to the nihilism, secularism and parasitism of socialism so characteristic of the European nations today ~ nations floundering under the weight of their own foolishness, lack of self-governance and spiritual neglect.

America needs an American President. We need a president who will guide us, a republic established by spiritual and philosophic men and women of great insight, of great learning and of great depth of character.  The founders were people of self-governance committed to the best possible outcomes available to every man.  What we have now is a one-dimensional populist autobiographer whose main devotions are to himself and to golf.

“Barack Obama also is the deep thinker who ponders great things.  And the thing that Barack Obama seems to ponder most is his own greatness.  He doesn’t write biographies, he writes only autobiographies.  He gives speeches which he declares to be historic.  He recognizes his place in history long before he has created history.  This nation is but a stage upon which Barack Obama creates his life story, and it’s all about him.” William A. Jacobson,  A Harvard Trial Lawyer for McCain

America does not need the snarkiness and hubris of light-weight Obama. We certainly do not want or need a president who cut his ideological “teeth” on the teachings of people like 60s radical Bill Ayers and “God Damn America” Jeremiah Wright. We do not need a freshman senator from Illinois to vote “Present” during our times of national crisis.

The pilgrims left Europe in order to embrace freedom of religion ~ a freedom from a centralized religion. In the process they, along with Truth-honoring statesmen helped to form an American Republic derivative of and dependent on Truth.  Obama’s presidency is now piloting our ship away from the shores of vested Truth and back towards Europe. There the vacuum of moral relativism with its detestation of Truth will suck the U.S. down into its sink-hole.

God Save America from Obama.

[1] Daniel Hannan, The New Road to Serfdom: A letter of Warning to America (New York:  Broadside Books, 2010), 76

[2]  Daniel J. Mahoney, The Conservative Foundations of a Liberal Order  (ISI Books, 2010) 21

Have it Their Way: Obamacare

Recently, in my reading of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Philosophy: Everything Is Fire, a book included in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, I came across the term “McDonaldlization”.

This term, coined by sociologist George Ritzer in his 1993 book The McDonalization of Society, defines how Ritzer sees the dehumanizing affects on society through the use of a fast-food restaurant’s operation methodology in many of our businesses and our institutions.  He tells us that the scientific methods affecting us are efficiency, calculability, predictability (standardization), control and irrational rationality.

“Most specifically, irrationality means that rational systems are unreasonable systems. By that I mean that they deny the basic humanity, the human reason, of the people who work within or are served by them.” (Ritzer 1994:154)

As a process characteristic of doing business, whether as providing a service or a good to someone, McDonaldlization makes sense. But it only makes sense up until the point the customer is served and satisfied by such process.  If the customer is not satisfied the process would need to adapt in order to satisfy the customer or the provider would likely lose his customer.  Within a free market business scenario both the provider and the receiver have choices and they are free to make them. Certainly it is no secret that many people eat at McDonalds or drink Starbucks coffee, receiving the products and service of these companies which embrace process characteristics described above. Others do not seek those products and services. They are free to choose otherwise.

With the Obamacare bureaucratic healthcare franchise coming to a town near you, you the patient will no longer have a choice.  Medical providers will no longer have a choice.  Both the provider and the patient must now provide and receive respectively what is calculated, predictable, rational and efficient. All of this process will be controlled by the Federal Government.  You are being told a lie that things won’t change regarding your health care under Obamacare.  They will change dramatically under this newly created centrally planned institution. You should know that Central Planning Officer (CPO), the health-care computer, will not let you “have it your way.”

In another article in the afore-mentioned book titled Kicking the Hornet’s Nest:  The Hidden “Section” in Every Institution the writer describes how man-made institutions tend to become corrupt to maintain and protect its own power under the banner of providing a benefit to others. Institutions “trumpet rationality” (scientific management), “boast stability” (inertia to change or to adaptation for individual needs) and “pronounce power” (we need power to protect you) and yet as we look at our U.S. Congress we see that “Institutions cannot simply be swept clean of their corrupt elements; rather, they tend toward corruption in their very being.  The injustice of the institution appears necessary for the maintenance of the institution.”  Institutions do not care about democracy. They do not care about your vote.

Institutions tend to serve those in power. When this happens you will be subjugated to the rationality of the institution for the protection of the institution. And, the institution will protect itself. Rationality has nothing to do with how you the patient feels. You will then know the irrational rationality of the institution. Do you understand this?

Now, do you also understand that Obamacare is a loss of choice?  Do you understand it is loss of liberty and, more importantly, of human dignity? Do you understand that you will now become codified just like medical diagnoses and services are now codified? Do you understand Obamacare is a loss of privacy?  And, of protection?

There are people right now who want all of your medical records on tap so as they say “to make things run more efficiently for the doctor/patient relationship.” We are headed to the McDonaldlization of health care via the institution of Obamacare.  Wait till the Obamacare franchise hits town. You will be Big Mac’d in thirty seconds or less.

Occupy Thanksgiving

Words you will never see on a OWS or union protest placard:  “THANK YOU”.

At the table this Thanksgiving there will be those who give thanks. There will also be those who pull up to the table demanding more. This latter group will echo Obama’s class warfare rhetoric griping about inequities and fairness.

There are those who do not give thanks. They will be waiting for their demands to be met. They will beg for “this, that or the other thing”, bemoaning their own situation as being intolerable.  For them there is never a thought of thanksgiving even when their most dire needs have been met.  I am reminded of the historical account of Jesus healing the Ten Lepers:

 “As he (Jesus) was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (emphasis mine)

As this account reveals people will gladly seek benevolence from others but they will often do so out of the understanding that they deserve such gifts or benefits.  This is especially true if government has become the benefactor.  And because our government has deep pockets full of other people’s money these same people may certainly feel that they have “right”  to demand things from the government bureaucrats who have set themselves up as demi-gods of benevolence. These people believe that they “justly” deserve government beneficence because they feel that they are victims of society and also because the politicians they have put in office promised them “hope and change”; “hope and change” outcomes promised in terms of benefits on the barrel head in exchange for their vote.

Our U.S. Constitution provides for the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The 5th Amendment offers protections to our “life, liberty, or property,” noting we cannot be deprived of any of them without due process of law. Our Constitution does not guarantee the end results under that protection.

In effect, you are promised a fence around the rose garden but not the roses themselves. I learned from my Dutch grandfather that roses require sun, rain, good soil, fertilizing, protection from frost and rabbits and substantial pruning. It takes lots of time and energy, lots of individual attention to create an American Beauty rose. Yet, some people don’t want to work that hard or to be so dedicated.  So, they ask the government for the cut roses from someone else’s garden. They do this to make their lives just a little “nicer”, a little “richer”.  But, these cut roses quickly whither and dry up and the same people are back asking for more of them.

Dismissing the U.S. Constitution’s accumulated knowledge, wisdom and Judeo-Christian roots as outmoded and not rational for today’s society, social justice advocates demand equal outcomes.  They do so by demanding that others be deprived at any cost so that others will receive the benefits they so desire.  They do not care about another’s personal property, property such as an accumulated wealth. They care solely about their own accumulated gain. They see inequity not as a summit to climb but as a lot of work and effort that can be easily circumscribed with political action.

These advocates make their demands through willing politicians like Obama, Reid , Pelosi, Barney Frank (MA), Dick Durbin (IL), etc.  These politicians campaign with promises of changing the social landscape to favor their own version of utopian socialism. They usurp the black and white meaning of our U.S. Constitution by “intuitively” reading it so as to give the government the power to mandate social change via taxation, via the commerce clause and via the politician’s own self-interest of encapsulating power via re-election.

Speaking of self-interest, capitalism is a person who out of self-interest seeks to barter or sell a good or a service to another. The ‘other’, thinking he will benefit from the exchange, makes the trade-off. The exchange is made and both parties are happy, satisfying each their own self-interest.

Utopian socialism is a one-way exchange. It is taking from Peter to pay Paul. It is depriving Peter of what he has earned, grown, protected with his life, it is taking his savings and his wealth and then giving it to Paul for no other reason that Paul may need or want the same things. This is what is now being called “social justice” but it is not justice. It does not give Peter what is due him – the right to his property. It does not give Paul what is due him – the right to pursue happiness. This exchange is more accurately described as highway robbery.

These social justice advocates presume that the U.S. Constitution meant for them to have equal outcomes or perhaps even that the Constitution is outdated, archaic and without justice as they see it.  The social justice protestors cry out “Have pity on us, government, give us what we think we need and what we so badly want. You have the means. We gave you the place of authority.”

In 1993, during a lecture titled “The Meaning of “Justice””, Russell Kirk of the Heritage Foundation said:

“In this disordered age, when it seems as if the fountains of the great deep had been broken up, our urgent need is to restore a general understanding of the classical and Christian teaching about justice. Without just men and women, egoism and appetite bring down civilization.  Without strong administration of justice by the state, we all become so many Cains, every man’s hand against every other man’s. The humanitarian fancies himself zealous for the life impulse; in reality, he would surrender us to the death impulse.  The humanitarian’s visions issue from between the delusory gates of ivory; justice issues from between the gates of horn.”

 Today’s OWS protestors plead for pity from others using lawlessness.  They are being urged on to political violence by men who should know better. They also do not seek God for their daily bread. That would require humility on their part.

Just as ten lepers were healed and only one returned to give thanks, nine out of ten of us may likely think that we deserve such a “gift” and just walk away, pleased with ourselves having pled for pity and receiving something in return for our “effort”.  The exclusion of “Thank You” from the placards of men’s lives reveals the lifting up of “MY Rights” and the idolatrous nature behind most dissent and protest. The idea of justice, “to each his own”, is being  replaced with “feed me and then ask of me virtue.”

The Greatest Disparity in our society is between those who with contentment give thanks to God and their neighbor and those who, like leeches, demand ever more and more from government and their neighbor.

  It is time to Occupy Thanksgiving without asking for anything in return. And, let us give God what is due Him:

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”   Psalm 107:1