Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

Where And Why Politics And Christianity Intersect

Perhaps in a perfect world, there would never be a need to discuss politics among Christians or between Christians and unbelievers.

Maybe that’s not the case, but whether or not it is, such a need assuredly exists.

The funny little reality is, my support for a particular political perspective comes out of my belief in God and Christ and my attempting to follow the spirit I believe they engender in the lives of those who follow Them.

I can imagine that many people who take opposing political views to my own make similar claims. The problem is, I am entirely unable to reconcile their statements with the perspectives and resulting politics they support.

You see, it seems to me that Jesus took great pains to separate Himself from government. He not only made it clear He was not a “child of an Earthly Kingdom,” but really, He refused even to be considered a part of the ordered hierarchy of the Judaic government, or—inasmuch as it could be separated from the government—the leadership of the synagogues and Temple.

Further, it appears to me that He fully intended for the separation He made obvious in His actions and statements, to apply to the lives of His followers as well.

About now, you may be saying something like, “If that is true, why do you support any political position at all?”

The question is a good one, to which the simplest answer is, “In reality, I don’t.”

That having been said, I want to explain why I encourage those who do engage themselves in politics, to choose the folks I think most appropriate.

This will probably sound problematic to a great many people, but my primary reason for attempting to cause others to support certain political perspectives, is that I want to be left alone as much as possible. Further, I think true Christians ought to have the same perspective where non-Christian, outside influence is concerned.

The simple reality is, government is not either inherently, nor as a matter of constant course, Christian in nature. This means that, when government gets involved in things, they are likely to, if not immediately, at some point along the way, take a course that is inconsistent with Christianity.

Don’t believe me? I encourage you strongly, to look into the lives of folks like Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul the Apostle) and Peter, also an apostle.

You see, from the very beginnings of Christianity, Christians (and, in fact, even Jesus Himself), have been running afoul of the government in place in their times.

This should neither be a surprise, nor should it be something people think ceased to happen in the times of the early Church.

Literally from that time to this, Christians have been persecuted by both individuals and governments the World over. Believing otherwise is, in my mind, a sign that you have failed to understand the history of Christianity.

So true is this, that Jesus says (paraphrasing), “Know ye not that friendship with the World is enmity with God?” Or perhaps you believe that He was talking about just individuals? The problem is, there is no reason to believe this is the case. Even less so—as I have already said—when you look at the persecution of Christians by governments and their representatives around the globe.

All previous discussion leads to, at least in my mind, the inescapable conclusion that the minimum interference presented by any and all “outside forces” is what ought to be the preference expressed for and by all Christians.

You may be the type of person who believes The Church can and should be an “acceptable force” in your life as a Christian. I believe this is true to some quite small degree. In the end, you are “responsible for” you.

If this is true, what is The Church “for?” My answer is proselytization, and leading of young Christians. Being somewhat older in the faith, if I have a position in The Church at all—and I believe I do—it ought to be working to help people to understand there is a God, that Jesus is His Son and that they ought to believe on both of Them.

That being said, I do not look to The Church for leadership per se. That’s not to say that I cannot be upbraided or corrected by another in The Church, just that, as time goes on, I should be working to make that less and less possible, by doing what is right and proper in God’s eyes.

Those entities outside The Church however, should not be viewed in any wise to be things I should look to for correction (not to say God cannot equally use such things, but that if I am “facing God,” their use should be obvious, and be similar to God’s use of a rock or a donkey on my behalf).

Assuming my foregoing statements to be correct and accurate, if I were to use the concepts expressed to help others to make the best and soundest determinations as to who should be in government, what would I tell them?

The simple fact is that the government that most minimally affects its “charges” is the best. Put another way, unless there is a very strong reason for that government to interfere in the affairs of the governed, it should not do so.

This is the reason I will pretty much always point folks to people who at least claim they will reduce government in almost every possible way. The clear “winners” in that regard are those who refer to themselves as Libertarians.

Second in line are those who identify as Republicans and Conservatives—at least where United States government is concerned.

I don’t care about things like supposed skin color (pretty much everybody is brown, so I don’t really even get the skin color argument) or male versus female. What I do care about, is what a politician indicates (and more importantly demonstrates) is his or her “way of doing business.” The more he or she claims to (better yet acts to) reduce government in all but a very few ways, the happier I am to see him or her in office.

Here we are yet again “pushing the limit.” As a result, I must take this matter up in another post if I’ve more to say about it. With that having been said, allow me to wish you the best of days, and my profuse thanks for your taking the time to read what I have said.

Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Sanity

Much has been made by a great many people—myself included—about the need for standards. So significant is this need, that it is hard to imagine a life without them existing.

In order to distinguish between righteousness and unrighteousness, rectitude and error, suitability for purpose or lack thereof and so many more things, it is necessary to employ yardsticks, or standards of one sort or another.

For things having a strong definition, like what a properly functioning engine of a given type “looks like,” though the standards may be neither easy to generate, nor simple to understand, they can be fairly concrete in nature.

When talking about what is correct or incorrect, they can be harder to pin down in many cases.

When dealing with righteousness and unrighteousness—short of an “outside view”—it is pretty much impossible to come to conclusions in any but an arbitrary fashion. This essentially means that any standard of righteousness that doesn’t involve some immutable truth from beyond the realm of mankind is arbitrary in nature.

If one refuses to believe in any intelligence or truth beyond the boundaries of mankind, this means one must accept a definition for righteousness which is arbitrary and mutable in nature.

Those who know me at all are almost certainly aware that I will use that already presented to lead into the subject about which, by its title, I have proclaimed this article to be.

And here we are. Like it or not, the same ideas expressed above with regard to righteousness also apply to sanity and conversely, to insanity. The reason? Where there may be others, the one that comes immediately to mind is perception. Allow me to explain.

I have done, with many people, a small exercise to illustrate the importance of perception. The exercise seems entirely to lack meaning if you don’t take a second to reflect on what was done. The only action in the aforementioned exercise, is to reach up and remove my eyeglasses.

You see, as a child, I spent a good deal of time, assuming the rest of the world saw their surroundings as did I. I was wrong, a thing I now well understand.

The truth is though, that’s not just a result of the fact that I had “bad and uncorrected vision.” A simple example would be my “red/green deficiency.” Though it’s a good one, it still involves the physical, and perhaps something that, some day, will be routinely corrected (maybe not, but who knows?).

Imagine a person trained heavily in observation. That person will perceive the world differently than another who has had no such training and possesses no natural inclination to be highly aware of those things going on around him or her self.

Now imagine somebody like my son, who is, apparently Autistic at some level. His perception of the world does anything but match my own. In fact, it’s a pretty good bet that the majority of humanity has no real understanding how he processes the world. Even if they have such understanding though, they process and perceive it far differently by and large.

How many people like my son were judged and found “insane” in times past? The world may never know.

For many people found to be or considered to be insane, it is strictly a matter of perception that makes it so.

What’s interesting about this, is that the “standards” for sanity as expressed by various societies of and individual “mental health professionals,” has changed significantly over the course of time.

Put another way, even for those whose job it is to adjudge sanity or the converse, there has been a “sliding scale” upon which their decision has been made. That is to say, an arbitrary standard was arrived at, then modified when it seemed reasonable or appropriate so to do.

As if this were not sufficiently problematic not all individuals or groups always use the same standards, and even if they did, individuals often patently ignore it in some instances, when deciding on the sanity or insanity of a given individual.

You have to ask yourself (if you’re at all like me), whether or not this is something you find remotely surprising. For me, the clear answer is, “Not in the least.” You see, we humans are prone to grow and change. As such, our ideas and opinions do likewise.

If—as it appears is the case—sanity (and likewise insanity) are largely a matter of opinion, or are otherwise arbitrary in nature, who exactly should be surprised to hear that the definition thereof should change in the course of time?

At about this point, you may have it in mind that I am intent on destroying the concepts of sanity and insanity. Believe it or not, nothing could be further from the truth. Though I think they are badly maligned and abused, I do not believe the ideas should be abandoned.

That having been said, I do believe a reasonable source for them exists above and beyond the “standard realm of” mankind. Put simply, as a believer in the Bible, I believe—just as with righteousness and unrighteousness—the definitions of sanity and insanity, can be found in its pages—and, more importantly, are matters determined by God Almighty.

I can certainly understand that, if you are not a Christian, you might have problems with this idea. You might also not believe in the laws of physics. Rest assured that failing to do so will not make it possible for you to fly without assistance.

Put another way, whether or not you believe something that is truth happens not to be so, does not change whether or not it, in point of fact, is.

If there is a Creator, and the Bible is His Word, then your belief in it is not required for it to be true. Of course, you may still disagree with it. That is your right.

I want to be clear when I say, as a rule I don’t advocate mistreatment of any human being, sane or not. As such, though I may well believe you to be insane, that doesn’t mean I should abuse or maltreat you.

Okay, much more could be said here, but as usual, I am “up against it” in a variety of ways. As such, I will thank you, as is my custom, for reading, and wish you a good day.

Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On the First Amendment to the United States Constitution

I have yet to meet an individual who, on looking at it, would state that the United States Constitution was not a pretty amazing piece of work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure such people exist. I’m simply saying that, either they have chosen to bite their collective tongues when around me, or I have not met them.

To be fair, as well, there are almost certainly a good many people out there who cannot and do not support the U.S. Constitution as a document under which they either can or could live—and that’s regardless whether or not they found it to be extraordinary.

I should also clearly state that many folks don’t really understand this particular founding document either at all, or particularly well.

Take, for example, the First Amendment to the Constitution. To begin with, it is really quite short. Additional to this it is exceptionally pointed in its focus. Allow me to quote it here:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This seems like an easy to understand thing, right? Then how is it that so very many people seem to totally ignore the first five words of the text? The people who wrote the amendment seem to intend to be very specific in their meaning throughout the whole of it (as, as I have said, tends to be true for the Constitution as a whole).

As such, when they say, “Congress shall make no law…” you would think the meaning they intended to convey would be crystal clear to pretty much everybody—and most particularly, to legal and more importantly Constitutional scholars.

It seems to me, this one phrase makes it clear that the amendment was designed specifically to prevent the Congress of the United States from creating legislation which in its nature, abridges the activities enumerated in the latter part of the amendment.

Yet, when, in these modern times, you hear a person talking about their “First Amendment rights” being trampled upon, they seem to be talking about the action of states, counties, municipalities or even individual people (not acting as representatives of Federal Law Enforcement). Rarely do they appear to be addressing an instance where the U.S. Congress has actually written a statute that in some wise, infringes any of the activities enumerated.

Were this a case where it were obvious that the “author(s) of” the amendment, seemed to be interested in generating a restriction that “cascaded” to lower levels of government or the people themselves, this would be a different matter.

Allow me to give you an example in the very next Amendment to the Constitution. The text of that amendment being cited below:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Note that in the second amendment, there is zero qualification regarding to whom it applies, in terms of who may or may not infringe the right in question. And there is intentionally extremely “wide” language regarding to whom the right itself applies. It is clearly “the right of the people.” As far as I am able to tell, this means, “pretty much everyone.”

It’s important to remember that the document we’re talking about was written in very particular and specific language, and that it was done so with great and strong purpose(s).

It’s also extremely important to consider that the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution—the so-called, “Bill of Rights,” were somewhat a “bone of contention,” with many arguing they were more likely to cause harm, than to do good.

The reason we should consider this, is that because this is the case, the writers of those Amendments, were likely to be exceptionally careful in their verbiage. On top of this, the resultant language would have been discussed and re-hashed, who knows how many times.

In short, it is virtually certain, and I think history bears this out, that even more care was used in sculpting the Bill of Rights, than likely occurred where the Constitution itself was concerned.

When you consider how much work went into the creation of the Constitution itself, that’s saying quite something in my view.

I want to be very clear, I’m not saying that people should abridge other’s right to freedom of expression (as freedom of speech is commonly termed in the modern day). Nor—given the choice—would I have it be common practice for any of the other rights to be taken at a lower level.

My point is strictly that the issue addressed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution has an entirely limited scope.

Not being versed on the existence of the rights to activities in question at subcomponent levels of the United States, I can make no statement with regard to the ubiquity of law or regulation protecting the freedoms enacted on a federal level in the First Amendment to the Constitution. I hope such protections exist, but one thing is pretty certain. Unless somebody can explain to me how I’m incorrect in my logic, they are not provided by the First Amendment—not past the legislative actions of the U.S. Congress.

There’s another part of this I must leave (at least at present) to men who better know the U.S. System of courts. That is, does the U.S. Supreme Court, or for that matter, any federal court have the authority to hear and make pronouncements—whether in appeals or in any other sense—on laws made at a lower level not specifically spoken to or about at the federal level.

This I will leave to people more educated in the ways that matter for that sort of thing to consider and discuss.

Okay, at my limit yet again. Have a wonderful day and, thanks for reading.

Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Being Versus Doing And Discrimination

Perhaps by this point in my life, I should be used to the idea that a good many people tend to have a very limited “depth of consideration” when looking at almost everything found in the World about them. This certainly seems to be quite true when considering the idea of discrimination.

One of the most amazing things to me, is that people fail to differentiate between what people and things are and what those same people and things do.

I should make it plain that I’m not talking about involuntary activities or motions here. A windmill spins when presented with wind, in the correct orientation, and “open.” A person breathes, their heart beats as more or less involuntary activities. That being said, those things that are involuntary bear consideration more similar to what the person or thing is than what they do or it does.

Since most things are not sentient, it can be argued that those not possessing that quality are pretty much consigned to being, with very little ability or “choice” to do.

When it comes to anything that makes conditional “decisions” though—that essentially displays sentience or something akin thereto—there are two things that tend to be fairly well defined. Those are, what they are and what they do.

Even for things that only exist—as opposed to doing things by intent—there are reasonable arguments for discrimination.

A hamburger or mushroom probably has no choice in whether or not it will become moldy or in some other wise, spoiled. Does this fact mean that you eat that hamburger or mushroom without any conditions on so doing? For your sake, I hope you distinguish or discriminate between that which is edible and that which is not. When hamburger grows mold, I sincerely hope you don’t eat it with no consideration of that fact.

Even so, you cannot blame or assume intent when a piece of food goes bad as a rule. This is also true with some things at appear to “make choices.” Computer algorithms, programs and applications seem, by way of example, to make choices. This does not mean you can or should, “blame” the software for such choices. Rather, the “author or authors” thereof are to blame if anything.

The ultimate point is though, that there are things that are sentient or have the appearance of something like sentience, for which is is possible to assign responsibility based on actions taken of one sort or another that are not “involuntary” in nature.

What makes this so important, is that there has been a tendency of late (possibly for far longer than I account it so), to associate the choices and actions of some with the state of being of others.

When a person’s family comes from Africa, that is a part of who they are, a thing they cannot change. Such a person can either not look like they are African by familial (blood based) affiliation or association. Further, the person in question may work to make him or her self not appear to be of that particular people group.

This can take a variety of forms. My wife has family that goes by names that don’t sound Hispanic, though their birth names (what’s on their birth certificate) may be Spanish based names.

Equally (inasmuch as you wish to call such things equal), people have dyed their skin, straightened their hair, stayed out of sunlight so their skin would look “light,” and other such things to keep from being considered a part of a particular group.

One could argue that such applies to people born biologically male or female, attempting to “transition to” the “opposite sex” as well. And that’s regardless whether that is accomplished via attempting to hide with clothing, makeup or other “non altering” means, or body modification through surgery or hormone replacement treatments or similar.

In fact, I’m quite sure you can find very many examples of people who are or were born a particular thing, but attempted to be viewed as another. It should be understood that, in doing this, the person or persons in question chose to take actions, and that those actions “transitioned them” from those who are, to those who do.

Here we begin to move from the idea of what people and things are to what they do. This is a very important distinction. As a Christian, it’s not about what I am, but what I do and believe. The same is true for folks of other “faiths”—like Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Shamanism, and so many more.

This is also the case for folks who choose to do things like, have “sexual relations” with folks of the same sex as themselves. And those who claim to have things like “marital relationships” with them.

This also applies to folks who choose to help or hurt others by their actions and perspectives in any way.

Where many times, it is entirely unreasonable to discriminate against others for what they are—even though at times it is totally reasonable to do so—discriminating on the basis of what people do is generally entirely appropriate.

Keep in mind as well, that the word “discrimination” has gained a “bad reputation” as a result of the fact that there are people out there who fail to understand it. One can discriminate for or against something or someone.

What you should realize though, is that when a person opts to act in particular ways, it is not at all unreasonable for others to choose to respond in ways that indicate their like or dislike for those actions.

Obviously, some responses are improper or even immoral or illegal (if not all of the above). Even so, discrimination and action on the basis of that discrimination is to be expected where people’s doing is concerned. Again, it’s not always unreasonable based on what somebody is, but it’s rarely unreasonable based on what they do unless it is improper, immoral, illegal or in some other wise wrong.

Further, when a person chooses to do things that are consider by others to be improper, immoral, illegal or wrong in some way, they should expect that their actions will attract negative discrimination.

As a caveat, what you are can act as a “built in excuse” for certain things you do. To begin with, that should be the exception not the rule. Additionally, if you do things that others find to be improper, immoral, illegal or in some other sense wrong, count on those people taking umbrage thereto.

Okay, there’s a lot more that can an probably should be said on this, but I’m “up against it.” As such I will wish you the customary good day and thank you—as usual—for reading.

Health and Fitness Philosophy Politics Religion Religion, Politics and Philosophy

On Race

One of the most important things I need to do in life is also one of the things I least like doing. I’m getting better at doing it, I think, both in accepting the need for it, and being willing to allow for it to happen.

What is that thing? It is the willingness to admit that I am either completely incorrect about something, or at very least sufficiently undereducated in that thing to make my understanding of it functionally incorrect.

Such is the case with the term, “race.”

You see, I had come to the errant conclusion that the term “race,” had a definite meaning. Further, I had ascribed to the word a great deal more significance and import than it by any means, truly has (in any sense of its usage).

I think firstly, I should tackle the worst abuse of the word—an abuse of which I myself was, until having been given correction by another, prone to make as much as anyone else, if not more so. The abuse comes in the form of the expression, “human race.”

It turns out that, in no sense can one make sense of the combination of the word “human” with the word “race.”

The truth is though, if you really dig into the “meaning(s) of” the word “race,” you find something quite unexpected—at least it was so for me. The word “race” really has no meaning. Most important of all, any “scientific” or “taxonomic” use of the word race can be accounted little more than “splitting hairs.”

Further, in a scientific sense, the word’s meaning is even less clear when one considers that in the “definition of” the race of a person or animal—and to be clear, yes, the scientific, taxonomic term can be used for animals—there appears to be next to no consistency in what “makes” a race.

Put simply, it’s a pretty solid bet that, no two scientists agree much of the time, what constitutes a “racial difference” in either animals or people.

In case you were confused about this, most folks like to state or imply, that the “usage type” of the term “race” as they use it is not the scientific one. Rather, they express and espouse a definition with even less meaning. The usage type for this definition is generally referred to as the “sociological” meaning, the meaning with regard to ethnicity (for which, might I point out, there is already a word).

Here’s the thing, in this second and worse definition, “black” and “white” become “races!” You heard me correctly, the absence of light and the combination of all colors are races according to many who use the sociological term “race!”

As if the naming of these “races” wasn’t bad enough, the defining characteristics of those “races” is entirely irresolute, and that’s become a “worse” thing, not a “better” one. Why? Because of the “interbreeding” (a rubbish term, considering “interbred” children can have children of their own, which makes them essentially the same as other humans in all ways that particularly matter) of the supposed races.

The “interbreeding issue” comes after the fact that, looking back in history, anybody with any level of independent thought or analysis cannot help but see that the definitions of various races have changed over time. Were the changes based on science, it would be one thing, they are not remotely so. Rather, it is a modification of arbitrary distinction as best I can tell at this point.

Let me be entirely clear, in no sense am I trying to indicate that there are not differences of note and significance between people of different people groups. It is pretty well established scientifically, that people of Jewish heritage are more susceptible to Epstein-Barr Virus than are other groups.

Equally, it is more common for folks of African heritage to suffer from hypertension and sickle-cell anemia.

These are two examples about which I happen to “know,” or at least, which I believe the scientific process currently “backs up.” I have zero intent to imply people of Jewish or African heritage are somehow less robust or in some way “flawed” as a result of these facts.

As a rule though, the use of the term “race” with regard to subsets or subsections of humanity is even less useful than I had previously believed.

Frankly, the term is only so useful at all—even from a scientific perspective. So questionable is it, that the entry on Wikipedia talking about it says:

“In biological taxonomy, race is an informal rank in the taxonomic hierarchy, below the level of subspecies.

To begin with, that means that, when speaking biologically, we appear to not even address the concept of subspecies between humans, but drop from “species” directly to “race.”

All of this amounts to a sort of “final take” that says little of the discussion of race among humans, is at all beneficial in the larger sense.

Am I saying there is no benefit in discussing race among humanity? No. But I am saying that in most discussion, it is a “non starter” issue.

I can agree that there are physical differences between humans. I can agree that those differences can be used in a sort of (mostly insignificant) method or means of dividing humans.

I can agree with the idea that humans in different parts of the World have different customs, driven by a variety of considerations (some difficult to determine or understand).

The physical differences, it appears, cannot be helped. That’s okay, they seem to just help to make the World a more beautiful place in my opinion (yes, you’re entitled to disagree).

The cultural differences can be a bit more of an issue. People in all cultural groups must work to understand those of other groups. Where there are differences, decisions must be made as to how to deal with and handle them. Much of the time, they can just be permitted to exist. Sometimes though, it needs to be clear that the differences will be “bones of contention.”

In some cases, those things that cause one cultural to be different from another, will be so incompatible as to make them unacceptable when the two merge or clash. That is a matter for another article.

What does all of this come to when I “boil it down? For the most part, the term “race” is one I will be the much less willing to use or accept the use of from others. It isn’t quite a “rubbish term” altogether. It is, however, far less significant than ever I thought it before.

So here we are, at an end of time and hanging on the bleeding edge of my “word limitation.”

As such, I will wish you the best of days, and, as usual, thank you for your indulgence in reading to this point.