Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Divide And Conquer Is An Old Strategy Used By Tyrants

"The worst indecency of the totalitarian mind is that it wants to wipe out all special ties of emotion or allegiance such as might exist between husband and wife or parent and child. These kinds of loyalties threaten the only allegiance considered important, the one owed to Big Brother. It is in this atmosphere, of course, that children willingly denounce their parents to the secret police."

William Kirk Kilpatrick, Psychological Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology, p. 127

Monday, March 20, 2023

Should Abortion Be Considered A Civil Right?

          "The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman’s life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices." (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1993 confirmation hearing)

          In the discussion of whether women should be able to choose to bear children, the question of the humanity of a "fetus" is avoided like the plague. Moral considerations can be used to override objections of personal liberty.

          If "pro-choice" people want to talk about personal responsibility, then there are birth control measures available. Abstinence is also an option. A unique aspect of human beings is the ability to reflect on their impulses.

          There is the issue of men themselves needing to act more responsibly. They should know how to act in a way more proper than that resembling a brute. Many men need to learn self-control, which is also financially advantageous.

          Why should abortion be an issue of personal choice, but not also the reception of vaccines? How do vaccine mandates not undermine the idea of us being "fully adult humans" who are "responsible for our own choices?"

          What is so special about being able to surgically remove a baby from the womb of a woman? Would women in general truly be happier if they remained childless for their whole lives?

           Women are not being rebellious or sinful if they want a job career. That is not a bad thing at all. However, there needs to be enough reproduction of people or a civilization will implode due to the processes of aging and death. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Did Jesus Christ Accept The Book Of Genesis As Historically Accurate?

  • Introduction:
          -There is ample evidence in the four gospels that Jesus believed the history of the Old Testament, especially Genesis, to be literally true. He expressed His beliefs as one who had no doubts as to whether the narrative was historical. He treated the written text as though it had actually happened, not simply allegories or stories illustrating moral truths. Christ used real people and events from the Old Testament to support what He was teaching to the people. His views on the historicity of Genesis were commonly shared by Jewish contemporaries.

  • Jesus Affirmed Adam And Eve As Being Historical:
          -"But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’" (Mark 10:6)
            *The phrase "from the beginning of creation" is used in the writings of other Jewish teachers. For example, Rabbi Yannai said: "From the beginning of his creation of the universe the Holy One, blessed be He, scrutinized the deeds of the righteous and the deeds of the wicked." (Bereishit Rabbah 3)
            *Christ appealed to Adam and Eve as historical figures in upholding God's purpose for marriage. He merely tolerated the act of divorce because of man's fallenness.
            *This reasoning applies to the creation account of Genesis. Christ looks to the beginning of history in teaching about marriage.

  • Jesus Affirmed Cain's Murder Of Abel As Being Historical:
          -"so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar." (Matthew 23:35)
            *Jesus Christ spans the course of Old Testament history from beginning to end in expressing condemnation of the Jewish leaders for rejecting God's prophets. Abel was murdered in the Book of Genesis and Zechariah in 2 Chronicles 24:20, which is the last book of the Jewish canon. Christ believed such portions of the Old Testament to not be parables or allegorical but historical.
  • Jesus Affirmed Abraham (John 8:56-58) And Lot (Luke 17:28) To Be Historical Figures:
          -In the first text, Jesus Christ said that Abraham rejoiced to see His day, saw it, and was glad. It would be nonsensical of Him to say this of a mythological character. His speech presupposes the existence of Abraham as a historical character.
          -In the second text, Christ spans the course of human history from beginning to end in making the point that man will be sinful as long as this world goes on. Unconverted man will live on without any regard for the ways of God until He finally judges him. "In the days of..." refers to actual history.
  • Jesus Affirmed The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah As Actually Having Happened (Luke 17:29) And Lot's Wife Being Turned Into Salt (Luke 17:32):
          -"There was for centuries a peculiar formation of crumbling, crystalline rock that was associated by tradition with the story of Lot's wife. Josephus (Antiquities I.11.4) declared that this pillar still remained in his day and that he had seen it. Clement of Rome, Irenaeus, and Benjamin of Tudela also wrote of this strange formation as visible in their day, but later writers stated that it had ceased to exist. Perhaps the existence of this pillar was used as an object lesson for the admonition of Christ to His disciples (Luke 17:32)." (Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible)
  • Is The Genesis Creation Account Is Based On Mesopotamian Myths?:
          -The borrowing of Mesopotamian ideas for the purpose of describing transcendent truths is different than having been derived from Mesopotamian stories themselves (The Ennuma Elish, Epic of Gilgamesh, Atrahasis, etc.). Nonetheless, the text of Genesis is a stand alone in that it presents itself as authentic history. Adam and Eve are presented as historical figures. The biblical account does not flow in the manner of myth, legend, or poetry. 
          -Genesis is unique in that it is monotheistic. God is distinguished from His creation. He formed everything from nothing. Genesis is unique in that He who created all things is loving, peaceful, and righteous. These divine and timeless truths are so elegantly communicated by the text. The Genesis creation account is more intricate in that it encompasses every sphere of the natural and spiritual realms. 
          -Metaphysical naturalists reject the text of Genesis as being supernatural revelation. They do not view the miraculous as being a part of the record of history. If we are to view this creation account as anything, then we are to view it as Moses correcting the pagan narratives. He was interacting with pagan accounts because the Israelites would be exposed to different worldviews as they moved into Canaan.
  • Are Genesis Chapter One And Chapter Two Contradictory Creation Stories?:
          -It is not that the two accounts are contradictory in nature but are harmonious and interdependent. Genesis chapter one specifically speaks to the creation of the universe, with man being last in order. Genesis chapter two centers on what earth was like. It makes no mention of the stars, moon, or other features of the solar system. Genesis chapters two and three focuses more on man. Genesis chapter two does not outline the events of creation. There is no discrepancy between the first two chapters of Genesis, as both, while related, are different contexts.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Purity And Passions

Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails. In the music of the harp which trembles round the world it is the insisting on this which thrills us. The harp is the travelling patterer for the Universe’s Insurance Company, recommending its laws, and our little goodness is all the assessment that we pay. Though the youth at last grows indifferent, the laws of the universe are not indifferent, but are forever on the side of the most sensitive. Listen to every zephyr for some reproof, for it is surely there, and he is unfortunate who does not hear it. We cannot touch a string or move a stop but the charming moral transfixes us. Many an irksome noise, go a long way off, is heard as music, a proud sweet satire on the meanness of our live.

We are conscious of an animal in us, which awakens in proportion as our higher nature slumbers. It is reptile and sensual, and perhaps cannot be wholly expelled; like the worms which, even in life and health, occupy our bodies. Possibly we may withdraw from it, but never change its nature. I fear that it may enjoy a certain health of its own; that we may be well, yet not pure. The other day I picked up the lower jaw of a hog, with white and sound teeth and tusks, which suggested that there was an animal health and vigor distinct from the spiritual. This creature succeeded by other means than temperance and purity. “That in which men differ from brute beasts,” says Mencius, “is a thing very inconsiderable; the common herd lose it very soon; superior men preserve it carefully.” Who knows what sort of life would result if we had attained to purity? If I knew so wise a man as could teach me purity I would go to seek him forthwith. “A command over our passions, and over the external senses of the body, and good acts, are declared by the Ved to be indispensable in the mind’s approximation to God.” Yet the spirit can for the time pervade and control every member and function of the body, and transmute what in form is the grossest sensuality into purity and devotion. The generative energy, which, when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean, when we are continent invigorates and inspires us. Chastity is the flowering of man; and what are called Genius, Heroism, Holiness, and the like, are but various fruits which succeed it. Man flows at once to God when the channel of purity is open. By turns our purity inspires and our impurity casts us down. He is blessed who is assured that the animal is dying out in him day by day, and the divine being established. Perhaps there is none but has cause for shame on account of the inferior and brutish nature to which he is allied. I fear that we are such gods or demigods only as fauns and satyrs, the divine allied to beasts, the creatures of appetite, and that, to some extent, our very life is our disgrace.—

“How happy’s he who hath due place assigned
To his beasts and disafforested his mind!
* * * * *
Can use this horse, goat, wolf, and ev’ry beast,
And is not ass himself to all the rest!
Else man not only is the herd of swine,
But he’s those devils too which did incline
Them to a headlong rage, and made them worse.”

All sensuality is one, though it takes many forms; all purity is one. It is the same whether a man eat, or drink, or cohabit, or sleep sensually. They are but one appetite, and we only need to see a person do any one of these things to know how great a sensualist he is. The impure can neither stand nor sit with purity. When the reptile is attacked at one mouth of his burrow, he shows himself at another. If you would be chaste, you must be temperate. What is chastity? How shall a man know if he is chaste? He shall not know it. We have heard of this virtue, but we know not what it is. We speak conformably to the rumor which we have heard. From exertion come wisdom and purity; from sloth ignorance and sensuality. In the student sensuality is a sluggish habit of mind. An unclean person is universally a slothful one, one who sits by a stove, whom the sun shines on prostrate, who reposes without being fatigued. If you would avoid uncleanness, and all the sins, work earnestly, though it be at cleaning a stable. Nature is hard to be overcome, but she must be overcome. What avails it that you are Christian, if you are not purer than the heathen, if you deny yourself no more, if you are not more religious? I know of many systems of religion esteemed heathenish whose precepts fill the reader with shame, and provoke him to new endeavors, though it be to the performance of rites merely.

I hesitate to say these things, but it is not because of the subject,—I care not how obscene my words are,—but because I cannot speak of them without betraying my impurity. We discourse freely without shame of one form of sensuality, and are silent about another. We are so degraded that we cannot speak simply of the necessary functions of human nature. In earlier ages, in some countries, every function was reverently spoken of and regulated by law. Nothing was too trivial for the Hindoo lawgiver, however offensive it may be to modern taste. He teaches how to eat, drink, cohabit, void excrement and urine, and the like, elevating what is mean, and does not falsely excuse himself by calling these things trifles.

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Higher Laws (Chap. XI)

Monday, March 6, 2023

Be Sure Your Philanthropy Is Not Misplaced

"Be sure that you give the poor the aid they most need, though it be your example which leaves them far behind. If you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them. We make curious mistakes sometimes. Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. It is partly his taste, and not merely his misfortune. If you give him money, he will perhaps buy more rags with it. I was wont to pity the clumsy Irish laborers who cut ice on the pond, in such mean and ragged clothes, while I shivered in my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments, till, one bitter cold day, one who had slipped into the water came to my house to warm him, and I saw him strip off three pairs of pants and two pairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin, though they were dirty and ragged enough, it is true, and that he could afford to refuse the extra garments which I offered him, he had so many intra ones. This ducking was the very thing he needed. Then I began to pity myself, and I saw that it would be a greater charity to bestow on me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shop on him. There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday's liberty for the rest. Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there? You boast of spending a tenth part of your income in charity; maybe you should spend the nine tenths so, and done with it. Society recovers only a tenth part of the property then. Is this owing to the generosity of him in whose possession it is found, or to the remissness of the officers of justice?

Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is greatly overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it. A robust poor man, one sunny day here in Concord, praised a fellow-townsman to me, because, as he said, he was kind to the poor; meaning himself. The kind uncles and aunts of the race are more esteemed than its true spiritual fathers and mothers. I once heard a reverend lecturer on England, a man of learning and intelligence, after enumerating her scientific, literary, and political worthies, Shakespeare, Bacon, Cromwell, Milton, Newton, and others, speak next of her Christian heroes, whom, as if his profession required it of him, he elevated to a place far above all the rest, as the greatest of the great. They were Penn, Howard, and Mrs. Fry. Every one must feel the falsehood and cant of this. The last were not England's best men and women; only, perhaps, her best philanthropists.

I would not subtract anything from the praise that is due to philanthropy, but merely demand justice for all who by their lives and works are a blessing to mankind. I do not value chiefly a man's uprightness and benevolence, which are, as it were, his stem and leaves. Those plants of whose greenness withered we make herb tea for the sick serve but a humble use, and are most employed by quacks. I want the flower and fruit of a man; that some fragrance be wafted over from him to me, and some ripeness flavor our intercourse. His goodness must not be a partial and transitory act, but a constant superfluity, which costs him nothing and of which he is unconscious. This is a charity that hides a multitude of sins. The philanthropist too often surrounds mankind with the remembrance of his own castoff griefs as an atmosphere, and calls it sympathy. We should impart our courage, and not our despair, our health and ease, and not our disease, and take care that this does not spread by contagion. From what southern plains comes up the voice of wailing? Under what latitudes reside the heathen to whom we would send light? Who is that intemperate and brutal man whom we would redeem? If anything ail a man, so that he does not perform his functions, if he have a pain in his bowels even- for that is the seat of sympathy- he forthwith sets about reforming- the world. Being a microcosm himself, he discovers- and it is a true discovery, and he is the man to make it- that the world has been eating green apples; to his eyes, in fact, the globe itself is a great green apple, which there is danger awful to think of that the children of men will nibble before it is ripe; and straightway his drastic philanthropy seeks out the Esquimau and the Patagonian, and embraces the populous Indian and Chinese villages; and thus, by a few years of philanthropic activity, the powers in the meanwhile using him for their own ends, no doubt, he cures himself of his dyspepsia, the globe acquires a faint blush on one or both of its cheeks, as if it were beginning to be ripe, and life loses its crudity and is once more sweet and wholesome to live. I never dreamed of any enormity greater than I have committed. I never knew, and never shall know, a worse man than myself.

I believe that what so saddens the reformer is not his sympathy with his fellows in distress, but, though he be the holiest son of God, is his private ail. Let this be righted, let the spring come to him, the morning rise over his couch, and he will forsake his generous companions without apology. My excuse for not lecturing against the use of tobacco is, that I never chewed it, that is a penalty which reformed tobacco-chewers have to pay; though there are things enough I have chewed which I could lecture against. If you should ever be betrayed into any of these philanthropies, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, for it is not worth knowing. Rescue the drowning and tie your shoestrings. Take your time, and set about some free labor."

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Economy (Chap. I)