A Narcissistic Culture

I’m back!

Sorry for the absence.

I do have a lot of subjects to write about right now.

I tend to avoid politics on this blog unless something catches my attention, but I’m always thinking about culture.

Something I’ve been thinking about it lately is how in Church, we often go with the flow. We address issues that the world thinks are important, but we neglect the ones they don’t think about.

Not that it’s wrong to address things the world thinks about, I think we have to, in a way.

But also, looking at The Gospels, I find it odd that Jesus didn’t spend all that much time talking about what the world thought was important.

Under Roman Occupation, he didn’t talk much about the Romans. He addressed it from time to time as people asked him, but His long sermons are not about that.

He didn’t talk about te libeiton of the Jews from Romans, but from sin.

And looking around nowadays, I wonder if he’d be any different.

It’s so easy to get distracted by what’s gong on around us.

Things about race, gender, and nationality, it’s all anyone wants to talk about now.

And people are demanding respect and taking pride in these things.

Even christians, too many Christians.

My church, which is one of the better ones I think, still has a little group of LGBT people who attend. I don’t care if they attend, but their attitude about it makes me wonder if they come only because the church does not call out the world on that not being biblical.

I was talking to my cousin and his friend about the Bible’s stance on homosexuality, and why it’s consider wrong, just an open conversion, no hate, and explain it well,

And they didn’t really disagree with my points, or that I don’t like how kids are encouraged to vote on sexual topics they do not really understand yet.

But they admitted that they are afraid to express and negative views of it because the have friends or family who subscribes to it all, and are going to be livid if they disagree.

I acknowledged it’s hard in this culture to think for yourself…it’s always is hard in any culture to go against the flow.

But I told them as a Christian, I can’ just ignore it. I can’t blend in. It’s not allowed.

And that’s how I see it.

Sure, it’d be easier to walk around my liberal campus wearing some pro LGBTQ badge, and deck out my car and say that God loves gay people (which He does, but people use that phrase to mean something totally different, that God loves their lifestyle, and that is just no biblical), and play that game.

People claim it’s so hard to support the community. Are you kidding me? It’s so flipping easy. It’s easier to do that than to have an original thought, that’s for sure.

Instant approval, instant clicks, people commending you for sticking up for it. As well as BLM, and Feminism, and everything else.

Sheesh, to get approval just for saying words, whether you ever act on it or not, is so stupid.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1)

I find it disgusting to cater to this. I’d like to get the clicks, view, and likes that the people who do this get, but I’m not willing to bend myself in order to get it. There’s more important things than likes out there, people.

Someday no doubt that’s going to get me cancelled if I’m every popular enough for anyone to care what I think…but oh well, they cancelled all the Apostles too…to the extreme.

It’s getting extreme here too. People are attacking churches more and more. What’s funny is the church’es stance isn’t even that strongly put in the West, but they attack us anyway.

Sheesh.

Islam is actually harsher on homosexuality than Christian is, but I never hear of the LGBTQ community attacking mosques…you know, because Muslims actually might fight back…at least, I assume that’s the reason.

Yeah, so brave. Attack the people who won’t retaliate. But that’s always the way isn’t it.

I’m not here to hate on gay people, I’m just trying to be honest about it all.

And it’s not just gay people, it’s all groups now.

I don’t voice my opinions too loudly at my college because I’m pretty sure I’d lose my grades over it, so I mostly only discuss it out of class. And starting a fight in the middle of a lecture does seem rude.

But I don’t cater to it either.

And it’s all good to preach and teach about how we need to love ourselves and respect ourselves, and not be too harsh…

But when is it time to talk about going against the flow? When do we talk about what no one wants to hear?

Cause I can tell you, the problem with our culture isn’t really all the Pride stuff, that’s just a symptom.

It’s how prideful we are in our personal lives, self seeking, comfort seeking.

We do give lipservice to this in church, but we don’t actually enforce it. We don’t ask people to do more than they feel like doing. We don’t reward people for being strong in their convictions. Instead we think they are too worked up.

Even I think that.

Of course, it is true sometimes. But I’ve gotten reprimanded for protesting that a Youth Leader played songs that talked about sex and making out with the same gender on the way home from a mission trip…yeah….

Am I really the problem in this scenario?

Her excuse? “This is what those kids listen to.”

My thoughts? “This is what you listen to. What’s your point? It was still wrong.”

I can’t tell people what to listen to at home, but on a public trip? With the church?

That was yeas ago now, I don’t think i would happen with our current youth leaders, but that it happened at all was boring, because I knew it wasn’t just this one person, I’ve met so many people like his.

I’ve always gotten a rep for being more vigilant about this stuff, and I’ve had people tell me they were sorry for no having a better attitude about it, but they have never acted like my friends.

And, I’m not a super conservative person. I mean, I watch anime, I read fan fiction, and I listen to songs with cuss words in them…now.

And I don’t like that part, but I decided that I’m not going to be able to avoid cuss words in life, and it doesn’t make the whole song bad if the song is about a good thing, and they use saltier language. But I don’t listen to songs about sex, drugs, and hooking up. I want the message to be good.

I won’t throw out Evanescence because of a few swears, but I won’t listen to “shape of you” just because it has no swearing, sine it’s just about hooking up for a night. You get my point?

And I can’t force that standard on anyone, but I do have it for a reason, and I don’t have an issue telling people that.

This is not even the biggest problem, but my thought is that people would not give up anything they happen to like in the world, even if it was the right thing to do. God may tell me to stop listening to and reading and watching his fault I have prayed about it, and I am careful, though I do need to reevaluate somethings from time to time.

But I do think about it, I don’t get the feeling other people often do, I’ve talked to a few who mentioned it, but don’t mention every dropping something because of it.

I’m trying to be less judgmental than I used to be.

Like when it comes to smut, I believe it’s wrong to read it, but I dont think someone is horrible if they are tempted to. I’m not immune to this stuff either, I have hormones, I’m not dead.

But I have to seriously think about what I want my idea of sex and love to be when I do get married. Do I want to think it’s all about the body? Or do I want it to be about what’s inside, the soul, the mind, the heart?

And I’ll admit, sex can be more than just a physical experience, the Bible is clear about that, but I think smut (porn, you now) kind of makes that worse, not better. People with a porn addiction usually admit that real life sex gets less satisfying if you’ve fed yourself this fake image of it.

Porn and smut are all about making something so flawless it’s no longer real.

And in real life, emotional moment can be awkward even at their most heartfelt, people are damaged, and that gets in the way.

And our bodies are not flawless, even a model has blemishes somewhere.

And we have hygiene and weight issues at different times, or we can get sick. Women have periods, you get my drift? No one is sexy all the time.

If you grow up expecting that, then you aren’t going to be disappointed by sex, because you’ll expect it to be like everything else in life, a thing you do that improve with time, but is not perfect.

But if you grow with the porn version of this, you think sex is somehow unlike other human experiences, it can be flawless.

In the end it sets you up for less, not more pleasure. And that is one reason the Church has never endorsed it.

People think the church discourages sex, and while some churches do, the faith itself doesn’t.

In fact, it encourages it. A lot. Sex with responsibility.

And on that note, I don’t see how recreational sex is a great foundation for a really mature relationship. You treat sex cavalierly, and it’s the only thing that makes marriage different from other relationships. So what make it special to be married then? Might as well just be friends with benefits.

And that about all marriage amounts to now with a lot of couples. I think they are puzzled as to why it’s so unfulfilling.

I’m not saying it never woks out, some people just know how to make it work, but the thing is, marriage used to be something people were expected to figure out, whether it came naturally to them or not, and not it’s seen as a matter of finding the right match to perfectly balance you out.

I think you should date with that in mind, but if you end up marrying someone who doesn’t suit you perfectly, that’ s no reason to throw it out. If you’re not married to a psycho or a pig, you can probably find a way to work stuff out. People just don’t want to be inconvenienced.

And I say that because I’ve had the same experience in friendship. People cannot handle the smallest bit of friction and they bail as soon as conflict happens. I’ve had that happen to me so many times. Because, I’m replaceable, in a world of shallow friendships, and online friendships, if someone annoys you or disagrees with you, why not just dump them?

And if I’m not replaceable, you would never know, because you didn’t get that close to me.

I get it though, I’ve felt the pain for being ditched so many times because I don’t view people that way, and it stings to lose them. I’m working on being okay with that.

But therapy wasn’t the most helpful here because the attitude in therapy is that people are not worth your time if they piss you off.

And that’s kind of a shallow way to look at it.

Someone may piss me off because I have a problem, not them. Or we both do.

Maybe people are worth keeping around.

But you won’t hear that idea anymore in mainstream culture.

It’s not wonder we’re all dying of loneliness, we’re okay with supporting people as long as they are needy, lost lambs, with a victim mentality.

But if someone has a really different perspective, and is just hard to deal with, ditch them.

Perhaps I am annoyed because it doesn’t end well for me, and okay, that’s a fair point.

But I also don’t shut people out of my life just for disagreeing with me, so….

The double standard annoys me, if I was to do that as a Christian I’d be judgmental. But if they are just not “comfortable” round me, that’s their right, they don’t need to get over it.

I have gotten more attention from people when I was upset in front of them, and treated more nicely, than when I’m just my regular, more confident self.

I don’t mind if they comfort me, I just wonder why it goes away after that. I kind of learned the hard way that sympathy doesn’t equal a real bond.

(Something Naruto really needed to learn in Shippunden.)

This is why I think we really have too much attention on ourselves now.

We are narcissistic.

I can be too, but I am aware of it and trying to get better. The point is, the culture encourages me to be self centered, and often the church does too.

We have to be aware of these influences, if we’re going to be better, and set apart.

Or we’ll be like ships on the ocean, “infants tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” (Ephesians 4:14)

Doctrine could just mean any popular teaching now.

I think a good question to ask ourselves right now is: How far am I wiling to go to have self-actualization (or whatever you call it)

Am I?…

Willing to sacrifice the happiness of other people?

Willing to cut people out of my life who do not agree with my plan and decision making

Willing to promote it with violence, anger, and verbal attacks?

Willing to make others suffer if it gets me what I “need”

Willing to enforce laws about these things.

Willing to teach others to do the same, and support them even if their lifestyle is no good in other ways.

Willing to listen only to people who support me in this, and never fact check what they are saying.

If you answered yes to any of the above about anything, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, etc.

Then you are elevating that thing not only to your primary focus, (and that thing is yourself, in some form or another)

Also going to an extremist extent that many Believers would not even go to. I question sources within my religion, and I don’t condone violence done in the name of Jesus. My faith has checks and balances.

But the faith of Self Identity has no checks and balances, because you (Or I) are/am the final word on everything.

But if we all are, then none of us are, you see how that works?

Anyway, most people won’t admit that they are worshiping themselves?

How can I be a narcissist? I’m too smart for that. I’m too self aware. All my complaints are valid, all my actions are justified, all I want is reasonable, all I am is perfect. So I can not be a narcissistic.

And the scary thing is that sound like the lyrics to a popular song or a TED Talk.

Ugh.

Well, anyway, the first step is admitting you have a problem. literally. To stop being a narcissist, you have t admit you’re a narcissist, that’s when you begin to stop being one.

That said, I think I’ll end this for now. more posts coming soon.

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

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A Christian’s Opinion on “The Lady of Heaven.”

Recently someone told me I should watch the trailer for the new “Muslim” Movie, The Lady of Heaven.

A few minutes of trailer, and a Google search or two later, I came to the conclusion this movie is a bad idea, and I wanted to talk about why.

At first I wasn’t opposed to a movie about Islam. I might be Christian, but I think learning about what other people believe is important. Muslims are very, very hard to convert, and that is partly because their faith is so strong in Islam, it’s also partly because Christians are more afraid of them than we are willing to learn about them.

Of course, someone might say “Why should I care what Terrorists believe?”

Well not all Muslims are terrorists, just like not all Christians are fanatics. And we can’t broad brush them if we want to be taken seriously.

Actually Islam as it’s seen by many more peaceful Muslims has a lot in common with some of the less fundamental aspects of Christianity, and there’s more to it than just defending the faith from infidels.

I learned a lot about it from this great book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” Which detailed what Muslims believe in a way that Westerners can understand.

I believe firmly that the case for Christianity is irrefutable. I would not be a Christian if I didn’t not think it was the perfect religion…and I’d say any religion that is not perfect is not real, and if someone says that about their faith, they do not truly have any.

That out of the way what’s my interest in this movie?

Well, I am not trying to be condescending, but, I feel a sort of kinship with Muslims in this one respect: Both Christian and Muslims do not feel like the world understands them, nor treats then well.

Christians are taught to expect this because we are righteous. Muslim are, as far as I can tell, taught to expect it because they are fundamental. It boils down to very similar things.

People fear Muslims more than Christians, but that has not always been the case. Christianity has its dark place in history. Where people went off what the Bible actually teaches and came up with their own version.

Some people think all religion is bad because it can be corrupted and twisted into a tyranny.

But I see that as equivalent to saying all medical professionals are bad because quack doctors exist and some doctors do procedures wrong.

You see, Doctors are fallible and corruptible, but the practice of Medicine itself, the Ideal of health, is not really something that can be bad. Only misapplied.

Religion is no different. It has always been the medicine of the soul.

I don’t agree with Islam, but I take it seriously.

And this begins my main problem with this movie.

I don’t know how the film will turn out, but the trailer is already painting a rather romanticized version of whatever it’s going to talk about.

Islam is not, in any sense, a romantic religion.

There is beauty in it, but Muslims do not worship artistically, they find that irreverent. They respect art and scientist, but is it not a real part of their religion to incorporate that into their worship.

So, making a film about Islam that is not a documentary already has many issues even in the mechanics of it.

Muslims for the most part don’t believe in women showing their face in public. There is variation in that. But, there is some form of head-covering involved everywhere.

The most obvious issue in making a movie about a Woman in Islam is that it involves showing her face. So she is not really representing their belief.

I am not of the school that thinks that doing something in a movie is okay if it is not in real life.

Of course stealing, and lying in a movie is different. You can’t literally steal a prop. It belongs to the studio anyway.

But sex? If it’s really happening, it’s still wrong. And it seems the high divorce rate of actors is more than enough evidence that it’s not the best foundation for a relationship to participate in those films.

I think not following the teachings of your religion would fall under the category of what is wrong to depict. It would be like filming an Amish person…oh, yeah they do that too.

I suppose if the actress is not actually Muslim, that’s a different matter, but I suspect that would not make everyone involved feel better. And, shouldn’t they be using people who actually believe this? Christians use other Christians in their movies…which is partly why they are not very good acting wise a lot of the time.

But then, the actual Christians who make it big time in Hollywood are usually above our budget.

This is the least of my concerns, but it is one worth mentioning.

But even if we leave at aside and assume it’s acceptable to have this. Is this movie a good idea?

Like I said, it’s romanticizing it.

One Muslim gave me imput online about it, and this is what he said.

The movie tells the story of Fatima from the Shia point of view. Sunni Muslims will be upset about it especially because it paints the early companions in a very bad light and points a spotlight at a very dark moment in Islamic History… Some are afraid the controversy around this film will cause the radicals to target and kill Shias for disrespecting the companions.

it’s a dark period in Islamic history because the companions of Muhammad attacked and killed his daughter and for 1400 years they covered up the event and anyone who talked about it was labeled a heretic and put to death. She is one of the most magnificent figures in Islamic History and yet nobody knows anything about her. We owe it to her and what she went through to tell her story. Out of love for Fatima the sacrifice is worth it.”

” Here is a a quote from the director: “It is a wonderful epic story full of Shakespearean intrigue, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ meets ‘Game of Thrones’, an innovative way of seeing the origins of Islam and the Holy Figures from the point of view of our young modern-day hero Laith. We will be drawn into a world that sees the history of the religion’s birth as a wonderful action-packed story full of color. Juxtaposed against the stark colorless reality of the present-day war-torn Middle East it will be an innovative cinematic experience full of revelations, magic and incredible performances all set in and against the beautiful and dramatic landscape of eastern Georgia.”

For the record. Any time a director uses the phrase in bold up above you can be certain they are not going to be realistic. And Islam has ever and always been a stark, war torn religion, as even the story of Fatima proves. For better or worse. Trying to make it seem like The Arabian Nights is simply disingenuous.

According to this Muslim, it is worth the risk to talk about Fatima (The Lady of Heaven.)

But there are many Muslims, he admits, that are going to be angry about this.

I also found out that the director of this film got kicked out of either his sect or some other organization centered around Islam…which seems like a red flag.

Is it worth it to tell this story?

Well, that depends.

The Shia point of view is one of the two big branches of Islam. I believe it is the more peaceful branch, but don’t quote me on that.

If we could trust this movie to be objective, then perhaps it would be worth while to make it.

Fatima certainly sounds like an interesting woman…but what I am not convinced of is that the movie will show her how she really was.

The overdramatic speech in the trailer is already a huge neon warning sign to me.

I didn’t used to think so, but, in the last decade, every trailer for a “inspirational film” has one of those speeches in it.

Then you watch the movie, and it rarely delivers the impact that it was hinting at in the trailer.

Usually, there are contrived conflicts in the movie.

Which seems stupid, because in a real story like this, you ought to find enough actual conflict, without adding more.

I was less skeptical when I was younger, but I’ve now read too many things that say “well, no, that scene never actually happened, actually it went like this….”

Like in Hidden Figures. I am almost 100% sure she never yelled at her boss and fellow employees over the bathroom situation.

I know for a fact that in the Harriet movie that came out, her telling her white master off at the end of the move never happened.

And even in slightly older movies like Hildago, that lacked controversy. There was no love story, and no final stretch where the hose and rider both nearly collapsed. The horse actually finished a whole week ahead of the others in the race.

Either you can be annoyed by these changes or accept them as just part of what makes the movie “based off” real life, and not actually real.

But it gets a little touchy when we are focusing on a religion, and not just a person in history.

I have the same problem with The Lady of Heaven that I do with The Chosen.

While the Lady of Heaven may be about a regular girl, it is doubtful most of the story will be focused on that aspect of it. Islam is going to have to come into it.

And Islam is divisive. You have schools of Islam that think very, very different things.

The difference between Islamic sects is actually a lot more of a problem than the different denominations in Christian. [I speak on an actual doctrinal level, not people’s personal ways of handling it]

It is more like the difference between Catholicism, Mormonism, and Christianity.

The things that divide those three things are huge. Praying to Mary and other saints is not in the Protestant Bible, Seeing Jesus as equally powerful to the devil is only Mormon (as well as many other belief that I doubt the average practicing Mormon even really knows, as none of the ones I used to know ever mentioned them, but they are in there), and then Protestant Christianity, which claims to follow the Bible and only the Bible for how we base our worship and practice.

Interestingly enough, most of the violence the church has done over the centuries has been in the Catholic church, the branch that differs from the Bible in many ways. Protestants have made their mistakes, but usually we are not organized enough to take over countries like Catholicism did.

In fact, you will not find Protestant Christianity ever mentioned in many accounts of the church.

Corruption in fiction at least. Victor Hugo’s writing comes to mind.

And this is the different between Shia and Sunni Muslims as well as the smaller sects.

They are not simply difference of practice.

Maybe I should explain, because I know a lot of non Christians, or new Christians, will not know this alrady.

Doctrinal vs Practical Differences

Okay, a doctrinal difference and a difference in practice are very different problems.

A difference in practice would be this: The Evangelical movement focused on The Holy Spirit aspect of Christian more. The more Intellectual branch (usually Messianic Jews are this way interestingly enough) of the church focused on science and apologetics, very few churches fall into that category, but I’ve been to a couple. Then we have the traditional Bible believing denominations.

And Foursquare Church basically tried to combine the best of both worlds, and have evangelical, charismatic element mixed in with sound theology based on the bible.

There’s room for overlap in all of this, it really depends on where you go, but all these difference are stylistic differences. None of these churches (unless they are false) are going to claim any of the following:

Jesus is the devil’s twin.

Jesus is not the Son of God.

Our sins can be forgiven by church leaders.

It is acceptable to pray to Mary or a saint

Sins can be forgive through paying money

Purgatory is real

You can change the fate of someone even after death

Celibacy is necessary for the church leaders.

(Celibacy is encouraged in the Bible, but not mandatory, and many passages make it clear most of the leaders in the church were married with children.)

All the differences above are part of either Mormonism, Catholicism, or Judaism.

Orthodox Christian is another issue all on it’s own.

Now for the difference in Islam:

In these ways are Muslims similar (and I speak as a person with a very basic knowledge of it, but this is simplified.)

All Muslims have to believe Muhammad is God’s prophet.

There is no God but Allah

Within that there are a lot of different view on which teachings about Muhammad are accurate. And those are much like the difference I listed above, because there are actually things that could cost you your life.

Christians argue over denominations, more than we should, but we rarely kill each other over it, and we also are not known for persecuting each other (we do, but it is on a smaller scale and does not draw the attention of the outside world as often, there are exceptions to this).

But for the most part, we give to the same charities, uphold the same principles, and lead similar lives. Whether I am Baptist or Foursquare, I am likely to have the same verse highlighted in my bible, the same favorite Worship songs or style and the same basic beliefs about Jesus.

But the different sects of Islam are the ones that determine some major key things that we non Muslims are concerned about:

Is it all right tot kill Infidels?

Is marrying an underage girl acceptable?

Should people be forced to convert to Islam?

Most of the Western Muslims do not believe any of the above are acceptable, but as we all know, many, many Eastern Muslims do.

The precise problem with the movie is that by telling one side of it, it is going to alienate all the other sides.

And I do not think it is on the same level as just telling the Christianity story with a few errors. Christians complain, but we aren’t known for targeting people on the opposing side and killing or maiming them.

When you poke a bear, you should ask first if the bear has claws and fangs and is behind bars. It’s not wise to poke a bear anyway, but it’s even stupider to poke him in his own cave.

That is what I think this film is going to do.

And the people who make it will be partially responsible for any violence that follow, because they already know it will.

A movie about Jesus would not be guaranteed to cause that kind of reaction, but a movie about Islam is almost certain to do so.

That is the difference to me. You have to know who you’re dealing with.

Many, many Muslims are upset with the film, and I think justifiably skeptical about it. Hollywood is like Nazareth these days “Can any good come out of it?”

I am of the attitude that we do not need Hollywood to represent our religion anymore, if we ever did. I don’t trust those money grubbing jerks to portray anything fairly anymore.

I am worried some Muslims may accept the is film as necessary because they get so little representation but that is a very unwise outlook to have, because it leads people to accept even poor representation as better than nothing.

There is no power in Christianity if it is misconstrued, and I would think there is no power in Islam either.

I also do not think this movie is likely to make converts. And what other purpose is there in making it?

Fatima’s story is tragic, but it is also stirring up old grudges that didn’t need more fuel on the fire. It’s like making a movie about Jim Crowe, or Malcom X, or Adolf Hitler and tossing it into today’s political climate….oh, yeah, basically what they already are dong.

Yep, Hitler the story behind the mustache, coming soon to a theater near you, I can see it now. We can always count on Hollywood to see the flame war that is our society right now, and throw a big heaping ton of gasoline on it.

Am I the only who thinks they are deliberately doing this to stay in power over our minds and attention? I mean goodness knows, saying we could be less judgmental and more respectful is out of the questions.

Well the day I let Hollywood tell me how to think is the day you all can unfollow this blog, because it won’t be worth reading anymore.

In short, this movie is, I think, irresponsible. It is being made by a man who’s already caused a lot of controversy in Islam, and seems to see no issue with creating more, even if it could get people killed.

Remember too, this movie is likely to be seen all over the world. So even if violence is not the result in the USA, or Canada or Europe, it could easily be in the East. And we will probably never hear about it on the news which is always faithfully keeping our attention off what it really going on anywhere but here.

I mean, why talk about Islam when you can talk about the umpteenth strain of COVID that we can do nothing about…?

Well, that was my take on it. I’m not telling anyone not to see the movie if they feel it’s a good idea, but I would urge them to be watchful about what happens following it or around it. Maybe I am wrong…I am not usually wrong about things like this, because there are patterns, but who knows?

Until next time, stay honest–Natasha

Losing the Value of Life

Today I want to write about a phenomenon I’ve been noticing for years, but, somehow, it was just this week I began to draw connections as to why.

First, I want to illustrate what I’m thinking of:

In simple words, this phenomena is “a loss in the value of human life.”

I think, in general, in this country, maybe in this whole world, we humans have lost a sense of value for our own and other’s lives.

I mean, that we no longer feel life is beautiful, worthwhile, or important.

The most prominent examples of this would be, as always, in the media world.

 

Have you noticed yet how many movies (and anime, the other biggest genre in this country), spend a sizable chunk of their time trying to convince the audience that humans are worth saving.

Since I was a kid, I noticed the anti-human rederick in sci-fi cinema.

I bet if I asked you (assuming you’re in an English spelunking country) to name 5 movies off the top of your head where some bad guy from another race, or another planet, says humans are basically petty, garbage that they really don’t see any value in, to which the hero retorts with something brilliant like “Well, I say they are.” And then beats the crap out of the villain, who is still unconvinced… you could do it right. 

Watch me I’ll do it now:

Wonder Woman ( Ares vs Diana)

Captain America (Red Skull vs Cap)

Justice League Animated movie: Crisis on Two Earths (Owlman vs Batman)

Avengers Age of Ultron (Ultron versus the Avengers)

The Matrix (Agent Smith versus Neo, pick a movie for that one, all three do it).

 

There’s more, but that’s just 4 popular, and one more obscure example.

I’d say this rend must have started in the 60-70s, but took off more in the 80s-90s, and is now a staple of pretty much every superhero movie we have.

And Anime has it in almost every arc, if it’s a shonen anime. 

Makes me wonder what humans ever did to all the machines and aliens, it’s rarely other humans who are making this judgment call.

I mean, why do screenwriters feel so implicitly that other races would loathe and despise us on such short acquaintance?

Usually, i’ts because we’re “destroying our planet.” And agenda that is only held by some members of our population. Try pitching that idea in an African tribe sometime, they’ll give you blank looks. Those of us “destroying” our eco system, are usually the ones reaping the most benefits from doing so. Maybe we are in the West, but, that’s not a global reality.

And because we’re cruel, petty, and afraid. 

Like, usually the aliens in question, and AI things, are not any less cruel or petty than we are. But they look down on humans like some self righteous snobs.

And then we get the protagonist speech. Like “I”m going to save humanity anyway, because… reasons.”

Like, the hero really can’t disagree with it.

Ever notice how tired our modern day heroes are?

You’d nee see that in the 50s-60s, heroes reveled in being heroes the way ballerinas revel in ballet, and artists revel in painting, and actors revel in acting. There was not this weariness to them.

Even Spiderman, perhaps the most iconically troubled superhero of the last century, spent most of this time enjoying his job. He thought it was important.

In my mind, it’s a disgrace to our culture that we can have a movie where Superman spends most of his time wondering why he’s even bothering to save humans. (Dawn of Justice.)

Like, heroes used to not take humanity as a whole and say “you all suck, so why should I save anyone.”

It was about saving the ordinary, decent people who need help, and sometimes, the not so decent people, because they were still people.

 

I’m not here to talk just about superhero cinema. But it’s one place you can almost always find this. Even my favorites from the last 10 years, that’s true. Some of the older movies, it’s not there in.

I now some of you are gong to be thinking “But humans do suck. They’re just telling the truth.”

That’s what my Dad would say, I know. I can still hear his voice in my head even after nearly two years of absence.

I have to admit, my dad is one of the main reasons I’m tempted to be down on humanity myself.

Though, I question what the point of having aliens and machines criticize us in our movies is, when, those things are not real, at least not yet, and really have no place judging us.

Shessh.

I mean, what are we going or replace humans with? We are what we got to work with. What’s the use of having alien critics? Thanks for the social commentary, Hollywood… the people who actually promote a sinful lifestyle so much you’re directly responsible for the increase in a lot for the very things you’re calling us out for.

Yeah, sure, it’s all the general populations fault.

Like, was it the 90s kids fault that the examples we subjected them too were so sacred up that they now have very little idea of how to behave? Or did we remove their chance to know what right really was?

But I digress.

Another place you can find this attitude is in pretty much every leftist work out there. I’m sorry if that’s offensive, it’s just something I’ve observed. Their books, movies, talks hows, always bashing on how bad humans are, and how we’ve ruined everything.

The level of disgust I’ve noticed since a kid with humans.

Why it’s int he flipping Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, come to think of it. Maybe that’s where I encountered it first, even.

Whihc is liberal, byt he way.

Humans… we just cant’ cathc ab reak.

I guess it makes snes, we projet abetter personana onto ficiaotna l things, giving them what we wich we had more of as a race. Wsidoem, jsutice, Mercy, Intellignce., Bravery.

But often, what we create is so cold, and bitter, and disillusioned with anthhign in life that might give it pleasure.

Then we wonder why peopel are so depresed these days. Thsi is what they grow up having funneled into their brians bye ey balviale media outlet.

The hatred for humanity.

So, of course, our vlaue for human life drops.

Someitmes, I almsot feel gald when humans die in movies. And then I Catch myself feeling that way, and I think “Am I atually gald? am I actually happy?”

But, I’m an emopath, I pck up on the meotoians and intentons of people. I feel them like they ar emy own until I learn to distuirgns between what they are bradcasting and what I am actuallyt hinking.

IT’s aeasy for me to assume what I get form toehrs is just how things are.

But,I don’t actually like it when peopel die.

Coud it just be, that, when I watch the movie, I catch what they pople writign it were really feeling? What the characrtes are meant to emobidy.

OF course it woudn’t be accpetalbe to make our hero actually asupport gneoicde…but, if you give the vaillinst herse really convicng speeches bout how much humasn desre death or contol, and give the hro nkothing but burte strenght to anwer it with, aren’t you sbulimally letting the vilalin viepoitn win out? IT was never defeated, just silnced.

Why are peopel sypamthaizign with villains so much now?

And anien is even worse int his area than WEster Cinema. At least we give lip service to our ideals wevn eh we give nothing to back it up, but naime often falis to eve do that. The heors jsut save th day becaue they have a stonrg passion for thier firends.

It’s to the point where people have acknowledged that saving the world doesn’t feel like important stakes anymore

Saving the flipping world! Not important!

We can’t get invested int that, because, to us, the world just means the greed and selfishness driven masses that we are shown on tv. Not the individuals whose lives we might actually care about. We can get invested int hose, but not the rest.

That’s why superheroes always save their love interest, you care about that, you don’t care about a crowd of people, do you?

I remember that back in the day, in Westerns, just doing justice was enough, it didn’t have to be to save anyone. You cared because it was justice. It didn’t need a face. The hero wanting it was face enough.

But what hit me this week about the trend I’ve noticed for years and years, is why.

Why do we all feel humans are just the worse, and that human life is no longer valuable.

My theory is, it’s a deep psychological side effect of the choice we’ve made as culture since the 60s.

Let’s start with the biggest two:

Since the 60s we’ve taken parer out of schools, and tried to shut religions out of education, despite much evidenced to the contrary that it’s even a good idea to do so, and so education became more secular.

Depression rates soared after that, by the way. So did teen pregnancies. So did abortions.

Another change made around that time. Abortion became legal.

And now they say we abort 5,000 babies every minute, if I remember right, that may be an old statistic.

This even become legal is, frankly, and atrocity of the highest degree. We have the evidence now to know we are killing a baby, but we’re still doing it and the left will keep saying it’s a Women’s Right’s issue until that excuse stops working.

‘Cause we all know, Women make babies by themselves, and men nave nothing to do with it, so why should the man get a say in it if his baby is killed. (And while some jacks do pressure women to get abortions, many men have not wanted that choice and have been ignored.)

I’m tired of tiptoeing around this, if someone can’t see abortion is wrong, they are more delusional than a man who believes he’s a dog, and there’s just no use apologizing for that anymore.

I hate, by the way, how that issue is barely even talked about now. I heard almost nothing about it at the last elections. It’s not even at the top of our priorities list. We spend more time arguing about the rights of people who enter this country illegally than we do about unborn babies.

But how did abortion become legal? How did this happen? How did we get to this point? Is it not because we began devaluing human life?

I mean, at first, it didn’t work that way. They convinced us the fetus wasn’t human. But, now that we know it is, we’re still not worked up about it.

We just don’t really care, do we?

Even Pro Life people, have hard time getting as emotional over it as we used to, and we’re told not to.

We’re told not to get emotional about a baby being murdered. Like, that’s not something that deserves some emotion….Wow….

We’ve lost our minds, that’s for sure.

But we’ve also lost our value for life.

I almost wonder if it’s a judgement in some sense. Not that God made us do it, but more like karma. Like, we killed our own children in their country, so now our sense of value in even our own lives is dying away.

You ever notice once you start treating someone a certain way, you began to feel that way. And what you do to one person, you’ll do to another. A person who bullies one person will probably bullied another. A person who rapes one person will probably rape another.

A person who lies to you will lie to someone else, and likely to themselves too.

Cross one line with one person, you’ll cross it with all.

Maybe that’s why James said “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

Because that’s the truth. There is not “one time Sin”. There is only a sin that you do in one form at one time, and maybe don’t do it again, bu you’ll do something similar.

Of course if you repent that maybe not happen, but most people dont’ repent of that, they just think it’s not important anymore, it’s in the past right?

In the rape case, it’s doubtful that a rapist usually ever realizes what they did was wrong. If you can dehumanize a woman or man enough to take that from them, how can you go back? It wouldn’t be easy.

Interesting how signs of violation are sometime harder to let go of that sins like murder and violence.

I mean, many a person has murdered and then been horrified that they did it, and not enjoyed it. But how many people realize even as soon as they’ve done it that rape or molestation was an evil they should never have done. It’s like they block it out.

As the signs get worse and we become more immune to them, we come to care less and less if people die.

Thank to the news most to us feel people are dying all the time, all day long and we can do nothing about it.

Maybe our goal is to try to numb ourselves to the horror by watching horror. Watching gory stuff, and dulling the pain of feeling helpless by doing that. There’s reasons people consider horror a kind of escapism.

But Horror movies and shows and stories are not really an escape, because so many of them can occur in real life, and we’re only increasing the likelihood of it by popularizing it.

You know, I wouldn’t know how to shoot up a drug if I didn’t watch movies. I’ve never done it, and I never intend to, but I know at least theoretically how it works, I’ve seen it. Why are we so stupid?

We are still responsible for our own choice, it’s true, but, we really can’t keep denying that choosing to consume this stuff is changing how we feel about things..

C. S. Lewis thought that being taught how to feel was one of the most important parts of learning. He explains this in The Abolition of Man.

We live in a culture that is post Abolition of Man. We are trying to abolish gender, human rights for anyone we deem a problem (like babies), and any sense of guilt or shame over hurting each other over petty issues.

Do people feel guilty for rioting and becoming violent over the last year? Or are they proud of it?

Should we be proud that people died or got hurt over something that, bad as it was, didn’t have to affect that many people that way.

And of course, someone will say “Well, it should have. All these issues should affect all of us, all the time.”

I miss the days when people thought not everyone needed to be burdened with everyone else’s problems.

I mean, what are we all supposed to do about it?

It’s all just anger, that’s all it is. We can get angry, then what? Did it make us kinder? Smarter? Better people?

Or did we sell our integrity just a little bit more in order to make a statement.

Man, I think the media must just love how easily manipulated we are. It keeps them in business.

And valuing human life is just not even poplar anymore.

Almost everyone is struggling with depression now. I don’t think it’s just because we feel we have no right to live. I think we are wondering if anyone does.

I know that was a big part of my depression, and still is, when it comes back. I can’t find any pat of humanity I like when I think of what I’m shown all day long, every day, by media.

If I can’t value human life, I can’t value my life.

I want to value both.

It’s heartbreaking that we don’t.

According to the Word, God loved the world so much, He gave His Son for it. (John 3:16)

Jesus loved us so much, He died for us.

And what has humanity ever done form God?

Yet he loves us.

Do we understand that?

Many people express the doubt that God could really love such a messed up race as ours.

Well, we don’t deserve it.

But since when was Love based on desert?

You can’t find that idea anymore in the world. Once upon a time, we could. Frozen is the last movie I can think of, and Wonder Woman, that even broached the subject.

Why do our lives have value?

Because, God made us. Why he did, why he puts us here, when it’s such a mess, is hard to say, for us humans. But God knows best. Humans are the only tool he has ever used to mend the world with other than himself.

The Bible says we are partners with God in his Works. That is why we are still here.

I wonder, if we made more stories around that idea, if people would start to feel differently about it.

It’s not so hard.

I can get down in the dumps when I realize all this crap is going on, and that the barbarians of our world are the ones running things.

But, the world is temporary.

People are not.

I think that, turning back from this point of despair, is actually not as difficult as we think.

People who complain about their mental health usually are taking no steps at all to improve it beyond therapy and medication.

But what I found to be much more helpful was changing my influences.

I put some happier examples before me. I went back to books I loved.

I give this advice to other people now.

We need to rediscover what makes people worthwhile.

It’s hard with the constant influx of negativity.

We all talk bout it, but very few of us try to shut it out. I think we need space to just, think. Get in touch with Nature, with Beauty. With Goodness.

If we all did that, the media would have very little sway over us. I think they want us afraid to go outside.

You know, at least right now, people have as much power over you as you give them, provided you’re in a normal position.

I try to explain to my cousin how we don’t all need to think the same way as what’s in vogue.

Wokeness is just… ugh…

It’s come to a pretty pass when the people villainized in their country are ones defending the lives of babies.

Yeah, just stop and think about that sentence.

I mean, shoot, even if you think women have a right to abortion…why on earth would you hate someone for defending a baby? Isn’t that psychotic?

And the self satisfied attitude of the people…

But do we value each other anymore?

If we ever did. My knowledge of history makes me question if any but a predominantly Christian society has ever had anything like a real value for human life. We take it for granted here, we don’t realize how quickly it’s slipping away.

Or if we do, we don’t know how to stop it.

It’s hard, it should be intrinsic, not something we have to learn.

I’m still working on it myself, but I do believe that Beauty and Goodness are the best places to start.

As Paul wrote “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We really don’t do that anymore, do we. And so we’ve lost our value for all the things that are valuable.

But, be enoucred, friends. Even if our culture is dying, Jesus is not going to die He’s beent ere done that. God is not goidn anywehre.

All Nations fall, and all peoples corrupt, but God is incorruptible. He will stay the same.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

In a world where nothign huamn is cerating excpet sin, peopel turn to God as a certianty.

We must hang onto that if we’re gong to not lose heart, it’s so easy to do that.

David wrote;

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
” (Psalms 27: 13-14)

Notice, he says the “goodness of the lord” not man.

I’ve been thinking of that, because this year, I really want to see the goodness of the Lord…but I think, I keep looking for the goodness of man. And that’s hit and miss.

I’ll leave you with that, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

The Chosen

I recently joined the millions of other Christians in my country who have been watching the new series “the Chosen.”

Some say it’s the best show about Jesus to come out.

And I’ve made it through all the available episodes, and I’ve been enjoying it.

This wouldn’t be a very interesting post if that was all I had to say though, and unfortunately, my impression of it is not all positive.

If you are new the blog and just clicked on this post out of curiosity then you may wonder why you should care what I think, though you’re you’re probably still curious, because don’t we all like to read critical reviws of whatever’s popular.

But I do have one claim to a relavent relavent opinion, I’ve been reading the Bible since I was a child, and have read the Gospels many times, which is the main source material for the show. I’m not a bible scholar officially, but I’m about as scholarly as laymen get.

And since I am the target audience for this show, a young woman who is always open to getting a btter undestnad of Jesus, I think my opinion ought to interest some people.

That out of the way, let’s begin:

What I like

I don’t need a lot of time for this part.

I love the sets and backdrops of this show, I can’t figure out how a webseries has the budget for those sets and constumes. They’re beautiful and very real feeling, maybe not dirty enough always, but I’m not one to complain about that.

A lot of beautiful locations too.

Also, the acting is good. It’s not the best I’ve seen, but it’s believable most of the time. The actors clearly enjoy their roles.

Jesus ins’t a stiff, I like that. I mean, he’s alive again for a reason, people. I’ve never been of the party that thinks Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor, or that God doens’t. I have pets, I know God has a sense of Humor.

I do enjoy the miracles too… well, some of them. It’s very cool to see that with better technology than we used to have to depict these things.

What I don’t like

“Dislike” can be a strong word. Most of the things that I didn’t like about the show were minor annoyances that I was williing to let go of.

Again,I’m not a stickler for presenting Jesus as “holier than thou” super serious, and a buzz kill. I never have liked that version of Jesus.

As for the internal conflict, one of the other main complaints about the plot, I mostly don’t mind that either. We know from the Gospels that the disciples had clashes sometimes. They argued about who was the greatest.

If anything, they are a little too mature in this story because it’s hard to picture these guys having such a stupid argument. I guess we all stumble.

But there are some things I don’t feel right just glossing over as flaws in the show. Some because they are writing errors, and others because I am concerned they are going agaisnt scripture.

The smaller concern is the writing errors.

It’s not the most important thing, but approaching the Gospel and taking the stories out of order and giving the characters motivations not specifically denoted in the Bible creates problems.

The first being, the timeline is totally messed up. John the Baptist has been in and out of imprisonment, and has no disciples following him at the current point in the story, and this is kind of a problem if they wish to accurately portray the real issues he and Jesus had in the Gospel. When his disciples came to ask Jeuss if he was the one o ne, or if they looked for another.

Jesus responded them “Tell John, the blind see, the deaf hear,”

I wonder if John really doubted, or if his disciples did and he sent them to Jesus just to see what he’d tell them. Haven’t we all set up people to get a verbal set down at least once? No? Just me?

Even if John doubted, it was while he was in prison. Not before. this time line has become very confusing.

Also, I’m not sure that esus even met Mary MAdalgene befor ehe called teh 12. But, that’s not something we can verifiy, so I’d let that one slide.

The real issue is being in seaons 2 and not having all 12 dispcile stoghet yet. A lot of JEsu misntiry hasn’t evens tarted yet, because most o fi tihappend after he had the 12, and alarge other amoung of folower.

He sents out 70, if I reember right, to prepare the way for him. He hasn’t collected even half that maount now. And taht wasn’t that far into his 3 year misntiry.

they could decide to removed this, but since this is a very detailed vesrionf of the story, it would be odd to do so. Most depictiosn of JEsus only focus on his miracle, or hhis death. They odn’t try to vocer all the in bewteeen.

And there’s a godo reaosn for that.

The disciples themselves who wrote of his deeds said if they included all of them, the world couldn’t hold the books.

IT’s ahrd to picurre just how cosntnat jesus works must have been, for them tos ay that.

So, sadly, any depiction of him as he lived his dilay life, is never going to be able to fit in all that he did.

The problem this presents us is that, it is impossible for it to be true to Jesus’s experiences under such limitations.

But I think that the show maybe be making the problem even worse by spending so much time on Jesus doing very little.

Case in point: Episdoe 5

This episode annoyed me, not because of them partying a did so Jesus that I don’t believe in, but because they portrayed a side of him that wouldn’t have existed unless they wrote it in.

When John and Jesus are talking about his ministry, John asks Jesus why he isn’t doing more, why he doesn’t call out the sins of the people more, the corruption at high levels.

And Jesus seems to ba little heistiant about answering, and cautioning John not to call out Herod’s sin.

I’m sorry, Jesus? Our Jesus? The Jesus that preached against sin constantly? That Jesus? Is telling John not to do this?

Is Jesus confused?

I know that I would get called uptight for complaining about it. Because “oh Jesus was human, they’re just showing him and John as human.”

I guess “human” now means uncertain of what to do in life. But that’s not what it used to mean.

What gulls me about this is that there is no biblical foundation for that scene whatsoever. And, the circumstances prompting it, John’s questions, would not exist, has Jesus been doing as he actually did in scripture.

Jesus called out the sins of the pharisee very early on in his ministry (something I cannot even see their version of him doing so far). He called out the secret sins of the heart in one of his first recorded sermons, the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7.

What puzzles me is that the writer have knowingly rearranged what Jesus did, and now, are making excuses for it, with his character. As if John is being used to lampshade their own show by asking what the audience might be asking, like “uh, why are we not getting more than one miracle per episode, save for the one with Mary.”

A good question. Jesus did miracles constantly, and he’s barely done any, yet most of his disciples are gathered..?

Yeah, if I were John the Baptist, and had read the Gospel, I’d be wondering what was going on with this version of Jesus too.

See, it’s actually bad writing to create problems, and then use characters to argue over those came problems, in an adaptation, because it would not have been there had you stayed true to the source materials. If you have to change the characters and actions so much to create conflict, you are doing something the author never did, and people don’t always read the source material, and will blame you for doing it.

Like those awful changes they made in the Narnia movies that made no dang sense…

I have another problem with John questioning Jesus at all and actually telling him what to do.

John, the same John who says “whose sandels I am not worthy to untie?” Is going to tell Jesus he’s dong it wrong.

John is the one who said “The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

I won’t say John never had doubts or questions, but it’s one thing to wonder, it’s another to go so far as to reprove Jesus. The one John believed was the son of God before anyone else did, even. An often overlooked fact.

Who said “He must increase, I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Oh, and yet another problem here.

By the time John got arrested by Herod, Jesus already had a huge minority. We know this because he had began baptizing people, (his disciples had, John 4:2 ), and some of John’s were going over to Jesus. John said this was how it should be. That is was the natural order of things, basically.

Jesus had way more followers by that point. And John got arrested after that.

It would not have been when he still had less than 20. And hadn’t started doing a lot of miracles yet.

So between the timeline being messed up, and deviating from scripture, we have a serious problem.

Now John saying that isn’t going to make any sense, I doubt it will even happen, since he’s going to get killed by Herod (spoiler to no one who’s read the gospel.)

And that’s a key thing about ministry that will not get to be included in this show.

They changed John from the Bible.

And you may say that it’s not a big deal to change it. I’d counter that it’s too much change for a historical figure. A good example would be if someone made a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and portrayed him as being racist against Mexicans, or mistreating other black people under him. It’s just not his character. Wouldn’t that get a real rise out of people?

But we can’t prove he wasn’t like that…

We can’t prove he was either.

And they changed Jesus, who never once doubted his own actions on record.

We attribute human weakness to Jesus because we know he was tempted like we are, but there is a reason He is not recorded at saying them.

Words have power. Jesus’s had more power than anyone.

Whatever he sometimes felt and thought, he would not have voiced doubt in God, until that moment on the cross when it was part of completing his desolation.

Once you speak doubt, it take a much former hold on you. Even a psychologist would tell you that.

And, as a writer, I also know that using doubt in a story can be complicated. I actually stay away from it unless it serves a specific purpose.

Call me crazy but doubt doesn’t make me relate to characters more, or like them. I want to be confident in what I’m doing. I hate doubt.

And I get annoyed when characters obsess over it. For crying out loud, if you’re that unsure, I’m not sure you’re the right person for the job. (No disrespect to Moses or Gideon, there’s exceptions, in God, but He does tells us not to doubt. God treats doubt as an evil He sometimes has to get around, but mostly will just not tolerate.)

I find other elements of the show weird, like their portrayal of demons. Anyone who’s actually witness deliverance ministry knows it’s nothing like what they are showing. How it would be for Jesus, I don’t know, but the whole “false name thing” has no scriptural foundation. Demons have names, but people possessed by them don’t change their names. It’s doubtful if they even remember them half the time.

Also, calling out someone’s true name is not how you free them from a demon. It can be part of healing and other forms of ministry, but only Jesus casts out demons, and only His name is able to overcome them, not ours.

The Bible says God “gave him the name is above every name” for a reason.

That’s not the biggest problem, it’s just weird.

But the biggest problem is what I already mentioned. Going too far from scriptures.

I was watching the live chat for the episode, and someone said “This is like historical fiction for the Gospel.”

Right. That’s exaclty right.

Actually, it’s more like fan fiction.

Historical fiction doesn’t change how real life people acted, usually. It is set around someone who didn’t actually live then, experience it. And while they may give real figures in history more personality, they don’t change their actions, because that’s not historical then.

Fan fictions, on the other hand, is where you change canon characters and how they act and what they feel and what their backstories are.

And now my question, a serous one, is: How is Historical Fan fiction about the Gospels actually helping us?”

I can’t be the only one who wonders what the point of this show is.

The first season diverged less from “canon” if you will, but season 2 is taking some big creative leaps.

And why?

I believe strongly in the potency of the Gospels, as being God inspired for accuracy and power, and many people have been changed by reading them.

I don’t believe nearly as much in the power of a “good example” to win souls.

We are called to be a “good example” of course, or we are hypocrites. And sometimes that’s the only witness we can have.

But the primary commission of christian is to preach, heal, and free people. Jesus told us to do that.

And so, telling an accurate account of him is very important if we’re going to go everywhere and preach about Him.

You see, I don’t need “one interpretation” of Jesus. I need Jesus. I need Him as he was, what he really said, because I believe He said it for a reason. I believe there’s power in his words that there is not in ordinary men.

Changing what He said, and how He said it, to me is a great affront to Jesus, because it is as if we think we can explain what He meant better than he can.

Paraphrase, sure. Use an analogy to help people, absolutely.

But base it off what he actually said.

And when you have Jesus portrayed by an actor, being in His time, in His place, then changing what he said is a very problematical. It’s wrong, sometimes.

I noted it when he healed the man who was lame for so many years too. he didn’t say the same things to Him.

I for one, don’t think Jesus needs to really explain what He’s going to do, He just does it. I think it takes away form the power of what He says if you add all these weird explanations He never gave on record of why He said it.

To Jesus, healing the man was a simple as telling him to get up and walk. He didn’t have to say “I’m what you need” because He was what He needed. You don’t have to tell someone that if it’s obvious.

Please.

It sounds like I’m nitpicking, and that’s because it’s very hard to convey what I mean. It’s something you almost have to know God already to know is true.

If you know Jesus, deeply, you know he is direct.

I make up reasons, I make up explanations, I make up a backstory for what He’s telling me, I may be right, I may be wrong.

But He just tells me. Jesus isn’t vague.

If I’ve learned one thing from reading Jesus and imitating Him when I write, it’s that, when He is vague, He is actually being the most direct. It is only vague because we don’t understand it.

If a scientist said to you E=MC squared, with no context, you might say “that was really vague and cryptic.”

But to the scientist, that make perfect sense. It’s actually a very exact answer to them. Because it’s an equation. This is not room for interpreting.

When Jesus called out sin, and told us what it meant to be right now, I don’t think He intends us to try to interpret it away.

Some things require context and research now that’s it’s been 2000 years, but it’s important to remember, when they were spoken, that was not the case. I suspect it was crystal clear to them.

When Jesus was vague was with Parables, and those are not really that vague, just hard to grasp in fullness.

I just wonder, if anyone watching The Chosen and truly walking away with a better understanding of Jesus.

You see, The Chosen, is taking Jesus, and putting a modern spin on him. Changing his words, using our church cliches that no one really understands.

And that might be okay as a paraphrase, but it’s not as a direct quote, if you catch my meaning.

And what good is watching a paraphrase? Paraphrase is useful only for a few moments to help you understand the original meaning better, if you go to a paraphrase as your source of truth, you lose something in the translation. If you’ve ever read a “no fear Shakespeare” paraphrase, you know what I mean (ugh.)

You see, someone who only watches the Chosen, as it is now, would be quite shocked with how Jesus is in the Bible.

He would seem cold by comparison. Cold and judgemental.

I believe you have to learn to read the Gospel and see Jesus for how He really was. Not turn him into what you think He should be like.

I think, honestly, the problem is the whole concept.

“Getting to now Jesus through the eyes of His followers.”

I mean, when has that ever worked?

It’s helpful to build each other up with our personal stories, and try to see each other in them, but, I have never truly been helped except by directly knowing Jesus himself.

You an’t “know Jesus” through the eyes of his followers, if anything, that’s what we have too much of now in the Wast. We watch movies, read books, and hear sermons about what Jesus is like, but don’t get to know Him ourselves.

A sermon is helpful, but it’s not the core of Christianity.

We’re taking one thing that is meant to be a supplement, or at most, a portion, of our diet, and we’re making it the full meal.

This is not the fault solely of the writers and directors of The Chosen, but its saddens me to see such a clear influence of that kind of culture in the show.

I’m sure mine will never be a popular opinion, but I don’t expect it to be.

Knowing Jesus, really, is not ever popular, is it?

I Initially was wary of this show because it was popular, because I felt any real depiction of Jesus cannot ever be widely popular, it would offend too many people to see Jesus as he really is. The world hates him, that’s in the bible.

Then it seemed to be okay.

But what bothered me was how little power I felt in it.

Emotional response is not the same as power.

A powerful scene can give you a new perspective after watching it.

Just crying, and getting angry is not power.

In fact that’s all we know how to do now, cry and rage and laugh at stuff.

Even needing a show like The Chosen to give us an emotional background for these people, is just a sign of how emotional deprived we are.

If reading the Gospel doesn’t invoke some feeling in you, and watching it portrayed how it actually was wouldn’t, then…. that seems like a you problem.

I think helping us understand what is in there between would be more beneficial than adding stuff to it.

I know , I know, they are not trying to replace the Bible.

But… just what do you think you’re going to do then?

Get a bunch of people to read the Gospels, realize Jesus is not like that, and get angry, or say “I like the Chosen version of Jesus better.”

What an affront to God if that happened.

It probably already has.

I hope it would not work out that way, but since he’s just so different, I can’t really believe it won’t.

And, one last thing…

Why do we need a show about Jesus’s follower anyway?

Are they what matter? Should they be the main characters.

It’s startling when you realize Jesus is actually a side character who’s barley in some episodes, and it very muted most of the time he is there.

Jesus? A side character?

What about “I must become less, and he must become great?”

I question if there is any power or truth in focusing on followers.

I don’t want people looking at my life and trying to understand Jesus through that. I can help them, but by direct them to Him, no to me. I’m not the answer.

The motivation of this writing decision would baffle me if I didn’t have an all too common explanation:

It resonates better with the audience.

Because, it’s easier to swallow than the truth would be.

And we’re used to the shallow and full spectrum of human weaknesses thanks to Hollywood.

I don’t think we need to be competing with that in Christian media.

I may have made the same mistakes in my writing, I can own up to that. But, I am avoiding portraying Jesus directly all that often. And I am not trying to put the gospel into a new suit.

I sue parallels, but that’s all they are. Like the Chronicles of Narnia. Parallels are powerful.

I looked it up, and I did find one person who seems to have noticed the same thing I did about the show, and had more time to research it:

“Quotes like “I came to know Jesus better through this show” and “I feel like I’ve been reading my Bible in black and white all these years and now it’s in color” have been circulating on social media by both the creators and fans of the show. The creator says he’s “trying to tell God’s stories in a fresh way” and “enhancing Scripture”. Those are all incredibly dangerous statements. Do you need something other than God’s Word to know Jesus? No. In fact, God’s Word is the only way we can know Jesus. Do we need anything to enhance God’s stories or tell them in a fresh way? Absolutely not. Only the Bible is the inspired Word of God and it needs no enhancing or modern re-telling by fallible men.

This is one of many examples of him stating that Mormonism, Catholicism, and Christianity simply have minor theological differences. He calls them “different perspectives” that are “exciting to explore, not dangerous”. He consults a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi, and an evangelical christian after writing each episode to make sure they are “biblically accurate”. You can find him saying many times that we all believe in or that we all love the same Jesus.

But do we? Both the church of LDS and Catholics believe in a combination of works and faith. Mormons believe that God attained His supreme status by righteous works and that Jesus is a created being and not equal to God. I could go into more details behind the errors of the Mormon and Catholic faiths and what makes them false religions, but I’ll save that for another day. However, the differences between the true Christian faith and the Mormon and Catholic faiths are essential, gospel issues and not simply theological differences we can brush over. And the bottom line is this: If Dallas Jenkins believes what he’s saying then he doesn’t understand the true Gospel. The Gospel that says there’s only one way. The Gospel that says we are forgiven on the merit of Christ alone and not of anything we can do. The one and only Gospel that is founded on the belief that Jesus is God incarnate.” Full article is linked here:

I think she summed it up pretty well too.

I do question the Show’s constant defensiveness about it not being “your bible.”

Like, no one said it was. But is it too much to ask we stick to the source?

As the Aesop’s fable goes, you cannot please everyone. If you try, you please no one.

But the show will have mass appeal, because it has values that appeal to the masses.

Jesus promoting women is biblical, and the article I linked has one thing wrong, Mary Magdalene and other women did travel with Jesus and supported him out of their own wealth. It was culturally inappropriate, but they did it.

But there is no record of the other things listed. The author is right about that.

I didn’t know about the connection to Mormonism and Judaism till now. But I can see it.

I was in a Co-op with Mormons for quite a while in my teenage years, and I can say, there is definitely a difference between Mormonism and Christianity. They claim to be Christians, but they don’t understand the idea of grace at all.

They also are not free thinkers, though they are very smart, educated people.

Being a free thinker is not perhaps a biblical requirement, but it helps you not be swayed by peer pressure.

I find the part where Dallas said he wants to “enhance” scripture to be the most disturbing, to be honest.

Like this lady says, we’ll all have to decide for ourselves, I would caution any Christian who is watching it to fact check it by the Bible at the very least, and take what it is for what it’s wroth, but not as fact.

Also, I think the show villainizing any Christians who complain about the biblical inaccuracy by saying that’s not their intention, are missing the point.

Because, bro, if you don’t want to represent my Bible, of my Faith, accurately, then, stop claiming to be of my Faith. I don’t need you to speak for me, thanks.

Don’t see why that’s so hard to understand.

All right, I think that’ll do for this post, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

MHA Analysis: The Concept of Rational Deception

Diving into more CeCe (or morallygrayismyfavoritecolor) inspired analysis of the show and concept of MHA.

Actually, I have to thank a lot of of UA tik tok people for bringing up excellent points in their satire, and compliment them, it’s not a venue I’d normally look for profundity in.

I could probably have made this into a therapy post of Aizawa, but as it extends to so many more characters, as well as anime in general, I think that’d be limiting. So, let’s go.

We’ve probably all heard, if we live in an English speaking country, the proverb “Honesty is the Best Policy”

I am sure there are variations of it in pretty much every culture too. Here’s a handful of them I found:

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” –Thomas Jefferson

Every lie is two lies, the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” —Robert Brault 

Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” 
― 
Spencer Johnson

Honesty is the best policy.If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.”
William Shakespeare

Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” 
― 
James E Faust

No legacy is so rich as honesty.” William ShakespeareAll’s Well That Ends Well

It takes strength and courage to admit the truth.” 
― 
Rick RiordanThe Red Pyramid

When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.” 
–Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

I like that last one especially. I believe people are born with certain rights, not just life, liberity, and happiness, but also the right to know the truth.

So, I guess I could frame this as a debate between yours truly, and the UA staff (as well as other teachers) about whether the continued practice of lying to students, or at the very least concealing part of the truth, is truly a wise idea.

Even though I will be using fictional examples, thousands of parents, teachers, and leader regularly lie to their kids and followers in real life, and there are even whole books you can find that justify this approach, I believe Machiavelli even talks about it, so nothing I bring up is not going to have its parallel in real life, in fact, I bet some of you reading have been lied to quite a lot by authority figures.

My personal experience is, I’ve been lied to by both my parents, though lying was always strictly punished in our house as one of the most serious offenses, my dad has lied about me, and they both have gone back on promises they claimed to have forgotten or else decided to ignore. It’s not quite the same as UA’s approach, but it is dishonestly of a severe nature.

There, now that I’ve justified writing yet another post about MHA, let’s do this:

Starting with my premise that people are born with the right to the truth, let’s put that up against the premise assumed by UA and every other teacher (the ones on Naruto are full of examples of this) that truth is often too dangerous to be entrusted to students.

Is there any basis for either premise?

I’ll start with the opposition to my point:

There are times when truth is dangerous, it can’t be denied. If we make total honesty at all times our rule, we’ll compromise every war in history, several covert ops, and many brave people who’ve ever protected information under torture or duress.

There’s an Aesop’s fable that comes to mind here, The Fox and the Woodcutter.

“A Fox having been hunted hard, and run a long chase, saw a Countryman at work in a wood, and begged him to help him to some hiding-place. The man said he might go into his cottage, which was close by. He was no sooner in, than the Huntsmen came up. “Have you seen a Fox pass this way?” said they. The Countryman said “No,” but pointed at the same time towards the place where the Fox lay. The Huntsmen did not take the hint, however, and made off again at full speed. The Fox, who had seen all that took place through a chink in the wall, thereupon came out, and was walking away without a word. “Why, how now?” said the man; “haven’t you the manners to thank your host before you go?” “Yes, yes,” said the Fox; “if you had been as honest with your finger as you were with your tongue, I shouldn’t have gone without saying good-bye.

I used to not get this story at all, how is it honest to lie? But later I understood that loyalty is also a kind of honesty, and sometimes must trump telling the truth to someone’s enemy.

There is a philopshy that says that you can forfeit your basc rights by doing evil, so your enemy can forfeit his right to the truth, by being your enemy. Trying to kill someone who has not harmed you, for examople, forfeits yoru right to their honesty.

The Bible does not openly endorse lying in this case, but there are a few times, when David is running away from King Saul, and Rahab is hiding the spies, where lying is sued to protect God’s chosen people, who are alos innocent, and it is not condemned, at least.

I suppose God prefers total honesty, but will not always pusih lying to save someone’s life, which is about theo nly time I think it is accepatbe.

There’s another side to it, I read in “The Hiding Place” that Corrie Ten Boom’s sister told the truth about a jew she was hiding, getting her arrested, but her sister was confident God would honor her honesty, the jew later was rescued and gotten to safety. Corrie is amazed by her sister’s faith, and it’s being justified.

Corrie herself lied while doing underground work, and felt it was all right. God clearly honored her work for His people.

So, my answer is: listen to your own conscience, at times the reason you do something, and whether you have faith in God either to lie or to be honest, is more important.

But in cases where lying is just covering up stuff you’d prefer people not know, but it’s not morally wrong to tell them, you have a very different story.

I might not quibble with UA not disclosing that they suspect a traitor to the students, since if one of the students is the traitor, that could be dangerous to do, and if the students turn on each other, that is also dangerous.

I will give due credit to Aizawa for being honest during the camp attack, since it saved the kids’ lives, and kind of reminds me of what Mrs. Incredible tells her kids in “The Incredibles”.

But what about in regular training when Aizawa uses his signature “rational deception” or “logical ruse” depending on whether you watch sub or dub (not sure why they changed it, actually, what’s the difference?)

Aizawa says he will expel them, or keep them out of camp, etc, if they don’t accomplish certain things. It often seems like he uses “rational deception” as a cover for changing his mind. I guess changing your mind as a teacher must be frowned upon in Japan or something, since I’ve never seen it happen.

The logic behind all this is that the students (or people in general) will perform better if they think the stakes are higher, and so keeping them in a perpetual state of thinking that is the most effective way to train them.

Some people go along with this way of thinking, and will defend it on the gournds that “it’s more realistic that way.”

However, one might ask if that is really true.

Training someone to be in constant fear of failure and dire conseuences does not actually simulate real life very well.

There are some things you can’t mess up in life, surgery, taxes, moral choices, etc. But there are other things like forgetting to lock your car, or tripping, or saying something dumb, that are going to happen, no matter how smart you are.

I’m a pretty intelligent person, and I tried to schedule an interview for during my class time two days ago, so I would know, even I can do dumb crap sometimes.

And most of the time, the absolute worst thing isn’t going to happen, you aren’t going to be disgraced forever for a mistake.

There are people who will make you feel like that, Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada” is an example of that kind of person who messes with your head, but a healthy person would know to dismiss that as unfair.

What you are far more likely to get, by constantly putting students in fear of terrible consequences, is people who cannot let stuff go, cannot laugh off any situation to de-stress from it, and cannot be lenient with others who make mistakes. People who will always try hard, but will probably make mistakes because they are so desperate to win that they forego commonsense.

Which is exactly what Class 1-A has become like, ironically.

There are some short term benefits from the methodically that might make it look like a good idea, and I should be fair and talk about those:

So, as Aizawa points out, the class is ready for challenges. They learn not to hesitate, though he admits that’s from being attacked by villains, not from his teaching.

What they learn form the logical ruse stuff is never to take any teaching experience at face value, there will always be a twist.

However, I’d argue they are not anymore prepared for the future by this approach.

How exactly does knowing you could be deceived at any time prepare you to meet expectations? If expectations are never what you are told, does that mean that you know how to meet them? How the heck would you know that?

It’s like, being lied to constantly doesn’t give you the ability to discern the truth. In fact, it might just teach you to mistrust it when you actually hear it (as in the Webtoon I wrote about the other month, Exploring the importance of truth with the Purple Hyacinth).

Also, how do lies prepare you for the real world?

Isn’t it imperative to know the facts? To know what is real out there?

The students clearly have trust issues. They ignore their teachers constantly, and while they get scolded, it doesn’t seem to leave a lasting impression, even on Momo, the most scholarly one. Of course, that is because they never really know what’s going on, or what is true.

What if the hardest thing to believe, in real life, is that there is no twist? No fourth act reversal, no anime backstory trigger to defeat the villain or inspire the hero, what if this is just the way it is.

It hits home for me to think about that.

For years living in abuse (which bears many similarities to the teaching style of anime, even the better ones), I was convinced there was a twist. There was something I could do to make it better, to fix it.

Over time I learned what every anime good person learns, not to step out of line or make waves, just be as invisible as possible.

My father gave up on love a long time ago, as he told me, really. But I didn’t know it wasn’t my fault, I thought if I was a different kind of person, it would be okay. If I was like my sisters.

Turns out the very obstinacy I have been born with and unable to get rid of (I don’t know a way to get rid of obstinacy, really, because to break any habit, you have to be obstinate, kind of an exercise in futility) ended up being the salvation of us all from the situation itself. I carried my point. My dad told me I had won. He thought that would bother me, I just said “okay.”

And then he said “F— you” that’s a direct quote.

That hurt a lot, but I felt less bad than you might think, because somehow, I knew this was how it had to be.

In anime, and Japan, I’m guessing as a whole, they rank students. What this means is that there is no tie for first, there is no equality, it is always a hierarchy. I can’t say for sure there are never exceptions to this, but there have been none on any show I’ve seen except MHA, and that was tie for third place in a sports festival where there was apparently no procedure to break the tie (or it wasn’t implemented because of a family situation).

Ranking sets it up so that someone always has to be at the very bottom, and at the very top, and everyone else can be judged by where they fall in between.

In MHA, Momo is always academically first, though Bakugo is first in physical fitness, while Kaminari is always last academically, and the last in physical stuff wavers from season to season, but we aren’t updated on it.

The thing is, UA is a top school, so for Kaminari to get in at all, he must have done well in at least some subjects academically, following the internal logic of the show. Meaning, he’s probably ahead of many students in other schools. He fails exams, but the kid has a crap ton more on his plate than the average high school student, since he has to to do hero training for hours, cutting into his study time.

Though he’s not the smartest, watching him in training, he’s not an idiot. He can handle most situations just fine.

To top this off, he also has a side effect to his quirk that deadens his intelligence, and it’s uncertain if it affects him long term (if so, he shouldn’t be using it).

I’m not writing a defense of Kaminari here, I’m merely pointing out the factors around him, and he’s at the bottom, but on what scale?

A 6 ft tall person is short compared to a giant, after all. An average person is tall compared to a midget.

The facts are, Kaminari may actually be fine, but the hierarchy will always keep him at the bottom as long as he struggles more with the pressures of hero work.

Also, I might point out that intelligence is not measured by academic achievement. Someone can be quite perceptive who isn’t good at school. You can be a bad student and still a brilliant inventor, or strategist (look it up someone time, people didn’t think Einstein was smart.)

So, you put a kid in an environment of constant comparison where not everyone can always win, and what do you get?

By the way, I don’t support “everyone’s a winner” by any means, if someone isn’t talented enough or hard working enough, than fine, they should do something else.

But I do support the idea that everyone can win at something and has a gift, and when it comes to such an arbitrary thing as “heroes” how can you say academic prowess is a reliable measure of it?

What I mean is, if you expelled someone for failing at their grades, from a hero school, how exactly is that fair? What does that have to do with being a hero. Expelling them for cheating, now, would make sense.

Or expelling them for being a pervert and harassing girls… but, get real, consequences for disrespecting women, on an anime? Or men, for that matter? (Yes, men get sexually harassed on anime too, I’ve seen it, it’s played off as a joke even more often than for women.)

I would almost have to conclude that the whole system of schooling itself is actually the Rational Deception. These expectations and failures that have no bearing on the real world aspects of heroism.

I don’t hate anime, obviously, or expect it to be 100% realistic, but my point is, even on MHA, these things are not left out of canon, and it’s admitted not everything about the school is fair… however, so far, nothing seems to be done to change that, and if I were the parents on this show, I’d be concerned about letting my students live on Campus and be under the school’s exclusive control. But I guess, as an American, I am for less government control over education to begin with.

Of course the attitude of anime is always “try harder”.

See, it’s okay to lie to students, if it makes them “try harder”

It’s okay to terrify them, if it makes them “Try harder”

It’s okay to over work them more than any doctor would approve, against repeated warnings by Recovery Girl, if it’s so they will “try harder”.

And the result?

I mean, let’s look at the Pros.

Aizawa sleeps more than he really should, and seems tired and out of it expect when he gets mad or the kids are in dangers. It seems, either he is depressed, or the effects of the rigorous training for years to keep his body fit enough to be a pro has taken its toll and he can’t function without extra rest.

All Might repeatedly overuses his quirk against everyone else’s advice so that he will stay No#1 Hero, until he uses it all up. he might have kept working for another year or two, had he showed restraint, and been able to protect Deku longer.

Endeavor is never satisfied with his success and feels a constant need to compare himself to All Might and push for the top, even while it destroys his family life. We later get hints Endeavor is not wholly without regret that he did this, but he is still far too obsessed with being the best Hero to really realize his mistake was making that his goal from the beginning.

I suppose the idea I am really up against here is the whole Eastern idea that power and strength will justify any means to get them.

Well, I doubt I can dismantle that in one blog post, I’m sure I will revisit it, but, I can touch on it.

Many people in the West, that is, Europe and America and Canada, may not realize how counter-intuitive our ides of strength are. That, to this day, not everyone has what we consider the “civilized” view that power should not be our main goal in life.

I’ve come to understand that power-hunger is not always just about its thrills, often, it’s because people fear for their family and friends and think power is the best way to protect them. Or they want to prove they can be something. It appeals to people who often feel powerless to change naything.

I’m lucky to live in a country where I can have a voice, though it’s becoming more dangerous to, it’s not illegal yet. There’s still many paths to change I can pursue if I wish. I have always been prepared for the idea that that may change for me, soon enough, and I am resolved not to be intimidated when it does, at least not enough not to keep doing things.

But, I have all the benefit of having been taught growing up that I have a Divine Right to pursue what I believe is Good, regardless of what the rest of the world says. America’s philosophy is that if even the Government is standing in you way, you as an individual have the right to oppose it, from God, even if you have no right under the law of the land. AS our Declaration says the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” I will never be ashamed to be part of a country with people like that in it, even if I am ashamed of what our media does to make fools out of us.

And that, I realize now more than ever, is not a common mindset. Quite possibly, one someone from the other end of the world may not have even heard before.

America has the true underdog story, we started out as small, ragtatg farmers, and business men, winning a war agisnt trained soldiers. But it wasn’t for power, it was for our rights. Our idealogy is that Right makes Might. Not the other way around.

Which, is, of course, a Christian idealogy too.

I believe that growing up in the protection of a strong force, while you learn what you believe, prepares you for venturing out where you will meet people who will kill you for believing that, or else reject you.

I don’t buy the idea that you can mistreat and traumatize people into been prepared for the real world. It’s more likely to make them unable to accept any goodness in the world that might steel them against its evils.

For the UA kids, and others like them, it makes sens that their greatest source of strength is each other, the people bearing it with them. When all else fails, mankind tends to find solace in brotherhood. Our last comfort against evil oppressors or injustice is that we are not alone in how we feel, and we don’t have to eat it alone.

Anime is wright to say loneliness is the worst suffering, even after mistreatment and trauma, it’s going through it alone that is the worst. But, it can’t be denied that a culture that encouraged mistreatment makes it far harder to not be isolated. It can be difficult to stay alive to the hope.

I remember for years of living at home with few to no friends, and moving every five years, so that I lost friends after I finally made them, or lost at least my proximity to them, I always wished for more. I started to feel, though, that it would never happen. And people moved away form me to, and didn’t keep in touch. It’s been a realization over time for me that I have to choose to keep hoping, the Bible says “Hope does not disappoint”.

Staying open to change is the biggest part of getting it, I think.

I suppose this has nothing to do with UA, or does it?

I mean, you can take the passive attitude that the characters often do, that all this is not going anywhere and they’d better just deal with it… or there’s there more interesting attitude of the fans who make loving critiques of it that, it really could change, it would just take a handful of people, having the guts to do it.

As long as you are inspired not to be passive, its not going to waste.

I will keep defending the importance of truth, as well as justice, however I can.

Until next time–Natasha.

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One and Only

I have had this idea in my queue for almost  a year, and I never got around to finishing it, figured it was time to remedy that.

Story Time:

I had a conversation recently too that seemed to go along with the topic (of course I’ll simplify it in the recounting.)

We were having “philosophy class” (as I jokingly call it) with mes cousines  (French plural form of “cousin” if you don’t know), and we began plying my 13 year old relative with some questions about moral compasses, and worldview.

I introduced the Kohberg 6 levels of Moral Development to him. You can Google that, I got the idea from Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire” and have found them very useful for examining people’s character, real and fictional.

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  1. I don’t want to get in trouble
  2. I want a reward
  3. I want to please someone
  4. I follow the rules
  5. I am considerate of other people
  6. I have a personal moral code and I stick to it

Well, finding his level to be from 1-3, in his opinion, maybe also 4, we asked him why. Upon more delving into worldview, we pointed out that though level 6 is the goal, according to the author of said book (Rafe Esquith), level 6 is only good if you know your moral code is good. Suppose you were Hitler, or Stalin, people with their own code… and it was of the devil. 

Well, that’s a difficult question for a 13 year old, though, I will say, one I would have definitively been tackling at that age, I’m special. But he considered it and said that “We can’t really know we’re right. Anyone could be right or wrong.”

My sisters and I exchanged looks.

“So, pluralism,” I said. “Or, Post-Modernism, moral relativity. You believe that there is no right or wrong answer.” 

“Yes, ” he said “anyone could be right, and it’s just the majority’s opinion that they are wrong.”

“What about Hitler, don’t most people feel that Hitler was wrong?” We pointed out.

After some discussion, he declare “Hitler could have been right. If that majority went with him at that time.” The rest of his argument basically constituted that society determines our moral compass because we don’t go against it, but since he admits that majority rule is really no guideline, he refuses to pick a single world view that is right.

The news that he, in fact, already has a worldview, Pluralism, seemed to come as a bit of surprise to him. Especially when I asked “Where did you hear that?”

“Nowhere” he said.

I said “But you must have got the idea of pluralism form somewhere, someone must have said it.” 

(Naturally, I was thinking of a previous debate I had with his mother while he was in the room that included the flaws of pluralism among other things, the kid had to remember that, I asked him later what he thought, his answer back then was “I don’t know.”)

Finally, he seemed to leave it at “I don’t know. I just thought of it.” 

I informed him that his view was held by quite a lot of people nowadays, though it didn’t used to be popular. Then I explained at some point that I wouldn’t have his same difficulty with answering our questions about how he knew right from wrong, because I didn’t believe in majority rule, or that people decide that answer. I’m not sure what he thought of all that in the end.

But when I looked at this old post idea, I saw a similarity:

About a year ago now, my history class was covering Ghandi for about a- week.

No denying he was a great man.  I studied him back in my homeschool co-OP days. But even back then I wondered why we were studying this philosophy as well as Christianity, theism, communism, etc. Without a real point, it seemed, except to compare them.

In this history class we do the same thing, with far less direction than before, not really discussing what was right or wrong.

I didn’t know this before, but apparently Ghandi saw it as fine for Hindus and Muslims to share their faith as both being seeking the same God.

So… yeah

I remember years ago now, I mentioned that creepy movie “Life of Pi” in a post (I could not find the post for the life of me…) Anyway, the guy in the movie is Muslim, Christian, and Hindu, and claims he gets different things from each religion.

It’s been said that to be completely open minded is to also be empty headed.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

Image result for G. K. chesterton, 'merely having an open mind

Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

 

I hear more and more this idea, people who don’t wish to condemn religion entirely decide to just say that you can get something good out of all of them. This is the wisdom of the world.

.Image result for open mindedness is the same as empty headed ness quotes

To me, among other objections, this has always been a statement of gross ignorance of what religion is, and what some of them teach. If you;re going down that road, you can call a cult a religion, and justify some of their thinking. This is the wisdom of the world.

If anything, diving deep into other cultures for studying purposes has convinced me that if there is an obvious problem on the surface, if you go deep down it only gets worse. It does affect the whole attitude of the culture and people.

Why are some cultures so passive in the face of oppression, and others so violent about enforcing their beliefs?…Is it not because that is what those beliefs lead to?

Of course, someone could say “Well, Christianity does not always lead to peace, so how are you any different?”

Fair enough, but I’m not saying that violence is wrong, or that passivity is wrong. The Bible allows for both approaches in their proper time, Ecclesiastes 3 says “a time for war, and a time for peace.”Image result for To everythin there is a seaon, a time for war, and a time for peace

It’s a mistake to rule out any one approach completely, history will always provide you with counter examples, even if you don’t care about religion. If I learned anything from my philosophy class, it’s that someone can always find counter evidence, though we may not always decide it’s valid.

But, I find this fad of accepting all religions disgusting for another reason:

It can sound good at first, it would create peace between people if we all stopped arguing about our beliefs right? It’s our own truth, and if we respected that, no one would die over it.

Yes, Religious Exclusivity is the problem, if Muslims and Christians would just stop insisting that one of us had to be right, they’d stop killing us off…

(This is meant to be ironic, I’m not making light of either faith, but the implications that come with saying it could be solved that way)

Look, let me say it like this. I am a Christian, and I would never tell a Muslim to just be more open-minded. I would not blame them in the least for getting offended if I said that, I don’t agree with terrorism, but I agree with their sentiment that you must do whatever God requires of you, in that way, they are far more similar to us than Hinduism is with it’s nonviolent, detached way of looking at worldly things.

Of course, any extremist would be insulted if I compared us at all, but let’s just say we are both willing to die for what we believe, they are just also willing to kill for it, and not in war, where it is an understood thing, but innocent people (I know not all Muslims are extremists, just like not all Christians are radicals, but we get compared to that, so it’s the best example of what I’m talking about).

Like many Americans, I don’t consider War, or Self Defense killing to be murder, or evil, but anything beyond that is not justifiable except as legal punishment.

This is what I mean by whatever God requires of you, it should be unpleasant to have to do these things, but it can be necessary.

If we take issue with the Muslim, or Christian, because we say they are too exclusive, we fail to understand what they really believe.

Some Christians, influenced by the culture, are now trying to be inclusive. They are welcoming the LGBTQ practice into their churches, they justify abortion, they teach things that contradict the Bible, not because they have decided that those things have just been misinterpreted, but because they think the Bible can be ignored, completely, since it’s more important to just believe in Jesus and love other people.

That is an effort to make peace. But at what cost?

Jesus said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

Yet, Jesus brings “peace on Earth, and goodwill to men?”

It can be confusing, but certainly, Jesus brought anything but peace with his ministry, always stirring up trouble with the Pharisees.

 The biggest problem in the Christian Church, at least in the Western part, is the compromise with worldly ideas.

I run into it all the time. Other people my age who just can’t understand why I’d bother arguing over beliefs. Often I find out people even at Youth Group have this idea.

The point is not that I like to argue (though I do) but that even when I’d rather not make more work for myself, I still feel I need to, not because I feel I will lose my faith, but because people need to hear.

And the question I finally want to get to, is why is it so important to have a Single Belief?

Isn’t that old fashioned? Isn’t it more progressive to try to include everyone? Wouldn’t Jesus want us to do that?

Actually, no.

In fact, Jesus might have called it blasphemy to even suggest God had part in more than one religion. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6: 15-16 “And what accord does Christ have with Belial? [a false god mentioned often in the old testament] Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols. For you are the temple of the living God.

Jesus said “No one can serve two masters.”

It could not be much clearer that it’s against biblical doctrine to be inclusive about religion.

Now, the intellectual might ask me “Why? Why does your God have to be the Only God?”

The Bible tells us (and any christian with a living relationship with God would confirm it) that God is a jealous God, a consuming fire, and that we should not serve any other Gods but him.

Or before Him, as it’s put in the older translation.

That’s an important difference. If we serve any other god before God, eventually we will not serve God at all. Why? Because the Nature of God makes it impossible to serve Him the way He requires of us, and serve another god, if you stop serving God, you’ll serve something else. You cannot do both.

Which is why I decry anyone who claims to believe Christianity as well as two or three other religions as a hypocrite who understand nothing about it.

It’s, in fact, pleasing lie to the skeptics. It gives them such a smug feeling of rubbing it in the Christians faces, I see it on YouTube all the time.

“Just let us enjoy this…”

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s religious or not…”

“Let’s all just get along…”

Newsflash: Human beings are not meant to “just get along”

And we never will, till Jesus comes back. Even then there will be rebels (see Revelation and Isaiah)

I am not sure why even we in the church are so obsessed with getting along. Jesus said we never would get along with the world. That it would hate us, as it hated Him.

It does make me mad, too, this compromise. It’s not because I don’t like to have my beliefs challenged, its because it’s fraud.

I care about truth (hence the blog name) too much to want to see it water down and mixed with other stuff like some juice concentrate. Till it’s of  no use to anyone.

And I would not consider myself a Real Believer, if I did not feel this was the only Way, Truth, and Life.

I would be more furious with someone trying to blend two incompatible religions, than one sticking to one I don’t agree with it, but doing it with integrity.

The person who knows what devotion is, can change the object of it and not lose their character, the person who never understood devotion will be useless to anyone as anything, because they cannot really believe any more than they can commit.

The problem with how little the church is confronting this belief, at least in the mainstream, is that it knocks the spine out of new believers and old alike.

They are passive, they accept the world’s way because they are never presented with an alternative.

And me, as someone who has always been fiery and passionate, have been told by my pastors and leaders that students just aren’t ready for that.

It’s a lot of poppycock, no one ever is ready. Can you be ready for God’s power? It is something only He can give to people. Do I feel ready now to do anything He might tell me to do? No, but that has nothing to do with doing it.

We are told to be ready in season and out of season, but the church is often not teaching us that we have A Single Religion, that we must not be afraid to tell people that, that if we accept multiple faiths, we dishonor all of them.

It’s like people think Christianity will somehow override the other beliefs and make the person okay, but nothing in the Bible or in history implies that is true. Everything tells us that once you let in a conflicting world view, it takes over until it’s rooted out.

I think this old song by Green Day gets more of what we’re going for here:

 

At risk of sounding nuts,  I could almost picture this song being from Christ to the church, I mean, the biblical allusions are there:

“She’s a rebel, she’s a saint, she’s the salt of the earth and she’s dangerous.

She’s a rebel, vigilante, missing link on the brink of destruction.

… She’s the symbol of resistance, and she’s holding on my heart like a hand grenade.

Is she dreaming, what I’m thinking? Is she the mother of all bombs, about to detonate?

Is she trouble, like I’m trouble, make it a double twist of fate, or a melody that

She sings, the revolution, the dawning of our lives. She brings this liberation, that I just can’t deny.”

My pastor was preaching on just this subject this week, and I would encourage any Christain reading this to see it as a call to action. I don’t know what all you can do, in your situation and life, but I know that my cousin is not the only kid who desperately needs to be taught about this, the whole world does. 

I think that’s where I’ll leave it.

 Although I literally added a bunch to this old post, it’s still like 500 words shorter than my recent ones, go figure, until next time, stay honest–Natasha.

 

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