The 39 Clues to Family.

So, I’ve been rereading an old favorite series of mine called The 39 Clues. Only the first ten books, it got weird, dark, and gritty after that.

But the first ten books were actually brilliant in their own way, the series went wrong because it deviated from their theme. They were concerned with the actual clues.

Let me summarize if you are not up on the plot (and the books aren’t all that well known so don’t feel bad if you aren’t.) Our main characters are Amy and Dan Cahill, they belong to an old and powerful family of over 500 years of being the most gifted, powerful individuals in the world. Many famous historical figures were supposedly Cahills; but, thankfully, this is not your typical Illuminati type story.

Instead of trying to rule the world, the Cahills contribute to it, with arts, science, strategy, inventions, and impressive physical feats like scaling Mt. Everest. The Cahill family has 5 branches, four of which have a them that relates to some particular gifting. Strategy and Cunning is one; Intelligence in inventing and science is another; Creativity in the arts; and physical prowess.

Amy and Dan start off not knowing about any of this, or what the family’s big secret it is. Or that the 5th branch, is one without a particular gifting, but they do have a focus: Reconciliation. Because, like most families, the Cahills a have a lot of junk and an ongoing feud of five centuries full of blood, backstabbing, and theft, all in a quest for power.

(Spoilers if you read past this point, but the books have been out for so long, I doubt it matters.)

The secret turns out to be a serum that give you all the gifts I listed above, the four branches each got one fourth of it, but the completed serum would make you a better superhuman than Captain America…and also corrupt you.

Amy, in book 10, reflects that she’s glad she and Dan come from the Madrigals, the branch without serum in their DNA, because though it does not make you evil, it does make the temptation to power hunger so much stronger. Messing with genetics is never a good idea and never without its drawbacks.

However, Madrigals, like most different groups, are hated by the rest of the branches, who also hate each other. So, she and Dan don’t broadcast their heritage till it unfortunately comes out by circumstances beyond their control…or fortunately, as it turns out.

Long before then, Amy and Dan learn that their parents were part of the clue hunt, and were killed by the mother of two of their rivals, Ian and Natalie Kabra, Isabel Kabra, the culprit, is a psychopath in fine degree. Who tries then to kill Amy and Dan several times, enlisting the aid of her children, who blindly assume she is not actually going to go throug with it.

Amy at first hates Isabel when she finds out, and almost gets Dan killed by angering the woman; but then she ends up being given the chance to either get ahead in the game, or to save the life of Ian, who by the way, pretended to like her and then dumped her and tried to bury her alive…yeah, nice guy.

Amy has just found out she’s a Madrigal at this point, and that they are supposed to be evil, even that her parents were supposedly responsible for a lot of the deaths of innocent people (they are later cleared, but she did not know this yet,) and yet she drops the item that would give her the huge advantage, and saves Ian.

She later tells Dan what is one of the most important themes in the series: I saved Ian, I can’t be inherently evil. Just because we’re madrigals, doesn’t mean we still can’t be good. (Not a direct quote by the way, just a paraphrase.)

Amy and Dan become full Madrigals and learn their branches true task, but they are not sure they can embrace it and try to unite the branches, because they are not sure they can forgive them. In the end, though, they realize that this is what they want to do.

But how? And that is what begins my look at what these books got right.

As I reread book 1, it struck me how the series is a perfect illustration of a thing that Christians call “Generational Sins.” Or, “Generational Curses.”

The idea comes from a verse in the Bible where it says God is a jealous God, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” (Deuteronomy 5:9.)

Science has, in the last century, proven what was obvious long before then, that families pass down sins.

In L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, it becomes a running joke about certain families, like Sloans, Pyes, Pringles, Drews. Macallisters, and so on. Each family has characteristics, sometimes shown by physical appearance like goggle eyes, other times jut a reputation for pride and nastiness.

It’s not contested much in the books, but it’s the idea. It’s also part of the Classic Southern Mindset about old families. And the English idea of needing to marry into a respectable family. It’s in nearly every culture.

Yet outside of medical issues, it can be completely ignored in American culture. Or if it isn’t, the reason for it escapes people.

The verse above says God punishes the the third and fourth generation’s sins. Which seems unfair, at the time however, there was no way to get rid of sin, and it would be passed down. Adam and Eve tainted the whole human race by sinning, it has become part of our DNA. (Seeing the connection?)

God later promises to no longer punish children for their father’s sins, once they have been redeemed from sin’s power. Then people will stand on their own merit. Even pre-Christ, there were times when the children of a wicked man would turn out good.

The same sins tend to get repeated. Alcoholism can be genetic, so can other addictions, or tenancies. We’ve all heard “You have our father’s temper” or something like that said to us or our friends.

I have an odd mix of my dad and mom’s tempers, so I get it both ways.

It doesn’t take Amy and Dan Cahill long to notice that each branch of their family is subject to certain kinds of cruelty. Whether it’s by manipulation, inventing things that destroy, abusing creative power, or being violent, yet cruelty and callous disregard for life are the common thread. Even though some Cahills are good and kind, there are far too many like that. And they see the same flaws in their family members on the quest.

Pride is a big part of it also. Big shock there.

Amy and Dan don’t have a lot of knowledge or wisdom about what to do, but they end up dong some things right by accident.

Time and again in the clue hunt they spare people’s lives, or help them when they do not have to, or refuse to play dirty;  ultimately Amy even chooses saving someone over getting the serum.

At first the other competitors look down on them for this…but overtime as Amy and Dan continues to pull ahead, and also to prove themselves compassionate, the other members of the family begin to wonder. Why are they trying to kill each other? (Good question right?)

They start to see the real difference between them and Amy and Dan. A difference of heart.

In the end the difference becomes crystal clear, and they all decide to follow Amy and Dan’s lead in trying to forgive and reconcile.

Generational sins suck,majorly. All of us have our own flaws, bu it can be discouraging to realize we have family flaws too. Ones we’re taught, that come out when we least expect, and that seem ingrained in us. Even in our DNA.

Like Ian and Natalie Kabra in book 10, we may have a shocking realization of how messed up our family actually is.

Like Hamilton, we may start to feel guilty for all we did with our family, blindly believing they were right.

Like Jonah Wizard, we may be horrified at the cruelties we’re capable of, and want to shake our family line.

Or, we may be the peacemaker, wondering why our relatives just can’t let go of their hate and envy.

Whatever position you find yourself in, these books provide at least part of the answer. IT is only by practicing compassion, and making a choice to extend mercy, that we can begin to heal.

When a person who has been severely wronged still decides to be merciful, it is one of the most powerful things int he world. Pride breaks, fear dissolves, curses end, and depression lifts.

Mercy is not pretending someone never did wrong, it is giving them the chance to be better by setting them free of your wrath for it.

That is all I’ve got for now, I recommend checking the series out, until next time–Natasha.

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At home in the universe.

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to go to an observatory. I am a big fan of the universe and stars and planets. A friend of mine and I were discussing recently how awesome it would be, after we get to heaven, to just go hopping around the universe.

And it would be, because even the pictures I see of clouds of stars and galaxies are breathtaking. Imagine seeing it in person. It’s no wonder some astronomers are dying to discover the secret of space travel.

You can Google images too if you want to know what I’m talking about. Rainbow clouds, huge whorls of pink galaxies or solar systems. More stars than you can fit into your mind. And it goes on forever. Literally, it’s all still expanding.

Which is proof of a higher power if you ask me. Where did the space to expand into come from? The big bang couldn’t have created it, even if you buy that crud, which I don’t. But the Big Bang doesn’t solve the problem of where everything cam from, it just presets a very long drawn our method of it expanding.

I am getting to the point where I find the Theory of Evolution too ridiculous to take seriously. If you look at what the universe looks like, you’ll see it’s astoundingly beautiful, and it truly is other worldly.

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King David wrote about seeing all the worlds God had made  (You might be more familiar with that in the song “How Great Thou Art.”) I don’t think David meant there was literally other earths out there, like in science fiction, I think he was probably referring to the planets.

I don’t believe in aliens. But I don’t rule out the possibility of other worlds, Not ones that could support human life. I think we’re here on earth for a reason. I don’t expect we’ll ever find anything resembling a life like a life on earth in the universe.

I think that out there, the’re life of another sort. If you look at the pictures of the Galaxy, you’ll feel like it is alive. But not alive like we’re alive. It’s not a sentient breathing being, but it’s not dead. It’s vibrant, it’s magnificent, and there’s so much of it.

Why would God put beauty all over the universe when it is doubtful we’ll ever be able to find it all?

Well, because God is much greater than we can know, in this life anyway. And He does not limit Himself just because we are limited.

Which brings me to something a little less pleasant. The folly of man.

While I was at this observatory I saw a sign (one of those informative ones like you see at museums) that was talking about what we’re discovering about the universe. At the bottom it had the amusing thought to present that because we’re learning abut this “We are finding our place in the universe and feeling at home in it.” That’s almost exactly what it said, but I wish I’d had a notebook to jot it down, my phone doesn’t take accurate enough pictures for it.

Yes, ladies and gents, because we can take pictures of stuff billions of light years away and form theories about things we’ll never touch, we are finally able to feel at home in the universe.

The plaque also said that the reason for this was because we could understand it. BS I say!

We have our theories, we can’t even agree on those. But if we think we are anywhere near understanding the universe we are beyond delusional. We don’t understand DNA, something all around us, on us, in us, and something we’ve studied up close for decades. Yet we think we could understand something we’ve seen only at a great distance.

We can’t predict our own weather with great accuracy, yet we think we know weather on other planets. Do you see the humor in this? And the arrogance.

At home in the universe? Give me a break. Do you feel at home on your block?

When I consider the heavens, like David, I am in awe. And there was a quote about that too. From Griffith J. Griffith talking about the Mount Wilson Observatory.  “Man’s sense of values ought to be revised. If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world.”

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I know that I don’t exactly feel at home in the universe. There is something entirely beyond my understanding even just looking at the photos. Let alone if I tried to study it. See if it doesn’t make you feel the same way. Small.

But I do feel like I differ from a lot of people in one way. The universe does not make me feel unimportant. Unimpressed with man’s attempts to snatch glory apart from God, yes.

But not unimportant. I do feel small and extremely limited when I think of all the places I can’t reach, but it only makes me realize that one day I will be free of this body “of death” as Paul called it.

I don’t hate my body, but it’s a humbling thing to have a mortal body. It does things that don’t really make you feel all that proud, and it limits you. What Outer space reminds us off is that our body is a very temporary thing.

If you don’t feel at home on earth, I don’t think space frightens you so much as it makes you want to expand. If people are too busy int heir lives to ever look up even at the heavens we can see from here, I wonder if they are just a little too comfortable on this fallen planet.

Nathaniel Bowditch looked up at the stars, his mother said they made your problems shrink if you looked at them long enough.

I think the scariest thing for some of us, and also the most alluring, is that the galaxies are not full of man made objects. They are wild, in a way. Divine in their design.

I hear a man quoting one of those ole shows “Space, the last frontier.”

The frontier we can’t reach yet.

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Without God–2

For part 2 I’m going to quote actual parts from Steven Weinberg’s “Without God” Article.

“It is not my purpose here to argue that the decline of religious belief is a good thing (although I think it is), or to try to change anyone’s mind…I want just to offer a few opinions, on the basis of no expertise whatever, for those who have already lost their religious beliefs, or who may be losing them, or fear that they will lose their beliefs, about how it is possible to live without God.” (Emphasis mine.)

When I was an undergraduate I knew a rabbi, Will Herberg, who worried about my lack of religious faith. he warned me that we must worship God, because other wise we would start worshiping each other. He was right about the danger, but I would suggest a different cure: we should get out of the habit of worshiping anything.”

I have to ask if anyone has the cure for worship. Weinberg is right that we are in the habit, but how he proposes to get out of it the essay did not explain. He goes on from here to say that it’s not easy to live without God. That science is rather chilling when it’s a worldview; and that whatever theory “unifies all observed particles and forces, we will never know why it is that that theory describes the real world and not some other thing.” 

What baffles me is that he thinks man can cease to worship. If man can possibly stop paying homage to things or people in some way, if he can stop devoting his time and energy to things whether they are addictions or matters of principle, and if he can cease to hold some things of more importance than any other things (even if that is himself) then maybe he can cease to worship.

But it seems to me that man would have to be reduced to less than a beast before that could ever come about. Perhaps a mad dog worships and submits to nothing, but a mad dog is as good as a dead dog, just with the added danger of infecting others.

For everything else, even birds and beasts recognize the superiority of other creatures, and submit to it. Which is worship in a sense. And I would argue that the kind of servitude dogs and horses and such display is even more like adoration, which is also a kind of worship.

But worship is even more so when it is done with an intellectual consciousness, which only mankind has, and it’s what makes us man. Our minds have to look to something to help soothe and stimulate them, and whatever we look to, we worship.

Tell me how we can stop that and you’ll tell me how to become a god.

Which I suppose is the idea.

I’ll say it’s not easy, it’s downright impossible.

Weinberg goes on:

“We even learn [from science] that the emotions we most treasure, our love for our wives and husbands and children, are made possible by chemical processes in our brains that are what they are as a result of natural selection acting on chance mutations over millions of years. And yet me must not sink into nihilism or stifle our emotions. At our best we live on a knife-edge, between wishful thinking on one hand and, on the other, despair.”

That’s an edge all right. Why not sink into nihilism? What moral grounds are there for not doing this? What rational grounds are there? If chemical reactions create our emotions then our emotions have as much value as a pastry or a lab experiment. Something not meant to last the week often as not. And many people live this way with their emotions, but Weinberg proposes another route:

“What, then, can we do? One thing that helps is humor…just as we laughed with sympathy but not scorn when we see a one-yer-old struggling to stay erect when she takes her first steps, we can feel a sympathetic merriment at ourselves, trying to live balanced on a knife-edge…Then there are the ordinary pleasures of life…Visiting New England in early June, when the rhododendrons and azaleas are blazing away, reminds one how beautiful spring can be. And let’s not dismiss the pleasures of the flesh. We who are not zealots can rejoice that when bread and wine are no longer sacraments, they will still be bread and wine.”

At this point I cease to feel like mocking this man, and I start to pity him. Because I don’t see how any of these things are any real comfort. Spring is lovely; bread and wine are good; the pleasures of the flesh are what are generally turned to when spiritual things have been discounted.

How do any of these things possibly substitute for the inner strength and assurance that only faith has ever and will ever be able to provide for man. Faith not always in God, I’ll grant you, but faith in man itself and in fate and in something bigger than what we can experience on our solitary level. That worship thing coming into play.

Like it or not, that has produced all the best things in human history.

Weinberg seems to be reflecting on this as he goes on to talk about the pleasures of fine art, which he laments will suffer from a decline in religion since so much fine art has been inspired by religion. Though he thinks very great poetry can be written without religion. Using Shakespeare as an example. (I found this hilarious because Shakespeare’s plays, which contain poetry, all have numerous religious themes and references. But his sonnets have less, admittedly.)

“I do not think we have to worry that giving up religion will lead to a moral decline. There are plenty of people without religious faith who live exemplary moral lives (as, for example, me), and though religion has sometimes inspired admirable ethical standards, it has often fostered the most hideous crimes.”

I’ll leave that can of worms for another time, but I don’t think that proves or disproves anything about his point. Evolution and science have done just the same.

The more we reflect on the pleasures of life, the more we miss the greatest consolation that used to be provided by religious belief: the promise that our lives will continue after death, and that in the afterlife we will meet the people we have loved. As religious belief weakens, more and more of us know that after death there is nothing. This is the thing that makes cowards of us all.” 

That’s true enough, if the fear of oblivion can be called cowardly, it seems very natural to me; and He’s right, the pleasure of life have never provided consolation for death. I don’t think Christianity or Judaism or Islam provide much consolation on that account if you want to have the good afterlife without the God, as many people do. But they do have another option. It is necessary to have a hope like that, or else you are indeed on the edge of despair. And nothing in this life will ever change that.

But there is no way to know that there is nothing after death except to die, and that will be too late to change your mind.

The idea that a decline in religion would not lead to a moral decline shows an astounding lack of foresight. This essay is based on an oration given in 2008, so it’s safe to say it was written in the last decade. And moral decline has been in progress since the sixties, right along with a decline in religious belief.

Maybe this virtuous scientist can find a reason to be moral after destroying all sense of purpose that a higher power might give you, but not many of the rest of us can.

Weinberg’s conclusion is this:

“Living without God isn’t easy. But its very difficulty offers one other consolation–that there is a certain honor, or perhaps just a grim satisfaction, in facing up to our condition without despair and without wishful thinking–with good humor, but without God.”

Even though I see a kind of nobility in his resolve, if it is sincere, I think it’s silly.

There is no need to rule out God unless you want to do so, and the resulting depression is your own fault. I see no profound solution to the God problem in simply trying to get by without Him and laughing grimly at just how ridiculous that position is.

I suppose my position is biased, but so is his. The question is, which is true? Which makes more sense in real life?

You’ll have to answer that yourselves, until next time–Natasha.

Without God.

I’ve got a douzy for you today, folks.

I’ve been reading some essays for English class, and since I take an interest in other people’s opinions, I’ve read some not assigned to me. That was how I came upon this essay or article by Steven Weinberg cheerfully titled “Without God.”

Weinberg undertakes in the first half of this piece to explain how religion and science have been at odds, and in what I thought a very condescending tone, he admits tat many attempts have been made to reconcile the two. But he does not apparently think those attempts of much value.

Though he admits that science has as yet not found the answer to everything (such as the origin of life) he does not seem to think that is any reason to continue with religion. Science will obviously find the answer eventually, and religion has been “proven” wrong so many times that it is inevitable it will be proven so again.

But all this was no more than I would expect from an atheist scientist writing about this topic. But it was in part 2 of this piece that I thought it crossed over into the ridiculous category.

First let me address a little of part one. You should read the essay yourself for his full opinion since my paraphrase is imperfect, but it was too long to put the whole thing here.

But as I understand it, the idea of religion being trumped by science was the main point.

He may find the idea that religion and science can be reconciled to be laughable, but I don’t see in what way it is. Even from an objective perspective. If a religion is true, then one would expect scientific discoveries to back it up. Because science is the pursuit of truth, is it not?

IF religion is pure belief in abstract ideas, then science is under no obligation to prove it, though it still may prove certain things about it. (Such as that happiness, an abstract; promotes health, an observable fact.) Religion, at least Christianity and others like it, is not about only abstract ideas. It offers explanations or how the world was made and how thing in it work and why things happen. If there is a religion that does not do this, it does not come to my mind. Except perhaps Post-Modernism.

That being said, science and religion are bound to overlap at some point. hey cannot be separated because in order to pursue truth you must have some sort of foundational belief about what truth is. Even thinking science is truth requires belief.

So the condescension about Poor Christians trying to make the case for a scientifically accurate Christianity is rather hypocritical.

But leaving that aside, I think plenty of science supports Creationism. I suggest researching Quantum Physics and Earth Science for more about that.

I also don’t like the way this man lumped all religion into the same category. Myths trying to explain why the sky is where it is, and where the sun comes from and what not. Putting all religions on the same level. When they aren’t. Religions vary in how much time they spend trying to explain any of this in great detail. Those that base their whole mythos around natural phenomenon (or most of it I should say, they all have a creation story also) are unique.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and I think Buddhism are primarily about addressing inward things, and morality, not explaining trees and waterfalls.

I don’t mean that myths of that sort are less intellectual or interesting or even believable really. I happen to like them. Bu My point is, those religions are built more around nature, while religions like the above four put nature as a secondary thing to the spiritual realities.

I think that difference is important if you are going to knock a religious approach to science. Because, at least in Christianity, a big part of the doctrine is acknowledging how little man knows about the ways of God, or the ways the world works for that matter. And how easily men error. And since science itself is mostly a series of trial and error, nothing in it can be completely infallible. Science is always changing, so it is not hard truth but only part of the truth.

Even if Science did support Evolution, for instance, the idea of evolution is constantly evolving (pardon the pun) so your belief in it has to change every decade or so, probably more often then that. The deeper we get into molecular science and Quantum Physics, the more we realize we know nothing.

And if we know nothing, then science has yet to become a complete source of truth.

Which Weinberg admits, to his credit, but what he seems to miss is that if science is fallible and incomplete, religion is all that is left to run to to understand life. If human effort fails, divine revelation is all that we have left. That or nothing.

And Weinberg sets out in part 2 of his article to show us how “nothing” really isn’t so bad.

But that will take another post to cover, until next time–Natasha.

The Christian Movie Atheist.

So, at risk of talking about something no one else is going to know about, let me bring up God’s Not Dead.

It made a big splash in the Christian movie industry. The movie is about a college student, among other characters, who refuses to write the words God Is Dead, for a college exercise.

I’m not reviewing the movie here. I just want to talk about how it portrayed atheists.

I’ve seen both Christians and atheists review the film and complain that the atheist was unrealistic. That there aren’t that many people out there who are out to get Christians. They don’t have an agenda against people of faith.

Is that true?

Well, these same sources have heard people say that it really happens, but they refuse to believe it.

Here’s my position on using such atheist stereotypes, if such a thing exists, in movies; It might work for one film, maybe even for God’s Not Dead. But it does not work for every christian film and it does give some films a false sense of importance. Christianity should be more important from a personal standpoint then from the persecution standpoint. Christians get persecuted; so do Jews; so do Muslims I imagine; that’s not what makes a faith important, relevant, or true.

But, nor would I say those stereotypes are never true. There is a reason they exist. Christians have their faults, but they rarely make things like that up. It’s based on things that have happened, and do happen still.

I personally knew a girl who went to a non-christian highschool, and her teacher of biology told the students up front not to talk about any religious opinion that differed from his own, that being evolution.

That’s what he said, and I doubt this girl would have exaggerated that, she didn’t seem the type to me.

For further evidence, I have heard other people tell stories of how their teachers would mock them and try to discredit their faith. It’s never happen to me, naturally because I’ve never had a nonchristian teacher.

 

Very few atheists I know would get offended if you mentioned your faith to them just in passing. But when it comes to making a point, atheists and christians are equally likely to get riled up.

And Atheists are capable of having an agenda against people of faith. (It was called the 3rd Reich.) There’s a new book out called Faith vs Fact which is described as using the “clear-eyed, rational methodology of a world class scientist [to dismantle] every claim to explaining the physical world that religion proposes” and my favorite part “irrefutably demonstrates the grave harm that mistaking faith for fact can inflict on individuals and on our planet.” (Bargain Books catalog.)

Assuming this accurately depicts how the author of this book feels, it really is almost as cartoony as a movie version of it would be.

I don’t mean to come down on this author. I don’t doubt they probably have some real reasons to be concerned. Faith is a powerful thing, and when it is misdirected, or founded on shaky premises, it is dangerous. Maybe even to the planet.

Bu-u-ut, that doesn’t mean the way they put this wasn’t insulting to any religious person’s intelligence. It also doesn’t mean that religion based explanations for how the world works are all unfounded. Plenty of them have a good scientific basis.

The flood of Noah for example. There’s hundreds of evidences for it in the earth. And if the Flood happened, it gives the Bible a bit more credence.

The bible also lines up with science on issues like the earth being round, light being a moving thing, and life being in blood. All stuff we know now, but at one time people didn’t understand.

So it might be fair to wonder if the Bible, or any other religious texts, could be right again. Maybe whoever wrote it knew what they were talking about.

Why are religious texts immediately discredited as reliable sources of information? I don’t assume that just because someone is an atheist they have no grasp of accurate science, if their bias doesn’t prevent them from being right, why should a religious bias?

In fact if it comes to that, bias really has nothing to do with whether your’re right or wrong, fact will stand for itself. Bias only effects what facts you’ll admit.

I don’t know what religion the person who wrote the above book is concerned about.But probably Christianity. It’s rarely any other religion. (Do you see a lot of books trying to discredit Buddhism?)

If so, then I wonder why they think having a faith based view of the physical world is somehow dangerous to it?

I wonder what people are so afraid of that they won’t let creationism be talked of in classrooms?

Basically I find both the view that Anti-Theists don’t exist, and the view that all atheists are anti-theists to be extreme. One is naive, the other is paranoid.

Many many people hate the bible, many hate God and hate Christians.

Many are indifferent.

But a Christian can never be sure they are safe from that sort of hatred. And we shouldn’t be. It’s always been so.

But I don’t want to seem like I’m making atheists the bad guys here. I will admit Christian can be bullies, they can use their religion like a weapon, and they can be just as adamant about going after people who don’t believe as they do.

It’s a sad fact of human nature that we cannot believe anything strongly without being tempted to hate those who dsiagree.

But, I don’t go so far as to say we should all be less passionate. Passion is a good thing. And I also don’t think  Christians should never speak up for their faith. Sometimes, as Wonder Woman would say, it’s not about what other people do or say (deserve) but about what you yourself believe. A person has to stand up for their convictions or they will never know if they are real.

I won’t be glib and say we all just need to try to understand each other better. WE actually can’t. We’re too different.

But we do need to treat each other like human beings. I think both sides should keep that in mind when we’re debunking the opposition. That’s all I’m saying,

until next time–Natasha.

Absolutely.

We all have heard of absolutes, but I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lack of general understanding about what exactly an absolute is and how we can tell it is there or isn’t. So I thought I would attempt to define it.

I can give you an easy example of a material absolute: Suppose I was sitting next to a table lamp. I can touch the lamp, I can see the lamp, I could even smell it if I wished. The lamp is a material absolute. No human being could change the fact that the lamp is real.

Now suppose someone were to say that they don’t believe the lamp is really there. They might disbelieve their eyes, or perhaps there is something wrong with their sense of touch. Even if they cannot feel the lamp, or see it, does that mean the lamp isn’t real?

Well you could say I am hallucinating the lamp, then I run into the same problem in reverse. Just because I can see it or feel it, does that mean it’s real?

The fact is, either the lamp is there or it isn’t. Those are two absolute realities. Only one person can be right and one wrong.

If the lamp is there, then it doesn’t matter whether the other person can sense it or not, it’s still there.

Does that make sense? But I can take it a step further.

Assuming the lamp is there, the other person might say that as long as they don’t believe it’s there it can’t affect them. I could turn it on or off and they could see or not see, but they might say it doesn’t matter.

I could even hit them with the lamp and they couldn’t feel it.

But if I were to injure them, that would prove the lamp is real.

(You might say that an injury isn’t real if you can’t feel it, but what about a bug bite? Or a head injury that knocks you out. You might not feel either, but one at least is certainly life threatening. Actually the worse the injury, in some cases, the less you can feel it because of damaged nerves.)

If nothing happens to them, then I was in error.

So the question is not if there is an absolute, but which absolute it is.

But what about believing in a lie? Doesn’t that harm you?

Yes, but that’s proof of my point. Truth (reality) will harm you or help you whether you believe it or not. A lie will not harm you until you let it.

It’s the difference between hallucinating a truck barreling toward you on the highway and actually standing on the highway in front of a moving truck. The first one will hurt you only if you believe it and do something stupid; the second will hurt you whether you believe it or not. Unless you move.

Truth is like a truck. Dangerous when it’s coming against you; but life saving if you’re inside it. (Trucks save lives don’t they?)

Lies on the other hand are you hurting yourself. They are nothing in of themselves, except a trick.

An absolute then is a thing not subject to change no matter the circumstance.

You’ve probably heard that matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form into another. Matter (like the lamp) is an absolute for us.

And I dare say there are absolutes far more sure then material ones.

You know a tree by its fruit.

Now, and you probably saw this coming, suppose the lamp was God?

Many people cannot feel God, many more cannot see Him; but some claim to have felt Him and some claim not to.

We’ve seen that seeing and feeling themselves are not proof of the absolute of anything.

Even though God is not a material absolute, the same rules will apply. Either He is there or he is not. One person is perceiving the truth, the other is blind.

I think the evidence of God is much the same, without the lamp on, one cannot see; without God, there is no meaning in life.

If God were to strike someone they might not recognize it as Him but there would still be a blow. A mark.

The question is not if the absolute is there, but which it is, and if you will believe it.

Notice that at the moment there is just as much probability for atheism as theism.

This whole exercise might seem totally obvious; but nowadays it isn’t. Many people believe there are no absolutes, so theoretically the person who sees and the one who doesn’t are equally perceptive.

But it doesn’t work: Real things leave an impression. It could be a bruise or it could be an effect on your life, but it will be there; whether you see it or not. The proof is in the damage or improvement in your condition.

This works with emotional things too. We see it in the effects addictions have on people, addictions of all kinds, activity and substance related. The people themselves may fail to see the difference but their family and friends don’t.

It is no good trying to pretend that blindness isn’t real. All kinds of blindness.

Oddly enough I don’t hear it talked of a whole lot anymore. Being blind to the truth.

Okay that about wraps this up, but if anything in this post was unclear, please comment and let me know, I am open to suggestions. It’s a tricky subject to tackle.

Until next time–Natasha.