THINK FOR THEMSELVES

I keep seeing these posts of George Cartlin ranting about this and that and it seems to me a LOT of people are take up his mantel like a dynamic meme of “the general population is stupid”, “the elite control everything”, and the single greatest problem of all mankind is people don’t “THINK FOR THEMSELVES” …..

But it’s so grossly untrue I can’t believe so many people fly this flag. People are fantastic at “THINKING FOR THEMSELVES” … they always have been…. They always will be.

Consider this …. when you join the military what is the FIRST thing they have to grind, drain and beat out of you. …. “THINKING FOR YOURSELF” …. It’s such a super common issue that they have to take a LOT of time and effort in every recruit to burn it out of them. They ALL “Think for themselves” …. Thats the problem. The geniuses think for themselves and so do the nearly retarded …. and CERTAINLY the “all in between” ……

But check it out …. the great failure of this “THINK FOR YOURSELF” montra is that people think the problem is in the “THINKING” …. like the whole populous is just so lazy that they won’t or can’t “THINK” …. but that’s the failure of this whole idea. The problem isn’t with thinking at all. In fact “THINKING” is the easiest part and the part they ALL do very quickly when deciding to act or ignore.

What Cartlin would never touch because is comes into territory he was horribly uncomfortable with is the problem ……. the real problem with those three word …. ” THINK FOR THEMSELVES” is …. the last two words …… “FOR THEMSELVES” ….

I don’t even know who you are

Every now and then I would hear about some girl who found out her significant other had stepped out on their relationship with another woman and they would shake their head and say, “I don’t even know who you are.” ( off the top of my head Robin Thick’s woman was the last I remember saying this) This statement always baffled me because it was so apparent who that person was to everyone else. I remember thinking, “he’s just a regular guy who wanted to fool around with some new girl because it’s exciting and different …. he seems REALLY normal to me. Most guys don’t and it certainly is far from admirable but as a guy we understand the feeling or temptation” So why were these girls saying “I don’t know who you are?” … when the question from the outside perspective doesn’t seem to be relevant to the common occurrence that just happened. If anything I thought …. “you know who they are…. they are just that person ….. but also cheated on you….. so what are you asking?”

It wasn’t until it happened to me that I really understood this question. And you can only understand the question from the inside perspective. I remember thinking … “why is this baffling to me. I’m a guy. I know the temptation and how casual the occurrence (emotional speaking) can be. So why do I feel like this? … confused and unsure of MYSELF…. this has little to nothing to do with me …. right?”

After thinking about it I think I know what it is. You know all the people around you to a degree but the ONE person you feel like you REALLY know is your significant other. Out of everyone you know you know them the best. So when you find out something like that and you were not suspecting it, especially if it has been going on for some time it makes you question everything you think you know. You know them the best yet this obviously very significant part of their life you had no idea about and worse they might not have shown any signs of this very significant part of their life to you. So if you don’t know them then who do you know? And if it suddenly becomes apparent that others knew this about them then you start feeling terribly naive at best and insane at worst.

What it’s like is …. being in a room with other people …. and then suddenly someone appears in front of you for a moment and then disappears again. You are sitting there stunned that a person has just appeared and then you find out they have been there all along. And worse the people around you are aware of them being there so they are not surprised at all. So of course at that point you don’t know which way is up and which way is down.

So suddenly your significant other takes on a sinister form to you even if they are not. Sinister now just because of the fact that you can’t tell what’s going on with them and no matter what they say … or how much they say “trust me, trust me” you can’t. In fact you trust your enemies now more because at least you have always categorized them as hostel and possibly deceptive.

The ground you trust, because if there is one thing you can trust. It’s the ground that is always there, …. it’s always down, solid and predictable but after a earth quake or … after you foot sinks into the concrete as if it’s water then ….”you don’t know who they are” …… “and out of everybody you knew them the best.”

Because I like it

Have you ever wondered why non theists appear so often to be far better prepared to answer why they don’t believe than many Christians are prepared to answer why they do believe?

I have a theory on this…and NO…non-theists, it’s not because the non theists are so much smarter or logical. ( wink with a smile )  I believe it’s because of instinct. Oddly enough the theistic instinct. When a believer goes to church there is no part of their mind that says “shouldn’t you NOT be going here?” There is no part of their mind saying, “Okay… next week I’m going to quit this habit of church.” There is no part of their mind that says, “When I have kids I’m going to stop going to church.” Their mind does not bother them about going to church or believing in God. Their mind doesn’t say, “why this?” because people who are well feed do not complain as hungry people. Nor, if they are satisfied, look for another kind of water.

But in contrast, I believe the unbeliever does. They are so good at firing these questions because they have already fought MANY jujitsu matches of this kind with their own mind. “Why should I?”, “How do I know that is the best?” “those people are not that good!”, “Even if I go that way, how will I know it was all worth it?”  These battles have been going on inside their head for years. By the time they meet most Christians they are black belts in this type of banter. And often when they leave the presence of a Christian not ready for a match of “whys” they leave convinced they are of their disposition because they have carefully considered the matter and the other person simply has not.

But the truth is they are better at this kind of a match because they have been sparring with their own minds for years. Their own minds and consciences spur these internal fights. I contrast their opponents have simply not for the lack of need or internal conflict that makes one good at these arguments.

Interestingly the same questions don’t bother other areas of life. For instance, If I liked soccer and someone asked “why do you play soccer?” or asked, “don’t you think base ball is better?” or remarked “The people that I know that play soccer are very bad at it.” These comments are all put to silence by the simple statement, “I like it.”

It’s so simple yet stops a thousand questions… even “why do you like it?” because you can just retort, “I just do!”

So form now on  if some one asks me why I’m Christian I will simply respond, “Because I like it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Nice Girl.

She was a real nice girl. REAL nice. She never hurt anyone. She was sweet and always helped out. But she died of a heart attack. A heart attack! That slow killer that builds it’s trap ever so slowly. Little by little…sugar and fat. Little bite here little bite there. She wasn’t a bad person. She ate what everyone else was eating. It’s the culture.

So much of the shoots and ladders lie more in culture than in individual decisions. So the battles in the culture. And in this culture people just don’t care like they used to. When you had to dig to stay alive, When you didn’t have sweet fat everywhere you turned. Culture permits it, encourages it. Your not worried and no one is worried about you…especially if you look healthy compared to others.

Dietitians are annoying. Do this…don’t do that. Especially when their results are hopeful speculation. They can’t really grantee anything. Who knows if they wind up better off than anyone else. And half of them are binging when no ones looking…right.

Everyone thinks medical science has got them covered. Everyone thinks they can reverse at any time. Everyone one thinks it’s the doctors job to save them when they get sick. But where’s the doctor when your heart stops beating?

She was a real nice girl.

To whom shall we go?

The western mind is very analytical and in this day and age it wants proof. They want proof in not just religion but EVERYTHING. We think like this…”I will start from the position of unbelief and it’s your job to convince me. So…convince me. I’m not picking on you…I demand this of everything. I want evidence so compelling that I feel forced to concede or regard myself as a fool for not conceding.  I ask this of everything so why would I treat religion any different. “

“How do you know the events happened the way they were written?”

“How do you know that person was who they claimed to be?”

“How do you know this person did what they said he did?”

“How do you know they were not just working themselves up?”

“How do you know your experience of “God” was not just you working yourself up?”

“Why should I follow your book and not the others?”

I’m asking these questions in just the same manner as I would ask of anything. It’s not unreasonable for me to ask these questions. It’s unreasonable of you to expect me to follow your “way” on “faith” because what you have just said to me is…”follow us for no solid reason or conclusive merit.” And by your reason which is “faith” I could just as easily choose any of the other religions that are in the “boat of unverified claims” such as ALL of the religions are….

Well…to answer your questions to all of these…you don’t know. There is not enough evidence in any of these things to “force” you to concede.  We can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus was the son of God.  We can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt Mosses parted the red sea. We can’t even prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth flooded at some point.

“So why on Earth should I follow you?” …you ask? “Why on Earth should I take any of this crazy food out of nothing, raising the dead, walking of water stuff seriously?  It is utterly ridiculous for you to expect a grow man to submit to stories his intellect finds grossly improbable and likely fabricated.”

BUT… theism does not originate with your intellectual conclusions or experience (except in very rare occurrences).   Think about it…very little that you do originates it’s compelling motivations from  “intellect.” Most of what you do originates from instinctual hunger. Your desire for food, love, sex, safety, respect all come as per-programmed desires that your intellect then aids you in obtaining. And it is by this that you can conclude a personal God an absolute truth because no instinctual hunger exists without a reciprocal end.

One person mentioned that a child is not born with knowledge of God but is taught God. But I would point out that that same child was not born knowing what food was,…it had to be taught what it was and how to get it. But…you never had to teach a child to be hungry and its very hunger emphatically testifies to the child that food must in fact exist.

It is accepted even among atheists that a human child left to it-self will come up with the idea of God on its own without being taught it. In other words what is causing theism and then religion is innate in mankind. Not only is it innate but it’s strong enough to cancel out the other powerful instincts such as food,  sex, and even self-preservation. THAT…is a strong instinct.  Had it not been an instinctual desire then the general majority would have cared less about the subject, just like they could care less about every other scientific theory out there. We just don’t really care unless that science helps us get the things our natural desires want. We could care less about your string theory unless it somehow gets me more food, sex, safety, respect or power.

Okay…so what…what does all this have to do with the fact that you can’t prove 99% of what you want me to believe?

And that is just it… want…The very start of theism and religion. But it’s not about what I want,… it’s about what you want. And you want it naturally. The bible didn’t make you want it. The bible didn’t cause your hunger…it’s just the food. You priest today didn’t cause it and the priest a thousand years ago didn’t cause it. You naturally desire a connection with the divine. Mankind has obviously felt this since the day they were man. And if you don’t have this desire then you’re not interested anyway. It wouldn’t matter if God stood in front of you. If you don’t have the desire for a personal connect ion with the divine then it wouldn’t matter what proofs were given. You don’t care…really.

That’s why we tell you to believe us and follow Christ. Because we don’t necessarily have to prove it any more than I got to prove this bowel of fruit is good for you. I don’t have to prove it because you’re going to get hungry and you naturally know what food is. You can smell it and good food tastes good. A baby doesn’t need to be taught that milk is good for it and it doesn’t need proof that it will cause it to grow. It tastes it and it knows it wants THAT.

If you don’t believe us and you don’t take that leap of faith that your natural hunger dives you to jump then I guess you get to stay hungry. You get to mop around like rock stars do surrounded by material goods and pleasure and still crying about how sad life is because you have simply rejected the food handed to you.

Jesus would often say crazy things that were just too hard for a grown man to swallow and it caused most of his followers to leave but Peter said it best when given the option to leave. He replied, “Lord to whom shall we go?”

The same question is before you and everyone else. If you don’t take the leap of faith and just “decide” to reach for the divine through Christ then where are you going to go?…Buddha, Mohamed, Zoroaster?  Are you just going to wonder around by yourself getting a nibble here and a nibble there? No one with a true hunger will accept this. They pick. And every one of them is a leap. And if you don’t feel compelled naturally then you probably were never going to anyway. This natural hunger is the origin of all theism.

American Icon

When the Orthodox Church is brought up among American Protestants the most common first reaction is, “Orthodox…what is that?” The second most common is “They are like Catholics but don’t have a Pope and their priests can get married.”
After a moment of silence to ponder that peculiar definition of a Christian group is often amended; “they pray to saints and worship icons.”…
Reaction, “Ohhh… OK… That’s why we are not Orthodox. It’s one of THEM Christian groups. “
So… while two objections were brought up there, we are going to now discus the later …Icons.

Right out the gate an Orthodox Christian will retort, “We venerate …not worship.”  And to that Americas reply ” tomato, tomahto “…same thing.

Before both parties split ways at that point with ill feelings it’s our job as slightly obscure Orthodox Christians to explain the difference between veneration and worship. And lucky for us Americans make this easy.  How is that? Well…as father “?” recently pointed out.

It makes American Protestants real uncomfortable to see men and women crossing themselves and giving a bow before every icon they pass.  But it would bother them just as much if someone refused to cross their heart at the pledge of allegiance to the flag. It really bothers Americans to see a flag being dragged along the ground. And burning a flag just might start an outright fight in the midst of patriotic Americans. This is veneration.

It doesn’t mean they are worshiping the flag. But they certainly do not treat the flag as a common piece of cloth. It’s not what the flag is made out of or who made it. What makes it special is what it represents.

It’s the same for icons. Although they might have been painted by common Christians they do not represent common people. They represent very special people. And those Christian flags deserve a salute at least as much as the stars and stripes.

Furthermore the pictures themselves represent actual holy people who (according to the Orthodox Christian faith) are still living as we speak.

It would appear very odd to see a modern person treating pictures of family members with carelessness and disregard. And we as 21 century Americans don’t find it odd at all to kiss pictures of those who are loved and missed. Icons are no different. Christians wish they had actual pictures of Jesus, Mary, The Apostles and Saints but we don’t. Painted pictures are all we have so we make due. And we treat these pictures as special, not because of what they are but because of who they represent.

The Icons themselves are not considered the actual person any more than your family picture is considered your family. We venerate the picture of Jesus not the frame and paint. If the icon at some point lost the picture it would then loose its status just as the flag would lose its significance if it no longer had stars and stripes.

Idolatry would be the idea that the country was the flag you are saluting. If then someone were to burn that flag then they would then be destroying the actual country.

This is the difference between veneration and worship. And it is no different in practice than saluting the flag or kissing a loved one’s picture.

Pride

Pride is a strange emotional phenomenon. Everyone is offended by it when they see it in other people yet at the same time everyone wants to be as full of it as possible. So people WANT to be full of the very thing that offends everyone. It’s like wanting to stink…wanting to stink as much as possible because it makes you feel good. Some even enjoy how offended others are by their stink. It’s strange. Why would anyone want to be proud?

Even if I was an Atheist I would be a Christian.

Or to be clearer I would be a fan of, a supporter of, Christianity.

But that doesn’t make any sense, you don’t believe there is a God yet you would support the belief that does?

Yes I would be an atheist that hopes there is a God like the one the Christians describe. I don’t necessarily believe the Rams are going to win the Super Bowel but I can hope…I can buy tickets and cheer. And as far as being atheist, I would do this because I believe that any good hearted person (if they can’t believe) would at least hope it’s true. I believe that any good hearted person, after reading how Jesus behaved and treated others, would hope that the God of this Jesus is true…even if they don’t believe it now.

Although I might not believe it I would hope that somewhere out there, there is some conscious something that cares; some conscious something with the will to comfort and the power to do it. Even If I was an atheist I would hope that someday there will be a reckoning for those that do good yet get nothing and those who do horrible things and yet live all their days in comfort. I would hope the guy who refused to lie about his neighbor and lost his place with the powerful would some day be repaid for the sacrifice. I would hope the mother who lost her children would someday see them again. I would hope that the men who slaughtered a village, ignored the starving so they could keep power, and without pity made it difficult for the impoverished to pull themselves out of foreclosure; …I would hope that those who carelessly caused separation and divorce, those that railed and beat their spouses and children, those that physically and verbally assault others to feed their vanity and egos;…I would hope that there came a day when they JUSTLY paid for it, or at least felt and showed remorse.

Even if I was an atheist and believed that when a person died that was the end of reward or retribution forever, I would still hope someday in a bazaar unforeseen turn of events that brought people back to their former consciousness, that all this justice was going to happen…The suffered and the wronged comforted and the cruel, careless and selfish saw a just payment.

I would also hope that a person who has made mistakes and feels sorry about them can be forgiven and work their way into the company of people who are good and have never made the mistakes that you might have made. I would hope that a person is not forever labeled by a mistake they made.

Even if I did not believe all this justice and good was going to happen I would still hope it was going to. I believe that any good hearted person would hope this.

Well how can you hope in something that you don’t believe is possible?

Well the one thing that history and science HAS taught us is that we have no idea what is truly possible. What happens in reality and continues to happen does not cease to confound and amaze mankind, so assuming you know what is possible and what is not is a demonstrate-able fallacy. But hoping for what you find hard to believe is human and what you hope for says a lot about who you really are.

Ridiculous Reality

If you’re a non religious person and you run across a religious idea that seems ridiculous or fantastical to you it may help you to practice this… Forget the religion in question and all the funny images and people associated with that religion and concentrate totally on nature and what you know of the real natural world. Then ask yourself what occurrence or natural state of things (in reality) would bring about this strange religious idea.

For instance the first example that springs to mind is the Devil or devils. Non subscribers immediately scoff at the notion and label these ridiculous. The more educated they are the easier it is to fall into this mentality because their education has exposed them to mid evil images and doubtful stories of anecdote. But viewing the “devil” as complete nonsense as far as reality is concerned is over stepping the common and obvious. At the very least everyone alive has experienced the proverbial “devil on your shoulder.” Everyone alive has witnessed the natural inclination in humans to do things they know are harmful to themselves and others. Nearly all have experienced the internal fight to overcome vice and acquire virtue. So whether the “devils” have red tails and pitchforks and whisper invisibly in your ear or “devil” is really a term for universal deconstruction program running throughout the physics, or even “devil” meaning lack of development positive to maintaining a cohesive unit, the “devil” is obviously alive and well within “reality.”

Another example is “original sin.” The Christian idea (that we inherit a sinful state from the common ancestor “Adam” seems utterly ridiculous to some. So again (if you don’t think God informed man of this) how would thinking man have come up with this idea? It’s not that hard to answer. It’s plainly obvious especially in this genetically aware time period. So how can this idea seem ridiculous? What’s funny is Richard Dawkins has stated how ridiculous this idea seems to him yet he is a biology major.

A vast many religious ideas can be far better understood (at least where the idea could have come from) if one simply asks themselves, “what REAL or existing behavior in natural reality would give someone this idea?”

Anthrophmorphisizing nature is a fantastic way to understand religious concepts because it illustrates how real problems, processes, and situations are understood and dealt with. I believe this process will also move the non religious into the mindset of the religious where one might see and discover more than they thought was there. At the very least it will bring to the surface the true root of certain concepts. And because you will identify the real world causes and conditions that endorse these ideas you will no longer consider them fantastical or ridiculous.

Worth The Dollar

I ran across a comment on Yahoo that asked the question, “Why would anyone subject themselves and their children to religious superstition?” This question came up during a heated discussion about human origins.

The easy answer to this question is, Hope. This is the answer for all religions across the board. Why would they subject themselves to all kinds of strange superstitions? Hope.

You may say, “Well I can hope money falls out of the sky into my lap but it’s a waste of time.” To this you would be right so the hope has to be possible or at least be possible to believe. You can’t find many people who, even trying, can bring themselves to believe money will fall from the sky, but you can find many people who believe they have a chance to win the lottery. Even when you dash them with the odds they will still cling to the hope because they hear about the few people who actually win. In regards to heaven, people hear about the Near Death Experiences where people experience bliss, see God and loved ones. Dashing them with the possibility that it’s all the results of a dying brain will do little in snuffing the hope.

Why not just give the hope up and keep your dollar? You’re probably not going to win the lottery anyway. The hope is worth the dollar to them. A dollar a day is well worth the hope to a lot of people, just like an hour a week at church and adhering to a couple strange dietary requirements is worth the hope to the religious. The moral code of conduct is already there and their conscience is already telling them they need to be better people so to a lot of decent people the moral code is not an issue. If you offered people heaven if they treated people with cruelty then for the vast majority this would be a deal breaker.

But hope doesn’t necessarily mean you absolutely know something will happen. Faith is an action based on possibility and hope…not knowledge. So the question is, “Can I believe it?” If the answer is yes that it’s possible then people will ask themselves this, “which one do I hope is true?” And if the requirements for the hope are not to taxing they will of course pay the dollar.

They will say to themselves, “I will try to be a good person anyway so which one do I

‘hope’ is true: that for being decent I will one day be rewarded for it or for being a decent person one day I won’t get anything?” To people who are going to be decent anyway the dollar is well worth the hope.