Friday, September 19, 2014

Ask Me Anything

Based on recent discussions at other blogs, I am offering the opportunity for anyone to pick a topic on which they'd like to focus for the purpose of determining why I believe as I do.  In responding, I will not ask any question of my own toward the questioner intending to determine his position, but only to have a question clarified in order to more clearly articulate my position.  Here are some qualifications:

1.  Should anyone take up the challenge, I reserve the right to pick from amongst multiple topics, which topic I will address. 

2.  If there appears to be multiple "votes" for any particular topic, I might use that as the determining factor, while still reserving the right to choose. 

3.  I reserve the right to determine any topic suggested to be inane and idiotic, simply because it strikes me thus.  I will allow for brief arguments in response to my rejection, should I post a reason for rejecting it.

4.  I WILL delete or mock any attempted abuse of this opportunity.  I am sticking my neck out here and would like to believe that risk will be respected. 

5.  In responding to questions, I may call for relevance.  It would save time if the relevance for a question is provided at the same time a question is asked, though it doesn't mean that relevance will be perceived in such a manner that I feel compelled to respond.  Likely, I'll simply ask for more explanation.

This is all pretty much how I would like all discussions to run as pertains the seeking of understanding.  But as recent discussions have shown, going back and forth often results in tangents, diversions, equivocating and outright dodging of questions. If I restrain my own desire to question my interrogator, it is my hope that I can exhaust any line of questioning on any given topic to the extent that I have a complete and firm position on it. 

Anybody up for this?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Can't Support The Pallies.

This appeared on Yahoo this morning.  In my last post, I made the suggestion that the Palestinian people are largely supportive of the hate group that rules them in Gaza, Hamas.  The linked piece seems to support that notion.  The poll shows a 60+% favoring of the Hamas leader for president over Abbas.  This demonstrates a choice for the greater of two evils.  In what parallel universe does one say to one's self, "I choose the guy who insists on using me as a human shield as he constantly lobs missiles at those he insists is my enemy.  I LIKE that idea!!  I'm voting for HIM?"  It's happening in the parallel universe we call "Gaza".

Take off the kid gloves.  Such a people is not worth risking the lives of Israeli soldiers as they seek to end the TOTALLY UNPROVOKED ATTACKS on their fellow Israelis.

This poll should be held up for the world to see (especially given that it was taken by a Palestinian) as Israel tables their surgical military tactics intended to lessen collateral damage, so that they can more effectively kill as many Hamas leaders and subordinates it takes to make them stop attacking Israel once and for all.  Nothing Israel has ever done to the sad and innocent Palestinians was not preceded by heinous and hateful actions against them by the Palestinians.

Right now, we are seeing another example of the intention of the worst elements of islam, as ISIS and their cowardly cohorts just hacked off the head of another innocent victim.  Their "message" is that it is the result of Obama's actions in the Middle East.  It is the same kind of crap Hamas says about why they continue to attack Israel.  It is amongst their favorite propaganda.  When will the world be fed up with this crap?

I have seen videos and articles highlighting muslims who speak out against the insane members of their culture/religion.  Unfortunately, the percentage of such stand up people amongst the savages is less then the percentage of homosexuals.  This means that we can't wait for "good" muslims to successfully alter the culture there.  As far as I'm concerned, they are free to align themselves with us or Israel as we bring the pain.  That is, if we, as a nation, ever grow a spine.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Support Israel. The Palestinians? Not So Much.

So we see the usual nonsense arising from the strife in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Foolish pundits and other idiots, like the president, calling for restraint from the country that is in greatest danger of attack.  I cannot help but wonder at how this has happened, other than outright, albeit unreasonable disdain for Israel. 

As I understand it, this began with the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens, though I believe one was an American (I could be wrong here).  It was followed by the murder of a Palestinian teen.  In the latter case, the perpetrator(s) was/were found and arrested.  The perp(s) in the first case is/are still at large, if not lauded as wonderful for killing Jews.  With the commission of the second act, that was all the provocation the Palestinians, led by Hamas, that was needed for the launching of missiles into Israel.  (According to Caroline Glick, 80% of the Israeli population is now within range of Pallie missiles)

I'm not sure of the exactness of the above, but what follows is the routine.  The Pallie/Hamas attacks are launched from amongst the Palestinian population.  They use homes, schools, hospitals and even their own houses of worship to house their arms and launch their missiles.  This, they believe, allows them to protect themselves as they feel relatively confident that the Israelis will balk at attacking these sites for fear of harm to civilians.  In the meantime, they launch literally hundreds of rockets at Israeli targets, with the express purpose of killing as many Israelis, civilian or otherwise, as possible. 

What is the response of the world?  The Israelis are the aggressors who need to show restraint.  Consider this taken from Allen West's website:

"If you want to know just how demented Bill Clinton and his ilk are, take in this quote: “In the short to medium term, Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage on Israel by forcing it to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas.” So now Hamas is winning because it’s “forcing” Israel to kill civilians?"
(Read more at http://allenbwest.com/2014/07/bill-clinton-hamas-winning-forcing-israel-kill-palestinians/#vaoElYsIgoLOoXHo.99)
 
Can you believe it?  If you've been paying attention, you really have no choice.  
 
I say, "Damn the public relations consequences!"  The Pallies are complicit in their own deaths by allowing Hamas, or whomever is running that evil show, to purposely put them in harm's way.  I believe the Israelis should disregard the consequences and lay waste to as much of Hamas controlled territory as possible.  
 
But wait, Art!  That's fighting evil with evil!  No.  That's doing what is necessary to protect one's people.  What's more, aggressors do not respond to diplomacy, as we've seen since the institution of Israel back in the 1940's.  What does provoke the proper response is pain, and lots of it.  When the Palestinians are tired of burying their dead, when there are seemingly more dead than are those left alive to bury them, then perhaps they will also tire of bringing about their own destruction through seeking the destruction of others.  

It's a sad reality that this is the way wars are won.  Some wish to believe there are "Just War" theories that work in the real world.  That peaceful solutions are possible when dealing with true evil.  Others are too timid to admit who the truly evil are.  We did not win WWII with this attitude.  

Some insist that those like me are proponents of  "war as solution" or "war as the only solution" or "war as the first choice of solutions".  None of this is true.   None of this reflects reality.  The sad truth is that there are times when war is the only solution and against the radical islamists who seek to dominate and subjugate the world, there is no evidence in history that suggests they are likely to be talked into any peace with those who do not want to serve allah as they demand.  

There is also little evidence that there exists enough civilian Pallies who are not down with the islamist cause and determination to eliminate Israel.  These are people who believe it is a good thing to have their children kill themselves killing others.  They are not of any concern to me.  Not against the lives of those who would like nothing more than to lay down their arms once and for all, but cannot and expect to survive surrounded by those who hate them.  

I reiterate that I do not care about a "two state" solution to this crisis.  The Pallies don't deserve a state of their own and have not given any evidence that they ever will.  They never had one in the first place.  They aren't even a real nation.  They were formed for the purpose of attacking Jews.  There are only two options as I see it:  They can change their ways and befriend Israel (and the world) or die.  Period.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bubba/Dan-I'LL Answer The Question

I've been monitoring the back and forth between Bubba and Dan, and it's going pretty much as expected.  I can't say that I don't understand what the big deal is.  This is how I see it:

Let's assume two sides, since there really actually are.  Since they generally run along political lines that are fairly well understood, I'll use "right side" and "left side" (of course I'm on the right side---the right side morally is just coincidentally the right side politically).

Anyway, Bubba argues for the right side, and Dan argues for the left.  They are each, to one extent or another typical of all who are on each side, at least generally.  And they each engage in a manner that is also, to one extent or another, at least generally, typical of each side.  The right goes to the heart of the matter, dealing in reality, willing to face the truth on truth's terms.  The left, goes to the heart of what they want reality to be, and takes great pains to avoid facing the truth on truth's terms in deference to that altered "reality" they would prefer.

When the right answers a question, the answer is as direct as the question.  The left alters the question to reflect the preferred altered reality, and then answers a question that wasn't asked. 

When the right balks at a question, it is because the question is leading, irrelevant, or takes the discussion down a preferred tangent believed by the left to be more amenable to the altered reality the left prefers.  When the left balks at a question, it is because the question exposes the gaping holes in the altered reality the leftist hoped wasn't so glaringly obvious. 

Maybe I shouldn't paint the entirety of the left with such a broad brush.  But the above is descriptive of what's going on at Dan's blog and is typical of all debates with him.  So I can show Dan how it's done and take the initial questions Bubba put to him and demonstrate how one answers the questions honorably.  I won't answer as if I'm Dan, but answer as if the questions were put to me.  I begin with the two set up questions to which I believe Bubba put forth with an assumption of a positive response from Dan:

Do you believe in orthodoxy and heresy as real categories and not just traditional understandings?

Yes.

Do you really believe that there are essential Christian doctrines?

Yes.

See how that works?  I answered two "yes or no" questions with either a "yes" or a "no", in this case, a "yes".  That's my honest response.  But keep in mind that these were set up questions, as in setting the stage for the real questions of interest to Bubba.  A "no" response would make what follows unnecessary and moot.  There would be no point in asking what follows if a "no" response followed these questions, so the asking was rhetorical.  So here are the actual questions:

NAME ONE ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

Jesus is God in flesh.

NAME ONE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE BIBLE.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Note that I didn't ask "essential to whom", as if the question wasn't seeking my opinion only.  Note that I didn't take off on irrelevant asides regarding how some things in Scripture are clear to some and not to others.  I answered as one who convicted in my beliefs, confident that what I believe is true and honest enough to allow my beliefs to be scrutinized and tested openly in a manner that might lead to a better understanding of what is true, or greater confidence that what I already know is true.  If I'm wrong, show me.  I don't want to be wrong, but I do indeed want to know the truth. 

Dan doesn't want to be wrong.  He likes what he wants to believe is true.  I think that's for the most part true for leftists in general, but for Dan I have little doubt of it based on our years of engagement.  It makes perfect sense given his evasive and convoluted style of debate.  It is being played out before our eyes at Dan's blog, though I wouldn't expect it to last much longer.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Just Answer The Question!!

I have overloaded myself with blog and internet discussions and must back off a bit in order to re-organize both priorities regarding which discussions to continue as well as how much personal time I spend doing so.  Two in  particular require the study of articles and opinions in order to properly familiarize myself with the details.  Then, I can plan how best to re-engage so as to stay on track in dealing with the most important points related to them.  Sounds like work.  But then, I did publicly commit and it would be bad form to bail out now. 

Yet, I still try to keep up with the newer discussions, and a quick comment here and there is no different than any quick face-to-face chit-chat in which one might engage in the course of one's busy day.  This here post is being composed while enjoying a late breakfast before chores.  I often sit before the computer while eating, as dinner is the only meal the family regularly shares together. 

Anyway, I've been keeping an eye on the new discussion at Dan's blog, between he had Bubba.  It began elsewhere and as it was off topic there, Dan invited Bubba to carry on with him there.  It is reserved for just the two of them as they both expressed the desire that it remain so. 

There is still, for me, some level of interest and entertainment in witnessing the discussion.  I should have started a pool, or established some over/under wager on the amount of time before Dan two-stepped away from answering a simple and direct question.  It came in the very first response to Bubba's initial comment.  Getting direct answers to simple and direct questions has always been the challenge for people dealing with Dan.  Ambiguity is essential to his belief system.  The more ambiguity, the easier it is to believe as one finds personally favorable. 

Conversely, few of Dan's questions are direct and simple.  They often are leading questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no lest a wrong understanding results, which is pretty much guaranteed.  When I've been faced with such questions by him, I've always endeavored to answer directly and then immediately supply the details with the qualifications that must be presented in order to prevent misunderstanding, but too often (if not always) only the initial "yes" or "no" from me is heard or recorded to then be used against me.

This is what Bubba will have to deal with throughout the exercise for as long as it might last, which is always uncertain. 

As to the two-stepping, there are a few initial questions Bubba poses.  He allows Dan to pick one to answer if that is preferable to Dan.  Here are some of them:

--Do you believe in orthodoxy and heresy as real categories and not just traditional understandings?

--Do you really believe that there are essential Christian doctrines?

These two are really just set-ups for the even more direct questions that follow,  but they are quite direct in themselves insofar as one person is directing the questions specifically to one specific person alone in order to draw out that specific person's own personal opinion.  Get that?  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because I'm asking YOU!

Next comes the two requests, with clarifying explanations afterwards that don't seem to sink in.  Again, they are quite direct and really require nothing more than a direct answer:

-- NAME ONE ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE.

-- NAME ONE CLEAR TEACHING OF THE BIBLE.

Bubba then offers two that Dan can use as answers of his own:  The existence of God, and, the historicity of Jesus.

Dan's subsequent responses do little to clarify his position mostly due to the fact that he insists upon consideration for the positions of others.  All of that is irrelevant.  In other words, who cares?  It is DAN'S own position/opinion that is sought, so none of that superfluous crap has any value.  

I have to admit that I need to review the response a few times.  Because Dan is so evasive (under the pretense of seeking clarification), I don't want to misconstrue his positions.  What's more, the conversation is ongoing and I also don't want to misconstrue Bubba's intentions in asking the questions he's asking.  We'll have to wade through the voluminous non-answers Dan will supply to see if a legitimate answer is put forth.  It would help if he'd just answer the question.  But I believe he does as he does because just answering the questions put forth to him would provoke admission that his positions are untenable.  The end of his back and forth with Bubba will demonstrate just how honestly he seeks the truth.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

For A Dude On My Facebook Friendlist

Actually, this is not reserved for this friend.  I 'll let him introduce himself in whatever manner he chooses to what ever extent he feels most comfortable.  But this was provoked by a my posting of this Laurie Higgins article, which he referred to as "pretentious drivel".  As I am quite the fan of Higgins' work, especially her insightful perspective on the issue of homosexuality and the Agenda That Doesn't Exist, I do not believe I would be so partial to someone for whom the label "pretentious" would be appropriate.  I am certain I've never read anything by her that in any way equates to "drivel".  But then, I am not a proponent, supporter or enabler (and certainly no activist) of the Agenda That Doesn't Exist. 

But FB is not the best forum for true debate on any subject, so I invited him to elaborate on his position here.  I have also given him leeway as regards staying on topic so long as it is related to the general issue.  But anyway, he's a new dude so give him a break and if anyone feels compelled to respond to remarks of his, wield the bludgeon gently.  I've no reason to believe he is of the typically thin skinned variety of opponent.  Nonetheless, as always, I will let him draw first blood if that is his intent.  Leave reciprocal fire to me.

As to the link, I am not going to post any commentary at this point, other than to say if you have not seen it via my FB posting, give it a read here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Lengthy Analysis of Dan's Post



at Dan’s blog, he attempts to respond to questions posed by Craig within a discussion at another blog.  Craig’s questions were provoked by Dan’s typically convoluted explanations of his understanding of Scripture as it relates to matters of wealth and poverty.  Needless to say, Dan’s “take” leaves a little to be desired, in that it smacks of his usual leftist worldliness that colors his understanding.

Before I delve into the quagmire, I want to make especially clear that what follows should in no way be inferred as dismissive of those struggling in economic poverty, or that I in any way believe those who have are not duty bound to help those who have not.  Indeed, this very paragraph should be read a good half dozen times by any left leaning visitor so as to deflect any such nonsensical accusations they might otherwise be so willing to lodge.

One other point necessary to highlight is that Dan is one who constantly refers to himself as one who has come to his Scriptural understanding by way of serious and prayerful study.  I’ll let you, gentle reader, decide if there is evidence of that obvious in his responses.  Now let’s get on with it.

The questions Craig asked of Dan revolve around Dan’s use of the words of Christ to the effect of, “I have come to bring good news to the poor.”  Craig asks of Dan to explain what he thinks it means.  It’s the first question of Craig’s that he attempts to answer.
1. You use this quote a lot, but what do you think it means?

Dan’s initial response is that he cannot know.  No one can know.  Jesus didn’t say.  But Dan goes on to “take a crack at a guess”. 

There’s really no guessing required.  The line comes from Isaiah 61:1-2.  Jesus read from that scroll in the synagogue in Nazareth as told us in Luke 4:14-19.  What Jesus read was that which identified Him as the Messiah.  That’s what the Isaiah piece was describing and Jesus applied these verses to Himself as a way of describing just Who He really was.  This is cemented by Jesus saying in verse 21, “Today this scripture if fulfilled in your hearing.”  The message was quite clear to those of the time who were students of Scripture.  What’s more, that Jesus used the Isaiah piece in this manner is the reason the people of Nazareth moved to throw Him down a cliff. 

Now, I must stop here and elaborate a bit.  Some will look at the verses 24-27 and proclaim them the reason the Nazarenes took umbrage.  Jesus is not speaking well of Israel and suggesting better toward Gentiles.  But the original language that is verse 22 is often interpreted as if the people were impressed in a good way by Christ’s use of Isaiah to introduce Himself as Messiah.  This is not necessarily so and not every Bible version interprets it in such a positive manner.  To some, it is more like they were stunned by His words.  Regardless, His use of the Isaiah piece is indeed meant to imply to His listeners that He is the Messiah. 

None of this shows up in Dan’s response to the question.  He can’t help himself but to put a spin on it that revolves around the people being oppressed by the MAN.  Even when Dan refers to Jesus using this verse in response to John the Baptist, it is to confirm for John that He is indeed the Messiah.  That was, after all, what John was asking of Jesus:  “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect another?”  Jesus answer was, in so many words, “Yes.  I am that One.”

Craig’s next question to which Dan takes a guess is:

”2.  What, specifically, was “the good news” that Jesus preached to the poor?”

Again, Dan doesn’t seem to know or even believe that Jesus explained it.  I don’t know how one can “seriously and prayerfully” study Scripture and then say that Jesus didn’t state what “the good news” was.  The message of the “Good News” was proclaimed from the time of the Immaculate Conception.  It was proclaimed by Zechariah at the birth of his son John, when he said, “...for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…”-Lk 1:70.  It was proclaimed by angels to shepherds:  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Lk1:11.  When Joseph and Mary presented their baby in the temple, Simeon praised the God for having allowed him to live long enough to see the Christ, and the prophetess, Anna, “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Lk2:38.  John the Baptist proclaimed the Good News when he “saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Jn 1:29.  And of course, Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jn14:6. 

Throughout His ministry, Jesus spoke of Himself and His purpose, which was to be our Way to God through His sacrificial death on the cross.  Not all who heard Him understood Him.  Even His apostles were hazy on the true meaning of His teachings in this regard, even when, as Peter did, they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, they didn’t quite get it entirely.  But Jesus, while not being as straightforward as Dan obviously needed Him to be, did indeed express what the Good News was.  And we certainly should know it by now, with the knowledge of His apostles’ subsequent teachings in Acts and their Epistles. 

Put another, but very accurate way, Jesus was the Good News that Jesus preached to the poor.  So then, the third question of Craig’s…

”3.  What, specifically, does this mean for us?”

It means, quite plainly in fact, that we, as sinners, have the very same path to God.  Jesus is that path and He died for us so that we, as well, can be sanctified and made worthy to be in the presence of God by virtue of His atoning death on the cross.  We accept Him as our Savior and our sins are washed away by the Blood He shed for us.  It means, specifically, we are saved.  Hallelujah!

”4.  What, specifically, should be happening that is not in order for us to ‘preach good news to the poor’?”

This question is not truly answerable to one like Dan who doesn’t even know what the Good News is.  That is to say, discovering that News would seem to be the Prime Directive, the first step before any thought could legitimately be given to how to deliver it.  Indeed, he claims we can’t know what it even means to preach that Good News if we knew what the Good News was!

One thing is certain, and that is that to Dan, it all has something to do with everyone else giving their stuff to the poor, while he does all he can to avoid acquiring stuff to give away.

Dan goes on to list examples of what he believes are manifestations of what should be happening that is not:

He has a problem with “crystal cathedrals” and mega-churches.  I have to assume he doesn’t believe such larger congregations don’t minister to the poor in a manner he finds suitable, regardless of whether or not he has any idea as to their effectiveness.  He also apparently believes there should be some limited size beyond which no congregation should grow, as if his preference for small store-front churches should be shared by all and are somehow an indication of…what, exactly, true Christianity?  There is also the matter of expectations to which one has no right as regards the spending to tithes.  I don’t believe that what a church does with the money it receives in the baskets on Sunday is of any concern to those who donate it.  THAT money belongs to God’s priests and ministers.  All money for charity is what one gives after. 

He speaks of “intentional” community as opposed to gated communities.  Gated communities arose in response to crime.  They would not be necessary if in preaching the Good News to the poor, the actual teaching of Christian behavior was stressed a bit more heavily. 

I really don’t understand the point about art galleries.  Is this to suggest he doesn’t like how the art market operates?  I have no idea what his concern is in this area and would love to see him post on it.  I’m sure it will be entertaining.

Dan speaks of more associating with poor people.  I have a better idea.  Let’s really help them by voting for people who understand the best that can be done for the poor is to expand our nation’s economy.  We can’t help the poor by being poor ourselves. 

Dan wants the church to look like what he thinks the early church looked like based on his understanding of the descriptions of it from the Book of Acts.  But as was pointed out in the video to which I linked in my April 19 post about ending poverty, there is no evidence that what Dan likes to think was common place throughout early Christendom actually was.  That is, there is nothing known to exist as evidence that the pooling of resources was either practiced elsewhere or even was meant to be a permanent practice.  In any case, it was a totally voluntary thing on the part of all the believers described therein.  What’s more, there is nothing anywhere in the story that justifies the suggestion that the early church did not have expectations about behaviors, rules, if you will, nor that ignoring them would not bring consequences of some kind.  Paul, also an early church leader, explicitly taught about expelling the unrepentant. 

The most problematic aspect is Dan’s statement that this early church as he sees it was a spiritual home that would be literally good news for the literal poor.  It sounds then like the Good News was stuff.  That’s not much different than Obama phones and Obama money.  What compels devotion once the stuff is no longer provided?  This is what Dan thinks churches should look like:  stuff for the poor, finding them work, a communal life whether they like it or not.  I have to wonder how this would actually work in a community that avoids wealth as Dan claims to in his own life.  Where would the stuff come from to provide for the poor so that there was no one in need if no one had excess due to their wealth avoidance practices?  This doesn’t even rise to the level of na├»ve.

I did a little research on the verse  “I have come to bring good news to the poor”.  I looked for commentaries and found a website called “Studylight,org” which provides dozens of commentaries on Scripture.  I looked at what was said about this verse by each of the following:

Adam Clarke
James Burton Coffman
Matthew Henry
John Gill
Peter Pett
Joseph Benson, who was a follower of John Wesley, and
John Wesley himself.

There were others, but I didn’t look at all of them.  But of the above, they each regarded “the poor” of the verse to mean either the poor in spirit, or both the poor in spirit and materially poor.  I don’t recall that any of them were Anabaptists, so they’re all likely full of it.  But that’s what they said in their commentaries.  However, despite God’s concern for the materially poor, and Christ’s teaching that we should care for them ourselves, it is extremely hard to believe that He would focus on those who were marginalized on earth and by doing so marginalize all others.  The thrust of Christ’s ministry was the spiritual, the things of God, not material poverty for material wealth is that which moth and vermin destroy.