A Common Insanity

InsaneAsylum-1

There is a common insanity today. It is that we have separated all that we hold dear from reality: we have separated values from facts. As a result, morality has become a matter of personal preference, a sort of delusion that we indulge in. If separation has created the problem, a marriage of the two will fix it. So let’s do it. Let’s marry it. Here we go: All things are moral, from the rocks and the trees to the birds in the sky, even man himself. All things are for an end and all things are for a use. Water is good to drink, coal to burn, and wool to wear. A thing is good insofar as a working together of parts and efforts serves its proper end. This is essential to any being. A thwarting of that end or a misuse of it is wrong. Wool cannot be drunk, water cannot be spun, coal cannot be eaten. Each of these things in nature is an education to the mind, an education in proper use. Just like water has its proper use, so does a man and woman. A man cannot be a woman and a woman cannot be a man. Any argument that asserts otherwise requires the separation of nature from morality; a separation of facts from values. Marry them together and we have a foundation for right and wrong. Separate them and we merely have cultural preferences that aren’t founded in anything real; in short, a delusion.

Things have their proper use. Natural things are made to serve a certain end. We all look at something and ask “What it is for? What is its purpose?” Nature does have a purpose after all, doesn’t it? Things are made and formed in certain ways and not others. This is indeed evidence for God. If things produced an infinite variety of ends, i.e. if water was sometimes for making thread, if coal was sometimes for drinking, and never at any time could we figure out what was going to be produced next, there would be no such thing as purpose. There would only be chaos and we would not have evidence for God. But, things do happen quite regularly, don’t they. There is order. There is a God.

Nature is the ally of religion.

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The Angry Sea

Smoking is an exercise of men who expect to die. I find myself recognizing my mortality more often; and the thought sometimes happens in conjunction with that particular exercise. I often reflect that men have been cut off from life in the prime of their youth, yet I continue to persist. I feel it a privilege, and I am pleased by this happy circumstance. From the vantage point this thought gives me, I glimpse the work of infinity. Life has always begun with the same things: hours, days, years, births and deaths. These numbers follow one another in regular succession and are multiplied indefinitely. Infinity drives events onward multiplying itself upon them. Nation rises up against nation, brother against brother, and sword against sword. The word “sword” is peculiar and descriptive of men. Our “words” weren’t enough so we thrust them into the inwards parts of others by adding an “s” at the beginning. The life and flame of man found material expression and extinguished the life and flame of other men.

Over time, we have forgotten our thoughts and only remembered the sword. Thus, we blame the sword for its skillful work, for doing what it was made to do. Now, evil men wield it and we don’t understand them. We have created numerous peaceful communities and removed ourselves from evil. But, these times are only part of the regular succession of historical numbers. The same things will happen again, only we have forgotten who we are, forgotten our part in this succession of numbers. We have forgotten what caused us to add the “s” in the first place. We are evil.

We are like a man born on a ship at sea who through his adolescence has seen great waves push other men off the ship and drown them with tempestuous rage; but has also admired the tranquil beauty of the sea when it is still. He has learned to fear and love the sea. When he is older, he leaves the ship and makes his home on the land. The years are kind to him and give him a wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. All his life he watches the sea and tells his children of his seafaring adventures. But, the older he gets the more his stories lose their dangerous elements and become songs of the sea’s beauty. He loves it at a distance until one day in his frailty he wades too far in the water and drowns. His great grandchildren are affected the most by his death because they too have loved this sea from a distance like their great grandfather. A change comes over them and they remember what their great grandfather had forgotten: to fear the sea.

The heart of man is the sea: a strange mixture of evil and good. In a moment, we make swords; and in the next moment, we beat them into plowshares. We are a fountain yielding sweet water and bitter. Recently in this land, the sea has reared its evil head and drowned children with tempestuous rage, drowned the most precious among us. It spared not our young, but cruelly and mercilessly dashed them against the rocks. The rolling waves run red with the blood of the innocent; it has become the red tide stained by the acts of evil men. We who live on the land must remember the sea’s anger and learn once more the fear we have too long forgotten. The Angry Sea Thomas Moran

The Questionable Plan

God bent down with pensive face to light the world on fire,

His hands had weaved steadily the temporal fabric,

That was to become every essence,

Giving life to his paradoxical and intricate plot.

 

And as he stooped low a certain wise spirit revealed an apprehensive countenance,

For he had examined the story that was doomed to unfold,

And felt distraught and troubled over one crimson detail,

A detail immersed in sorrow amongst millions of joys.

 

“What does this mean here?” the princely spirit ventured, “And by what…

He persisted, “what majestic reasoning does this torment need to occur?

Are you not responsible? Have you not become the most abhorrent of all beings?

For in all eternity there has not been such misery, affliction, neither injurious action as this!

Give account now, Oh most Powerful, for this is above comprehension!”

 

This dissident spirit was referring to a small part of the story,

Yet the most significant– Its words were the blackest;

Its pain was the greatest; Its actions were the vilest;

Yet its innocence was the purest; and great was the tragedy thereof.

 

The world was to know joy and bliss,

Endless it seems was to be the dancing and gaiety,

With no absence of bread nor luxury,

Except for one blight– a girl, five years old.

 

She was to be the unhappy daughter of a most insidious couple,

Who took great delight in beatings; conscience hindering them not.

Sent to work in the fields was she in heat and in wet;

Night after night she found no favor yet hoped for a kind touch.

 

The bed was not restful either for she was plagued with dreams,

Of strange men in black coats– hot breath betraying sinister intentions.

At times she woke in the light of dawn fearing the dark fantasy,

And reeling from the medicine she was made to drink the night before.

 

The light of day was no better for there was no one

In whom she could confide but when help was requested,

She was beat all the more receiving severe lacerations,

And sent to reside in a box with the lid shut,

While her parents would leave and return to the house,

Some time later smelling quite strong and acting so violently,

That she desired to stay in the box which became a means of safety.

 

In the end, she awoke one morning to find,

She had not reached the outhouse in time the night before,

And her mother, her own mother took her with rage

Into the outhouse stuffing her mouth with feces,

Leaving her to wallow in the putrid smell of the latrine.

 

All day she stayed without sustenance except the taste of fecal matter,

Giving an involuntary spasmodic whimper which entered the ears of her parents;

Yet feeling they could do no more they left her,

And hesitated not to sleep in quiet restful slumber,

While the quiet of the night was penetrated only by the whimpers,

Easily ignored by the evil heedless ears of her own mother.

 

Sometime during the night sweet merciful Death took her.

It was then she received the only rest ever allowed her,

And the bliss only known through escaping the world.

 

All this to give the world the gift of freewill,

This was what she was worth.

 

The now rebellious spirit looked with disdain at the plot,

And once more he addressed the Maker of All,

“Wouldst thou allow me to bend with merciful finger,

And remove this blight– this eyesore from the fabric of time?

Let not the whole of existence bear this burden,

For who shall atone for this transgression?”

 

Admittedly he could not see all of the story,

But this did not matter to him in the slightest,

For his heart had felt the poor girl’s plight,

And could not leave doing nothing.

 

The All-Knowing One gave a permissive nod,

And the restless spirit grabbed the plot,

Gave a twist and pulled the girl out of the story.

 

As he held her life in his hands he heard a curious sound;

The cry of mad legions of violent men bent on corruption,

Death, disease and destruction infected everything,

And the basest of human desires tended their evil business,

For freewill had taken a turn toward the perverse,

The evil heart grew till it was drunk with delirium.

 

The disturbed spirit quickly but reluctantly put the girl back,

And everything returned to its previous blissful state,

“Why even make this world at all,” complained the spirit,

“Is this what you will– have you no other choice?”

 

The Cause of All– the Knower of All with a look in his eye

That revealed a spark of joy and yet a deep hurt,

Stooped down once more to light the world aflame,

And the bitter spirit saw that God himself had become the Great Fire.

 

He looked in the midst of that terrible light,

And gazed at the wonder within.

Joy and Sorrow were dancing hand in hand,

Never breaking their touch,

Filling the whole of creation with the fullness of life,

And moving in all things with such grace and beauty that the sight of it,

Made the rebellious spirit himself shed a tear.

A letter to those who have witnessed great evil in these modern times

Knowing then full well the great evil that lies within each of us, can we trust anymore other men for the answers? Every man is a liar, for what dwells within us is a lie. We are broken from the inside, pretending we are whole, and instructing others in our well developed version of lies while passing them for truth. Thus, our hearts cry out for truth to come and rid us of ourselves; we who speak healing and hurt with the same mouth, hatred and love, words of peace and words of violence. How long should we be suffered to live as a contradiction? Who will come and relieve us of this burden? The great necessity is that the truth must find us. There is no other alternative, for a lie can never reach the truth. It will forever miss the mark.

YES! I Believe in GOD!

“so you believe in the total god that tells us to stone our disrespectful children to death, dash babies against the rocks, etc?”

YES I believe in him! ALL of him, not just the part you talk about. Most of all, I believe in ALL the character of God which allows me to understand harsh laws in light of God’s perfect holiness and our evil choices. How can a perfect being allow any corruption to dwell with him? Those laws you talk of were a device to show the Israelites that NO ONE is “good” in the eyes of the Lord, and the smallest, most miniscule infraction against him (if there was no grace or mercy) should be met with death and separation from God forever. The law was given to illustrate that. It was our “teacher” to bring us to Jesus who took the punishment for the miniscule infractions that separated us. *It showed us that we cannot hope to reach God on our own by following laws.* It is by his mercy, love, and grace that we are saved through faith. And even that faith is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God. *No longer are we required to follow a list of do’s and don’ts which was never able to save us anyway.* Praise God that he provided a way!

So, go ahead and talk about stoning, it just illustrates the great gulf between you and God. Take the next step, and accept what God has done to bridge the gap.

God Does Evil!

I do not deny that God does evil. However, This does NOT stain the character of God in any way, it merely accentuates his righteousness in judgment, as you will see. The scripture says, “God repented of the evil which he thought to do”. God was going to do evil? What was the evil he was about to do? He was going to destroy (Exodus 32:10) the children of Israel after they made stone calves and claimed that the calves where the actual ones that freed them from Egypt’s tyranny. As the context says, “They corrupted themselves.” (Exodus 32:7).

Ask yourself now, what is punishment? It is the action that fulfills justice. To the one receiving it, it is evil (corrupting or destroying the good that they are, or the good that they have achieved in their lives, or the peace they gained). To the one administering the punishment (evil) it is either the satisfaction of justice or the tool to bring proper behavior back. Indeed, when we all stand before God in the end, the ones who have rejected him will experience great evil (punishment), and from God’s perspective, justice will be satisfied.


The key here is that when man does evil, it is rebellion against God and the good things he made. When God does evil, it is punishment and the satisfaction of righteous judgment. It’s silliness to think that God is rebelling against himself or corrupting himself. God’s evil is the action of perfect judgment. Against it, none of us can stand.

However, Jesus’ death satisfied the righteous judgment of God upon every man so that peace could exist between them if man chooses it.

 

God Created Evil!

(Isa 45:7)  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Definition of Evil: The perversion or corruption of good.

I acknowledge that God creates evil, as he says in Isaiah 45:7. However, to create evil, good is created first. If God had stopped at creating good, evil would not have come to fruition. Only good would have existed. Up until that point, creation had no choice in what it did. But, the moment he gave man choice, evil was created. That does not mean that anything in the world had been corrupted, it meant that the choice was man’s to make. God created evil, more specifically the capacity for evil, when he created good and gave man the ability to corrupt it, deviate from it, destroy it, or pervert it.


The Nature of Men


Humanity has no real experience in pure evil, that is, evil for the sake of evil. If humanity commits evil acts it’s in pursuit of something good, they just get the good the wrong way. Evil is the perversion, or the corruption, of good. Evil cannot exist without good existing first. In fact, there is no definitive way to judge whether something is good or evil without having an infinitely good reference point. If no “absolute good” exists, then there are no moral absolutes by which one has the right to judge something or someone as being evil. Evil requires the existence of good.

Humanity’s experience in evil is found throughout history in criminal acts. The thief, the murderer, the drug addict, and the rapist; they are all trying to fulfill a want or a need, whether it be power, sexual gratification, material things, pleasure, an adrenaline rush, satisfaction, or any number of reasons not listed here. These things in of themselves are good. However, the pleasure, or release experienced in attaining them the wrong way is mixed with pain. What you have done stays with you, causing whatever good you may experience to be tainted, and you may have to change your morals to justify your actions. Self may be redefined in the process. This type of behavior can lead to one’s own destruction.

So we understand the evil nature of men, but they cannot be totally evil. However, we can only judge the murderer as evil if we have moral absolutes; otherwise it falls to each man’s definition, and each man’s definition is different. Whose definition, then, should we use? Using men as our yardstick isn’t useful, especially since evil is within every man.

Where do morals fall into human nature? Choice is the main ingredient in morality. Without it there are no morals, just behavior we emit. You can’t judge a man who has no ability to choose what he does. You cannot say his morals are bad. On the outside it may look that way, but if there was no choice on the inside then there is no morality. Without choice we are no better than animals driven by instincts.

Choice may not exist for two reasons: either the man is constrained by an outside force or his psychological makeup is abnormal. When I say psychological makeup, I mean the raw materials in the mind that men use to make a choice. This raw material is composed of feelings and impulses that at once present themselves in any given situation. If the raw materials of the mind are bent or twisted in some way, free choice is hindered.

Example:

Three men go to war. One of them suppresses the natural instinct for self preservation in pursuit of defending his country. The other two have an abnormal psychological makeup that presents itself in the form of abnormal fear. This fear prevents them from choosing freely which instincts to suppress and which to encourage. Both shrink from the fight and protect themselves.

Now let’s say that both of the men see a psychologist and have that twist in the mind corrected. With free choice in hand, one of the men chooses to suppress the instinct of self preservation and joins the fight accordingly. The other man decides that self preservation is still the best course of action and let’s other men go onward to the fight in front of him. We would say the latter man has bad morals. We could blame him now, but we could not blame him before.

Another example:

A necrophiliac is a man who has sex with dead bodies. Two men commit the act of necrophilia, but only one them has a bad psychological makeup. The normal man’s morals are violated and he feels bad about what he’s done. In an attempt to reconcile his actions with his morals, he may construct different morals that allow the action. If this continues, he may inflict psychological damage on himself and eventually become as bad off as the other man.

The man with bad psychological makeup feels his actions are normal and his morals are not violated, though we cannot say he has any morals with respect to his perverted act. Now let’s say that this man begins to understand that his actions are wrong. This is the moment that morality begins. In an effort to change, once he perceives a better morality, he may set an inward law within himself to never do it again. If he follows this correct morality, he may expend more moral energy than some people have done their entire lives. He is going against his nature. Change on the inside is harder on the mind, will, and emotions than just an outward change of action.

Which one is the greater moral work? Is it the psychologically normal man who stops looking at pornography because he is made to, or the psychologically abnormal necrophiliac who goes against his nature, and stops having sex with dead bodies because he has an understanding of better morals. Both men, over time, will not be 100% successful at either pursuit without help, but we would still say it’s important that they try. Notwithstanding, we are not qualified to judge whether a man’s actions matches his morals. We cannot see man on the inside. It would be nice, though, to have a referee to tell us when we are out of bounds.

To sum up, the nature of man has two aspects: men are basically evil (perverted goodness) and strive for good the wrong way; and man may or may not have a good psychological makeup that allows him to make choices on a matter. Man is going one of two directions in relation to his morals. Either he is heading towards inner peace in himself and others (actions being congruent with his inward morals), or he is at war with himself and others (actions not congruent with his inward morals), assuming his psyche is normal. Either he is becoming a hellish creature or a heavenly creature. Indeed, the end result of continually violating an inward morality is hell itself (figuratively). Humanity strives to follow the morals they have while experiencing success and failure depending upon the amount of one’s inner strength on a given day. Humanity must also do mental checks to make sure they have the right morals, and make sure their minds aren’t damaged in any way.

However, how did we end up in this continual inward war with one’s self? It’s quite obvious to parents that small children possess instincts, feelings, and impulses; but do not possess a conductor to set them to the right tune. Like a piece of music that indicates which notes should be played and for how long; a good morality that sets the “human machine” in the right working order regulates which instincts, feelings and impulses must be suppressed and which must be encouraged. We don’t have morality when we’re born, neither did our parents, or their parents before them. Yet, morality is taught as part of the nurturing process. Where did this inward war originate?

This is where I will give the atheist, evolutionist, philosopher, and religious man a chance to answer. I would be very interested in the evolutionists answer, though I doubt they have one. If they have no answer, I will continue with part two.

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Dear Morally Average Atheist,

An atheist said the following:
“Do you find it at all questionable that, since you can’t offer any evidence that Christians who claim a higher moral standard, actually live to a higher moral standard, and that if anything, the evidence shows that they, Christians, actually live a moral standard that is lower than the moral standard of non believers?
Why is it that you pretty much shrug off actual evidence? I am guessing that if you could show that Christians actually lived to a higher moral standard, you wouldn’t hesitate, but since you can’t, you just ignore the fact that the evidence shows that proclaiming to have a higher moral standard is futile and meaningless, since it (the higher moral standard) has no affect on how believers (Christians) behave.”

Surely, you are not saying it’s useless to try to follow a better standard because no one else does. Your observation does not diminish your responsibility in this area. For instance, if no one in the world got their math completely right and everyone averaged about the same amount of mistakes, striving toward perfect arithmetic would still be good. If, however, a group of people were told the right way of doing math, and chose to ignore the instruction, and still averaged the same amount of mistakes as everyone else, should a math enthusiast be content to be average just because it’s average? No, he should find out what is the correct way, and continue to do what is correct to do. That’s when real progress is made. The ones who know what is right and willingly do wrong should be counted as rebellious, deceived in some way, possessing a hindered mental ability, or persuaded the opposite way to the point of exhaustion.

It is the same with morality. A higher morality of the mind exists as instruction for the “human machine” to be run smoothly. If we are only concerned with others, we will do just enough to get by, and no progress will be made. Also, if the human machine isn’t run in proper order, men will hinder society eventually. The man who does right because his mind is right is in better working order than a man who does right because he is made to. The latter will eventually collide with other men and do harm.

In response to the statement that Christians do not follow their own higher moral standards, I initially did not know what to say. I could cite my own experience and show how I have progressed but that would be lifting myself up. I could have cited other men whom I know have followed this higher moral standard, but again that would be lifting up other men. Pride would be noticed in either statement, and my efforts would be useless because this pride would indicate the opposite of what I was trying to say.

Christians (who follow a higher morality of the mind), of all people, count themselves the vilest of men. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. This is common sense, really. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. The man who strives for right knows where he has gone wrong. The man who is completely wrong in the mind, knows neither right nor wrong, but views all he does as acceptable until someone says otherwise. If men know to do right, they should do it, regardless of what others around them are doing.

(This post is a continuation of the post “Dear Moral Atheist”)

I Didn’t Do It!


I watched the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation today. Other than being a trip down nostalgia lane, it was thought provoking. The villain in the story, “Q”, lost no time in putting humanity on trial. He demanded that the crew of the Enterprise answer for the actions of humanity committed throughout history. Picard’s reply was, “Test us. We are not the same as them.”

Although we all want to be part of a group and have friends, in the end we don’t want to be lumped together and judged. Do you feel that you need to answer for everyone else’s actions?

The actions of humanity haven’t always been commendable throughout history: War, genocide, rape, murder, terrorism, creating the TV show Family Matters. However, humanity on trial isn’t feasible. None of us are the same. Each of us react different and have distinct moral standards. There are many folks that murder and many folks who render first aid. Movies like Surrogates and Gamer suggest that man will devolve into his basest instincts and drives if there are no consequences for his actions. An example of this is porn. Porn is a kind of surrogacy. You can’t have sex at that moment so someone else is doing it for you. The porn industry does bring in billions of dollars so it is safe to say many people are filling a void with digital pixels of sexual images. Does this mean that people will always choose basic instincts if no consequences are involved?

I won’t deny that giving in to those drives are appealing. However, if you give yourself over to them you may find that you become a slave. (In the voice of Yoda) Nothing more than a beast you may become.

Being human is more than giving in to an inner drive. We have an ability that other creatures do not have. The ability to choose. We have the ability to do good and evil, but that doesn’t mean we automatically choose evil. So, although Nero may have done terrible things, I didn’t. I chose a different path.

Let us all be judged on our own merits. (That is, if we’re ever judged by “Q”.)