Thursday, October 30, 2008

Compared to God: We Only have a Limited View

I had a discussion today with a Christian (now a few days ago) in which we discussed time and how god was not bound by its constraints. As obvious as this is to this person, that god isn’t bound by time, her conclusion left me a bit puzzled as to how she arrived at her ‘undenialable’ conclusion. In an effort to understand her position I asked, “Wait, how do you know god is not, as you say, bound by time?” She seemed to think my questioning into the reality of time and god was unworthy of any dignified answer for the only answer I received was an irritated reply, “Please! He’s god, he can do anything he wants!” Apparently, my question seemed juvenile to this lady. Though I could see the annoyance of my simple inquiry was building, I couldn’t help but to ask a few more. “Ok, so god isn’t bound by time because he is god. So why does god let bad things happen to innocent people, like children molestation and people’s mother killed, or 9/11?” Her reply was as expected, “I don’t know why. Sometimes bad things happen and we, as God’s children, can’t possibly understand God because we only have a limited view. We just have to trust God.”

I do not know how people can't see the inherent contradiction they exude with such explanations that snub away tangible, uncomfortable, immoral acts that happen to people under god's supposed omnipotent power and yet at the same time they know precisely how the unobservable science of God manifests itself invisibly...but apparently rendered obvious. How is it that of all the things 'god's children' possibly cannot know concerning god, like how he escapes the laws of physics, space, time, etc., people of faith 'just' automatically know? Yet, when it comes to actually physical observable matters and situations, like child molestation, the science of god and all of his previously known magnificent powers is suddenly lost on them? It seems convenient at these times to all of a sudden not know how God works, except to say that he has some 'unknowable plan' for which they KNOW is holy. I can only figure that the belief that God is all good, all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere makes the knowledge of situations like, again, child molestation quite uncomfortable for those believers to continue to swallow. That is, unless they can come up with an explanation that allows a good-god and child molestation to exist peacefully side by side.

The psychologist, Leon Festinger's, included the process that one’s cognition follows when one merges a belief that contradicts another belief into his widely accepted theory of Cognitive Dissonance. For example, the dissonance between the belief that god is all powerful and good and the belief that child molestation is bad/evil is healed, by the faithful, when they conclude that ‘god’s children only have a limited view’ disabling anybody to conclude that god may not be so good after all...or even doesn’t exist all together. That is, if you choose to believe the absolutely unverifiable resolution of the ‘limited view’ position.

The simple notion that we all have a limited view compared to god's is a contradictory statement in and of itself. If they truly believe they have a limited view, how do they even erect the ‘limited view’ belief? For, if they truly had a limited view how could they know for sure they don't have a limited view on having a limited view. As a matter of fact, if they have a limited view, how do they discern that god is good? Furthermore, how do they KNOW they even have a limited view?

The whole ‘limited view’ position begs a person not to think for themselves. For instance, would rapping a woman ever be moral? I’m sure that everyone reading this blog, religious or not, will maintain an absolute, “No,” to that question without hesitation. Though, I invite anyone reading to contradict me if someone feels otherwise. However, in all of our ‘limited view’ the ‘holy’ book by ‘God’ states in Deuteronomy 21: 11-14 :

11: And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife

12: Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;

13: And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

14: And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.

Not only does god say it’s ok, but he makes it an act worthy of a month preparation ritual of humbling. Not only does this man get to rape her at his will, but desecrate her as well. Who cannot stand up and say that an act of this kind is not wrong in any given situation? I certainly can. Yet, were I to maintain a limited view on God then how could I possibly disagree with god’s own words. He is, after all, all good and knows more than me and my ‘limited view’. And to go ahead and refute the popular rebuttal that Jesus’ returned to abolished the old law I shall insert Matthew 5: 17-18 here:

17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

18: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Has anyone changed their mind that rape of a woman under any circumstance has changed yet? Even though god, supposedly himself, maintains that it is just fine to rape in time of war. Hey, a man has to satisfy himself somehow, right? Yet, I presume everyone remains disgusted with the idea of woman violence, especially under god’s name.

Still, had the Christian followers maintained a ‘limited view’ on this matter, would we still see these kinds of acts still happening today? I imagine some may disagree but I would like to remind people that atrocities still happen in the vain of those who fervently persist that the bible is an absolutely moral book for which one must read and follow. Immoral acts are endured everyday by homosexuals, atheists, women, African Americans, etc., because those who believe in the bible’s complete morality thrush it upon these people. Furthermore, the ‘we only have a limited view’ excuse exacerbates the problem of clear injustice retained by these people. The very idea that one only has a limited view compared to god’s, chokes any independent thought from his followers. And so it follows, those who desire power cannot preside over a people who freely express independence in their thinking and rationality.

Can people of any faith really not comprehend that their confident answers about god consist of absolutely no obtainable evidence and that the time their “I don’t knows” come rolling out of their mouth the “we can’t possibly understand god because of a limited view” notions are always correlated with actual observable happenings? Do they not see that making something up that is improvable bodes well to never having to withstand ever being proven wrong? Indeed, whatever one has made up to feed the dissonance in their head stands a good chance of keeping a delusion valid. I suppose that is why those with schizophrenia and other mental illness rarely come to the conclusion they are actually schizophrenic. They feel that the delusion, hallucination, etc. is actually happening; therefore, it is actually happening. I really don’t think most are daft enough not to grasp this concept. However, whether or not they want to grasp it, I think, holds the answer and is a whole other blog altogether ;)).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Armoire

To this distant memory, an armoire, and one night
My veins held within them a boiling fire of haste and naught
Feeding my flesh with calcium, brazed cotton, and lacquered wood
Never had it been predicted, but shall remain unknown
As abstract melodies sing,
my lungs cried and inhaled the smoke,
Breath that night was lost in the stars falling to earth's craters,
but awoke this early morn I did,
To find nothing but my pillow, tea, and book
Not a rain cloud sprinkled for those lusting in thirst
Tis but life's brave surrender after summer's birth
And what shall move onward through winter's blessed death
Will await by the stolen hearth
to contemplate the lowly chill of that memory and of an armoire

Susie E.

Friday, October 24, 2008

6 Billion Heroes, 1 Reality

Doesn't the word hero seem to impress on one a kind of inferiority to another's characteristics or materials? That is the thing about the phrase, "My hero," it is convoluted with a connotation of someone a person can always aim to be. "Heroes" are chosen and revered on the sheer pretense by the ones whom give their hero their status by something they can "honorably" try to be.

Yet, the term honor is like another hero all together. Society’s Superman if you will. What is defined as “honorable” is learned from one's familial background and one’s cultural environment. The individual who grows up in their particular surrounding will ultimately build a schema upon his/her immediate reality shared by those who neighbor his/her unique individual reality. In essence, the quote, “No man is an island,” explains the affect of one’s ‘nurture’. Though, the reason for aspiring and the consequence of said aspiration is lost.

Taking the assumption that one is shaped by ones environment to one degree or another one has to then follow that individual’s choice would also be shaped by one’s environment. For what is a permissible goal for one to achieve will be revered, or not, as worthy, or not, on the various levels set by the individual’s society and/or family. This serves to give the achiever the illusion that making the proverbial choice of his/her life’s direction will or will not make him happy. This conclusion comes from the idea that if one’s schema is built upon his/her direct environment then driving the same road to happiness will also serve him/her in the same way.

However, as one grows and detaches from their initial ‘reality’ and sets out on the road to become an ‘adult’ different individual schemas abound and one’s prior realizations must once again be reworked. With an ever-changing environment, it is no surprise that a single constant is desired and gives hope to individuals constantly having to readapt themselves to merely survive and attain what they need or desire (Maslow’s hierarchy may help to pinpoint more precisely what various persons need ( With a single thread one can grasp onto, they can find security in a world filled with many different realities and/or delusions. It is here where one’s hero is given genesis.

Be it Jesus, Allah, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, a celebrity, or whom-have-you, these individuals seem to be common heroes throughout the world that give various individuals a constant ‘thing’ they can always try and attain. These types of heroes seem to be used as a measure of how far the striver is from their ultimate destination or even how ‘good’ the person is to their immediate surroundings—giving the immortal a very good illusion of honor and quality (or lack thereof) through prior inserted beliefs into one’s schema and the reactions of others to them and their choices. Though, it stands to reason that if a hero is chosen based on the hero’s ability to be a forever aim, how can one ever hope to reach their dreams? That is, unless one’s dream is to please those around him/her (which in this society, is not highly revered, even though, giving or sacrifice for others is)…

Unfortunately for some and fortunately for others, the future is not a destined or designed absolution but an abysmal uncertainty. In a world of an estimated 6 billion unique individuals living out and through varied situations, one's destiny is surely directly related to the limits and freedom of one's own creativity and will in the present to shape future reality. After all, there is but one reality and any deviation from that reality is wishful thinking, delusional, or false. The world is not ‘flat,’ it is round no matter how many persons of authority or one’s society denies this reality. Their denial does not change the fact that they still live on a round earth. There are not varying realities, there are only illogical misinterpretations of reality by one’s consciousness.

So when I am asked, "Who is my hero or heroes," I have to make clear that my varied collection consist of those whom have taught me something…anything. For it is those who have been able to ‘positively’ teach me, that provide me with an opportunity to realize I can become what is commonly meant as a 'hero' unto myself. The opportunity they forward, perhaps unknowingly, is their ability to contradict my thinking so that my ego can subside, just long enough, to allow a tinny, tiny, little-bitty seed to be implanted into this very small, insignificant mind, with an abundance of stubborn and irrational beliefs so that I can be more present in the one and only reality.

Ultimately, then, those who aid in the attainment of one realizing their greatest and realistic potential as a human being are the true unnoticed heroes in this time of 'presently' wherein the fervently clung words of perfect and imperfect exist not.

Am Gone

Perhaps I am naive, missing this ship completely

Sailing against the tide and shore, my feet molding grains of sand

Tell me if you find that island, if they make paper on such isolated grounds

But, if your compass breaks follow gravity above the level of the sea

You will find me seated under the orange moon and clouds

Just follow the dispersed imprints that shall begin at the pointed bow

That is, if the salty foam has not washed them smooth and even with the ocean's floor

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Night

Beware, beware, the night approaches!
Riding on the heels of day.
Chasing it out of the sky,
Keeping it at bay.
Beware, beware the night approaches!
Now the world is at its pleasure.
Whipping the wind into a frenzy,
Doing it for its leisure.
Beware, beware, the night approaches!
Travellers, take care!
For the darkness will target you,
Of mishaps you'll have your share.
Beware, beware, the night approaches!
As you snuggle down in your bed,
Branches will beckon from outside your window,
Frenzied figures will fill you with dread.
Beware, beware, the night approaches!
But now the day peeps through,
Chasing on the heels of night,
Dispelling the darkness from you.
The last shreds of night now disappear,
There is no more for you to fear.
The night is gone, and the day is here,
Your mind is now quite clear.
The dawn has broken
The night has gone-
All is quiet
Except for bird song.

Author: Jonathan Ward

Posted with permission of its author. To make mention, this quite outstanding poem was published in a book of poems called, "Over the Moon: Bedfordshire, England," when he was just 12. Amazing, no?