Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Memo to the NY Times: Conservatism is Caused by Fighting It

Has it always been this way? Has mainstream journalism always been so transparently agenda-driven as it is today? Probably. It’s just that we didn’t notice it until the rise of alternative media in the form of talk radio and blogs that began challenging our state religion of illiberal leftism.

The question is again raised because of the fraudulent reporting of those slimese twins, the New York Times and the Washington Post, on the National Intelligence Estimate. Now that President Bush has declassified the document, we see that its overarching conclusion is the exact opposite of what the liberal media would have you believe.

There’s plenty of good blogging on this story already (e.g., Dr. Sanity, Right Wing Nuthouse, American Thinker, et al), so there’s little I can add in that regard. As always, I will try to consider the cosmic implications.

There is absolute truth and there is relative truth. Ironically, contrary to what most sophisticates will tell you, it is possible to know absolute truth absolutely. Being that truth is another matter, but knowing it is a human birthright. For example, we may know absolutely that reality is One, that appearance is not the same as reality, that the world is intelligible, and that human beings possess free will with which they may choose good or evil. This is the realm of perennial religious truth, which expresses metaphysical knowledge in sometimes mythological language accessible to virtually everyone.

As I mentioned in my book, you might think of religion as the science of the Ultimate Subject, and science as the religion of the ultimate object. While we may possess objective knowledge of the ultimate subject--e.g., he is love-truth-beauty, or being-consciousness-bliss, or father-son-holy spirit--we can possess no similar knowledge of the relative world, where everything is tinged with human subjectivity. But “subjective” should not be confused with “arbitrary” or “untrue.”

The philosophical tragedy of our day is that the postmodernists use this subjective opening--which is an inevitable artifact of our humaness--to come in with their wrecking ball and destroy the whole idea of objective truth, thus elevating relativity to an objective truth. In so doing, they promulgate the “false vertical” idea that there are absolutely no absolutes, a metaphysical absurdity if ever there was one. In other words, as soon as you say it is absolutely true that all knowledge is relative, you have disproved your own statement. You have actually acknowledged that humans may objectively know absolute truth.

In order to understand the relative world, we must begin with an objectively true framework or paradigm that puts everything in its proper place and allows us to “see” what is important or significant. But the secular assault on religion has badly damaged the extraordinarly bountiful framework ("fruitfulness" being an aspect of truth) that guided western civilization for hundreds of years , only to replace it with their own thoroughly secularized pseudo-religion that we know of as “leftism.” (Memo to moonbats: I am not making the absurd suggestion that all leftists are somehow “bad people.” Rather, I am drawing out the implications of the leftist world view, implications that the average well-meaning leftist surely doesn’t even understand, much less approve of.)

I have heard estimates from reputable members of the elite media that the typical newsroom probably tilts fifteen or twenty to one, liberal to conservative. But at the same time, virtually every one of them believes that they can see beyond their own biases and report the news “objectively.” One wonders what they would say if the situation were reversed, and all newsrooms, not to mention universities, had twenty times as many conservatives as leftists. Especially given their built-in victim mentality and sense of entitlement, there would be howls of indignation. There would be calls for civil rights investigations, ACLU lawsuits, boycotts.

But because of their absurd philosophy, these leftists would see only a structural problem of “not enough liberals” instead of recognizing the truth that their own opinions, attitudes and perceptions are thoroughly colored by their own leftist assumptions. They would have to concede that “I see the world completely differently because I am a liberal,” and they would have to abandon their pretense of journalistic objectivity.

This is why so few people trust the liberal media anymore, because they will not admit their biases. Whatever President Bush’s perceived level of trustworthiness, you can be sure that the MSM’s is significantly lower. And yet, the latter will arrogantly opine on the former, as if their opinions about Bush’s trustworthiness are trustworthy! If they were forthright, they'd say, "don't trust me on this, but I don't think Bush is very trustworthy."

And this is why people flock to alternative sources of news such as talk radio, blogs, and Fox news--because they are transparent. I don’t pretend that I see the world through anything other than the lens of classical American liberalism. Viewed through that lens, the world is an entirely different place than it is when viewed through the lens of illiberal leftism. We literally see different things. We have different assumptions, different ideas about what is important, different values, different notions of good and evil, even entirely different ideas about fundamental causes.

For example, the typical liberal unreflexively believes that “poverty causes crime” (thus the New York Times' clueless headline, "Crime Down Despite Rise in Prison Population") whereas I believe that bad values cause crime. The difference is that the typical liberal has never thought this through. They are generally quite naive about their beliefs, for the simple reason that they have never been challenged. They don’t experience the kind of constant cognitive friction that a conservative does, so they don’t even know how to argue or defend their ideas, which we saw with Clinton last Sunday.

Liberals will typically say that Israeli policies somehow have something to do with Palestinian terror, while I believe that Palestinian terror is caused by their psychotic death cult theology. After all, there are no Christian Palestinian terrorists. They are just as “occupied” as Palestinian Muslims, and yet, it doesn’t occur to the Christians to strap on bombs with pieces of twisted metal and rat poison in order to kill and maim as many women and children as possible.

You and I are not even able to entertain thoughts so evil. We cannot even go there. Under no circumstances whatsoever can we imagine decapitating an innocent journalist or murdering a baby. But could I waterboard a terrorist to stop a terror attack? In a hearbeat. I literally cannot understand the mind of the person who wouldn’t (or the truly "pro-torture" mind of someone who makes excuses for Palestinian terror, which is to essentially say that they would not rule out engaging in it themselves). Different values. Different world. If fighting Islamo-nazis means that more of them are willing to fight for the cause of evil, that's okay. There is a ready solution: kill them faster.

If you unreflexively believe that poverty causes crime or that the cause of terror is fighting it, then all of your reporting is going to reflect those basic assumptions, something we constantly see in the liberal media. For them, these notions are simply “reality,” whereas the idea that bad values cause crime or an evil theology causes terror are “conservative” ideas. Neither point of view is absolutely true, but one is much more true.

Thus, we should not be surprised when liberals take things out of context and distort reality to fit their peceptions. For them to say “the war on terror causes terrorists” is simply a cherished assumption dressed up as a conclusion. If you give it a moment’s thought, their whole world view is just so stupid. Would they ever report that terrorists are the cause of the American military that liberals so despise, and that if terrorists would only appease America, our military would stop trying to harm them? Or that Islamo-nazis have to stop their unwinnable war on the west, because it will only create more George Bushes and Tony Blairs and John Howards?

Or that they themselves must stop mindlessly attacking conservatives, because it will just make us stronger?

Personally, I hope they never figure out that last one.

65 Comments:

Anonymous tsebring said...

I became a real dyed-in-the-wool conservative on September 11, 2001, on a day when I'm sure many people did the same. It was on that day that I saw with more clarity than ever the moral vacuuousness of pacifism and liberalism, and the mortal danger that it exposed us to as a nation. I also was able to examine the real reasons why I was a liberal before in the first place. Though a born-again Christian, I clung to many liberal and even Marxist fantasies (such as "we can eliminate poverty" and "war is not the answer", for several reasons: 1. I saw my retention of those ideas as a way of asserting my intellecutal independence, refusing to let those far-right "Jesus Freaks and Fundies" tell me how to think, and pursuing my own road to God, my own way. I later realized that, ironically, my efforts to be "open-minded" were really closing my mind, and, in trying to be open-minded, I was being closed-spirited; i.e., in denial of such absolute truths as "the poor we will always have with us" and the realities of The Fall, and the inability of man to do good in and of himself that resulted. 2: Unfortunately, as a new convert, I had been bamboozled by several leftie profs at the Christian college I attended, and their assigned reading, that leftism was a proper worldview for a proper Christian, and that conservatism was just primitive, selfish and downright sinful; Unchristian, in other words (thus my familiarity with leftie Christians like Jim Wallace and Ron Sider; see discoverthenetworks.com for more info). Only after I joined a small home church where the focus was on Christ and ONLY Christ did I awaken from that coma, and begin to truly let God reveal to me His Ultimate Truth, and let all other truths radiate from that. But it was 9/11 that truly brought it home; I saw the true, savage evil of mankind in a way that my Marxist blinders had not allowed me to see, and I saw the true vapidity and even immorality of pacifism. 9/11 made it clear to me that war and violence are often an absolute necessity to defeat true evil; the existence of evil, brought on by The Fall, being one of those absolute truths that Moral Relativists try to make go away by denying it. I was also helped to see this more clearly by reading the Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, both tales of epic, costly and heroic struggles against pure evil in which peace is won by defeating the enemy, as Rush is fond of saying, and where true leaders and kings emerge the hard way; by proving themselves in battle, and standing up to evil (these books should be required reading for HS kids; they'd make a good antidote to moonbat teachers).
Maybe George W. and Tony Blair are not exactly Aragorn or Aslan, but they're certainly closer than Kerry, Gore, Carter, or any of the other appeasing diplomacy-philes that are out there criticizing. This is the clarity that 9/11 gave me; I'm a conservative not because it makes me a better Christian, but because it's where that clarity of thought and purpose have led me.

9/27/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

tsebring--

There is nothing I would add except "paragraph."

9/27/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia again this year; it struck me how I had been completely blind as a child to whatever moral message Jack Lewis intended to get across. It was just a really interesting story that happened to operate on a child's logic and a child's sense of right. Of course, I realize now that Lewis probably knew that passage about "The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these..."

And another realization: Much of the Left can be explained away as the inversion of something else Lewis said: "'When I was a man, I put away childish things' - including the fear of seeming childish and the desire to be grown up."

9/27/2006 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in other words the left is still operating on that little-kid "i wanna be the grownup now!" level. their mentality hasnt changed in the least.

9/27/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

>>Has it always been this way? Has mainstream journalism always been so transparently agenda-driven as it is today? Probably.<<

I think, however, that the MSM has in recent years really picked up the bias ball and run with it to an unprecedented degree. That they are doing this in the face of unprecedented alternative media capacity to fact-check and challenge even speaks to a certain daring on their part. I tend to think the MSM is more aware of their own bias, and desperate, than perhaps we like to think.

But it fits the overall scenario of side-choosing that some say is the earmark of the "end-time". Philosophical opposition becomes, finally, a declaration of war. And it really is just that - war, a civil war. It's a Cold Civil War so far, but - and I suppose this sounds a bit paranoid - I have to wonder at what point, given the stakes involved (ownership of the soul, no less), the Cold Civil War will, has to, turn Hot. Or at best, some kind of legally formulated separation.

9/27/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger geckofeeder said...

As JWM said yesterday, I've been in lurk 'n learn mode as well. So much consistently good writing from the Bobble Head holy man himself and so many great posts.
"This is the realm of perennial religious truth, which expresses metaphysical knowledge in sometimes mythological language accessible to virtually everyone."
Mmmm. Thank you for virtual accessibility.

9/27/2006 10:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

tsebring - it seems to be a truth that spiritual awakenings are, if not birthed, then certainly accelerated, deepened by crises, traumas of various sorts, sometimes individual, sometimes universal, sometimes both.

9/27/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hilarious, I just came across this ad at Craigslist. If this doesn't say it all, I don't know what can, as far as paranoid delusions and projection...

Casting for video PAID
Reply to: gigs-212885960@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-09-27, 7:25AM PDT

Need 15 minutes of your time.

We're making a political video dedicated to overturning Republican control of Congress.

We need lots of people (male/female, all ages & ethnicities) to deliver lines to camera in man-in-the-street interview style.

Shooting downtown LA on Thursday, Sept. 28 mid-day.

Please reply with contact info.

Pays $20 + parking allowance
(To all those who we already shot, you were wonderful, we just need more people)

Here's the lines - say any or all (or come up with your own):

"For the last 6 years the Republicans have controlled all 3 branches of government."

"Exploiting our fears"

"Politicizing 9/11"

"Lying our way into war"

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely"

"And there's a lot of corruption going on"

"They're pushing a right wing agenda"

"With no oversight"

"Whatever happened to checks and balances?"

"No, not that kind of checks"

"And on November 7th we finally have a chance to take back the capitol"

"The war in Iraq is costing over 1 billion dollars per week"

"We're going to paying that bill for a long time"

"I know I'm gonna be paying"

"You know I'll be paying"

"Republicans talk a lot about staying the course"

"What course?"

"It looks like we're on the road to another Viet Nam"

"We've GOT to take back the capitol"

"Temperature's rising"

"Flood waters rising"

"Body count rising"

"National debt rising"

"Thank you Republicans"

* this is in or around LA
* no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: Compensation: $20 + parking allowance

9/27/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous philament said...

This could be THE week -- the turning point beyond which the Left becomes but a mere shadow of it's former self. Extraordinary events such as the Clinton meltdown and the stunning remarks by the Afgani President during President Bush's news conference have opened many eyes ever wider with the blogoshpere amplifying it all most eloquently...

9/27/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger geckofeeder said...

OMG Lisa, that is hilarious. There are no words to describe how much inner work it takes me to be civil to those in people who care making this tripe.
Will, I am loving reading your posts.

9/27/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger geckofeeder said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/27/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Eeevil Right Wing Nut said...

Thanks for another great post Bob. (Oh yeah, and all hail Petey!) ;o)

I would have to agree with Will that the MSM really has pulled out all the stops with their bias and I think part of the reason why is because there IS an alternative media out there. For the MSM and lefties, their world view is their religion (though I doubt they see it that way) and the alternative media and those who do not share the MSM worldview are dangerous heretics and must be quashed. They see themselves as the high priests and final arbiters of truth and information and as such, it is their holy duty to counter any unorthodox view using any means necessary. They would gladly burn us all at the stake except that it would contribute to global warming, deforestation and some hitherto unknown species of termite which cures cancer might become extinct.

I don’t have any worries at all about a “hot” war with the lefties; they don’t have guns. ;o)

9/27/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger bjbarron said...

I don’t have any worries at all about a “hot” war with the lefties; they don’t have guns. ;o) >

Now that is something I could never, never understand.

With the clear and present danger of gulags, black helicopters, midnight arrests, ChimpyMcBu$hitler, HalliCheneyBurton, Progressive Newspapers/Radio/Movies being shut down every day, religious hegemony around the corner, and all the strange lefty disappearances....why are the moonbats so hot to limit their own access to weapons?

Don't they know they're going to need them soon? Don't they understand conservatives want to grind down AmeriKa under a reign of terror? Are they going to let us march them to the camps singing Kumbayaa? Why don't they arm up.

Makes no sense.

9/27/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Well, thanks, Gecks. I enjoy your posts as well.

Speaking of posts in general: if I'm not mistaken, there seems to be among OC commentators a recent upsurge of . . I dunno, what's the word? . . . a "spiritual clarity" vibe? A "quickening", sharpening of the spiritual senses? Just something I am feeling . . .

Is interesting. Of course, as the corollary antipode, Nags was really on a full-court press there for a while. But that only confirms my intuition.

9/27/2006 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

right wing nut -

If the lefties control all the important gov institutions, they'll have the guns.

They just don't want YOU to have guns.

9/27/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Conservative said...

I agree with you when you say that the liberal attack on conservatives "makes us stronger."
Because of their attacks, we must always be thinking through our beliefs and in doing so we do not go in for mindless assumptions like they do (to paraphrase your post).
I would say that moonbats, even thought they are annoying and excessive sometimes on this blog in their commentary, are vital to our discourse here, because how could we argue for our cause if their was no one to argue it against?
God Bless the moonbat, may he suffer mightily while resisting the truth.

9/27/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Ledeen said...

Just like a neocon...
Never printing any comments that disagree with the right-wing thought process.
Why do you fear dissent on your site? Why do your winged monkeys always do your dirty work for you?
Why is it that your essay titles are so ctachy, yet your content is always the same pseudo-intellectual babble, veering off course right away, as the essay diverges into another rehashed attack on left-wing America. I come here to read about spirituality and 'vertical living', yet all I ever see in here are political rants under the guise of a PHD in psychology.
You mock those who consider a right-wing agenda as conspiracy theorists, yet you constantly make references to a liberal media conspiracy.
Who's the paranoid moonbat, Bob?

9/27/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Eeevil Right Wing Nut said...

Will-

You make a very fine point, sir.

I still wonder though...
You can give a lefty a gun but can you teach him to shoot?

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=22552&only

9/27/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

tsebring

Thanks for your thought-provoking post. When people present themselves as "Christians", particularly when they use the term "born again", I AM always interested in learning what they mean by this. What do you mean when you use the term "conversion"? If you speak of Jesus Christ as your "Lord & Savior", are you professing belief in the ramifications of a life lived 2,000 years ago or are you actually testifying and "confessing" to an experience (or ongoing experiences) you have had.

Several weeks ago I got in a discussion with an intern pastor about what it means to be "saved". He quoted the bible, saying that if you "confess" Jesus as your savior then you are saved. I don't necessarily disagree, but where he and I seem to differ is in our understanding of the terms "confess" and "saved". I'm not convinced that standing up in front of a group of people and saying a few lines necessarily brings about the results that amount to experiences of the "Good News" Jesus' came and died to convey. Anyway, after our discussion, I returned home and sent him the following note...


Dear X,

For me, confessing Christ as my savior is not an expression of a choice or religious vow, it is an expression of my reality, a testimony to what I am experiencing in relationship with God. My path did not include any public pronouncement of my choice to accept Jesus as my lord and savior. My path involved the conscious choice to invite God into my life, into my very being, and ultimately to fully, and unconditionally surrender my life to God. Sometime subsequent to this, I experienced the arrival (birth, resurrection) of a presence in my consciousness that presented itself as Jesus as if to inform me that he was now "lord of my life". When I confess Jesus as Lord, I am confessing my interpretation of an ongoing experience of the living God (Christ). This is something different for me than saying that I believe something as if to say, "okay, that makes sense, and I want to fit in, so I'll buy into it now."

"Peace"

X



For me, it always comes down to this, and I offer this suggestion to no one in particular. Try pulling out a piece of paper and a pen and writing the following note...

Dear Living God,

I surrender everything that I am and will ever be entirely to you. Come be with, live in, work through, and love me as you will.

Love,

X



How would you (again, no one in particular) feel about writing this in a handwritten note, stepping outside, repeating it in a prayer, and then lighting the note on fire as if to send its contents up into the Heavens. Would it make you nervous or are you already "there", and thus the note would represent nothing more than an affirmation of the existing state and commitment level of your relationship with God? If you are not "there", then would it be fair to suggest that any anxiety over such a letter be a reflection of the fact that yes, indeed, there is some "new reality" on the other side of our "full surrender" to God?

Do you believe that Jesus' was willing to die on the cross to bring us the "Good News" of anything less than this new reality? If we are not willing to enter into the same reality, then is our "Christianity" of Jesus or is "Societal Christianity" something that we have been lulled into by powers intent on preserving their place in a reality on this side of "full surrender" to the living God.

What does it all have to do with the prospect of "eliminating poverty"? Furthermore, when we speak of this prospect, are we talking about eliminating economic poverty or is the goal to alleviate the "poverty of spirit"? Hmmmm, that reminds me. If we address this poverty of spirit among the world's wealthiest and most influential, will the elimination of economic poverty necessrily follow? Guess we better ask the camel. Oh well, I AM not ONE to answer my questions of others, but among those presenting themselves as Christians, and disparaging campaigns like "Make Poverty History", I'll kindly suggest that the question be worth exploring. On earth as it is in Heaven. The Kingdom is at hand. No bullchit.

Now ain't that a daisy.

9/27/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Sarge at large said...

Speaking about libs and guns, one thing that bothers me about the Islamofascists is that they seem to have an endless supply of AK-47's and RPG's and all manner of neat hardware, and they get to drive around in trucks brandishing their weapons, and they make bombs really well and they just seem to have fun running around with their combat gear and it makes me kind of jealous.
I wish we could have a more relaxed attitude about military stuff here in the states. I would love to be able to brandish a rifle and in general have a more martial atmosphere in my life. How come those backwards barbarians seem to enjoy freedoms that are denied to me?
Its the liberals--they are the gun haters. They are no fun at all.

9/27/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to Straus and Howe in "The Fourth Turning, An American Prophecy", this present period is a result of generational characteristics asserting themselves, and the characteristics of a high percentage of the boom generation is one of massive self-indulgence. The REACTION to this Political Correctness is the key to the future. The REACTION defines the future of public attitudes, and is essential to meeting the coming crisis.

If there were fewer lefties spouting their nonsense, fewer GagDad Bobs would arise to answer them. Islam is an enemy which will test western civilization, and ways must be found to meet it. The public debate going on now is essential to defining the future direction.

I saw a comment recently saying that if we think the middle east looks bad now, just wait until Eqypt blows up. This situation is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better, and Bush and the west didn't cause it. The pathology of Islam caused it.

Muslims have been fighting over everything for centuries, but now with modern technology and with the large number of unassimilated Muslims in all western countries, they have become a major threat outside their own hellhole countries.

This will end when people become ashamed to admit they are Muslims. Before they do that, we will have to do a much better job of convincing people that we are right. Right now a large part of our society is engaged in convincing people that we are wrong. To convince people we are right, we must be able to define the essential elements in western society and why they are universally right, in ways that any human can understand, and then use our technology to sell that message worldwide. If we can't define it, and are not willing to preach it, we will lose.

9/27/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Eeevil Right Wing Nut said...

Gee Michael, why do you keep coming here to read about spirituality and ‘vertical living’ if you know you are just going to get political rants under the guise of a PHD in psychology?

/just like a moonbat; doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result. Someone might think you are crazy…

9/27/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Michael--

"Who is the paranoid moonbat?"

Sounds like a trick question, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say "me."

But I certainly allow dissenting comments, as your learned and witty contributions prove.

9/27/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Anonymous brings up the prevailing question. He is against Islam. I am not. Bush is not. The Pope is not. All four of us are supposedly conservative. Many conservatives are not against the religion of Islam, but the heresies within Islam. Many Muslims, the vast majority, by the way, are also against these heresies. It is not just the left that is against the notion that the evil that needs to be thwarted is Islam, though they want to see all forms of it as equal.

9/27/2006 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joseph--

What do you make of the latest polling that indicates that 50% of the world's Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists?

9/27/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

anonynous


Islam means "Surrender"....to God. Unfortunately, many Muslims have misinterpreted the message of "submission" to mean that all people must submit to the Quran. So, what you got is people holding onto their human will in relation to God while, at the same time, imposing their will on others.....in God's name. Ergo Islamic fascism.

Now, if you look at the example of Jesus' life's message, you will see that he too calls us to abandon our human wills to God. By doing so, we are brought into experiences of being through which we "express Christ".

You say that Islam is THE enemy. No, the dumbing down of Muhammad's (pbuh) message of "Islam", and the resulting expressions of knuckleheaded (unenlightened) interpretations of the Quran are AN enemy.

Ahh, but how many people who call themselves "Christians" have chosen the same, committed relationship with God that Jesus embodied? If more Christians were "expressing Christ" in the world, not by merely emulating Jesus but by actually expressing the life of the risen Christ in themselves, how would things be different? And so, to be frank, "Christianity" as it is typically understood and practiced is AN obstacle too.

As Christians and Muslims embrace the real, consistent message of "surrender" to the living God they will eventually be drawn into THE central current, into the "way, truth, and life" of a thought-and-feeling stream of consciousness that leads them into right relationships with each other.......and with God. Don't think so? How much do you know about algorithms?

Have you ever thought about how much trouble could have been averted if the Bible had simply capitalized the "I AM" in the "way, truth, and life" comment? Probably not, but if you take the plunge of truly surrendering to God you will one day find yourself particpating in the mind that ponders it.


Sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me now, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away



Sing it, Steven.


Petey, sorry to take up so much space here today 'ol chap. Good crowd you got here. Gratzi for your hospitality.

9/27/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I have not seen the poll, and I am typically not persuaded by polls. There is a poll, I am told that says 50% of Americans think 9-11 was an inside job. What were the questions, exactly? Who was being asked? From what countries? What is their education? And also, maybe it's true. That being said, I think, for example, that the idea that a billion.2 Muslims are going to at some point become embarrassed that they are Muslims, or that we will somehow stop the religion in its tracks is simply untenable. My opinion is that if God allows a billion of any religion he must have had a reason.

9/27/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Big Possum,
I somewhat agree with your assessment, though with Muslims, it is not so simple, as the Quran, for them, has an equivalent status as Jesus does for Christians. Further, when Christians dumb down or misinterpret their scriptures, they don't typically strap a bomb to themselves, as Bob notes, and especially they don't line up kids to go through mine fields in the name of their religion. I completely agree that Islam has to evolve, or develop, but a key problem is that violence is literally woven into their religion via the Quran. As I have said before, their have been Islamic cultures that have greatly de-emphasized this aspect.

9/27/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My guess is that if we could merely introduce modernity into that part of the world, many Muslims would eventually embrace a more "interior" version Islam, along the lines of Sufism. All religions become increasingly interiorized as civilization develops, so that would certainly be my hope. Might take a hundred years, however.... But that was my ultimate hope for Iraq: a modern Muslim nation. In the long run, that's the only solution.

9/27/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

If you give it a moment’s thought, their whole world view is just so stupid.

Mmmmm! Just...having a wonderful moment of unbridled appreciation for the straightforward summary of this sentence. Sometimes the thoughts from aloft really should be earthy in their expression.

Stupid:
1.characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.
2.tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.(see: Democrats)

9/27/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

Bob....

I hear you on Sufism. One of my favorite poets ever is from a 14th-century Sufi mystic, Hafiz. If ever there was a man of God worthy of being called a "rascal", in the most positive sense of the term, Hafiz is the fella.

What is this precious love and laughter
Budding in out hearts?
It is the glorious sound
Of a soul waking up!


Beautiful, no?


Joseph, I hope you see that I did not create moral equivalency in the comparison. From my perspective, however, the West's approach must involve as much of an effort to help alleviate the negative energies housed in the consciousness of the Middle East as it does to pro-actively modernize it. Negative energies are the fuel of reactive (vs. creative) thought. Because of the energies of resentment and dark pride in the consciousness of the region, Western attempts to lead modernization efforts do more to activate the negative energy than they do to support its dissipation. This, in turn, cuts of the channels to creative energy flow, thereby hindering internal modernization.

Also, more often than not, more than the Quranic instruction is the catalyst, it is turned to as a justification of Muslims' choices to "release" negative energies via destructive acts. Next time you feel really, really disrespected, to the point of fantasizing (if only for a second) about punching your "disser", try sitting with the energy you experience in your being. Imagine carrying that energy all day. If you experienced that, you would listen attentively to anyone who tells you you are right to feel angry and you would gladly embrace a belief system that says you may please God by punching the person you believe is responsible for how you feel.


My deuce cents

9/27/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Because of the energies of resentment and dark pride in the consciousness of the region, Western attempts to lead modernization efforts do more to activate the negative energy than they do to support its dissipation.

O'possum, I've read your post several times and still see this statement as a non-sequitur. I suspect you have more behind such an assumption, because such a statement would be hard-won on the field of proof.

While staying in a small Cuban village, I found that the older folks there venerated Castro because he brought them electricity, and no other real reason they could think of. Of course, that was a half-century ago, but their pride remains in the very little they have, because it's just an eentsy bit more than they had before....50 years before.

But many folks in Havana have televisions, and fax machines, and computers and cameras and have found a voice. They are the ones pressing for change, because they know and have experienced and discovered a knowledge previously unavailable to them. They have, and they thirst for more... not just things, but truth.

Modernization is bringing truth and ideas and discovery to the far-flung corners of the earth. It better serves the rulers and dictators to blame all the lack and woe on a modern boogey-man nation, because bringing modernity would bring an end to their oppressive luxuries bought by the sweat of their people. You can't convince Cubans that Castro has been depriving them until they see freedom. They have been lulled with a bit of electricity and curbed streets ...and tons of marajuana.

Even here in the States, those that have turned off the television and started reading and discovering a whole different world of news, are finding themselves with more ideas, more freedom, and more discovery.

As for the seeming steadfastness of "religion" in the face of a modern onslaught, all I can say is that the Christian Right that was complaining about Bart Simpson is now quite happily chirping, "eat my shorts."

9/27/2006 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Bob and all,

Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?

The time is long past to stop focusing on symptoms and myriad details and finally seek lasting solutions. Until we address the core causes of the millennia of struggle and suffering that have bedeviled humanity, these repeating cycles of evil will never end.

History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn’t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.

Read More...

...and here...

Peace…

9/27/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

I'll handle this one.

"Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?"

Umm, same reason secular ones do? Because they're human beings.

9/27/2006 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

“Dear Living God,

I surrender everything that I am and will ever be entirely to you. Come be with, live in, work through, and love me as you will.

How would you (again, no one in particular) feel about writing this in a handwritten note, stepping outside, repeating it in a prayer, and then lighting the note on fire as if to send its contents up into the Heavens. Would it make you nervous or are you already "there", and thus the note would represent nothing more than an affirmation of the existing state and commitment level of your relationship with God? If you are not "there", then would it be fair to suggest that any anxiety over such a letter be a reflection of the fact that yes, indeed, there is some "new reality" on the other side of our "full surrender" to God?"



BP,

How fortunate it is for me you have written this comment at this time. As it happens, this is exactly where I seem to find myself at this point. I know Bob has a low opinion of people low-jacking his comment threads, but perhaps he will allow me to high-jack this one from the political discussion to a more personally spiritual one.

I have to admit, I think I am just a bit spiritually retarded. I have been an atheist since before I entered high school (in 1982), but have been an ardent subscriber to classic American liberalism (and thus a conservative) since I have been able to understand the concept of liberty. I am not an avid or dogmatic atheist, I just decided that since I could find no empirical evidence that God exists, I would choose to believe that He did not, until I found evidence to the contrary. I have never been offended by anyone else's belief, and at times have even found myself envious of it. I was brought up in the Catholic Church, which I think has something pretty significant at its core, but as an institution leaves a great deal to be desired in the way of encouraging the spiritual growth of a young man. Regardless of my belief in God, I have long recognized that the teachings of the Church were the foundations of my ideas of right and wrong.

I have been absorbing as many Bobservations as possible for about a month now. (Many thanks to you Bob, as your brilliant writing has very much progressed my thinking.) So now, after a long and arduous journey (lasting intermittently my entire adult life), I am now intellectually ready to say, okay, I don't need evidence of God from the material world.

The other night, I read a touching comment on this very blog, regarding the actual process of accepting and knowing God. (I have no idea who wrote it or to which post it was in response. I have always been a poor student, and don't take good notes.) In any event, the comment related that to know God, all one has to do is invite Him into your life, much like the scenario described in your comment.

So I sat, and debated in my mind how this would work. I have decided this is a step I want to take. I have decided, in fact, this is a step I MUST take if I am going to progress as a human. (I am utterly aware of the fact that I have a great deal of progressing to do, and as every day passes, the time to do it grows shorter.) In my conscious mind, this is something I want to do. So I asked myself, “Why don’t you just do it right now?” My answer to myself was, “You know this won’t work if it isn’t sincere.” And the debate went on.

“Well I am sincere; I have decided this is what I want to do.”

“You’re not even fooling yourself, you know you won’t fool God, this is not what fully occupies your heart and mind.”

“Well I am still sincere in my desire, even if I cannot say I am sure. Just give it a try. Surely God will not fault you for taking a practice run at it, even if you don’t get it right the first time.”

And on and on the debate went, until after I don’t know how long, I was disturbed from my contemplations by the sensation of tears running down my cheeks. I never did invite Him into my life, not even practicing. My concentration broken, I realized I was overcome by a profound sadness, comparable only to the sadness I felt when my mother died. The Cosmos had gotten everything out of me it was going to get that day, so I went to bed.

That was several nights ago. Since then I have been trying to figure out how I will get through this impasse. I have managed to come up with several ideas why I may have encountered this problem. My first thought was that I have spent so long not believing in God that my prideful devotion to self simply won’t allow me to admit I was wrong.

However my real suspicion is that I cannot invite God into my life, because without Him, it is pretty easy to rationalize and justify being a rather crappy person. I am pretty sure God isn’t going to let me skate on that stuff. By that I mean it is apparent that to be sincere in my invitation, I will have to own up to my failings. I am not a terrible person, but like most people, I have done things that I am less than proud of, and there are certainly things I would change about the way I have lived my life, given the opportunity. It is not that any of these transgressions was an appalling sin against man or God, and even taken as a group, I tend to think that on the grand scale of good and evil, I would fit somewhere on the good side, even if not solidly so. It is more that I am embarrassed about those poor choices, because I knew better, and I made the wrong choice anyway, and if asked “Why?” my only answer is, “I don’t know.”

It occurs to me that the reason I don’t know why I made those poor choices, is because I haven’t asked myself. And I think this rather lengthy, rambling, and off-topic comment, is ample evidence that I do not yet have any intention of doing so, regardless of what I say I want to do. It seems God likes to have one leave his defense mechanisms outside when one enters His house. That is perfectly understandable and reasonable. If I had gone to the trouble of creating a beautiful, ordered and rational universe, I wouldn’t want my kids getting their irrationality all over everything.

So while it would be easy and really not that out of character (but very much against my values) for me to be one of those “ ‘okay, that makes sense, and I want to fit in, so I'll buy into it now,’’ types of Christians, I know that will not get me any closer to where I want to be. In fact, those are exactly the types of Christians who have turned me off God and religion for so very long.

So BP, or Bob, or anyone with a constructive suggestion; any ideas on how I can overcome my fear of myself as well as my pride in myself, and sincerely invite God into my life?

9/27/2006 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

any ideas on how I can overcome my fear of myself as well as my pride in myself, and sincerely invite God into my life

If you'll pardon the folksy approach...I'd say you see your fears and pride as something bigger than the God you seek. Seek a bigger God, friend...

I'm pretty sure He isn't the least bit intimidated by your pride or fear. He may be grinning excitedly, waiting for you to give up the seeking for sincerity and just ask to be found.

None of us is "saved" by right thinking. It helps, but it isn't everything.
:)

9/27/2006 06:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Hey Steve -

My humble advice would be: don't get too hung up on the concept of "God". God exists and you don't have to "conceive" Him any more than you have to "conceive" the sunrise to know that it's there. The question is, how to you come to *perceive* God or at least His edges?

So what prevents us from perceiving the edges of God? Ah, you know, the usual - maya, mind-crap, faulty perspective, etc. What to do about it? Work on being self-aware, day to day, patiently. Work on being honest with yourself. Just bringing this stuff into your conscious mind exposes it, breaks its power, kills the ghosts. You don't have to over-analyze it, just be conscious of it, be self-attentive. And be aware of your own guilt feelings - you don't want to get too mired in that. Actually, guilt and the mind-set that causes the guilt are both on the same level of consciousness, and you want to transcend that level.

Again, be patient. Be diligent about it. Use the imagination God gave you and start thinking of yourself as a spiritual pilgrim. Shouldn't be that much of a prob because obviously that's what you are.

And give yourself some credit. You're off to a good start, you're already doing this stuff.

9/27/2006 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Steve--

That is a very moving post that is worthy of some reflection before trying to provide an immediate answer. But off the top of my head, I would say that for starters you need to either fall in love (easier with a human form) or be intellectually convicted, depending on your personality style. Only in that way does Spirit become the context, not merely the content, of your life.

The tears are a very good sign--they are a gift, a taste of repentance and metanoia--but you may need to reach a deeper state of moral bankruptcy with regard to the implications of your current life. Remember, the greater the struggle, the greater the realization. Everyone is a unique "problem of God," and the great project of your life is how the divine is going to get himself out of this jam he got himself into. Will he extricate himself while the sun shines? Tune in next week!

Sincerity, surrender, rejection (of the lower) and aspiration.

9/27/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, as Will suggested, the seeking is the beginning of the finding.

9/27/2006 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And community. I think you will find the direct testimony of others whom you respect quite helpful.

9/27/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

Steve,

Then night I invited God in I was standing in the 'crows nest' (roof porch) of a beach house. Like you seem to be dealing with now, I experienced a lot of trepidation. I recall actually whimpering to God, "Okay, you can come in, but please don't take away my cold beer and my golf weekends with my buddies". That was one part of my problem, the fear of losses of the things that gave me pleasure and the experiences with friends that buoyed my self esteem. The other part of my problem was embarassment over some things, one being that at the time I liked looking at porn magazines.

Well, it is now about 8 years later for me, and things are certainly a lot different. I still enjoy a cold beer from time to time (not to mention a Vodka martini) but I don't get shit faced. If I showed up for a week in the bahamas to find no alcohol on the island, I'd be cool with that now whereas 8 years ago I'd want back on the plane. I still get a bit excited by the presence and/or pictures of hot girls, but the idea of looking at porn doesn't appeal to me anymore.

What's the point? Well, for me the point has been that in relationship with the living God I do not necessarily experience as much "pleasure" as I did before, but don't seem to need it. For me, pleasures were always sought and indulged in as a form of temporary relief from my general dissatisfaction with myself. Now, though not necessarily satisfied with myself, I really ENJOY myself. Or better yet, I would say that I enjoy God's involvement in myself, sometimes to the point of laughing my ass off. As important, I also get to experience God's enjoyment and appreciation of me. Hard to explain until it starts happening, and its usually pretty subtle, but when it does start happening it is pretty darn cool. Furthermore, as my enjoyments have increased in relations with God, I've startied worrying less and less about when/how/where I will get my next fix of "pleasure".

To be honest with you, while I disagree with many of Bob's political opinions, I like reading his stuff because I trust God's involvement in his life and get a kick out of the way Bob reveals his relationship with God in his writing. Though Bob's a real smart dude and I can learn some stuff here, more than it is the content of the writing that attracts me it is the "vibe" of the place; Bob is having fun playing around with this same "involvement" that I experience. At least this is my impression, and I particularly like the way that it comes through in many aspects of his book.

Anyway, speaking of involvement, I need to wind up my involvement on this board for a spell. I've kind of latched onto the "good vibe" and have enjoyed giggin on it. Before parting, however, I'll leave you with this thought. You are not a "crappy person", as you have written. At worse, you're having some experiences of what you call a "crappy person" in order that you may in turn have experiences of God loving this person, and of the process by which God brings you out of that experience and into the experience of who you really are. This process is the road along which you learn who God really is. Then, rather than saying you love God just because a book instructs you to, you will exude love for God because of what you have experienced of God's love for you.

If I may make a recommendation, I have a book that is coming strong to mind right now. I'm sure you know of the parable, but should the suggestion resonate with you at all, I think you will find Nouwen's presentation to be a real treasure.

"Return of the Prodigal Son", by Henri Nouwen

God IS Love

BP

9/27/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

....the great project of your life is how the divine is going to get himself out of this jam he got himself into.


Cool way to put it. Hadn't thought of it quite like this before.


....you're having some experiences of what you call a "crappy person" in order that you may in turn have experiences of God loving this person, and of the process by which God brings you out of that experience and into the experience of who you really are. This process is the road along which you learn who God really is.


Different instruments. Same sheet of music.


"My brother Bill and my other brother Jack
Barrel full of beer and a possum in a sack
Fifteen kids in the front porch light
Louisiana Saturday Night"

- Alabama


Yeahhhhhh.

9/27/2006 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Advice for Steve said...

Steve, you've already done most of the heavy lifting for your impending spiritual expansion; that is to say, you are sincere. One way to ask God into to your life is to pray, either out loud or silently, and with some emotion (as much as you can muster)-

"God, I give my life to you. Show me what to do. You take over, I cannot do this myself. I am unable to lead my own life. I need guidance. Please help me now."

Give your past to God. Say to Him

"You take it, please, I offer my past to you. Do with it what you will."

You don't have to "believe" these prayers or try to force sincerity. Just say them and concentrate on your longing to have God take over your life. A sense of desperation is a plus.

You may find yourself weeping as you pray, which is a good sign. These kinds of tears, like those you have already shed, are very healing.

After praying (I think of it as crying out) you may feel very hollow or empty, which is good. You must empty out your vessel to make room for God to come in. You may feel nothing at first, or, you may get feeling, a sensation like a warm hand on the top of your head, or a whisper in your mind, deep in your intuition, saying "yes, I am here" or some very fleeting, vague sensation of light in the mind's eye.
The following days repeat the prayer and be alert for signs that He is with you. Finding a coin on the ground, or getting a call from an old friend, or a particular song plays on the radio at just the right time...be in tune with your intuition, and try to follow your hunches.
This would be a good time to have some quiet time to meditate, to go for long walks, or to be in nature.
In your dealings with people flood them with your words and feelings. Talk to anyone who will listen to you. This is a good time in your life, but it will seem wierd and you'll need your "support group" at this time.

9/27/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Great posts today. Steve- I hear you. I am dealing with much the same thing myself. I have reached a point with faith, where it seems that all the components seem to be there. I have to acknowledge that I have come a long way. I've made many changes. Yet I just know that there is some sort of 'clicking into place' that has not yet fully occurred in me. BP: I like the "challenge of the note"
Here's part of my daily prayer:

...Father
For this one day I place my life and my will in your care.
Please guide me.
Instruct me.
Show me the way that you would have me follow.
Teach me the path on which you would have me walk.
As this day unfolds-
Guide my heart.
Guide my mind.
Guide me: emotion, intention, thought, word, and deed.
May the Holy Spirit-
Suffuse my emotions
Shape my intentions
Inspire my thoughts.
Temper my words.
And guide my deeds.
It is not what I want,
but what you want for me.
Not what I would do,
but what you would have me do.
It is not my will,
but that yours be done, that I humbly pray...


There's more. But this is the important part.

JWM

9/27/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Bubba Reinmacher said...

Amen.

9/27/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Long Rider said...

Steve!

You are on the right track when you start evaluating your motivations for not submitting to God's authority. You are stuck in that "free will thang"

I believe that sin can simply be described as selfishness. If someone lies, cheats, steals, kills or committs adultry, one does it because it's what one wants to do and so puts his/her wants ahead of the greater good of others. As Bob has described over the last few weeks, half of the ten commandments are about how one is selfish (sinful)to others, and the other half is how one is selfish to God.

So contemplate some of Bobs posts about the Big Ten, what I have said about sin being nothing more that selfishness and then decide how you can change your thoughts, motivations, and behaviors to live a more selfless life. Both to others and to God.

Every thing that is good comes from God. Look for good things and thank God for them. Be vigilant about this. Goodness and excellence is everywhere if you look, therefore the Source of that goodness is everywhere too.

Summary: 1) pursue selflessness and try to serve others.

2) Look for goodness, and give God credit for it.

This is also know as WWJD.


Now here is the kicker. Every good thing that you have done in your pursuit of selflessness (if you are TRULY being selfless)is not a product of yourself but a product of God! This includes the "Warm and Fuzzies" you may feel as you have done good things.

That warmth you feel is more that the release of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphines in the right temporal lobe of you brain, but also a manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

You will find that the love you start to feel for those you serve is actually God's love. You are simply a conduit. If you send your own love out with Gods love, you will feel God loving you at the same time. This is very addictive, as it should be. You will find yourself literally craving these movements of the Holy Spirit.

Now think about this whole selfless servant thing and how God did the SAME thing for us out of a love that is greater than we can comprehend. The Glorious Gist of Christianity is this: That He could have forgave us by simply thinking it, but he chose to became a Selfless Servant for us. He chose to serve the the soiled, the rotten, the fallen, the perpetually disappointing. He, pure and sinless, not only chose to be beaten beyond recognition for for our crimes, but absorbed the filth of our sins. The pristine chose to be soiled. What god would chose to wear the sins of all humanity? What god, knowing every sin you have ever committed and HAVE YET TO COMMITT, would still choose choose to die for you and do the same for each and everyone of us?

Hint: I don't think it's the God of Mohammed.

That is the most gutwretching part of the Passion-it wasn't the nails that killed Him, or the beatings, or the stabbing...it was us.

9/27/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Long rider said...

You should also *sigh* go to church. Yup, I know. it can be a bummer. But it's necessary. Find a worship that moves you. Find a preacher that challenges you. Then ask the church elders/decons to help. Sometimes the prayers of others and a moving worship is the missing ingredient.

Love and prayers,

Jimmmmmmmmmm

9/27/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

JWM -

I sometimes think that the "waiting for something to click" is the very thing that prevents the clicking. The clicking wait is, I suppose, an expectation, a conceiving, and in a way, is a *demand* for our spiritual yearning to be fulfilled.

But of course, without such, an abyss opens up in our minds, a big . . . nothing, a void. It's very difficult to jump into that abyss because it seems like hopelessness, at first. And we're very accustomed to having something *there*, something or other, to fill that empty space. And so we fill it with expectation, conception, demand.

To jump into the abyss without expectation, conception, or demand is to surrender to God. That's when, I think, you hear the click. Only the click is soundless.

9/27/2006 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger amomaly said...

My conversion to Christianity (i.e., surrender to God) began with the birth of my son. He opened my heart in ways I didn't know were possible. I realized that if I, a mere human, could love someone this much, how much more must God love me. For I did see myself as His child. I just thought of God as more of a passive parent, not a doting one.

Even then, I didn't get the "Jesus died on the cross for you" thing for several years. As I let God into my heart more and more, the understanding came. He changed my heart because I let Him in.

Steve, I believe God wants to give each of us our heart's desire. Don't worry about not knowing how to do it. Ask, and you shall receive. Keep asking, and your answers will come. (That is where faith comes in.)

9/27/2006 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Ben USN (Ret) said...

JWM and Steve:
Asking and seeking is a great start, and it doesn't stop there.
I was afraid to ask God to enter my heart and being, because mainly, I didn't want to lose my self, my identity, and become a robot.
For years I had felt emptiness and loneliness...I was incomplete.
I tried to feed my spirit with drugs, booze and sex.
That only made my spirit sicker.
When Navy doctors told me I was going to die in 2-3 years
I felt numb.
At the old Balboa hospital, in San Diego, I met several sailors and marines in the same situaton I was in.
Some exhibited amazing faith, while others became bitter.
Bitterness leads to death, for the body and soul.
Most, like me, were numb.
I had a wife and 2 wonderful kids.
What was I to do?
I could no longer serve aboard ship, doing the job I loved.
Depressing. Despair.
That is when I knew I had reached the bottom. I knew how wretched I was, and I hated myself.
I asked God (Christ) to enter my heart and being, to forgive my sins,
and to show me the Way, the Truth.
My old self was crucified, and I discovered my true self.
I wasn't a robot, God didn't force me to do anything, He was so gentle, and His grace and mercy enveloped me.
When I read His Word (Christ), I saw His Truth, and found wisdom and eternal meaning (and still do)!
I was and am eternally grateful for the precious gifts my Father gave me, and He loved me first.
That was in 1989, and obviously, I'm still here.
The brushes with death, the constant pain, strengthened my resolve to keep asking and seeking.
To fight for Life, and search for Truth, and to develope a relationship with God (who am I Lord, that you care for me?).
To be sure, you will encounter deserts, but that is when God molds your character if you let Him.
That is when you grow. The desert can be a beautiful place, but it is harsh! Truth can hurt!
You will experience the mountain top,
where you feel the glory, the magnificence, the love and peace that transcends all understanding. Bliss! Beyond belief!
Build on Truth, the Rock of Salvation, the Messiah (God), and the storms will not break you.
I recommend reading the book of John and the rest of the New Testament (and One Cosmos) to start, and meditate and contemplate His Word, a veritable treasure trove of Truth and Wisdom.
God doesn't want blind faith, lest we be deceived.
Faith and reason is crucial, and verify.
God gave us free will for a good reason, and He wants us to use it.
He desires our love and a deep, personal relationship and bonding.
He will guide you if you ask, and show you if you seek.
Keep knocking and the door will open.
God bless you Jwm,
and you also, Steve, on your journey!

9/28/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Wise advice, Will! :)

9/28/2006 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Steve,

Since everyone else is freely doling out the advice, I'm going to jump on the band wagon. I have a few suggestions for you.

"So BP, or Bob, or anyone with a constructive suggestion; any ideas on how I can overcome my fear of myself as well as my pride in myself, and sincerely invite God into my life?"

1) Fear cannot be totally supressed, only understood and put in it's proper place. Try giving in to the fear. I mean the really debilitating kind that makes it impossible to do anything but curl up in the fetal position or scream uncontrollably. Don't supress it. Let it grip you and take you where it will.

2) Start meditating. On anything, it doesn't really matter. God, death, your personal identity, the universe, love, nothingness, whatever. This should help clarify your thinking and free up some mind space.

3) Entheogens might help too. DMT and Salvinorin-A are of particular interest here. These chemicals can loosen the ego's death grip ever so slightly. But it can be incredibly difficult to interpret and assimilate the experiences. And of course there are legal considerations with DMT in the U.S.

9/28/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Stu said:
...Salvinorin-A are of particular interest here.

The hammer of God.

JWM

9/28/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Don't visit entheogenland without Terence McKenna as your tour guide.

9/28/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous looptloop said...

Stu-

For many, I think point 3 is a bit like grabbing a tire iron and trying to pry God out of his Cosmic Car - the ego may best be served by patience until Grace is given. I hope the Muslim masses don't get this idea...they're already trying to commit sacred carjacking.

9/28/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

CAIRjacking.

9/28/2006 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous stu said...

Looptloop,

"Grabbing a tire iron and trying to pry God out of his cosmic car."

I don't have time to discuss now, but I'll bring up the entheogen topic in a later thread.

I'm interested in learning Bob's take on "hyperspace."

9/28/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Steve and JWM,
As Bob has stated, the fact that you have begun the journey is half the battle right there. "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened unto you." God is more than willing to meet you halfway on that journey, and carry you if necessary. The fact that you are a seeker, in my mind, already puts you light years ahead of all the Christians out there who have lots of head knowledge about God and the Bible, but would not know Christ if he hit them on the head.

I have been exactly where you are, with the added handicap of, as I stated in my first post, being a liberal. I think the moment for me came as I was proudly proclaiming my intellectual agnosticism to a fellow college student (who was himself a semi-agnostic seeker, which is why I trusted him). He then simply, matter-of-factly asked me if, before I categorically rejected God, whether I had ever considered the "mystical" aspects of God and Christ.

Well, when I heard the word "mystical", it was like a light bulb went off in my head. I had no idea that a mystical pursuit of Christ was even possible; all I had ever seen was big church buildings and TV evangelists, and lots of dry Bible teachings. The idea of a mystical pursuit of God both terrified and excited me, drawing me in inexorably like a cryogenically-cooled electromagnet.

But it was when I joined a small, independent house church with no pews, pastor or hymn books, where I was free to speak and express the reality of God inside of me, and free to further pursue that reality, along with my brothers and sisters, to whereever that would lead, that the true meaning of "mystical" began to come to fruition. I have settled for nothing less ever since, and there is no reason why you should, either.

I would advise you to find a small, independent church (house or not, pastor or not,doesn't matter)where Christ is central and peripherals (doctrine, politics, "doing good works" etc) are not; peripherals come from Christ, not the other way around. Seek out the constant companionship of brothers and sisters, especially those with a little gray in their heads. And don't ever, ever, beat yourself up about "not getting it"; God is not something you "get", he is a Supreme Being that, thanks to Christ's sacrifice, lives within you. The journey is often long and lonely, but, as God said to Jacob, "Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places".

BTW, Steve, I don't believe that your posting necessarily indicates "hijacking"; this whole blog is about spiritual realities, and seeking answers from a God who seems elusive is about as real as you can get.

Some suggested reading (some of these are rare books that can only be found on Seedsowers.com):

The Divine Romance (Gene Edwards)

The Prisoner in the Third Cell (Gene Edwards)

Mere Christianity (CS Lewis)

The Normal Christian Life (Watchman Nee)

The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ (T. Austin Sparks)

Practicing His Presence (Frank Laubach & Brother Lawrence)

The Seeking Heart (Fenelon)

The Spiritual Guide (Miguel Molinos)

Union with God (Madame Guyon)

The Road Less Traveled (M Scott Peck)

Grace: the Essence of God (Wayne Monbleau)

Godspeed in your pursuit; settle for nothing less than Him!

P.S. Bob, I remembered to hit the Return button this time :)

9/28/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous ttfn said...

It is madness to blame the West’s defense of itself as the cause of incitement to violence in the Islamic world. To solve a problem, it helps to identify it. The main causes of the incitement to violence are three, all attributable to the West’s surrendering of its governance to its lunatic fringes, running from left to right.

First, lunatics on the left have engaged in a short-sighted, vice-ridden celebration of depravity that has inflamed and scandalized more modest cultures against us, even while (moronically) seeking to appease such cultures (as if appeasing would entice overlooking our race to depravity).

Second, lunatics on the right have engaged in a short-sighted, greed-based, open-border energy policy that has (moronically) given enemy fanatics the financial wherewithal to buy and turn our own WMD against us.

Third, our moderates have lost the moral spine needed to regain adult supervision over the elites and effetes at either of our lunatic fringes — which now pull all of us ever more quickly towards a repeat of disastrously historic proportions.

Self defense is not the problem. Acting like morons is. We need to reestablish adult supervision. To help do that, we need to make voting mandatory — now!

9/28/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Many thanks to everyone who offered their advice and suggestions. You were all extremely kind, most helpful, and completely gracious. What an unusual collection of people! And on the Internet, no less. It may still take me some time to fully develop my Faith, but you all have given me faith that it will be done. For that I am most appreciative.

Bob, special thanks to you for creating this place. You are truly gifted. I can't resist the opportunity to compliment you especially on your puns. I am a tremendous fan of them, and you are extraordinary at them. Some of your puns are absolutely brilliant, but my favorites are the really bad ones; the ones that are so painful I have to wince when I read them, but they are nonetheless most enjoyable. I think that exhibits its own kind of transcendence. Keep 'em coming. I suppose it would be silly to think it a coincidence that I would find your work in such close proximity to losing Louis Rukyser.

Thanks again to everyone!

-Steve

9/28/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Long Rider said...

Steve et al,
As others have stated about prying God out with a crowbar etc. You cannot force the movement of the Holy Spirit. Do not set yourself up with the frame of mind that a "visitation" is your reward for your works.

Set your heart and your soul and your mind to truly love God and perform works with the knowledge that what is good comes from God. Give God the praise and credit for any work that is good EACH AND EVERYTIME. You're not the source of goodness, you are only a conduit. You do not facilitate goodness, you just submit to God and God does it.

The Soul of God is mysterious and mystical. The Comforter will come to you when He sees fit. But set out to love and surrender to God and be a better person, regardless of if you ever feel it.

Read Ecclesiastes, several different translations of it and something should resonate. Particularly during you quest for "It". All that really matters is that you fear God and love Him (and others) and obey.

Others here have mentioned using substances that I'm not familiar with. All kinds of races, cultures and religions have done it since pre-historic times. I can't pass judgement on such things used as a tool for general enlightenment, but I know that the KJV, NIV and any other translation I have read does not mention anything about it. I personally wouldn't do it, and would encourage you to obstain as well.

I have written earlier that the movement of the Holy Spirit manifests itself as the release of neurotransmitters in the right temporal lobe of the brain (the so-called "God spot") Athiests think that the buck stops there. But I don't. I think that neurotramsitters are an interface between our souls and our bodies, and our selves and God/Holy Spirit. Maybe these receptor sites in the synapses, and the chemicals (neurotransmitters) that float across the cleft are what binds our metaphysical souls to our physical bodies. An maybe it is what makes us conscious of the spiritual (metaphysical) realm.

If I am right,these synapses and neurotransmitters should be protected at all cost. As a Christian and as a Family Nurse Practitioner, I'm telling you, don't jack with that interface!!!!

Try fasting instead. Fasting is a "given" in JudeoChristian religion. I think it ties in with the whole "denying of self / selfishness = sin" premise I was writing about yesterday. Science has show that the body "medicates" itself if stressed in certain ways. I think fasting properly will release the right substances into that interface, and do it naturally and biblically. God's own Rx!! Prescribed to billions, over thousands of years.

I sing your praises to God and am filled with excitement on you decision!

Love and Prayers,
Jimmmmmmmmm

9/28/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Surafel said...

What disappoints me about this post is the dismissive nature it has towards the concept of poverty and its relationship to crime.

I am not denying the fact that crime is the result of a lack of values, or a breakdown in the system of family values. At the same time, one cannot dismiss the importance of poverty in this matter.

It's much easier for those in a position of wealth (however large or small that may be) to simply say that values is the key, and thats what should be focused on. But one can only imagine how hard it must be to care for a family that people turn to drug-dealing or prostitution and the like to survive. Imagine how confusing it must be for a child that only sees gang members prospering (relatively speaking). Imagine the message being sent to kids in the form of our horrid education system; how are they supposed to see that education is the key when they have worn down books, overcrowded classrooms-- nothing to really presenting education in a positive light.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we cannot ignore the effects of poverty; we cannot ignore the effects of values either. But if a child grows up in a family without a decent set of values, if all they see around them is how crime pays, if there isn't a good educational system to show them the alternative, then crime will persist in the inner city.

9/28/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, so poverty actually CAUSES bad values and not the other way around. Now I get it. Thanks for clearing that up, Surafel.

9/29/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Surafel said...

Hahaha anonymous. Funny thing is that I never actually said that. Good comeback though.

9/29/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I would wager that most people who read Bob believe that poverty is a sign of a weak cultural fabric, and should by all means be resolved with right economics. This is at the collective level. At the individual level, however, poverty by itself can never lead to crime, since individuals have a free will and can resist the effects of their circumstances. Proper values influence them to do just that.

10/01/2006 06:36:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home