Inclination: What is and What Should Never Be?

Being hearing a lot more about marriage and how it’s an antiquated idea. What I have actually been hearing more and more of is that people were not meant for monogamous marriages and the data is proving this. Let me be one of the first to call ‘bullsh*t’.

Firstly, I would have to ask from whose perspective these facts are coming from – men or women? There is a difference of thought on this subject from the two sides.

Secondly, statistics and surveys are not facts…not all the time. The survey on such an idea can be based on the way people ‘feel’ about a subject area and may not refect what is factual about that area. Let me explain something called ‘inclination’.

People feel inclined to do things – they ‘feel’ the need to do that something. Just because someone is inclined to want to do something does not mean its actually the best thing to do.

For example, if we see nice light green and light blue liquid as children we think ‘yummy kool aid’! Our inclinations are moving us to drink that liquid, even if it is antifreeze.

Another example could be smoking. If the statistics read that 80% of people ‘feel’ smoking is okay for any age would we still allow it? Smoking is also tricky on another level – since it feels good for the person doing it – it does not mean smoking is good for the human body. In fact, smoking will cause helath problems at some point – its inevitable…yet its perfectly legal. Millions are smoking right now – which I think is everyone’s choice to make – but is it the best for the human body? No.

So a statistic can say how people ‘feel’ about something but not that it’s a ‘fact’ or the ‘ideal way to live’.

Brings me back to this ridiculous idea about humans not being monogamous and marriage being a thing of the ‘past’. Just because we have sexual drives that drive our inclinations to produce children does not mean that inclination is ‘right’ when we are attracted to others in the opposite sex that are not our wife/husband.

Or are people just so simple these days that what ‘feel’s right is right?

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The Ultimate Contention: Does God Change?

So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:14)

Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Samuel 15:29)

Two biblical stories – 2 different outcomes about the nature of God.

(a) God changes His mind about what he is going to do to the people of Israel in Exodus. Thanks Moses.

(b) Samuel, the prophet, relates to Saul that God will not change His mind.

What is to be made of this information? Does God change or is it us that changes and we reflect God in ‘our image’?

Anti-Intellectualism in the Church

Can Christians gather without being dictated to? Can Christians gather without a vision being thrust upon them? Can Christians gather to seriously question, explore, examine and discover intellectually?” (Naked Pastor)

I don’t mind some direction and vision – namely for younger people that may need that type of structure – since it does help one become ‘disciplined’ in their personal lives. So, some of that I have little problems with.

However as an adult now, the answer is ‘no’ to…’gather to seriously question, explore, examine and discover intellectually’. The church is just not that concerned with this aspect of faith – it’s more rote and routine and get the dance steps down so everyone is doing the same conga.

The church is really quite anti-intellectual and in order for it to work effectively it needs to be.

*Comment originally aired on ‘Can Christians Gather?’.

Confucius Institute

Confucius Institutes are non-profit public institutions that aim to promote Chinese language and culture and support local Chinese teaching internationally. The headquarters is in Beijing and is under the Office of Chinese Language Council International (colloquially, Hanban (汉办)). Many scholars characterize the CI program as an exercise in soft power where China “sees the promotion of its culture and its chief language, standard Mandarin, as a means of expanding its economic, cultural, and diplomatic reach.” Tumultuous relations between China and the West have resulted in increasing controversy over China’s relationship with the institute. The People’s Republic of China has publicly supported the institution, but university and public school systems that incorporate the program have stressed the “total autonomy in their course materials and teachers.” (Wikipedia – Confucius Institute)

At the university I work at we are going to be incorporating this program into our International Students area. I like the idea personally, another step in the multi-culturalism in the world and its about learning to appreciate another persons cultural identity. Being someone from a strong cultural identity I can relate to the program and its goals. I also happen to work with many international students and I think this is a good program for the Chinese students to be better understood on campus.

However, it is supported by the Socialist Chinese government, which could be a red flag for all those conservatives out there. I guess I have little problem with Socialism that has the acknowledgment of culture as part of its agenda (quite unlike the West which functions in a monoculture mentality).

Which Is More Meaningful – The Thought or the Action?

Have you ever seen the physical properties of “love” outside of human interaction?” (Johnny)

Yes, in artistic creations like music, art, film, writing. One could say the action of continuing to do something for a period of time (ie’ blog) could reveal a nature of loving that action. This is not something neccesarily shared between 2 people not is it neccesarily physical – it manifests physically – but the continuance is like a ritual we continue to be pulled towards.

Regardless of that, my contention is love is an ‘idea’ – and like most ‘ideas’ – they manifest into some reality (action or thing). But I would contend the thought/idea itself can be as real to the person as the action, or at least as deeply meaningful.

For example, in schizophrenics with a certain chemical imbalance where they hear ‘voices’ and ‘sounds’ that alarm them – they even feel ‘it’ asks them to committ certain ‘actions’. Well, here is the question – which is worse – the action or the thoughts? Without the thoughts would the action happen? Without the action would the thoughts happen?

My contention is that in some ways what is within the person, ie: thoughts and ideas, is just as real and tangible as it’s material expression.

*Comment first aired on ‘Spirits in an Immaterial World’ (below)

Faith is Above All ‘Everyone’s’ Modus Operandi

Modus Operandi: “is a Latin phrase, approximately translated as “mode of operating” (Wikipedia)

The only way to determine the truth values of statements of knowledge in any field of study – from archeology to zoology – is by a reliable method of inquiry that yields reasons to inform the claims that something is, in fact, probably true” (tildeb)

If this is the case, do it for political science? Which form of gov’t is the ‘right’ one? What about economics, which form is the ‘right’ one? These are the 2 biggest areas facing any society and it is extremely hard to conclude that either can arrive at ‘fact’ versus pure ‘faith/trust in an ideology’.

So as much as you want to think I am off base and being irrational, answer either the question on political science or economics. You will find you are entering territory that has verifiable statistics based on ideological ends with really little to no concern for ‘truth’ or ‘facts’. Their bottom line concern is the societies they function within – they don’t want reasonable methods of comparison since arrival at truth or ‘fact’ will not happen.

Which is better, democratic socialism or liberalism? What about Marxism or communalism? Maybe we want a autocracy, a monarchy, or theocracy? Conservative agendas, are they the ‘most right’? Now all of this historicaly verifiable and can be researched to some meaningful degree, but research is not what scientific discovery would neccesarily be after. Refinement and the figuring out of what is the way this thing ‘works’. Well how do we test politics and by which measure or standard of overall comparison?

At some point, and yes atheists will hate to admit this is actually the truth, you use as much as faith (trust) as I do in the systems that surround you everyday – from politics to economics.

*Comment originally aired on ‘Defining Atheism #3’ on Carly Jo’s blogspot

Spirits in the Immaterial World

Matter: “It is fair to say that in physics, there is no broad consensus as to an exact definition of matter, and the term “matter” usually is used in conjunction with some modifier.” (Wikipedia – Matter)

Noam Chomsky on knowledge Rather, the material world is whatever we discover it to be, with whatever properties it must be assumed to have for the purposes of explanatory theory

Problem with matter is it’s hard to determine exactly what the hell it is (made of). This is the material world in which we find ourselves – everything is ‘matter’ and made up of many pieces. However, even matter in its finest building blocks cannot be truly identified. So what you see in front of you is ‘matter’ or ‘material’ – but what its exactly made of is another question.

Not the point. Now to the point via a diagram.

Immaterial      =>     Filter/Conduit     =>     Material

as

Idea     =>     Human Being     =>     Thing/Object

I was told an idea is not a living thing since it is ‘immaterial’…I will buy that to some degree. However it is ‘something’ since it is the construct to what will be made or shaped by the idea (which is immaterial).

For example, a political theory is not really anything but an ‘idea’. Is it something if I can write my theory down into a book? Does a political theory have to have some form of material expression (ie: a political party) to be considered ‘something’? Is the idea itself some thing, the building block for many ‘some things’?

There is a knock against faith in God – that its immaterial in a material world (and I am a material girl); which makes it legitimately useless and unknowable. Well faith in God is not much different than politics in its a conglomerate idea of many teachings that form a paradigm for living or viewing the world. We can also include economics in here and any social science and humanities area of study. Without material expression it functions in a realm of immeasurability (cannot be measured) and is thus useless.

Here is how the diagram works (a few examples):

No time for making supper => Restaraunt Involvement => Fast Food chains and drive throughs are created

Basketball was getting boring to watch => GM’s of league => All Star game and skills competitions

How can we save energy? => Engineers => various devices developed for energy efficiency (ie: appliance overhauls)

Teaching is to love my neighbor => person of that faith => I will help my neighbor cut his grass this week

The thing about ideas is exactly what faith teaches, if you can imagine it (idea) – it can be possible (thing/action/object). Faith is based in the idea of God, we cannot see God but we can look at His believers. What begins with an idea connected to faith in God, then becomes a tangible thing we can see or touch.

Everything starts as an idea (ie: political ideas or religious ones) and then moves into the hands of the conduit (ie: us) and is developed into something of material consequence (ie: an action, thing, or object). So what is reality exactly? The matter is not which came first – the idea or the material version of the idea – the question is – does the idea matter as much as the material version of it? Are directions as important as arrival?