Just an apology for those of you who follow the blog. I have unfortunately had a lot of stuff happen this weekend that has taken me off my game when it comes to writing but hopefully later today or tomorrow I will be back. Friday, My 98-year-old grandmother finally passed away. She had been in a long time bought with many health issues for the last four years. Today I am going to the funeral which is a little drive away plus I have some other stuff this evening. Stuff happens.
I am supposed to be on vacation from the church stuff this week but yesterday was not good for that and now a funeral to start things off. I am not sure what to do these days whether to laugh or cry so forgive my random madness for the week. I want to write because it is the only thing that seems to relax me these days so I will get back to it as soon as possible and hopefully catch up quickly as I have a little more time this week because of the lack of church activities.
Blessings, Cheers and Keep Me in Prayer.
George Washington has the right of it but I am going to tell you that we probably won’t hear this quote or others from the founding fathers when it comes to arms and the right to bear them. The big point here is liberals and gun control advocates don’t like the founding fathers on this issue. Nearly all of them understood this right to bear arms a the right to maintain the means of liberty both from powers foreign and domestic. For my standpoint this is the right that allows all the other rights to be upheld. Without the ability of the people to defend themselves with force this allows any other force to come in and oppress them. This is not limited simply to foreign invasion but forces where the government might take control and stop the people from enjoying their rights.
The Second Amendment has a lot if interpretations these days but it is all pretty much an attempt to justify not following it by the government. Let’s look at it:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
The idea her is that the founding fathers recognized that any country would need an organized fighting force . Like it or not a country needs some form of defense. The problem that they recognized with this in relationship to government is that this organized military force could be used to oppress the people of the same country. They had just experienced this themselves in Revolutionary War. They understood the power the state could be used suppress basic freedoms but also saw the necessity of a military to defend those same freedoms. What was needed was a counter balance to the government using the military as an oppressive force . The counter was that people should never have to surrender their own weapons. Penn and Teller put this pretty succinctly although I will have to apologize for the f-word at the end.
The real issue I have is the word ‘infringed’ which really puts the screws to the gun control advocates and in my mind a lot of gun control, laws that are followed today. The idea of infringement from the 18th century point of view is that the anything that would violate the people’s right to own and bear arms should never be enacted in any way. Nor should the government have the right to interfere in any way with a citizen’s right to own arms. If this is the case, I doubt the founding fathers would have accepted any gun control law for any reason. I found this excellent article where a blogger chronicles how the founding fathers used the world infringed and concludes the phrase “shall not be infringed’ means that congress should never pass any laws that restrict , regulate or prevent a citizen of this country from owning arms of any type. This is the strongest possible restrictive language on government interference.
In short every gun control law in existence of any type is unconstitutional. I know this seems pretty radical but if you look at it, why should government be allowed to have arms that the people cannot defend themselves against? That was whole point of putting this amendment in the first place.
Some people say that the government of the United States would never resort to this type of oppression. I would argue that they already have. If a mayor and company of the city of Houston, Texas can blatantly disregard the right to religious freedom and free speech in passing a restrictive law and then wanting to prosecute people for exercising religious freedoms, free speech, the right to assemble peacefully and protest peaceful said law then I think I have a built case study for why the right bear arms is still needed. The fact is there countless examples of the this government using force against its citizens unjustifiably and there needs to be a way to counter this.
Sorry power corrupts an if we give the government the absolute power of the gun it will corrupt them absolutely. The only defense is to make sure there is a balance of power between the government and the people, which is what this amendment is about in the end.
I have long looked to see if there is a viable third part option anymore. Since Ross Perot ran back in 1992 there really hasn’t been a viable third party candidate although Gary Johnson did finish third last time around. The problems I have had with the two-party system are legion. I think it is part of the problem of why this country struggles so much is the two-party system where we are told we only have a choice of right or left. The problem is both mainstream parties real only promise to use the guns and handcuffs of government against different people. They are both about forcing groups of people to do what they don’t want to do. The Republicans want to force a social morality on people and not everyone wants it, and the Democrats want to force and economic system on everyone that is justified theft through taxation. Both sides seek to use the power of government to force things on the American people and this is highly disturbing to me.
That said the Libertarian Party in my mind shoots its own foot on this and I want to show why this is so. The above interview is pretty typical of when you see a libertarian talk to the media and part of the problem is the talking points for the libertarian party don’t necessarily appeal to everyone who has libertarian leanings. My short list of why the libertarian party does not make ground.
1. The expression “Libertarians are right on economics and left on social issues” is a bad slogan. Here is my point, the basic philosophy of libertarians is the non-aggression principle (more on that in a moment) so it is not so much right or left but a unique viewpoints on how government should be run. This slogan seems to just make the libertarian party nothing more than a group of people who are nothing more than some form of Frankenstein’s monster when in truth they have a very unique viewpoint and philosophy. For instance, I am pretty much a social conservative but my difference with my Republican (and Christian) brethren is that I don’t think the government should be involved in pushing a social agenda – that is not the proper purpose of government to me. Social conservatism should be advocated but not enforced by the government’s guns and handcuffs. So saying that libertarians are left on social issues kind of alienates me a little. The point is Libertarians have a broad spectrum of belief on what is the best way to live, if they have a common element they just don’t believe government should be used to force any belief of how life should be on others. This slogan that I hear so often does not reflect this reality which is why I think some people even though they are libertarians vote for the red or blue instead.
2. National Defense is problematic if you don’t believe in intervention. I think the libertarian party loses a lot of ground on this issue because of the notion that the reason everyone is mad at us is because we keep attacking them. It casts Americans as the bad guy and I don’t think Americans believe this is true . I am not so sure this is always the case as long before we did attack other nations we had Islamic leaders calling us the Great Satan. There is also the argument that could be leveled which is based on the non-aggression principle. Many libertarians would say the force of government should be used to stop rape and murder, why then wouldn’t the force of government also be used to stop another country from being raped and murdered. The Non aggression principle in some cases states that force could be used to prevent someone for harming you or OTHERS. The moment libertarians make the switch to foreign policy, they seem to forget the OTHERS part. The libertarian party to some then looks soft on defense because they don’t seem to be as concerned about the rights of liberty for others as much as they say. It makes the party looked self-centered instead of concerned for liberty.
It is difficult with such a policy to maintain allies in the world as well for the purposes of defense. My opinion is that we have seen a non-aggression type policy in Barak Obama and it has not stopped people from hating us or attacking us. I think libertarians need to recognize that there are aggressive nations that don’t care two dingoes kidneys about your non-aggression principle and should look to their history. History says the best way to stop an aggressive country is to stop it quickly and in the beginning before it becomes a real problem.
3. I will give a nod to the fact the two big parties work very hard to keep third parties out in a blatant attempt to keep their power. I hope the lawsuit by the Libertarian party goes well. Gary Johnson is dead on when he says the one’s that should be allowed in the presidential debate are the ones who have their name on the ballot in enough places to win the electoral college. It means the Libertarian Party and Green Party would be on stage with e Republicans and Democrats which would give America a real decision to make instead of what they are often presented with instead.
My problem in the realm of politics is that I might want to run someday for something bigger than school board. The problem is that means aligning myself with a party and I don’t see a lot of good options out there. The Republicans are trying to force a moral position down people’s throats that many find distasteful and is that really where government should stick its nose. The Democrats are into Socialism which is more government intrusion into the private lives of people. The Green Party is nuts and the libertarians keep shooting themselves in the foot with what I have stated above. It makes this libertarian wonder where to turn.
Blessings and Cheers!
Alright. I spent some time at the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) website and had to make some decisions because one of the first things they make you is give your novel a title and also give a synopsis of what you think it will be about. So after some pondering and a false start I came up with this Title:
The Wine of Wanton – Book One of The Drunken Alchemist
Now this should reveal for some of you what this is going to entail. I finally made the decision that the particular sin of the seven deadly sins I was going to engage was Lust. Thus the Wine of Wanton. But I also have been thinking about the Pub itself as “All Things Rabyd” makes sense for a theology pub blog but for a novel I needed something more like a real pub’s name. The pub becomes “The Drunken Alchemist”.
The pub still is also a central and main location for the story so I have had to actually do some floor plan sketches. It basically is a three-story building with a basement and a sub-basement This allows for the pub to be on the first floor and the bartender/brew master/alchemist to make his home on the second floor and have his lab on the top floor. The basement then becomes a storage room for all the finishbed brews and the sub-basement the brewery.
This of course lead me to consider the world around the pub for this novel and after much debate I decided that I would create a small fictitious island country for the pub to be in. I haven’t figured out a name yet but the idea would e a country dedicated to summer tourism but which is also a haven for the magical, mythological and arcane. It solves a lot of problems like why can the alchemist brew up this stuff without the authorities coming down on him. It also allows for ‘normal’ people being around and because it is a tourism centered country, it will allow for characters for specific novels to come in and out as needed should the series of books continue. It also means that I can present a different form of government I find more appealing as well. The country being isolated means that large explosions can happen but most of the world might not notice. It is a country that maintains the illusions of being fairly harmless but houses the greatest magical and arcane minds and creatures of our time.
Magic of course makes things both difficult and at the same time can hide a multitude of sins if necessary as you can do pretty much what you want with magic in a novel within reason to still tell an exciting story. This is urban fantasy so it is the magical world colliding with our modern one. This is always a lot of fun for me. I really have to do some more work here for the details but I am a long way into getting things ready for writing and probably better off than I was last year at the same time.
The work on this blog will continue as well even during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t stop last year and I won’t stop this year. I just passed 1400 posts for the blog and I should be in good shape to past 1500 posts before year’s end. This means the end of October will see some final organizational stuff on the blog before I hit the November month and the chaos that is NaNoWriMo and the blog basically goes into daily post and cruise control routine. Part of this will include some new pages to organize things and some basic housekeeping to keep things ordered during said chaos.
Blessings and Cheers!
Disclaimer: The subject of this post is human sexuality in the context of Christian belief. It is intended for mature audiences. If you are under the age of 18 you should have your parents read it and judge if it is appropriate for you to read. Parents, lighten up about this with your teens because quite frankly I am trying to undo a lot of Christian mistakes in informing and educating people about sex. You have been warned and encouraged, enter at your own risk. Also, I am by no means a sexual expert, just a guy who has been married to the same woman for 25 plus years and a pastor who has for what ever reason been exposed to a lot of sexual issues during his ministry. If you don’t find your answer here, keep searching there is probably someone out there that has it.
I suppose the thought of having sex outside has always been with the human race. I am going to have to postulate that Adam and Eve first got it on in the grass of the Garden of Eden. The fact is there is a spiritual dynamic because of Adam and Eve that seems to call us to being naked, unashamed and one flesh – outside. That is after all the picture the story before the Fall portrays as one of freedom and intimacy in the great outdoors. . The problem of course is that sin entered the world and with that a whole bunch of social and religious rules and expectations. Mostly the effect has been the expression when a couple is getting a little too friendly – “Hey, get a room.” In short please don’t do sex outside where I might or can see you.
I don’t know, form a spiritual point of view I think something has been lost and I also think certain cultures have less of an expectation of privacy when a couple is doing it. I mean sex is not inherently a dirty thing but a beautiful one, so why the need for demanding other people be private about it? I am not sure, but I don know that if being naked with your spouse outdoors could be a wonderful spiritual experience, as I have postulated in my various series of nakedness, it seems the ultimate form of intimacy known as sex would also be a wonderful experience outdoors. The question is not this or even what the Bible says (it says nothing about where you are to have sex, it deals almost exclusively with who you can have sex with) but is ultimately about what society and the couple is comfortable with.
In most places in western society there seem to be a little ‘wink, wink’ going on when it comes to sex outside. For many there is a kind of ‘its only illegal if you get caught’ attitude. The problem is that in this same society having sex outside and being caught can have serious legal repercussions. It is this fear, that actually keeps most people indoors and to be honest a Christian is going to run headlong into the problem that the Bible tells us to obey the laws of the land we dwell in. That said their are still a few legal ways to have sex outside by simply not doing it in public places where you could be observed and subject to the law. In short private property and in a place where observation would be difficult or impossible without the observer breaking the law themselves. If doing it outside is one of your things then you should be ready in western society to work at finding a place that is private and outdoors.
In part this is because you want this to be an intimate experience with just the two of you anyway. I mean if your goal is to experience sexuality on all levels and not a goal of shocking others. The Christian goal is not to offend others but enrich one’s own marriage so even sex outside is somewhat a private matter between the two of you form a Christian perspective. It is about growing together by adding the factor of being outside in the nature of the world together that adds the new spiritual and physical dynamic.
All this said, the actual physical experience can be a case of it’s not all that it is cracked up to be. I have lost count of the stories I have heard of outside sex disaster. Finding yourself laying on an anthill or coming to a true understanding that beach sand can find its way into every nook and cranny of your body can be uncomfortable experiences and probably stand as a warning that all outdoor sex should be done with a little more planning than being spontaneous. At the same time nearly all of the horror studies I have heard could have been prevented with some basic precautions and preparations. There is also something to be said for accepting that there are some things you simply won’t experience and being OK with that.
A we hit the next chapter of Hitchens is definitely starting to get into the meat of what his going after. It is in this chapter which is very short that he actually builds his case against religion and start to be a little bit less emotionally inflammatory and more reason oriented in his approach. At first I was seeing much the same as before in this chapter as I was seeing up till now in the book. Religion has forced ‘blah, blah’ an caused this misery in the world. Once again this is one-sided and fairly biased but then he actually started talking about the issues presented by science to religious metaphysics. Metaphysics being the philosophy that explains the fundamental nature of being and the world that surrounds our being.
His first argument is one that has been around for a long time which basically boils down to: if we can explain certain aspects of the universe without postulating God, then why do we need God in the first place? I am not sure this question truly dismisses the notion of God. It could be argued that God set things up to run by themselves much like Deists did for years. I am not sure that just because we don’t need God to show how something works is the same as asking the question whether God is needed for something’s existence. They seem to be two very different questions to me.
The next thing of course that stems from this is Ockham’s Razor which is a method of pursuing the truth of something created by the philosopher William Ockham. Basically you keep dismissing unnecessary assumptions until you get the first sufficiently explanation of cause. In other words, the explanation for something which has the least assumptions is superior to one that has more assumptions. This leads to Ockham concluding that you could not with this theory prove the existence of God at all but only that if you are looking for a first cause to the universe then whatever the first cause was could be considered as God. This leads to the question of who created the creator. The fallacy of infinite regression which Ockham’s razor shows is truly a fallacy is presented. The problem I have at this point is Hitchens automatically assumes that only religious views of the origin of the universe would be affected. My argument has long been that all theories of origin suffer this problem. Evolution has its Big Bang, but the question then comes where did the cosmic egg come from? Same problem only without a god or gods to deal with.
The final argument is short but introduces the next chapter which is about a leap of faith all religious people must take not once to keep their faith but constantly take over and over again to keep their faith. I would agree that we do this but so do atheists. Everybody’s knowledge is incomplete and not exhaustive so all of us take leaps of faith constantly until our knowledge gets larger or better. Even then it is still not exhaustive or complete enough to say we are going forward in a belief system without taking certain things as assumptions. This leap of faith is not exclusive to religion but all fields of inquiry. We all do it, as it is simply the product of not being omniscient.
Thus metaphysics can never be exact nor can anyone truly say someone’s metaphysical claims are false with such a certainty that they could not be right. Metaphysics by its nature postulates questions about the unknown, but often leaves things fuzzy no matter what because we are human and make mistakes and our knowledge is not complete or exhaustive. Until it is metaphysics will always be a debatable subject and subject to constant review.
Next: Arguments from Design
The possibility that you could take Dynamic Theory and Illumination Theory and combine them came to his mind as I was doing this study. The advantages of both these theories is that they take into account the human element in the Bible’s writing. The dynamic elements of being able to see changes as time passes and that some parts of the Scriptures are more authoritative because the bible says so are key to me but Illumination Theory brings in the issue of why we should value these writings as they represent the pinnacle of God’s inspiration to Mankind in those situations as far as degree of inspiration. It has more of the mechanics of how the Bible was inspired in the sense of actual moment of inspiration.
The first question would be if the two theories have anything that would be contradictory to each other sufficiently enough to present a major problem? I don’t think at first glance that they are contradictory. This is not a case of two theories that are at odds so much as they deal with tow very different areas of inspiration. One deals with how the human-divine interaction works and the other focuses on those moments when inspiration is the highest in degree but there is one thing that could be a problem is that illumination could be construed as something that overwhelms the writer. Dynamic would not say this but talk of human and divine cooperation as being complete not partial. Illumination is more of a 50/50 thing but dynamic is more of a 100/100 thing as far as percentages of divine-human inspiration.
The second question is can they be combined? I am less sure about this being possible. In large part it is because both represent systems of thought independent of each other. This means that the real problems becomes do they really look at inspiration in a similar way or at t least have similarities that can be used as a glue to hold them together. Not really, the problem is they really do look at inspiration as a whole in different ways. There is no real common point that they could be linked.
The final problem is that they don’t really seem to solve each other’s problems. It would be like a marriage where each spouse really doesn’t have the character that can cover the other spouse’s weaknesses. Both theories are great in their own way by dynamic theory does not really solve Illumination’s problem of what then makes the Bible special or unique and why then would God not inspire at this degree again. Illumination theory by the same token, does not really help us with dynamic’s issue of interpretation and if anything just adds more interpretation questions that compound the problem.
Honestly, I don’t think a hybrid is possible between the two theories because they simply don’t answer everything together in a way that solves problems or really creates something stronger as far as our understanding of biblical inspiration. It would just be odd, like two people who are great people getting married but they really are not compatible with each other nor are they able to make each other better people because of being married. These two theories share a similar problem.
However, this does not mean I can discard either one. It is just pushing me closer to the idea of coming up with something different. It doesn’t mean I can’t take elements of these theories I like and incorporate them but I think individually and even together thy are found wanting in my mind. There must be way of looking at inspiration that makes sense and considers the different types of literature inspired and the nature of the Bible as a divine-human combination. My next move is to ask some questions based on what I know and I want to start with a question I proposed to my open theist brothers and sisters a long time ago. Does our view of God’s nature change they ways we need to look at how the Bible is inspired?
Next: Open Theism and Biblical Inspiration