Isis and Satan

As we all know, Isis recently killed a Jordanian pilot by burning him alive and filming it. According to Glenn Beck (who in turn read about it—the justification, that is—in an Islamic newspaper), Isis justified this crime by pointing to the Koran. Apparently, somewhere in the Koran it gives something equivalent to “an eye for an eye” (from the O.T. Bible) under certain special circumstances. And so, since the pilot dropped bombs which killed people by burning and collapsing buildings on top of them, Isis felt justified in burning the man alive and burying him in rubble. So, justice by the Koran was done, or so they believe.

What can I say?

If that’s what their Koran teaches, I want no part of it. War sucks. War is hell. And people die horrible deaths in WAR. If those were the man’s “crimes,” it’s pretty clear he only committed them in the context of a war, and therefore should have been treated like a P.O.W. The U.S. captures enemies on the battlefield, imprisons them in Gitmo for 15 years, then let’s them go (which in my mind may have been precipitous). These guys capture someone and burn him alive. Which side do you think has the moral high ground?

It is clear to me that the behavior of Isis is evil. Their interpretation of the Koran is Satanic. The only god their actions please is Satan. Those of you who read this blog are aware that I have mental “issues” with Satan, the antichrist, and Scriptural teachings (I think most Scriptures were written by Satan pretending to be God—it’s a long story). In a nutshell, I think the source of all the religions of the world is Satan. He speaks to us through dreams and omens masquerading as God. If that is true (I know this sounds crazy, but I can’t help it), I would not be surprised if Satan was sending the men of Isis visions, commanding them to do such horrific things while claiming to be their God. Their mindset is such that they can’t tell the difference between God and Satan anymore (or is that my problem given my comments on Scripture?). Anyway, even if they are inspired by Satan, they are still responsible for their actions. What would it mean, though, to us? What if Jesus appeared to someone and said, “You must go and kill that person”? I’m inclined to think that most of us would disregard it and certainly wouldn’t believe that it was actually Jesus. But what if someone did? Does that mean he’s mentally ill for following the command of a dream? I don’t want to remove his responsibility. Anyway, I’m rambling. And the men of Isis are not claiming to be following dreams or omens. They are bent on killing in the name of their interpretation of Islam.

Most likely, as far as Isis is concerned, there are no dreams involved: Isis is evil as it is. And given how hard it is to change deep-set religious beliefs, I think we are in for a long and bloody war.  These beliefs must be neutralized or exterminated. And it’s not going to be pretty.

God and Government

What role does God play in government? A lot of people these days would say “none.” I don’t agree. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state. That’s fine. I agree with that. I don’t think there should be anything like an official national religion. At one point in time, I believe state religions (in the U.S.A.) were allowed, but I find that notion odd and undesirable for pretty much the same reasons. History has shown that linking government with religion is usually a bad idea.

Nevertheless, religion and morality are inextricably linked. I believe it would be a mistake to expunge morality in its entirety from a government, unless you want an immoral government that cares not a whit for its people or the justice it is supposed to uphold. What, then, do you do about religion? How should the government deal with religion? I think that we (the U.S.A.) have already answered this question in a brilliant and succinct manner. For lack of a better expression, the U.S. incorporates what I would call a “hat tip” to God. The reliance on God as the supreme authority over government is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and assumed in the U.S. Constitution.

Yet the founders were careful to leave the understanding of God somewhat nebulous. It does not specify the God of any particular religion; it specifies only God or “nature’s God.” This amorphous notion is echoed on our money (“In God We Trust”) and in our “Pledge of Allegiance.” As I said, something of a hat tip, an acknowledgement that our government is not the ultimate authority. The God recognized by the U.S. government need not be the Judeo-christian God alone. It can be the Islamic Allah, or the Native American Great Spirit. It is quite flexible. There might be a few oddball religions that don’t quite fit (I’m thinking it might not be completely harmonious with Buddhist beliefs, but I’m not sure) but it is still a pretty impressive compromise.

Why is it necessary?

A government without God can give rights and take them away with none having the authority to chastise it. But a government that recognizes a Supreme Being or a Higher Power cannot do so. A God-given right cannot be taken away by anyone—government, citizen, or what-have-you—save God himself.

On Different Religions and Moral Discernment

The most fundamental component of a religion is a belief system. The ideas and precepts of such a belief system help determine the thoughts and actions of the followers of that particular religion. It seems common among members of the Left to embrace moral relativism: all religions are equal as are the moral codes such religions seek to prescribe. As a result, the Left frowns on discriminating against or criticizing someone on the basis of their religion. One can discuss what one likes in the political arena, but religions are off limits.

I believe this to be a tragic mistake.

Religions are not off limits. They are fair game for criticism, as long as that criticism is respectively done. To do otherwise is to insulate potential sources of evil or trouble from necessary examination. After all, adhering to a particular religion leads to certain actions that that religion prescribes. By what else are we to judge an individual than by the actions that that person takes in their life? And if their religion is the sources of such actions, should not then we scrutinize it accordingly? I say, ‘yes.’ History is replete with religions that embraced and did bad things. Take human sacrifice, for example. This was once practiced by both the Aztecs of the Americas and the Thuggees of India. Those are perfect examples of religion gone bad to a degree that should not be tolerated. Today, we have certain segments of the Muslim religion (although clearly not all) embracing suicide bombing. We can’t just ignore that fact and give Muslims a pass.

This is the age of “Tolerance,” but it is foolish and counterproductive to “tolerate” evil. Of course, discerning good and evil is not always easy (then again, sometimes it is very easy (e.g. suicide bombing)). Tolerance, although a virtue, is not the only virtue. Other factors come into play. We shouldn’t tolerate murderers, rapists, or child molesters for example. In the case of religion, there is a point to which members of different religions can agree to disagree, just as there is also a point at which such an admonition is actually naive.

Religions are not morally equal by definition. They must be compared and contrasted and examined to make a proper discernment. Unfortunately, such a task is herculean in nature. It would be impossible to do such a job thoroughly for more than just one or two religions in a single lifetime. Most people cannot make such an effort. As a result, we are left with saying that religions, like people, are usually roughly equal because we lack the time to make a proper accounting; it is a satisfactory compromise that fails only at the extremes of behavior (i.e. human sacrifice, suicide bombing) where we are forced to discriminate more thoroughly. Theoretically, though, the moral code of each and every religion could be examined and compared to that of every other, if we had the time and made the effort. Most species of Christianity, I believe, would do well in such an accounting, as I think would Buddhism and Judaism. As for the others, I don’t know enough about them to really comment. Terrorism is giving Islam a black eye, but beyond that, I can’t really say.

The Holy Spirit and Chi

What is the Holy Spirit? What is chi? Are the two connected? I read in a book once, that they were exactly the same thing. Are they? I’d like to examine that question for a bit.

Let’s start with chi. I have a black belt in the martial arts—just enough to start learning about chi without ever having delved too deeply into the topic. I know it is real. And I know skilled martial artists can manipulate it. That’s about it. But what is it? From my understanding, chi is supposed to be a universal life force that imbues everything with its presence. As I said, it can be felt and controlled by skilled martial artists. Generally, it feels like a warm energy imbued in your body. You might feel it in your hands, or your feet, or wherever. Special exercises can build it up and bring it out.

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity. It supposedly flows from the Father and the Son. It is usually described as the breath of life or something similar. Again, it is sometimes described as the animating life force of all the cosmos, just like chi. But is it the same thing as chi? It sounds like it at this level, but there’s a hitch. Jesus blessed his disciples with the Holy Spirit forty days after his resurrection. If the Holy Spirit was this universal animating force as described above, why would this blessing be necessary? Each of the apostles would already be imbued with chi/the Holy Spirit. Jesus wouldn’t be bestowing anything new. Further, the Holy Spirit is supposed to be (at least according to my understanding) uniquely Christian. Chi is not.

I once encountered a priest who was giving a blessing to a group of people. He had us clap our hands together and rub them until they got warm. He said this was the Holy Spirit. And, basically, I can tell you as a martial artist that what he was talking about was also chi.

So, what’s the answer? Is there a difference between chi and the Holy Spirit? If there isn’t, then what good was Jesus’ blessing?

Vaccinations and the Law

I’m going to keep this brief. For the record, I have no children but I think parents should have the final say over what happens to their children, not the State. Also, I realize that much of the following argument is hypothetical. Anyway, if the vaccines work, the only people affected by an outbreak will be those who opted not to be vaccinated. That’s their choice and their repercussion. If the vaccines don’t work, then there is no need to impose them. The only other possibility is if the vaccines positively influence statistical data. For example, suppose without vaccines the rate of infection is 39 out of 100 (note: this is totally made up data), but with vaccines only 13 out of 100. I’ve never trusted statistics because all humans are different. Suppose 3 out of 100 people react poorly to a vaccine and it actually increases the odds of those 3 people to get the disease while decreasing the odds for everybody else. Mandating vaccinations in such a case helps the population, but screws over those 3 people, and a result like that might not show up in statistical analyses. Of course, the above argument is futile: Our society is slowly moving to Scientific Totalitarianism and I, at least, see no way to stop it.

Food Nutrition and Food Nazis: The Capitalist Solution

Once upon a time, the foods we bought bore no nutrition labels (or so I presume; grocery goods have had labels throughout my whole life). Then, certain people got concerned that we might be consuming too much garbage and they convinced the government to get involved. As a result, the various food companies were forced to label their foods with nutrition information. Now, efforts are underway to force the big restaurant chains to do likewise.

What happened to freedom? The U.S.A. was once regarded as a free nation. The people were free and so were their businesses. But somewhere along the way, someone got it into his head that forcing people to do something they don’t want to do is okay if those people form a business. I reject that premise. Consider McDonalds. I go and get a Big Mac, medium Fries, and a medium Diet Coke. I know it’s all crap. I don’t need the details telling me exactly how crappy it is. Soda (diet or otherwise) is pure poison. Yet, I still drink it on occasion. In fact, at this very moment, I just finished a glass of Diet Mountain Dew—pure, unadulterated super-crap. And that’s my choice.

So, if you, a food nazi, are so concerned about dietary requirements for everyone and their mother, why don’t you start a business providing the information. Think about it. Just build a website, or something like that (You can have that name: consider it my contribution to your capitalistic undertaking). You can go out and do the research on all the McDonalds items, Burger King items, etc…. and list them on your website with whatever nutritional details that take your fancy. You can even give commentary. Not only does this preserve McDonald’s freedom to run their business however they see fit, and not provide dietary information based on a nutritional science which is constantly changing (I still don’t know if eggs are good for me, or not) if that is their wish; I’m sure hordes and hordes of other food nazi’s like yourself will come racing to your web-site and you’ll make oodles and oodles of cash doing something you have an inclination and gift for. The capitalist way. So, go get ‘em, you food nazi tiger. Just leave my Wendy’s alone. I pay enough for the Single Combo already.