God Speaks

Speaking of miracles (I wasn’t, but I’ll just pretend I was). I wish to share something that happened to me. At some time in our lives, we’ve all wondered whether or not God is real or not. Or, if He is, why doesn’t He do a little bit more than He does. It’s like He set everything in place (ignore my theory about Satan for now) and then just left it to run by itself. Still, every once in a while there is a little miracle somewhere, sometime.

When I was really young, I attended a Catholic School. At the time, there were a few nuns serving as teachers in the school. I don’t remember what grade I was in—I think sixth. Anyway, I had a nun for a teacher and I remember her telling the class an anecdotal story about God and His action in some people’s lives. According to the nun (much of the story has faded from my memory except the highlights which I will retell here), there was once a young boy named Jim who walked to school every day. Every day on that walk he passed a church. And every day (either after school, before, or maybe both) Jim would stop in the church and kneel down and say, “Hi God, this is Jim.” He did this for many years. Then, one day he was in an accident of some sort—either he was hit by a car or had a heart attack or something. Anyway, in his time of crisis he heard a voice in his head say, “Hi Jim, this is God.” Like I said, I’m not sure of all those details except the bits of conversation. I remember Jim’s words and God’s words quite distinctly from the nun’s story. But that’s about it.

Anyway, moving along, ever since hearing that story I have wondered about it. As a young kid, I thought I was a decent boy and I always wondered why God never spoke to me. I mean, I talked to Him a lot when I was young, but He never spoke back. Such thoughts remained with me for many, many years not always front and center, but in the back of my mind when I thought of God. As I grew older, I kind of grew distant from my faith and pretty much abandoned it.

Then, I had my melt down.

I had an experience which convinced me I was the antiChrist (which is a long story in itself—I wrote a short book about it a number of years ago entitled Delusions of Grandeur wherein I exposed my hideous ginormous ego for the whole world to see and told a bizarre tale of demons and deities). They tell me it is a mental illness; I don’t really believe them (which is another long story), but part of the experience does seem similar to mania. If I’m off my meds or they aren’t right for some reason, I’ll start interpreting everything as a sign from God that I’m supposed to interpret. I’ll start with, maybe, the title of a song on the radio, or, hah, I remember one: I heard the name of a band on the radio “No Doubt”, which I took to mean that I was proving the existence of God to the world (by acting strangely and driving all over the place) leaving the world with “no doubt” about the subject of God’s existence. This sign would be followed by another sign demanding some odd behavior on my part, and then another, and so on. Without medication, it led to a kind of maniacal antichrist death spiral where everything became a sign; I was hyper and manic, and acting crazily. Normally, I would have these experiences for a few weeks at a time, and then be down for an even longer period of time (one of my earlier diagnoses was bipolar disorder). Anyway, a few years back I was having another of these experiences and when I reached my antichrist death spiral growing more and more terrified because I was convinced I was damned with no hope, I heard a voice in my head say, “Hi Matt.” A.k.a. the voice of God. The voice didn’t cure my delusions or whatever you wish to call them, but it did knock me out of the death spiral to the extent that my terror was alleviated. It was a gentle touch; not enough to cure me, as I’ve said, but enough to dull the edge of my suffering.

I know. I’ve been diagnosed as mentally ill, so you have no reason to take my story seriously. But I do. And I offer it to anyone who wishes to take comfort from it.

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False Gods

What is a false god? A false god is anything that occupies the center of your life and is not God. In olden days it was called idolatry and was inextricably linked to pagan idol-worship where people (pagans) worshipped and made sacrifices to carven images and statues (a.k.a. idols), believing such man-made things were actually gods or provided a link to a deity they represented. Personally, I don’t think the ancients were ever convinced that a carven image was itself a god (The O.T. of the Bible seems to suggest this, and I find that odd). I think it was just a statue or idol dedicated to a god.

For a good portion of my life, my false god was role-playing games like AD&D. I don’t regret the fact that I played AD&D—it is a fun, exciting game. I simply regret that I was so obsessed with it. I was not content to play the actual game according to the rules developed by E. Gary Gygax. No, I had to develop my own game and system. It was fun—both developing it and playing it—but it was a sign of a psychological obsession. My whole life revolved around “my game.” Like I said, it was fun (three times now), but there is more to life than a role-playing game. The reader should take that as a warning or a caution: Anything can be a false god, just as nothing need be one.

In my college years, I had another false god: philosophy. I was addicted to philosophical discussion and argument. Everything had to be reducible to logical argument; if it wasn’t, it wasn’t real. I would walk around my college campus, head bent in thought, focused inward on some philosophical problem. I would walk by people and barely see them (except the hot chics, of course, :)). One time, I was in my suite with my suite mates and I was so inwardly focused they had to call my name three times to get my attention. Not good. Again, philosophy, like AD&D is fine if it’s responsibly done and does not become an all-consuming obsession. The same can be said for science, literature, history, or what-have-you.

There is only one valid all-consuming obsession and that is God. Drawing closer to God is, more or less, the whole purpose of life. It’s the only obsession worth having. And the mediator of this activity is Jesus Christ. Or so they say. I am trying to focus my life like this, but it isn’t easy … particularly since I am convinced I am the antiChrist (Had to throw that in there).

The Government as Charity

The government is not a charity and it should not be treated as such. The Left has a tendency to use the government as a means of doing charitable works. Hence, they want to raise taxes on the rich and give the money to the poor, kind of like Robin Hood. Basically, it’s forced sharing or forced charity.

Putting aside the discussion of whether putting a gun to the head of a rich man to make him share is morally acceptable or not, I’d like to point out the problem of the effectiveness of government charity. I had a reference but I lost it, so I can’t give you the specific link. It comes from debatewise.org. Anyway, the claim is that 30% of the money given to the government for a charitable program will find its way into the hands of the poor. The average charity, however, has a return of 65% – 75% and sometimes as much as 90% or more. From that, assuming it’s true (which you really can’t because I lost the link) the case is heavily weighted in favor of the private charities.

The biggest advantage of private charities, though, is that they allow you to pick and choose and prioritize according to your own desire. A worthy charity for me may not be a worthy charity for you and vice versa. There are over 300 million people in this country, all unique with different views on what needs to be fixed or what needs support. Trying a one-size-fits-all approach with all the money of the taxpayers fails to recognize the value of an individual’s own assessments. I can decide what institutions and organizations I wish to support; I don’t need government to make that decision for me. Relying on private charities preserves freedom and diminishes the government’s reach and power. All in all, a good thing.