Sunday, July 15, 2018

Current Assessment Summer 2018

Once again, I find it reasonable to simply look around me to assess what is happening and evaluate current events. My goal is to reconcile said events with my current understanding of the world around me.

Where am “I” at mentally? Despite any potential murmurings to the contrary, I am not questioning my sanity. Judge for yourself whether you find my ideas well-grounded or wandering another planet. The question goes more to my state of mind relative to popular positional labeling. I'd say most skimming this would say I am some religious nut. Those who are more comfortable with their relationship with God may gain some insight but I expect the most pious amongst us to be the most vocal (and possibly physical) objectors. In other words... they'll want my head either figuratively or literally. What have I to say that is so controversial?

Mainly my conclusion can be summed up as such: everything happening today is going exactly according to plan – God's plan. By everything, I mean everything... abortions, the wholesale slaughter of Christians – men, women and children, as well as non-Christians. War. Economic upheaval and, yes, the accumulation of power by evil men. Ouch.

Why would God plan this? “Surely if 'I' were in charge, all knowing and all powerful, 'I' would not allow all this to happen!” And this is why you and I are NOT God! We are NOT “all knowing”. We are NOT “all powerful”. We don't have a smidgen of the mind, much less the perspective to comprehend what is happening. While I feel I've been “blessed” with a molecule of understanding, I do not for a moment believe this is because I was granted any special “gift” or “favor”. I simply asked and opened my eyes. Nothing I've observed is hidden from anyone willing to look. Do not expect anything I write to be rife with exceptional insight. If I have a secret, this is it. I will say I believe. I may be more willing to let go of my own preconceived and accepted ideas than some others. Beyond that nothing I've observed is out of reach of anyone with normally functioning brain cells. For example:

I am not God. Gee, big revelation there, huh? Yet how many people judge God? If you judge God – who or what does that make you? How many people have outright stated they don't believe in any god because the world is such a mess? The implication is they could do so much better. Really?

So we are left with one of two choices. Either there is (at least) a God or there is not. I won't get into this but if you are in the latter group, I do not expect any of what I have to say to make sense to you. You might as well take off now, but before you go, I'll ask one thing. If mankind is the only hope... how bright does our future look? You don't have to answer. I've already seen demonstrations of man's utopian ideas. Sorry, that's not for me and I'm sure I'll be taken care of in your purge.

Once again, I, and whoever else cares to accept this, am left with the idea that, yes, there IS a God – as in a ONE TRUE GOD who is omnipotent and omniscient. As such, He can do what He wants and He knows what He is doing. Thus my conclusion that everything is going exactly according to HIS plan. To the best of my knowledge, He has not asked for my opinion. (I would assume He already knows it so the last statement should be considered facetious.)

As I've written before, the end game involves a one-world government. After that this world as we know it ends. This is the future, whether you accept it or not and whether said acceptance is via observation or prophecy or both. I don't much care as I am talking about what I've come to understand. You are responsible for your own mind. So what about the here and now?

Ah! Now that is something much more pertinent. While each of us can indeed prepare for possible trouble ahead and we should to some extent, how far do we take it? Some seem to dedicate their lives to the endeavor. Some even make a career out out of it. I will contend later that this may not be a terrible idea for some, so I am neither judging nor belittling anyone. I am simply observing. Before I venture too far into any extended concepts, I'd like to reveal some other aspects of my current mindset.

Politically speaking, I am a heretic. After taking a close look at most of the major schools of thought – communism, liberalism, progressivism (Okay I feel I'm being triple redundant here!), conservatism, classic liberalism, libertarian, anarchism, abolitionism (thanks for that one Bill Buppert.), imperialism, corporatism... I've rejected all. Have I missed any? Probably, but then again, I did specify “major” so one could argue I went too far. The thing is, nothing satisfies. However to further expound upon how I got to this point, I'll divide and simplify...

Government vs. no government.

Recently I delved into the anarchists' argument for no government. Included in this group is Bill Buppert of ZeroGov who prefers the term abolitionist. His reasoning is taxation and regulation is another form of slavery. For the purpose of simplifying this concept, I'll specify my take on this is it boils down to: any coercion is a form of slavery and I rather agree. BB advocates abolishing all forms of coercion. To their credit I too struggle with the idea of “my” property being subject to taxation long after I purchase it. DO I really “own” it? If I fail to pay “my fair share” then I forfeit my property and possibly my “freedom”. What happens to “my fair share”? This is decided by others. Ostensibly by “my” elected representatives. The problem is the system is rigged so no one taking my property or deciding the fate of the same cares what I want or think. Thus I must agree coercion trumps both my property and my freedom.

As an example I just read a story of a man on Long Island, NY who was fined for cutting down trees... on “his” own property without their permission (and a “fee”, of course). The question that popped into my mind is “Who really owns those trees?”. Apparently not the man whose name is on the deed. Look, I have a piece of paper in front of me. There is nothing special about it – it is an old list. I'd like to think I “own” it. But what if I was required to obtain permission and pay a fee if I wanted to destroy it? In some locals I would indeed be “required” to obtain permission and/or a permit to burn it. I might have to pay to dispose of it at the county dump. Either way, I am not required to fill out a form (in triplicate) and pay a fee to destroy my piece of paper... yet. That said, there are other items some are NOT “allowed” to destroy without permission even though a person “owns” it.

Consider the things one cannot do without “permission”. How many locals insist you have a license to start a business? How many occupations require a license? What about dogs? Cars? Hunting, fishing, building or modifying a home all require permission of some sort in most instances. One town in the northeast just decided people cannot put a “For Sale” sign on their home. For now it is just an agreement between Real Estate agents but the plan is in the works to make it law in six months. Many locations forbid property “owners” from erecting certain signs on “their” property.

I've belabored the point enough – these days citizens are swamped with so many rules, regulations, taxes and fees one begins to wonder when we will need a license to breathe. How free are we really? If we are not free then are we not slaves? Buppert likes to refer to citizens as “tax slaves” and I have a hard time disputing this. That said, I have at least one major argument against “Zero Government”. It is the same argument that derails Keynesian Economics – human nature.

In economics, the idea that everybody is awarded the same results no matter what they contribute to the economy is bunk. Look, I'm not going to work my tail off so some jerk can sit on his duff watching TV and gobbling Cheetos. Few people will. When forced to work, my output would be pitiful. My attitude? Bite me. What about you?

Human nature also comes into play when we turn to social organization. Government, law, and such are all essentially methods human organize social behavior. I see no way around this. Period. In any group, at least one leader will emerge – this is human nature. As BB and others point out – any small seed of organization will grow into a forest. This concept naturally leads to the next:

Statist vs. limited government.

Statism portrays the State – the ruling government as the ultimate goal for humanity. Really only a monarchy and/or dictatorship challenges the concept for centralized social rule. The difference I see is that the latter holds up an individual at the top or where the statist model has a group of elites running the show. It could easily be argued elitists are the power behind those individuals at the top. Either way, the result is the same in an attempt to rule a society from a central location. This has never worked for any extended period of time.

So what about limited government?

Once again, human nature rears its ugly head. I'd have to agree with Buppert's contention that small or “limited” government is a myth. They all grow like noxious weeds from the start. Given the power to tax, governments are like a gluttonous cat with a bottomless self-feeder. Eventually the cat will get so fat it won't be able to move. I have no hope for any limited government ever working. So now what?

You've got that right, I don't like the Statist quo, I reject the concept of limited government and I contend man simply cannot or will not ever be satisfied without someone lording over him. Is there an answer or are we stuck and doomed? We are not doomed but many will not like nor accept the answer.

Only a Godly Kingdom with Jesus as King will work. For this to happen, the man of sin must be defeated once and for all. (or a thousand years but I have no idea what that is all about!) This is literal, not figurative speech. We must have the promised new heaven and earth before things will settle down. You see, man or human nature really isn't the problem – sin is. As a Christian, or one who confesses Jesus as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead, I am forgiven. Much of the world, including some who are sure to read this have either rejected Christ or have yet to accept the offered salvation. What is salvation? What am I saved from?

Specifically the wrath of God that is to come i. e. when this heaven and earth passes away and a new heaven and earth takes its place. This conclusion offers the worst possible scenario for a lot of people. It takes control totally out of the hands of man. It requires admission of the existence of a One True God. Neither of these present a problem for me. Nor does this concept portend a sense of hopelessness. In fact, it brings an entirely opposite aura – we now have true hope. Before venturing there... what is the alternative?

A a regime change? A revolt? Swept up in a tidal wave of conservatism? None of these are at all realistic. Any could happen but then what? Are we really going to let liberty reign free? Not a chance. Some, again I'll point to Buppert, yearns for some sort of evolutionary growth in man where we, come to our senses and somehow shed authority. I don't see this happening either. Again, such a result would require a major change in our very nature – our hard-wiring – if you will. Anyone who has researched this, or studied it at length, is likely to agree such a change would be slow and difficult, if not nearly impossible. For me this is about as likely as the world suddenly embracing Buddhism or even gradually embracing Buddhism for that matter.

Others suggest humans are liberty-minded by nature. To some extent I can see their reasoning. Anyone who has or was a stubborn child knows what I mean. Indeed, some do naturally defy authority. Are these the mutated variant destined to evolve into the next version of mankind? Interesting concept as it is, I am not convinced. For one thing, those who defy authority have always lived amongst us. This includes not only those who are liberty-minded but also psychopaths, sociopaths and common criminals. If the evolutionary concept is correct, would not these groups be subsets of the whole? By definition a criminal is not one prone to submit to authority. By “criminal”, I refer to those who do not respect the personal or property rights of others, nor do the other two groups. The overall trend I've based my own conclusions on is the trend for people to congregate and move toward population centers. Couple this with the tendency for those in population centers to demand more authoritative control and I can only conclude the human race is steadily moving away from liberty and is not likely to turn back.

Thus I'll place my chips on God. So now what? Sit back and wait? Not really. The way I see it, there is nothing I can personally do to bring coming events about. Just like those stories about people who can travel in time invariably muck things up. The thing is, I cannot have it both ways – if God is all powerful, all knowing and has got everything under control, how can I or anyone muck up the plan?

So I cannot do anything to hurry things up nor can I do anything to slow things down, much less stop it (if such were my desire). What CAN I do? I can live my life. My own choice is to live a godly life as much as I possibly can. Granted, sometimes my best efforts don't amount to much, but when I fall, I ask for forgiveness and pick myself up. One verse from Proverbs has been prominent in my thoughts lately:

Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

That is it, the entire verse. It is far easier said than done, trust me on this. I am not “there” yet by a long shot. By the way the word “LORD” here is better translated YHWH. To the best of my understanding and said understanding came by a scholar who spent seven years studying this one aspect of scripture, YHWH (pronounced Yahway) is the proper name of the God and Father of my lord Jesus the Messiah. As scripture proclaims me a son of God, YHWH is also my heavenly Father. (Galatians 4:6,7)

Now comes the bigger question. Do you, CAN you, believe what I write here? If not you will likely ignore it and move on. A very few may brand me some sort of heretic. So be it. Some could possibly accept some of all of this and still do nothing or just live your lives. For anyone who believes what I've put forth here and takes it to heart, I have a message: tell others. The most important thing we, as Christians, can do is present the Gospel of Christ to others. Time is short. Even if all that will happen will not come about for another thousand years, time is short. Those people who come into your life may be gone tomorrow – literally. I don't mean dead necessarily, but maybe taking another job, moving to another apartment, town, state – we just don't know. Make the best of every moment with everybody you come in contact with. Years ago, I remember a woman I'd “known” for years. She was an acquaintance of my mother so we had more than a passing knowledge of each other. One day she stopped me and told me she'd been listening as some friends and I were discussing scripture at a local coffee shop. She said she enjoyed hearing us and what she heard warmed her. (It was decades ago so I don't remember her exact words.) I expect she has since passed away but even so a conversation among friends in a public place had an effect on at least one person. While I do not know much about what effect this had on her, overall it was a positive one and likely better than the results of many times when I've made a concerted effort to influence someone. My point is I do not think it is necessary for most of us to spread out to evangelize the planet. Grow where you are planted. Live your life and trust God to put those who need your influence in your path. “We” are not going to “save the world” - this is God's work and He as already done the heavy lifting.

As for practical matters – first, if you are not seeking God's Will for your life, start now. Read scripture, pray, go to or join a church – whatever you are led to do. If you ask, God will reveal what He wants you to do. It may, or more likely will, be totally different than what I do so I will not presume to offer guidance other than what I have already. That said, be aware mankind continues to make everything worse. No utopia will emerge from man's efforts – just the opposite. It is only a matter of time. How much worse? God only knows – literally. I am convinced things will be worse than most of us can imagine. The real question may be: how much worse will things get before man's house of cards collapses?

One more thing... it seems evident to me any one-world government will only come into full power in response to some “crisis”. Such a crisis will be man-made. Today's world events look like a circus act where a performer spins a number of plates while everyone waits for all of them to come crashing down. Nations are gearing up for war, migrants and illegal immigrants are flooding over borders, economies are teetering from massive debt. Meanwhile governments are cracking down, flexing muscles and tightening the screws on their citizens. Wherever you are you may want to implement whatever precautions you can to protect you and your loved ones.

In my next post, I expect to explore the prospect... or evidence of civil war in the U.S.A.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

They Really DON'T Want Your Guns... They Want YOU!

Yet another rendition of the gun grabbing circus act plays out as I write. This time, I took a step back to try to see the forest for the trees. The view was startling. What did I see?

There is more to all of this than just gun grabbing. The key is to really think about the statement: "Gun control is not about guns - it is about control." Control what? Not guns... control YOU. I'm certain many reading this will want to scream how obvious this is. I agree, but let me ask you... how easy are you to control? Will confiscating your guns do the trick? I thought not. The controllers understand this too.

The fact is we need to look beyond confiscation. What do you see? Internment camps? Police
uniforms? Jack boots? Of course, these are all symbols of a tyrannical police state. This is exactly what I see - not the police state but the tyranny. I can see some of you reading this shaking their heads, picturing me as some wild-eyed right-wingnut terrified of the falling sky. Umm, no, I'm not in panic mode, nor do I fear any of this. I am simply an observer who writes what he sees unfolding. I may get it right and I may not. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, shall we consider some of the things bringing me to this conclusion?

The controllers control. Who are these “controllers”? I could name some today but tomorrow they might well be gone, replaced by some other controller. They could be an elected official, a government employee or someone out of the limelight altogether – who lurks in those fabled smoke-filled back rooms. Even if you dismiss this concept entirely, ask yourself, exactly how many rules, laws and regulations have been repealed or otherwise diminished in your lifetime? How many rules, laws and regulations have been enacted that have increased your freedom? Did anybody ask you? Did you vote for all of those men and women who enacted these rules? Are you getting my point yet? (I am speaking to the doubters and hoping the choir is still with me.) We were all born on a leash and said leash is shortened day by day. The controllers control.

However total control is thwarted by those of us who resist or refuse to be controlled. Don't get me wrong, we only resist or refuse in part. Few, if any, practice total anarchy. Yet we all have our own subtle and not so subtle ways of regaining some sort of control. We might cross against traffic or ignore a speed limit from time to time. Most of the time such micro revolts are not conscious. Nor are such actions limited to liberty-minded folks. However some of us sport opinions and convictions totally contrary to those of the ruling class. We are armed (one of the aforementioned opinions and/or convictions – the right to defend ourselves is ours alone and not “granted” by the controllers.). Such ideas and attitudes threaten the controllers. They know they cannot posses complete control until we are disarmed but, as stated previously, they also know removing said arms will not remove the threat. I am sure they understand that the very act of removing said arms will endanger the very control they've worked so hard to obtain and possibly even reap consequences they are horrified to consider. So, if we were to put ourselves in their place... what would be the logical solution? Remove the threat. We are the threat.

Our very existence poses a dicey problem. As we are naturally law-abiding and peaceful, it is not like the controllers could simply cart off us even if we were unarmed. Granted many on the fringes hate us but most of the population does not. In order for the controllers to gain more control they need the support of the masses. Right now they do not have the support they need to wipe us deplorables out, thus the constant propaganda campaigns to turn public opinion against anything we believe in. So far they've corrupted all of our moral arguments to some extent. In some areas we are shamed even for having a difference in opinion and these areas are expanding.

I see at least two avenues of attack. First, they normalize their own immorality and deviant behavior. As their behavior becomes the norm, our behavior becomes abnormal. Once this is fully in effect, they can marginalize us while campaigning to rid the world of us. We become “The Jewish Problem” of the 21st Century. While they have made great inroads they are not quite there yet. This leads to the second avenue of attack: villanizing guns and gun ownership.

First it was “gun violence” and now it is simply “guns”. Whether intentional or not, the progression here is nothing short of propaganda genius. Who can like “gun violence”? Certainly, any reasonable person will hate it. This hatred is now being redirected at guns. Even staunch gun rights proponents are being shamed into giving something to “The Cause.” Too few of us resist this. Too many have already caved. Whatever the controllers get, it will never be enough. Even when they have it all, they will come back for more. The end goal is directing the hatred towards gun owners. They want the blessing of the public to seek and destroy anyone who even supports second amendment rights – whether they own guns or not.

Much has been said already about the consequences of confiscation. Many predict a bloodbath with the controllers ending up on the wrong end of things. Point taken, however timing is everything. So-called “assault weapons” of one kind or another are already banned in several states. (Remember in legalese, definitions are everything and the lawmakers determine what those definitions are.) None of these include everything the controllers want but it is a start. They will continue to hammer away until anyone who owns a gun is either on one list or another. At some point they will start going after those on the lists. Impossible you say? It is already happening in California. It took a less than week for police to invoke the newly passed Florida law and start confiscating guns. Other states either already are, have or are about to commence confiscations. What lists? How about felons? Other lists include the mentally disabled, PTSD sufferers, medical marijuana card holders. What about those accused of domestic violence, traffic violations or identified as just plain scary? Every single group has documented cases of confiscations. Every. Single. One. So tell me...

Where is the uproar? Who is fighting back? Certainly most of not all of these are or were challenged in the courts. Decisions have landed on both sides. You can rest assured most decisions will favor the controllers. Whatever happens, do not expect a law enforcement army to start busting down doors. Things will not happen that way for a long time. As I said, confiscations will increase as the lists expand. At some point some team will knock on the wrong door. What will happen when a cop dies “in the line of duty”? Will it matter whether law enforcement has little or no legal ground for the invasion? Probably not. The focus will be on the dead cop. Photos of his loving family will be splattered all over television screens. The msm machine will spew out hate in full force. Authorities will vow to double down, to wipe out this new “domestic terrorist threat”. Confiscations will not stop, rather they will increase. Meanwhile the controllers will pull no punches in their efforts to bully, harass and berate gun owners. They will do everything possible to make it harder to obtain, keep and use firearms. They are relentless in their lust for control, they will not be denied.

Here is a short list of some of their tactics. Each one is already deployed.

Attack guns as the culprit while marginalizing gun owners.

Continually increase the type and number of guns banned. Expand banned accessories.

Register all firearms so they may be banned and confiscated in the future. This may be accomplished via some back door method, such as requiring gun owners carry insurance on each firearm they own.

Villianize gun owners in order to sanction confiscation by force.

Attack, harass and bully gun owners incessantly making it as difficult, expensive and
problematic to own firearms as possible.

Attack on every level and in every way possible. Invade their homes, restrict public access severely restrict where and when and how they can buy, sell, shoot and/or train.

Pile on regulations and taxation for anything not outright banned.

Expand the lists of those banned from owning guns, such as including anyone take certain prescription medicines such as psychoactive drugs or pain medicines.

Those who willingly give up their guns will soon be put under control. At the very least, they will be added to a watch list of possible “subversives”. The controllers will have no qualms about killing anyone who dares resist. I suspect they would rather kill us now than later. The only thing stopping them is self-preservation. If they thought for one moment they could disarm us today they would do it. Some, such as Dianne Feinstein has already said as much. How much longer before groups of deplorables are marched into gas chambers?

They have no morals. They are devoid of anything resembling ethics or empathy. In one respect they are caged wild animals and we are their fresh meat. From the time I started writing this essay until now, calls for repealing the Second Amendment have ramped up. The push is on. Keep in mind this is an old salesman bait and switch. They “call” for total repeal of the Second Amendment then they “settle” for a ban on whatever they can negotiate a ban on. Rinse and repeat.

Look for the propaganda campaign to continue to intensify. With every win they swing the public mood towards their goal. This is exactly the reason they took this path – gun “violence”, guns, gun “owners”. They will soon point out and fixate on the idea that we are the problem because we refuse to cooperate – “clinging to our guns”. It is not the guns they want, really, it is control. They essentially control the left and now they are coming for us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

If I Were the Devil

This article is based on a forum posting of Paul Harvey's piece “If I Were the Devil” below. While a couple of references to the forum and certain members remain, I removed anything that directly links to the forum itself. On to Mr. Harvey:

If I Were the Devil

To the young I would whisper “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that “man created God,” instead of the other way around. I would confide that “what is bad is good and what is good is square.”

Has he not done this already? Not only to the young but to anyone who will heed his whispers? However, I think there is a larger concept to consider here.

While most, if not all of what Paul Harvey wrote about in this article (or spoke on the radio, take your pick) has proven accurate. However, Paul was no prophet. He merely looked around at what was already going on around him and extrapolated these things out.

Here is the entire piece – or at least one version of it:

If I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness.
I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — thee.
So, I would set about however necessary to take over the United States.
I’d subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers.
With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”
To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is square.
And the old, I would teach to pray after me, “Our Father, which are in Washington …”
Then, I’d get organized, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting.
I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves and nations at war with themselves until each, in its turn, was consumed.
And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellect but neglect to discipline emotions. I’d tell teachers to let those students run wil. And before you knew it, you’d have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
With a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing and judges promoting pornography. Soon, I would evict God from the courthouse and the schoolhouse and them from the houses of Congress.
In his own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I’d lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.
If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
What’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?
I’d convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun and that what you see on television is the way to be.
And thus, I could undress you in public and lure you into bed with diseases for which there are no cures.
In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.

There is a list of communist goals published in the Congressional Record of 1963. Chances are you've seen this. From what I can ascertain this list was first published in “The Naked Communist” by Cleon Skousen. I do not know where he got the information from.

[Communist Goals (1963) Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35 January 10, 1963


Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.

At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen:

[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike. ]

There seems to be some parallel between the two. Did Mr. Harvey use this information as fodder for his work? It's possible. It would be easy to say that it is the communists and their ilk, rather than any “devil” responsible for the advancement of these goals. From my perspective, the devil himself works through such people to accomplish his goals, just as God works through His own. If only everything was so black and white. Most of us, myself included, do things benefiting both God and the devil - good and evil, if you prefer. None of us are all good or, few are all evil. However let's take this one step further...

One of the frequently stated ideas I see is something like “man does not need a superior being to be moral” (before you make accusations based on assumptions, yes, I am thinking about something a forum member wrote and trying to paraphrase it accurately. I believe I have the essence of his statement embodied above.). I find this statement hard to justify on many counts.

First, look at man's record. Any society I've ever known formulates some sort of legal structure. Why? In order to set moral parameters and control others in that society. Laws are invariably accompanied by penalties. Why? Even as said laws are devised, it is inherently understood someone will defy them. Let's face it, if a law has no “teeth” it will largely be ignored. If any society ever existed that did not have some form of legal system, it has already failed.

While I will agree man has a natural capacity for both good and evil, I see no evidence whatsoever suggesting men, left to themselves can be moral individually or in mass.

Second, I must ask, if man is the author of morality – who defines it? You? Me? Do a group of us form a committee? Who decides the composition of such a committee? What about those who disagree with the membership or the decisions they make? Is it then moral for one man, woman or group to tell another human what is and what is not moral? We define “right” and “wrong” it all the time in law but is it MORAL?

Look at the body of Christ. Even with scriptures as a guide we cannot agree on the simplest things – is drinking wine permissible? Even though Jesus, himself, was recorded drinking wine (“No he didn't, some say, that was grape juice!”), indeed his first recorded miracle was turning water into wine, some contend drinking wine is wrong – immoral. I am sure some here can gleefully point out many shortcomings in the body of Christ. However, my point is, if we are correct in our acceptance of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as being the One True God, how can we not agree on what is moral? Even non-believers point to us as examples because we are supposed to be the “good guys”. We ourselves expect to be held to some higher standard. That said, I certainly do not believe for a moment that either I nor my brothers and sisters in Christ are qualified to define morality.

Who IS qualified to determine what is moral? What if I disagree? What if you disagree? How, then, do we deal with sociopaths who do not recognize morality at all? Without some standard emanating from a source greater than mankind, I see no solution. What about you? From what I can see we are left with some vague concept of good and evil. Who or what determines what is good and what is evil?

If anyone has a better idea I have yet to see it so I'll stick with the concept that there must be a higher authority than man for a moral standard. That said, it would follow such a standard must have an author. What other conclusion is viable except said authority must then be God. Some rail against any god with the question “IF there is a god, then why is the so much evil in the world?” Okay. So lets drop the first part of this question.

Why IS there so much evil in the world?

Evil exists with or without God. You can blame “God” or “religion” all you want but I can tell you this much... while I once considered myself a “good person” before I accepted Christ, I can tell you now, without restraint, I can be every bit as evil as the next person. If anything, the presence of God in my life has kept me from doing much evil. I cannot speak for anyone else, but as for myself, while I really was a “good person” by most worldly standards, I am a better person after I accepted Christ.

The theme “good always overcomes evil” looms large in everything I was ever taught. I am sure I am not alone here, but does it really? If good always overcomes evil then why do we need an ever increasing number of laws? If one were to step back and take a look at our laws vs evildoers, it could well look like a unwinnable game of whack-a-mole. Left to ourselves, mankind certainly appears to be sinking deeper into the pits of depravation (My built-in dictionary did not even recognize this word while Google only begrudgingly admitted it existed). For those who will deny this, I suggest considering any large city. Ask yourself if you would rather be lost on a dark night in a city or in a small town? Why? What to the crime statistics tell you? While I am not a fan of statistics generally, I find it hard to deny that per capita crime tends to increase as the population density increases. Newsflash: the population of the planet is increasing and will likely continue to do so. Thus, crime, one metric of the presence of evil, will likely increase at least proportionately.

One conclusion I can draw from this and other empirical observations is mankind will never overcome evil without a standard of morality higher than ourselves. While this statement may elicit howls of protests from those who do not believe in any god, I've seen nothing to indicate we are capable of eradicating evil or establishing a true moral standard with which will we all abide. While I believe we all fall short of any moral standard to some degree, I also believe we all mostly follow some sort of moral code i.e. as a rule, men are lawful but “everybody cheats” on the speed limit. Are “white lies” not common and considered acceptable in many circumstances? On the other hand, I have experienced countless situations where I have helped or have been helped by total strangers. Despite this, we have yet to find a way to rid ourselves of evil. No matter how many good things we do, no matter how we try to persuade, curb or entice evil to go away, it always returns... with vengeance. Is it any wonder man seeks something greater than himself? Is it any wonder humans have sought out or even invented gods?

So, one might ask, if there is a God, where IS He? Good question. Well, I'd have to say, logically, He would have to be right here. What good is a god who goes off wandering the universe and leaves us? Is god a “set and forget” god? It just doesn't seem right. Nor does it seem right that any god should fail to provide the high moral standard man needs and, deep down, craves. Otherwise, what would be the point? Nor does the idea of some ethereal being that is “just here”, accessible to all who seek it to find it “in our own way” make much, if any, sense. Man is still left without any moral standard and the world seems to be getting worse, not better. Nor does this idea help us with the evil pervading the planet. It would seem then, any god (s) would need to be one of those already identified. Thus we must choose. While you know, I've already made my own choice, I'll still explore some of the thought processes leading me to continue to reject the others.

Overall, I first have to eliminate any group of “gods” from contention – such as those we learned in Greek and Roman mythology. While the idea of other beings other than God existing is perfectly logical to me, the concept of ruling by committee is a guaranteed fail in my book. Anyone who has been involved in or the “victim” of rule by committee – where all members are “equal” are certain to see my point here. Even a cursory glance at human activity reveals a leader always emerges. So why should we expect a gaggle of gods to establish a moral standard?

Next, I'd have to reject the notion that God is unknown, obscure or otherwise “hidden”. What kind of god would that be? Again, what about that one thing we are, at the moment looking to such a god for? A standard of morality higher than ourselves. It does not make sense for any god to hid itself and fail to provide the standard. What would be the point of this?

So we are left with a choice between “major” gods. I won't list all the choices here. Some self-eliminate for me because they adhere to multiple beings. Islam self-eliminates because they claim to recognize Jesus as a prophet and yet choose to ignore his teachings. I contend they cannot have it both ways and maintain credibility. All of this narrows the field considerably. As far as I can see, this leaves us with Judaism, Christianity and the Far East religions. I include the last only because some have been around a long time – something someone else will surely point out and some enjoy significant followings. That said, my stand is these are relatively unknown in the West and therefore not very suitable as a widespread purveyor of a moral standard. It seems to me they would have wider influence if they are a true contender. The same could be said of Judaism. In addition, an important aspect of Judaism is their bloodline – as the entire purpose of Israel was to produce the Messiah. And that leaves Christianity – Judaism after the promised Messiah.

My first thought concerning this is the inevitable question... “So what about the only one God train of thought – how does that reconcile with the Trinity.” I will make two points here. 1) Trinitarian doctrine teaches there is one God, no matter how difficult this concept can be to grasp. 2) Not all Christians believe this doctrine. That said, it appears to be believed by a large majority of Christians. That aside, I do not not believe God rejects anyone based on their belief or disbelief in Trinitarian doctrine and thus I maintain this is an internal issue better left debated within the body of Christ, if at all.

Rather than spend much time to “make a case” for Christianity, I'll leave subject here as it is only my opinion but by the process of elimination I see no better prospect for a one true God. Christianity presents us with a superior being who has laid out a higher moral standard and lays claim to being here from the start. He has made Himself known in many different ways and He has been consistent. Again, I expect many to attempt to dispute the preceding statements but I will say right now that any inconsistencies we can perceive can be credited to a lack of understanding on the part of man. Is it so hard to comprehend that maybe just maybe a higher being is privy to information humans lack? We've all made faulty decisions and/or judgments based incomplete or inaccurate information. How then can we be so sure of our perceptions concerning God? In other words, you don't know what you don't know. However, everything that follows is based on my own conclusion of who this One True God is.

It is rather difficult to consider “the devil” while excluding God. Sure, we can skirt around this by insisting “the devil” is merely a euphemism. As I have no intention nor desire to exclude God, I have no issues with proceeding with the assertion that said devil is also a real being. Again, following the progression of mankind, the presence and spread of evil via the devil's handiwork is well handled in the word God Himself claims as His own. Thus, viewing man's history in light of the influence of evil, it all rather makes sense. However, I will not avoid the one question that is obvious to me: Why?

To paraphrase Rick Blaine “Of all the planets in the Universe, why did you choose ours?” While I won't avoid the question, I do not pretend to have an answer. It is one of the many, many things I do not know. So why bring it up? First of all, to me anyway, it is a much more pointed question than “Why does evil exist?” That question is satisfied (for me) by the revelation of the works of the adversary. It hold no mystery for me – evil exists because the devil rebelled and continues to rebel. He is the source of evil. As for the first question, I can only ascertain that we are not exposed to this evil on a whim. There is a reason for it. Said reason is beyond me but consider this. We humans tend to get angriest at God when our pain is the absolute worse – nearly unbearable. How God must have suffered watching his only begotten Son rejected, beaten literally within an inch of his life and nailed to a tree to die a horrible death. All the while, He knows, KNOWS, this man is the only one who does not deserve any punishment, any pain, who always trusted his Heavenly Father and still trusts Him with his dying breath. I cannot imagine what it is like to watch a child die. My blood boils when I consider those who abuse and torture adults, much less children. The God I hold dear is all-knowing and as such knows, sees and hears all of our pain. He hears all of our cries. Can you, for one moment, imagine or at least consider what it must be like to see, hear, know and possibly even feel the pain of each one of us? This exercise is mind boggling to me. For all I know God literally feels our pain – every bit of it. All I can say is, I could not choose to watch another being endure what men, women and children endure, much less. While one can argue this “proves” God is a sadist at heart, such does not make sense to me. I ask the flip side of the question: if God is evil then why is there good in the world? Why do we not embrace evil? Why not root for it? As for me, it is simply not my nature to take any joy in evil. Isn't the very idea contradictory? “Joy” in evil? I can only conclude that God does, at the very least, endure every painful moment by every human who ever lived or lives. Why He does is beyond my understanding but a lack of understanding does not negate truth.

So why did God banish the devil, according to His Word, His own “second in command? who rebelled against Him to this planet where we are? I do not have an answer for this. At this juncture I can only accept this as one of the many things I simply do not know. Moving beyond this question, I submit that whether you accept any or all of my understanding, reject it completely or even continue to reject my or any god, one fact remains: evil exists. It is not going away anytime soon, if ever, at least by man's efforts. For those of you who reject God, it is rather silly to see you turn around and blame this same God for all that is wrong in the world. Many blame those who believe in God for the ills of the world. This is not to say those who believe in the God and Father of my Lord Jesus the Messiah are blameless, only that the evil things performed by my brothers and sisters in Christ are not done with God's blessing but against His Will. This is an example of yet another deception by the evil one. IF we Christians actually walked in the steps of Jesus who always did His Father's Will, we would be blameless. In this case, not only are Christians deceived but all who view their actions. Unfortunately we Christians are often deceived as easily as anyone else. On the other hand, many who believe false gods have no compunction against committing wrong or evil acts to further their cause. Islam is a perfect example. Their Koran explicitly condones almost any act to attain world domination for Islam.

Coming back to the earlier question of why God would allow the devil to corrupt mankind, while I cannot directly answer this question at this point, I can shed some light on things according to my understanding concerning the how. First of all, scripture tells us Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. As far as we know they had only one restriction: do not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Is this fruit a figure of speech or was it literally fruit? We do not know. Were there other restrictions? We are not told. So let us deal with what we can ascertain. Eve was convinced by the devil to do exactly what she was told not to do. She then convinced Adam. Before this, Adam had dominion over the earth. Later scriptures reveal dominion was given to the devil. Is there more to this story? I'd say so but this is what we are given.

I expect the first thing dissenters will do is attack the details. Is this not exactly what the devil did to Eve? Instead, let us focus on the concept. God handed man dominion. Man by his willful disobedience to God, handed said dominion over to an evil third party – the devil. The devil, being evil, has free reign until it is taken back from him. Consider the wording here. Dominion, free reign, is this not the language of rulers? The essence of all of this is who is to rule over us? I contend that if the answer to our dilemma is “man” i. e. there is no god, then we certainly seemed headed for destruction. What evidence have we that any “peaceful coexistence” can ever be achieved? If there is a god, then is it not logical that, at some point, said god would make himself known and rule? Or do we wait until either a superior race evolves or arrives from another planet? Will we then be required to worship said race?

On a side note, some like to suggest thinking such as my own is wishful. This is what I want to happen so this is what I believe. This is partly correct. My wish is to live in peace, to enjoy the fruits of my labor and continuous happiness. In as much as I see the only way to achieve this is for God to finally eradicate the devil and for His Son Jesus to take his throne, then, certainly, this is what I want to happen. While I absolutely believe this will indeed happen one day, I have no idea if it will be in my lifetime or another thousand years from now. I cannot say for sure what life will be like then but I can only expect it to be far beyond quite pleasant. Why do I believe this? Everything I understand, everything I've learned over the years point to this. If they had pointed to some man-made utopia, I would be fine with that. I am far too self-centered to care HOW my happiness comes about – at least I would be without God's influence. Even today, if I felt working towards a true republic would bear fruit, I would set to it. For years I believed in “working with the system”. If only we would all get our carcasses to party functions and become involved in the process, we could change things. That didn't work out so well. While I do have a rather active imagination and often engage in all kinds of mental exercises, I am reasonably adept at resigning myself to reality. In addition, I have no qualms about adjusting my beliefs to fit the facts and no desire at all to try to rework the facts to fit my beliefs. If my desire was to live in some “fantasy world”, surely I could choose one better than this present world. And, yes, I would likely choose a path promising more immediate and pleasurable benefits that the one I am on – to that end...

All of this pondering about God and the devil skirts around one issue of particular interest to me – happiness. In recent years, I've ventured on a personal mission to increase my own level of happiness. Even with the many blessings God has granted me over the years, somehow I manged to become increasingly miserable. Was it depression? No, it was more like attitude. One concept most every Christian struggles with is doing God's Will. The flip side of this is sin. From what I've seen we focus more on sin than the doing God's Will though they are essentially opposite sides of the same coin. We talk about confession and forgiveness and surrender, etc., etc., etc. What took me so long to realize was God WANTS me to be happy. He wants us all to be happy. Seriously happy. Deliriously happy. Really. Happy. This is God's Will for us. Those sinful things we “want” to do lead to our own misery. Is this to say I was miserable for so long because I resisted God's Will? I didn't feel all that sinful. I love my wife and my kids, I do not drink much alcohol at all. Indeed a six pack of beer has been known to last for months in our house. I do not partake of other drugs, I do not play around... the list goes on. So where was my sin? They were in the so-called “little things”. Mostly, I spent years pursuing pleasures with which the world enticed me. So much in the way a husband and wife might drift away from each other, distracted by other things, my relationship with God waned over the years. As I write this, I now see so many parallels between a marriage and my relationship with God. Both take effort, Both require attention and awareness. Both require I set aside my own selfish needs and desires in pursuit of something greater than myself. We tend to consider “God” as this angry dude perched above waiting to descend and punish us for the slightest infraction. I contend God does not want children who obey Him only out of fear of punishment. He has something much greater in store for us – something we cannot even imagine at this juncture. Something so wonderful that everything we have endured to this point – everything HE has endured is more than worth the price we pay now. We do not, can not, understand why this evil has a crucial role in our life here but I can assure you, that if my God so willed it, He could certainly have arraigned things so we not born in a world such as this.

My conclusion is God wants me to do His Will because He wants me to be happy! Much of my unhappiness lies in the fact that my understanding of what it means to be happy is misconstrued. I am not alone here either. How many times have you heard, “I'd be happy if I only had such and such”? If I won the lottery. If I this person loved me or if they realized how much I loved her. If I had a different job. If I had a different car. If I only had that house. The common thread? “If I HAD”. Most of our presumed happiness centers around things. The rest around circumstances. Between these two, most of us hang our degree of happiness. So what happens when we receive these things? We want more. As such “happiness” is a brass ring that is always just out of reach. Whereas true happiness transcends all of these things. Whether or not you believe in God, chances are you can see the truth in what I am saying. My God teaches me to shun those things that detract from happiness and embrace those things that enhance it. Evil of any sort is not once encouraged.

Think about just some of the things we all do every day – making snide remarks about others, gossiping, telling “white lies”, deceiving others, coveting what others have... the list goes on. Does any of these things bring happiness? Think about the last time you did something really good for someone else, or something someone did for you... not for gain but just “out of the blue”. How did it make you feel? I cannot speak for anyone else but such acts make me feel good. Imagine that. Certainly there are those who can devise all kinds of scenarios pointing to a god who is a mix of good and evil or possibly just plain evil. I doubt if either of these two concepts would hold up under close scrutiny. In the first instance, just as a lie salts the truth, evil pollutes good. Thus any being I can perceive as “both good and evil” must be, in essence evil. We are then left with an evil being who introduces “good” as a multiplier for suffering. Even if a case could be made for this, the end result would still be disastrous as we will eventually destroy ourselves. I can ascertain this by the most cursory glance at human “progress”. We've gone from gathering to farming to hunting to social structures all leading to disputes, conquests and war. We've evolved from bare hands to sticks and stones to nuclear armaments. Is there a shred of evidence suggesting we will all suddenly lay down our weapons, sit around a campfire and sing “Kumbaya”? Do you really think those people calling for “world peace” and/or a “world government” are the pure of heart? I've got news for you... the local cops cannot deter or prevent crime with any sustainable degree of effectiveness. Centralizing law enforcement is not the answer nor is a total police state – just ask your friendly neighborhood federal or state convict.

What does happiness have to do with the devil? A lot. Humans seek pleasure. Sure, dogs seek pleasure to but we are unique in our ability to invent new ways to sate our desires. Even the most advanced primate has yet to invent “the ultimate driving machine”. We tend to equate pleasure with happiness. We are often disappointed in our results and move on to the next thing. A man who enjoys fishing may well have his favorite spot but the pleasure derived from visiting it will wane over time. He will seek out new locations, possibly even exotic locations. While his current equipment may be exactly what he always dreamed of, soon a new device will likely garner his attentions. In short, we are never happy with the way things are. The devil takes full advantage of this and is quick to point out what is lacking in our lives. For those of you who snort at this idea, picturing some grotesque horned monster pulling the strings on some unaware human like a marionette, I'll suggest a couple of things. First, the devil is described as a beautiful creature once being second in command to God Himself. What does he look like today? Who knows? All I can say is the devil is likely capable of looking sharp – evil can be, and usually is, deceptive in nature. Second, just as you won't see the CEO of Walmart checking your purchases out at the store, the devil is unlikely to personally deal with you. Both have underlings for these things. Direct action is not so much his thing either.

You see, much as we tend to envision the devil as this “super being” who can appear debonair and charming one moment and as a powerful bloodthirsty demon the next, we forget his more subtle side. Is this not what scripture's first description of him says? Gen 3:1 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast...”. The danger here is we tend to focus on the distractions. The fires that need quenching. They never stop, but rather, just keep coming. His attacks are often not so much “full frontal” but flanking. Many of us, even those who either outright deny God or hold Him at arm's length will turn to God in a crisis. Even many who claim Christ only turn to prayer when they are in trouble. My point is not to judge but to suggest that often a full bore attack may have the opposite effect. On the other hand, distractions, particularly distractions upon distractions can be particularly devastating. One might climb a wall in our path but we might easily be lead astray if the way “around” the wall is enticing enough and soon we become lost. In case you haven't noticed, most people experience one bad thing after another. They overlap, pile up and eventually converge into an overwhelming mess. Yes, some folks do indeed turn to God at this point but, often, they become angry and demanding. They want to know why God allowed all of this to come down on them. Many, if they would be honest with themselves, would have to admit they are responsible for much of their own troubles. They didn't just happen to fall in love with another woman – they flirted and pursued and pushed on until they were in full-fledged cheating mode. In the same way we all produce our own level of happiness via the choices we make. We choose to turn the TV on and the channels we watch, the stations we listen to, the things we read. While we often simply react to situations around us, do we not choose how we condition ourselves to react? How many times have you said, “If s/he does such and such, I'm going to...”? And do you do what you anticipated? More often than not, the situation you anticipate never occurs. Even so you set in your mind how you expect to react and your mind has gone over hundreds of situations over the years. In essence you are programming yourself to react a certain way to certain stimuli. Whether you believe in God or not, much of your mindset, your attitude is directly related to what you feed your mind.

As for myself, while I was aware of this principle from the very beginning of my Christian journey, I, well, got distracted. I cannot blame anyone but myself as the distractions were often those that I chose. I was as gullible as anyone else. It is only lately I've realized how foolish I've been. All the distractions I've chosen were, in one way or another, in search of happiness. Many of them had the opposite effect, driving me further and further into my miserable mental pit. One day the truth hit me like a 2x4: God WANTS me to be happy. Doing His Will will lead to nothing else. NOT doing His Will only leads to more misery. Yes, you can find all sorts of examples that seem to contradict this principle – Jesus the Messiah being the most graphic example. We look upon the brutal death of the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God and ask how can this be? The answer lies in looking beyond this. Look even beyond the resurrection of Jesus – to the time when he returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. I don't know about you but I tend to think of “happiness” as a constant state where nothing phases me. This concept, I think, is rather unrealistic, as is the idea that if we always do God's Will, nothing bad will ever happen to us. In this world, such ideas are fantasy. That said, which is better? Trying to maintain that bad things will never happen if only you “believe enough” or accepting that bad things are going to occur and resolve yourself to accept the bad with the good? I wonder why then, people who otherwise claim to be rational, expect Christians to live in such a fantasy world or never to do or accept anything “bad”.

In conclusion, Paul Harvey, years after his death left the piece “If I Were the Devil” as part of his legacy. As this work makes the rounds today, the impact of this piece remains profound. While it appears much of what he wrote about came to be, I contend such things already existed in some form at the time. Harvey extrapolated what was already happening. Either way, I am confident he would agree that his work only scratched the surface of evil, or as portrayed by Paul Harvey... the devil. No matter what you believe or do not believe, the existence of evil is hard to deny. What can be done about it? If good cannot overcome evil then mankind's future is bleak. If good can overcome evil, then shouldn't each of us do our part? Are we waiting for Utopia, in whatever form you can imagine, to arrive and wipe out evil? It will not happen by itself. As for myself, I will continue to seek out God's Will for me. While I am confident my assessment is correct, if I am someday proven wrong, what harm have I done? Can you say the same about the path you've chosen?

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Arrogance of an Atheist

Recently an atheist attempted to turn the Manchester bombing into an attack on “religion”. The attempted argument was so weak in so many ways I never bothered to reply. Why should I? I am not “religious”. I am a Christian. As defined to me once – religion is what man can do for God whereas Christianity is what the one true God wrought in Christ for mankind. Long ago, this became my take on this issue. Don't look to me to try to “save” you or anyone else for that matter. Salvation is of God via his only begotten Son and my Lord Jesus the Messiah. Nor will I attempt to “fix” your relationship with my Heavenly Father or my Lord and Savior Jesus. I am not a spiritual social worker. I am a simple Christian with my own sins and faults and issues. Religion is another thing altogether.

Throughout the centuries man has seen many religions. Men have worshiped everything from rocks fallen from the sky to snakes and calves. Men have worshiped other men and women, both real and imagined. Men have worshiped the sun and the stars and the earth. Men have worshiped rulers and governments. You name it, someone has likely built a shrine to it. Most will insist only their object of worship is true. I know I do. I also know we cannot all be right. Thus, I, like any other serious practitioner of my faith can fall into the trap of smug certainty. After all, I would not be a Christian if I weren't convinced I was on the correct path. I am quite sure a Buddhist, a Hindu or a Muslim would feel the same. Thus the we are sure to feel to some extent that all others are just plain wrong. Unless, of course your beliefs run along the line of the Unitarians who seem to believe that any superior being (s) doesn't care what anyone believes – its all good. Good luck with that. There is at least one conclusion the is obvious to me (and likely to everyone else as I consider myself a “master” of all that is obvious.) and that is humans seem to gravitate towards the idea of something greater than themselves.

This one concept spans all societies throughout history. We seem to have some innate need to “look up” to something greater than ourselves. I'd like to say this need is undeniable but let's face facts: anyone can deny anything at anytime so that theory is out the window. On the other hand it seems obvious to me this idea should be very hard to deny logically, the evidence is scattered all over the planet and throughout history. Even those who deny the existence of any god, gods or spirits will find it hard to blow off the idea of men invoking leaders to replace more esoteric superior beings. Again, it is in our nature to seek authority – a higher power, even if we must choose such from among our members.

There is a more subtle thread running through all of this and that thread is a means to control. Whether you care to consider control as a side issue, a parallel one or something altogether different, the concept repeats itself in every instance. In a sense, worship is an attempt to control one's god. Consider the cliché of someone who in desperate need turns to some unknown being and begs for help and in return they will do xxx. Such a bargain is an attempt to control some vague idea of a higher power – to bend the will of some being in exchange for some future “service”. We have all witnessed some form of grand scheme (yet another cliché) to appease “the gods” by sacrificing a virgin. Again, the idea behind such a sacrifice is somewhere along the lines of “the gods are angry and we must appease them.” And again, the worshipers know the gods are angry because something is not going their way. Control. We do this and the gods will perform thusly. How convenient. What does anything have to do with an arrogant atheist? Just about everything.

Long ago there was this atheist who had it all figured out. He had no problem telling anyone who would listen so. There were no god, gods or spirits. Man was the ultimate being, though he could not reject the possibility of superior intelligence on distant planets. And since this man, considered himself to be of above average intelligence AND having deduced what most others had not, he essentially transformed himself into a god of sorts. Not that he thought himself as a god – he didn't believe in such nonsense. But, extending his own logic... isn't a “god” a superior being? If mankind is superior to everything else on the planet, wouldn't man be by default a “god” to all lower beings? We certainly act as if we are. We do what we want, take what we want and for all practical purposes dominate the earth. For any atheists reading this and railing against me for presuming what this guy was thinking – bug off. I was that guy. While the path leading me to the God and Father of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah was different than most, I can assure you logic played a massive part in my life. It still does. Granted, I am not “schooled” in logic. I cannot tell you what this or that argument is called. Some of my “logical thinking” is likely faulty. Even so, when faced with a choice between something that makes sense and something that does not, I'll choose the sensible conclusion every time. This is one reason that while I am a Christian, I have not ever “joined a church”.

This does not mean I do not recognize any Christian leaders, however I have yet to see a single one heading a major organization. Today's GOVERNMENT control of churches via tax and other laws virtually guarantees such organizations will eventually be corrupted. How? The very same way secular organizations become corrupted – voting and money. While this topic is fodder for another time, I'll leave it by suggesting that a true man of God is often called upon to speak truths the populace does not want to hear. Do this enough and the congregation will either accept and submit or reject and rebel. And since modern churches are controlled by men and not by God, the tendency is to drift towards someone who will soothe the ears rather than irritate to soul. Back to our arrogant atheist...

As I said, I was once an atheist so I can claim some inkling of what such a position is like. While atheists themselves are as varied as any group, the one common thread is, of course, a rejection of the idea of a superior being – at least one who created the universe we live in. So where does that leave the atheist? Unless one looks to the stars, the only reasonable assumption is man must therefore be the superior being on the planet. This assumption essentially makes man a god. If this concept was presented to my atheistic mind, I would have rejected it outright – no question. Why? Because I did not believe in ANY god, gods or spirits, thus accepting man as a god would be to accept a god. This would have presented quite a quandary because I would still have to admit that man was the obvious superior being. What about life from other planets? That idea hurts once I put it into this framework. What IF a being presented itself with superior abilities? Would I worship it? Would the being demand worship? What if it made such demands? What would I do? What could I do? That is a tough one. What about men/women smarter, tougher, and/or more aggressive than I? What if they rose up to demand worship under penalty of death? You realize this sort of thing actually happened in history? Right? As a Christian, I would reject all such nonsense. As an atheist, I would also reject it. But what about others?
Once again we find ourselves returning to the beginning. Mankind yearns to worship something. While some or many may reject the idea, a great many more will embrace it. Whether you accept a thing or not does not in any way change the veracity of the thing. A lie is a lie and a truth is a truth. There is nothing you or I can do will change that fact.

Concerning those who believe in a god and those who do not, one side or the other is mistaken. As for myself, it is apparent that not only are non-believers mistaken, but also those who reject the One True God and His only begotten Son, Jesus the Messiah. What if I am wrong? Well I could either die and that would be the end of me or I could find myself facing a god I do not know. No matter what choice I make, I would end up with the very same dilemma. After careful consideration over the past several decades, I am happy with the choice I made so many years ago. I've experienced many instances over the years both large and small confirming my belief. Even if the future proves I've been played a fool, I have no regrets whatsoever.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

What the CIA, Hacking Tools and Marketing Have in Common

Alice Salles writes in about the Wikileaks revelations and relates how the CIA has lost control of the hacking tools, trojans, viri, and other malware they produced. As I read the article, it came to me that this was only natural. They are in the same boat as marketers when it comes to keeping their “secrets”.

Considering any company selling goods or services. Some are good at it, some are horrible. Most fall somewhere in-between. What's the secret of the most successful marketers? It is no “secret” at all if you stop to think about it. They are selling whatever, thus they make it known what they are selling to the general public. Thus whatever they are doing to sell whatever they are selling has to be right out in the open. This has been long known to those who write sales copy or are marketers themselves. If you want find a magazine ad that sells, look at the last several issues. The successful ads are the ads you see again and again. Magazine ads are expensive so marketers will not, cannot continue to pay for them unless they produce results. So how does this relate to the CIA? Simple.

For the CIA's plot to work they must install that malware on computers. Your computer. My computer. Every computer they can. In order for the malware to work they must distribute a copy to every computer they possibly can. While most of us, including myself, are oblivious to all the crap running on our computers, including malware, there are those among us who like nothing more than finding it and either turning it to their own purposes or announcing their findings to the world. About that last bit, most of the world ignores such nerds so these announcements end up circulating in “nerd circles” where most never see the light of day. No matter, the information is out there. If you cared to actually search, whatever the CIA, NSA, Russians, Clinton Crime Family, or Skippy, the kid next door put on your computer, rest assured it is there, intact, and ready to be discovered. So it is no wonder the CIA cannot keep these “secret”. Now at some point they will figure out a way to make their stuff near invisible. Maybe they already have, but just so I don't give them any ideas, I will not publish my thoughts on this. Rest assured if they are successful cloaking their software, even those techniques cannot last forever. All of this involves the same principles as computer security. If you can lock it, someone will find a way to unlock it.

None of this is intended to make you feel all warm, fuzzy and comfortable with your computer again. The fact is the powers that be are determined to collected every bit of information on every one of us and use any or all of it to their distinct advantage. In my own case, where they have little, if anything, to hold against me, they can always make it up. This is the REAL danger of their intrusions into our privacy. Consider the story line in Orwell's “1984” where Winston changes a “news” story and then changes it again. The gist of this story line is the “facts” are what those in power decide those facts to be. We are witnessing this exact principle at work before our eyes! One friend, a Windows expert, once opined the only true method of securing a computer would be to dismantle it, smash it, burn it, dig a 12 foot hole, and bury it in concrete. Only then, it MIGHT be somewhat secure. He didn't think to EMP it, but I am sure he would today. My point is, our lives are not secure. Just as we've been living in a fantasy world where our God-given rights are secured by a constitutional republic, we are not at all secure in our homes, persons or possessions. Our “personal” property is always subject to taxation, inspection or confiscation at the whim of any number of government agents. While the latest revelations about the CIA are and should be disturbing, they should be of no surprise to anyone. Neither should anyone be lured into believe that we can somehow turn this nation back to anything resembling a constitutional republic. From my unabashedly Christian perspective, I contend the only real approach is to turn to our Heavenly Father and live lives pleasing to Him. We live in this age for a reason. The only reason I can ascertain is to help prepare the world for the return of His Son and our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.