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.

Friday, March 10, 2017

I Was Wrong

I was wrong.

Recently, I penned an open letter to the Forth Circuit and Supreme Court. Basically I took them to task for their recent attacks on our God-given rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Specifically I focused the Second and Forth Amendments but, really, they've trampled them all and they all know it. In brief, the Forth Circuit expanded the definition of “weapons of war” to include, at least, certain types of semi-automatic firearms. The landmark Heller opinion stated while citizens have the right to use firearms to defend ourselves, this right did not extend to “weapons of war”. Let that sink in. While those of us who hold the Second Amendment close to our hears cheered Heller, we failed to see the other shoe essentially gutted our guarantee to our God-given right. That said, I was so very wrong.

Wrong because, in writing the letter, I allowed myself the luxury to think that some how, some way, this nation will turn back to a constitutional republic. That we can take back all we have lost and while, it may be a longer, harder road than we now anticipate, it can happen. That idea is pure fantasy. No matter how much I WANT this to happen, it can not and will not. Why am I suddenly so “negative”?

First, let's get the whole “negativity” thing out of our heads. As I've said so many times, this world is on the brink of a New World Order and thus, the return of my Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ is imminent. How can that be negative? Second, while I do indeed enjoy the fruits of living in the freest, richest nation the world has ever known, much of what I believed to be true about this country is smoke and mirrors. Consider the idea this nation stands because we are ruled by “the consent of the governed”. What happened when several states no longer consented? We now refer to it as The Civil War. Yeah. Nobody is asking you for your consent and if you decide to revoke it, you may find yourself locked up or without a country. And yet, the fact is, there is no better nation to turn to. This is it and it is slipping out of our hands. Even so, it is necessary. Just as his followers had to admit their Messiah was beaten beyond recognition and died a horrible death on the cross, we need to understand we are witnesses to the death of our nation. Just as God raised Jesus from the dead, He will not forsake us. While none of us can say for certain we will live to see Jesus come with the clouds, we can rest assured it won't be long now. It cannot be.

No matter how wrong I've been, part of me will always yearn for a free nation where we can all pursue happiness without government suppression. This cannot happen at the hand of man. Just as the nation of Israel proved unequivocally that man cannot be saved from sin via the law, we have proven that freedom and justice cannot be had by a nation of laws. Without God, without His Son, there is no hope. This is hard for me to accept because I so strongly believe on the principles our nation was founded upon. I am convinced God Himself had a hand in forming and keeping this nation. It would be hard to deny we've been abundantly blessed as a nation. It is time to ask ourselves whether this nation has served God's purpose. As I reflected on my letter to the courts, I asked myself... to what end?

What did I hope to accomplish? In fact, the letter was written out of sheer anger and frustration after I realized how devastating the court's opinion was to our rights. It only got worse as I began to understand the implications alluded to in Heller. As I considered the letter itself, I realized, after the fact, that the letter could accomplish nothing. A few might read it. Some may agree with some points but then what? Would we all rise up an take to the streets? Write our ever-so-accommodating representatives? What? Of course the letter was futile. But, wait a minute, maybe there IS hope! What about the rallies in support of President Trump? We ARE taking to the streets! Maybe, just maybe...

Let us take off our rose colored glasses for a moment, shall we? While I am heartened to see people actually coming out to support President Trump, lets not ignore what is happening. First, anyone familiar with my ramblings over the past year or so, will know I've never been a Trump fan. I stopped far short of being a “never-Trumper”. Even so, I could never understand his appeal. In recent months I have warmed to him quite a bit. No matter what, he will never be a “Hillary Clinton” or even a “George Bush” and for this I am thankful. I am also impressed that he seems to sincerely reverence God. I can certainly support his efforts to accomplish his agenda for the most part. I could never say as much for his predecessor. Even so, I have never seen such resistance to a U.S. President. From the appalling behavior of the opposition party (they are really living up to the term these days!) to the rabid droolings of the press, to the violent protesters in the streets, one has to wonder what the heck is going on? And now the violence extends to those peacefully supporting President Trump. How long before pro-Trump supporters defend themselves in earnest? How long before protests start to resemble gang wars? How long before someone drives a truck through a pro-Trump rally? Or sets off a bomb? This is one reason I will not be joining a rally – it also goes against my primary principle of avoiding crowds. It is not “fear”. I've never liked crowds to begin with but these days they seem to be an open invitation for trouble. No thanks. So what is the best we can hope for? I suppose we can hope the pro-Trump attackers will all end up in jail or enough to quell the attacks and the nation will come together to support the good things Trump is trying to accomplish. As much as I'd like to see it, I cannot bring myself to hope for a return to a true constitutional republic. That would mean dismantling 95% of the federal government. Too high? Okay, so shoot for 80% or even 50% - can you really see that happening? I cannot. Nor can I see the entrenched resistance to President Trump going away.

No matter how you look at it, one has to admit a substantial number of those who legally and actively voted in this nation support a “social democracy”. That is a sugar-coated way of saying they support communism. And communism is nothing more than a front for statist rule. They have successfully embedded their cancerous politics into the fabric of our nation. Will we ever rid ourselves of Social Security, Medicaid, or Food Stamps? Actually, I believe all of these will eventually go away, but not because the people demand it. Unfortunately this will only happen when our government can no longer cough up enough fiat cash to keep them going. This may happen sooner than you think. David Stockman is already warning us about March 15th when the federal government faces yet another debt ceiling hurdle. His prediction is typically dire but he has a point – at some time our nation will no longer have the money to cover the even the interest on our ever-increasing debt, much less cash for anything else. What happens then? In a word... default. Communism ultimately fails when they run out of other people's money.

So we cannot go back and going forward is precarious, at best. The problem is “going forward” means going deeper into the communist rabbit hole. It means more government, more spending, more taxes and less freedom. For those who refuse to admit this, take a hard look around you. When has government become smaller? Even President Trump is proposing massive increases in infrastructure as well as increases in our defense budget. While I am not opposed to spending money on either cause, I would rather someone propose cuts with half of the money saved going towards an overall reduction in spending and the other half re-purposed for non-entitlement use. But that is not going to happen. The budget will grow. Spending will continue unchecked. If nothing else occurs, such as an EMP attack, we will spend ourselves into a corner and the economy will crash down upon our heads. Like it or not, this is our future.

So again I ask, has this nation fulfilled God's purpose? Certainly we could not reasonably expect it to last forever. How, then would end? I'm sure many envisioned Christ returning and then the nation falling and this is still possible. But what if the nation were to collapse in a self-destructive heap? What if this is to be the ultimate end for our nation? To me, the most horrible end to our nation – or maybe I should say the final throes – would be we become as England. The once proud, once world-dominant, nation upon which the sun never set is now a socialist nightmare. Cameras are everywhere, almost making the book “1984” pale by comparison. True, I do not think they monitor citizens homes... yet, but the technology is in place. It is now more a crime to defend oneself from criminals then commit the crime itself, i.e. criminals have far more rights than citizens. Yes, England still enjoys many freedoms, as long as they are approved by the state. Much like things are here. As many have said before me, I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. My own prayer is we do not simply degenerate into another totalitarian police state. Unfortunately, we are already there in many ways.

While we can always fondly reflect on the nation our founding fathers intended when our constitution was ratified, the sooner we realize those lofty intentions were never realized, the sooner we can roll up our sleeves and move on. Move on to what? Move on to reality and that brings us right back to where we started. Government will continue to grow larger. Citizens will continue to gravitate to population centers and demand more and more services and entitlements. Our liberties will continue to shrink. There is no turning “back”. There is nothing to turn “back” to. Since the big government model, call it statism, communism, oligarchy... whatever, cannot sustain itself over time, it will fail. When this government fails, our sovereignty will be formally relinquished to a world government. Whether this will happen in steps or directly, I do not know. I can only anticipate the direction, not predict the future. Meanwhile this nation could suffer some sort of fatal blow from natural or man-made causes to quicken our demise. I see that possibility as a blessing, though I doubt if the reality of such an occurrence would seem as such. No matter what, I suggest you prepare however you can to make the best of whatever situation you may find yourself in.

In “survivalist” circles there is obviously lots of talk about, well, surviving any number of scenarios from a nuclear and/or EMP attack, to economic collapse and beyond. Debates are endless about how much food and water to store, whether one should bug out or huddle in place and so on and so forth. While I agree we should all prepare to weather short term problems, I am not sure I really want to survive in a world annihilated by nuclear devices. I'm not saying I'm ready to lead a charge in the name of some concept of “freedom” (which concept is unattainable), but rather, I'm not about to hole up in some bunker so I can be one of the few to restart the human race. When you think of the company I'd be likely to keep – politicians, etc. the prospect becomes even less appealing. Realistically, I don't see things coming to that but I do believe there is a line where it is just not worth doing “anything” to survive. As a Christian, my attitude is to do what I can and trust God to help me where I can't. One thing I can nearly guarantee is things won't turn out as we imagine them no matter how many scenarios we anticipate. Thus, I ask you to consider a similar mindset. Rather than prepare for anything and everything, get the basics down. Consider your circumstances. If you live in a one bedroom apartment deep in a city, you'll need to adjust accordingly. By all means turn to God and ask for wisdom and guidance, now and always. He is the one constant we can count on. Everything happening now is happening because it is supposed to and you are right where God wants you. If you are in a bad spot, and many will be, you need to lean on Him even more. Consider Joseph in the pit, or Jesus before the Sanhedrin. In both instances, things got far worse before they got better. It is easy to rail against the garbage we see on the news... from both sides. It is all spin. It is all based on half-truths and outright lies. The father of lies thinks he has the world within his grasp but it will shortly slip through his fingers. There is only one true God. I suggest you seek Him out and accept the offer of salvation through His only begotten Son who shed His blood for our sins, whom God raised from the dead for our justification.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What Price for Peace and Prosperity?

If there ever was a loaded question... this is it. I ask this question with one answer in mind, though I am sure there are other ways to look a this. My own answer is peace and prosperity is costly... very costly because when things are going well we tend to become complacent. Complacency opens the door for apathy and apathy is deadly. Allow me to use my own life experience as one example.

I grew up poor. Since we are talking the 60's and 70's, I do not mean depression-era dirt poor. We didn't starve. (I was an only child of a single mother) Mom had a job until she had to quit during my senior year of high school due to medical reasons. She never made more then ten cents above minimum wage. We had food, clothing and shelter. We had a telephone and cable television. Medical care? I don't remember going to the doctor much but I wore glasses since age eight. (Thank you Lions Club!) As I spent a lot of time on my own, I grew up to be reasonably self-sufficient. I learned to do things. I learned to figure stuff out. Needless to say, I wasn't given a car. I wasn't given a college education. I worked for whatever I could get and it was never much. Today, I have the best paying job I've ever had and it isn't much more than starting wages for a lot of younger folks. Please, I am not complaining. This is just how things are. The fact is, with my wife's income, I can safely say our own children grew up as solidly middle class. And here is where things get interesting.

My own children, as I said, grew up as middle class kids. While they were never lavished with expensive toys, they didn't want for all that much either. In many ways, I feel I failed them. As a father, I wasn't all that great. Yes I was “there”. But I did not pursue many activities with them. I didn't take them hunting (I haven't hunted much since my youth.) We didn't fish nearly often enough. We didn't camp. We did not pursue activities at home. I never showed them how to change the oil on a car. I always hated working on cars and gladly paid to have it done once I could afford it. My wife and I spent lots of time fixing up various houses we lived in. The boys helped with those chores but we did not insist they learn to do what we did. They always just helped. And now I see the fallacy of my approach. Don't get me wrong – I am very happy with the way they turned out but there are lots of things they simply do not know how to do.

So this is the contrast in my experience. Surely both households were peaceful, but there was a marked difference in prosperity between the household I grew up in compared to that of my children. To me, this is an extension of how our nation has grown. Look around you. For all of the marvels surrounding us, think about how things were a century ago. We had automobiles in 1916. Consider all the working parts and the workmanship that went into making them. My wife and I are friends with a couple a generation older than we are. They are farmers and always have been. The woman reminisced about how they used to grow wheat and take it to be milled into flour. Can you imagine doing that today? It's not technically difficult but who knows how to do such a thing? What if we had to grow the wheat, harvest it and then mill the flour without power? The prosperity we've enjoyed as a nation is not without a price. We no longer make what we can buy. We rarely “make do” with anything these days. If the stuff really did hit the fan, many would suffer or die from lack of simple survival skills.

So what about peace? This nation has barely been physically touched by war in over 200 years. We've experienced plenty of internal strife over the decades but we are comparatively peaceful. But this peace has not come cheap. We can and should thank thousands of military and police veterans, as well as those on active duty for their contributions and their sacrifices to this end. Let us not forget the families of those who paid with life and limb either. Indeed this counts as part of the cost of peace but not all.

Just as prosperity has robbed us of self-sufficiency, we've allowed peace to rob us of our liberties. In much the same way we “paid for” things we are no willing to do for ourselves – such as self-defense. When our nation was conceived it was not at all unusual for common citizens to go about their business armed. Carrying one or more weapons was as ubiquitous then as carrying a cell phone is today. Traveling a long distance? Better bring the long guns. Imagine walking through a TSA checkpoint today with a musket, much less an AR-15. We've hired out our self-defense and not just at airports. Often we hear of stories of law enforcement being called to confront someone simply appearing in a public place openly carrying a gun of some sort. Nearly all of these incidents occur in places where the citizen is acting well within his rights. At the 2016 Republican National Convention, controversy swelled as recent shootings of police officers garnered calls for citizens to refrain from openly carrying arms in the vicinity of the convention. The governor correctly stated he could not circumvent the law. I did not then nor do I now advocate open carrying of firearms in such situations. In contrast, I see this as foolishness because we, as a people, have conditioned ourselves to fear anyone who dares carry a weapon. Such is the price of peace.

While the above is a glaring example of what we face in modern times, it is not at all extreme. Extreme is forfeiting our rights to free speech by requiring permission from government agencies to demonstrate peacefully in public places. Extreme is ignoring the fact that our own government routinely collects and keeps personal information on each and every one of us. Extreme is allowing our liberties to be chipped away daily with barely a shrug. Lately the 1st amendment guarantee of freedom of the press has come under fire but this is just the tip of a massive iceburg. As mentioned before, freedom of speech enjoys mere lip service, our second amendment rights are severely compromised. In New York, legislation was recently introduced to limit purchase of ammo to those who own legally registered firearms and then they would only be “allowed” to purchase two times the capacity of said firearm every 90 days. Will it pass? It may eventually. Time will tell. Meanwhile, the rhetoric says forbidding citizens from defending themselves will somehow make society safer. The NDAA and the Patriot Act have decimated much of our constitutional guarantees. Notice I use the word “guarantee” NOT “right”. This is to point out our rights are “granted” by the constitution but God-given. The constitution meant to enumerate and define these rights so as to guarantee our government could never, ever ignore them. From what I can see, it was a good idea in theory but it ain't working so well in practice. The forth amendment is trashed, as is the fifth, the ninth and the tenth. What have we left? Actually mere scraps. We've allowed the entire document to be essentially set aside. Soon-to-be ex-President Obama stated in his “farewell” address that "Our Constitution is... really just a piece of parchment”. No, SIR, our Constitution is the LAW OF THE LAND!

While we have all paid dearly for peace and prosperity the cost thus far is only a down payment. The final bill promises to bring with it massive sticker shock. The ultimate price is the loss of our nation and our sovereignty. That won't happen, you say? Consider this: the last time the tide turned against the liberal left – the spearhead of the globalists – was when Ronald Reagan was elected as President. His presidency stands among the greatest this nation has ever seen. Reagan Republicans turned back the liberal horde, beating down taxation and regulation, claiming victory over the left and restoring our liberties. Does this sound accurate? It is not. Lofty at best. Fantasy is more like it. Yes, Ron Reagan made significant inroads but in the end, we lost. We lost to George H. W. Bush who didn't deserve to stand in Reagan's shadow. We lost to Bill Clinton who promptly turned our nation leftward again. We lost to George W. Bush who presided over the Patriot Act, among other atrocities. We lost to Barry Obama who drove our nation to the brink of collapse in every sense of the concept. And now we stand at the dawning of Trump. What will a Trump presidency bring?

As I stated long before the election, no matter how effective Donald Trump is. No matter how far to the right he can turn this nation, this fix will be, can be, only temporary. Just like with Reagan, once Trump is gone, our nation will again slide in decline. How did I come to this conclusion? I lived it. Or, at least, part of it. Only recently have I began to understand how deeply the corruption has eaten at our foundations. To regain our republic we would have to repeal the income tax amendment, dismantle the Federal Reserve, restore the state legislatures' right to select U.S. Senators, dump Social Security and Medicare, along with a hoard of federal legislation, agencies, and regulation. If this sounds insurmountable, it should. If some of these ideas seem repugnant, you are beginning to get my point. This mess we call a Federal government didn't come about during one presidency and it is not going away in one. Already there is consternation about doing away with the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This was only enacted eight years ago, only came into full effect some four years ago and already is considered entrenched. And now for the bad news:

None of this is going to happen. Oh sure, the ACA will be repealed... AND replaced. This is part of the problem. The truth is the Federal government has no business in health care to begin with. But too many in our nation are willing to trade our liberty to make our own health care choices for some mysterious government “help”. Meanwhile, we will all go back to our jobs, turn on the television after work, and continue to idly watch as more and more of our liberties wash away. We've lost the will, if not the ability to say “no” to those who would take our rights away. We will soon forget how warm the water is becoming and settle in, waiting for it to boil. We may indeed have bought some time by electing Trump but his election will not, can not erase a century of globalist effort. It will take a great deal more resolve to accomplish returning our nation to a true constitutional republic.

One theory I've seen presented in one form or another is we've already been through the fire. The democrats and their agenda are defeated and we will now swing back towards a conservative America. Uh, no, it isn't going to work out that way. Have you seen the left's reaction? They are rabid. They will not be content with “protesting”. As they've already demonstrated, they will turn violent if they fail to get their way. Meanwhile efforts continue to disrupt, discredit and some say, even revoke the inauguration of President-elect Trump. Can it happen? Well, lets see, President Obama has stated numerous times that President-elect Trump is not qualified to be president. This from a man who's previous experience was as a freshman US Senator, an absentee state senator and a “community organizer” - whatever that is. His Homeland Security Chief has since federalized national elections. Several democrats stated this election was stolen. The intelligence community now essentially suggests it was the Russians, not the people, who elected Trump. I kid you not, I watched about 60 seconds of a hearing with the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper was questioned about Russian involvement. The questions were unreal... the question that struck me was asking Clapper whether the intelligence community believed Trump could have won the election without Russian interference. While I do not have the wording exact, this is the essence of the question as I remember it. Note, I have yet to find the exact exchange so my memory may be faulty. Moving on, since then this whole “dirty dossier” event came out with absolutely wild accusations about Trump. There is strong evidence this was leaked by none other than someone in the US intelligence community. And now there is speculation that the inauguration will not take place. While I see a lot of weirdness going on right now, I don't see this happening. More likely the rumors are further attempts to disrupt and discredit this presidency. If those who contend the globalists are setting Trump and all that is right in the world to fail miserably – a notion I find more and more acceptable each day – then it would fit that they would spread such fear and uncertainty. Consider the Republican National Convention. After similar huffing and puffing, the reality was little more than a foul breeze, if that. Expect more of the same for now. However I do expect things to fall apart at some point. When, I am not sure. It could be six months, it could be two years. A longer time frame makes a bit more sense – the better to distance the left from the fall. On the other hand, things are already past crazy. However, the collapse scenario is not within the scope of this article. The end of “peace and prosperity” is.

The coming crisis will present a unique opportunity to grow. The end of “peace and prosperity” ushers in strife and want. There will be no room for complacency. The globalists fully expect the people will turn to government for relief. After all this is what we've been trained to do. And they are mostly correct. During the Great Depression, many more people were significantly more self-sufficient than we are today. It is far more common to say “somebody needs to do something” than to roll up one's sleeves and get to work. In short, our nation is right where the globalists want us. This does not mean that we will hand over our sovereignty at the first glimpse of trouble. If this were true we'd be living under a world government today. People will go hungry. People will die. When death becomes pandemic, people will panic. Nor will everything happen at once. Even if we experience a cataclysmic event such as an EMP attack, it will take some time for things to fall apart. The amount of time depends on how catastrophic the even and how widespread. The closer one lives to a concentration of population the faster things will deteriorate. People will want food, shelter and safety. All three will be at a premium. Will some sort of FEMA camps be set up? Who knows? It is likely government will prefer to exert as much control as possible. So camps are not out of the question. No matter what people will be dazed and looking for answers. Some may even be ready to hear the truth.

This is the opportunity I see coming. At first glace this appears cold and calculating. To those of you who disdain me for looking a things this way let me ask you... who is listening now? Maybe you are. Maybe you are not. Many will read or more likely skim some of what I write and blow off the message. Why? Well surely nothing will happen to YOU. You have a good job. You are well-fed. You are comfortable. When things get uncomfortable my words may come to remembrance. Do not forget, I write now in a time of relative plenty. I've warned as many as I can reach about what will come. How many will take these words to heart today? If you still refuse to act. If you refuse to prepare. If you refuse to accept Jesus as Lord. If you refuse to show others what is going on right in front of you, I ask you to please tuck some of these words into your memory. There will come a time when you realize the truth of what I say now. When that time comes, please take the opportunity to embrace the truth and bring others to it. Not all will accept truth just as not all accept what they read here. But as many as possible should at least have the chance for today, for tomorrow, for eternity.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Media Circus – Send in the Clowns

For the record – I can't stand the song “Send in the Clowns” but the phrase is too appropriate here to ignore. - Towser

As the “fake news/hacking” chaos hits hysterical heights – those of us simply watching the parade are left to wonder what it is all about. It seems we are supposed to just “trust the experts” that Russia was involved and they tried to influence the presidential elections so voters would favor Trump over Clinton. Now that Trump has been “briefed” his position, at this point, seems to be that while the Russians did not influence the outcome, we must try to prevent future hacks. Here's what I can tell you right here, right now that will make instant sense to you:

None of these idiots know what they are talking about.

At least nobody I have heard. Certainly there are a few experts speaking intelligently about certain slivers of this pie but overall it is mass confusion. And this is exactly what those controlling the media are trying to accomplish. And that is why they sent in the clowns. Some of you might be thinking my point here is all fine and good but can I PROVE anything? Well, yes, yes I can. All we need to do is look at what the media clowns are saying and consider what they are NOT saying.

First, what is the media actually saying? This is your first clue. Taken as a group, they are not all that coherent. Compare this topic to, say, the recent airport shooting in Florida. Turn to any station and you will here essentially the same story. Yes, every outlet will color the story in their unique way. Some details may be offered on some and not on others. But the basis of what happened is reasonably consistent across the board. And now about those Russians. They are mostly all saying the Russians hacked the DNC and Posdesta and they “tried to influence” the election using “fake news” and “propaganda”. Again, depending on where you look, you'll pick up some fine points here or there but what I've outlined here covers the gist of things thus far. Notice anything missing right off the bat?

There is no “story”. Look all you want. There are accusations. There are “facts” i.e. the DNC and Posdesta email account WAS hacked but there is no account whatsoever detailing what actually happened. Now the “Intelligence Community” is hiding behind their cloak of secrecy by saying they cannot tell us how they know what they know or how they know it lest they reveal their methods to the enemy. You know what? I understand that much. I don't much care about the methods – the “how”. All I want to know is the “what”. And this is where the whole circus act falls apart.

You see, something dawned on me while I was watching one “news” segment or another. WHAT FAKE NEWS? (Okay, sure call me slow why don't ya?) Or should I say WHICH fake news? Can someone please tell me, show me, or clue me in on EXACTLY what “FAKE NEWS STORIES” the Russians used to influence the elections? Surely our friends in “intelligence” can tell us that much... can't they? I wonder if the problem is that if they start detailing the “fake news” the Russians released, they might have to distinguish this from the fake news put out by the CIA, FBI, ATF, NSA, the Labor Department, the Department of Commerce, the White House, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, etc. and so on. It might be easier to just give us a list of the real news stories out there... if there are any to be found. Could there be propaganda invented by the Russians to try to influence the elections? Of course it is possible, maybe even likely but where is it? Unless you are blind you can easily see that there are so many false and misleading “news stories” put out EVERY DAY one needs a score card to determine who the players are and what positions they are playing at the moment. And then there are the documented false flag operations, the propaganda campaigns and the pure fantasy “facts and figures” produced by our own government and others. The Russians? Seriously? Their propaganda machine is nothing compared to our own.

Enter the drama queen. Obama acts the drama queen standing at his podium and whining about the Russians attempting to influence our elections. Did anyone dare ask him about confirmed reports the he tried to influence the Israeli elections? What about Hillary's efforts to out Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi? Or Obama's openly supporting Egyptian elections or his attempts to out Syria's Bashar al-Assad? The list goes on and on. Hacking? Did the Obama censure the CIA for spying on the United States Senate? Not only was this a blatant attack on one branch of government by another but the CIA is forbidden from operating on US soil – PERIOD. Obama had complete control over this situation and yet he remained mum. How can anyone take this guy seriously? And yet 99% of the media reports every word that emits from his lying lips as if it was an oracle from God Himself. And the masses lap up this drivel. Amazing.

Now for the second act – hacking and cybersecurity. It must be time for the stand-up comedians.

Let's look at Podesta first. While the access gained to Podesta's email account technically could have pulled off by a 14 year-old, s/he would have likely have been an exceptional teenager. However Assange's statement does make a point about the world of “hacking”. Please note my own background in this world is I read a book or two years ago, one non-fiction and maybe a few other fictional stories with hacking themes or extensive allusions. Nothing I read could be considered a “how to” so my actual knowledge is minimal. With that disclaimer I have been a victim of hacking and I've had some exposure to computer security due to my involvement in the computer industry. I can tell you there are people out there – some referred to as “script kiddies” that actively try to access web sites and email accounts. The “script kiddies” refers not so much to age as abilities, however most involved in this sort of activity seem to be younger people looking for tickles and grins. They seek out or stumble across hacking sites and download all sorts of malware designed to cause trouble. They are not programmers, or at least they are not often learned enough to write these programs but they can and do download and run them. It is not all that hard. (I know because I download and run non-harmful scripts for sights I operated – the principles are the same only the intent and outcome differs.) Thus it would not be all that difficult to set up a page to capture passwords and send a link to just about anyone. Does this mean the Russians did not pull such a stunt on John Podesta? No. But it does widen the playing field significantly. But the worst news is this: all the cyberscurity in the world will not prevent such an attempt if the guy with the password is clueless. Now from the one non-fiction book I did read, I did learn that the most common and successful method of hacking is called “social engineering”. That is a fancy word meaning someone conned the information out of someone else. Not only does it NOT take a programming savant to do this, I'd say such a “hack” would often be better performed by those less nerdy as nerds are notorious for their lack of “people skills”. Note this is simply a tendency and not always the case. I have met many very sharp computer “nerds” who were also extremely personable.

Now what about the DNC hack? Some say it was an inside job. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. I don't know at this point. What I do know is the release of these emails doesn't fit my definition of propaganda. The fact is they didn't surprise me much at all. What the emails did reveal is how much the main stream media was in bed with the Hillary campaign. Surprising? No. Illuminating? Certainly. Again, judging from the seemingly unending hacks and attacks at so many sites – Yahoo, banks, utilities (real hacks not the fake one recently reported by the Washington Post.) and so on, the Russians are the only players in this game. None of this is new or news. It happens all the time – so much so we would all likely be shaken if we knew the actual frequency. Individuals, corporations, governments and other criminal organizations (Oops! Did I say that?) are constantly at work trying to hack just about everything they can. If you have a small website, you needn't worry to much because these guys are after bigger fish. Cybersecurity is an ongoing battle. There is nothing new here. As one friend and security expert put once put it “The only way to secure a computer for certain is to dig a 10 foot hole in your back yard, smash your computer to pieces and drop them in the hole. Fill the hole with concrete and hope for the best.” Maybe if one were to dig 10,000 10 foot holes, this could be improved upon but not by much. The bottom line is, anyone who thinks anything online is secure is a fool. But there is something more insidious going on here.

The first thing you should know, if you don't already, is the powers at be do not want you to be secure. They HATE security and privacy – passionately. So besides all the huffing and puffing about security, beyond the fact that a virtual army of people are bent on breaching your innermost secrets, these same intelligence operatives make every effort to include some sort of “back door” access to just about any security solution out there. Forget the fact that this practice automatically corrupts any security in place by its very nature. Even if “only” someone in government has access, your security is at the mercy of their whims. The end all of this is any semblance of “security” is a joke on us. Smoke and mirrors if you will or to quote Pogo... “we have met the enemy and they are us.”

If that is not bad enough, do not forget our own government is bent on feeding us endless propaganda. In the words of CIA Director William Casey "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." Do you really think things have improved since Casey's reign? Recently I had a laugh when someone labeled the CIA “professional liars”. I laughed more at the irony than the truth the statement evokes. What is the goal of all of this?

Chaos and the determined development of a pliable populace. They want to keep us proles dazed and confused... so they can manipulate us with ease. Sadly they are very good at it. If you've read my other posts, you already know the globalists' ultimate goal is world domination via a one-world government. To accomplish this they need all nations to abdicate their sovereignty and submit to a world government. The United States of America is the biggest hurdle – the brass ring. If we fall the nations of the world will fall in line. (Some nations such as Russia and China will maintain a semblance of sovereignty but this will be mere lip service.) What will it take for America to fall? First , the people must be totally subjected to the federal government. This phase is almost complete but the plan is plagued by those pesky liberty lovers who still cling to their guns, bibles and the constitution. Many people no longer rivet their attention to the globalist controlled mainstream media – they get news from places like The Drudge Report, World Net Daily and all the others. They must be stopped. Once the free press is under control, free speech will be totally smothered next. Once citizens can only access approved news and dissent is no longer tolerated, they will do what they are told. Soon they will see the foolishness of this myth of sovereignty and welcome open borders and the security and stability of a truly central government.

Already, our REPULICAN CONTROLLED congress has passed a bill essentially authorizing a “ministry of truth”. It is the NDAA 2017 that opens the door for a government funded, government sanctified quasi-public agency to spew out official government “truth”. Note you will have to dig a bit to uncover this because congress buried what they did deep into the bill. Why? Because if they were up front about all of this people would be outraged... maybe. I wonder about this because the mechanism used for this had been in place for decades. It is a core component of the US of A's propaganda machine used to influence the world. Propaganda? You say? Yes, propaganda. For decades we've openly admitted our government seeks to influence people in other nations. What does it say to you when I mention that WHAT our government says to other nations was, up until now, forbidden to be revealed to US citizens? This information was eventually allowed to be released to the US public 12 years after the rest of the world was exposed to it. What kind of information? I don't know at this point because I only just learned about all this myself. I can only surmise the information was littered with lies and half-truths because if it was all true – why keep it from us? And yet some find it acceptable, even reasonable for our government to lie to people of other nations while some of those see no problem with lying to us. The fact is we've been lied to all along. Now the lies are being fed steroids.

All of this is contrived to further the globalists' ultimate goal of a one-world government. Once again, my goal is to point out some of the warning signs for you to see. They are all around us and they are all pointing to the same end game. I would have to quit my job and devote all of my time to this in order to try to point them all out to you. At this point that is not an option so I urge you to investigate on your own. Where can you look? EVERYWHERE! Look anywhere. Simply open your eyes and ask yourself if what you see promotes a one-world government agenda. I'll start you out by naming a few: Climate change, open-borders,illegal immigration, LGBT, zoning, Agenda 21, gun control – the list goes on and on. Ask yourself – who is promoting liberty? Who is promoting sovereignty? These represent the antithesis of globalism. Please note you will find some advocating all kinds of strategies to circumvent this from political action to outright revolution. Also note that I know of NO ONE on the right instigating violence or advising anyone to do so. As for me, I do not believe anything will prevent what is coming. Thus I urge those of you who have not accepted Jesus the Messiah as your Lord and Savior to do so now – or at least begin a quest for the truth. I am convinced the truth will lead you directly to Jesus. If you have already accepted Jesus as Lord, then I urge you to ask God for guidance as to what to do next.