Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good vs. Evil?

I was just watching a PBS show "The Question of God." The forum was locked or so big it didn't seem worth posting there, so here I am. Jeremy Fraiberg: Hold on — this free will argument is really flawed in a number of ways. First of all, free will addressed only the third of the list of three things that Freud listed as being sources of pain — namely, the things that people do to other people. It says nothing at all about the decay of our bodies — people suffer horrible diseases, terrible pain, that has nothing to do with free will. Natural disasters, earthquakes, volcanoes, what does that have to do with free will? I think we're missing what pain is. Pain is not evil, it is a natural thing. Pain informs us there is something causing damage to our body. Diseases may possibly be a result of our not understanding what our body needs. What if disease attacks our system successfully because we have not treated our body as well as possible. I had a friend who had prostate cancer which is a terrible disease. By changing what he put into his system physically and the way he directed energy through his body, he or his body, was healed. Maybe it is practically impossible for us to treat our bodies well enough to prevent all disease, but the point is that disease is an imperfection, not an evil causing pain just to cause pain. Point is, perhaps there is some choice we, or those taking care of us, are making, even completely unaware, that opens the door for the potiential of disease. THIS IS NOT TO GIVE ANYONE BLAME FOR DISEASE! I know someone might say that this is completely wrong because we're not responsible for the diseases that kill our children or we catch ourselves. I know that it is important for some to absolve everyone of all responsibility, and I will reiterate that no one could be expected to make "all the right choices." In fact, I would apologize for saying this and take it back except as an abstract point of argument. Anyway, I would say that disease and "natural disasters" may cause pain, but are not evil. What we call natural disasters are really nature balancing out itself but we get in the way. Hurricanes have been blowing across the seas and lands for a lot longer than we have built cabanas in Florida. Now we have moved into that area and there is a conflict, which causes pain. This is not evil, it is cause and effect. Jeremy Fraiberg: How can you believe in a Christian God when there are things in this world like little girls getting abducted, sexually tortured repeatedly and then hacked up into pieces. That just happened in Toronto, where I come from. I mean, this is unspeakably evil. And awful. And how could a good God let that happen? I can really get in trouble here by suggesting that God doesn't let these things happen, we do. We let this happen by not caring for the little boy or girl that is hurt and grows up to hurt someone else. If every "Christian" went out and helped other people like Jesus said we should, just maybe we could put a cap on child abuse or gangs or lawyers (just kidding; but maybe we wouldn't need nearly as many lawyers.) Why should we blame God for hurting people? Why not blame ourselves? If you do not believe in God, who do you blame? Do you think these things "just happen?" I think there is a cause for every effect. I think we should decide to hold ourselves accountable for our lack of action. God acts through us as we choose to act. That's free will and why there is "evil."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Senator Durbin was right!

I think this was a either a travesty of political frenzy or there are a lot of obtuse senators and journalists. Senator Durbin said that if the FBI report was accurate, the mistreatment of detainees could have happened in detention centers of some of the world's worst regimes. Let's say people were/are getting beaten in Gitmo, for the sake of the argument. Someone comes and says "I was detained and beaten." What's the difference between being beaten by Americans or Russians? Were people beaten and tortured in gulags? Are people beaten and tortured in Gitmo? Of course, you can say the difference is that in gulags people were beaten before they were frozen or starved. That hasn't happened in Gitmo, yet, as far as we know. That's the point! We have to be sure we hold the line for human rights and humane treatment of detainees. The cry that the people in the US armed services were being insulted is hogwash. I was in the Marine Corps. I am proud of my service. I also know that not everyone in the service is destined to be sainted for their pre-service life. Some people join to serve their country, and others join to stay out of jail, or get away from bad home situations, or for the image of power (these are the ones who regularly read Soldier of Fortune in the squad bay.) It isn't hard to imagine these people not internally knowing how to deal with some of the pressures that guarding detainees can present. If you look at the Stanford study, you know anyone can be seduced by the power that guards possess. I'm not condeming anyone who is in this situation. IO said it could happen to anyone, even me perhaps. But we cannot turn a blind eye to the possibility it happens, and if it happens we need to get those people help and out of the situation. Stop the bleeding, stablize the patient, right? Who do we Americans think we are that we could never stoop to the levels that Germans did in the 1930s and 40s? Were all those people so bad? Normal people can do unnormal things under stressfull circumstances. Think about the danger to their country the Germans were facing in the 30s. They were economic problems and people were afraid they would be facing starvation and anarchy. Now, in our War against Terror, what are we afraid of? Physical attacks and possible disruption of our government infrastructures, which to me seems even more scary...maybe. So what makes us think we are so much better than other peoples in the past? We need to be diligent to be sure "Patriots" don't start beating people to protect our Fatherland. We have to stand tall and take some knocks because we can and because the alternatives are not part of our stand for justice and goodness. Captain Kirk knew this. We will always be at a disadvantage in tactics because we stand for the Might of Right, not the right of might.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

my little family

What a glorious day! God has blessed me so much! He has given me my health in abundance. I get to go out as often as I want, usually every other day and run three and one half miles. It isn’t easy, but the pain of exertion is quickly followed by a feeling of health and fitness; Thank God! God has also blessed me with people who care for me and help me in so many ways. Mary is always there to encourage me and motivate me to be my best. I can’t imagine where I would be without her support and love. Beccy is so grown up. I know she needs love and support just like we all do, She handles herself so well. She works hard and has a very nice little place; Go Beccy! Jenna is so special. Her smile can light up my world. I have never met a braver, more determined person in my life. She has something inside that scares her so much, but I have never seen anyone who works harder to overcome their worry-brain than Jenna. She is brave, beautiful, and smart, just like her sisters. Thank you, God! Natalie! Oh, Natalie! She is so full of life, love, and laughter. She seems to feel a connection with people; sometimes she will just come up and hug me just when I need it most. She is also always looking for the boundaries. If she gets a treat, she will try to set it up as an expected part of things. She will just keep asking for it again and again. God bless her! She laughs and she cries. God bless my girls! God bless Ben! He has such a good soul trapped in a mind that has been overwhelmed by life. He reaches out and needs us to care for him and love his gentleness and love. Thank you God!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

personal trust accounts

I heard an interesting speech the other day by Joel Osteen, a Texas preacher. I'm not sure that I haven't heard the idea he spoke on from other places, but I can't remember where else. Anyway, I'll attribute it to him until I know better. People keep accounts of how they are treated by other people. If I pay you a complement, then I make a deposit into my account with you. If I sit and talk with you and you feel like I care about you, I add to my account. If I am harsh to you, then I am making a withdrawal. If I try to correct you, or even make a suggestion, I am making a withdrawal. As long as we make more deposits than withdrawals into our accounts, then our relationship is going to be fine. We will be willing to make allowances for little indescretions or outbursts from someone with a positive account. On the other hand, we will not take any nonsense from someone running a negative balance with us. I think Joel was trying to give people a new way of looking at being a giving person and being considerate of others. This is a worthy goal. But I worry about the consequences of taking this any farther than that. Even in the basic explanation it gets pretty childish: "They will be nice to me to the level I am nice to them. I will do something nice for them so I can get away with something later." Do we really keep track of people and their actions like this? Is this a way to look at International relations? Do the Palestinians keep a count of positive and negative things between themselves and the Israelis ( or at least what the Israelis do to them.) and vice versa? It certainly seems like it. To me it is interesting when a theory describes, or even predicts behavior. If you look at that theory, does it describe the way one would want their behavior to be described? Tit for tat? You be nice first, then I'll think about it. Now I'm depressed.