Thursday, June 30, 2005

I like using outdated racial slurs in casual conversations to see how people react. I like to see how quickly someone's racism radar goes up.

Me:"Colored people are so graceful, don't you think?"
SomeoneElse: "What did you just say!?"/incredulous

Sometimes I just make the most horribly racist comment I can come up with, just to watch people squirm. I call them dirty Mexicans, or niggers or chinks or whatever, and just watch people try to deal with my politically incorrect statement.

Why do I do it?

Because in my opinion, most people, and especially most people in Utah (where I live), are closet racists. And it pisses me off. Sure, they won't say "nigger" or "wetback" or whatever, but everything else they do speaks far louder than that. I see it in the way blacks are treated at fancy department stores, or on college campuses (I'm not making this up at all, people really do look at them with fear or suspicion, I've seen it actually happen), or the vague complaints about undocumented workers taking our jobs, or the comments about a race which people make to compensate for the horrible feelings they actually harbor.

So I say the things that all these hypocritical bastards are thinking but are too socially conscientious to say. With them, it's all about what people think of you. For me, it's all about being honest and upfront and treating every person exactly for what he is: A PERSON. I don't go out and find minority groups and make friends with them just so I can feel like I'm not racist. And yet, at the same time, when a person of any other ethnicity interacts with me, I do my very best see right through the color of skin or whatever.

I don't know, maybe I have different views because of my experiences. I spent two years in Canada, and I spent more time with people from Africa and Cambodia and China and South America and literally dozens of other nations than with actual WASP Canadians. At the end of the day, there isn't a damn difference at all.

I just wish people would stop acting like there is any kind of difference; don't be racist, and don't try so hard to not be racist that you end up being racist anyway.

Anyway, all of you should read Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation" RIGHT NOW. And then repent for being judgmental bastards.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Arguing about Politics, Philosophy and Religion is completely pointless. Discussing Politics, Philosophy and Religion is not pointless; indeed, it's very important that these things be discussed on a regular basis.

Apathy will get you nowhere in life, and sometimes it will even get you places you don't like. Yes, most discussions result in an intellectual impasse, and that would make it seem like nothing valuable or productive occurred. But that's only one aspect of the issue. Honestly, it's not important that discussions end up solving a problem or not. It doesn't matter if nobody actually changes his/her opinion. It doesn't matter that the whole exchange is superficially useless. Because underneath the dialogue lies an important principle of modernity and freedom: awareness. If people stop defending their ideals, if we give into apathy, we lose. We allow someone less apathetic to make choices for us.

Here's the whine that irks me:

"Politics is such a waste of time. Nothing good ever gets done, it's just a bunch of old men masturbating on each other in a slapdash grab for power and prestige. Politics sucks."

Fine. Believe that if you want. Don't give a damn while your right to not give a damn is slowly drained from you by the very individuals to whom you feel so indifferent.

That attitude angers me so much, because it assumes too much and takes everything for granted. I'm sure glad Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and George Washington and Samuel Adams and the rest of them weren't content to stay at the tavern and whine about how pointless everything is. I'm sure glad Martin Luther King, Jr. had the balls to get out and do something instead whining about how pointless it all is. I'm sure glad great men and women don't just give up.

Maybe you think I'm comparing apples and oranges. This is just the interne, right? Right, but it's been going strong for several years, and the internet is only destined to become more saturated in our culture; what seems today like a small web forum or a blog may in the future become the major medium through which important decisions about our world are made.

So, in short, It is completely pointed.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The other day I took a friend to a Japanese restaraunt. It was very busy, so we ate at the sushi bar. I had sushi comprised of rice, spicy albacore, seaweed salad, shrimp, and a soypaper wrap. Tasty. Then, for kicks, I tried some Idako (baby octopus). It was pretty good, but in retrospect I think it was canned and not fresh, and we probably got ripped off. It looked exactly like the picture on the left. It had a soy-ish taste to it. Over all not bad, and quite fun to eat an entire animal in one gulp, sans beak. Talk about nutrition, right? I mean, you're getting the brains, the vital organs, the tissues, everything. Everything those little baby octopodes abosorbed are now absorbed by me. Top of the food chain, baby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Langriman wrote:
"Lyrax's analogy only works if the suffering you get from bad choices is not produced by God. If you believe the only suffering that comes from promiscuity and violence is bad health and guilt, then the analogy holds, but if you believe God made a hell specifically to punish people who make bad choices then it doesn't work."

I'm going to infer that your question has something to do with the paradox of free will given by a Being who then also gives rules and punishments regarding the use of will. Obviously, this stems from traditional Christian views about sin and hell.

Let's suppose for a moment, that traditional Christianity got it wrong. Let's suppose that the message of the Gospel was conveniently interpreted by men in power as a two-edged sword: an opiate and a control. On the one hand it provides comfort for the "meek," on the other hand it tells us that if we do certain things we'll burn in hell, thus keeping the "meek" from being anything but.

In my personal study of the Gospel, I see an altogether different view taught by the Prophets. And to me, it seems completely fair. And it's all about free will.

Consider this: Let's say that good and evil are just arbitrary names for two opposing forces. We could easily call them something else. We could call them, "following God" and "not following God." Try and forget the entire connotation associated with these two things for a moment. Focus on the idea of two separate paths. If we follow God, He says that we'll get all these consequences, which He calls blessings because they involve Him. If we don't follow Him, we get some opposite consequences, which He calls punishments or curses, because they do not involve Him.

I'm trying to break this down as simply as possible.

Analogy: Two doors. If you go through the yellow door, you will receive one dollar, with which you may buy things at a later date. If you go through the blue door (from which sounds of partying and enjoyment can clearly be heard) you will be at a party, but you will not receive a dollar, and thus will not be able to purchase things at a later date.

When that moment comes, there will be two groups of people. One group will have dollars, and they will go to the snack stand and buy bags of peanuts or hot dogs or whatever, and they'll be full. The other group of people won't have any money, so they'll just hang around each other being hungry, talking about what fun they had at the party.

Now God is the guy who gives you the ability to choose between the two doors, and He also gives you some hints about the requisite consequences.

If you follow God, you'll go to Heaven, where God lives. If you don't follow Him, you'll go to Hell, where He doesn't live. Each place will be comprised of certain types. If God represents all that is good, just, true, holy, joyful, innocent, peaceful, wonderful, and beautiful, than that's the kind of place it will be. So the place where He isn't won't have any of those things, may even have some opposites: anger, unrest, guilt, ungodliness, lies, ugliness, injustice, and evil. God is the guy who tells you these things. He says, follow me, and you'll get to hang with me, if you don't follow me you'll end up somewhere else.

I'm trying to make it simple, but it's really more complex than that. Because it's all about cause and effect.


To quote the new Batman film: "It's what you do that defines you." We become what we will. If my will is to steal, and if I do it enough, I become a thief. Eventually I find myself more comfortable around likeminded people, just like Republicans like hanging out with other Republicans (I'm not making any implications that Republicans are thieves by the way, it's just an example). I'm LDS, and I generally enjoy hanging out with other members of my faith. I don't like football, so I don't hang out with people who like football. I'm not a football guy.

So our choices determine what we are. To quote Paul from 1 Corinthians 15:40-41

"40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star different from another star in glory."

At first that seems pretty obscure. It's not just an astronomy lesson. Paul is using his limited understanding of the lights in the firmament to describe different bodies, different resurrected bodies: "So also is the resurrection of the dead" (v.42)

He's talking about the different bodies we'll have when we're all resurrected (That's right, we'll ALL be resurrected, if you don't believe me, start a different thread about it). And he's comparing them to glory, to brightness. One type will be as bright as the sun, another as bright as the moon and others as bright as the stars. Still seems pretty abstract. Well, let's say he's talking about the types of people on the earth. He's saying there aren’t just a Heaven and a Hell; there isn't just one good place and one bad place, because you can't just lump everyone into two groups. So there are degrees of glory, degrees of people, and we'll all fit somewhere.

So, if a man lives his life the very very best he can, he'll probably end up being a very bright kind of person, and he'll hang out with other bright people. God's the brightest of them all, and maybe he'll even get to hang out with god.
Then another man lives pretty well, but he doesn't really care to try as hard as the first fellow. Still pretty bright, but it's more of a reflection of the bigger brightness. So, he won't get to hang with God, but he'll at least get some reflected light from God.
Then there are a couple of guys. And they all live to varying degrees of life, but are pretty much apathetic to any effort towards following God. They're bright like the stars, some brighter than others, but ultimately too far away and too dim to do a whole lot. But they still get something, which is better than nothing.

(These few passages from Paul are absolutely insane with symbolism and meaning. I could go on for pages about them, but I don't want to bore you guys)

and maybe Hell is just knowing you could have done better. That's a pretty gnawing, burning feeling. Imagine feeling that way forever. And the only person you can blame is yourself, because you just didn't care that much.

Okay, time to stop dillydallying. Here's my belief, straight as I can give it: God never actually punishes us. He just tells us the rules and the consequences of this perfectly ordered universe, and our punishments or blessings naturally flow from our actions. But He really cares about our wellbeing, so He explains all this to us like we're children, because we are, because we're His children. And God doesn't want to send any of His kids to hell. That's the last thing He wants to do. But maybe some of us are just bound and determined to do the opposite of everything God tells us to do, and well, you know where that leads. My point is that Fire and Brimstone and eternal lakes of torment are just figures of speech, literary devices to describe the consequences of certain actions.

Man, this is getting long, and I have so much more to say. I guess I should have outlined my post. I'm going to stop now, and let you all point out the flaws in my argument here (it's 1:30am and I'm probably not thinking clearly), and then I'll fine tune it as I go.
So I'm going to start using my blog as a depository for all the huge posts I make at (usually in the Politics, Philosophy and Religion forum).

Here's one:

As a religious person, I try to help people, not because it will get me into heaven or anything, but because I believe that people are worth helping. A humanist could feel the same way, without all the God stuff.

Honestly, people who believe like this guy are exactly the same as the pharisees that Christ rebuked when He was alive. They are far too concerned with the visible and with procedures and appearances. And if you're only motivation to do good is your fear of Hell, then you're an idiot. But this is the product of taking Christ's simple and beautiful religion and twisting it throughout the centuries for political and social gain.

Interestingly enough, if you study the scriptures long enough, you start to understand the whole picture of faith. People who are blessed because of their good deeds weren't looking for blessings. They were just doing good things because they knew it was the right thing to do. True discipleship means loving God and Jesus and your fellowmen so much that you want to do good things simply for the sake of doing them. So much so that you don't ask someone to convert before you give him food. But hey, I guess that's just my own crazy ideas about how faith is supposed to be. Unfortunately, most faiths are dominated by idiots like Colson.

But Colson's view is essentially apostate; he's ignoring a fundamental part of Christianity:

2 Cor. 9: 7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a ccheerful dgiver.
(emphasis added)
You're not supposed to do things just because God said, or because you'll get brownie points. Jesus solidified the principle with this parable:

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Matt 21: 28-31

Jesus is saying that people who do good because "that's what they're supposed to do" aren't going to make it. They've got the wrong idea. But if a hooker one day has enough heart to donate to the salvation army, even if it's just once, she's already in a better position. Because she did something simply for the sake of goodness, and not for a reward. Colson is not a true Christian.

And I wholeheartedly agree, the Religious Right and the Socialist Left are both completely tweaked.