Thursday, September 30, 2004

No More Travel 

Sunday after church I drove about 7 hours to Rapid City, SD and then in the morning another 5 hours to Mitchell, SD for my ordination examination Monday afternoon.

I stayed in a hotel Monday night and then drove another 12 hours straight through back home to Limon. So that's about 1300 miles round trip in three days with an ordination exam thrown in in the middle, and all with a two-year-old in the car. And I made myself sick again in the process.

It's been quite an interesting three weeks. One week in Florida, then back home to find that I had no utilities in my house, so that led to one week at a friend's house. Then the trip to South Dakota, and finally back home. That's almost three weeks away from my own bed.

But the good news is, I passed my examination, and I'm also thrilled that they're finally making some progress on the house. The yard looks like it got hit by a tornado- the one part of the lawn that isn't covered in huge piles of dirt and rubbish is being used as a road by the backhoe- but just so we're making progress.

I'm not going anywhere for like three years if I can help it, though.

More from CBS 

Power Line, the blog that did a lot of the heavy lifting on the Dan Rather memo scandal, has a post on yet another story by CBS based on discredited information, this time about the government reimposing the draft. Again, my question is- how long has all this been going on?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Media bias part #30583920 

Look at this story. It's a story about Bush and Kerry trading jabs. The headline is "Bush, Kerry twist each other's words". I'm not going to get into whether or not either is really twisting the other's words. But an hour ago, the headline was "Bush twists Kerry's words". I almost wrote a piece then, but it was just so boring, I didn't bother. Then I see the change. Apparently it was just a little too much, even for the AP.

And you have to get down to the bottom third of the story before you read about any Kerry perfidy. The first four items are about Bush. They should have just left the old headline on- it was truer to the actual story. I'd have a lot more respect for these guys if they'd just stop pretending to be neutral, and start openly endorsing a candidate (Kerry).

Friday, September 24, 2004

Liberal Hypocrisy 

Check out VDH at NR on liberal hypocrisy today- it's a scorcher.

One thing it brought to mind- how amazing that the Internet is now a more reliable source of information than the nightly news. It wasn't that long ago that saying "I read it on the Internet" was a very shaky source, and it still is, if not checked into. But it's very clear that Big Media is no more reliable- maybe far less. The Internet has thousands of independent fact-checkers for every single thing that's said. Where's the instant independent response for Dan Rather every night?

Oh yeah, that comes from the Internet too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

What Rathergate makes me wonder about 

I've heard some people wondering, and rightly so, how we can trust organizations like CBS in the future, after this forged memo scandal.

What I'm wondering is, how many times have they done this in the past? How long have they been duping us with fake evidence, before there was the Internet to expose it?

Makes me wonder...

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

And... we're back. (Kind of.) 

We got back from Florida Saturday night. It was a great vacation, but as is always the case, I was glad to be getting home.

That was until I got home, anyway. I'm having some renovation work done on my house, and was assured that I would not need to move out of the house while I was there. It turns out that that's the case as long as I don't need any water or need to use the bathroom. They cut my sewer and water line and I don't know how long it will be until it's hooked up again.

Some good friends are putting us up right now, (Thanks!) but there's really no substitute for home. So this is kind of a bummer.

But I got a reality check Sunday night. We were sitting in the hotel room we'd gotten for the first two nights, feeling sorry for ourselves, and saw this. At least we have a home, even if it's not working properly right now. And at least we have great friends to help us out. God is good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Very Sad 

I see the world is all set to do nothing once again at the prospect of helpless civilians getting massacred. We're at least talking about it some, but the strongest thing we might do now is an arms embargo? Worse than useless. I'd rather they did nothing.

An arms embargo will hit rebels and civilians harder than then government troops who are doing the massacres or supporting the troops who are. The Sudanese government will already have stockpiles of weapons, and better ways of getting around the embargo. The Darfuri and other anti-government groups will have a harder time skirting the embargo, lacking the same resources and channels. An embargo will just give the Sudanese government an even freer hand to crush their enemies. It's Bosnia all over. And if we impose an embargo, then it'll be some time before we'll do anything else. We have to give it time to "work", after all.

And check this out. One of these days we're going to have to wake up about what we're facing in the world.

Blogging from Florida 

I am writing this from Kissimmee, Florida. It's day four of our Disneyworld vacation, and we're taking the day off.

We've been having a great time. Katie's been loving it, and that's probably the best part of the thing, watching her have fun. I never thought I'd enjoy Flying Dumbo as much as I did yesterday. We'll post some pictures.

The politics get a little old. It seems like every time you turn around here, you're being told how the new Tower of Babel is going to be built (communications, tolerance, responsible energy use, etc). And Epcot Center's kind of funny- kind of an anachronism in a way, since it's all about blatant corporate sponsorship. It's like you're just walking around through a series of well-done marketing presentations (Exxon-Mobil's Future of Energy, AT&T's Spaceship Earth, etc). And if Katie were a little older, I'd have to spend a lot of time debunking all the lies we heard every day. But it's been a lot of fun anyway. I'll post a few pics when I get back.

It's like pulling teeth to get Katie to give her own uncle a hug, but you can't hardly stop her from running up to Buzz Lightyear.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Military Service 

The left seems to think it their God-given right to instantly switch their positions on any subject just as soon as they perceive advantage for doing so.

When Clinton was running, military service (or lack thereof) was irrelevant. Then when Bush ran, all of a sudden his behavior in the National Guard is constantly questioned.

Now, in 2004, military service is the only thing that matters, except that when the Republicans decide to debate that military service (it's the only thing that matters, after all), they're not allowed to talk about it. Kerry can constantly push his military service on us, but we're not allowed to ask any questions regarding that military service. "Bring it on!" shouts Kerry when threatened with a military debate, but whines about his patriotism being questioned when he gets just what he asked for.

Now the left is harping on Bush's military service, despite the fact that he never made it an issue and has openly said that he hasn't always been a super model citizen. What difference does it make what he did in 1972? It doesn't make any difference what Kerry did in 1968-69 either, except he talks about it constantly, right now. It's what a candidate says and does now that's important. Did Bush lie about his service? Did he make it a centerpiece of his campaign?

One thing we know- Bush has had relevant, recent military experience, that we don't have to depend on thirty-year-old half-lost paperwork to evaluate. He led us to victory in Afghanistan and Iraq, and did so with character and integrity. I don't care what he did in the 70's. And I don't care what Kerry did in the 60's either, if he'd just shut up about it.

Update: Wow. It's even worse than I thought. Check this out- the document that the story I linked to depends on is apparently forged.

Update again: Maybe not.

A Further Update: Maybe so after all. The evidence is mounting.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

“I Deserve” 

“I deserve” is one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. It is a concept used by marketers, self-help gurus, diet doctors and politicians more than practically any other motivator.

The basic message of this phrase is that people deserve happiness. Politicians tell us that we deserve affordable medical care. Why? Billions of people don’t have it. Why do we deserve it? Because without it, we’ll be unhappy. Marketers tell us that we deserve a vacation. We deserve a thinner look. We deserve respect. And so forth. People can be powerfully motivated to support some cause, to buy some product, in order to chase the dream that they will gain what they deserve, what has been withheld from them by chance or evil men.

But the concept of deserving something implies purpose. If I say I deserve a raise at my job, presumably it is because I feel that I am fulfilling the purpose for which I am employed. If I say I deserve a raise because I am such a good typist, but my job is to dig ditches, then my statement makes no sense, because typing does not fulfill the purpose for which I am employed. As another example, if I say I deserve fruit from a particular tree, because I planted that tree in my yard, then I would be correct, but if I said I deserve fruit from a tree that I simply stumbled across while walking through the forest, then my statement makes no sense. I don’t deserve anything from something that has no purpose.

Therefore, if I make a broad claim to deserve happiness from my life, this implies that my life has a purpose, and that the purpose is for me to be happy. And the next question becomes, why do I think that my life has a purpose? Purpose requires intelligence, as we have seen. If I think that my life has a purpose, then that implies that I think that an intelligence put me here for that purpose. Otherwise, any statement about purpose, what I “deserve”, is nonsensical.

Therefore, there should be no talk from any materialist, any naturalist, anyone who denies the active role of any intelligence in the universe or even the existence of such an intelligence, about purpose or meaning in life. Likewise, there should never be any talk from such a person about what they deserve, in any ultimate sense. It is foolish to talk about deserving anything from an uncaring universe.

The next step of the discussion becomes whether it makes sense to say that an intelligence, let’s call it “God”, actually did put me here for the purpose of being happy. If God did in fact do such a thing, a number of questions pop into my head right away. Did he have such a purpose in mind for only me, or for all people on earth? If only me, what makes me better or more important than everyone else? Such a conclusion is irrational. If God created me for a purpose, there is no reason to believe that he did not create everyone else with the same purpose. What makes me different than everyone else? The conclusion must be rejected. If God made me for the purpose of being happy, then God made everyone for the purpose of being happy.

The first and most obvious conclusion that answer leads to is, if God created everyone on earth to be happy, then God did an extremely poor job. God is a very foolish God, to have so completely failed to create more than a very small percentage of the whole human race in anything approaching a state of happiness. It is obvious simply by looking around oneself, that most people are not happy. A large number of people live in total misery. So if God created me for happiness, then God’s plan is a failure, and we must again abandon any talk of purpose, any talk of what we deserve. We are completely on our own, if that is the case.

But if it is true that God did create us for a purpose, then it must also be true that God created the world for the same purpose. Otherwise it would not be in God’s power to fulfill his purpose. There would simply be too many factors outside his control. And if we are comfortable saying God created us, then why not the rest of the universe as well? A human being is an incredibly complex thing, and if he could create me and billions others like me, then he could create everything else too.

Any being who is capable of creating me and all other human beings and everything else that exists, is clearly neither weak nor foolish. It makes no sense to say that a God who was powerful and wise enough to accomplish such an amazing thing as the creation of everything that exists failed so completely at achieving the purpose for which he created everything. If God was capable of creating all of this, then he was and is also capable of ensuring that his purpose for doing so is fulfilled.

But this leads us to an inescapable conclusion. We are not here to be happy. Our purpose, the reason for which we exist, must be something other than our own benefit. And since God created us, that purpose must be God’s purpose. We must exist to serve some purpose that God had in mind. And if all this is true, two conclusions must also be true:

1. We must immediately stop talking about what we deserve, our rights, our happiness. It is clearly false that we deserve such happiness, for this implies a purpose, the existence of which we have no evidence for, other than our fervent desire that it be true.
2. We must immediately start attempting to discover what the true purpose for which we exist actually is. Self-interest and wishful thinking has led us badly astray on this point, and we must therefore discard self-interest as an unreliable source for this information.

A great deal of suffering and pain is caused in the world by this belief, that the world owes me happiness. Basically all crimes and wrongs committed by one man against another can be traced to this lie. It must be abandoned.

The truth must be found, and it can only be found in one place. If I want to know what the purpose of something is, the very best place to find that purpose is to ask the person who made that something. If we want to know our purpose, we must ask the one who made us. We must find this purpose from God.

When we find this purpose, we will also find the answer to a question that we desperately want to avoid:

If it is true that we don’t deserve happiness, what is it that we actually do deserve?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Women of Dignity 

Steven D. Thomas wrote a very good article here about how pornography's tolerated existence in society forces a view on women that every woman is a legitimate subject of sexual exploitation. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it's a well-thought out presentation.

It's my view that all sex-related businesses are inherently exploitative even to the women who freely involve themselves in such businesses. The reason I believe this is that a woman's sexuality can never be marketed or commoditized. There is basically no fair price that you could ever pay a woman to degrade herself. Therefore, any such arrangement is automatically exploitative, and thus there can never be true consent to such an arrangement. The only way it could occur is if the woman either does not realize she is being exploited or does not feel she has a legitimate option, and this is no justification. This is why businesses and the military typically forbid relations between different ranks or managerial levels, since the likelihood of such exploitation is too high. If I encourage women to sell their bodies, the only ones who will respond are those who are vulnerable to such exploitation, whether they realize it or not.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Hostage Crises 

The Belmont Club has some thoughts about the French and Russian hostage crises.

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