Recent Posts

Monday, August 29, 2016

A World Without Lies; Is It Possible, or Desirable?

Our greatest human failing is our ability to lie, and all of us have done it at one time or another. A "white lie" told for social purposes is often respected because we can't handle the truth in every situation. What is the truth anyway? It's often only an opinion. But sometimes it's dynamite, and must remain concealed for the sake of innocents.

If we knew that others could detect our falsehoods it would change our behavior radically. Criminality would decrease enormously, and few would be able to escape punishment. Criminals thrive when they think they won't be caught, and many crimes go unsolved. A polished lie frequently thwarts authorities, particularly juries. Convicts often admit they got away with many felonies before they were finally tried and jailed for one in particular.

What if we couldn't ever get away with lying? An effective lie detector would change the dynamic of civilization entirely. Rather than lie we would have to be silent, or face shame and rejection. Our silence would be our only defense, and not a very good one. If your overweight spouse asked, "Look how much weight I've lost! Don't I look fabulous?", our silence would betray us.

We couldn't be completely truthful in our daily lives and survive, if we tried it all at once. But a gradually higher standard of truth-telling is our only hope for survival. The blizzard of lies we're accustomed to living through now is killing us. What are the biggest lies? Take your pick: "It would be peaceful and good to live in a border-less world"; "The trillion-dollar deficits of the U.S. and the EU are not important"; "Islam is a religion of peace"; "America's police are racist, and they're hunting and killing minorities"; "We suffer. Therefore, there is no God"; and, "The world is safer and less violent today than ever before" (according to the Obama Administration).

Fact is, we're living next to a volcano, like the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D. Small earthquakes presaged the deadly eruption of Vesuvius then, and we see similar, alarming signs every day in the news. Nature can't destroy us today, but the actions of mindless 'progressive' and rogue nations can lay waste to us all.


                                          The final day of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Imagine what would happen if our advancements in hi-tech gave us a sure and certain lie detection device. Our political systems would collapse until honest individuals could be found to lead us. Business leaders, too, would be going to jail wholesale, in many cases. Our entire criminal justice system would have to be cut back dramatically. Trials and lawyers would be as outmoded as carriage horses.

Don't think this won't happen in the future. Already, super-computers are perfecting eye scans, voice patterning, and cardio-pulmonary analysis which any day now could be proved 100% accurate and foolproof. Until that day comes, the ultimate detector of lies is God, who knows what we're thinking and planning before we know it ourselves. God is ultimate truth. No lie can exist in His presence. Which may be why he told Moses, "You cannot behold my face, for no one may do so and live." - Exodus 33:20.


Jesus spoke about the liars of his time, particularly the religious authorities,
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." - John 8:44





Monday, August 15, 2016

Can We Change Earth's Climate?

Every day we read about earth's changing climate, and the dire consequences of not acting to reverse its direction. The proposed remedies are expensive and there's no guarantee they'll work. Nevertheless, western nations have spent trillions and decades cleaning up pollution and employing technology to save energy. We westerners have the cleanest and safest environment in the history of humankind. But much of the rest of the world isn't inspired to follow our example.

Earth's climate has changed radically over its 4.5 billion year history, back and forth between "greenhouse" periods (with little or no ice, even at the poles) to "icehouse" ones (with ice covering the entire planet, even at the equator). Several less severe events have taken place in the last 540 million years, and the cause was one or more of these: solar radiation, earth's distance from the sun, active volcanoes, and the effects of biological life before man (Link).  Large meteor strikes, which produce enough atmospheric debris to block out the sun for long periods, have caused sudden ice ages. Especially the one 65 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs and ushered in the age of mammals; including us human beings (Link).

Two thousand years ago the Romans grew grapes in northern England, which is inconceivable today. Tree ring studies confirm that the world was warmer then than now (Link). The climate cooled in following centuries for some unknown reason, but warmed again between 900 and 1300 A.D., a time known as the Medieval Warming Period. Earth's population was small and there was almost no industry and production of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. But the glaciers retreated, food production and population boomed, and the Vikings settled in Greenland.

Then, inexplicably, the climate relapsed into the Little Ice Age, which lasted from the early 1300's to the mid-1800's. The Vikings were frozen out of Greenland, and the Thames River in England sometimes froze solid in winter. Once again the planet began warming, but even our present day, seemingly-warm climate is classified as an "icehouse" period, because the polar ice sheets are present and they advance and retreat seasonally (Link).

Earth's population a thousand years ago was about 300 million, and it had changed little since the Golden Age of Greece. It reached a billion in 1810. Clearly, the earth's climate changes up to that time were independent of human activity. Today there are 7.4 billion people on earth, and we have enormous industry that may indeed influence our climate. But note that we're still in an "icehouse" climate regime of polar ice sheets [see above].

If a global treaty limiting greenhouse gases could be reached and enforced, it would make sense to sign on. Smoke and other pollutants are harmful to everyone. But the only nations who really care to do this are the EU, the U.S., Australia, and Canada. The rest of the world, over six-billion people, refuses to sign such a treaty because it's costly, and would stifle their industries to a degree.

The global media persists in maintaining the fiction that scientists all agree we must change our western economies to "set an example", and reverse the climate direction of earth. However, this panel of Australian climate scientists is typical of a large number of atmospheric experts who disagree:




It's a fact that global economic forces, often connected with governments, are behind the man-made global climate change story. It's extremely profitable for political-economic groups to create a demand for products that only they can provide. This is the very definition of a monopoly. Trillions of dollars and the power to seriously damage competing national economies are a powerful motive. At the moment, the monopolists are winning. Scientists are fallible people, not saints, and opinions can be purchased from the global media with the right amount of money. The stakes are huge, and well worth the massive investment required.

We who have faith in God recognize that the power to change earth's climate rests with God, and not with man, yet. The time may come when we will acquire that power, but we don't have it now.



Saturday, August 6, 2016

How "Real" Are We? And What Is "Reality"?

It may seem a silly question, but we've all criticized someone for being "phony" at one time or another. Phoniness and artificiality are noticeable and repugnant personality traits we all want to avoid. So how do people fall into that trap? Going to any length to please or impress others is one way to stumble into it. Being seen as "real" is a desirable quality, generally. How do we acquire it and know for sure that we have genuine "realness" within us?

Some people test themselves with great tasks, pushing to the limits of endurance and suffering, hoping to forge it within. Only they will know how successful they've been, and how "real" they are inside.

When life is easy it can seem dreamlike, as when you're on vacation in the Caribbean, maybe floating on a raft in sunlit water, drink in hand, with every hunger satisfied. It's wonderful to relax and savor the dream, for a while, until boredom sets in. We crave adventure and discovery as much as any vacation, and want to feel "really" alive. But the "real" world brings great discomfort, too, and is often filled with difficulties and challenges. This is where we can excel as much as anyone.

Pain causes us to believe in "reality", when the mind is overtaken by the awful, unwelcome truth of agony. When it won't go away, it's deeply frightening. This is true suffering.

Pleasure erases pain, compensates us for it, and also reinforces the feeling of "reality". Eventually the memory of pain may vanish. Which is stronger over the long run, pleasure or pain? The jury seems to be out on that.

If we know someone who is suffering, particularly a close friend or relative, our empathy can cause indescribable pain and suffering. Even if it's a delusion caused by a serious mental illness like paranoia, we will suffer. So it is our thoughts and feelings that afflict us most, and this is what religion is supposed to help us with.

"Suffering is the rock upon which all religions founder", a sage once said. The ship of religion may founder on the rocks but still recover, which is a job for the faithful. It's a huge problem with no earthly solution. But we will understand the reason for suffering when we pass beyond this earthly realm.

Our knowledge of reality, then, is bordered by major limitations, such as pain, pleasure, and death. How "real" can anything be that is destined to turn to dust? We and everything we know will disappear in time and be forgotten to this world. Which is why we need to know God, who will never forget or abandon us .

God is the one, supreme, eternal, and fixed Creator of Reality; beyond time, space, and the notion of death.  Every major religion agrees on this point, because everything known and unknown - seen and unseen - was created by the Super Intelligence of mind and heart which we call God.

What we call "reality" can never be the whole reality, because so much is hidden from us. The invisible worlds of atomic particles, viruses, and bacteria here on earth are a universe of their own. Size matters, but we are infinitesimal compared to the vast cosmos we see in the night sky; which is a tiny sliver of the cosmos. The difference between what we see in the night sky with our eyes, and what we see with telescopes, is like the difference between 0 and infinity.

Here's an example of the unreality of existence. All matter in the universe - as we know it - is mostly space, and empty:



How then can our lives have any importance? This is why: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts." As You Like It; Act II, Scene IV -  William Shakespeare.

"Do you not know that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have of God, and that you are not your own?" The Apostle Paul, I Corinthians, 6:19-20

Human existence is a drama designed to expose the great truths of good and evil, and their consequences. It is a school, a training ground, and a temporary abode; not a resort. If all we seek is pleasure, we will never find it.