Tuesday, July 30, 2019

About the defense of religion


Question

If you have a religion, how did you have it, is it the reason you are defending it?


Reply

Millard Hardy

Answered 29m ago

I'm Christian,I don't care who or what n e one believes or worships,religion I don't like talking bout,I don't defend it or push it,I just don't dam care


Reply

I do not know what kind of Christianity that you claim to be but since the New Testament tells us that we are to have a ready defense for our faith your claim of not caring about anyone else’s belief does not sound like you understand much of what being a Christian means. I may be confused: I wonder if it is a defense to wonder why not being able to give a defense is more defensible than not being able to give a defense. By the way, depending on a certain conceptuality of religion one can see why Jesus did not believe in religion: or believe that what he was doing fit that definition of religion.

I realize it may be agitating to others but I can defend most things I believe in (except truly personal choices: such as that I hate green peas). On other things, for example, I can defend why I vote Republican. Among the reasons for this belief includes a desire to live in the best society possible. I would debate that this is made more likely by being a fiscal conservative, and a belief that the best form of governmental system includes things such as free enterprise, capitalism. small government, limited taxation, etc. I can also defend staying out of traffic, not swallowing ping pong balls, not lighting myself on fire, etc. The more important a thing is the more we ought to be able to give a generalized defense of our choices as members of that particular society. Basic sense of empathy and respect of your person informs me of a sense of responsibility to you as a individual to allow you, for example, to not care. If that reasoning were not true I would not care that you do not care and because of that I would feel free to complain about your not caring to the amount that my level of interest would incline me to bother.

Monday, July 29, 2019


Recent Tweet: Stolen freedom is the outcome of Democratic politics:



"The political concept of Liberalism has been STOLEN by the Left from ORIGINAL meaning of FREEING the individual from the all POWERFUL King. Now the Progressive politics of the Left BLUDGEONS the individual with BIG government to replace the POWER of the King by PETTY bureaucrats."

Sunday, July 28, 2019


What do you think about a world with no religion just moral values?


https://www.quora.com/What-do-you-think-about-a-world-with-no-religion-just-moral-values


The simple answer, no, moral values cannot exist on their own.  The danger is a morality based on individual proclivities.  At the same time the other side of that answer also no, “religion” is not a valid basis for morality even if morality must have a valid basis.  This depends on our definition of religion.  A belief in God does not mean a belief in religion is one defines religion in a specific way.  We need a belief in God that overcomes that weakness of a general belief in the validity of religion.  Moral values require a belief in a God since moral values cannot provide its own validation.  A lack of validation morality is always inevitably reduced to individual choice.  Every concept of God does not meet this requirement.  This position is consistent with a particular theological exegesis of the Bible.  I believe in God and not in religion.

A world without a commitment to something greater always suffers from the threat of anarchy.  Getting human beings to consistently believe in anything is hard enough: this is the reason why religions have held societies together even if any given religion does not do that well.  Evidence shows us that if we look at the human societies across the world (currently and historically) we see that anarchy (social collapse) is held back from exploding in our faces by something called morals.  Yet neither a particular religion nor a particular set of morals are “moral” enough to defend morality.  The creation and maintenance of workable behavior between individuals is the requirement for all human civilizations.  For better or worse this functional workability is only possible because of moral values.  Yet at the same time we  have just as much evidence that any given set of moral values (though not all sets of moral values) has resulted in the exhibition of immorality.   

To defend moral values is not a blanket defense (or attack) of religion since some religions are more successful at protecting its adherents and others will not.  We need to be able to distinguish between different kinds of religion. The Aztec Indians committed a greater and greater number of sacrifices, bludgeoning hearts out of the chests of its victims, but this did not save their nation from being conquered.  While we may accept that a “religious” nation like the US may be more ethically beneficial to its members because of its moral foundations (even if not perfectly actualized) we cannot assume that is the result of religion in general.

The fact is a religion was also practiced (for example) by the Nazi’s. Stalin and Mao’s were just as religious as everyone else despite claims to the contrary.  I have yet to see a form of atheism that does not also function by a kind of religious zeal meant to bring about social salvation.  Marxism claims for itself a kind of millennialism: a future golden age where social happiness will exist for every person. Socialism today continues to contain the same preconceptions and (like these other systems) will force its religion on everyone else.  Probe enough and all the hidden ideas are revealed.

The Catholic Church burned heretics at the stake. Luther’s Reformation of the Christian religion did not prevent the murdering religious or political enemies. Even in our own time one cannot be ignorant that the Muslim religion (not really different from these other religions) has always desired the political power to impose its religion on all unbelievers.  An uncritical acceptance of only the good examples of religion fails to take into account the horrors of religion. Any given religion may advocate good as well as evil. Likewise, the concept of “morals” as a basis for religion is itself no guarantee that that system will extend those morals to the “insider” and to the “outsider.” We have plenty of examples that this kind of religious equality seldom happens.

This in no way suggests that we can get rid of the need for strong basis to anchor moral beliefs. To me some kind of universalism is the test of any moral claims. We need a set of ideas that make possible a kind of universality that is required for morality even if the actuality of those beliefs is never perfectly fulfilled. There are enough examples to indicate that moral values will not be accepted without something to base those moral on. Universal acceptance needs a universal source. Even if this is the case we must be aware that a murder happened between brothers in the first family described in the Bible. We have enough “unmorality” what benefit would we get from removing all moral boundaries.

The absolutes of moral boundaries are not any better than the absolutes of “unmoral” boundaries. Study enough history and we will discover 4000 years of war, genocide, and torture. Watch 1000 hours of police documentaries, investigations, and autopsies and see the horrific things that human beings do to each other every day. Are we better or worse if we follow the moral injunction “to do unto others as we would have them do unto you?” 

One of the problems in discussing moral issues is that so often see is individuals who want debate moral problems from a distance.  In such debates the individuals are not affected by the consequences of their own moral (or unmoral) claims.  To me this invalidates their moral claims.  The tendency is to want to exist in a bubble of invulnerability.  This happens when individuals give to themselves the power to chose or deny morality from a position of deliberation isolation.  From there such individuals presumes that they can function morally or amorally all on their own. The problem is why anyone should agree when they may benefit greatly from violating other’s moral rules. Morals are meant not to just limit our misbehavior but protect us from the misbehavior of others (the others who may be in a position to do great harm to us). Why should I not torture you (and your spouse, your children, grandmother and grandfather, cousins, aunts and uncles , and best friends, everyone you know all for the sake of my own fun), and then kill you and take everything you own if something is not strong enough to bind me morally. Remove the very concept of moral rules and we end up like any number of places in the world where they are doing great violence.  This is happening as we speak.  Moral binding does not work perfectly but that does not mean that all evils would disappear if moral binding disappeared.

This is not to suggest that we do not have thousands of historical examples of individuals or entire societies who were bound by one set of morals but denied those morals to another.  Those who follow one set of morals feel no moral compunction to extend those moral rules of anyone outside of their moral (social, familial) group. Wars have been fought over this kind of identification. Within that sort of social group all neighbors were treated with utmost kindness, like one’s own family.  Outsiders to that social group are composed of the rotting skulls of one’s enemies in some distant field.  Such a field will most likely be far enough away to pretend that all around them are white picket fences, clean streets, bright flowers and right behaviors.  My experiences in life have led me I have a great aversion to theoretical hypocrisy.

However, while believing that universality is necessary criteria for morality (something that could be provided by God) I would not use the word “religion.” This is why for me the question itself is a distortion of the problem. I could answer yes or no: though my answer would be directed at another question. In the New Testament Jesus Christ attacked the hypocrisy of the religion of his time as being guilty of great evil because it was ritualistic and not authentic. Jesus was Jewish but he opposed the Jewish religion in the form that was practiced by the nation of Israel at that time. In fact, the same reasons that Jesus opposed religion could be applied to any religion, wherever we find it. By his own definition Jesus claimed he did not represent a religion.

Religions from its historical origins have all functioned by way of a kind of bargain system. If I give this sacrifice I will benefit positively or negative: I do this thing and I will receive something for it or I will be protected from some evil that could happen to me. This benefit could be crops growing or riches coming or the protection from harm, violence, or disease. The bargain may include the fixing or limiting of violence or sickness or some other negative. Wherever we find religion, throughout all time and in all cultures, it functions in this sense.

Therefore, we may define religions (in and of themselves) as functioning by a particular set of rituals that are used by individuals to negotiate protection and benefit to whatever deity they hold allegiance.  A deity may be anything: a rock, a tree, an animal, a political system, a famous person. The rituals will be performed to earn the “special” standing before (that) god. The kind of Theology is meant to engender some a level of piety (an indication of a particular worth) or a particular sacrifice that will make the crops grow, give protection to danger, heal sickness, make one popular or rich.

The comparison that Jesus makes is between a religion based on the works of human beings or a faith based on the work of God.  The New Testament counters the religious definition by it “rains on the just and unjust equally.” Being wealthy or healthy is no proof of God’s blessing any more that poverty or sickness is a proof of Gods curse. There is a Theology consistent with this. The protection and benefits that Jesus describes are for a future eternity beyond this life. It is unfortunate that many Christians have wrongly used the miracles that Jesus did to establish his divinity as an indication of God’s rules of function for all time. That is used to support this concept of Christianity.  The Bible does not defend this position.

To the contrary the Bible shows that most of the apostles died horrific deaths through torture.  One would think (if these beliefs are true) that these persons who lived, ate, and traveled with Jesus (and gave up their whole lives) would have received the greatest benefit from their commitment.  If one’s religion functions by this premise these are demonstrate examples of a complete failure of that set of beliefs.

In this definition religion is always a flawed system. One of my professors in graduate school did archeological fieldwork with the Aymara Indians in Bolivia. The Aymara sacrificed Llama fetuses and Coca leaves (Cocaine) to the mountain (their god). If they met with disaster they would lay llama fetuses on an altar.  If they had a desire to obtain a particular thing they would sacrifice llama fetuses.  If they did not receive what they asked for they would sacrifice more llama fetuses. These religious practices were self perpetuating.  There was always a need for more llama fetuses.  Within that religious system (the dangers of religious systems in general) there was no way to disprove the religions assumptions. Not only that they would punish members of the community for any disaster had they attributed the cause of adversity to a failure of giving enough sacrifices. As a consequence they blamed all misfortune on their own behavior. They also blamed the negative events that happened to another person on themselves. This amounts to attributing a religious causation for every event. Like a thousand religions there is no way out of the circle of religious influence.

If we study religion in cultures around the world, and throughout history, we find that the morals of any given religion may be horribly immoral.  There is no way to question either the religion or the moral beliefs.  We need some kind of criteria to be able to discern certain religions are better or worse from other religions.  In many cultures religion have provided the social, political, and moral structures that were advantageous to the general happiness and cohesiveness to that society. Though some religions have provided moral benefits for its members this does not mean that religion in general is beneficial to members of any another religion or society. In this sense there is nothing inherent in the concept of religion (in itself) that guarantees any successful human value (in terms of if those morals provide basic social functioning [down to the lowest possible threshold]).

My mother had a great deal of contact with missionaries from around the world because of her job. She has told me the story of a friend (Robin) who was Baptist missionary in Brazil to the Jamamadi. Jamamadi - Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamamadi “The Jamamadí, also called the Yamamadi, Kanamanti, Jeoromi. txi, Kapaná, and Kapinamari, are an indigenous people who live in Acre and Amazonas, Brazil.” When the Robin arrived the tribe would kill one of a set of twins because they were afraid that allowing both twins to live would bring horrible misfortune. The feeling of curse was so strong that death was the only option.  In this instance the Jamamadi’s religion did not stop the slaughter of a new born child but instead validated those horrific (to our moral) behaviors.  It took considerable effort in opposition to their religion to have them do a simple test of beliefs. The test was to discover whether or not if not killing a child would bring disaster. When allowing both to twins live did no cause disaster they soon stopped that practice. The reason to stop this practice was moral but the application was by a method of common sense investigation.  The problem is that the ideas of a religion may be so strong as to disallow in form of questioning.

I can only think about this question meta-theoretically.  My answer is more about issues we must consider to arrive at possible solutions. It would be theoretically hypocritical to not situate myself within the problems.  It is for this reason I am not an armchair philosopher. I take the position there can be no armchair philosophers.  Philosophical beliefs are proven by actions in ways that arm chair philosophizing cannot fathom.  Wang Yang-ming, who I have referenced on another topic, describes this moral problem in 15th century China.  There is no abstract moral knowledge. One does not know morals without acting morally.  If one does to carry the moral claims to action no moral claims are valid.  Purely theoretical moral discussions can function with a possibility of a fluidity that fails completely when one is at the mercy of another individual’s kindness. Moral discussions need to take place in the arena where we ourselves have lost all hope of rescuing ourselves and must rely on the “moral” kindness of others. It is that moment when one tests the legitimacy of all moral claims.

I cannot deny my solutions will derive out of a specific Biblical interpretation. I was taught this as a child that functions very differently from other interpretations of Christianity. My father was a Baptist minister and later taught theology.  He could read Hebrew and Greek and knew the Bible far better than I. I aggravated him to no end with in my incessant questioning of everything.  He complained about this more than once. My interests led me toward the intersection between philosophical, psychological, historical, cultural, political, and religious, sources of evidence. I have described elsewhere the requirement of an imaginary conceptual space that all (potentially available) knowledge (no matter how imperfectly assembled at that moment) must be brought together to make intellectual decision about anything.  Valid theories must presuppose that the more important the task the more evidence that must be included to arrive at working conclusion.

No, moral values cannot simply exist on their own.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Philosophical Foundations


https://www.quora.com/Does-proof-need-proof-that-the-proof-is-real-How-do-we-truly-know-for-certain-if-anything-is-truly-right-or-wrong

A reply
Anže Rupnik, I'm an engineer
Answered Jul 18, 2018
If you float on a raft in the middle of the sea, how can you be sure that you are moving? ...


While foundations are vitally important, and certain question are difficult (at that moment), you are already presupposing you have knowledge of  the raft, the sea, that something called floating exists when an object moves on the surface of water, and the statement that you are in the middle of the sea suggests you cannot see something that is not sea (or called land).  What is your foundation for any of that?  Even at that moment also bring into your awareness that seas move in currents, seas on our planet move in multiple rotations, the planet moves in its own rotation, around the sun, within a galaxy, etc.  You have already assumed the truth of moving or not moving by that which you are comparing this moment to.  The foundation of movement has already been established for you to ask the question. 
Just because the automobile in the lane next to me is moving passed me at one mile-per-hour does not inherent disprove my knowledge that both vehicles are moving at seventy miles-per-hour down the roadway.  Even if at one particular instant there is moment of uncertainty that does not discount that I can add to it further evidences.  In many ways we can bootstrap foundations of what we do not know from other foundations that we do know.  Knowing that we need foundation presumes that we already have experienced (in the physical world of rafts) foundations that then provokes us to believe that conceptuality is useful for questions about anything.






Source of Logic


Does proof need proof that the proof is real? How do we truly know, for certain, if anything is truly right or wrong?

https://www.quora.com/Does-proof-need-proof-that-the-proof-is-real-How-do-we-truly-know-for-certain-if-anything-is-truly-right-or-wrong

Source of logic is the question since it depends where we think logic comes.  If logic is purely a mental construct I can easily change my mind.  There are no inherent impediments or consequences from changing my mind from what is possible or not.  Possibility is a whim.  But to embed logic in the body (in the totality of mind-body interaction) the fact of the logic of either/or is absolute.  The logic of right side or left side (right hand or left hand), stand or not stand, fall or not fall, eat or not eat, breath or not breath, and so on.  An embodied logic cannot (ever) be denied, since to pretend to avoid the logic of this or that leads to life or death.  We learn this as infants when falling and crashing into the lamp table.  I fall, I bleed, I hurt.  The opposite is also true.  I avoid falling, I avoid bleeding, I avoid hurting.  We learn logic by being told to stay out of the street or be crushed by the wheels of a passing car.  Failing to do so is proven when the car crushes us.  If we are fortunate we will avoid this crushing when we have enough evidence to prove that to be the case when it crushes something else.


In such light it makes sense to replace “I think therefore I am” (logically true but inconsequential) with something like “I burn therefore I am.”  This cannot be denied or I set you on fire and that will prove (to be true or not) when we all will be burned by fire.  This actually proves a lot of thing, that there are absolutes, that I can know the world beyond my mind, and that morality is absolute (an undeniable proof that occurs to us when we start pleading for a common morality [because we, “burner” and “burnee,” are equally human]) so as to get the other person to stop when they pressing the flame to our flesh.  One may be able to convince oneself of this burning if it only happens once but somewhere between now and 4447 times we will be convinced.  And even if for some reason that person (who died from the burning) was not convinced were I to start the question of “to burn or not to burn” with everyone who watched the first question I am pretty certain that no one would ever disagree.  I would not disbelieve.  Of course, the question is not asked dispassionately as if it is happening to someone in general but happening to each and every one of us individually.  The same tests of logic could use drowning, breathing, eating, bleeding, chopping, stabbing, falling, crashing, etc, etc, etc.



Logic is learned from the basic motion of infants (our survival is proof) and remains the truth (for us) until we die.  Philosophy (which begins its function with adults who know how to walk and speak) thus fails to explain what it purports when it fails to remember the lessons of logic that are sown into our flesh.

Changing the Paradigm of Nonduality


A reply to the question: What is your personal definition of non-duality?

https://www.quora.com/What-is-your-personal-definition-of-non-duality


I  think we have the wrong concept of nonduality.  While understanding the “universe is neither dual or non-dual” (to the level of hard monism) is useful but we also need to understand the conceptuality that the universe is “both” dual "and" nondual at the same moment.  Everything in the universe is in the universe.  Look down my throat as far as you can go and there is no place that is not this universe.  At the same time I am in absolute dual “and” nondual relationships with, for example, water.  This must be so or I will die.  I am composed of water.  My very flesh is water.  I must drink water.  Water is needed to grow food I eat that is (the food) composed of water.  Water itself composed of molecules (oxygen) but at the same time try taking a gallon bubble of air a thousand feet deep in water.  While I have to drink water too much water is toxic.  Water can crush me, drown me, smash me, float me, cool me boil me, etc.  Water is soft when falling from a short distance and is hard as concrete when falling from a great distance.  Water itself can crash into me with enough speed that it will crush my body, will cause me to leak out the water in me and crush the cells in my flesh, bursting the parts of the flesh that contained water.  The substance of water is  like a thousand other things in this world.  Our personal life require "both" "or."

We must be permeable and impermeable, open and closed, desperately contain desperately resist, and at the same time only contain a limited amount of that (any) substance (the we must contain and resist).  We must have the conceptuality of a metaphysics that has all of the differences and likenesses at the same time.   All the same issues will arise in the construction of the (boundaries) self of every individual person.  I must have physical boundaries and physical holes.  I must have conceptual boundaries to hold to any specific belief (about right and wrong) an have conceptual holes to change my beliefs about what is right and wrong (by learning, by error, by experience, by communication with another person that informs me that that behavior [that I did] was experienced as a violation to their person).  We need boundaries that change and stay the same, has the ability to  accept and resist: give and deny emotions, love, anger, sympathy, and thousands of other things.  Of course, I can give a thousand hours of love and not have lost one ounce, one atom, of love.

I have to be able to resist the ontological cohesiveness of baseballs as object or be struck with damaging force and be able to "perform" with baseballs in a nondualistic relationship to throw, hit or catch the baseball.  My skill at performance with a baseball will be my ability to engage in a nondual dance with the ball.  At the same time I dance with the ball I am submerged in objects that follow the same rules of existence, like the bat and my hands and my feet and the ground and objects like gravity, the wind, and the fact of my own momentum: the speed, momentum and direction of the ball (as an existence of its own) in interchange with me.

Our metaphysics has to be rich enough, have enough depth, to take all this in.  The questions of dual and nondual has to take all these problems into consideration or we might be forced to live in a poverty of space.  It is fortunate we do most of this unconsciously.

My definition of nonduality is that it describes a performative maturity that thinks and acts (and thus dances with) all these things.  Nonduality is like dancing well.  It looks to me, having studied both Eastern and Western philosophy, that we have the wrong concept of nonduality.

(This has been edited from original)

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Questioning Reason Again


I saw this website when looking for things interesting on the internet.  It considers ideas that are very important and for that reason I decided to reply.

http://www.lawfulrebel.com/reason-guide-knowledge/

Reason: Our Only Guide to Knowledge


My problem is not with "reasoning" but the concept that human inherently have a "thing" within them that filters internal and eternal contact with the world, self, and body.  I believe you have conflated the ontological, absolutes in the world like rocks and trees and trucks and fire and starvation, with the epistemological.  At birth, epistemologically, human beings begin at zero.  Logic and reasoning are learned because we are minds and bodies with right and left hands (feet, knees, elbows, and buttocks), that fall down and get up, move objects and are moved as objects.  The learning that is made possible by these things can in the future, through practiced, make possible the act of reasoning.  This all happens at the point of intersection of the all of these factors.  Even the instrument that we learn reasoning through itself is an unknown entity without the accumulation of experiences.  We can acquire the skill of reasoning because we have bodies that cannot stop acting in the world.  Not only is this knowledge learned it must forever be updated, a continuation of examining past experience with present predicament as best we can.  The problem of the necessity to re-update knowledge faces difficulties from every direction, whether from confusions, distortions, complexity, injury, etc. The further difficulty is knowing how to apply previous skills to unknowable future incidences in the world (as within the self) of greater and greater complexity.  Philosophy, generally, has based its reasoning on knowledge that it does not have because it is "run" by adults (who have already learned to crawl, walk, which holes to feed and which holes to evacuate, learned how to speak, read and write, all of which are huge tasks at the time when we are all mired in ignorance).  All knowledge has an objective and a subjective component.   It is education (such as training, among the many different things) that differentiates between fighter pilots, neurosurgeons, and professional baseball pitchers as compared with the everyone else.  It is also education (personal experiences) that allow us have the "maturity" to deal with failure, suffering and loss without falling to alcohol, drugs or suicide.  Reasoning without experience is no better than experience without reasoning.  Even then it all this starts at zero.

(This is an edited version)


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Russia Election Influencing Strategy


 Published, Letter to the Editor, Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, AL Tuesday, May 31, 2017 


There is a general belief, including CIA Director Clapper's statement, "all U.S. intelligence agencies agree," the goal of the Russians was to elect Trump.  I disagree with this "conclusion" not on political reasons or collected data, but strategically: where are the Russians in this?
First reason, does the above "conclusion" answer whether Russians have a greater "reason" for Hillary or Trump to be President?  Russians care nothing about U.S. politics unless it affects them.  They care about rebuilding Russian national power to the status of the old Soviet Union.  In this election which candidate did the Russians perceive advantageous?  There must be a Russian goal for the tampering; knowing that goal is a better determiner in exposing "influencing" than collecting data proving Hillary or Trump.

Second reason, a Russian logic for election tampering for Hillary and not for Trump is because is she was touted as "Obama's third term."  This is based on the Obama foreign policy of withdrawal from conflict, which supports Russian Goals.  They would not want this o change, if given a choice they would prefer to act as they please.  The purpose of Russian election influencing would be U.S. non-interference.

Third reason, Hillary has political history, from problems as a Secretary of State to bad security judgments: with Trump its guesswork.  Additionally, the Democrats and the Left would limit Hillary with an unwillingness to support direct military action.  Trump will lead a party eager to militarily punish Russian wrongdoing.  The personalities, the history, the beliefs, the parties, and the peoples they represent give a clear reason why the Russians would "influence" the election for Hillary not Trump.

Strategically, the election tampering is a short-term goal, where a passive, weaken, non-aggressive, non-involved in foreign affairs U.S. nation helps Russia's long-term goal's.  The Russians would've chosen Hillary.    

PIC

Further Thoughts on Russian Strategy


Written two years later after continued investigation 02- 19, 2019


When the above letter was published on May 30, 2017 (Daily Mountain Eagle) I did not think that almost two years later the debate over collusion between Donald Trump and the Russians would remain unresolved.  Of course, I do understand the Democratic Party's political motivation for continuing the investigation.  At the same time I am surprised and disappointed that in all the debate neither proponents or opponents of Donald Trump  have looked at this in terms of Russian motives.  This should have been one of the first questions.

Any investigation into collusion ought first have been looked at in terms of a Russian strategy.  Russian goals, to be unopposed as they attempt to absorb more land, ought to have been paramount in deciding whether the Russian's would have chosen to assist candidate Clinton or Trump.  The Russians, like most every other nation in the world, have a stake in who will be the president of the United States.  This includes political and military support, financial aide, and trade status.  The reasons for this is endless.    

It would not surprise me that the Russians would have created the appearance of collusion no matter which candidate was elected.  To weaken the will of the United States to oppose Russian goals would be an ongoing strategy.  It would not surprise me that the Russians are still involved in political interference, and in contradictory directions, to create confusion on both sides of American politics, Democrat and Republican.  

This all suggests to me that Russian goals and strategies to achieve those goals would have been paramount in the Russian's deciding who to assist candidate Clinton or Trump.  This does not even require collusion to occur on the part of any individual but would be a fact of ongoing election interference at any level, state and federal.

As much as I did then when I was writing the piece I believe the Russians are laughing themselves silly at their strategic victory.  What I did not include in my discussion in my first letter, which is even more true now, after the election  the Russians would have every reason to continue their strategy in a variety of  different ways.  Whether their was collusion or not it is to Russian advantage to create that illusion that their was collusion.  And even if that strategy fails achieve some legal damage the incitement of internal conflict is already a win.  The Russians are probably already devising and implementing their next plans of attack.

The strategy has always been and will continue to be to weaken the United States, and targeting President Trump as corrupt is one method to achieve that.  It makes it so much easier that this Russian strategy dovetails with the goals of the Democrat Party.  Not only does this suspicion  weaken the office of President, and the Republican party that he represents, it calls into question the nation's integrity and moral status.  The Russians would know the left-leaning political proclivity of the American media and that with this news information would itself create immense internal division.  Among other reasons it was the difference between the two political parties and the media that would have informed them which candidate that they would want to win.

I do not doubt that after the election the Russians did their best to manufacture the suspicion that Trump colluded.  They are still doing this.  True strategic thinking would be to aim at creating as many conflicting stories as possible for the purpose of maximizing confusion.  Of course this strategy requires plausible deniability for the Russians, all the while looking guilty.  The denial itself is done strategically.  This is war by pure manipulation.  The goal is to weaken the opponent internally so they will be less able to function, and even more problematically when a crisis arises.   The more the Democrats and Republicans fight over this issue the greater the Russian strategic win.



Eternal Companions


Submitted, Letter to the Editor, Daily Mountain Eagle, Jasper, AL


Daniel Gardner’s editorial July 23, 2019 was very inspirational.  I admire devout persons like the astronauts Mr. Gardner describes.  Long ago I came to believe that human beings were created to be God’s “eternal companions.”  This is more meaningful now since contracting an incurable disease.  The times I almost died brought about a reexamination of perspectives.  Suffering taught me to be grateful to God for what I have been given even if at times I would prefer otherwise.

I could easily become angry at the unfairness.  It is common to believe in God based on preconceptions.  In Robert Anderson’s The Silence of God, he says there is a common belief that “if the Christian God were not a myth He would not remain passive in the presence of all the suffering and wrong that prevail in the world” (Anderson 29).  Compare this with the truth about benefits and adversities found in the New Testament: it “rains on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

It would be easy to be envious of others’ successes.  I have learned that our abilities are gifts and have no permanence.  Confidence based on believing we deserve the good life is an illusion.  We are responsible for our responses in the worse possible moments.  I have attempted to accept the life I have graciously and be able to say, like Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content” (Philippians 4:11).

I cannot deny that my reason for my confidence is because I know this life is an incredibly small portion of eternity.  Whenever I think my standing in life is not exactly as I would wish it, but I look toward the infinite panorama of the future.  Sometimes I feel just like an astronaut strapped in and counting down.

300 Words








Does Stopping Postmodernism Take Us Where We Want to Go? 



The urgency to stop Postmodernism is quite a widespread phenomena, as can be seen in hundreds if not thousands of online videos, books, etc.  Jordan Peterson's Youtube video, Jorden Peterson We Need To Stop Postmodernism Now!, is an example of this.




Peterson begins this video by recommending Stephen Hicks' book "Explaining Postmodernism," which is described at offering information essential to Postmodernism.  Peterson's exhortation is "its absolutely crucial to understand this," the ideas that make up Postmodernism, are a part of defeating Postmodernism.  The claims is that Postmodernists "completely reject the structure of Western civilization."  Postmodernists "don't believe in the individual."  Don't "believe in logic."





Of course my reaction at this point may be oddly uncommon since I do not recognize or accept that the things that are being described as a sign of Postmodernists are inherent a part of Postmodernism.  This is true even if the bulk of Postmodern acolytes are so inclined to believe in those things, such as a socialist form of social construction.  It is important to note that while Postmodern ideas are made up, as Peterson says, from ideas from dead philosophers, the same is also true of all that had gone on before Postmodernism and even now the ideas that are adverse to Postmodernism.  Modernism is filled with those philosophies too.  The consequence of this recognition, if it is true (or even true in a limited sense), ought to open up into the realm of possibility that the same kind of critical analysis this is applied to Postmodernism can equally be applied to  Modernism, also "medieval-ism," and "ancient-ism."  It makes sense that if you find those ancient historical philosophies flawed, certainly even if it is only because we live in a world rich in access to cultures and ideas far outside the West, we can recognize that we might end up in a similar situation (though not identical) to what Postmodernists have said if we include information from the broadest resources that created its historical precursor, Modernism.

Postmodernism in its purest form represents what is wrong with Modernism.  That means that as bad as Postmodernism is now, and no matter how it has evolved and been distorted over time, Postmodernism grew out of a real (and philosophically valid) legitimate concerns.  The utter weakness of truth claims (how truth is known) even if the truth claims themselves prove to be correct and undeniable needs to be recognized in Modernism..  The problems of Postmodernism attempts to reveal might be valid, or exist within the possibility of validity,  even if the social, political, and economic solutions that are asserted by later Postmodernist that are proven to be totally flawed, are all present in Modernism (and thus from the philosophical historical precursors).

Anyone who would criticize Postmodernism now (in today's philosophical market place) ought recognize there were individuals throughout the history of Western ideas who found those ideas problematic.  An example is certainly during the Enlightenment when man in the Enlightenment thought the same ideas that become Postmodernism were flawed.  We ought not forget that Marxism, for example, as a social conception began during Modernism and thus emerged at a time prior to Postmodernism.  The pervasive Utopian ideology that has been manifested in modern communistic experiments derive from ideas far earlier than Postmodernism that exist within Postmodernism.  Indeed, one might suggest that some kind of utopianism is a perennial weakness of many human beings.

The freedom of Democracy that we have now grew out of a long competition of ideas prior to and during the historical time period classified as Modernism.  The concept of "reason" is a flaw in both Modernism and Postmodernism, because it begin much much earlier, makes the adversity between these ideas in many ways really false.  They are both guilty of the same philosophical flaws and became committed to ideas that are in opposition to each other because of other reasons.

Now I fully accept there are many problems with the most common concept of Postmodernism, politically and morally.  I accept that there are  many beliefs that are pervasive among those who consider themselves proponents of  Postmodernism.  I have no intention to defend each and every idea that has been attached to  Postmodernism, as if it itself was an ideology worthy of any struggle.  But I challenge the parameters that generate this warning, philosophical, historical, cultural, and theological, since the history that created Postmodernism is really a goof if looked at that the ideas present in Modernism are the source of Postmodernism.  Postmodernism in a sense has very limited reason for existing.  That is, my challenge is not just about Postmodernism but about everything that came before.  The same reasons that Postmodernism is weak are present in Modernism that came before it.
 
This is not a defense of the morally and intellectually barren form of Postmodernism that Jordan (and so many others) have criticized.  It is not as if I do not understand the consequences of the form of Postmodernism that Jordan refers.  I do.  My assertion is that the philosophical problems that are in Postmodernism that are also present in Modernism.  My point is that Modernism cannot legitimately epistemologically defend itself even if many Modernist position have proven themselves true on a common sense and utilitarian facts.  Such as, certain form of government have proven to be better than other forms of government by sustainability and evidence of success for its members.  That is, Modernism is not a philosophically valid solution to the flaws found in Postmodernism since Modernism in an accumulation from ideas medieval and ancient sources even if certain ideas can be established by other measures as 100% true.

Postmodernism has found the epistemological claims of Western history to be flawed (which is a correct assessment) but has failed to realize that this does not mean all epistemological claims of truth, objectivity, and reality are inherently flawed in and of themself.  One of the major problems has to do with the concept of reason.  What is most problematic is the idea that reason is a thing, a faculty that exist within human being and acts as a epistemological filter for the senses.  The filter provides the objectivity beyond the necessary subjective performance of the individual human.  The very existence of Postmodernism proves that wrong.  One cannot validly convince someone that Postmodernism is wrong by weight of evidence since that presupposes that subjective choices are a matter of "believing" the right ideas.  It is a mistake to conclude by Modernist can do that by correcting Postmodernism.  The claim is self-refuting.   The problem is that in such a concept there is no subjective participation since that would taint (as both Plato and Aristotle claimed) objective knowledge.  The goal is to create and epistemology that whose knowledge of the objective world is not tainted by subjectivity.  This is the position of Plato, with the ideal forms functioning ante rem (outside the thing) and Aristotle's connection between the subject and object functioning through the senses in rebus (inside the thing) the "thing" is the metaphysical property that provides the solution to the epistemological problem.  This is the flaw used to described as reason as a thing.

By contrast to advance a theory of "reasoning," the education of which is set in motion when infants begin attempting to discover the world overcomes this problem.  Philosophy claims for itself a knowledge that it cannot have.  While the ability to discern between true and false, right and wrong, is necessary it is not a given but is acquired through the course of basic human life.  Thinking, speaking, writing, reading, walking, running, dodging, yes or no (or maybe), as are the ability to make distinction between desirable action and undesirable actions, are all learned skills.




Therefore, when in the video included video that John Ankerberg says (at 4:54) that Postmodernism is like "all stop lights are green" is itself invalid.  The problem facing this situation is that the capacity to function epistemologically (in terms of knowledge) is not inherent in human beings.  All functional knowledge is an outgrowth of of basic learning while the infant is learning such things as how to walk.  Language itself, the medium that Philosophy is used to communicate, is an acquired skilled.     What precedes knowledge of read lights and green lights is a long process of learning the concept of what it means to fall or not fall, thus the ability to make any distinction, which eventually (and ideally) begins to further develop into the capacity to use basic logic.  All this is acquired by taking part in the most mundane (but at the same time) most crucial tasks.

The ability to determine anything, including the colors and meaning of the lights, is something that is beyond what infant human beings can do.  The infantile mind cannot even determine what a stop light is.  The capacity to have the knowledge is require do anything is acquired through the basic human development process.  Philosophy's weakness through its whole history back beyond Plato and Aristotle is that it functions after human beings exist as functional adult human beings.  Therefore, while the ability to make distinctions between go or stop, red or green is necessary for basic functioning of life the proof of it is learned and set aside years before the adulthood where philosophy claims to function.

 I suggest that we need to go on to something like Post-Postmodernism.  It is that thing which will arise after the negativity that has become attached to Postmodernism is dissipated without returning to the epistemological beliefs inherent in Modernism.  A certain kind of Postmodernism does need to be defeated.  The insights given by Postmodernism need to be applied where they fit.

By the way I am a Postmodernist as I have described it.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Facebook: Bias and Punishment????



I became confused  when I was blocked writing about my personal portfolio at Facebook of my religion.  I just now received a note that one of my posts goes against their rules on spam.  That was written almost 30 days ago,  This is actually the note that I wrote later after being block twice, once for posting too information that would bog down the network for other users the second block was for spam.  Remember, I was only writing my personal profile.   
This post goes against our Community Standards on spam
About your post
Jun 29
Only you can see this post.
If you request a review, we'll have someone take another look at the post.
Burgeoning inanity I must admit confusion at Facebook policy. I was only trying to build to my personal information page, the question having to do with my religion, and I got blocked twice in a row for what "typing to fast?" That was the only thing that was happening at the time. Either that or it was my topic that was to blame. Is there a chipmunk sitting around reading everything with a finger on the trigger? Is there some kind of hostility toward Fundamental Independent Baptists? I simply said that Baptists (certainly of a particular kind) have no historical or theological connection to the Catholic Church or to Protestantism. I learned this (theologically, historically) from my father who was a Baptist minister and later a professor in a Bible college. This is common knowledge to me but I did not think it to be that controversial to the point of blowing up the machine. The last time that I remember being clearly targeted for being a Baptist was when I was in the second grade, though I was just the vehicle since the real target was my father. We will see how things go.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Racism, Hypocrisy Violence, and Isolation



This is about my personal lessons with racism, hypocrisy, violence, and isolation. as a white boy .  It is assembled from personal memory, family photos, and an accumulation of discussions that have taken place throughout the years by individuals who were participants.  I have done my best to be accurate with the story about events that happened around fifty-five years ago or so (in 2019).  

At that time I did not realize the social events happening around me in 1963.  We had left my father's Baptist church in a small town in Alabama so that my father could go back to Bible college in the fall semester 1963.  Since then I have learned that it was within a month or so after he started classes that a bomb went of in a Baptist church in Birmingham, September 15, 1963.  Our Baptist church was within a hundred miles of that church.  We lived fifty feet from the front door of the our church.  Two months and six days after the bombing  I turned four-years-old.

After graduation in 1965 my father took a position at Baptist church in Grand Junction, Colorado.

2016 Rood Ave. 

The first that I heard about any of the racial conflict back in Alabama came from listening in as a bystander on the discussions between my father and our next door neighbor.  I will call this neighbor "A".  "A" had three boys and a girl.  I became friends with the youngest boy who was my age.  I will call him "D".   I spent a lot of time playing together with "D".  The discussion between our fathers did not effect our play.  Even so this political ranting went on and on with each of our fathers literally standing on opposite sides of the fence that was between our two houses.  A thick swirl of honeysuckle vines grew all along that fence.  At various times of the year that would have smelled extraordinary.  

"A" expressed great scorn at those despicable Southern racists in Alabama and what they were doing to the blacks.  Much of this was targeted at my father who grew up on a farm in Northern Alabama.  I remember my father talking about this many time.  By all accounts my father would have stepped into a minefield when he would have started his introduction with stories about farming and hunting where he grew up in Alabama.  This was like a mini civil war, North and South.  "A's" family came from Illinois and were Catholic, my Dad was from Alabama and Baptist.  Difference in politics, race, religion, and geography created the ground for conflict.  Being a Baptist preacher made my father even more of a target since anything that was going on in Alabama was considered to be immoral or illegal was taken to be a direct reflection of my father's personal land of origin and his religious beliefs.  All I remember of the actual exchanges was my father trying to limit the hostility.  Some times this happened simply because my father managed to overwhelm "A" with a quantity of discussions.  My father was very used to speaking in public.  

We did not have a television at the time and since I did not read the newspaper I had no knowledge of current events.  My time was spend playing with the children that lived on our street and the street behind us.  An alley ran down the middle of the block.  One of my best friends lived in the house behind "D", at an angle to my house.   Again I did not really understand the events but the discussions increased with the conflicts going on at Selma, Alabama.  I learned about this mostly from my father venting his frustrations with my mother.  

That was a very busy time in my life.  On the day that one of my father's brothers had come to visit us on vacation, in June 1966, even while my family was standing around introducing relatives to members from our church who had already been at our house, my parents heard what sounded like tires on pavement and then a scream.  My mother has told me the story more than once that from the sound of my voice, half a block away, she immediately knew it was me.   

I had been riding circles in the parking lot of the bowling alley across the street from our house.  The parking lot was huge.  Straight across the street from our house was a large field of dirt, sparse weeds and rocks and red ant mounds.The red ants were huge.  Next to the field on the right was the bowling alley, and on the opposite side of the field was a VW automobile dealership.  Beyond that was a highway and even further on was a train yard.  My friend "D" was there with me with other neighbor kids while I was riding the bike.  At times "D" would chase behind me on foot.  At some point I tried to cross the street to the sidewalk on the other side.  "D" saw the car before I did and that it was coming too fast.  At that point the driver had not noticed me in the street.  "D" yelled at the driver to slow down.  I must have heard him and turned to see the car, and as soon as I did I tried to peddle faster.  I had almost made it, but the car hit the rear tire of the bicycle.  The impact threw me through the air and I landed on the curb face down.  My mother has told me that when she reached me she saw I was bleeding from the face from the impact.  Blood was coming out of my mouth.   I was also bleeding from the elbows and other places where there were patches of peeled skin.  I would spend one night in the hospital.  The X-rays showed two broken two ribs from where I landed on the curb.  

Looking back I later I realized it was a combination of the car accelerating too fast and an undetected problems with my vision that caused the accident.  I could not see the automobile at the far end when it had turned into the street.  It was in the second grade that I was forced to get glasses when the teacher discovered I could not see the blackboard.  For assignments I would walk right up to the black board then go back to my seat trying to remember what was written.  Up until that point no one had suspected I had that problem.

While I certainly struggled with the various pains from the accident I was also upset that I had smashed my first bicycle on the day it was given to me by my father.  It was bright red.   That was likely the first time I had ever ridden a bicycle because I had started out with training wheels.  We have a picture that was taken the next day after I had been discharged from the hospital.  The family photo includes my aunt, uncle, and cousins in front of their camper.  The picture also includes my

David, father, aunt, uncle & cousins  

father carrying me to keep me from getting injured any further.  Whatever pains I was in it was in August that we went to stay a week in our church camp.  The camp was on one of the far slopes of Grande Mesa, an extinct volcano that we could see from our house when we looked to the East.  We had a church camp there every year.

I spent the time at the camp hovered over by my mother.   When we pulled into the driveway on our way home from camp "A," our neighbor, was standing at the fence.  "A" was there before we even had the chance to exit the car.  The car doors were open and "A" was already trying to talk my father.  "A" said that a black family had moved into a house two houses down the street from his.  My dad finally stopped him and told him that they could continue after my father had unloaded our car.  The trunk not only had our luggage but odds and ends from the camp.  We store such things as the archery equipment in a shed built on to the back of our house.   As my father would tell the story "A" was so angry that he claimed to be willing to burn down the house the blacks lived in and the only thing that stopped him was a fear of getting caught.

To show how ignorant I was to this hostility I immediately started seeking out the black boy to play with.  I will call him "L."  "L" was close to my age.  I learned he going to be in the grade ahead of me.  The story of my accident prompted "L" be very protective of me.  "L"would run interference between me and the other kids when it looked like they might run into me.  My memories of my initial impression of "L" was that he had the capacity to be very attentive.  I am not sure of "D" had any reaction to this imposition be he did not get along with "L."  The church camp when "L" had moved in had happened in August and we were soon going to school.  The first real incidence happened when "L" and me were coming home from school.  We had come down the alley and were almost to the gate that led into the our back yard.  Some of the kids had gathered and started through rocks and tomatoes that they picked from someone's garden.  The way my mother has described the incident is that I threw my hands out in exasperation and asked "what is wrong with "L" anyway." She tried to explain to me that many people thought differently about skin color.    

 It was not long after the incident where the younger kids were throwing things at "L" that an argument developed between "L" and D's older brothers.  They initially backed off some distance and were yelling derogatory names at each other.  That escalated further someone started picking up rocks and throwing them.  From there is quickly developed into a full blown rock fight.  The two sides were hurling rocks at each other.  They were far apart enough and the rocks they were picking up were large enough that they had to be launched into the air up and over like throwing hand grenades.  These were the biggest rocks they could find.  "L" was out in the empty field of dirt and rocks so he had plenty of ammunition.  The brothers were dodging the rocks and collecting object to throw from the driveway, which was not composed of gravel but shaped rounded stones, or even larger stones that were used as boarders around trees or decorative plants.  To have watched them would have appeared like they were playing a game dodging some kind of small rubber balls but they were deadly serious.  It could have easily killed someone if they had been hit in the head.  I do not remember exactly how long this fight went on whether it was five or ten minutes or longer.  I have no memory of anyone being injured and I guess that is why the adults were never involved.  I was forced to watch these events play out unable to do anything.   My parents never knew of that incident until years later.  

The division between the two opposing sides solidified.  I wanted to play with everyone but that had becoming impossible.  It was some time after that fight that "D" told me that I was to stop playing with "L."  I was not to have anything to do with the "L" and if I did not agree that I could not be friends with him ("D") or be invited into his house.  There was a hinted threat that the older brothers might do something to me.  I was surprised at all of this.  I saw no reason for the dividing up of sides so I never agreed.  For a long while all "D" ignored me if I came around where he was at.

 I do not remember any of the particulars, it could have been about conflicts with "L," but do remember that whenever there some kind of problem with "D," or any of his friends, I began a habit of saying that I was going to put what they did down in my little black book.  I do not remember how long this went on and I have no doubt it was irritating.  It was like I was holding the threat of writing down whatever they did.  I was probably simply trying to get them to leave me alone and that had seen like a plan.  At some point I guess they had had enough.  They ganged up on me on the way home from school.  "D" and the other boys demanded that I turn over my black book.  There was in the alley that ran down the middle of the block.  Every house kept trash cans in the alley for the trash to be picked up.  I had made it to the closed gate that led in to our back yard when they had finally surrounded me.  They seemed to be afraid that something they had done would be revealed by what was contained in the book.  I do not remember why they were so paranoid.  

They had forced my hand and so I tried to explain that there was no literal book.  My claiming that I was writing things down in my black book was a mere expression for me putting things into memory.  Reasoning was beyond them.  They insisted that I give them the book or they would take it from me.  I could see they were not going to listen to anything I said.  I was surrounded and outnumbered.  My mind must have been thinking fast because I clearly was making tactical decisions in my head.  I knew that if a fight started at some pint it would probably end up on the ground.  The rocks in the alley were not crushed gravel but were all were good sized whitish-grey stone.   Many of the rocks had sharp points.  I kept backing up while I was talking, aiming at moving the fight into my back yard where there was soft grass.  My intention was to reach the most favorable ground for fighting for the least amount of damage.  In the end I made it through the gate.  They were still calling me names and demanding I give them the black book.

Of course this is me looking back on those events but I think I resisted for at least two reasons.  One reason was because differences in race did not mean anything to me.  When my father was in Bible college I had met missionaries from around the world. Students would be around from Nigeria or New Guinea or some other place.  Many of these individuals who were native to those countries were going to school in Bible training so that they could go back to their own countries.  This same thing continued at my father's church.  We had missionaries from around the world come to our house.

David with KC Thomas, from India

I had met natives from many other countries who had many different shades of skin.  When they ate at our table I had never seen a thing that differentiated them from any one else.  I hesitated to speculate too much about my reasoning.  It just was.  It probably had something to do with my personality of stubbornness that I have retained all my life. I was not going to be forced to do something against my will that made no sense to me.  

My neighbors started avoiding me and this conflict went on for many months.  I would simply play with whomever was available.  But because of when my birthday falls in the year I was one year behind everyone.  That extra year did not make any difference in size since I was still very small even in comparison with my peers.  I started first grade at small building many blocks away from the main Lincoln Park Elementary school building.  I would not have seen any of them during the day since both "D" and "L" would have been at the main building in the second grade.  Afterward I might see them on the way home as almost everyone walked to school.

I am sure "L" was having problems getting along with students at school.  "D" would have been in the same class.  It would not have been out of the ordinary for "L" to have been ganged up on at school as well.  If this happened, and it would be odd that it did not, he never mentioned this to me.  I do remember that there was one other black student at the school, a girl in my class named Delores.  I still remember her crying inconsolably when they announced the news at school that Martin Luther King had been murdered the Spring of that year, April 4, 1968.   She was crying so much the teacher let her go home.

I do not know if it was a particular event or an accumulation of events but at some point "L" turned on me.  "L" wanted me to stay away from "D" or the other kids.  I could not be friends with any of them if I was going to be his friend.  I am certain I would have sympathized with how much "L" had been mistreated but the threat of being physically injured would have taken priority at that moment.  This would have looked like more craziness to me.  I was stuck in a number of hostile situations with friends that I had nothing against.  The outcome was that I told him the same thing I said to my other friend.  I was not going to join either side of the conflict against the other side.  I would not take sides.  I liked them both.   When I refused "L" threatened me.  "L" said he would find me on my way home from school and beat me up every day that I would not stop having contact with these other kids.  When I talked about this to my father he had me pass on the message.  My father said to tell "L" he, as a pastor, was out on the streets every day, driving around the city, and visiting people .  I was to tell "L" that he would never know when my father might show up.  Whatever the threat was I never got beat up though I had clearly made enemies of both sides.  I was now isolated even more because I wanted to be friends with everyone.  I do not know if it ever crossed my mind that it would have been easier to chose a side but I now I never did. 

As time passed the conflict slowly dissipated, kids being kids.  I began playing with "D" again.  I do not remember having any further contact with "L."  That neighborhood was filled with children.  It was not too far out of the ordinary for kids to show up from three blocks away.  At some point in time a Mexican family moved in two houses down the street on our side this time.  I was excited that there was someone else.  I remember nothing about the rest of the family but there was a girl who was my age.  I will call her "T."  "T" was a tomboy and was bigger than me.  She would play in our fairly aggressive games of football and other sports. Among other things we would climb the trees in our front yard.  Once I climbed so high into the top of the trees that the branches were bending under my weight.  At times I was more adventurous than exhibiting any sense of commonsense.  I got frightened because of the instability.  I was stuck thirty feet up and afraid to move.  "T" had to go into my house to tell my mother that I was stuck up in the tree.  My mother came out and talked me back down to where the footing was safe.  After that I was able to climb down the rest of the way on my own.

It was not long after this that incidence, as my mother tells it, she looked out and saw the three of us, "D" from next door, "T," and me on the sidewalk in front of our house.  "D" and me were arguing.  My mother intervened and as a peace offering invited us all in for milk and cookies.  In reality that only amounted to to a temporary pause.   "D" told me I had to stay away "T" if I wanted to have any contact with him.  I was thinking how crazy this was.  I found myself in exactly the same kind of conflict that I had in the previous situation. This seemed to be even worse example of even more meaningless reason.  I could not detect any skin color or physical features that made "T" different from anyone else.  If someone had not said the family was of Mexican descent I would have not known anything.  To my mind has have no doubt that if there was the opportunity to have someone to play with I would have easily overlooked bright green skin and four arms.  For me it was just more of the same hostility toward certain persons that I did not understand.  I refused.  While no physical confrontation ever developed I am left with the impression that at some point in time "T" ceased coming around.  I do not remember if "T" simply stayed away from the conflict zone or the family decided to move away to escape any future conflict.    

"L" had stopped coming around after being warned off of his threats against me.  At some point in time his family also moved away.  I generally got along with "D" but because of school and other activities there was a limited amount of time to spend together.  I found other friends.  I spent a lot of time involved in church activities.  Every summer I played on a little league baseball team until I moved away from Grand Junction in 1971.   

I hesitate to attribute any of my decisions to what I had learned about the Bible.  I cannot imagine that it did not play some kind of role but I would hate to speculate exactly what that was.  Certainly, by that time in my life I had heard more than a thousand sermons in my father's church.  When various ill informed individuals would attempt to get into a debate about the Bible with my father I heard him more than once say that his five-year-old son had more Bible knowledge than they did.  

In my mind the Bible that I had been taught barred no person from full participation.  All human beings are exactly equal in the eyes of God.  There are no racial divisions in the same way there were no divisions between male and female.  Yet at the same time I had learned from direct experience that believing in the Bible or Christianity was not a preventative to any division or conflict.  I knew enough to recognize that belief the Bible had not inherently prevented the great animosity between the different persons or races.  Both sides of the literal and metaphorical fence were Christians.  "D's" house had a statue of Mary in the back yard.  

It was actually around this same time (second grade) I was targeted for my father's church position. These experiences made it clear there was not only racial bias but religious bias as well.  The teachers in my elementary school bullied me into making a false confession to writing curse words on the bathroom wall.  I got my first introduction to manipulative confession techniques.  The teachers seemed to delight at confronting my father with my supposed guilt.  To see how silly it was I was once accused of writing a curse word on a school assignment when I confused the word "hail" with the word "hell."  My mother had to explain to the teacher that I what not using the word in a cursing way as I had heard my father preaching about hell hundreds of times.  I am not sure to what degree that I reflected about the events but I learned quickly that children are born into the conflicts of a world beyond their control.  I also learned while we must attempt to do the right (certainly fair) thing when dealing with others that this in itself does not guarantee we will get fairness in return.
  


Gunfighter Justice And the Question of Immanent Threat



I tend to watch a good deal of nonfiction programming having to do with the police, Crime Scene Investigation, the coroner, or anything to crime investigation, prosecution, and conviction.  At the same time I am just as interested in justice, seeing that the wrong person is not punished or that punishment be applicable to any given crime.

With this in mind I was recently watching a program (I cannot remember the title) where a woman had killed her ex-husband (or ex-boyfriend) and was convicted because she acted in absence of an immanent threat.  It did not seem to matter that this man had taken the woman hostage, threatened her with death if she ever tried to leave, raped her and beat her multiple times.  It did not matter that after becoming sexually sated he demanded she prepare food for him and then abused her more until falling asleep.  At that point, hoping to avoid further acts of violence and rape, fearing for her life due to his irrational demands, and afraid that he would either catch her trying to left or hunt her down and kill her for defying him she planned and killed him in his sleep.

This person should not have gone to jail.  Women, or men, when taken hostage by other another person or persons have already crossed the threshold of meeting the requirement for allowing self-defense by any means necessary.  It is a flawed justice system that holds irrational standards of threat assessment based upon the wild, wild west.

The United States still implements the rules of justice established on the dusty streets of the old west.  Justice by that rule was decided by determining who drew down first in the gunfight.  Justice by that criteria was met by the innocent party was required to be faster in drawing the gun than person who was the aggressor.  By such standards one had to wait until the gun was drawn, literally in the motion of being drawn, before one could legally defend themselves.  That concept of justice is insane.  It only works for lightening fast gunfighters in a fiction story who are then able to fire faster after already being attacked.  In essence, our concept of immanent threat as the criteria for self-defense is based on an idealized notion of conflict that is more than likely a manifestation of watching too many movies or television or novels.

The instant this woman was taken against her will, like any individual who has been kidnapped, the ongoing risk of immanent death will continue until they have ceased being under the will of another person.  If the woman had killed the aggressor during an act of violence it would have been justified under the current interpretation of immanent threat.  But for a person in an inferior position, for whatever reason, must be ready to fight back whenever the opportunity arises.  We must recognize that until a person has totally removed their self or been removed from any further aggression the fact of immanent threat remains in place.

For the woman describe in this case just because the attack stops when the aggressor pauses and then starts anew, as if this is somehow a totally new act of rape or beating, along with the threat of "I'll kill you if you try to leave," any incident where (metaphorically speaking) the gun is not being pointed does not mean that immanent threat has reached a conclusion.  It is convenient for armchair moralists to debate the risks of life or death for someone else when their own life is not personally under threat.

Of course, this is the same social system that pronounces judgement on law enforcement officers who are facing down an aggressor, officers who face judgement if that gun is not being pointed at them at that exact moment.  It takes this precise arrangement of temporal facts and alignment of barrel to target that creates a the acceptable instant that allows acts of self-defense that might include application of deadly force.  If this notion of immanent threat is assumed to only happens when the weapon is being aimed at target then an attacker can turn their back, weapon still at the ready, and wait for another, better opportunity (theoretically turning back and forth again and again without limit) until the non-aggressor or innocent party is less able to respond.  At that prepared moment the person who fires first achieves the desired outcome.  Like any citizen a law enforcement police officer is already at a severe disadvantage compared with an aggressor who is not burdened by any of the rules of justification.

The search for true (application of) justice must go farther than hoping the evils of the world will be resolved at the denouement of a Hollywood sitcom.  Knowing the potential for magnanimity and selfishness is always equally possible I am forced to maintain a healthy cynicism in every direction.  I do know we should not allow legal reputations (who are representing these fantastic ideas of society) to be obtained on the backs of victims.  We either we need to find a new word to describe immanent threat or we simply need to expand our frame of understanding of justification for self defense beyond the fantasy of Matt Dillon.

Murphy's Law is one reason not to give up any weapon or capacity. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-need-extended-capacity-magazines...