The blog where I rant about things that should be obvious to everyone

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is Churchianity?

James 2:14-16
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

The word faith, according to Strong's concordance, means: “convictionof the truth of anything,belief;”. So, as I read it, James is saying that if you truly have faith, you will have works. This is because if you truly believe in something you will act on it. We see this dichotomy all the time. So one will say that they believe something, but then when rubber hits the road, it turns out that they are being something less than honest, with either themselves or with others. Examples include Michael Moore saying that Cuba has a better system of government than the USA does. He says this. He does not move to Cuba. He could move if he really wanted to, but he does not. So we can see that even though he probably does have a superficial belief in what he is saying, he does not truly believe it.

A long time ago I heard that the definition of wisdom is “Applied knowledge”. That always seemed like an overly simple definition, until I thought of it in terms of the superficial/true belief dichotomy. Now I think of wisdom as doing your best to find truth, and then acting on it. Conversely, foolishness is to concoct, find, or believe in a set of lies that allow you to act in a way that you find comfortable.

To bring it back to the title of the post, Churchianity is foolishness in the Church that allows churches to avoid clashing with modern culture.

Modern Culture: all roads lead to god. All cultures are merely different but equal.

Churchianity: (from Rick Warren's Twitter) “We're NOT called to be the judge, the prosecutor, or even the defense attorney! 'You will be my WITNESSES' Acts 1:8 Got it?”

Actual Christianity: (1st Corinthians 6:3) “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?”
Matthew 7:13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat”

Modern Culture: all you need is love. The world will work if we are all just kind to each other and stop the hate.

Churchianity: God always gives us more of what we want (taken from the idea that hell is simply existance without God (which is also wrong)).
Christians are called to be as kind to everyone as possible.
God is a gentlemen and will leave you alone if you want Him too.

Actual Christianity: (Leveticus 10:6) “And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people” Moses was telling Aaron to not morn the death of his sons after God killed them, or else God would kill him to (not what Aaron was wanting).
Stoning is the main method of execution under Israel's government. Aside from the fact that you cannot view execution as tough love, stoning is hardly the kindest method of execution.
Psalm 145:20 “The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” Destroying is not leaving alone.

Modern Culture: slut is a derogatory term used to discribe a woman with a life style that she should not be ashamed of.


Actual Christianity: (John 8:11) “She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”
Proverbs 5:3-5 “For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Proverbs 11:22 “As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.”

Since thinking of Church doctrine in these terms, I have been trying to make a point of rebuking Churchianity any time I come across it. My church has a healthy dose of it, as does the churches of many of my readers I'm sure. And even though, at times standing up and confronting Churchianity can be awkward, I have conviction in the truth of its evil, and I don't want to be a Christian who has faith without works.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Don't get married

In the spirit of asking what am I trying to accomplish and what alternatives are there, I'm pretty sure that by the modern definition of the word, there is never a reason for anyone to get married.

So to break it down, why does anyone want to get married? The great, big, obvious reason is that a man and a woman what to commit to each other for the rest of their lives. They want to have exclusive mutual access to the other person for sex and romance, and want to spend tons of time together. They want to live in the same home and put down roots. They want to have children. And when one of them dies they want the inheritance to go to the other. They want to face the rest of the world as a single unit. They want a commitment that will be stronger than any future disagreements that wouldn't get worked out otherwise. And to some degree there are probably religious reasons for most of us about wanting to have sex in an institution that is sanctioned by God.

Personally I think that these are all laudable goals. Even the last one. But, do you really need a certificate from the government to do that? As a Christian I find the very idea offensive. 1 Corinthians 6:1-11: 
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Paul makes it clear that when dealing with other Christians we should handle matters within the church. So how much more so when dealing with a matter as intimate as marriage should Christians not even begin to involve the secular government, especially as in the case of divorce, we are commanded to not handle it in court? Further more, as far as the Bible is concerned, marriage has never been a government institution, not even under the theocracy that preceded the kings of Israel.

But what about non Christians? Atheists get married as well as Christians, so as they have no obligation to the church shouldn't they get married normally? For my readers I hardly think I need to go over the problems in family court law. So, although you do still want some parts of the government mcmarrage, such as inheritance being set to default to your spouse, or the right to make bed side visits in the hospital, you don't want all of what you get, and you certainly don't want to go through the rest of your life with some woman having the ultimate power to end things and collect cash prizes.

As has come out with the whole gay marriage arguments, all the practical benefits of marriage can be achieved through other means for any two people living together. And if, beyond that, you want to make some sort of commitment that will stand the test of time, and make the two of you exclusive, you can do way better job with just a private contract then you can with a government recognized marriage. Make a contract that comes with defined, harsh penalties for either cheating or leaving. Will it stand up in court? Maybe not. You may get slapped with a common law marriage and all the obligations that come with it. But it may work as well, and as such is still a much better option than marriage.    

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don't go to college

Whenever your going to make a huge life changing decision such as getting married, buying a house, or deciding where or if to go to college, there are two questions that you should ask first. The first is “What am I trying to accomplish?”, and the second is “What alternatives are there to accomplishing my goals?”.

As a man who has a four year degree, more and more I see going to college as a very bad life choice.

The reasons that I went to school honestly had more to do with the expectation in my family that I would do so than anything else. But if you had asked me at the time, I would have said something about it forming me into a more well rounded person and getting me a better job. Ultimately, I went for a degree in computer science, because the area was something of a mystery to me, so for the whole well rounded person thing, it seemed like a good choice.

So now that I'm five years out of college, lets take a look at how well I met those objectives. Do I have a better job than I would otherwise? Perhaps. I do have a job skill now, and it does open doors for me in the job market that would not be there if I was not a programmer. But is college the only way to open those doors? Absolutely not. In my last job, half the people in my department did not have anything beyond high school education. Sure they had taken a class here and there because they wanted to learn something specific, but in the end they paid around $4,000 on post high school education whereas I paid over $100,000 on mine. And to top it off, if you compare actual earnings, at my last job I made less than my friend of the same age who simply went into retail and has been promoted to manager.

So can you make more money with a college degree? In some limited number of cases yes, but for the most part a degree will not do anything more for you than self education and job experience. In some cases it will do less.

So how about the well rounded part? Again, I would say that objective was met. But not for the reasons that it was supposed to be. My general education courses were a joke. They did not go beyond where my high school education went in some cases. In others, such as my American literature course, they fell laughably short of what I have simply gotten out of just reading for myself. So really, what I got was the same as an AA degree with a bunch a pretence tacked on. To be fair, I did not attend an Ivy League school. But my school certainly would be considered better than most state schools.

The real reason that I would say it made me a more well rounded person, is because of the social aspect. Going from a high school, where I was smarter than almost everyone (including the teachers) to a college were I merely had middle of the road intelligence, was a pretty big shock. In high school I was never challenged by anyone. It was a small christian high school, and most everyone that was as smart as me agreed with me on all my religion and politics. This lead to absurd levels of arrogance for an 18 year old, and a fairly warped world view. I truly thought that anyone who was liberal was not only foolish but very dumb, in terms of IQ. Going to college was a real eye opener in that way.

But again, was going to college the only way I could have achieved this eye opening goal? Of course not. The truth is, it would have happened sooner or later no matter what I did. Probably not as fast, but just as surely.

So in my case, college did met my goals, but I'm pretty sure if I had it to do over again, I could met those some goals just as effectively but with a lot less money spent.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There is nothing wrong with shaming language

Within the men's rights movement, there is a fairly prevalent thought that shaming language is feminist invention and should be avoided. And it often comes up in the comment sections on men's rights blogs that some commenter or other is using shaming language to make their point, and therefore can be disregarded as a feminist.

But the problem is not terms like “man up”, the problem is their application. Telling men that they need to “man up” and get married is not a bad thing to say because the idea that men should put away childish things and act like men is evil. It is a true and valuable sentiment. The problem is that the main reason men are not getting married is not because of perpetual childhood. The problem is that the pool of women that they are finding acceptable for marriage is shrinking. And beyond that, the problem is that the whole marriage contract is stacked so sharply against men that even if a man does find a woman who he would to spend the rest of his life with, and to raise children with, he still has reason to pause. There are plenty of men who believe that with family law being what it is, no woman is worth it, and I'm not saying that they are wrong. This does not come out of childishness, but out of a rational assessment of risk.

The call for men to man up and get married is so common that the phrase itself has become somewhat repugnant. But the fact that the phrase is so commonly misapplied does not mean that the sentiment is wrong. Their truly is a phenomenon of men in my generation (I'm 27) extending the adolescent life style well past when it should be put behind them.

For these men, the sentiment behind the phrase man up truly does apply. Not because they need to go get married, but because they need to stop acting like children.

The reason that there is nothing inherently wrong with shaming language is because for a man to react to being dealt a hand that is worse than some others have been dealt, by simply sitting around and pouting, is shameful. Men who pity themselves, either to the point of inaction or impotent action, are stomach turning creatures. And they should be ashamed.

When a man is dealt a bad hand, he analyzes the data at his disposal and then fearlessly takes the best action he can even though it might involve a great deal of risk. He does so without need for pity because for a man to do what is right is enough.

We have examples of men acting like men in the Bible. In Daniel chapter 3, Shadrack, Meshach, and Abendnego react to king Nebuchadnezzar, who has just demanded that they worship his false idol or be burned alive. They tell him “we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” They didn't have to think about it because they knew that God could save them, and even if God didn't they would still rather burn alive than submit to the evil orders of their king.

This sentiment was echoed again by British solders in WWII, when they were facing apparent certain doom on the beach of Dunkirk. From there they sent a three word transmission: “And if not” to let the people back home know that they considered their mission more important than their lives. These British solders acted as men.

And finally I can't help but include this example from Braveheart of a man acting like a man in the face of adversity.

Beyond the fact that shaming language like “man up” is not bad in and of itself, it also is something of a one way street. A woman who wallows in self pity is contemptible, but not in the same way as a man. And I don't think that because of cultural conditioning or because of some bits of feminism that I have not yet purged from my thinking. I think that because the need to not submit to your circumstances, but to fight for what is right regardless, is a part of being a man, and a part of how men and women are different.