What is the worst thing about sin?

Okay, I know sin is wrong–I mean that’s the definition. Sin is wrong! No argument from me there. But what is the worst thing about sin? I was listening to a pastor on the radio. He was ranting about how sin will destroy your life. And he is 100% right–sin will destroy your life. I teach that! In seventh grade, we are going over the rules of reality and number 5 is “Sin will destroy you!”

But I’m thinking, is sin destroying my life really the worst thing about it? NO. What about other things we know about sin? Sin hurts other people. Sin causes all the world’s problems. Sin is evil. Sin is controlling. ALL TRUE. But not one of those is the worst thing about sin!

God hates sin (rule of reality number 3), and the worst thing about it is the fact that it hurts or offends God. Sin put Christ on the cross–where He took the wrath of God for every person whoever existed, which is the most fearsome event in all of time. So the worst thing about sin, is not that it hurts me or my friends or my family or society or any of that. By far, by an infinite amount, the worst thing about sin, is it hurts God.

So, sin will hurt you–stay away. Sin will hurt others–stay away. Sin offends God–STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!!

The Hollywood Physique

I like this restaurant Albuquerque called Weck’s. It states that it has a “full-belly tradition.” I like that too, and the mounds of hash-browns and the pancakes as big as hub-caps. Oddly enough, the decoration of these restaurants is done in classic movies with plenty of space for Gene Kelly, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn. It actually got me thinking.

Now, at first, it got me thinking about the difference in beauty. Where Marilyn’s beauty was from her sensual appeal; Audrey Hepburn was different. In Hepburn, you have an attractive woman with depth of character and intrigue–which is a higher quality beauty. Marilyn Monroe is also very pretty, but she comes across as loose or cheap. Her actions and modesty issues produced a persona of a plaything rather than that of a valuable beautiful woman. 

Both of the women were pretty, no one would argue that either wasn’t; but one presented herself as much more than a pretty face, while the other reveled in only that.  Then I noticed something else. Two life-size photos of the two actresses. Marylin in a once-piece swimsuit and Audrey in an evening dress.

Marylin was not skinny! She wasn’t fat but she totally lacked that nearly twiggish body type that our society currently tries to elevate to the position of truly beautiful. If Marylin Monroe would be too big for our society’s current obsession of beauty, who isn’t?  Something is definitely wrong!

The thing is the “natural beauties” of the silver screen are nothing natural. If you don’t believe me, go to the local pool during water aerobics. I also suggest you don’t eat first. Those “natural bodies” will cure you of wanting to see! Those unfortunate enough to be the beauties of Hollywood can’t really enjoy life-They must constantly maintain their petite to super-petite physiques. Marylin Monroe was pretty; I don’t think she used that gift well, but she was a beauty and no one would argue differently. However, she was not a skinny body sculpture of today’s obsessed culture.

What the problem is, is that we have allowed those that have been blessed with good features and then abused themselves to extremes to manipulate those features to be the standard of beauty. But as a twenty minute swim at the local pool will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt; all those feautres are fleeting. Time will not be put off. It will conquer any physique.

But then that brings me back to Audrey Hepburn. She had something more than physical beauty. She was not just a pretty face, but a lady with class and character. I can speak from a guy’s perspective, being pretty is great; but a girl with class and character is a prize that is really attractive.

A world that wants to live in Runescape

I have been noticing that most of the world doesn’t like the law of sowing and reaping. The world hates that what they do has consequences. What is abortion but a way of running from consequences? Why is AIDS such a horrific disease? Why are humanists so mad at even the idea of God? I have been reading about Atheism and one of their major arguments is that evil exists in this world and God shouldn’t allow it. But I can’t help but think about the game RUNESCAPE; Runescape is a mmo-rpg. Basically you walk around a huge world with thousands of people and you do stuff. When you start the game, you end up the city of Lumbridge. Once, there you can basically do anything! You can adventure however you want. One of the biggest quests you can play for free is to kill an evil dragon that has destroyed an island.

If the dragon kills you, it is no big deal. When you die, you’ll come right back. Sure you might loose a little loot and you’ll have to walk from Lumbridge back to the dragon’s cave. But someday, you will beat it. Someday, you will win. You know that if the dragon kills you that you will get it in the end.

But when you do kill the dragon, it comes right back. When you stop the black knight, he comes right back. When you save the man turned into a chicken, he gets right into trouble again. NOTHING ever turns out bad or good forever because every decision you make doesn’t matter. You can threaten to kill a man one second and the next he will politely give you directions. The thing is that every decision you make is fake. It doesn’t have any real consequences.

Runescape is fun for a while, but it gets boring really quickly because really nothing matters. What if God had allowed the atheists to have their way; no consequences for actions–no tragedy follows choices no matter how foolish, sinful, or selfish. Hitler kills Jews, but they come right back. Fathers are drunks and abandon their kids, but there families have no ill effects. People fornicate whenever, where ever with whoever or whatever–no pregnancy or STDS. Wouldn’t it be great?

But what about good choices? The single mother that works two jobs to send her son to Christian school or college–Her sacrifice doesn’t matter. He turns out the same if she works or not. The Father that loves his family, the soldier that fights bravely, the shrewd investor, the inventive entrepreneur, the honest politician–none of their choices for right matters one bit. Everything ends up the same no matter what–Life on earth becomes like Runescape.

This would apply across the whole spectrum of human relationships. Imagine if dating resulted the same way if a man was a gentlemen or a sexist pig; a woman a lady of virtue or a harlot. It didn’t matter if you loved, hated, cared, or cried. Nothing matters-That is the wonderland that Atheist want so badly to believe is the reality. But to me that is like wishing you could go to the fair to watch others ride the rides and eat the funnel cakes. No, it’s worse than that. It’s like wishing away all that makes human life worth living. The only thing you could ever satisfy is bass instincts–you would be an uncontrolled and useless animal. All the wonder of life, the real love, care, etc. would be gone. There would be no consequences in life because their would be no life. All that makes us worth while would be gone, replace with nothing but useless, empty, tepid entertainment that would merely distract for a few moments before we again revel in our empty, pointless existence.

I thank God that He is so much smarter than us and so much kinder too. He could have had automaton that would not mess up, but He knew that giving mankind choices, REAL choices, was so much better. Yes, we have tragedy, but we have triumph. We have suffering but we have love. What we do, each of us, every moment does matter–It really matters. So Dawkins and his crowd can complain, but I am glad God choose to make our reality real and our will real too. I don’t blame God when wicked people choose evil and sin. I rejoice that I can effect reality just as much by choosing righteousness and love.

Vocabulary Problems

Today, I was getting a fast food meal at a local restaurant and a bunch of teenagers came in. Now I will admit they looked like they were the bottom of the intellectual charts, but that is judging based on appearance. I don’t want to be accused of that prejudice, especially when I plan on judging them based on another set of criteria. (Yes, I am judgmental. and before anyone tries to quote Matt 7:1 at me; READ it in context.)

Anyway, I am getting a refill of root-beer, and–before I go on, I want say swearing doesn’t bother me badly. I don’t like it; but most of the time, I don’t actually notice swearing and cursing. I worked in a call center and was cursed out many times. But these kids were cursing every other word, LITERALLY! They said something to the effect of “PROFANITY the PROFANITYing the PROFANITY” I heard less than ten words and almost that many curse words. I was really tempted to say something to them, but they weren’t talking loud and they weren’t upset; they were talking quietly and I was just unfortunately too close. They just had mouths that only learned their vocabulary from bad movies and poor comic books.

I realize now that I consider swearing to be the expression of a mind that cannot or does not wish to clearly express its thoughts and feelings. A person that has to use curse words to express themselves can’t be expressing much. One event stands out in my mind as the time I truly learned this fact. When I worked at a grocery store as a teen, I was a lunch. Which meant I ate at the tables around the store’s deli for the half-hour I had off. A cashier and the bouncer like guy that worked with the money were there too. Now, I had for a long time admired the bouncer guy; he hunted rattlesnakes as a side business. To a teenage guy that is cool, not to mention that he looked like he could bench press a small car. The cashier had bought a new type of salad dressing and was trying to get the guy to try it. He didn’t want to try it. She insisted and the fellow decided to use profanity to insist he didn’t wan to try it. I remember thinking, “He cussed out salad dressing.” That man lost all coolness I thought he had.  What kind of person curses out salad dressing? My answer, one with a very limited vocabulary.

Now, don’t for a minute think I am just saying cursing is just a sign of poor vocabulary. It’s also sin. But I am looking at why people curse, not why it’s wrong. I see basically two reasons people curse: they are cannot express themselves emotionally without cursing and they think that cursing is cool.  

Today, people do not learn to think and therefore don’t learn to express their thoughts. Imagine a person frustrated by the inability to accomplish something. Today he would say he feels, (PROFANITYed) over, or equally crude, profane remark. A couple hundred years ago, Thomas Paine reflected on the difficulty of a fight,” Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.” I realize the average Joe will lose a vocabulary contest verses Thomas Paine, but the point still stands. If you cannot express yourself, you are likely to fall back on the very poor prop of profane speech.

Unfortunately, our society classifies certain speech as “adult” rather than “profane.” This makes kids think that saying those horrible, blasphemous words are part of the process of becoming adult. Not true, because nothing shows the horrible immaturity of a person better than using foul speech to enforce weak thinking and bad behavior.  Kids think that since that cool guy in the movie or CD used certain words to describe his mother, friend, or enemy that the kid should do the same thing. The person that thinks swearing is cool has forsaken decent conversation for obscenity; and, most likely, their pride will lock them there. It’s a pity too. Thinking people will have so few people to talk to.

I tell my student this, “Think before you speak.” It’s a good habit. If all of us would practice good thinking, profane speaking will be a much smaller problem.

The Land on a Blade

I keep hearing everyone quote Alexander Tyler, a history professor in 1787. He said, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury…. Every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.” Isn’t that great? We are a land that is poised on the edge of blade of democracy and rapidly tilting into the quagmire of dictatorship. That’s certainly an optimistic outlook.
It’s not like that whole idea is even wrong. Our tax code is designed to keep people from achieving wealth. Those who work hard and try to better themselves are rewarded with higher taxes; while the government pays people to be leeches on society’s backside. If our society is to be unbiased and fair to all, then a progressive tax code has to go. But that is not how it works. Our government makes decisions by coercion and bribe. You give me x I give you y. It’s doesn’t matter that x and y are bad for 99.9% of Americans, I want x and you want y and we have power. It’s not like a rant on the Internet is going to do anything about it, but I would love to see a flat tax in our country. I would also love to see special interests groups have enough decency to be interested in those outside of their interest.

I guess basically I would like to see our world take the moral high road. I would love to see responsibilities taken seriously, and moral deficits considered worse than fashion deficits. But there is a major problem with that. I don’t think our society can have the morals of Christianity without the Christianity. Christian has nearly become a meaningless word like nice or cool. It has been reduced to the point where it means that the person talking thinks what they say is good. People that wouldn’t know a Bible verse from a hole in their head are saying some idea is “Christian” or that someone is a good “Christian.” Ick!

Self-sacrifice, putting others before self, and doing what is right despite the cost cannot and will not happen in a society that rejects God and rejects Biblical Christianity. Yeah, Tyler might be right. We may be a few years from dictatorship in this country. So what should we do? Simple, same thing God has told us was our job was back when Christianity was under a dictator.  ” Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It is the power of the gospel working in the hearts of man that will truely change our society. Maybe we should petition the government for that. We could get a special interest group and have rallies.

No. That would be interesting, but that it’s not the method God gave us to reach this world. We have the awesome tool of preaching which means telling people. So let’s change America, tell your neighbor about Jesus and proclaim the truth into a dark world.  Long live that REVOLUTION!

 

Batman and the Life Boat Test

I saw the new Batman movie, Dark Knight, a week or so ago; and honestly it caused an interesting moral conundrum. For those of you who haven’t seen it and want to, I will be discussing the plot’s climax so: WARNING Spoilers follow.

I liked the movie over all. The special effects were slightly cheesy and the laws of physics didn’t apply fairly throughout, but that’s normal for superhero movies. It basically revolves around the cities reaction to the mad man Joker. He kills, blows things up, and otherwise attacks the sanity of the (not quite) fair city of Gotham. Batman, the police, the DA, and the people of Gotham all have to act to stop this mad man. Oddly, Joker puts everything he does into the context of a moral test. Batman has to turn himself in or Joker will kill people, the Police have to remain honest in the face of enormous bribes. Throughout the entire movie the Joker wants to test ethics and morals.

It reminds me of those situational ethics tests; the most popular of which is called the life boat test. “You are on a life boat with three other people lost at sea. There is an old woman with bad arthritis, a five year old girl, a scientist working on the cure for cancer. There is only enough food for all of you for two days. If you throw one member overboard, there will be enough food for a week. Who do you throw off?” Unfortunately, our world runs on situational ethics. Abortion and Euthanasia are two good examples of that; we say that murder is wrong, but we will kill those we consider unwanted. The Joker in the “Dark Knight” attacks the people on that level. At one point, he breaks a pool cue in half leaving a jagged piece for three men to decide who of them was going to get the one open position in Joker’s crew. He gives Batman the choice of saving one of two people. But the best examples of situational ethics are the two moral dilemmas that Joker gives to the people of Gotham.

The first dilemma comes in the movie when a worker at Wayne Enterprises goes on TV to tell everyone that Bruce Wayne is Batman. The Joker calls the program and says that he will blow up a hospital if somebody doesn’t kill that worker in one hour. Of course that is not enough time to empty the hospitals of Gotham. The Joker basically says, “Okay. You think murder is wrong. Well, unless you murder one person, I will kill lots of people.” What happens? The police protect the worker, empty the hospitals, and a last ditch effort to kill the man is thwarted when Bruce Wayne “accidentally” puts his sports car between the police car and the would be killer. The final result, Joker blows up an empty hospital.

The second dilemma is even more direct. Joker puts a bomb on two ferry crossing the harbor. One is carrying civilians; the other prisoners. Each ferry has the detonator to the other ferry’s bomb. If one of the two doesn’t blow the other up by midnight, Joker will blow them both up. Another dilemma, “Kill those people to save your people.” Talk about a life boat test! It’s funny to me who shows up as a hero here. 

The first is the captain of the civilian ferry. After the civilians vote to blow up the prisoner’s ferry, the captain won’t blow them up. When asked why, he says, “We’re still here.” He understands that the prisoners haven’t blown him up. The threat of violence to himself doesn’t sway him. It’s a little weak, but it is a moral stand. He didn’t go with majority rules; he understands that right and wrong are beyond a vote.

The second hero acts differently. He was a prisoner on the prisoner’s barge. He threatens the warden to give him the detonator so he can “Do what you should have done ten minutes ago.” He grabs the detonator and throws it out the window. He takes the high road, puts himself in jeopardy, and does what is right.

This is where all life boat scenarios fall apart. They forget heroes. The people on the barge forgot this too. They didn’t remember Batman. They only thought that the information provided was the only information. Joker was stopped before midnight. He was hanging upside-down with a bat-errang around his ankles and his detonator was smashed. He couldn’t blow both ships; he couldn’t fulfill that end of the life boat test. 

Situational ethics dies in the face of true right and wrong morality. Even though the Joker made it hard, no one had to murder anyone. The true heroes stopped it. People need to realize in the “life boat tests” that a rescue ship can come on day one just as easily as on day five. Circumstances beyond our control can be favorable just as easily as they can be unfavorable. Why does your morality change in the minor heat of circumstance? It shouldn’t. Batman was a hero, the police were heroes, and the convict and the ferry captain were heroes. WHY? Because they did what was right no matter what. (At least in these two dilemmas, in the story’s conclusion everyone decided to embrace situation ethics with a bizarre zeal that undermined the whole point of the movie. {Hollywood is stupid like that sometimes.})  

A major problem with situational ethics is that it requires no external input. Batman thwarted the Joker. The rescue ship was prompt. Each time situational ethics seems so easy and nice a monkey wrench called real life messes it up.  Right and wrong, however, aren’t messed up by real life. Wrong is still wrong and right is still right no matter what. End of story.