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Master Directory of Articles

OK, this is a major shakeup of all my web space. I’ve been breaking up erictb.info, realizing that the clusters of articles on the main pages there is basically too cluttered, so I had begin by making separate pages for major essays, and now, I decided to drop a bunch of them here, and list everything to date, by category.

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Christian Doctrine

Duggar controversy and the battle over who has “morals” and can judge “morality”

With the revelation that Josh Duggar had molested some girls years ago, when he was 14, the internet has erupted in back and forth debate. The secular world claims it’s hypocrisy, of course, and and quickly throws up his preaching against the LGBT community, especially in his position in the Family Research Council (which he then resigned from. The Duggar’s show was then canceled from TV), and figure he should have been marred for life.
Even my wife (who’s not as active on the internet as I am) says how she sees all these horrible attacks posted on social media, even condemning the parents for having so many children. She had watched them from the beginning, and saw the kids born and grow up, one by one, right on TV.

The Christians say it was a “mistake” that he has since repented of, and “brought the family closer to God” (https://www.facebook.com/duggarfamilyofficial/posts/653931128073873?fref=nf&pnref=story i.e. the whole “He uses bad things for ultimate good” concept). My wife relayed the account that the family reported him to the police. The other side alleges that it was covered up, and then I hear this was really a friend of the family (who would later be busted on child pornography), and the only punishment was the “hard labor” of him doing construction work for another friend of the family. (see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2015/05/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-josh-duggar-police-report.html)
One article even suggests “It was not a sin, it was a crime” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2015/05/22/the-duggars-dangerous-cult-of-purity/ The premise was that “sin” was some sort of socially neutral category, that makes it wrong “according to your beliefs” [i.e. to “God”] but OK in society.
I would say it was both, and there is no need for any “either/or”.

Christian defenders note how “all of a sudden”, the liberals, homosexual advocates, etc. have “discovered sexual morality” in judging right wingers, yet throw out judging when their behavior or civil desires are on the hot seat [based on the notion that one “perversion” is no better than another], and possibly don’t really care about the poor victims of the whole ordeal, but are only using them for their agendas. (see http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/the-duggars-arent-hypocrites-progressives-are)

After my wife commented on how “the world expects Christians to be perfect”; my initial comment on this was:
Christians defending brethren caught in sin often complain “the world” expects them to be “perfect”, but when you’ve labeled them as “separate” (i.e. the “world”) because of their “sin” (and lack of “repentance” from it), then you are essentially judging them by The Law, which commands “Be ye perfect.
They know this, and thus, turn it back onto Christians; a lot of times, unfairly [like not allowing the possibility that he truly repented of it], but then we’re often unfair to them in harping on their behavior (including discriminating against them, as in the case of the LGBT community, and let’s not forget all the often hateful condemnation, usually evoking God) in the first place.

What I had found in debating legalists from many different religious groups (many of them quite ardent, and making post after post about God’s standards and how everyone else is just ignoring them), is that when it’s turned back on them, and the true extent of the demands of God’s Law (and their impossibility) are presented, they end up resorting to this “it’s not about perfection” claim, basically premised on “as long as we’re trying“; (never put that way, but i.e. “not sinning willfully“), then we show we have “repented”. So now, with their imperfections covered, they have a ‘clean slate’ to go after everyone else (“the world” and “the church” alike, often), who aren’t “trying” hard enough (if, at all).
(Problem is, we do still sin “willfully”).

The real issue

Here is the real “hypocrisy” people are pointing out (even moreso than just the fact that he did it in the first place):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/24/dan-savage-duggar_n_7429464.html

Yet these are the same people who, Bible in hand, condemn gay Christians as “a disgusting abomination and a threat to teens.”

Particularly when religious conservatives want to talk about it, they want to point a finger at non-family. They want to point a finger at people that they define as the enemies of families or not from or having families of their own — LGBT people, particularly trans people increasingly with these anti-trans bathroom bills. That is what the Duggars have dug in on; is attacking trans people and opposing this LGBT civil rights bill in Fayetteville, where they were out there arguing that the threat to little girls in Fayetteville were transwomen when they knew, when they were covering for someone who had demonstrated, at least at that age, was a threat to little girls himself.

When you say all of that stuff, it is fair for others (especially those you are saying it to) to expect a lot from you. To fall yourself, and then say “oops; it was just a mistake; I know we’re imperfect; don’t you go and judge [me/them], now…” people will not receive the way you think they should. It’s essentially “loading a heavy burden [you your]selves can not even lift with one of [your] fingers” (Matt.23:4).

Christians will claim at that point “the Devil” is attacking them, and he is, but we are warned to ourselves “give him no occasion” (Eph.4:27). In this case, he is correctly identified as an “accuser” (Rev.12:10). This is really his primary function, not some “pleasure-time pal” who leads people into “fun” just for thrills, as we assume when judging “the world” or even “disobedient Christians”.
So when we make these hefty accusations of others, we are playing his game, and he already got us in his trap. So of course, he will turn on us when we fail ourselves! That’s how it works. We make ourselves big “targets”! We are relying on our own efforts too much, and thus not really on Christ’s covering!

When we make the hefty accusations of others’ behavior that we do, we are playing the Accuser’s game, and “giving him occasion”, when we ourselves fall

I recently began communicating with someone who says her family and church were terrible to her when she came out, even fearing she would begin to molest little girls or something like that! (This was one of the stories that helped lead me recently to a final full realization that most of these people are going through tremendous struggle, and not just “jaded” from overindulgence in pleasure or some other “sinful choice”, as assumed).
Being “attracted” to females has nothing to do with necessarily wanting to have sex with under-age ones (or really, anyone other than someone you are in a consensual adult relationship with); else, every single heterosexual male then is unsafe to have around little girls! (Christians and other wise people may be vigilant about men around their daughters, but then to specifically suspect LGBT people like that is not warranted).

People just react, viscerally, and do not think these things out at all. Yet many are themselves fighting some deep “shadow” stuff that they keep suppressing, and instead “box” in others, who otherwise should not be bothering them, in their personal business.
People worry about Christians coming under “persecution” for refusing to marry gays, or even bake them wedding cakes, but while the nonChristians and liberals can become hypocritical as well, some of this is reaction to all the invective Christians spew at them. Hence, they apply the much dreaded label “hater”, and treat you as such, even though you’re at that point only speaking and not actually doing anything. But that’s because you’ve lost the power. They have heard what Christians would do if they did have the power. They can look just at history. Then, many Christians over the years have loudly bemoaned this loss of power, and have vied to “take it back” in one way or another. What would they do with the gays then? So as some memes say [to paraphrase], “You’re not being persecuted just because you’re not allowed to persecute others”.

The article even points out:

Those who like to throw the Bible around might want to know that teaching right and wrong instead of teaching Jesus is eating off the tree of knowledge [of good and evil], which Genesis 2:17 declares forbidden.

A point from the old Christian music debate

In conjunction with all of this, just to give a sense of how deep the double standard of moral projection can run, this article: http://theochlophobist.blogspot.com/2015/05/arkansans-oh-my-poor-people.html says the Duggar’s home was “close to Bill Gothard. Gothard had to resign from his ministry because he fondled at least 32 girls.”
None of this I knew.

What I knew about Gothard was that he was a “darling” of the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptists) anti-CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) sentiment , with his citing of “scientific studies” on the “negative effects of rock music”, that were totally misinterpreted. (This movement is still insisting all “rock music”, including even Chrtistian rock, and other 20th century forms, such as “jazz”; all, having black influence; mind you, is evil!) He also put out the “ten strikes” against “the fruits of the rock beat”. (see http://www.erictb.info/ccm.html) and has even been criticized for a “a mechanistic, cause-and-effect approach to life” (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-1952); “ten steps for this and five steps for that, yet eight steps for another”, which “accords neither with the variations in people or with the dynamics of Scripture.” and yet presented “as though they were the direct teaching of the Bible.” That is the approach people see as “safeguarding” against “sin”.

The entire premise of this whole “music philosophy” is how the “rock beat” is “sensual”, and ultimately leads to “sin”. (It’s even in part blamed for the “demise” of America).
This obviously is pure, unadulterated SHADOW! HE has a problem with “sensuality” (and a very SERIOUS one, at that, apparently)*, so then COMPENSATES for his problem by projecting it onto others (me sitting and tapping my feet to a song’s backbeat or rhythm, perhaps? or maybe others doing a more suggestive dance), and then urges being EXTRA “vigilant”; follow all the “rules” and “steps”, in rooting out every possible association of a beat or other sound with evil (his second point, basically; the complete argument even ultimately boils down to meticulous details like “beat accents”, “syncopation” and “harmony vs melody”), and there; the entire modern church is “disobedient” to God, and “compromising” with the devil and “sin”, —while he goes on molesting girls!

*[Edit: Now I’m seeing on his own statement: http://billgothard.com/content/statement-bill-gothard he denies ever “kiss[ing] a girl, nor I touch[ing] a girl immorally or with sexual intent”, and that there was only “holding of hands, hugs, and touching of feet or hair with young ladies”. If this is true, then it shows critics being unfair and misleading, in continuing to beef it up to full “fondling”; but, it would still be a great “double standard” (as he admits), especially given the extreme vigilance in his expression of Christianity, where it is generally taught that a man should not even counsel a woman alone, nor ever be near their bedroom, and “holding hands” is frowned upon for a dating couple (i.e., quote, below) etc. in addition to the scrutiny of music for “sensuality” (and all dancing is definitely out as well, despite its use in scripture); all to avoid the “appearance of evil” (1 Thess.5:22; a frequently cited verse by this circle in both of these issues).
It’s like he has to micro-order life, to try to tame the sinful tendencies he’s obviously aware of, but it doesn’t work, yet he pushes it on everyone else. That’s the problem people are opposing here!
Him having to resign makes me think there might still be more to it than he is letting on. Or, maybe it’s just the severity of the double standard, given the so high standards they preach. (Then, I find this: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2014/04/response-to-gothards-statement which makes this point, but then claims, among other things, that some of the girls testified to more than what he’s saying).
In any case, it does show show my point here, of no matter how strict you are, you’re still human and “sinful”, and piling on meticulous “rules” and “steps to victory”, and then judging others who don’t follow them, does not help, but is further suppressing sin into the unconscious aka “shadow”, where it will still come up and make you fall, all the more harder].

(And of course, they are conveniently against psychology as well, which often exposes stuff like this, such as calling out concepts such as “unconscious projection”. The rest of the IFB movement, takes a similar defensive view, when sex scandals erupt in their midst, arguing they will “damage our testimony”: see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/an-example-of-the-legalism-of-the-running-the-race-teaching/#comment-2989
Old-line fundamentalists are the biggest preachers of “all have sinned”, but seem to think that because they themselves went down to an altar and “said the sinner’s prayer” ⦅usually as a preteen or something⦆, that this affect has for all purposes been erased for them, hence being so hard on the rest of the “world” and even the church).

Meanwhile, as the Washington Post article, above, points out:
“When all sexuality is a sin, when even holding hands is off limits, there isn’t a clear line between permissible, healthy forms of exploration and acts that are impermissible to anyone, not just the particularly devout. This gospel of shame and purity has the potential to be incredibly harmful because it does away with important lines.”
This I had pointed out, with a little illustration, on the CCM page!

“If a line is reasonably drawn, it sets a clearly defined boundary.

•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
•    •    •    •
 
But if you set the line ridiculously close, people have no room to breathe. They will more quickly cross it, and then once they do, there won’t be another guideline.”

•••
•••
•••
•••
— •
— •
— •
— •

They bemoan “New evangelicals” going into all sort of styles and gimmicks (sometimes genuinely crossing lines of decency or good taste), but when you had told them beats by themselves were sinful (and then, ridiculous stuff, like even beards and mustaches), and they found no basis for that, then they questioned and challenged almost any restrictions. They weren’t given a solid foundation; they were given cultural-centered (and others-demonizing) traditions, which ultimately relativized everything, as much as the old conservatives condemned “relativism”.

Meanwhile, here is Gothard’s pamphet on dealing with sexual abuse:
Source: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/founder-of-josh-duggars-treatment-center-left-after-sexually-grooming-teens-and-young-women/

Basically, aiming to possibly blame the victim. “Why did God let it happen?” even! (“immodest dress”, etc), and what “good” can come out if it, and the insinuation that the more important “damage” is what the victim might do to themselves through “bitterness”. (Also, the tossing around of the term “spiritual power”, like some sort of energy we “tap into” as this sort of philosophy has been criticized for). This based on the old dualistic (originally gnostic) split between “body” and “soul” (and “spirit”) I had noted, insisting the “soul”/”spirit” is more important than the “body”. Ignoring they are made into one whole, much like the Trinity, and what happens to one will affect the other). And citing scriptures (like 2 Cor 6:4-5:8) to support it!
No wonder they fall into these problems!

This is the “emotional health gospel” at its most raw! If anyone might think I was out on a limb for saying in my old essays (http://www.erictb.info/psychology.html http://www.erictb.info/abundant.html) that this anti-psychology crusade is about control, here it all comes out, right before you! I rhetorically asked in those projects “Should we tell children that have been molested (who generally have severe emotional damage, that many cannot recover from) that if God allowed this, then it must be good for them, regardless of what they feel?” and here we see them come very close to that!
When looking at this chart, just remember, they will condemn all psychology and therapy (and any Christian who so much as even uses a term “associated” with it) in favor of THIS!

So now, when we see these same sorts of people put down the supposed “culture of victimization” in modern society (see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-2995), we see what they’re getting at. People are never victims; they’re sinners; —the real perpetrators, basically, and thus the only truly “violated” party is God; (and perhaps also his preachers, when “the world” criticizes them for hypocrisy, and tries to take away their “freedoms” to control others, tax free at that), and people “deserve” a lot more pain than a little molestation (or other abuse, oppression, discrimination, poverty, etc.) in the temporal world. This is how they think!

The “human” factor

In learning about type, I’ve come to realize that the expression of Christianity I had come under, basically dehumanizes nonbelievers! (Though they will tend to try to soften this down in various ways, and different groups may more or less fit this).
And I fell into this, from my own shadow projections. Growing up with AS in a “secular” environment (nonreligious immediate family, and typical kids in the street and school, who weren’t showing any religion), I had a lot of problems with people, and my parents often seemed to “take everyone else’s side”, because they (the “world”) were “functioning” (or as the kids put it, “normal”), and I was the one falling out of step.

Religion I associated with older people, like one of my grandmothers, a godmother, and other “church ladies” of that generation, who weren’t exactly the most intellectual minds around. Then, the televangelists; not the watered down version of today, that has shifted to a purely “prosperity” message or “outreach”, but the ones of 30 years ago and more, who were trying to “save America” by preaching against everyone’s sin, and condemning all the “changes” of post-50’s culture, such as the sexual revolution, evolutionism, and leftist influence (but not the racism, capitalistic greed and other problems of before that time, which was held up as a golden age of righteousness).

I at first couldn’t stand them, because evolution made more sense to my introverted Thinking (sense of what’s logically “true/false” based on what I’ve learned individually or through nature) than the notion of a God patting together (with human hands, in most portrayals) the first man from a mound of dirt, literally, and only 6,000 years ago. And with adolescent hormones raging away, I didn’t want to follow their loudly insisted upon mores of having sex only in marriage (requiring a wait of several years of more). This was accompanied by this insulting insistence that there was no morality outside of people believing in God.
I right away tried to square that away with all the horrors done in the name of religion (which I heard a lot from my father, but liberals in the mainstream did not seem to be as loud as they are now, so I rarely heard any other response to conservatives besides my father).

But when I myself had no luck with girls or social situations, because of my problems with people, and it seemed so unfair and unjust, but my parents kept saying “that’s life” (on top of all the hypocrisy and corruption I was seeing in politics and even religion), then the religious message of the “sinfulness” of man began to click. When I ran across a historico-futurist reading of Daniel and Revelation, that was the final piece of the puzzle that led me to finally adopt parts of the message.

So, now I could fire back (at my father’s proclamation that “the world is what it is, and you have to take care of yourself in it; no one will care about you; etc. and you have to ‘play the game’ to get ahead, not be taken advantage of, win girls…” etc. —all incredibly hard for someone with AS), that this world was evil and had no moral values, and God was going to soon come and destroy it.

So I went for years believing this. I knew I and all other Christians were “imperfect”, but we still at least “tried” to turn and “submit” to God and keep our sin under control, unlike the hellbound “sinners” of the world (especially the homosexuals), who just “let it all hang out”.

I really believed the world had no basis of morality; that they could not be trusted! I just think of all the fighting people do, the drinking, stealing, killing, acting “bad”, and of course the sexual sins, etc. Their “philosophy” teaches them that all of this is “OK”!
I knew there were Christians who were “phonies”, but at least, I figured, the average ones were “less likely” to do the things people in “the world” would do to you.

And I felt compelled to have to “witness” to everyone, first by proving it absolutely (after all, God has “shown” the “truth” to everyone, hence, “no excuse”, and thus such an extreme penalty for “rejecting” it, and not “giving” God back what He’s “due”, as I argued) —even though I often didn’t know how (having so many issues of doubt myself).
In one IFB-related church, going along with the common belief that the world’s minds had been captured by godless science and “humanism”, we tried handing out these wordy [attempted to be] “intellectual” tracts reasoning against these things in favor of the Bible, to average people on the street, to whom we might as well have been handing out blank pieces of paper.
Meanwhile, life just went on as usual, and people were just people. The whole thing seemed like beating my head against a wall.

A decade ago, I learn about the preterist system of eschatology (in at first fighting it, strongly), and when I find out about the “Fulfilled View” variation, it finally makes sense of the Gospel. At the same time, I’m finding out about temperament, and then typology, where you have something like a “Feeling” function that forms the basis of our “moral” judgments. The introverted variant is even called by some theorists, the “Conscience”. Everyone has this, somewhere in their psyche.

When we are known for preaching God’s Law at the world, the world knows that Law commands “be ye PERFECT”, and thus, they expect the same from those who preach it. What’s missing is GRACE

And so, the splitting up of mankind was finally erased; and I see all people are essentially the same. Made in God’s image, marred by “sin” behaviorally (from “knowledge of good and evil”), but this sin “not counted against them” (2 Cor. 5:19), by the pure grace of God, acting on the Cross. (Not man’s “goodness”, or “sin being OK”, etc.) Some may have different motivations, including religion, to behave better, but everyone has a conscience, and a sense of right and wrong.
I had always commented on the apparent irony that while heterosexuals had all but abandoned monogamy in favor of “fornication” (including “shacking up”, at least before marriage, and of course, readily divorcing), the homosexuals were now seemingly the only ones advocating for marriage. When seeing heterosexuals get married, especially Hollywood couples, I wondered why, since they had had so many partners before, and knowing it was probably going to break up soon anyway.
But it shows both heterosexual and homosexual people have the same human desire for the ideals of love and committed companionship as Christians, even if the nonChristians are slower to commit and quicker to leave.

All people have a moral sense, but don’t live up to it

And so, many non-Christians, liberals, and LGBT’s, can see these actions of professing Christians (or anyone else) as morally offensive. (And even if they don’t share in Biblical moral values). 1 Corinthians 5:1 is the clear perennial example of Christians falling into sexual sins that are [legitimately] offensive to the “pagans” (Of course, Paul is using a bit of hyperbole, and these things do occur in the unchurched as well, naturally ⦅”not even named” probably conveys the sense of “unspeakable” rather than “never done”, and we can see child molestation is an “unspeakable” offense to them⦆, but the Church ends up more likely to try to cover it up, using God and fear, which will allow it to go on and fester!)

Christians often argue the [divine] Law, (with its associated fear of condemnation) is “necessary” to control sin, and “preserve society”, which becomes the basis of the assumption that nonChristians don’t have any moral values. (Even Romans 2 shows that they do, but many Christians only take that as “proof” of their interpretation of chapter 1, that there is “no excuse” for unbelief, which was really aimed at a specific people who saw a form of special revelation from God but “held it in unrighteousness”). So this is their response to any notion that we shouldn’t “judge”, (as well as any doctrine that removes the condemnation in any way).
Proof that this doesn’t work, is not only nonChristians have values, but also, the people who supposedly have the fear of God, and had “repented” of sin, still fall into it themselves. (Then, they will appeal to being “forgiven”, and their “sins” not held against them, but only because they had [officially] “repented” ⦅apart of “believing” or “faith”⦆, which included trying to be “obedient” and live a good life).
This is why “the world” keeps jumping on Christians’ sins! (The way some of them preach, they should be “perfect”!)
It is totally not fair to place such burdens on others when you cannot hold to them, (or at best, have to [often admittedly] struggle to maintain them), yourself!

Also more recently got a sense of a non-Christian-specific basis for moral values when reading a book on “integrity” (used for https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/solar-vs-lunar-in-gender-dynamics-and-individuation), by a gay SF-based Jungian analyst, who would from those descriptions be the epitome of pagan “godlessness” to many Christians. The definition of “integrity” (“untouched”) in this case is “care” and “justice”, and “care” breaks down into “amiability” (interest in pleasing others) and “constancy” (continuity of an identity of caring). The only thing lacking in this is “your lack of these qualities (or lack of ‘repenting’ of your falling short of them) is going to be punished by an eternity in the torments of Hell fire”.
This latter motivation, it has been shown yet again to not be able to stop sin. (If God were judging by Law and even “repentance”, a lot of supposedly “born again”/“saved” people would still find themselves disqualified!)

What is the purpose of having this “integrity”, then? This theory is about “wholeness”, and while wholeness would naturally eliminate a lot of problems in people’s interactions (and ultimately, society), it is not something to be coerced through fear, or used to hit others over the head with, if they haven’t attained your maturity level (which would really not be necessary if you’ve really found wholeness).

A pattern we’ve seen over and over, is of one side focusing on sexual morality, yet all sorts of other evils go ignored. The other side focuses on stuff like “equality”, which is largely ignored or even sometimes put down by the first side, and yet has a more open position on what the other side calls “morality”.
What happens, is since the first side generally links up with religion more, it more loudly claims the very name of “morality”, and what happens, is that it’s focus of sexual morality becomes the definition of “true” morality, and thus, they can claim the other side has no morals (and are thus the true “hypocrites” when they try to preach their own “morality”), and what it tries to say is moral (equality, etc) can be dismissed.

It ts true that liberals and non Christians do judge [often harshly] as well, as is being complained about in this issue. Often on different standards (I found “the world” of urban kids I grew up with far more “judgmental” on stuff like fitting in, sports skills, etc. than Christians), but they too think it’s so absolutely “truth”, or that what they are fighting against threatens their liberty, that judging and controlling others becomes justified, in a “defensive” pretext.
It’s a “Shadow” dynamic on both sides. One side has a persona of moral strictness, covering a suppressed shadow of lust and lawlessness, and the other advocates sexual (and other) freedom, but will manifest a shadow of authoritarianism and dictatorship (including censorship, ostracization, government control, etc.) when they feel threatened.

All of this shows, that “all have sinned”, and what’s needed is grace, not judgment. (Meaning divine, including those who purport to “relay” the divine word to others. Of course, we still need to confront abuse and injustice, and protect people, especially children, in order to live on this earth together).

(For the part of the debate on judging”, see https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/why-grace-doesnt-seem-to-make-anyone-nice/#comment-3073)

Here’s an article on this:
http://liberate.org/2015/05/26/we-are-all-the-duggars/

The Grossly Lopsided Nature of Conservatives’ “Discussions” on Race

Basically picking up from this series of comments: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/latest-class-and-race-disputes/#comment-3044

In conservative Christian discussions on recent events, I see people give lip service to “sin, not skin”, but then proceed to address a group by skin color, and then attribute particular “sins” to that one group, and then focus on them. They refuse to acknowledge any sins of the other group (said to be an “excuse” of the first group). It’s like the other group is “up to par”, which the first group falls far below, and they thus want to “discuss” (basically, ‘upbraid’ them for), they and their “problems, like stern parents or bosses.
Yet they do not see how this right here arrogates a position of superiority!

So people are charging the entire black “community”: “blacks’ problem is this…”, “blacks need to do that…”, and it’s obvious they are not seen as up to “par”.
Well, what is “par”? When you insist on national “exceptionality”, that is obviously what they are being judged in light of.

“We built this great nation, and things were going so well here in the past, and anyone can do well, no matter what”, and yet, “these people over here have so many problems. What’s wrong with them?”.
And then is quickly supplied the answer: “Oh, they just don’t want to work like everyone else [again, the “par”], but instead only want free stuff from others”. And then, add in the white “rebels”, the “liberals”, who only want to “destroy the nation”, who are said to be taking advantage of these greedy, lazy, blind “problem people”, by offering them the “freebies” so they can get the “votes” to gain the power they went to carry out their agenda.

While that movement is technically not an “outside” force, their ideologies have long been blamed on the “infiltration” of the likes of Darwin and Marx, who are outside influences, especially to the conservative Church.

(Be honest; is this all not accurately what the conservative movement has been saying all along?)

Both sides are complaining about things. It seems everyone is unhappy in the nation today. But when one side complains, it’s “fighting for ‘truth’” and stolen “freedoms”. When the other side complains of anything, it’s “whining” for an evil agenda to take what belongs to someone else. (This is a common “fundamental attribution error”).
I had many years ago, tended to blame everything I was unhappy with in life on “America” and “white racism”, but came to see that that was wrong; while that may have made some things more difficult, they were not the cause of all unhappiness. But when conservatives blame all their unhappiness on “Democrats” and “black government dependency”, they’re doing the same exact thing.

And speaking up and voting for whom you want is a right that seems to be denied the people in this rhetoric. They vote for those who either best represent their interests, or are at least the “lesser of two evils”, which is a term we have heard, when conservatives vote the same way. So the liberals may not have solved all black problems, and some may have had self-serving agendas they were only using the electorate for. But apparently, the same is happening on the conservative side, as the voters have gotten their candidates in, yet feel they have not solved any of the problems they were concerned about either. They promise “vote for us, and we’ll stop these ‘takers’/’leeches’, etc. from draining your pocket books” (in addition to limiting government, etc). Never happens, apparently. The Christians vote for them as the “lesser of two evils” on abortion, gay rights and religious liberties. Yet the country is still “sliding” in these areas, in their estimation.
Yet they still continue to vote for them, and advocate the party.

So if the blacks are being duped by liberals luring them in, but really only serving their own [the politicians] evil agenda, then the same thing is going on on the conservative side.
But don’t forget, with the blacks, it’s not just the motives of the politicians, but also the character of the entire voting base; the entire race, that’s being questioned, only voting for them “because they want free stuff”.

If people want to raise awareness of problems politicians aren’t solving, fine; but if it’s about just blaming one side for everything, while ignoring any wrong on any other base (such as corporatism, and how they milk and control all of us), then the other side is not going to hear or address the “problem”, and all anyone is doing is tickling the ears of the choir.

IIRC, some may try to say I’m doing to the “conservatives” the same thing I’m criticizing them for doing to blacks.
But race is what one IS by birth, and thus can’t be right or wrong. Political views are something one CHOOSES, and thus CAN be wrong, and is not what you are, but rather can be changed.

In denying “the race card”, it’s often attempted to make white liberals the real culprits, but then the “black” character judgment of “just wanting free stuff” still comes up. And you still have to explain why only blacks developed this problem. If you then acknowledge slavery and oppression, on the premise that “the liberals took advantage of the situation for their own agenda”, then you are, in fact, acknowledging a “legacy of slavery” (which conservatives including Sowell and others are saying is just an “excuse”). You’re only blaming this “legacy” on just one party or political wing. (And yet, the point, regarding the liberal side of the problem, is actually not totally disputed by most blacks).

God’s Word says all have sinned. Exceptionality means an exception. “All nations are sinful, and do wrong, but we’re the exception.”

So then the evil that is seen here is then SPLIT off, by being isolated to this one rogue party, and this one group of people, whom the party first tried to directly oppress, but then supposedly changed their tactic to [re-]“enslaving” them through the “freebies” of “socialism”.

But this ignores that these earlier “Democrats” were the conservatives, defending the Constitution and fighting against Communism, as their premise against the blacks, whom they said the same things about (them being lazy and violent) as today’s conservatives.

Conservatives are saying the other side “doesn’t want to address” (let alone fix) the problems, causing all these police shootings. But why do they seem to think the “truth” is always completely on their side?

There may be SOME instances of people doing wrong, and then suffering the consequences for it. There are also SOME instances of them doing wrong, but the reaction (such as death) is greater than what they were doing called for. And there are some instances of mistakes or discrimination, where the victim wasn’t doing anything.

What I keep seeing in discussions like this, is that one side is 100% wrong and deserves everything that happens, and the authorities are always right.
—UNTIL they do things conservatives don’t like, then they become evil dictators, and some out there seem to be preparing their own armed war against them if necessary! (i.e. your concerns about the system are the only ones ever valid).

As it stands, since the latest events have raised calls for “nationalizing” certain police departments (i.e having the federal government take over due to corruption), this becomes what the conservatives and libertarians feel threatened about in the situation (not the people being shot by these departments, since they are all just “thugs” who deserve it), and of course, concoct this whole scheme, that the liberals are telling the blacks that they are being wrongly harassed, to justify the feds taking over (someone actually suggested something like this to me!)

So they’ve isolated “the problem” down to two “entities”, basically, as the “root problem”, as one put it. (Not even groups of individuals, but rather these monolithic collective characters who act as one single person each. So therefore, each individual in those groups is not really a “person”, and such has no worth, or good, or value to his life). And to one person I was debating with, the “root problem” is the racially defined “permanent poverty class” themselves, and the political party involved is only the [separate] cause of it).

When you isolate the culprit of a crime, then the solution is to catch and punish him. But again, that’s a single individual; now, we’re talking about an entire “class” or “race”. What do you want done?
They just insist that the rhetoric should be repeated over and over, until “the liberals address the problem of how they’ve enslaved blacks through their programs”. But it looks to me like this is just deflection from something else, which they don’t want to address. Which they in fact, defend, as good!

And again, since this “class” is a “minority”, then what really are the Democrats getting out of “keeping them enslaved”? How does a minority by themselves give them all of this power?

Why isn’t the unholy alliances of business (with government) ever seen as having any part in “the problem”? (At least the financial aspects of it. Some libertarians and paleo-conservatives acknowledge this, but then it always comes back to the blacks and their desire for “freebies”; such as cases like Ron Paul, who showed his true colors by claiming blacks don’t want to fund wars as to not drain the money for food stamps).

Here is what I keep seeing. Rather than BOTH poor underclasses and ineffective liberal programs, AND corruption and cronyism in the levels of power (both govt. and private) having a share in the problems, blame is always shifted in ONE; the same, direction only. Then it’s demanded to be shouted over and over and drummed into everyone else’s head (“addressed”) but this looks like it’s only a shift of focus (i.e. deflection); I’m not seeing any actual solution being given.

There are people on the other side of the political spectrum who benefit from this, who also don’t want the problem fixed; they just want to screw over one side, and have them blaming other [unfortunate] people beside (and even below) them, while they skate off, on everyone’s back, unseen and unchallenged. It makes sense what they would “get” out of that!

And of course, the “statistics” they mention; but I’ve seen statistics; often the same ones, “spun” both ways. That’s the nature of statistics. A whole lot of factors and figures, and fallible humans not only have to put them together, setting the parameters, etc., but also have to interpret them, and tend to focus on what they want to use for their argument. So you can only put but so much stock in them.

The “Democrats” opposing the end of segregation decades ago used statistics. In fact, the very same ones sorts being used today, (such as on “crime”; comparing southern and northern cities; like the whole “{Baltimore/Chicago/Detroit, etc.} is a liberal problem” argument).

(It should be mentioned, what I’m noticing in that regard, is that the problem “liberal” cities are simply the northern, densely populated ones. That’s something that will figure in something like this. The more people there are, the more problems and conflicts there will be. But as much as these people deny “racism”, the “facts” they select and focus on seem to serve to validate what the racists of generations ago believed!)

Here, now, made a meme out of my list of the outline of the history of racism from Alexander’s The New Jim Crow

A Gaslight unto my feet?

What a Sociopath looks like, Sue Fitzmaurice

“Gaslighting” is a term I’ve recently started seeing, and it is another one of those single word terms that would have been good to describe things I’ve seen over the years.

The definition is: “a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted/spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception and sanity.”

I’m told, based on the original movie it comes from, that it is stuff like moving something the victims put somewhere and then saying they never put it there (basically, the sort of stuff Hubie and Bertie are known for against Claude Cat in the Looney Tunes, or Jones’ re-adaptation of this format for Tom & Jerry in “The Year of the Mouse”).
But according to the above definition, it doesn’t have to be that extreme. It can be done with arguments, instead of physical things.

Trying to think of instances where I’ve seen this, what came to mind first was (unfortunately, or shamefully, even) the realm of Christian debate.

Gaslighting in Christian debate includes such common tactics as:
“your heart is wicked” (so never mind what you feel)
“God’s ways are higher than yours” (so never mind what you think)
“Men suppress the truth” (so never mind what you see, hear, etc).
Manipulating conscience (so never mind what you intuitively sense)

All four of the cognitive functions have been invalidated. All ways of perceiving (taking in) and judging (making decisions with) data; (and then, some out there will even criticize such “psychological concepts” as this, further shutting down any analysis of their behavior).
What we’re left with is to follow whatever they say. Of course, they’ll never say that (it doesn’t “sound good”, obviously). But that, again, is basically what you’re for all purposes left with. They’ll say “read the Bible for yourself”, but it must be filtered through how they’ve already proof-texted their views, and if it doesn’t match up, you didn’t read it right.

What’s worse, is that all of these arguments have legitimate scripture references. But what the person is omitting, is that he is a human as well, who also has a wicked heart, cannot comprehend God’s ways, suppresses truth he doesn’t like, and can be judged by the notion of conscience.

In one of my “math & science” articles; I mentioned, regarding physical light, how the way it looks depends on a process of “emission, transmission, reception and perception”. Any changes anywhere along the line can change what we actually “see”.
So this basically works with mental data as well. God gives truth, it is transmitted (whether through scripture, conscience, etc), then received by us, and then perceived. Anywhere along the line after being “given”, things can be changed. It’s happened in the “transmission” phase, though archaeology helps to set that straight. But it’s the last two areas; where it has reached us, where things often get corrupted. And being all basically the same, this can happen with any of us.

The way around this generally is the whole “regeneration” concept; where they surmise that they were like that, as born, but at some point were “enlightened” by God (and it can be either by their own free will choice, or by an “effectual calling”, depending on whether the person is an Arminian or Calvinist). Now, you’ve gone totally abstract, and it’s “he says – she says”, as to who is really “enlightened” or not. (At this point, people will then try to begin appealing to works as “evidence” of enlightenment, but as the Gospels show, people can put up a front of “good works”, but beneath it all, is total darkness!)

This also crosses over into the realm of politics, where many of the same people, as well as their secular counterparts, speak of what they call “exceptionalism”, which is just a new, ‘nicer’ word for “superior”.
They then become defensive about subjects like racism, or even comparing the atrocities of Islam with the ones in Christian history, and seek to use the “facts” of their “exceptionalism”, in addition to others’ “problems” or “evils” in comparison, as the gaslighting weapon.

They can also directly gaslight you by putting the concept on you: that God will make you see the “truth” of what we are arguing by “regenerating” you, and it is just a “choice” you have to make, so there is “no excuse”. (Or this process is unconditional, but the “uncalled” still have no “excuse”).

So a lot hinges on this all too common “changed life” concept”.

What scripture really teaches, is that ALL have sinned. “None do good; no, NOT ONE!” It’s not “none except the chosen nation” (for it was precisely that “chosen nation” Paul and the Psalmist he was citing were addressing). It’s not “none except for the regenerate”, or “it was none; but now through faith in Christ and the regeneration of Spirit, a new nation (or “culture”) will arise that will do good”.

They can try to cite 1 Cor.6:11 on this last one, but Christ and the Spirit “regenerate” or “wash” us through declaring us righteous apart from our works (both evil and the imperfect “good”).

Islamic vs Christian terrorism Controversy

From a collection of comments last week; this basically deserved its own article.

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2015/02/05/outrage-obama-uses-national-prayer-breakfast-to-compare-christianity-to-islamist-killers-177864

http://www.westernjournalism.com/watch-obama-just-compared-christianity-islam-national-prayer-breakfast/

What they quote him as saying:

“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama told those in attendance. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

The first article says “He also blamed Jim Crow segregation and American slavery on people acting in the name of Jesus Christ” as if that really wasn’t so, while “He also said the Islamic State was actually betraying Islam by committing atrocities.” (the actual quote this is attributed to says: “We see ISIL, a brutal vicious death cult that in the name of religion carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism”. Unless he actually said more than that, that’s not saying it betrayed Islam.

“For starters, the Crusades, slavery and Jim Crow aren’t currently a problem for the civilized world. So his attempt to draw a moral equivalency — aside from being intellectually dishonest — is likely to do more harm by emboldening Islamic terrorists.”

The point is, what the second article further quotes him:
“So it’s not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us — a sinful tendency — that can pervert and distort our faith.
It’s that people are using ISIS (And Al Qaeda and others) to paint the entire religion of Islam, everywhere and for all time. If that can be done to them, it can also be done to Christianity, and if we acknowledge it’s inaccurate for us, then it’s inaccurate for others as well. (Again, we see the “we’re all good, they’re ALL bad” mindset used on every other political movement they are opposed to).

But conservatives, including the Christian ones who should know better than all, are in total ignorance of the universality of this “sinful tendency” even though it’s the entire basis of the Gospel plan; why Christ came in the first place. They think because they were born in this country, usually under the banner of “Christianity”; that automatically eliminates their sinful tendencies. They tie it to concepts such as “regeneration” or “the changed life” (which are totally misconstrued into a near behavioral perfection).
So it’s only others (such as Muslims) plagued with sin and evil.

But it should be mentioned, regarding comparing the religions of Christianity and Islam, that a “religion” called “Christianity” is not even a biblical term. It’s what grew out of the postapostolic period, and did become wrapped up in worldly power and conquest, often using the sword, just like people are condemning Islam for.

Getting hung up more and more on the Crusades example in particular, people are objecting basically, “the Muslims started it all” (with their conquests; so the Crusades were “defensive“), but even if so, the institutional Church by that time was already wrapped up in a mindset of power anyway, and had been so, ever since Constantine [at least]; way before Islam arose. Plus, great evidence it wasn’t always purely defensive is that in the fourth Crusade, the Western crusaders ended up conquering Eastern Christian lands; (furthering the split with the Eastern Church, and a key turning point in the decline of the empire and of Christianity in the Near East —[which allowed guess which religion, to take hold in its place?]).

So you simply had two corrupt religions vying for control over as much as they could conquer, and using each other’s evil as the justification for their own.
This was yet again the main point of Obama’s comparison.

Here’s something showing just how much like ISIS we have been in the past:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/04/1362325/-ISIS-Burned-a-Man-Alive-That-It-is-Nothing-Compared-to-the-Spectacular-Lynchings-of-Black-Americans

Now, they seem to be protesting that all of this was only centuries ago, but all they did was change the means of control, largely by force of others or other factors (like the North forcing slavery to end, or the Holy Roman Empire falling, and the Church losing power along with it).
So you once killed, and now stopped; you still have those same “sinful tendencies”. Do you really think you can hold up your supposed “good works” an that cancels out everything else? (And what about those, especially favoring stockpiling guns and looking to fight the government and “take back the country” someday?)

As far as Obama, critics seems to be alluding to the belief that Obama especially sympathizes with Islam (and perhaps is a Muslim). That is people’s conjecture, based on their dislike of the man. It’s this resentment of him as “not us”, so they hear everything he says as anti-Christian (and anti-white) and pro-everything we dislike. People claim they “know” what Obama is about, but this is filtered through these ridiculous presuppositions about him favoring Islam over Christianity; with these sites’ interpretations of his latest statements being a prime example. So they interpret earlier stuff he said and did this same way, and then use that to “prove” that’s what he means now; that’s a cyclical line of reasoning.

In reality, it seems that way because the nation is primarily Christian (in name and “culture” at least, with a lot of true Christians here as well), and we are at war with people who identify as Muslims, and people are condemning all Muslims for it. So a restoration of balance (since people are all essentially the same, as scripture even teaches), will look like it favors Muslims at the expense of Christians.

Here’s a great response to this:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-breakfast-prayer/2015/02/08/c82e0f7a-ae3b-11e4-abe8-e1ef60ca26de_story.html

Also, of interest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-speech-at-prayer-breakfast-called-offensive-to-christians/2015/02/05/6a15a240-ad50-11e4-ad71-7b9eba0f87d6_story.html

Here’s some other good responses to this

Mike Huckabee Distorts Obama’s Comments On Religion
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/12/mike-huckabee-obama_n_6672502.html

Christian Soldiers: The Lynching of Blacks in the Jim Crow South Were Considered Acts of Christian Duty
The lynching and torture of blacks in the Jim Crow South weren’t just acts of racism. They were religious rituals.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/02/jim_crow_south_s_lynching_of_blacks_and_christianity_the_terror_inflicted.html

“Religion permeated communal lynching because the act occurred within the context of a sacred order designed to sustain holiness.”

“No person who is familiar with the Bible-beating, acrobatic, fanatical preachers of hell-fire in the South, and who has seen the orgies of emotion created by them, can doubt for a moment that dangerous passions are released which contribute to emotional instability and play a part in lynching.”

“The only Southern Christianity united in its opposition to lynching was that of black Americans, who tried to recontextualize the onslaught as a kind of crucifixion and its victims as martyrs, flipping the script and making blacks the true inheritors of Christian salvation and redemption. It’s that last point which should highlight how none of this was intrinsic to Christianity: It was a question of power, and of the need of the powerful to sanctify their actions.

People today again, protest that that was centuries ago, while the Islamists are still doing it today. But:

“Which is all to say that President Obama was right. The vastly different environments of pre–civil rights America and the modern-day Middle East belies the substantive similarities between the fairly recent religious violence of our white supremacist forebears and that of our contemporary enemies.”

In a discussion in response to:
tell Obama to apologize for insulting Americans
where people expressed bewilderment at this sentiment, I added:

What I realized over the past few years of seeing these people’s hatred of Obama and simultaneous defensiveness against “the race card”, is that their whole hangup is this notion of “exceptionalism” (both Christian and American), so while they can clearly and loudly point at others’ evil, they cannot admit ANY evil of anything they identify with (and a psychological definition of “identity”, is “that which you think you are nothing without”. That perfectly sums up how they are about America, “the West”, and Christianity, even though many are more culturally Christian than actually practicing, and those who are more theologically committed should know better than to “identify” [so strongly] with something other than Christ).
So they turn the tables, and put themselves out as “victims” (even while loudly mocking others for “victimhood”) and endlessly accuse Obama or whoever of “attacking” time, trying to “destroy” the country, and being on the side of their “enemies”.

So this whole issue is like a double strike. Pointing out the evil of their forbears, and telling them to stop hating people they see as part of the “enemy”. Hence, they react this way.

The Slate article concludes:
“This isn’t relativism as much as it’s a clear-eyed view of our common vulnerability, of the truth that the seeds of violence and autocracy can sprout anywhere, and of the fact that our present position on the moral high ground isn’t evidence of some intrinsic superiority.”

Another interesting article on this:
Does Obama’s ‘God Talk’ Stand A Chance In A Polarized America?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/16/obama-religion-extremism_n_6693844.html

“Laws of the Universe”, “Objectivism”, and tough talk (or “Why I’m Critical of Secular Self-help”)

Spinning off of https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/why-im-critical-of-christian-self-help-teaching-part-2  where in some of the comments, I went into a tangent about secular self-help teachings; and https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/backlash-against-the-nice-guy-in-light-of-virgin-rampage which also touches upon this.

It’s like a total “objectivism” (Rand’s well known philosophy named this is the political version) I’ve been seeing a lot, that makes a point to totally disregard people’s feelings and tear into them with the “truth” of what they must be doing wrong if they are in a place where they’re not satisfied in life.
It’s obviously the same philosophy used by conservatives who try to blame the poor and other struggling classes for their own financial problems, and insist the rich are all where they are because they did everything right. They were even “smarter”, or “better than you” at “providing value”. 
It’s also the secular counterpart to the “Christian victory” teaching, and basically, health & wealth as well, where there are “laws” established which if one follows, almost guarantees success, and if one is not successful, it is all their own fault, and not only that, but they need to be curtly motivated with cutting rhetoric, whether (from the Christians) “you’re sinning by holding on to your fear and anger and not ‘trusting God'”, and from the secularists” “you need to get off your a___ and do something”, or “stop whining”, “you did it to yourself”, “you think the world owes you something”, “your disappointment is that you’re mad at yourself for not doing better”, etc. and always the comparison about how miserable they’re making themselves, while the speaker while perhaps once being that way, now has it all together, and is above these people wallowing in their misery.

So to start, here is the world’s counterpart to the “divine laws” regarding our “attitude” that Christians appeal to:

You’re going to get the EXACT energy back from the universe that your put out in it.
Have you ever noticed that the same people who constantly stay mired up in negativity, hate, anger, fear, despair, and doubt a lot of the times tend to be the same EXACT people who spend most of their lives being sick, miserable, depressed, or are always complaining about one thing or another not being right in their lives?
I honestly think most people who make those actions a habit are addicted to those negative feelings and secretly love being the victim, and wouldn’t know what to do with true inner peace if it came up and kissed them on the cheek.
Nowadays, I avoid that kind of energy in people when i see it coming. I used to try to take it on as some kind of ‘ people fixing project’ but not anymore. i have learned to silently pray for folks from a distance, help wherever i possibly can- but son, i gotta keep it movin’ or else that type of energy will attempt to attach itself to the next available empty vessel. if you don’t believe me, just try being in a good mood and have an uplifted spirit and go visit someone who is negative, they will drain every last bit of your energy- and you’ll leave feeling exactly the way they feel.
For years I thought this world owed me something and was going to lay it at my feet because i was deserving of it, boy was i ever wrong.
I’m glad i finally figured that out otherwise I might be sitting around crying victim, making a ton of excuses, and blaming the world for my shortcoming.
Remember, start changing your energy from negative to a positive and watch your life change for the better.
It’s a law of the universe.

(And I had just been given that “universal law” line by someone else in person, a week before seeing this. [original comment last July] The same people who have trashed theism’s “absolute truth” now give this other philosophy that title, and just as dogmatically as the most fiery preacher of old).

Several people in the comments agreed, as they always do with these types of statements posted on social media; which are numerous, and from almost every “friend” at one time or another.
But I can’t help thinking “where is all of this positive energy” in the world, then? Where is all of this “peace”? Only inside of people, but then the only thing that comes outside is all the stuff you see in the world of people? All the backbiting, fighting, robbing and cheating, etc.

I grew up hearing this stuff preached, in the very act of spewing a lot of negativity and not even being able to practice it onesself (which I was told was “no excuse” for my own response to the mixed message; the very failure to “practice what one preaches” the Church is universally decried for by these “secular” adherents).

The whole “I once was that way, now I’ve pulled myself out of it, compared to all these losers out there who still think that way”. The whole argument would be nothing without all these “others” (whether directly even mentioned or not) to compare to. Getting that kind of “counsel” always felt to me like rubbing in how far I fell short, and need to go to get to that person’s position. And they would keep gloating of how “hard” and slow it is; all the “steps”, and trial and error, etc. (And then in cases like my father, he really did not have it all together at all, but ended his life in almost the sad state he kept warning me about!)

I like how the Bible puts it (which even Chrstians who get caught up in these teachings, or political rhetoric ignore): “What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

People at work (a heavy STJ environment, and a lot of these sentiments reflect an STJ “SiTeFi” functional perspective: Si memorized “concrete” facts +Te external impersonal decisions based on fact + Fi internal sense of humane worth)* where things often go completely awry, affecting all of us who depend on schedules, often spout this “positive attitude”-“don’t let it sweat you” attitude; and I know good and well they are likely going home and taking it out on their families, because I’ve seen it myself.

*(Ni “internal sense of conceptual meanings” can be substituted for Si, giving us talk of “the universe” not based on more solid fact, which you’re likely to hear from the similar NTJ’s).

It’s all the same shadow projection for the sake of the almighty Persona, that the world has correctly pointed out in religion. They’ve only stripped it of “eternal Hell” (“Hell is what you do to yourself here on earth” is their mantra), and basically ended up taking the same stereotype of a “cruel God” they’ve condemned in religion, but stripped Him of any personal characteristics, calling it “the universe” (whose “laws” seem self-creating). The only difference to them, is that this “universe” doesn’t care who you sleep with, or if you get high, drink and curse.
But it’s the same grace-less “sink or swim” system of self-effort, disguised as a “simple choice”, but it’s really a hard, long daily “struggle” that nobody has really mastered, at least not behind closed doors. Yet they talk like they have mastered it, and most importantly, use this to judge others not seen as having this right “attitude”, or at least not trying hard enough to develop it. (And to coldly shun them. Can’t let them “defile” us. Just like Christians who cite Proverbs 22:24 and Hebrews 12:15).

All of this ties into what’s called “The Law of Attraction“. From this site:

http://www.thoughtis.com/law-of-attraction/01.php

The Law Of Attraction is the belief held by many theorists is that the universe is governed by a set of universal laws; these laws cannot be changed, cannot be broken and apply to every individual, regardless of age or nationality. These laws are the riverbanks which guide the flow of their lives on its journey to its ultimate end.
The law of attraction is one such law. The law of attraction is the belief that anyone can determine their destiny through the power of their minds.

http://www.thoughtis.com/thought-vibration/chapter-16.php

There is no such thing as chance. Law maintains everywhere, and all that happens because of the operation of Law. You cannot name the simplest thing that ever occurred by chance – try it, and then run the thing down to a final analysis, and you will see it as the result of law.

It is as plain as mathematics. Plan and purpose; cause and effect. From the movements of worlds to the growth of the grain of mustard seed – all the result of Law. The fall of the stone down the mountainside is not chance – forces which had been in operation for centuries caused it.

And back of that cause were other causes, and so on until the Causeless Cause is reached.

And Life is not the result of chance – the Law is here, too. The Law is in full operation whether you know it or not – whether you believe in it or not.

You may be the ignorant object upon which the Law operates, and bring yourself all sorts of trouble because of your ignorance of or opposition to the Law. Or you may fall in with the operations to the Law – get into its current, as it were – and Life will seem a far different thing to you.

You cannot get outside of the Law, by refusing to have anything to do with it. You are at liberty to oppose it and produce all the friction you wish to – it doesn’t hurt the Law, and you may keep it up until you learn your lesson.

Fall in with the operations of the law. Make it a part of yourself. Get into its currents. Maintain your poise. Set your mind to the keynote of Courage, Confidence and Success. Get in touch with all the thoughts of that kind that are emanating every hour from hundreds of minds.

This sounds a lot like what you hear in religious preaching from movements of all stripes (sabbatarian “lawkeepers”, regular Sundaykeepers who also focus on “Law”, including fundamentalists and Reformed, and especially the health & wealth teachers). “Law, not chance” is the main point.
It is a total generalization of some observable principles in life. A blog called “Throne of Eden” points out one of the main reasons this is becoming so popular is due to the language that is used to describe it.

Right from the start, you get the word “law”. Thanks to our incredible advancements in the study of science and mathematics, we have been able to determine many forces in the universe which are described as acting within prescribed sets of ‘laws’. For instance, the law of gravitational force, the laws of thermodynamics, Newton’s three laws of motion, Einstein’s Laws of general and special relativity, the law of conservation of mass and so many more.

So these [“The Secret” DVD authors] write a book about energy. What do they do? They try and exploit people’s basic understanding of physics by using the word Law to describe their own personal theories of attraction.
The difference between the law of attraction and the laws of thermodynamics is that the laws of thermodynamics are not theories. In fact, the word “law” which is used to describe them pretty much implies they are physical facts of the universe which can be tested and applied to observable objects. The law of attraction, on the other hand, is not a fact. It’s not even a good theory, because there is no basis for testing it. If you can’t do experiments which can yield results for or against a theory, then you have no right calling it a law. Again, language being used to mislead people into believing that something is more important than it really is.

Of course, what I’ve found from both the secular and religious variants of this, is that they say it IS testable. The problem is, it’s not instantly testable. It’s a lifelong slow “process”. And if you don’t start now, and keep at it everyday, then you’ll never see the results.
It’s not like a car you can try out, and then return with no commitments if you don’t like it. You basically have to presuppose it’s true first, and then commit to it, in order for it to work. This is not how scientific testing works, but it is how scams work. (Recall, most people who teach stuff like this, both religious and secular, are often selling something in one way or another; or if not, they are trying to convince themselves that what they’ve trusted in and committed to is the right way).

If you try it and find it doesn’t work, then it must be you did something wrong, and in such a long hard “process” with multiple “steps” and “laws” to adhere to, there are so many places where you could have gone wrong, so you can’t argue against that; and by that time, it’s too late to undo whatever waste or other consequences from all the time and commitment you’ve put into it.

This lack of “testability” becomes the strength of such nebulous enterprises. Someone can tell you anything all authoritatively, and proclaim it absolute TRUTH, and you can’t refute him, just DO it, or prove yourself an ignorant skeptic.

East vs West?

While Christianity was co-opted by the West (which makes it suspicious to some), a lot of the secular version of this philosophy is influenced by the East (such as India). The overall “religion” Law of Attraction philosophy is basically apart of is something called “New Thought“, which while seems to be attributed to strictly Western sources, does resemble Eastern religion. (This is taken as evidence it is apart of “universal law”).

Many of the secular-minded people will condemn the Christian concepts as a control tool, in which case, Eastern and Eastern-like philosophy has been generally what became the attractive alternative, but fail to realize both East and West have histories of mind control using philosophy. So I can see where both can use this “positive attitude” concept, and harshly condemn “victims”, to pacify the masses and essentially justify the powerful.

(The philosophy says “Abundance will not come to you out of the sky, neither will it drop into your lap”, but conveniently ignores the role of things such as being born into the right circumstances, and being given the right “timing, talent and temperament”, along with downright cheating ⦅abuse of power, “pulling strings”, deceptions, etc.⦆ to aid in their success; and on the flipside, those with legitimate disabilities.
They make it entirely “choice”, including the right “thoughts”, so the “justice” of this “law” has already been enacted in people’s success or failure. When acknowledging this, they’ll then just say “well life isn’t fair; those with disadvantages just have to try harder to succeed”; but sometimes, the disparity is too great. But this can’t be allowed under this “law”, for it makes those on top look less than ‘good’ masters of their own destiny).

And if people keep complaining too loudly (to where the powerful feel threatened), how quickly do the powerful themselves adopt the “victim” complex, in different ways. Just the act of blaming any ‘negative energy’ that affects you on this other person is playing a victim! If you’re so affected, then it’s shown to still really be inside of you, only suppressed into the “shadow”.
(So overall, the message is just like the conservative politics —whose ultimate aim is to justify the colonialism and oppression of the past by casting current “victims” as bad and “detrimental” to society).

This “suppression” masqueraded as some sort of tapped “power” I realized, when hearing it from the secularists and Christians alike, and that’s precisely why I became so skeptical of this teaching; whichever overall belief system it’s extracted from. (The secular variant getting the same intellectual scrutiny religion has been given).
Introverted Thinking (Ti) looks for logical consistency, which is less important to the extraverted Thinking and introverted Feeling perspective these philosophies usually hail from. Like one of the “universal laws” the person mentioned earlier was telling me about is “forgiveness” (self, others, etc.) as the universal key, but then both Christianity and Jung alike, and even mainstream psychology were dismissed as “the white man’s philosophies”, because “the white man dismissed us, so why should we listen to him”.

Yeah, “forgiveness“, all right! An ideal that is far easier said than done. Didn’t think it would extend to an issue like that! (Let alone “universal truth”, which by its very nature can come from any source, and that these New Thought concepts are just such examples of concepts with some amount of observable truth filtered through Western sources! Why is Phineas Quimby, the originator of this school of thought, more trustworthy or less “white” than Jung or some preacher?)

This is the way it always is with effort-based philosophies. Just like the racially corrupted religion that focused a lot on “morality”, but condoned oppression (that people like this are still resenting in the first place). It’s what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount, about what sins such as “murder” and “adultery” really entail! A lot more than even the most strictest adherents think!
At this point, people will then appeal to being “imperfect”, but then my whole point is more grace is needed, rather than speaking as if one has it all together.

Matters of different perspectives

Should also mention this site I saw the week before all this: 31 Days of Self-Love – Beliefnet.com. It reminded me a lot of the advice I used to get from my STJ (Sensing-Thinking Judging) immediate family. Now looking at it typologically, it’s clearly a heavy introverted Feeling (Fi) perspective in tandem with extraverted Thinking (Te).

People don’t realize how typological differences will affect the way we see or receive these things.

[Moved (Discussion of type functions involved): https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/ordering-vs-aligning-the-tefi-vs-tife-difference-in-my-experience-and-self-help-teaching ]

What most bothered me, is that such instructions essentially tell you how to feel. Like when they start talking about “attitude”, dealing with frustrations, difficulty is good, “take heart; God is in control”; all these memes you see daily on the social media wall. (Again, both secular and religious). One person talking to me goes as far as to even mimicking the “process” he was telling me to embark on (self-forgiveness), by sighing, breathing in, lightly beating the chest, and saying whatever you’re supposed to say to yourself.
All of this just drives me up the wall. It’s like, damn; you should just put a puppet or robot in my place, and pull the string or program it how to respond to life!

So when things don’t go right, to just tell me, basically, “if you love yourself it won’t matter”, “just forgive”, “don’t hold onto things”, “your reaction is only hurting yourself” (i.e. which feels like a cruel double-bind), etc., I feel like my whole humanity is being totally dismissed, and I’d become a walked-on nothing! (Inasmuch as they almost paradoxically claim this is the way to becoming a powerful “somebody”).
And this is from both secular self-help as well as religion (which often mixes this up with concepts such as “regeneration”, and usually substitute “God/Christ/Spirit” for “self”. But it’s really the same process everyone else is describing, even though they claim it is “supernatural” and exclusive to believers).

And those exercises! Ugh! Looking in a mirror and expressing love and other stuff to yourself, hugging yourself, writing stuff to yourself, and all the other “rules” and “steps”. Seems totally illogical and like almost crazy.

My family insisted this was “universal truth”. The ST perspective insists “this is the way it is” and allows no “excuses” or other reasoning. NTJ’s will focus on a more theoretical angle, such as a “[universal] Law of Attraction”.
They (especially the religious teachers) often present it as so “simple”, and always stress “choice”, but then it’s really a lifelong process.

Do Electric Cars add More Pollution?

Why Your All-Electric Car May Not Be So Green
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/study-electric-car-green-27616390

I’ve always heard that switching to electric simply moves the problem elsewhere (hence, to the coal-using power plants), but that’s still an improvement in ways. You’re taking the fumes off of the roads where most of us directly are, and while the coal fumes may still be going into the air (and worse than gas fumes, as being argued), you’ve still centralized the pollution, and that makes it easier to try to remedy. You would then look into reducing waste in those plants (like switching to natural gas, as mentioned), instead of all the cars running across the land. (This other article http://www.twincities.com/technology/ci_27140844/u-study-finds-electric-cars-powered-by-renewables mentions “Electric cars that get their power from renewable energy sources — like wind or solar” I take could also be referring to new power plants).

Plus, how much more would electric powered vehicles really increase the pollution put out by these plants? It’s not like the plants are only being run for the EV’s; they are already there, powering everything else electric. So there would put an increased need for coal, but would that amount then add more pollution than all the fossil fuel vehicles combined?

A land trip to the North Pole (or as close as you can get)

My “Extension” of the Hudson River to the Hudson Bay got me thinking of that area (which we would think leads to the North Pole, as in fictional journeys to Santa’s village and workshop by carriage or train), especially now, in the “home stretch” to Christmas.
The portrayals of the North Pole on land is more accurate for the South Pole, which of course has its own continent, Antarctica. I wonder why they didn’t just place Santa there, but the folklore about him is northern-hemisphere centered. (In fact, “Year Without A Santa Claus” even suggests Santa is unknown in the southern US, let alone the southern hemisphere).
So when we think of this cold place that epitomizes winter, we think North. I guess, their premise is that the north pole is on a permanent ice cap that basically has become land. But still, you could never build a railroad or permanent towns and workshops on it.

So then, let’s imagine going as far north on earthen land as we can.

We would go west of the Hudson Bay, entering Manitoba, and eventually the territory of Nunavut. Much of the land begins breaking up into these islands, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Looking at it more closely, there aren’t as many gaps to the northernmost point as you would think, and only one of them is formidably wide.
You would head to the Boothia Peninsula, and its tip, called the Murchison Promontory, which is considered the northernmost point on the North American mainland. Then, you would cross the 1 mile wide Bellot Strait onto the huge Somerset Island.

Then, you reach the biggest barrier, the 44 mile wide Parry Channel, across which is the Queen Elizabeth Islands, and in this case, Devon Island. You swing west, to where Jones Sound breaks up into several narrow channels of Cardigan Strait (with the small North Kent Island in the middle), to enter the final land mass, Ellesmere Island. Keep in mind, these “islands” are hundreds of miles long. (Devon is the smallest of them, at only about 100 miles!)

Finally, you reach Cape Columbus, the northernmost point in Canada and North America (not counting Greenland, whose nearby Cape Morris Jesup sticks out a few miles into the Arctic Ocean. On the other end of the world, Cape Horn is the southern tip of South America, but it too is on an island ⦅Tierra del Fuego⦆, while the southernmost mainland point is Cape Froward, 78 miles past southernmost city, Punta Arenas, Chile).
20 or so miles east of Cape Columbia is the Canadian military station town Alert, “the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world, at latitude 82°30’05” north”, but is really often uninhabited, with rotating military and scientific personnel occupying the camp.
Then, it’s about 500 miles over the ocean to the actual Pole!

Before really looking into this, I always imagined one of those little old villages or “hamlets”, like the ones the toy train sets are based on, with the gingerbread-style houses and Tudor inns; at least as far as you could go on land, which in this case would be Cape Columbia, or if it’s really connected by road or railroad, then at Murchison, or perhaps Somerset Island by bridge. I don’t think a bridge could be built over the Parry Channel. Perhaps you would have to build a series of manmade islands.
So this northern village would look out over the sea, where you would see ice covered islands and icebergs (and perhaps an abominable snowman jumping across them). Inland, it would be surrounded by the vast snow covered pine forests. All the stuff you see on any animated feature showing a trip to or from the North Pole.

The first problem, is that the pine forests do not go that far north! When you’re halfway through the Nunavut mainland, the forests thin out into low grasslands, and you cross the “tree line” (beyond which, trees cannot tolerate the environmental conditions, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_line), and you soon enter the tundra. I remembered that term from the climate maps I used to read in world atlases I grew up with. I knew it was colder, and less vegetated, but never really thought much of this, and the portrayals of the endless pine forests continued to color my view of the far north.

Google of course, can have no “street view” up there, since there are no streets/roads.
But they do have the Panoramio photos, which reveal a totally barren, rocky, mountain region. It really looks, basically like another planet! Just take any Mars picture, and revert back to a brown earth and blue sky, and add bodies of water, and this is what the Arctic Archipelago looks like. It’s for all purposes a cold desert, and I wonder why they don’t just call it that. It also resembles the Mojave Desert around Victorville, but without even that much shrubbery or the Joshua trees.

Even the islands themselves are actually high plateaus (mesas). Pictures of the waters separating them reveal tall, almost vertical rocky cliffs, so I don’t know if any bridges could ever be built at all. And then the top surface is rolling mountains. You probably can’t have roads or railroads (or if you did, they would be incredibly winding, at the valley bottoms, and unprotected from rock-slides, and often filled with glaciation). This would make it probably impossible to have the high speed “bullet” service needed to cover the hundreds of miles of this terrain you have to traverse, in any decent amount of time.
Any sort of path would basically be mountain hiking trails. (I saw one person asking if it was possible to motorcycle from Alaska to Murchison, and even that I think was discouraged).

There are almost no towns on this path. The last towns you would pass in most direct path would b Taloyoak, on the start of the Boothia peninsula, and then finally, Grise Fiord, on Ellsmere’s southern bank. (There’s also a Thom Bay near Taloyoak, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything there). All of these “towns” up there basically consist of trailer, aluminum warehouse or barrack-like structures on a few blocks, with maybe a few old wooden gable tin roof houses here and there. These are “hamlets” alright, but not like the ones you associate with journeys to Santa.

There are also some bigger ones off to the east or west on other islands. On the Hudson Bay you have Chesterfield Inlet, 500 miles from Murchison; or if you care to veer a bit out of the way, east, where the bay ends, there’s Repulse Bay (one photo wrongly shows a tropical-looking resort with highrise dwellings), still 330 miles from the start of the archipelago. More inland, up the Thelon river from Chesterfield is Baker Lake.
It is in this area that you cross the Arctic Circle.

Murchison, mind you, is 800 miles from Cape Columbia. So it’s nearly 2000 miles of barren, mountainous tundra! (No wonder it’s so uninhabited! I always thought it was just the weather).

I would say that in Rudolf, the archipelago would be best represented by the island mountains where the “bumble” lives, between the north Pole and the mainland. But again, they are hundreds of miles wide (though there are smaller ones in the waters too).

Even more likely, would be the Island of Misfit Toys. Looking at a picture of that scene, I guess I assumed or mis-remembered that the conic shaped snow covered objects as pines, but they’re more likely supposed to be mountains (like what the bumble climbs on). Otherwise, the land was pretty desolate. So that would be perfect. The whole point was that these toys were banished to a barren wasteland.

Come to think of it, Rudolf’s journey did include him crossing bodies of water (and that’s when the bumble comes after him; forget why he didn’t just fly), so that portrayal is accurate after all.
Powerpuff Girls do a lot of flying, and Princess I think also flew with her villain equipment jet packs. (I remember the four colors of the girl’s “streaks”: the PPG’s RGB plus Princess’ yellow). It’s Frosty and Polar Express that suggest you can take a train to the North Pole. (And even PPG and Polar Express IIRC portray the landscapes becoming more and more barren as you go further north).

One notable absence, at least from most of the Google images, is a lot of snow! (Which is what all of those animated portrayals show plenty of). Again, most of it is really totally dry ground and rock. There are some snow on mountains, and glacier flows, and icebergs in some water pictures, but it is not the perpetual “marshmallow world” you would expect. (Perhaps some of these pictures were from summer, when it was a bit warmer?)
In any case, it looks like global warming might be more real than conspiracy theorists would have us believe. The Arctic tundra is said to have been effected by this phenomenon. So (as thankfully, some memes are starting to portray) to say “It’s so cold this winter, therefore global warming is a myth”; you are not seeing the whole picture.

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