Skip to content

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.

Entertainment and media


Interests

Personality, Typology and the Human Experience

Math, Science and Technicalities


Travel and Transit


RELIGION AND POLITICS

Christian Doctrine

Game Review: Pacman 256 (The endless maze; Beware the Glitch)

One of the best classic game sequels I’ve seen in the new Pacman 256 that came out for mobile devices, as part of the ongoing 35th anniversary celebration this year. (It’s actually by a third party, but looks as genuine as a Namco OEM game).
Far better than the direction they had been taking the franchise, such as platformers.

It takes the level 256 random character glitch, and turns it into an encroaching threat. You start on what looks like a regular new maze, with a bottom, and tunnels on the side, and you can scroll upward, and it never ends. If you stay in the area too long, then the glitch appears across the whole bottom of the screen, and begins spreading upward, so you have to keep moving up. You can brush the edge of it (i.e. touch the first flashing characters that arrive, like a shallow surf), but once “drowned” in it, you die (in a garbled version of the regular Pac Man death. In the original game, it was not deadly, it just made it hard to find your way around).

This is a cool idea. It reminds me so much of the “New Super Mario Bros” series’ Worlds 8 (Bowser’s lair), where on overworld levels, you are chased by a volcanic ash that comes from behind, and there are vertical volcano levels with rising lava.

The graphics are a sort of 2.5 D, with a 2D maze, yet flat 3D versions of the pixellated original 8 bit characters, with only one pixel of thickess, stand up vertically on edge in the maze.
Eating dots is the original sound, and there is a counter of each dot eaten that appears in their place right as you eat them (similar to Pacman Championship Edition, which shows the number of points of each dot eaten), and you may notice, around an uninterrupted string of 50 consecutive dots, that the pitch of the dot eating sound is increasing. When you’re in the 100’s and above, it really high (and I think you’re getting faster as well).
It reminds me of the “siren” sound of the original game (and the “engine” sound of the Z80-based sequels) that increases in pitch (indicating the increased intensity of the chase) as you clear dots. (There is no other background sound like that in this one).

The goal is to get an unbroken chain of 256 dots, which then clears all the ghostmonsters from the board. (This is temporary, as new ones will eventually arrive, and meanwhile, the dot counter then starts over from 1). It can be hard, as only certain paths will have no gaps in the dots, and of course, monsters can block you and cause you to turn back. To interrupt the count resets it; however, you can stop and rest against a wall without resetting it. (If going fast enough around a corner with a single dot missing, you may be able to continue, and I think I snagged a fruit that was one space out of the way and continued back on the path, without resetting).
At press time, I was able to do this a few times. What makes it easier to do is to head down first, to the bottom of the maze. There is one path of an unbroken string of dots, and usually only one monster; generally Inky, who stays in one area. By the time you do the circuit and start heading up, you’ll be well ahead of the starting glitch that begins engulfing the maze, and will be able to follow a good unbroken path while avoiding the monsters that start appearing further up.

There are coins placed everywhere, that you collect, which you can buy to upgrade powerups.

Fruits are scattered in various places (they are not specific to levels, as the maze is continuous anyway), and their purpose is to increase the value of anything eaten afterward (like the cherry doubles everything, while the green grape, being the highest in this game, sextuples it, IIRC).
Energizers are also scattered around. Since there is no monster pen, eating them sends the eyes down into the advancing glitch.

There are also other powerup items, earned by reaching certain goals (including attacking monsters with ones you’ve already gained).
You have one that slows down the enemies by partly freezing them,
a hurricane that eats them,
a laser beam that shoots down a straight path,
a fire trail,
some sort of rock traps placed in intersections, that destroys them,
three little Pacmen that can eat them even without an energizer,
a purple “stealth” cloak that makes you invicible (and comes with these robotic sound effects)
a magnet that attracts coins
a bomb cloak
a super size cloak that crushes them, etc.

You have to choose three at a time from a “Loadout” menu, and these will be what appear throughout the maze. When one is in effect (including the regular energizer), the other powerups turn into little cubic energizers, which simply extend the current one. When active, a little box naming the power appears, and has a meter showing the time running down, so you know when it will run out.

The monsters (who appear in multiple copies) are the standard Blinky, Pinky, Inky, Clyde; as well as the purple Sue (who joined the cast by replacing Clyde in Ms. Pacman), Funky (green) and Spunky (gray), from Pacmania. An eighth monster is “Glitchy“, who materializes anywhere in a small glitch like the one following you, and then seems to continuously flash into some of the other monsters, taking on their behaviors. He eventually dematerializes in a similar fashion.

Blinky comes right after you, like always.
Clyde comes at you in a less aggressive fashion, often getting in the way.
Pinky sits guarding a place, then comes after you when you’re in the line of sight. He moves real fast (faster than Blinky on “Cruise Elroy”), so you have to duck out of the way, and he’ll just stay on that path until reaching the end, and sit there until you pass by again.
Inky just circles the same block.
Spunky sits sleeping, and similar to Pinky, begins following when you get close in any direction (not neccessarily in the line of sight). He can follow you anywhere for a bit, but then goes back to sleep.
Funky appears in a line of three or four, moving horizontally across a straight path, and can only go back and forth there.
Sue also appears in threes, but is slower, and tries to head you off by moving toward whatever vertical path you’re approaching from, and sitting there. It can be difficult to get by.
There are so many monsters (kind of like a throwback to Pacmania, where the all bunched up on you), and some long paths with no exits, it’s easy to get chased right down into the glitch.

There are also moving arrows in parts of the maze, which the monsters cannot go the other way on. When you go the other way on them, you slow down, though.

What’s difficult is that you start out with six “credits”, and it takes tens of minutes for them to replenish once you’ve used them. You only get one “continue” for a credit (or for watching a long ad), then, you have to start over. The free game has no powerups.

You can also earn credits or other items by watching ads (currently, usually this stupid looking forest monster game the same company, I believe, made).

It’s really captivating, and works on both the tablet and the phone.
Here is the best guide for it: http://www.gamezebo.com/2015/08/19/pac-man-256-tips-cheats-strategies/


Some trivia; the actual first “PacMan” I saw, 35 years ago, was actually installed in a “Breakout” machine, in an arcade located in the space of a current row of salons on Clarendon Rd. near Flatbush Ave. Breakout was a black & white game, and so Blinky looked almost invisible, while Inky looked pure white, like an actual “ghost”.
It was actually a PuckMan chip, with the Japanese names (and the original maze). So I knew “Puck-Man” was the name of the playable character, and figured the game simply wasn’t named after him. “Breakout” did seem to be an understandable name for a game about escaping a maze with four monsters coming after you, but I had to wonder why the cabinet artwork consisted entirely of actual smashing bricks!

For months that year and into the next, I watched others play games in the multiple arcades and other businesses with games in the area, but usually having no money, and not having a physical dexterity, didn’t venture to play. (I had hoped someone would allow me to try on one of their games).
It was in April, ’81 that I got some quarters, and tried out Space Invaders, in a diner around the corner from the first place, and then Astro Blaster or some similar game next to it. Probably the day after, I then tried the real PacMan machine in the Bona Pizza down the block (still there, but hasn’t had games in decades). Later that year, the PacMan clone “Hangly-Man” appeared in that first arcade I mentioned!

Who Really Isn’t a “Racist”? Why it still seems there’s so much “superiority” around us

Everyone likely has a part of themselves than despises others different from themselves.
We are all egos (“I”s) who are charged by nature with the need to survive, first. So we fear being reduced to nothing, with death as the most extreme threat, and control by others (also negating our sense of “I” in a way).

So after our individual self, we “extend” our egos [our “identity”] through “community” (first, family, then others who live around us). Then, other categories that we are apart of, such as gender, nationality and creed.

So there is likely a part of everyone who thinks their race is better than others, as it is a part of who they are. (Ideally, it “shouldn’t” be, since it is only superficial pigmentation, ultimately, but as it did stem from community; i.e. people who lived together in certain climates developed certain common physical traits, man did build “cultures” around it, and so it continues to be an “issue” in social affairs and politics).

Since the human conscience senses this is wrong, it leads to guilt. The guilt is reacted to through forms of denial in one or two ways: placation/patronage, or backlash/blaming. The conservatives have taken the latter, while the liberals have taken the former.

A concept known as the Johari Window says that while we have those parts of ourselves that are public, so that we and everyone else know about them, and are private, so that we know about them, but not others, there are also things that are conscious to neither ourselves nor others, and also that are uncounscious to ourselves, but conscious to others. What’s unconscious is known as the “shadow”, which we tend to disown, and yet see only in others. However, part of it can be seen by others, and when confronted with it, we will react in a fierce denial.

Conservatives want to think their nation, from its founding was “exceptional”, but the people back then were in ignorance that the way they treated other peoples was wrong. It was somewhere in the conscience, but suppressed from consciousness. Yet others could see it clearly (especially the victims, of course). Their successors today, the would-be guardians of “traditional American values”, have simply taken on the identity of these earlier people, and yet have to continue to try to suppress the full ugliness of a lot of what was done back then. So they try to turn the accusations back on others, or focus on other “moral” or political issues, like abortion or “socialism”, where they can prove they are still “exceptional” compared to others’ sin/evil, after all.

They fail to see that they, as humans, still contain the same proclivity to sin that they see others doing. Their “traditional values” protect unborn people, but kill born people. They oppose government control by a society that would oppress their religious beliefs, but support corporate control (which can end up just as bad, and can buy out the government), and would oppress others’ beliefs if they still had the power.
They then think their “choices” (whether individual or collective) and outward “civility” (lower crime figures, greater “decency” of past society, etc.)  make them better people, and justify any hateful attitude they show toward others, seen as morally deficient.

Liberals realize the past was full of evil, and as part of the same “culture”, want to dissociate themselves from it. But they may end up in an opposite form of denial, not seeing that they are still part of that culture, no matter what (and still benefit from it as others point out). So they too still have the same procility to those evils they see in others, and thinking that their “compassion” makes them better people, justifying a similar self-righteousness, but one that looks better by focusing on “compassion”, rather than personal “morality”. They too want freedom, but end up trying to minimize others’ in the process.

Both sides will try to control the other, with government force, ultimately, when they get the chance (in the past few generations, with the old societal order being overturned, it’s the liberal side that has ended up wielding government power increasingly, to stamp out the older control).

So yes the “bleeding heart” white liberal may think themselves “better” than (at least, subconsciously) some street-talking stereotypical black man, and perhaps be nervous around them, clench their purse, etc.; even as they may otherwise stand up and fight for the cause of blacks. Many black people may feel the same way about that stereotypical person (as Jesse Jackson once admitted).
On the black side (as the conservatives try to point out), being “better” than whites would take the form of a kind of “moral superiority”, against historic racism; which comes out through resentment. This too can be either openly manifested as an expressed resentment or hatred (and trying to “stick it to them” in political rhetoric), or can fall into the subconscious of someone who wants or tries to forgive the white race and get along with them and move on.
We must remember this part of it too, when we try to tag others with “hate”.

Trying to stir up this deep seated guilt, through “sticking it to them” (with “‘truth’ [that ‘hurts’]”, “[hard] ‘facts'”, etc. as conservatives more often put it) only leads to defensiveness, and more deep seated, though possibly suppressed, resentment.

That’s why I believe we need to be careful when talking about “white privilege”. We’re lumping the whole race together (just as white “racists” have done to us), and while it’s true that even the “bleeding hearts” may still “benefit from systemic racism”, while “trying to ease their guilt”, we should realize we cannot clean this [apparently universal] thing we’re calling “racism” out of people’s hearts.
The liberals may continue to placate, but at the same time, the conservatives, who are the ones who have more of a genuine problem, simply step up their rhetoric, and label all of our speech and our leaders as just as “racist” (and we hardly ever answer them directly. We seem harder on the liberals who are handling their portion of the collective guilt by at least trying to do the things we want, and this just makes it look like, as the conservatives claim, we just have an unending need for gaining “[free] stuff” through “guilt manipulation”. The more we ignore them, the louder they become, and the more public thought they influence, making it harder to gain the things we’re asking for; the most important being respect. The larger” image” of us this creates is a large cause of the continuing “systemic racism”, being the “system” is still controlled by both liberals and conservatives).

The big news this past week, was this:

Interrupting Bernie: Exposing the White Supremacy of the American Left
http://changefromwithin.org/2015/08/09/interrupting-bernie-exposing-the-white-supremacy-of-the-american-left

It even mentions “all of the ‘this is not the way’ sentiment we’re hearing from White progressives”, yet “it was the interruption at Netroots (alongside other direct pressure) that led to Bernie’s explicit platform on racial justice.” and appeals to Martin Luther King’s statement on how the “white moderates” are a bigger stumbling block than the open racists.
In this instance, these “well-meaning White people”, “…who consider themselves the most progressive of us all, shouted down and booed Black women who dared to force Blackness into the center of White space…and chanted the name of a White man throughout that moment.” (They had called for a moment of silence for Mike Brown a year after he was gunned down). This is evidence of “the deep-seated White supremacy that would cause us to boo during a moment of silence for a Black boy murdered by a White police officer”. They thus “would rather maintain injustice than risk the decentering of our Whiteness and White comfort.”

King’s statement mentioned the moderates of his day being “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice”. And so, today,
“And how much more ‘devoted to “order”’ can we be than to lecture Black people about what direct actions are and are not “hurting your cause”? (Notably, this language I’ve seen from countless White folks shows that we do not see the cause of racial justice as OUR cause – it’s that cause over there that we will tolerate so long as it doesn’t disrupt our Bernie rally.)”

I too am concerned about it “hurting our cause” and “not being the way”, but this is not from wanting to maintain some [false] sense of order; it’s from seeing how all this stuff we say and do gets turned back on us in backlash. Like using it to prove, once again, that we’re the true “racists”, who are only “whining”, incessantly, to get more “free stuff”. And then for all this reaction to white liberals, we totally ignore the white conservatives saying all of this openly racist stuff.
It does make sense to do that, under King’s premise that it’s the moderate/progressives that are a “worse” problem than the original conservatives.

That’s where I think I’m seeing a bit of hyperbole that is being taken too literally to the point of getting out of hand. Let’s be really honest. Moderates not working fast enough for us are not as dangerous as conservatives who want to set us back to the pre-Civil Rights era. Who have filled public discourse with rhetoric portraying all of us as a bunch of leeching “takers” and criminal “thugs” who are detrimental to their otherwise “exceptional” society; much of this in code, but it seems becoming more bold and direct, as it goes on for years and years, unanswered (proving to them it is “hard truth” that can’t be answered). Who can sway many who are in the middle. Many of us are too busy trying to stamp every molecule of racism out of the hearts of liberals to see the huge potential tidal waves of racism coming up behind us.

It’s just a matter of tact, I’m getting at.

I’m not saying those two women were wrong for doing that, to try to stir up awareness among those who have seemingly fallen into a smug, half-hearted “do-gooding”. I do have some concern about the way the article talks about: “to center Black lives and Black issues”. I guess the context is decentering whiteness, particularly in a black cause.
While this is of course understandable, it does seem to maintain an “us vs them” mentality that we are in the very breath of accusing them of! We may say “we’re doing that because it’s already that way” [i.e. “they did it first”], but if we’re trying to erase racial discrimination, we should show them all a better example. And while they are acting subconsciously, we’re doing it very consciously and aggressively in cases like this.

While terms like “white supremacy” may be technically true, on a subconscious level, the very fact that we’re dealing with the subconscious, makes it not really beneficial to keep tossing them out so much. When we think of historic “supremacy”, we think of what was very conscious. (What was unconscious, again, were the things that proved they weren’t superior). For these liberals today, superiority is not conscious. I think we should give them some grace on that.
That doesn’t mean giving them a total “pass”, but I just think to go charging at them “You’re no better with the ‘white supremacy’ then the racist groups” will make them more likely to not hear us. If they’re struggling with their own deep seated guilt, and trying to, imperfectly as it may be, compensate for it, then this will not help them clearly see where they need to improve.

So we can challenge white liberals, to make them more consistent in their participation in the cause, but I think it’s now time to pay more attention to those on the other side still trying to blame us for all of the problems of their nation.

On whether poverty can ever be solved

(Another old essay, from the predecessor space to the blog)

This is a very difficult situation which doesn’t seem to have any ready answer. I have criticized the economic gap elsewhere, raising assumptions that I was trying to “implement socialism”. I wished more people knew about type, so I could explain that I am a Perceiver, so I make observations but do not necessarily have a solution, where many of the people I have debated on this are likely Judgers, so to them you are either building up one system or the other, and you must stand for one, or otherwise must be trying to tear it down, and you must stand wholeheartedly for something, accepting its warts and all, or just shut up and don’t say anything.

But in addition to poverty, we still have a lot of middle class complaining about taxes and such, and many still blaming “social programs” (e.g. “Taxed Enough Already”, with the assumption that it’s all going to “liberal spending”); the latest being the health care bill.

But most refuse to ever consider that the filthy rich might be the ones draining the economy. They argue that they “deserve” it because they “pulled up their bootstraps”, and “the market” is what determines they should make that much.

But still, this does not change the fact that their oncome is getting higher and higher, no matter the state of the economy. Even when they crash the company, they still get rewarded, go on $89,000 pheasant hunts, and bailed out from being “too big to fail” (and conservatives blame Obama for this instead of the executives).

The problem is, what do we do about this? Radical liberal answers might be something like pay caps and regulation of wealth, but then this compromises our principles of freedom. And where do you draw the line?
Conservatives are right, also, that to “punish” the capitalists will just cause them to pass whatever loss down to everyone else, through loss of jobs, higher prices, or just taking the business elsewhere. (Basically “punishing” everyone).

But then, it looks like they got us all by the throat, doesn’t it! [This I would say is pure “nature”; of the strongest being in such a position of power. But it lacks “integrity”, which is the “care” and “justice” we are supposed to bring into our participation in nature. But you really can’t force or legislate this].
So the conservatives just try to point the blame in the opposite direction, like taking every welfare person or illegal immigrant or health care recipient, turning them upside down and shaking every penny off of them will recover the economy. Giving more to the rich will “create a bigger pie” they also claim. Yet every two decades they are given more, and then we suffer these crunches, increasingly radical Democrats are elected, and then the back and forth debate begins as to which party’s fault or credit the bad or good times are (the one in office, or the previous one).

To use the pie analogy to illustrate the absurdity of conservative rhetoric, we start with a pie, and several people vying to get as much of it as possible. Since it takes effort to climb the table and cut the pieces and claim them, the most driven tend to get the biggest pieces. Some are held back by discrimination, but this is eventually overturned, and the discriminated groups can gain more, but slower, and others already had more to begin with. Programs are enacted to give to these people, and others still with less for whatever reason.
Yet at the same time, those most driven gain a bigger and bigger appetite (as often happens when one has more), and demand more and more for their “efforts” (which are largely the same).

So a few, more driven people have about 7/8ths of the pie. Everyone else must share one eighth. Chunks are taken from all eight slices, with crumbs to be given to the less fortunate. However, the others do get some of those chunks or crumbs back as well, in addition to the authority regulating everything. Eventually, an uproar occurs over this, and people are blaming the loss of the crumbs for their financial problems. They believe the more driven people “deserve” the other 7/8ths, so they refuse to even consider that. Instead, people teach that if you give the more driven people their chunks back, they will put it back in the pie and somehow create an even larger pie from it, so that all will have more. Just give it time. We have tried to give them more, but it is not enough, and the other side keeps trying to reverse this.

But what they’re actually doing is consuming most of it, and then even spreading it to other tables (who are so impoverished they accept less). Yet people keep blaming those at this table who receive the crumbs, even though many have received less as time went on. They actually portray them as a “horde of grasshoppers” [or “takers”] who have taken most of the pie and chewed it up and spat it out right before them. They insist that they did not earn what they have gotten, and the question of whether that is really true, and whether that is where the majority of the pie is really going is sidestepped.

I liked the way the Zeitgest films spoke of the image of a “scarcity-based economy”, when there is really abundance in the earth, that is concentrated through the fiat money/credit/debt system. Saying we need to do something to gain a “bigger pie” is saying the pie is too small, and thus, scarce. [And they try to argue that there is no “zero sum game”, where giving more to the rich means less for everyone else. But still, there is a whole premise of scarcity, and they have no qualms blaming it on the poor, in a “zero-sum” fashion!]

But as I have said, money and resources have not been taken off of the earth. It’s all still here, only concentrated in certain places. (And those places are not among the poor, or minority groups!
The utopianism of the film’s producers does seem very farfetched, and it leads them to denounce all religion; seen as impeding the progress expected to come from stuff like cloning).

As for poverty, there is no way to completely end that, as you can’t control those in power. The only thing that can control them would be some super powerful government, but then who can control that? It will be the same imbalance, and then become abusive and corrupt itself.

Many homeless I see (laying covered in waste-soiled clothes, etc) are mentally ill who are released from institutions that I imagine can’t take care of them anymore. So money won’t help them.
And there are some who are lazy, or just don’t aspire to more wealth. (In addition to the fact that “poverty” is a bit relative, anyway).

So “ending poverty” I do not see as any sort of achievable goal. What I think we should focus on is trying to make things a bit more fair (and conservatives waver back and forth between saying “life isn’t fair”; until they think something is unfair towards them, which they will insist be rectified!), and thus somehow finding a way to spread the abundance. But there just doesn’t seem to be any way we know of to do that. Whether we try to force people, or just let them do what they want, those who gain power will still take advantage.

I call it the three T’s for gain of power: Temperament/(type), Talent, and Timing/opportunity.

I just wish for now, people will at least be aware of where all the money is really flowing, and stop trying to blame the wrong people. That will at least make it more likely someone will discover some better solution,instead of this endless loop of rises and falls and blame.

What is meant by Patriotism?

When I posted this Bitstrip for the 4th of July, one FB friend says “You’re a true patriot. I see you attempt to reason with ignorant, racists as if they are reasonable too and I applaud your extraordinary patience.” (Wish I had thought to make the post that day).

I was a bit surprised to be called a “patriot”. I was more used to my views being called “anti-American” by many of these far right people in the conservative debates I have been in, who have basically appropirated the notion of “patriotism” for themselves, by arguing for “exceptionality”, and justifying their views with the Constitution, and the supposed “original values” upon which the nation was founded. (Which included slavery and other forms of oppression, but most of these people won’t admit that, but instead try to blame it all on the other political party).
An “enemy of the country” just for debunking this “exceptionality” concept that leads them to blame everyone else (including the racial minorities) for everything they see wrong with it today.

So I responded by attributing it to my midlife “inferior Fe” development [this was a typology friend who knows the types and functions].
“I’ve always lived here, loved the ideals (as I learned on the old ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ segments), loved celebrating [cookouts, watching fireworks, and trying to shoot off my own], deep down admire the ‘patriotism’ of the people I argue with, and want to “belong”, and tried to give people a chance and believe we were getting over the race issue.
Then, for a time, turned the other way and tended to blame the country for all of my frustrations in life, especially social and economic, but now come to realize it’s ‘nature’ (a survival instinct that makes the powerful tend to tread on the weak, regardless of country, regime or race), not some artificial social or political group man has carved out of himself, which we then treat as individual entities themselves and ‘split’ off all evil onto. (And I wish these other people would realize this too).

The whole Confederate vs USA flag debate made me further realize, as someone put it, that while the CSA was committed to preserving slavery, and the flag used by later people opposing Civil Rights, the USA, while hosting all the same stuff, did at least, as a whole, change. And since it’s not an individual ‘racist’ person, but rather includes all of us, then I want to join in the celebration too. It is part of ‘who I am'”.

I had years earlier, during those debates, written originally for another (more neutral to liberal) forum’s Politics section, in a discussion on “What you hate about the USA”, I decided to outline

What I don’t like, and fuels my annoyance in these pages (to give a better sense of where I’m really coming from):As I came of age, I came to associate the USA with those most loudly co-opting it as their own, which they were trying to “take back”, and that; being the conservatives, especially the religious ones.

They spoke about how nearly perfect the country was from it’s “godly” founding, yet ignored the evils of slavery and subsequent racism. And then, championing it against the ‘villains’ of communism, whom they called “materialistic”.
Meanwhile, every city was burned out at the core, with mass poverty and failing education, and I watched as prices went up, and quality of products went down. I remember toys breaking on Christmas day; screws that stripped like they were made of lead, and the ubiquitous echo of “they don’t make ____ like they used to!” Products would be advertised with outrageous claims, such as glue that could hold an airplane together, yet it could not even do what you normally expect glue to do, such as hold up lightweight mirror tiles we had.

Yet the capitalism that produced all of this was said to be God’s system, and the executives of both business and government were becoming ever richer. This obvious “materialism” was just blamed on the “influence” of “Darwin and Marx” through the educational system by Christian preachers throughout this period.

Conservatives began blaming taxes spent on “social programs” (mainly for minorities) for all the economic problems, and accused anyone who disagreed as “advocating failed socialism”.

Culturally, it seemed to become more and more decadent, with entertainers and sports stars also making ridiculously more than everyone else, and no one seemed to even think about it, as they spent a whole week’s pay or more on games, movies or vacations, and just went back to griping about taxes. Movies just seemed to glorify violence and wild reckless action, which kids seemed to be increasingly emulating. Even rap, which seemed to start out as a countercultural message medium challenging the system, now just became just as decadent, and then, quickly after that, violent, and filling in the negative stereotypes people already had.

I sort of lumped all of that together as “American culture”, (the ultimate signature song being James’ Brown’s 1980’s comeback hit “Living in America”) and later came to see that many conservatives (especially the religious ones) are also against much of popular culture, so any one group was not responsible for all the problems.

Even down to today, the whole “Tea Party” mentality that continues to blame taxes (stoked by the health care bill), and will blame Obama instead of the auto or bank executives for the need of bailouts, and when you point out how much these types of executives make, they say “stop whining, they pulled up their bootstraps”, all the while themselves whining about taxes still. They also blame those suckered by the banks with the home loans, evoking the notion of “personal responsibility”. While this may be partly true, why should those throwing the temptation out there (into a trap, basically, and knowingly) be held blameless?

But to top it off, once you do try to pull your bootstraps, the system consistently raises the bar, and makes it harder to succeed. Like instead of my wife being able to make money, she had to pay more money to go back to school (and now still having to jump through hoops to get the license that will allow her to make more money), because they changed some law, making her Masters’ not enough. All of this while money and jobs became so tight.

So people will wonder why so many others give up and try to get by on programs. Looks to me like they are trying to turn us into some third world country, with a small elite ruling class. It’s like if you don’t have a special talent, as an executive, or entrepeneur/engineer, entertainer or athlete, then you don’t “deserve” any better. But of course, people are made to blame only taxes, and stuff like unions for high prices and low quality. They constantly tell others “life is not fair”, until someone tries to make something fair for someone else (feared to be at their expense), in which they now scream “unfair!”

And just the sheepish mindset of all the “dittoheads” who go along with all this, and the Joe the Plumbers who so look up to the rich that to tax them they see as a personal affront, even when they are nowhere near being rich themselves. [This article http://www.salon.com/2014/07/16/i_was_poor_but_a_gop_die_hard_how_i_finally_left_the_politics_of_shame takes us inside the view of one of these types of people, who then gets wise. They basically believe themselves as failures, and thus tried to live vicariously through the rich, who they then defend as if it were themslves, and project their own sense of worthlessness onto others who struggle].

And the continued decadence with all of these faces we see on TV or the taboids or “Page Six” gossip columns everyday, some of whom do not even have much talent (Britney, Paris, and whoever the popular ones today, [Kardashians, etc] etc). All of this attention, and all of the money, even though the rest of the nation is on total cutback mode [like it’s the “Ice Age”]. And again, no one seems to blink.

Of course, there are a lot of more liberal people, yet I come to distrust many of their solutions as well. They too are playing a power game, and just going a different way about it. It swings back and forth to one side or the other being in power, and it just seems to slow down or speed up the perpetually prevailing trends (country becoming more morally liberal, and yet classwise, conservative; e.g. rich getting richer).

I had told a staunch conservative I was arguing with (one of the ones mentioned above) that I envied them, as they were able to find such identity in the nation and its history. But I think they are able to do that by just shifting the attribution of all of its evil to “them”, the “other”, and all of its good to their forefathers, or that God “raised/chose” the nation.

On both sides, it seems we all complain about everything, from the other political party, to our own party (e.g. no longer conservative or liberal enough), to the entertainments we consume so much. (And I do it a bit too, elsewhere on my webspace and in discussions).

But what ultimately is a “nation”? Just a collective of people, and they will never create a perfect system.

Just what is America, anyway?Yes, I wished I could take pride in the nation the way they do. But at this point, I’m still uncertain about what the definition of “America” really is. You have what the nation was, what it is, and what it will be.

Conservatives seem to define America in terms of what it was. This is based on morality, religion, and the Constitution, but also includes slavery and inequality, often with brutal treatment. Most either brush it off as an innocent mistake, and others think it was justified, by God’s “providence”, and we should just be thankful today.
Ironically, as much as they like to accuse others of “hating” the nation, they hate it just as much –as it IS, in contrast to what it WAS, which is the actual nation they “love”. [While excoriating Michelle Obama for saying that  , she for the first time being proud of of the nation; i.e. she went from not being proud of it; their main hero Rush Limbaugh admitted actually going the opposite direction, from being proud of the nation, to no longer being proud if it!]
Let’s not forget, before 9-11, the biggest attack on our shores was by conservatives, who echoed the same ideology of how big and liberal the government had become, and the moral issues, etc. People will point to Rev. Wrights’s thundering of “damnation” to America (IIRC, largely on Katrina and other such racial issues), but quickly forget the white conservative Christian leaders who had long preached the same judgment on America (including 9-11 and Katrina), for homosexuality, Abortion, belief in God, etc. [And they are seen as being the nation’s biggest defenders]. How can their followers condemn Wright?

The other main alternative to this is the liberal or “progressive” view, which is constantly trying to change and redefine America. They hope its true ideals, which were failed in the past, will be what the nation WILL be. They do probably admittedly, hate what the country was, and to a large extent, [still] is. This is one reason why the conservatives are “burned”, even in my mind, as the “true” pro-Americans. (Aside from just them being the biggest flag wavers and praising it all the time). They are upholding what we can clearly see in retrospect, through history. Who knows what the liberals are trying to turn the country into? While they are playing on the theme of “liberty and justice”, it is in many ways just so different from what we know. [I guess this appeals to me too, having introverted Sensing as a fairly conscious function).

But on the other hand, I know I and many others don’t want the America that we did know of; of the past. All there was was a veneer of morality (that often went to unbiblical and unnatural extremes), yet there were all sorts of injustices and inhumanities, that again, were somehow rationalized; often by extending Old Testament principles, that should have been clear as having ended at the Cross.

So I end up torn regarding the nation. Who will end up defining it? Does being a Patriot mean believing my ancestors were cursed by God, and delivered into the colonists’ hands as slaves or segregated away when that didn’t work out, and now, the descendants of those slaves [including myself apparently, unless I’m just a “good one”] are just an economic drain and its moral and civil undoing? (While those making all the money and leaving everyone else high and dry are justified?) Will it be a place where “anything goes”, either economically, or morally (except for religions and other beliefs that offend people)? Will we ever live up to our claims of liberty and justice, and be satisfied as a nation?

Barna Polls and Spirituality

Barna polls often come up in discussions of the “evangelical crisis” as some, including Horton (who referred to them, and the whole “our own people cannot even name the 10 Commandmanets…” phenomenon he stressed in Beyond Culture Wars) call it. But I don’t think those are saying as much as citers think.

An Epidemic of Bible Illiteracy
http://www.godupdates.com/the-scandal-of-bible-illiteracy/

A lot of those people who dont know the 10 Commandments, or think Sodom and Gomorrah are a married couple [never even heard that one before!], may have identified as “Christian” on the survey, possibly even “born again” or “evangelical”, but sound more like just your average “secular” people who may give a nod to the Bible, but obviously know nothing about it (and thus have no real claim of following it. A lot of people can identify as those things, but are really “nominal” (or “cultural Christian”), and it’s not really accurate to take the data from them, and attribute it to all “evangelicalism” as a whole. There may be a lot of problems in evangelicalism (including moral and doctrinal compromise), but from what I’ve seen, none of those who are active in conservative Church circles enough to be identifiable as “evangelical” are that bad. I mean, to be fair, the politically active Christians trying to keep the Ten Commandments in the public square are not the same people as the ones polled who cannot remember all of the commandments. (Of course, there may be some nominals among them, who blend in as “conservatives” because of their political position, but these are probably very few). Horton’s “our own people…” statement might have a nice ring to it, but I’ve always felt it was a bit of a stretch.

Part of the problem may be this “us/them” division we make between “Bible believers” (“us”) and “everyone else”—”secular”. It seems to ignore that there are a lot of VARIATIONS inbetween. Everyone not a born again evangelical is not a “God-hating” atheist, or part of another religion. So there are many “secular” who will identify or “give the nod”, but these are the ones who really don’t think much of or know the Bible in practice.
(This is part of what made it hard to “witness” for me, because most people I ran across “believe in” Jesus and will “nod” to just about any doctrine in scripture, but didn’t seem to be Bible-toting “born again” evangelicals, and I had no solid basis to judge them either as “saved” or “lost”).

Also, regarding “God helps those who help themselves” or “the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family”, and its effect on the doctrine of “salvation by grace and justification by faith”; the Bible is primarily about God and His dealing with man, through the Plan of salvation in Christ. To say “God gave us the Bible as a guide book on how to live our lives” is to make the exact same errors, and is likely in fact what led to those other two assumptions to begin with. (It goes right along with the other cliché that also often gets criticized in these studies, that “Jesus is a ‘guide‘ who shows us the way”, rather than a Savior, who IS the Way, as Horton laments). It becomes all about us and our behavior (works) moreso than His, so naturally, that will affect people’s concept of “grace”, all the way down, from most conservative in doctrine, to the least.

Look at the common “Christian growth” teaching, that aims to put in practice the Bible’s “instructions” on “how to live”. You basically seek “God’s help” in changing your behavior, and if you don’t take the right “steps” (such as sufficient devotion time, and trying to “change your attitude” toward situations in life), then you won’t “grow”, and some teachers even claim you “quench the Spirit”. —Who becomes like a power or energy source we “tap into”, and Jesus as a “life coach” as Horton points out in Christless Christianity). Isn’t this pretty much the same as “God helps those who helps themselves”?
We cannot criticize the modern Church (let alone the “world”) when we are operating off of such a misguided defnition of the purpose of the Gospel!

The Gospel was needed precisely because man often doesn’t live his life the way he’s supposed to, even if he is reading and well versed in the Bible (or as it was known under the Old Covenant, “the Law”). Living our lives a certain way is to be out of love for God and fellow man, but is not itself the main purpose of the Bible.

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 Christian 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 or 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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers