January 13, 2010

The Porpoise-Driven Life

Posted in art, culture, religion, science, scripture at 11:41 am by Jerry

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January 5, 2010

I’m a Kung Fu Animal Lover

Posted in culture, film, martial arts at 5:39 pm by Jerry

During my movie-watching mid-teens I was fascinated by martial artists mimicking animal styles of fighting. For milleniums people have turned to other species to gain insight into the power intrinsic, yet diversified within nature. The survival techniques of other animals have either been feared, respected, or both. And many of the well known animals have become symbols, representing various human characteristics. But Phillip Starr feels that mimicking animals as a martial art is “seriously flawed”:

Our distinctive human structure allows us to lift heavy objects and strike in a wide variety of directions–things that cats and snakes cannot do.

When a snake strikes, it hurls itself at its prey. It has no control over itself once the attack is initiated. The same is true of the praying mantis. Monkeys possess enormous upper-body strength, which is essential to their survival as tree dwellers. Birds such as cranes and eagles have hollow bones that make them light enough for flight.

You are not a tree dweller, nor can you fly. No matter how much you practice or fantasize about it, you will never develop the great strength of the monkey, the lightness and agility of the crane or the blinding speed of the mantis. You aren’t built like these creatures and you’ll never be able to move as they do. You’re a human being and you move like a human being. It is therefore essential to learn how to make the best use of your uniquely human structure.

I think he makes some good points. Nevetheless, I still love the animal styles if only for the shear entertainment value.

January 2, 2010

Pop Theodicy Part 2: Self-Imposed Prisons

Posted in art, atheism, church, culture, politics, scripture, theodicy at 10:02 am by Jerry

Self-Limiting Freewill

“You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’  But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” – says Jesus in Matthew 5:38-41

According to this verse, we are NOT free to put limits on another’s behaviour. And from what I grew up hearing in the church, even God’s expressed will is now touted as merely invitation, seeking permission to intervene. I suppose that’s why it’s also often said by Christians, “I agree with C.S.Lewis when he said in his book, The Problem of Pain, ‘Hell is locked from the inside'”.

Interesting. And yet, I’ve never heard any Christian state they believe it’s quite possible that some of those who will be (or are) in the never-ending hell will manage to make their way out. Of all the various spiritual journeys hell-bound people are on, will none of them find “salvation”? Or is it, in the grand scale of things, these people are destined to stay in hell? Sounds deterministic to me.

Also, if C.S.Lewis says it, is it necessarily biblical? In one of his stories about heaven and hell, Jesus says,

“And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.” (Luke 16:26).

It looks like God has only made freewill available to us during the years we spend on earth, and the afterlife exists without the highly praised freewill we’ve been talkin’ about.

Christianity For the Abolishment of State Prisons

So what does this earthly-bound freewill look like? Our societies of voting citizens, judges, politicians, lawyers and officers deem it NECESSARY and JUST to limit a citizen’s freewill for the purpose of protecting our societies from greater dangers than restricting the limits of our freewill. For example, though consistent with their theology, is it reasonable for the christian church to expect our society to hand over the keys to dangerous criminals in state prisons, freeing them to be the only ones to lock themselves in jail, if they so choose to?

Obviously, not. It’s absurd. And so is the freewill argument.

Pop Theodicy Part 1: Parenting

Posted in atheism, culture, family, fatherhood, politics, scripture, theodicy at 10:00 am by Jerry

Freewill Among the Naive

Genesis 2:9 – And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… 16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

What kind of father or mother would plant a poisonous tree (literal or metaphorical) in their children’s playground and think a warning makes it okay?

Freewill For The Criminally Insane

Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Revelation 12:9– And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [underlining mine]

What kind of Supreme Judge and parent, with knowledge beyond a shadow of a doubt that an individual will cause the most harm to humanity in the near future, leaves this criminally insane individual free to roam into his or her children’s playground?

Conclusion: God isn’t fit to be any type of parent and should have his children taken away from him for Contributory Negligence.