Thursday, January 8, 2009

Where is today's Barry Goldwater?

"However, on religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' "

Barry Goldwater - 1909 - 1998, Senator R - Arizona
Source: Congressional Record, September 16, 1981

Two views of Nihilism...

Guess which one is me?! :-)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sacrifice anyone...?

Many of my posts have a sarcastic or humorous cant to them. This post will not be one of them. I've been struggling to distill what's been going on in Israel over the past 2 weeks. The bottom line is I can't understand it. The basis for the fight is so alien to my sensibilities that I have come to the conclusion that I will NEVER understand what's going on.

Bear with me here for a little bit of a digression. I have an Ipod and I listen to many 'podcasts' from many different sources. Most are science or naturalist based resources. A couple are political. One of my favorites in the political genre is by a guy out in Oregon, his name is Dan Carlin and I believe I have a link to his site over on my side bar somewhere. His latest commentary as of this writing is called "The Samson Suicide Pact". I listened to it this morning.

You can listen to it yourself or not. Your choice.

The central question of his commentary was this:

"If God asked you to sacrifice your child, would you obey?"

The question is from the Bible. Abraham, considered by the followers of the three monotheistic faiths to be the patriarch of their respective faith, was presented with this very dilemma.

One of my better if not my BEST friend(s) in the blogworld, Deb, and I had a discussion about this very question a while ago. Deb is a deeply faithful and caring woman of whom I have a deep admiration for. We have come to sort of detente' on matters religious. She accepts who I am and I accept who she is. There is a mutual respect if not complete understanding. As a 'Christ-follower' it is Deb's deepest desire that God will reveal Himself to me in some meaningful way that will convince me of his existence and truth.

Deb's answer was a wholehearted and emphatic: YES! I was taken aback by the certainty and confidence of her answer. I couldn't relate to it. The very notion of sacrificing my child is a game-ender for me. Nothing on this earth could compel me to do such a thing. Deb explained it to me as a test of faith. As a Christian you MUST love God above all else and that includes that which you would otherwise lay down your own life for. You must be willing to offer it all up to God at a moments notice. That is REAL religious faith! Deb's faith tells her that God's will and purpose are in her best interest. I will not presume to judge that this makes me some how better or smarter than Deb, she is bound by a covenant she takes very seriously, she submits her will to His. For all I know maybe she's right. But that's not how I am wired...

I have no such faith, I wouldn't do it. I am a person who bases his view of the world on naturalism and reason informed by my understanding of the world I perceive through my own admittedly imperfect senses. But there it is...

I have come to the conclusion that these are the two views of existence. Faith-based and naturalist-based.

My further conclusion is you cannot fence-sit; you are on one side or you are on the other. There are too many people who want to take the what they think is best of each and make some hybrid view. The problem is when both views are distilled down to their cores you find that they are mutually exclusive. Hybrids will be still born. You can't have it both ways.

What does this all have to do with what's going on in Israel?

I agree with Dan Carlin; No sovereign nation should tolerate any other launching attacks on it. Israel has a right and a duty to defend its people. If any nation started shooting missles at Iran or the Saudis they would raise holy hell! So the IDF's retaliation is justified from a state-craft point of view.

The question then becomes for ALL people on either side. Are you willing to sacrifice your children? Your grand children? Your great grand children. Are you willing to sacrifice the future for a strip of land? Is this conviction based upon faith in God?

If any one on either side cannot answer YES to those questions, they need to leave. This is not their fight.

Throughout history people have left many lands they called home some willingly and some not so unwillingly. My own Italian ancestors left their homeland because they wanted a better future for their children. I am sure they left Italy with great reluctance but the love for their children and their concern for the future of the same overrode any loyalty they had for their homeland.

Would commit your children and their future to a fight over a tiny strip of land?

People of faith on both sides of this conflict have been fighting and or spoiling for fight for 2000 plus years. Maybe it's time that those on either side who REALLY don't have a dog in this race to get out of the way and let those that do have at each other...

For my part I am tired of the whole bloody tedious saga!

I will choose to NOT sacrifice my children's future for faith.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Senator Al Franken?!


No really.....Seriously!?

This guy?

Who was he running against?

Idi Amin? No. Pretty sure he's dead.

Pol Pot? Day-od!

Mussolini? Really REALLY DEAD. (I think my grandmother might have been the 3rd person to spit on his hanging body)

Al Franken? What qualifies him to be a senator? I may be somewhat liberal leaning but WTF!?

Did someone publish photos of Norm Coleman smoking a cigar in a hot tub with Satan?


What do they put in the water in Minnesota?


What comes to mind...

...when you see this man:

What comes to my mind?


"Sugar-coated, chocolate-covered, Christianity."



I'm back and hopefully i won't be so slack as i have been. The 'silly season' does take up lots of my time due to the 4 kids running around.

Well it's a new year! And I would know that even if I didn't have a calendar.

Working where I do I was fortunate enough to be on vacation from 12/24 till...well today. i got to stay at home spend time with the kiddies (which can be trying to the extreme, but it was still worthwhile). A treat for me was that during this period one of the channels on my local cable system, i think it was USA Network, ran a "House" marathon for 2 days! "House" is one of the few shows I actually like. I missed much of the first three years of the show so I got to see many episodes I hadn't seen. However, that pleasure was tempered by the torture of the commercials in between.

At this time of year we are beaten over the head with commercials for diet pills/supplements, new exercise/diet regimens and exercise/workout equipment. Invariably the models/aliens in these commercials promise that you too can look just like them if only you would use these pills or eat these meals or worked-out with this machine for 20 minutes, 3 days a week. GROAN! Clearly we have a long way to go in that these snake-oil sales pitches are STILL making enough money to air these commercials repeatedly all the live long day!

These companies all prey upon the average pudgy resolution making American by convincing him that the way to reduce the flab in his mid section is by spending their cash on some miracle product.

I love the fact almost all of these spots have "Results not typical" in very fine print on the screen while a model user of whatever is being hawked is offering testimony of their results.

Guess what Kevin! This stuff will not work. There is no quick fix, miracle drug or breakthrough machine that will shrink your waistline permanently. The only way to change your body is to change your life. I have seen this personally. It is about changing bad habits. This applies to smoking, drinking as well as weight loss.

I am so glad I live in an age where I can record video on the fly and zoom past commercials! I'd have probably gone insane after an hour otherwise.