Why I am a Christian Part II

Friday, August 24, 2012

Why I am a Christian Part IV:

My mother Influence:

Several years ago the small group I led at our church started a Bible study at the Lake County Jail. The book we used was the “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. The first sentence in the first chapter reads, “It’s not about you.” The first time I read this sentence, I thought of my mother. She taught me that it’s not about me but others. It was a lesson that has taken me a life time to learn and I’m still learning it.
Over the course of my life I have been selfish, self absorbed and self centered. But the older I get the more I come to understand the example mom set for me. She, from as far back as I can remember, gave of herself. Unlike so many people I've known, mom gave without expecting anything back. She gave when even people she loved treated her poorly. It’s a trait that I've had to work very hard to emulate. Very often her example pushes me through those times when I want it to be “it’s all about me.”  
This is not to say mom was a perfect woman by any stretch.  She had a stubborn streak. When she got set on something, heaven and earth would move but not her. But her way of getting her way was quiet and persistent. Sometimes she would use someone close to her to facilitate her wishes. I’d often get a call from dad or someone else who would, after beating around the bush, tell me what mom wanted. Mom was one of those people I very rarely turned down. There is a special relationship between mothers and their sons.
One of her ways of making her point was her razor sharp tongue and her subtle way of using it.  It often caused me to laugh even while I was angry with her. She would say something that seemed nice or complimentary but a few days or weeks after, what she meant would really sink in. I’d be working in the garden and all of a sudden my head would fall off as I realized her compliment was really a zinger. Her razor sharp tongue had struck again. I have often tried to imitate her in this but just don’t have her delivery.      
My dad and mother were always there to help relatives and friends in need. I remember how over the years she would clean the house, cook and do laundry for family and friends who were sick or in need. She lived “it’s not about me.” When others made it, “it’s all about me” she never, to my knowledge, gave into being self-centered or self-serving.  My mother had a unique ability to forgive and only saw the good in people even those who treated her poorly.
Where my dad was an in your face “you got to hit’em between the eyes” Christian, my mother was a quiet example of the faith. Where my dad struggled with forgiveness, my mother forgave easily. Where my dad could walk into a room and in five minutes know everyone, mom was shy and took a long time to be comfortable around people. It was very hard for her to meet someone for the first time. But when she got to know them, they were friends for life and she had some very interesting friends. She never judged them. She accepted them with all their interesting traits and foibles. Over the years I have tried to be like her in this regard but have never come close to her ability to accept people just as they are. Though I try to be accepting I’m still rather judgmental.
Closing

            My mother and father taught me how to sacrifice themselves for others. I think the one thing they did that best exemplifies their sacrificial attitude was their religiously visiting my uncle who had been placed in the Kankakee State hospital early in his life. They persisted in visiting him throughout his life time taking their turn. Then as life and family issues caused some to stop visiting him they persisted in visiting at least once or sometimes even twice a month. I remember how over the course of two years I had one weekend free a month and would invite mom and dad to come on Sunday only to be told occasionally it was their day to go to Kankakee. One particular Saturday mom told me they couldn't come because it was their Sunday to visit my uncle. I got really mad and voiced my anger to her. She got mad right back and told me in no uncertain terms how blessed I was to have all I have while he had nothing but their visits. I felt about 1/8” of an inch tall by the time she was finished.

            Dad and mom were first and foremost a couple who desperately wanted to lead people to the Lord. They volunteered at the Seaman’s Mission at the Port of Chicago. They went once a week and sometimes twice for several years. Mom would stay in the Mission and run the store and visit with the sailors who came in while dad would visit the ships giving out Bibles. They truly lived their faith and showed it by their works.  Dad held a job in a factory as a machinist and worked among men who read every type of girly magazine available, who swore and told off color jokes. Yet in the midst of all this, he kept his Bible out on his work station. He read it at break and lunch and he led many of his fellow workers to the Lord.
Both mom and dad witnessed incessantly to relatives, sometimes to the point of distraction. Some stopped coming over to visit them because of their witnessing. But they never stopped trying to bring people they loved to Christ. Some have questioned the telling of my father’s faults. But my dad’s relationship with the Lord was strong as was my mother’s. My dad especially knew beyond any doubt that though others would not forgive him, his Lord and Savior would, as the old song “Just As I Am” says,

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bids me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

My mother had the same strong faith. Both wanted nothing more in life after being saved than to lead others to the Lord. I know and believe that my father would be very happy if his story would result in just one person coming to the faith, as would my mother.  
            It is my sincere hope and prayer that those who read this will come to know the Lord whose grace and mercy saved my father and mother. I know they would love to know that those who once rejected the faith would finally now come to know the Lord they knew and accept His grace and mercy.

Personal Note: These last three blogs have been one of the hardest things I've ever written. Its brought back some very wonderful memories and some very bad ones. But in the end it for all it cost it is worth it. I have remembered the greatness that was my parents and so much more. I have learned again how things really are and it doesn't matter.   I know that to honor my mother and father and my Lord and Savior even if I cannot forget I can still forgive and move on. My faith walk here is a long journey with a known end.
Next the easy things like why I think much of evolution is a crock, why I believe the Bible, and my political beliefs, (which will probably surprise a whole lot of people.). And throughout it all why I question everything.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why I am a Christian Part III

 My Father’s Influence:

The next two parts will be a much more difficult for me to write because it involves my relationship with my parents. They “got saved” in mid 1972 and both of them in various ways greatly influenced my walk with the Lord. Because of their influence upon me I think it is important to explain my reasons for not sugar coating my relationship with them.

It is always hard to write about someone you love especially if you are trying to give an accurate accounting of something, in my case my faith walk. One of my pet peeves is slanted history, history that only tells one point of view. History is, it is neither good or bad it just is.  I am to a great extent my parents and other relatives who have been a part of my life. Each has influenced in some way the person I’ve become.

We all have parts of ourselves that are unattractive but it’s our unattractiveness as much as our beauty that makes us who we are. As much as I loved my parents they like all of us they had parts of their personalities that were unattractive and parts that made them beautiful. I inherited many of their traits.    

My dad was a complex man who never stopped trying to be a better person. Sadly he failed more than he succeeded. He never learned how to heal from the hurts he suffered throughout his life. He was like the “Boxer” in Paul Simon’s song of the same name. These lyrics define him perfectly:

 And he carries the reminders, Of ev’ry glove that laid him down, And cut him till he cried out, In his anger and his shame, ‘I am leaving, I am leaving’ But the fighter still remains.”

He never learned to forgive and forget. He couldn’t resist picking at every wound he suffered and keeping them open and bleeding. But he was never satisfied with himself and was acutely aware of his failings. Through it all though he knew that he was forgiven by a Lord and Savior who loves flawed people just like him. He often quoted Ephesians 2:8 “it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God” and verse 9, “not by works, so that no one can boast.” He hung on to these verses as a drowning man hangs on to a life preserver.   

Sadly, grudge holding is one of the negative traits I’ve inherited from my dad. I’ve had to fight it all my life. Thankfully Susan, my wife and soul mate has managed for the most part to keep me from following in his footsteps, mostly. Yet there is always a part of me that like my dad wants to punch back at those who cross me especially after I’ve done them good.  

In the end however, I know I must act different from what I think and how I so want to act. I have to remind myself very often who’s I am, I Corinthians 6:19-20 says “you are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I have found that being a follower of Jesus is not for the weak willed. Many times it is only by God’s grace and Susan talking me down that I don’t follow my urge to rip someone’s head off. Having been bullied in my youth it is very hard for me now not to beat the hell out of someone who irritates, pushes or threatens me.  I have found that withdrawing from such situations and people is the only way sometimes that I can maintain control of myself that and a lot of prayer.     

My dad was a force in my life he was one of the best men I ever knew and one of the worst. He could be kind and gentle but he was also at times selfish, self-absorbed and self-centered. He had a drinking problem that made him verbally abusive to those he loved.  Yet he could put it all aside to help a relative or friend in need and did so many times often without getting a thank you.  Yet he was always there to help even in some of the worst situations. 

His walk with Christ and mine paralleled each other. He was the anti-me. I didn’t talk much about my faith; he never stopped talking about it. He studied eschatology and was passionate about the end times. I wanted to learn about who God is and how He wants us to live. (Though to be honest I have an interest in eschatology and love to study it.) He use to say, “you’ve got to hit’m right between the eyes with the Gospel.” I believe example more than words.

In the end though was my dad who got me to really study the Bible for all its worth. At first it was so I could argue scripture with him and even win sometimes. Then after I learned it wasn’t about winning arguments it was about learning about God is that is really important that I developed a love affair with God’s word.

Next: My mother’s Influence

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why I'm a Christian Part II

Our Early Married life

After Susan and I married April 25, 1970, I was awarded the Medal of Honor. Shortly after receiving the Medal I was hired by the Department of Veteran Affairs as a Veterans Benefits Counselor and began work at the VA Regional Office in Chicago. Within six months I was transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital to help returning wounded Vietnam veterans with their claims for disability. It was a special program to provide wounded service members a means of filing a claim for disability with the VA prior to being released from active duty. It was the best job I had ever had to that point in my life. I was able to help hundreds of wounded warriors get disability from the VA over the two years I was stationed at the hospital. I even got to assist some of the POW's when they were released.
  
Susan and I moved to Hoffman Estates which was a little closer to the Naval Hospital than Riverdale which was a suburb of Chicago located to the far south side of the city.  Hoffman Estates was an hour commute instead of the two hours I had before we moved. Every morning I left the house around 7:00 to arrive at the Naval Hospital at 8:30 or a little before. During the hour and a half commute I listened to the radio.

When I started the drive first from Riverdale then from Hoffman Estates I listened to music and the news. I got tired of the same old same old after a while and started station hopping hoping to find something that would fill the time other than music and news. I came upon WMBI and a couple of other religious radio stations. So I started listening to them on the drive to and from work. One of my favorites was "Through the Bible" with Dr. J. Vernon McGee it was a verse by verse study and I loved it. I also listened to “The World Tomorrow” with Garner Ted Armstrong. It was a cult but I didn't know it at the time. I liked Pastor Donald Cole of Moody Bible Institute who taught on Moody Radio for years. He also had a program where he answered questions about the Bible and faith.  There were many others and I listened too. Some just wanted money but others really got into the Word.

Soon after moving to Hoffman Estates Susan and I had our first child, Eric. He was born August 25, 1972 and we became a family. Eric was baptized at Sandridge United Methodist Church the church we attended in Hoffman Estates. Eric was a good little baby and the great joy of our lives. We attended church together and being the first grandchild he was a special little guy to his grandmas and grandpa. We soon out grew our apartment in Hoffman Estates and started looking for a new place in Waukegan much closer to work. As we were looking for a new place I joined the Army Reserves in Waukegan. More because I missed Army life and the reserves was as close as I could get and the money was also good for a struggling family.
While we looked for the perfect place in Waukegan for our little family I kept driving to and from work and continued listening to my religious programming. I also got into the habit of praying an hour a night. One night after listening to Pastor Donald Cole teach about spiritual gifts. I went into the bed room to pray.  As I was praying I asked God for spiritual gifts as Pastor Cole had said to do. It was around this time that charismatic spiritual gifts were becoming the new thing within the church. Pastor Cole taught there were other gifts that were integral to the church and church growth. those were the ones I sought.
As I was praying I felt a presence.  It felt as if it came down from the sky outside the apartment and entered through the window and into me. I could feel how it came I could almost see it. Immediately, I felt an overwhelming word welling up inside of me, Abba, Father came out and I immediately quenched the feeling without thinking of what I was doing. Then I wanted it back I wanted that feeling but it was gone. As quickly as I said those words and quenched it, it left me. That feeling, that experience has been something that has kept me through every trial, every back sliding and every questioning of my faith. I've never had that experience again though in times of trial and my falling away I have desperately sought it. In the back of my mind I know that I'll probably never have that experience or one like it again, but I think it is and was enough.
After it happened I stopped praying as much. It was as if I could no longer pray or spend time with God. I tried to continue but everything fell flat. I don’t know whether or not I was scared off by the experience or something else. I still listened to my religious programming and read the Bible and tried to spend an hour in prayer as was my habit at the time but it wasn't the same. My prayer time diminished to almost nothing. My reading became more mechanical and more about finding out things than learning about who God is and who Jesus and the Holy Spirit are.

The times were changing also. The Vietnam War was coming to a close and I was having some misgivings about the way our country was going. As the Vietnam War drew down causalities dwindled down to a trickle at the Hospital until there was no longer enough work for the two of us, my boss Dick Bush a WWII Medal of Honor recipient stayed and closed out the office then retired. In late 1972 I was transferred from the Naval Hospital to the Drug Treatment Unit at Downey VA Hospital, (Now the James A Lovell Federal Medical Center.). 
The Vietnam War was ending and troops were being pulled out and it had a great effect upon me. I remember being interviewed about the last combat troops being pulled out of Vietnam and how deeply pained I felt about all the lives wasted. Vietnam was becoming a part of history, a part that I would study over and over again but more on that in a different segment. I wasn't in the so called “dark night of the soul” but there was a distancing from God. I continued to learn and study the Bible but I was back to having a great void within me.
Part III: My Dad is converted

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Unexamined Belief System - Why I'm a Christian Part I

The unexamined Belief System is not worth Believing:

Why I'm a Christian Part 1:

Introduction:

It has taken me many years to become a follower of Jesus Christ. My journey to the faith began with many starts, stops and false trails. As a youth our family was deist more than anything. We had a belief in god but not God.  Growing up we attended churches but were never really involved in learning about whom or what God is and what if anything He demands. Church was something we did because we were good people and good people attended church. I attended Sunday school occasionally but never really understood what I was doing there. Except that it was a part of church for little kids.  I remember going to a church when we lived at Ely's Trailer Camp in Homewood I was part of a children's choir and learned Rock of Ages but that was it.  

I remember sitting in church as a young boy feeling bored out of my mind. It seemed time in church slowed down so that minutes seemed like days. When I was old enough my parents allowed me to wander around Valparaiso or get a soda at the soda shop while they attended church. This was after Sunday school which preceded church for both adults and children.   
In 1960 we converted to Roman Catholicism I learned about the faith from Father Naughton at St. Jude in South Holland. He taught me that the Catholic Church traced its history all the way back to St. Peter who was the first Pope. He taught me about why and how the Mass was conducted; about the history of the church and the Stations of the Cross among so many other things. I was taught the Mass was in Latin because no matter where I went in the world I could walk into any church and know what was being said simply by looking at my Sunday Missal. Father Naughton taught me that the church had been the same for over one thousand years and because it was the true faith it never had nor never would change. For me it was the perfect church. The rules were clear and redemption was assured. Confession and absolution made sinning something that was bad but fairly easily forgiven with a good act of contrition and penance. For a teenage boy it was sin then go to confession, say a good act of contrition, and then do your penance, take communion and you were good to go. Simple, easy and it made sense to me.

After I graduated from high school I enlisted in the Army and church became a means of getting out of things. We were allowed to go to confession on Saturday night and Mass on Sunday throughout basic training. It was a great way to avoid details and we could get out of the barracks for a few hours.  In November of 1965 I ended up in Germany after dropping out of Officer Candidate School. While I was in Berlin Germany I volunteered for combat Vietnam. It was in Vietnam that I really started to search for the truth about God. Combat and the stench of death have a way of making one consider what happens next.  I attended combat Mass regularly. We had a good down to earth priest who came out after a firefight and before we went on a mission. I liked him. His sermons were more talks and encouragement.  He would say the Mass give a short homily and spend time with us then leave.

While in Vietnam I wore a St. Christopher’s medal, a scapula and a rosary around my neck. I said my rosary almost every night when I wasn't on OP (observation post) or ambush. I read the bible which I carried over my heart. But I also read the sayings of the Buddha, Confuses and Mao. I read the “Little Red Book” the sayings of Chairman Mao quite a lot. 

In January or February of 1968 I was transferred to the rear detachment at An Khe because I was put in for the Medal of Honor for action on December 15, 1967.  One of the other men who was in the rear was into Scientology.  We became friends and he started to talk to me about how he started to study Scientology. He loaned me his book “Dianetics” by Ron L Hubbard I read it and was fascinated with its approach to becoming a better more self actualized person. One not weighted down by life’s traumas. When I got to Fort Hood Texas after Vietnam I went to the Scientology Center in Austin and bought the book for myself. I read it over and over again I studied Scientology until the early seventies when I realized it was a bunch of crap.
I had an unshakable feeling that there had to be something more than the legalism of the Church that something was missing in my life. I loved the simplicity of just doing what the church said I didn't have to read the bible or even learn about it the church did it all for me. All I had to do to be saved was to obey the laws of the church and attend mass and make my Easter duty. But then I got back from Vietnam and everything I knew and loved about the church had changed. Saint Christopher was no longer a Saint! His medal that I wore around my neck was nothing! I had the feeling that somewhere in heaven Saint Chris was having coffee when some angel walked up to him and threw him out. The Mass had changed the altar now faced the people as did the priest. The Mass was in English and there were guitar Masses. Gone was the holiness and mystery of the Mass. I was deeply troubled something cannot be both true and false at the same time.

If the church is true then it doesn't change to fit the norms of society if it does change can it be true? My answer was simple like everything else man made the church was flawed. And in my mind everything I was taught by Father Naughton was suspect. It was simple, for me perfection is forever it doesn't change. If the church changes it’s not perfect. If it’s not perfect it is imperfect and what I was taught was false.  If the Pope is infallible when he speaks ex catherda, then what he says concerning matters of faith is considered the word of God and is binding on earth. However if the pope in the early church made the mass one way and confession one way and another pope changed it is the pope really infallible. I knew that something cannot be both true and false at the same time. I also knew that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow we change He doesn't. All of this caused questions to arise about my Catholic faith I started to have doubts.

It was during this time that I started to read about spiritualism.  I read some of Edgar Cayce’s books. I read Jean Dixon’s books and prophecies. I became fascinated with books about lost continents and civilizations. I even read the Book of Mormon or parts of it. I still attended Mass and read the bible but nothing really made sense to me anymore.

My search for God really got serious while I was at Fort Hood. I don't recall a time when my heart cried out more for God than that 9 months at Fort Hood. Occasionally I walked through a field on my way back from town. It was on a mowed slope I could lay on my back see the lights of Fort Hood and the stars and moon spread across the sky it was beautiful. Occasionally I would lie on my back in the middle of it and look up at the stars, smoke a cigarette and pray. I really wanted to discover who Jesus is.
I even went to a “Serviceman’s Center” to talk to one of the men there about Christ. I wasn't impressed with his ability to explain the why of the faith. The Why of everything is very important to me. So I determined to find out for myself who and what Jesus is or was. I read the “Passover Plot” and “The Incredible Christians” two popular books at the time that argued against Christ and Christians. I read them as a counter point to some pamphlets, papers and books I read. But none of them really spoke to me.Yet, the great Why still pushed me to learn more and read more about God and gods.

It was a confusing time for me. I remember one inspection where my lieutenant looked in my foot locker and was shocked to find my Bible neatly stacked on top of my Penthouse. I’ll never forget the look of horror as he asked me, “What in the Hell are you thinking Sergeant Lynch! How can you put a the Bible on top of that filth?” I don’t remember what I said but I do remember him shaking his head as he walked out of the room. I passed the inspection though.

I got out of the service in 1969 and went back to Dolton Illinois where I found a job working for UPS. I didn't fit in with the company and after one particularly hard day I quit. I tried several times to get my old job back at Libby McNeal and Libby the place I worked before going into the Army. I remember going in several times to apply for a job and after being told there were no jobs available by the personal secretary, my future wife Susan. I tried one last time and I was hired seems I had re-employment rights. Over the next several months I kept running into Susan in the plant and after seeing her several times we started dating.
We fell in love and got married. During our courtship Susan asked me to attend church with her at the Ivanhoe Methodist Church she attended. I started to attend church with her regularly in the months before we got married. On April 25 1970 we were later married by Reverend Sheppard the pastor.  I started to learn about Jesus and what His death on the cross really meant. I studied the bible more and learn about God the Father and his plan for redemption.

Attending church with Susan was the start of my walk of faith. Over the last many years I've fallen and walked away from the church. But I've never walked away from God or his Son. In the back of my mind as I've gone through all my various failings and stubbornness I have always known that God is at work in my life.

NEXT THE JOURNEY CONTINUES

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Comments on Current Events

When they told me the rich were not taxed enough I thought, “Good! They don’t need all that wealth.” and they should share what they have with the rest of us. How dare they have more than I have?  I did get a little upset though when “the rich” were defined as anyone making over $70,000 a year. I thought the rich made a lot more but the government knows what it’s doing now that the right people are in power.

When they closed the Roman Catholic hospitals and made them public medical centers because they would not give out birth control devices or perform abortions. I thought, “Good! People need such things and all hospitals should provide free abortions and birth control devices to whoever wants or needs them. Besides don’t we all deserve free medical care and isn’t abortion a medical procedure? ” I just don’t understand why so many doctors have stopped practicing medicine. I mean requiring Doctors to perform abortions and helping old people to die seem fine to me. I mean life is for the living not the old and infirm. 

When the state closed the churches that wouldn’t allow gay pastors and teachers or recognize gay marriage I was happy. I’m a Christian but I don’t believe God really meant what he supposedly wrote in the Bible. After all it was written by fat old white men thousands of years ago and things have changed. So who cares if a few churches are closed when they don’t preach or teach what we all believe. They are so very narrow minded anyway and such a silly beliefs. I mean isn’t god all about love?  

When the state closed small business because the owners dared to think differently than the rest of us and had the audacity to express those thoughts publically I was happy. The very idea that someone would dare to think differently and hold such archaic beliefs like not believing in gay marriage and abortion and believing we are created by god! Well really why can’t people just fit in?  Oh they said they obeyed the laws of the land but there is the spirit of the law which they didn’t really ever have or believe. We the people require more than just obedience in this country. Freedom of speech and freedom of thought does have its limits after all. Sure they hired and promoted all the right people but, well they just cannot think those things and having the audacity to express those terrible thought in public, well good bye and good riddance.

I love living in a land where my freedoms are protected! We have free speech mostly. I mean I can swear anywhere I can even look at porn on the train and wear medals of valor even though I’ve never been the service like those few dopes who did serve. But there are words that just should not be said you know like the “N” word; the “C” word, the “B” word, the “K” word, the “G” word, the “H” word, the “A” word and other hurtful words just don’t need to be said anymore. I check the list every day just to make sure I don’t say any of them. Those who say PC restricts our freedoms are wrong and should be fined or worse. I’m happy that some of them are even being reeducated now. After all we are an enlightened people. 

I love our freedom of assembly and our right protest as long as those assembling are protesting or supporting the will of the people as defined by the people. I like that we can, during our protest get away with tipping over cars and breaking store windows. It’s a way of re distributing wealth. After all I deserve a nice car and fine clothes. So if I can’t have them why should anyone else have them?

Well I’ve told everyone how I feel guess I’ll go back to my school work. Thanks to the new taxes I’m able to go to school for free. Hell, I don’t even have to study because everyone gets a pass or fail and because the government has realized getting a fail makes us feel bad those are rarely given. The best part all I have to do for my education is serve two years in a local community service project and they even give me a place to stay, a cool uniform AND PAY ME!!

Funny thing though, a lot of stores have closed and we now have underemployment which is great right? I mean everyone who wants a job has one and now because of the Unions effective lobbying we all make, well all who work make at least $20 an hour the new minimum wage. So now everyone who works makes at least $70, 000 a year. So it’s all good right? I just don’t understand why my EIC (Enhanced Income Check) is late. It’s probably another strike by government workers seeking more money or more time off again. Well just so my check comes soon. My checks have been late the last several months. If this keeps up I may have to work. Nah, the rent for my apartment is paid by the county and I get resource stamps for food and my medicinal pot. I’m sure glad they changed the name from welfare to resource benefits. Welfare made me feel bad.

Note: Get this through the PC checkers to insure I haven’t made any politically incorrect statements then published on my blog.


 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unexamined Beliefs are not wroth Believing


There are many in my life children, family and friends who think they know me so well that they know how I think and what I'll say in conversation especially in the area of politics and religion. In a recent discussion someone close to me told me she knew how I thought and what I believed. I told her she had no idea of what I was thinking nor did she have any idea of what I believed and why I believed it or for that matter how I came to believe what I believe. The conversation lead me to evaluate my beliefs and why I believe what I believe. The next several blogs is a discussion of my beliefs and how I came to certain conclusions.


How we come to a belief is more important than what we believe. It is the process of why we believe what we believe that defines who we are. If we accept something simply because of family values or in rebellion to those values, wanting to fit in, or because it makes us feel good then our beliefs and what ever research we do to support them is skewed by presupposition and therefore what we believe is based upon on feelings not fact, emotion not logic or reason. They are a mile wide but an inch deep.

History is replete with examples of people believing and accepting things that are false. Slavery in this country was based upon a systemic belief that the negro race was inferior and subhuman. As a result of that belief this nation who's core value is, "all men are created equal" enslaved other people because of a false belief that the enslaved were not really equal. This racism was supported by a great part of our government, (including state governments) and  lasted in various forms from the birth of our nation through the greater part of the last century. Though racism exists today such beliefs are held by individuals and not civilized governments.

The Nazis convinced the Germans and other Aryans to believe that Jews and other non Aryan races were inferior and should be exterminated or enslaved along with other  "untermenschen" the mentally ill, those born with birth defects and such. As a result many Germans who in all respects were good people murdered millions because they really believed it was the right thing to do.  They went along with what their leaders told them to believe without question except by a very small minority. Who were often marginalized or simply killed.

Many in the early part of the last century thought that social Darwinism called for a purging of the inferior to strengthen the race. After all they said we are intelligent animals who should follow the laws of evolution, survival of the fittest. There were many who called for a Darwinist society where the strong benevolently ruled the weak. One such belief held that those who were not productive members of society should be mercifully destroyed and some held that inferior races should not be allowed to reproduce. 

Going along, believing something because everyone else believes it is in the extreme dangerous and at the least foolish. The bible says prove and test all things. I never accept something simply because some expert or group of experts say so. I believe today more than at any other time in our history we must never accept anything on its face without first making sure of the facts i.e., determining the motivation for what is being put fourth, who benefits and how and knowing the science behind the theory. When someone tells me a certain thing is now fact I want to see opposing views. I must always ask why, how and how do you know this is true. I also want to know the politics behind the hype. I also need to follow the money and power i.e., who benefits, how do they benefit and how much.

I think one should know what they believe, why they believe it and be able to articulate their beliefs in a cogent argument based upon a  thoughtful exploration of the subject. Further I believe one should be able to express those beliefs in their own words without reliance upon, though not excluding, sites of other works. Personally I like to explore opposing views before coming to a conclusion. Then form my own decision on the subject based upon those views.