Today I am going to rebuttal myself. I posted a blog called “Why I am crappy Christian and proud of it” or something a bit ago…
Well, first off, I’m not proud of it. I am ashamed. And I am not so much a crappy Christian as profoundly immature Christian. I said I don’t want to call myself a Christian because I am not ready to drink from the “martyrs cup” yet. And I am not, so that much is true. But a brother pointed out to me that no matter how holy my desire to not call myself a Christian might be, by not calling myself a Christian I removed myself from the day to day dialog of life about God and Reality, and that meant I was held to a lower standard. He said further, that I was right to recognize my failure to be a good Christian but that seeking a lower standard would do nothing to address the root issues of why I couldn’t meet the standard. He’s right. but…
Well, first, I’ve not the right to say “He’s right, but…” He’s just right. Having accepted that he is totally correct, I want to explain why its so hard.
I hate U.S. Christianity Inc.
Its a dirty little cage with tarnished bars. The goal of US Christianity Inc is nothing less than the total destruction of God through a Randian twist of destroying man. The shittier USCI can make man look, the worse it can make God look by association. US Christianity Inc hates anything that inspires anything other than insipid nostalgia for a nonexistent past.
“Christian art” is an affront to both Christianity and Art. A photo can tell the truth about the way something is (though far to few do) but Art can tell the truth about the way something feels. If what Christ saves you from is life of misery, where is the misery in their art? Where is the brokenness. I see the blond haired, blued Jesus with the kids on his lap, I see the pathetic broken man on the cross. Where is the triumphant King? Where is the Holy Vengeance? Where’s the man who pours out wrath? Where is the master of the four horsemen? Well, he doesn’t go well with peoples living room furniture so we wrote him out of the story.
“Christian Music” is pure unadulterated crap. Now, my brother plays in Christian band. He plays metalcore, because he finds a lot of lost people at metalcore concerts. They get up on the stage and talk about being broken and hurt and miserable and addicted and then they sing about Jesus and how with Jesus they don’t need toke up anymore, or hurt themselves anymore. They do an alter call after the show and pray for the people who accepted Christ and try to hook them up with local ministries. They don’t do this at nice clean Christian concerts by the way. They do it opening for garage bands. They did 200 shows this year. Without a label. They work their butts off and spread the Gospel and pay their way. I respect that, and thats not what I am talking about. I am talking about people like Jessica Simpson, who’s parents tried to release her on a Christian label but decided not to because they couldn’t get enough of the boobs they had paid good money for onto the album covers. I am talking about “Our God is an Awesome God” rearranged for choir with the drums edited out.
“Christian Business” is the most perverse. Non-profit agencies clearing millions. Pastors with private jets. Televangelists. “Christian bookstores” which buy the artless kitsch mentioned above from Chinese slave labor and sell it for 1000% markups. Christian Radio stations which use a non-profit loophole about repeater stations to own more of the airwaves than Clear Channel. (Ever wonder why you can hear KLUV in every city in the US?)
US Christianity Inc holds out a pathetic worthless vision of what it means to be human, and thus a pathetic worthless vision of what it means to be the God who made humans. I hate it all. Hate it with a passion, as I should. Its crap. It replaces the living God with idol of kitsch in a temple of consumerism. It is, to be frank, exactly the sort of thing that God punishes people with the “Three C’s” for. (Capture, Captivity, and Cannibalism.)
I hate it. Yet, I must not lie. Despite the fact that Christians have made the name of God a mockery, I cannot “un-mock” God by pretending I am not his child. SO, I repent. I am Christian. I am a lousy, weak, stupid, and angry Christian. But I am a Christian. I will no longer secretly mock my brothers and sisters for their weakness and stupidity. That too is sin. No, from this day forward, I will call them out on their hypocrisy and seek to eliminate the same from my life.
So here by popular demand is the 2005 small car report. Now, being it is 2008, one might very reasonably ask why I am doing the 2005 report. Well, because the kind of people who read my blog buy used cars and 3 years old is probably the newest they can afford. An astute reader might notice that I am not including hybrids. The reason for this is that current hybrid technology requires a large, heavy and expensive battery pack which needs to be replaced every 3 -7 years. This is explained in great detail in this blog: https://truthwalker.wordpress.com/2007/12/30/chevy-volt-analysis-iii/ . For this little report on I will exclude them.
I might note as well that me doing this report of small cars by no means constitutes a endorsement of the world auto industry. Chevrolet’s Corvette division, BMW’s large car division, Honda’s engine group, and Tata’s small car team are the only engineers in the entire field which are earing their paychecks, listed in order of ability. Everyone else is churning out the BS that they have foisting on a infinitely stupid public for 60 years.
Also all cars have manual transmissions unless I note otherwise. If you are two stupid and or lazy shift gears you don’t deserve to get good fuel economy.
If you notice a sort of pathetic sameness here, thats because there is a sort of pathetic sameness here. TCO by the way is a constructed number which is a verity of different things that one has to pay for the Toyota ECHO for example breaks down like this:
Now you might reasonably say: But my calculated expenses don’t look anything like that. It doesn’t really matter. Since I used the same formula on all of the cars, the trends that the formula indicates are going to hold even if you use a different formula, or change values in the formula.
I know that some people also don’t take much stock in “depreciation”. Well, you should, it effects you.
Right now, if I get in a car accident, my car is worth less then it was when I bought it. Thus, the money my insurance company will pay me if the total it is less. Depreciation decides how much the insurance company pays you, and thus how much money you have to buy your next car, so its important in that sense. Also, looking at the total cost of ownership (TCO) forces you realize how much this car is really costing you and makes things like bikes look more attractive, as they should.
Anyway, I didn’t chose the ECHO as an example arbitrarily. As you can see from Table 1, the ECHO and the Chevy Cavalier tie for TCO. You might notice that the Cavalier is $2000 cheaper in purchase price than the ECHO, but since TCO includes purchase price, that means the two grand you save on buying a Cavalier, you will lose maintaining it. Further the ECHO gets 30 city 38 Highway, so once the initial five years is up, the ECHO will cost less and less every year in comparison to the Cavalier. Further, the ECHO got outstanding crash stats, 4 out of 5 stars on almost all measures. And its built by the most reliable car company on earth. You could spend more, but you won’t get more.
By the way, I hate all the cars that these companies build. If I had the 10 grand to invest in equipment I could build significantly better cars in my garage. Its not that I am that smart, its that the cars are that bad. Regardless, my car company is not up and running and won’t be for around 8 years, if at all. In the mean time, buy an ECHO.
Finally, if you lifestyle demands that you get a fuel efficient car to keep your finances in check, then you desperately need to change your life style. The TCO data is based off of a verity of things which won’t last
$3.00 gas (It will be $4.50 by July, and will probably top out around $15 – $25 in the next 10 years.)
Maintained roads (The US DOT says 25% of our bridges are either structurally deficient or totally obsolete, and they can’t get money to fix them. Large cities have been able to siphon off the lions share of highway funds for local pork barrel (ale “The Big Dig”) We refuse to take car of our infrastructure, and shortly it will refuse to take car of us.
Insurance is based of of the concept of shared risk. If everyone’s risk goes up so does the cost of driving. Poorly maintained roads cause accidents.
So, like I said, if your lifestyle requires 100 miles of driving a day, you need to change it. NOW. In ten years you will be to broke to save money by making large lifestyle changes.
My bibliography, for your skeptical pleasure
NOTE: the following is the pertinent part of a on going discussion I am having. This cuts the personal part out which is why it seems a bit abrupt.
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Christ is the sower, he plants the seed. It grows, and then dies. If the rejection of Christ was initial, how and what is growing?
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 10 people waiting desperately for the Bridegroom (Christ). Five are prepared. Five are not. Five get to God with Lord, five don’t. All were waiting and all knew he was coming, but the five with oil were a little more prepared.
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first… Now, Jesus goes on to insult the Pharisees here, but the point is the man who said no but obeyed was in his father’s will and the man who said “Yes, sir!” but didn’t wasn’t.
The point is, saying that Christ’s rejection of a person who rejects him is only in the initial meeting between Christ and person does not square with the above verses. Further, it is not in the character of God as revealed in the Bible in total. Jesus also says “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me”(Mat 10:38). Predestination to a call and decision to heed that initial call is not enough. You must be crucified with Christ. I know in my heart that I am not yet crucified with Christ, so I will not call myself a Christian.
Wanting to be saved is certainly necessary for salvation, but wanting alone is NOT enough. You have to want it so much that you love Christ more than your mother, father, or child. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Mathew 10:37. Since we have to be crucified with Christ, you have to love Christ more than your own life. As I said, before if I am not ready for martyrdom, then I don’t love Christ more than my life. If I don’t love Christ more than my life, then I am NOT crucified with Christ. If I am not crucified with Christ, then I am not Christian. I never said I don’t want to be a Son of God, I said there is clear objective standard of what that means, I don’t meet it, and I will not claim to to when I don’t because I am unwilling to be lukewarm. I would far rather be the Son who said No but obeyed than the Son who said Yes! and did not.
Todays dollar as referenced to copper has declined by 400% since 1996
Todays dollar as referenced to gold has declined by 400% since 1996
Todays dollar as referenced to silver has declined by 400% since 1996
The gap between the wealthiest 10% and the poorest 10% is greater in the United States than any other country except Russia. That includes communist China.
The ratio of the compensation of CEOs to the average worker in 1974 was 35 to 1; now it is 150 to 1.
Referenced to inflation, the wages of the bottom 1/3 of population has declined by around 75%. Wages for the middle third declined by 20%. Wages for the top 1/3 have more than doubled.
2% of the population controls 55% of the wealth in the US, again this figure is unmatched in the world.
Household debt (credit card debt, short term loans, car loans, and home loans) makes up 97% of the GDP. In case this sounds normal, it was 20% in 1950.
The US has the largest inmate population in the world, with more than 2½ million
Although the United States represents less than 5% of the world’s population, over 25% of the people incarcerated around the world are housed in the American prison system
As a percentage of total population, the United States also has the largest imprisoned population, with 738 people per 100,000 serving time, awaiting trial or otherwise detained
Counting the incarcerated, the US has the highest per capita unemployment on earth. Worse than many developing countries.
I was born in 1980. I have never lived in a world in which “hi-tech” meant anything but computer. I shake my head at this, but as a child the lunar landings were not something that had tapered off a mere few years before I was born, but some sort of sepia toned snapshot of history like steam engines and narrow gauge railways. It was what we did “back then”. The moonshot of my childhood was not outerspace, but inner space, the world that existed not between stars but between the transistors of a microchip.
When I was about 12, someone gave me an old Commodore 64. This someone was the only person I ever knew who’s technical opinion I truly respected. (He invented the F.R.E.D. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashing_Rear_End_Device ) He told me that it was an outdated piece of junk, however, the only thing that would make it run was BASIC and the concepts that made it run would help me understand the much more advanced machines of the future. I learned very entry level programing on that piece of crud. I gave up around the time that I wrote a large program to create a set of random numbers from 1 – 6 (a dice roller). The program tanked. My 64K of memory and elementary BASIC interpreter meant I would have to enter the whole program again and taking a hike to the river and throwing rocks at carp, frankly, seemed like a better use of my professional time.
Eventually someone gave me an IBM XT. I was very excited. I mean an IBM was real computer, the Commodore was junk. (I knew it was junk because the Commodore plugged into a TV instead of monitor and had an Atari compatible slot in the back. No real computer had that stuff.) Besides IBMs were manly brawny machines! Anybody could use the sissy “Macintosh” computers at the library. They were named after fruit, and had a little bar of soap with a wire attached called a “mouse”. Real men didn’t suggest that a computer did things with a little mouse. They COMMANDED. Thats why it was called a “command line” for crying out loud!
So I used my IBM XT and read every magazine I could get my hands out about computers.
The XT used 80186. Mom wouldn’t buy one. Then the 286 came out. Again no computer. Then the 386, the 486, the Pentium 75. The 133. Finally, the MMX series came out dropping the price of the straight 200’s to the point that my mom could be guilted into getting me one for “educational” purposes.
It had Windows 95 on it, which was still a big deal at the time. I think like every wired teen boy out there with relatively smart parents my first real education in computing came when I found out that all the websites (with the adventurous women) stayed locked into the computer in non-intuitive files. I would learn to navigate the file system in a constant search for anything that might tell my parents what I was looking at.
When I left home I got another Pentium 200 with monitor and printer for the princely sum of $25. I would continue to use that piece for years until it was more an anachronism today than my Commodore 64 was when I was kid. It wasn’t until I had to get an more advanced computer to handle things from work that I got a new one.
And what a computer it was! 3.8 GB processor, 64 bit architecture, DVD RW, 1 GB of RAM up-gradable to 4 GB. That 4GB of RAM in particular amazed me. My old computer had a 2GB hard rive. My RAM was now twice the size of my old hard drive. I would rock the internet! I could play all those games that had been big news since high school (and they would only be $4.99, now)
The computer may have been quantifiablely faster than the old 200, but, ah… see, I didn’t run Windows95 on my new one. I ran Windows XP. Windows95 took up 50 Megs of that 2Gig hardrive or about 2.3%. Windows XP says it takes 3.3 gigs. The reality is that it takes closer to 30GB after all of its “stuff” is done installing, or about 12% of my 250GB hardrive. So when I ran 95 it took up about 3% of my hard drive. My new super duper amazo-puter: 4 times more. Well I figured that was OK, I would get 4 times more computing out of it.
But I didn’t get 4 times more out of it. I could play new games. One I was really excited about was Civ4. It was supposed to be so much better than Civ 2 which I had been playing for about 10 years by then. Of course, it wasn’t 4 times better. Over 10 years I had a lot of time to think about what would take Civilization from a great game to a truly perfect game. And almost none of the ideas made it into Civ 4. In fact all the things that made Civ 2 really fun to play were missing. What was new was ton of complicated and rich graphics that didn’t actually add anything to the fun of the game. Everything seemed to be like that. More bells and whistles, but no real increases in functionality.
The internet wasn’t really that much faster. Connection speed and lack of spyware has a lot more to do with perceived speed than other considerations. My 64-bit computer did not run twice as fast as 32- bit model. It ran -1% to 7% faster (yes on some functions 64-bits are slower). When I happily sat down to Microsoft office to write a blog for the first time, imagine my surprise! I hadn’t payed for it??? Microsoft, it turned out had not sold me a full office utility, they had loaned me one for 60 days and if I wanted to buy it, I could. Having just paid a large amount of money for my new and amazing computer (and included operating system) this was very frustrating.
But I kept with it. Its funny, I never understood free software. I mean, I knew it was out there, but “ya get what you pay for” right? Why would I download some buggy crap onto my computer. I had paid my admission price to the information age, and I still had my ticket stub. It said Microsoft in pretty gold script. Microsoft was power to the people. No one could afford Macs when I was kid. If you wanted a cheap computer you bought an IBM compatible. The 2 people who had owned it before you put windows 3.11 on it or maybe if you were really lucky even Win95. 386’s and 486’s were cheap and easy to get to know and understand.
Fast forward to the present. My computer is running slower and slower. I don’t know why, I am very careful to keep spyware off it. But it just keeps getting worse. Applications don’t seem to want to run. At one point in the past, my MediaPlayer quit working when I installed an Explore update, so I figure it is Explore again. I strip all the add ons off of Explore. Next day, they’re back! Now, I am sure I have some malware. Deleted programs that come back are always a sure sign. I go through my files manually looking for anything that shoudn’t be. I’m not a computer geek. I just like to know whats going on. But there is nothing there that is not supposed to be there. My excellent programs can’t find spyware.
Well, I never use Explore anyway (I started using Firefox not long after my “free” 60 days on MSOffice ran out and I switched to OpenOffice). Why not junk it all together? Well, I can’t. It won’t let me. Some research reveals that this because Microsoft wrapped the whole operating systems around Explore. If you take out Explore, the whole OS withers and dies a shaking death. Now that disturbs me. Explore has long been known to be the weak link in Windows, so why wrap an the WHOLE OS up in it? Further I am disturbed by the fact that the one part of the whole software suite that relates to the internet is the part that the whole system is based on.
Being an adventurous sort I decide to delete some Explore related files and see what happens. Dire warnings are projected on the monitor. But nothing happens. I delete more. Nothing. So I get a program from friend of mine who walks a line between geek and hacker. This program shows me all the hidden files. I never deleted those programs. Microsoft will let you push whichever icons you want. Microsoft decides what gets deleted and what stays. Microsoft doesn’t want Explore to not have those files. After all the warnings, I deleted them anyway. So the systems moves them to a file I can’t see without a special software tool, and tells me I’ve deleted them.
This does more than disturb me. This makes me pretty mad. I bought and paid for this software, if I want to cut pieces out of it, that is my business. But it turns out it’s not. A careful reading of the “end use agreement” (that rediculously long document that eveyone says they read but hasn’t) says I am not the owner of this software. Microsoft is the owner of this software. I am but a licensee. It is as if I ran a factory that made a patented product on license from the developing firm. I can’t just change the licensed product and continue to sell it. Of course, the difference is. I am not running a factory. I am not going to strip windows down and sell it to other people in my new modified version, I am going to sit with it at home. If the owner of a factory wanted to modify a licensed product for his personal use no one could complain.
Microsoft seemed to be acting more and more like malware. Didn’t delete when it said it did, did things non-transparently, hid folders etc. So I do some more research. Microsoft is maleware.
Microsoft “was expanded to include a system that made contact with Microsoft’s servers to help the company identify people who may be using pirated versions of its market-leading operating system” Microsoft is being sued because it has violated the state of California’s anti-spyware laws. WindowsXP checks your whole system and sends Microsoft an email report on it. Indetify people??? What are they? The NSA’s bitch???.
A computer program can only do what a computer program can do. Did you ever wonder why computer virus scares never amount to much? Oh sure it gets on the news and numbers are thrown around but did you ever actually here of it really causing a problem other than short lived inconvenience? You know why? Because computer programs don’t “like” being viruses. Computer programming languages don’t even have the vocabulary to make a virus really do what it is supposed to do. Most (99%) attempted virus fail. The code isn’t built to do that and it doesn’t do it well.
But spyware seems to work great. Why? Because spyware is doing exactly what it was coded to do. It doesn’t have to fight the computer, it just has to convince the computer it is Windows. Just to be really clear here. The cause of spyware is Windows. If Windows was not made with the built-in ability for files to hide from you, non-Windows files could not be hidden from you. If Windows wasn’t made with built-in ability to show files as being deleted when they really haven’t been, nothing running on a windows system could either.
Have you noticed that even though you don’t hear much about viruses you hear a lot about security problems? That’s because Windows concept of security is this: If no one but us knows what the heck we are doing then everyone who uses our product will be safe. Windows relies on the fact that no one can read the source code to keep you safe. If people could read the source code, says Microsoft, then they could hack it.
THATS THE POINT! If everybody has the source code weakness in the code are seen instantly. The included problem with security by obfuscation is that it is intrinsically reactive. Since no one is supposed to “get” Windows code, when someone does get it and uses it with ill intent, it will be the first time Microsoft hears about it. Further, you know how Prohibition helped create organized crime? Similarly, since no one is supposed to understand Window’s code, if someone does, that limited information is worth a large amount. On the other hand, if the source code was known, then the incentive to crack it goes down, and the chance and incentive to use it with ill intent is reduced.
Like I said, I never really got “free software” until I read one thing. Its not free as in “free beer” its free as in “free speech”. Open source software isn’t free because it’s given away, you can sell it if you want. Open source software is free because the code is freely accessible. I said goodbye to Microsoft last week. I run a straight Linux system now. Its 99% just as “easy” as windows. Yes, it is somewhat more technical at times. And, no, I don’t know what the heck I am doing. I make mistakes, and mess things up and have to fix my stuff again. But that’s the point: Its mine. I am free to do whatever I want with any part of any of the software on my computer. I’ll take freedom to act over security from needing to act any day. (BTW, it is also blinding quick and other than that 1% intuitive and easy to use. It is also better at everything you actually need to do.)
Always, I didn’t want to know what happened in my computer. I just wanted it to do what it was supposed to do. What’s funny is that I have derided people like that my whole life. People who have no idea how a car works and don’t want to know. They seem to get stranded a lot. When I tell them (as I fix it) what is wrong with their car they get mad! “I don’t care how it works, I just want it to work!” they pout. And I always say “You are this car’s caretaker. If you can’t be bothered to understand how it works, then you won’t understand how to take care of it. If you don’t take care of it, it will not take care of you.”
If I am feeling particularly shrill I will go on: “You have no right to decide what the performance of something you do not understand should be. Period. If you insist on being an ignorant ass, then you will be consistently rewarded with failure. The universe does not work a certain way because you wish it to be so, thank God. Reality has certain way that it works and the sooner you accept that easy your life will be”
How painful to be given my own advice about my favorite technology. Wait for more updates on how this newfound but ironically, painfully obvious, truth strikes my view of other matters that I relate too.
Depression sucks. I’ve struggled with it my whole life. I hate saying I was suicidal, though I was. I hate saying it not because it is embarrassing to admit (It doesn’t embarrass me at all. I think a lot more people should be suicidal, actually. Their lives are totally pointless, but they are so busy staying entertained that they don’t know it. At least a suicidal person has some idea of who and what they are…)
It embarrasses me because Becky and I were sort of the mom & dad for bunch of 19 year olds. So many of them were “suicidal”. It always frustrated me, because they would tell me how suicidal they were. I’d ask what their plan was, and they’d say they didn’t really have one. Over and over again I would say something to the effect of,”Suicide is not a lifestyle, its an event. If you’ve been suicidal for 10 years and never had a plan, I think there is something else going on here. Lets talk about what that something else might be.” But privately, I was much more judgmental. I’d think “where’s the scars up and down your arm? Where’s the gun loaded with just one bullet? Where’s your special kit that you have for mutilating yourself?” Because those things mark someone who takes ending their life, or at least hurting themselves, a little more seriously than just mentioning in casual conversation, “Oh, me, sure I’ve been suicidal for years now!”
But anti-depressants always scared me more than death. I always felt like I hated my life because of legitimate complaints, not because I just had biochemical screw loose that made me hate my wonderful life. Seriously, it wasn’t a wonderful life. It was bitter and sad and desperate and lonely. I didn’t want to feel better about my shitty life. I wanted to have great life, not be stoned into believing that my shitty life was great. I’m sure someone who reads this will have had their life saved by anti-depressants. Great. I am very happy for you! I believe that there are biochemical imbalances that cause depression and that anti-depressants are healthy and positive way to deal with said chemical imbalances. But that’s not what my problem was. I am very analytical. I self assess my life constantly. When I was really depressed it was because I dispassionately analyzed my life and concluded as any sane person would that the life I had really sucked. When I was suicidal it was because I had a an experience when lead me to (very reasonably, I might add) to think that if I kept on doing what I was doing I would keep on getting what I was getting. That’s not the thoughts of an insane person. In fact, quite the opposite, since the definition of mental illness is doing the same-thing over and over and expecting a different result. On the occasions that cut myself it was because I hurt so much inside that I want hurt outside too. Is cutting yourself an acceptable way to deal with pain? No. Does the fact that I dealt with my pain badly mean that the pain should not have been felt in the first place? Absolutely not! Pain is supposed to hurt. I did not want then, nor do I want now, any chemical that makes my emotional pain less. Analogy: I don’t want it to not hurt when you hit me with a hammer, I want you stop hitting me with a hammer.
Anyway, I decided the only way to change my life was to sit down and change it. I told my church to screw it, told God to screw it, dropped out of all my closest friends lives, and joined the Air Force without telling anyone but my wife, and some close family. We just sort of disappeared. I don’t regret it. About 6 months ago we patched things up with people, became friends again, and apologized where apology was due. I don’t think that I “dropped out” right. There were probably a hundred different ways I hurt people and didn’t actually NEED to. But the spirit of me leaving: God, my friends, my family, my church, and my town, was dead on.
I did it because I refused to live a life in fear anymore. Not of God, not of approval. Not anything. Since then, the times when I want to kill myself have been few and far between, I haven’t struggled with wanting to hurt myself almost at all (which is a big deal for me). Oddly, I think the whole thing has a lot to do with God, even thought I turned my back on Him. (Losing my faith did more to cure my depression than anything else I’ve done!)
I turned my back on God because I had a faith that was unexamined, and an unexamined faith isn’t worth having. In the Bible there’s these people called martyrs. They were given a choice of saying that Jesus was BS or dying. And they chose to die. I never understood why. Why not just say “Jesus is a phony” and then live to tell others about how great he is. But they died. And the Bible says this pleased God. Well that pissed me off. Why would God be happy when people died because they wouldn’t say he was fake? Saying and believing aren’t the same thing, so who cares if they say “God’s not real” and then go on to a life full of miracles and helping people. But God does.
I decided that I wouldn’t call myself a Christian unless I am sure that if someone put a gun to my head, and said “Renounce Christ or die” I’d chose death. That sounds hardcore, but its not. Not really. I’d die to protect my daughter’s life, or at least if I don’t, then I’m not much of dad. Heck, female dogs will die to protect their puppies, I’d better have at least as much morality as flea-bitten mongrel bitch. So I still don’t call myself a Christian (not yet).
But I’m working on it. The simplest thing I’ve ever found is this: If God’s real treat Him like it. They say he wrote the Bible. They say he wrote the Koran. The Bible says there are no other books of God. The Koran says that followers of the Bible have no place in Heaven. So ask God to help you find him in the books people say he wrote. Then read ’em. If He is who he seems to be, it seems the Almighty Master of the universe could show you which biography is the most accurate.
He shows me stuff. (I thought the Koran sucked, btw) I read the Bible and I see stuff about this guy named God and what He thinks. Gradually, I begin to understand that the reason the faith I used to have made me want to cut myself to let all the pain out was because my faith wasn’t in God at all. My faith was in this made up God that the Church sells people because the Church wants to keep its stranglehold of power. The real God that I find in the Bible doesn’t bother me half as much as the one that people twist the Bible to invent. I still don’t love him, which the Bible commands me to do, but I don’t hate him anymore, and that’s progress.
Einstein believed that there was one single guiding principal that allows all of the fundamental forces between elementary particles to be written in terms of a single field. He called the rationalization of this belief Unified Field Theory. Its not much of step to link the theory to the idea that there is single theory which could explain how all of physics functions, from the tiniest sub-particle to mass of whole galaxy, from gravity and magnetism, to quantum glue and particle spin. In effect it would explain all matter and energy. The first mention of this theory was by a Polish science fiction writer who called it “Ogólna Teoria Wszystkiego” or the Theory of Everything (ToE).
Everything that exists in this universe has name, its called reality. Philosophers have been searching for one single guiding principal of reality as long as there have been philosophers. The search for the Theory of everything is the search for Truth. Truth with a capital t (capital t truth or CTT). Plain old run of the mill truth is defined as that which conforms to reality, but reality is specific to the context of the reality which is being examined. That which is true about pie is not necessarily true about pi which explains why there is some truth in relativism, but ultimately relativism isn’t true.
What the philosophers and quantum physicists seem to be searching for is some truth which transcends context, some truth that just keeps enlarging to encircle everything that exists. Ultimately, everyone who wants Truth is looking for that One Thing. The thing whose sum is greater than its parts. All of our highest ideals represent that which is greater than the sum of its parts. Is not a great man made of the same amino acids as a merely adequate man? Thousands of men have played billions of notes over the centuries, yet there is only one Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Some philosophers believed that Art would die when cameras and mass production made realism cheap and reproducible, yet Art remained as any deep thinking artist could have said would happen. Why? Because greatness in an artist has little to do with reality. Photo-realism is a mere technical skill; the mark of great master is knowing how to make people feel what he intends, which involves weaving reality and un-reality together. Though man cannot agree on what parts of reality are great, we all seem to intuitively agree on what the idea of greatness is.
Greatness is the quality of being more than the sum of constituent parts. When we search for Truth, we are seeking greatness. The Unified Theory of Everything is the search for something so great, that it doesn’t change with shifting face of the reality it describes. That is Truth.
I believe in Truth. I know thats not fashionable anymore. Thankfully, Truth does not change with fashion or whim. It is not because we wish it so or not so. Truth is. By definition Truth is much bigger than I am. I want to hug Truth in one day, I want to wrap my arms around it right now, but I can’t because anything that I can wrap my arms around in a single moment is most likely not even close enough to be Truth. So I seek Truth the only way I can.
I think Truth is not a destination, but journey. I think it is a cobblestone road and I think that every cobble is little contextual truth. The truth that light is light and dark is not is not less or more true than the truth of God’s existence, nor more or less important. I think that real satisfaction with life comes from Truth. The closer one places his life inline with Truth the happier and simpler his life becomes, and one aligns with Truth by accepting truth.
I love truths. I’ve sought them my whole life. I want to live true to Truth. This has always made me different than most people I meet, but because I never accepted it at my very core it never had the chance to change me as fully as it might. I loved truth outside of my religion and politics, but within religion and politics, I had to accept various hypocrisies. Hypocrisy is the act of condemning another person for an act of which the critic is guilty. Hypocrisy is flagrant departure from truth.
Since, truth is that which conforms to reality and there is only one reality, holding people to one standard of how to act on reality while holding yourself to another is based on a lie. Namely, that you are special. The fact which conforms to reality is that you are not special. The universe will not give you different rules that it gives everyone. You will obey the laws of physics whether you are aware of them or not. You are not special.
But I had to believe that I was so special that I was infallible. To honestly assess the systems of faith I held would result in clearly seeing the failures inherent to those systems, so I had to carefully not asses them. Similtaneously, I believed that unexamined life was valueless. Resulting in the further lie of not only being infallible, but having special insight into truth and knowing without examination with truths were worthy of examination. Honestly, I think most hypocrisy is an attempt to “legislate” away another hypocrisy.
Eventually this can only lead you to believe in magic. The special exemptions pile on top of one another creating an identity founded on the idea that you are totally exempt even from anything that you haven’t personally defined. Logically, the only direction this can go is that your thoughts make reality, you can make what is real inside without physical work, merely by the power of belief.
But of course, I couldn’t really change reality by wanting too. Eventually, truth lead me to truth. I sat down with the systems of faith I had, and analyzed them. Of course, they fell apart. Gradually, I met God in all this, and I began to see scripture. It was funny. So much of what had seemed so contradictory in the way of God was not His hypocrisy, but mine. God was consistent within His own definition of Himself, he simply disagreed with the way I preferred to define Him.
Its been a great blessing addressing those last to prime holdouts of lies in my life: my faith in God (religion) and my faith in man (politics). When I let go of what I wanted to be true and accepted what is true, the great storm of my life quited. Like a graphic Renaissance fresco, hidden by blue-nosed Victorian under plaster, as the chunks of hypocrisy and self made lies fell of, my world view becomes more beautiful. The deeper I lived in truth, the less odious God became to me. I’ve even begun to want to love God, this Master Craftsmen who built the reality that dwell in, which is exciting.
The unexpected side effect of all this is growing sense of alienation from those around me. When the pursuit of life’s truths, even the simple ones, is more important to you than which group you belong to, no group fits anymore. There is no handle to grab a hold of my identity with anymore.
I’m started to want to know Christ, but I am not a Christian. I love the stars and the moon and the trees, I believe they are important and spiritual, but I am not a Pagan, or even a hippie. I’ve read the Koran, but I am not Muslim. The truths in the religions I study are far more important to me than the opinions their adherents. So I don’t fit in anywhere anymore.
That’s OK with me, its just a weird feeling. Tonight we celebrated New Year’s Eve with a lovely Catholic couple we know. I looked at the crucifixes on their throats, on their walls, and on their refrigerator door and I wished I could have one simple thing that could tell the world who I am, and attract people who share my path to me, a simple symbol that represented a whole code, a people, a way of life, and a single purpose. Sometimes I when I look at a menorah, or a crucifix, and even, once in a great while, an ichthus (the “Jesus Fish”) I feel this deep, aching longing to be part of.
But, I sigh, I will not belong to them for all the wishing, because wishing does not make reality, even when I wish it does. Truth remains, and hopefully always will remain, more important to me than belonging to a group who claims to have it.