Tuesday, April 30, 2013

All the Nice Girls I Meet Are "Older Women" in Relationships Already

Today I met Caitlin. I have a feeling I've spoken to her before, but I can't remember the conversation. That's typical of me because of the way in which I meet people--namely, spontaneously. I'll walk by somebody and decide to start talking to them. Yes, complete strangers. Because why not? It's nice to talk to people I already know, but you don't meet new people until you talk to someone you don't. I therefore make many many acquaintances as I go about my daily life in public.

The reason I'm so outgoing, despite being an introvert, is worthy to be another story in itself. But suffice it to say, I traveled out of the country at a formative period, when I had just hit puberty, and so I had the opportunity to "practice" talking to strangers -- girls, mainly, but not exclusively -- with the freedom of conscience of knowing that if I embarrassed myself, none of it would follow me home, because I'd never see those people again when I returned to the States. As a result, I figured out how to flirt with girls and I found out that starting conversations with complete strangers was not only easy but enjoyable. And that's what I've been doing ever since.

Caitlin was unsuspecting, sitting outside my class as I left it this morning; amazingly, she found the hard-backed bench in the hallway comfortable. I can almost never find a comfortable public-access chair, couch or bench, and I suspect I'm just an unfortunate height. Or too picky, I suppose. At any rate, I asked if she was waiting for the class after mine, she said no, and then I commented on her "snake-bite" lip piercings. And that was the lead-in. Then the conversation was begun, and we talked about all sorts of things, like exercise and posture, introversion and shyness/outgoing-'itude?' (what's the accusative noun for "outgoing?"--to "have the quality of being" outgoing..? Oh well...), and then we talked about relationships, maturity, what body types are attractive, aging, gender roles and marriage. 

Wow!, right? She wouldn't have spoken to me if I hadn't started the conversation. So the fact that I took the initiative led to an enjoyable dialogue. I ended up giving her my Facebook and hope to have more conversations like that in the future. I had to leave at some point, because I have a tendency to absorb people into multiple-hour conversations, and she had a class she was reading a paper for. Something about Gandhi, the background behind the famous statements he's made.

One of the things I took away from the conversation was that here was yet another nice young woman whom I happen to connect with on a 'maturity-level' basis. Yet, as I've often found, though I admit it could just be my perception, I seem to be more intellectually attracted toward such women than those a year or more younger than I, and even a large chunk of those who are my age. As it happens, she was "almost 30," she told me, and her mentioning that caused me to recall the time when I was visiting the mall to see a movie in my Freshman year. I would have been 18, and as I stood in line waiting to order at Subway, I came across a lovely young lady who was not only stunningly attractive, but had a great personality. She, to my dismay, was 27. We're simply worlds apart. Different life experiences, different immediate goals, that sort of thing. It made me think, "I can't wait until I'm 27, because that's where the 27-year olds are." It might sound silly, but the main idea is this: the independence and maturity level of girls several years older than me is highly attractive to me, and, not to promote myself, I find that I have much more in common with them. So for me to be able to find a potential love interest, I essentially have to play the waiting game. This is all fine and dandy with me, since I recognize that I'm not financially stable and independent, such that I can put time, effort and money (being broke) into pursuing someone. If an opportunity were to come by at this point, I'd miss it. So for the time being, I'm content with being single, despite the occasional pangs of loneliness.

Now, I didn't yearn to be in a romantic relationship with Caitlin, however. Instead, since I found out early in the conversation that she was in a long-term relationship with a young man, I became interested in what I could learn from her about that. To my surprise, she told me that her boyfriend "did not believe in marriage." What?? I immediately responded, "he needs to grow up/man up." She laughed affirmatively. I can sympathize with the frustration of young women who want to get married but who can't seem to find a guy who has his act together/priorities in order who can give them that. Now, I don't believe that they're in a bad relationship. I know nothing else beyond that, which is all she mentioned before we diverted the topic. But I think the boy she's been dating has a little bit of growing he needs to do. Guys who don't want to marry, ultimately, are not being responsible. They don't want to commit, in one way or another, to loving a woman full-time and not merely enjoying the benefits of a casual relationship without having to work hard  and sacrifice their fleeting desires for the benefit of someone else. That's what marriage ultimately is, a mutual self-sacrifice of your wants for their needs, and comfort. There's nothing better, in my mind, as far as human relationships go. Any guy who doesn't want to get married is just in need of getting his perspective altered. 

I let the cat out of the bag at that point, and asked if she thought her boyfriend would be willing to check out a motivational video if it happened to be a Christian sermon. She herself was definitely interested; I hope they both watch it. I gave her the link to Mark Driscoll's "Marriage and Men" sermon and when I get home to Facebook, I plan to give her the link to this one (which I couldn't remember the name of when we were talking):

Title: Adolescence: Boys Who Can Shave. 23 minutes in length.

This together with the "Marriage and Men" sermon have been the single two most foundational videos I've seen, with regard to forming my own understanding of my responsibility as a man and about what marriage is.

Yeah, most of the girls my age seem to not know what they want, yet. The secret that no one ever tells you in school is that girls don't actually mature faster than guys, that's only true for middle school and until the guys catch up. I've met girls in college whose immaturity would outpace even the immaturity of the worst-behaved class clown from my public school days. I seem to be more drawn to the "older women." Ladies, lest you think otherwise: maturity is sexiest. There's nothing quite as attractive as a woman with integrity. And if I can grow to be a responsible, independent young man with integrity, then that's the sort of woman I hope to meet.

Patiently waiting, 

~ Rak Chazak

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Journal Entry: Discovering, Then Struggling, With Masturbation and Fantasies

WARNING: Explicit Content

Notice: the original post that was here has been removed in order to protect the privacy of the author for the time being. It may yet one day return, but not until he's settled with a job and a good reputation in a community somewhere :)

In the meantime, a couple of observations have been excerpted out of the original article that may still be of interest.

*    *    *    *    *

Being an excerpt of a longer Journal entry I wrote that turned into a private confession to my future wife, this is written in the first person, and it's far too hard to edit it to change that aspect of it. Here's what I hope you get out of it, whether young or old, male or female, sexually active or not: some perspective you may not have thought of:
* how we try to justify lusts
* what's so insidiously wrong about porn
* the importance of not making the struggle for purity primarily about bettering yourself but about depending on Christ for your deliverance
* perhaps you'll get something out of this that I can't even anticipate. I hope you do.

The Chaos Theory of Impropriety

Chaos Theory encompasses the phenomenon known as the "Butterfly Effect," technically known as "sensitive dependence upon initial conditions." It's a mix of mathematical theory and philosophy that explains why it's difficult to predict the outcome of complicated systems. Weather, for instance. This is where the "Butterfly" analogy comes from. It supposes that the flapping of a butterfly's wings could alter the flow of the air molecules in its immediate vicinity, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events farther in the future. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at a moment in time, the event cascade leading to a particular future condition would be very different than in the case where the butterfly would have flapped its wings.

Tonight I thought to apply this to relationships. Particularly to moments where two people put themselves in a situation where they are alone, secluded and have a lot of time to kill. We often hear people explain their choices with the phrase "one thing led to another, and...", and this is the essence of Chaos Intimacy. 

As a single guy, I have been blessed to make very few mistakes of my own, and have gained a lot of wisdom by learning from other people's mistakes. That said, while my own experiences haven't been "as bad" (we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others), the sum message that I would give to young people is this: be warned. Don't put yourselves in situations where there's a possibility for "something to happen." You need not be of the opinion that you will do something. You don't need to be able to envision how it could occur. All that is necessary is for two people attracted to each other (or not even that--you only need to not be repulsed) to be alone in a place, where no one can interrupt you, and where there is no structure for your activity. If you haven't set clear boundaries, you're in trouble. There's no guarantee that you will do "something bad," but no matter how "good" you are, I'm writing to let you know, there's something mysterious about or human nature that practically guarantees that if we make ourselves vulnerable to impropriety in such a situation, that we'll have overestimated our fortitude, and we will fall. What may seem innocent at first could accidentally turn into something you didn't expect. Maybe you decide to box or wrestle and someone's privates are touched. This opens the door for further "activity." Your mind, when high on sexual hormones, has an uncanny ability to rationalize what you would "know better" than to do if you were thinking straight.

The Chaos Theory of Impropriety is simply that when something is left to chance, the outcome is unpredictable. Therefore make sure that you set boundaries when you spend time with someone you like. The best thing you can do is to avoid being completely alone together, particularly in one or the other's bedroom. But please also note, it's never too late to call it quits. Just because a line was crossed, it does NOT mean that you have to keep going, or that it doesn't matter if you do it again. You can always walk it back. Making a mistake does not doom you to remain in the place where your actions have landed you. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. It's never too late to turn around and recommit yourself to purity.

That's my encouragement to young single people, and people in flirtatious relationships, this evening.

~ Rak Chazak

Saturday, April 27, 2013

What Is Lust?

I have a remarkable tendency to produce profound statements in obscure Facebook chat conversations. I need to make a habit of copying these down more often. Here's something from a while back, in response to a question from another guy, about what I though lust was.
Well, theoretically, it comes down to "desiring someone sexually." The question of course, is, what does THAT entail? Is it visualizing them naked or in a sex act? Is it in not doing that, but getting turned on when you look at them? Is it in imagining them in a relationship with you, ultimately leading to marriage, no matter how unsexual the fantasy might be in your mind at that moment? Is it solely limited to masturbating with the thought of them in your mind? Is it so broad that it encompasses even simply wanting to be with them in a relationship though you are not?

Clearly you can see that I think about this all the time, as well. I tend toward thinking, if you gotta ask, God is probably stricter about it than He is lenient. It's a purity issue. You can look at it from a 'fruit' perspective, as well -- does dwelling on someone in your mind all the time result in good things for you, or does it distract you from academic pursuits and lead to emotional havoc? If the product of thinking about someone in a certain way does so, then that could mean that what you were doing was not good--and if not sinful, at least not beneficial.
Verses referenced:
Matthew 5:27-28 -- 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 
Matthew 7:18 -- A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
1 Corinthians 6:12 -- All things are lawful for me, but not everything is beneficial. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by any thing.

~ Rak Chazak

Friday, April 26, 2013

Too Disgusting to Merit Many Words from Me

The future of education in this country: 


I'm not offering commentary; I'll simply say that beliefs have consequences, and when you marry yourself to someone, you can't ignore their history or their family, because you're going to be dealing with both. The same is true of political policies. You can't open the door to something without believing that all of its consequences are going to find their way inside also. If someone does, they're an idiot. Sorry if that causes offense, but peopleneed to think about things before they do it. Hopefully most readers of this article do. If some of you don't, your feelings are the least of our worries.

I'm deeply disturbed by what's going on in school as shown at the above links. I myself went to public school. I don't think I'll be able to send my children away to public school in 2025 in good conscience. And what worries me even more is that with the way the Romeike case (http://www.hslda.org/legal/cases/romeike/Romeike_CaseUpdates.asp) is going, home schooling may be illegal in the future, forcing me to choose between exposing my children to filth and depravity for 6 hours a day, or become a criminal by keeping them home.

Please share your thoughts. Especially if you are a parent of young children or someone who homeschooled.

~ Rak Chazak

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Journal Entry: African Girls, Internet Fame, Christian Relationships, and A Video Flashback

Today I found out that one of the girls I'd met at the Dining Hall a week or so ago was in my Physics class. (I'll make use of fake names for the sake of privacy). I recognized Malela when I walked in, but mispronounced her name at first -- I remember the way names are spelled, and the way her name is written doesn't, in my Scandinavian perception, represent the way it sounds to say it. Conveniently, though, it's easier to say than write :) . I had met Malela when a friend of hers, Liara, had been kind enough to use a guest meal to get me into the dining hall for dinner. That was at my request, of course -- you gotta take initiative! It's very hard to get things you don't ask for. As it happened, I ended up being the only fair-skinned person--or guy, for that matter--at the table, though a subtle proof of the fact that I'm about as "post-racial" as you can get is that I didn't really take notice of that fact until about halfway through dinner, and it struck me as more of a curiosity than anything else.

Malela, Liara and Coral all came to dinner today, so after I got done eating with my first round of guests (dinner's a social event for me; I stick around and when the people I've eaten with leave, I go talk to another group, while I digest before potentially getting another course), I went over and joined them. I also recognized Fedora from the first time I met the girls. But I was surprised when another girl (they are ALL African) said to me ((by the way, this is kinda hard/messy to do without actually saying my name, but here goes)), "are you [that guy?]" As I may have briefly mentioned before, I have a bit of a reputation on campus because of my engagement in the university's online community. I'm always nervous when someone first says my name (usually I have no idea who they are at all), because I don't know if they're one of my "haters," or if they're going to want to shake my hand, or what. As it turned out, Ariana was all smiles, and said she'd like to talk to me more in person sometime. She even complimented me by saying my eyes were crystal blue, or something like that. I only mention this, because at least one other girl at the table, maybe two (I have terrible short term memory), also made the same compliment. Malela and Fedora suggested that my suggestion why was right--namely that they don't see such light-colored irises among the people they hang out with, very much, so I kinda stood out as very different. My eyes, of all things.

A brief lesson in being cautious to listen to rumors: the group of girls had somehow gotten the impression that I was a hardcore atheist, due to rumors and controversy due to my postings, so they were cautious to avoid bringing up religion or politics the first time we met. Somehow, Ariana or Coral realized I was a believer, whether by a direct question or seeing a pastor's email in the back of my notebook ('told you I had a bad memory), and everyone seemed to be surprised and a little confused. That's what unchecked rumors can do, even if people who hear them are fairly innocent with no ill intent. At the very least, as I can see from this experience, it makes even the friendliest people be suspicious of you. Now that that was straightened out, though, Coral (who, along with most of the other girls is a believer) made a number of "oooooh now it makes sense why you're so controversial" statements. It does make sense, doesn't it? Atheism isn't controversial at a public university. Christianity is. And when you think about it, that's really sort of sad.

Malela met up with me in the Library later in the evening to do online homework, and after finishing, we took another hour to chit-chat, and I invariably brought up thoughts on marriage and dating. She thought it was neat to run into someone who had put so much thought into mentally preparing myself for it, and decided to ask me what I thought about a "hypothetical" scenario in which a person might say they want to be with you, but in response to you choosing to wait, has decided to actively date other people. My response to that was to think that the person in question wasn't ready for a commitment, since they clearly didn't have the concept of exclusivity nailed down. I asked her if she'd passed along the Mark Driscoll sermon entitled "Marriage and Men" to this guy, and she hadn't heard of it, so I told her I'd email her the link. Then I biked home, yet to my dismay my allergy symptoms have kept me from being able to sleep, so I've actually pulled an all nighter. On the plus side, there's no chance I'll sleep in and miss my class.
*   *   *   *
Below is the video sermon I referenced above. I'm vaguely aware of a minor level of controversy about Mark Driscoll because in his younger days he apparently let curses slip, but in all the videos I've seen of him he's been passionate but not untethered. Then there's an obscure video or two on youtube which indicate Mark's a "charismatic Calvinist," an interesting combination if there ever was one. I'm not aware of everything there is to know about Mark, but if it's any help, everything I've seen has indicated a strong regard for Scripture and orthodox theology; more to the point, this particular video is 100% on the mark. It's great for young women to watch to learn what kind of men they have the right to expect and the behavior that they should expect from them. But the video is directed toward men, particularly young single men, but also an urgent message to young men in irresponsible relationships. I've found it fantastic and have watched it no less than 4 times over the last few years in order to help ensure that I have a right perspective on marriage and masculinity.

I encourage you to watch it and to forward it to young guys you know.

~ Rak Chazak

Monday, April 22, 2013

One of My Life Verses

Genesis 2:18a 
It is not good for the man to be alone.
That's what comes to mind every time I sit up late, waiting to go to bed, when I think, "you know, if I was married, I would have a reason to go to bed early." When I get a "pang" of feeling lonely, this verse tells me the reason why. I'm not made to be on my own. I'm worse off this way. This is not to say that marriage will solve all my problems -- the foolish man or woman who thinks that is setting themselves up for a lot of anguish. The center of my life should be Christ, no matter how much I might yearn for secondary blessings. Yet, since "every good and perfect gift is from above," (James 1:17), and upon instituting marriage between Adam and Eve, creation went from being "good" to "very good," (Genesis 1:31), I am hopeful that the love of a woman -- and a fellow child of God and co-heir with Christ, no less (Romans 8:17) -- will be a gift that God sees fit to grant me one day. He's under no obligation to. And I understand that in His wisdom He might choose a different path for me. But I pray, in accordance with 1 John 5:14, that if it be in accordance with His will, that He will build me up so that I can be a gift to her as well, and that He will fulfill my desire. Oh, I hope that it is a godly desire, and not a fleshly lust, so that I will not be denied it.

Until then, I plead with Him, on the basis that "it is not good for the man to be alone," and trust Him even if His answer is not what I would like. But oh how I hope He'll say "yes." 

~Rak Chazak

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Senate Democrats Dishonor Female Head of State

Rumors have it that Hilary Clinton will run for office in 2016. She likely will, seeing as she did not attend the 2012 Democratic Party Convention, and has resigned as Secretary of State, leaving the blame for any chaos that happens in the intervening period to fall squarely on the incompetent shoulders of John Kerry. She has distanced herself from the Obama administration, in preparation to run for office again. As if two terms under Obama was not punishment enough.

But while Democrats are salivating over the political ammunition of saying that they were the first to put a woman into office as Head of State, across the Atlantic, Britain has beaten America to the mark by several decades.

Margaret Thatcher. She was a powerful woman and one would imagine she should be honored and praised by those who claim to promote women's rights and suchlike things. But she hasn't been. The major media have played lip service to her, because she's too big to ignore, but a simple internet search will reveal people on the opposite side of the political spectrum rejoicing over her passing.

Bruce Thornton, writing at Front Page, points out the inconsistency.

In any morally coherent and intellectually honest world, Thatcher would be a major feminist hero. She was not born to upper-class Ox-Bridge privilege, but had to make her way in a man’s world and succeed not by dint of family or school connections, or by special consideration or reserved slots based on her sex, but by brains, drive, and hard work. Compared to her, feminist hero Hillary Clinton is a rebooted version of a Mad-Men haute bourgeois housewife whose success comes not from her own achievements, but from her connection to and dependence on a politically talented man who ended up President, a man who humiliated her publicly with his juvenile, sordid philandering that reinforced every stereotype of the loyal mate who sacrifices herself on the altar of her husband’s career.

Caption: "What difference does it make?"
Why is this the case?

Bottom line: Margaret Thatcher was a conservative woman. Her tour of duty in the halls of English politics was concurrent with Ronald Reagan, and they're both hated for essentially the same reason -- they proved that socialist economic policies don't work, and, most unforgivably of all, showed that capitalism and a Christian conservative ethic of personal responsibility was more successful. People hate when you disagree with them. But when you prove them wrong, expect that hate to intensify.

Consequently, when a woman who nearly-singlehandedly fixed Britain's economy passed away recently, do you think the Democratic-majority US Senate would choose to honor her memory?

Take a wild guess.

The source for the following short article, copied in full, is Katherine Rosario, at Heritage:
One would naturally think it impossible that anyone would hesitate – even for an instant – to honor the woman who tackled communism head on as prime minister of Great Britain. Lady Margaret Thatcher was a principled politician who helped to foster the special relationship between Great Britain and the United States that we all benefit from today.
A Senate resolution to honor Lady Thatcher was supposed to pass last night.  However, per well placed sources on the Hill, Democrats have a hold on the resolution.
To refuse to honor a woman of such great historical and political significance, who was deeply loyal to the United States, is petty and shameful.  One truly has to wonder, what is it about Lady Thatcher that gives them pause?  Her unfaltering commitment to freedom?  Or perhaps the way she fought for individual liberty and limited government?
The House used traditional bereavement procedures, the same model they used for John F. Kennedy.  It’s a simple, solemn means of honoring the individual by passing a resolution and immediately adjourning.  Similarly, Great Britain’s House of Commons was recalled, bringing members of Parliament back from vacation to honor Lady Thatcher.
Those actions were a fitting response to the death of one of the world’s greatest post-World War II leaders.
I'm disgusted. I immediately thought of the beginning of Psalm 2:

Why do the nations rage,And the people plot a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.

If you don't know or remember how the Psalm ends, I encourage you to look it up, for a nice surprise. It is one of the many Old Testament references to Jesus Christ, and the Psalm ends with a prophecy that says what the Anointed One will do to the kingdoms of the earth: "rule (alternatively, break, depending on the source text) them with a rod of iron, and dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel." (Psalm 2:9)

When the governments of the earth behave so dishonorably, simply to avoid recognizing God's authority (because that's ultimately why they hated Reagan and Thatcher so much; they reminded them that God is in charge), much less submitting to Him, then the idea of God destroying them is a pleasant thought that brings me comfort. Maranatha!

~ Rak Chazak

How Churches Can Avoid Persecution Over Gay Marriage

I waited a bit too long to get moving on this post, and so I'm not going to give a summary, because I've forgotten the complete details. 

The complete podcasts are below: they contain Todd Friel's musings on coming persecution of Christians by the state religion for not acknowledging their sacrament of homosexuality.



Here was an important point he made for pastors, which I'll recall from memory:

The government is going to require that you don't discriminate against gays, or else you'll lose your 501(c)3 status or maybe be sued for violating the law, etc etc. So how does a church avoid this, without violating Biblical principles? 

Todd's advice is this: churches should adapt their bylaws to say that they will a) not marry anyone who is not a member of that church, and b) to be a member, one must be in good standing. To be a member in good standing with the church, of course, one would have to submit to God's Law. A homosexual couple would not be capable of being a member in good standing and could thus not be married. 

Todd's other point in the podcasts linked above is that, judging by how John the Baptist challenged Herod (he said that his marriage to his sister was sinful, not that it was invalid and not a real marriage), we should conclude that gay marriage is nevertheless a real marriage, as is a marriage that occurs through adulterous means. The point the Church should make is that the marriage is sinful, but still submit to the government's authority.

He explains it a little better than I did here, in the podcasts. Mostly the first; the second is follow-up. They're approximately 10-15 minutes long, each. I encourage you to listen to them. And forward this link, or the link to the podcasts themselves, to your pastors and deacons. Because this is an issue that they're going to have to anticipate NOW, so that they are not taken by surprise later on.

~ Rak Chazak

Jesus, King of Insults

There is much I love about God, but one of the things that gets me most excited is his holy sarcasm. Both God the Father, Jesus during His Incarnation, and prophets and apostles have used clever sharp-tongued wit to infuriate the enemy and to make important points, which are remembered in Scripture for us to learn from. Permit me to diverge a bit and provide some examples.

Exhibit A: Elijah vs the Prophets of Baal

1 Kings 18:27-29 -- 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry louder, for surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.

He mocks the false prophets by insulting their "god." And when they lose the competition, Elijah has them slaughtered. Imagine if religious debates were settled that way nowadays. The rampant idolatry that pervades this culture probably wouldn't exist. Unfortunately, false prophets are a little harder to discredit with logical arguments than with miracle competitions. Sound Scripture can be ignored by your audience. Fire from heaven is a little harder to give a cold shoulder to.

Exhibit B: God mocks idols and idolaters

Isaiah 41:21-24 -- 

21 “Present your case,” says the Lord.
“Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.
22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen;
Let them show the former things, what they were,
That we may consider them,
And know the latter end of them;
Or declare to us things to come.
23 Show the things that are to come hereafter,
That we may know that you are gods;
Yes, do good or do evil,
That we may be dismayed and see it together.
24 Indeed you are nothing,
And your work is nothing;
He who chooses you is an abomination.

Notice the rhetorical questioning. God says "show us what you can do," knowing fully well that they can do nothing. Therefore the very act of demanding them prove themselves is simultaneously mockery.

Sweet, sweet mockery. You might get the impression that God is a bit passive-aggressive. Allow me to suggest that there is something in every form of human emotion (anger, sadness, happiness, love, hatred, jealousy etc) that is pure, but because we are sinners we corrupt the image of God (Genesis 1:27) that is in us. God, however, not being a sinner, does not ever sin in how He expresses His emotions. Thus, looking at God, we can learn what aspects of our emotions are godly and which are not. Passive-aggression is often used in a spiteful way, to hinder communication between friends and family. This, I would suggest, is sinful. But the act of using sarcasm when you are angry is not inherently wrong -- I say this, because I'm convinced that God did it. Let's follow His lead, however: it appears that sarcasm/passive-aggression is a valid way to undermine the image of idols. By mocking them and making them out to be a joke, you weaken their power, and this is inherently good, because people may be saved from the grasp of idolatry and false prophets if they see that they are nothing special. Mockery serves a very important purpose in facilitating this. 

Exhibit C: Jesus calls the Pharisees 'gods,' cites unflattering Psalm while He does so

One verse that Jehovah's Witnesses like to bring up to argue against Jesus being God is the one where He is surrounded by Jews in the Temple, and they are on the verge of stoning Him after He claims, "I and My Father are One." (John 10:30-31), and He deflects their criticism by saying the following,
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 
Rather than saying that He is not God, here, Jesus is saying that if the Pharisees were called "gods," (elohim, mighty ones --  the Greek here uses Theoi, Strong's #2316), then how much more did Jesus deserve to be called 'God,' since He actually was God? This is confirmed by the fact that immediately after, the Jews tried to catch Him to stone Him again, but He escaped (John 10:39).

But I want to explore the Old Testament verse He's citing. Following the footnote from Bible Gateway (that's the viewer I use to read the Bible conveniently online), I'm led to Psalm 82. It's short, so here is the whole thing:

God stands in the congregation of the mighty;
He judges among the gods.
How long will you judge unjustly,
And show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.
They do not know, nor do they understand;
They walk about in darkness;
All the foundations of the earth are unstable.
I said, “You are gods,
And all of you are children of the Most High.
But you shall die like men,
And fall like one of the princes.
Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations.
In each place where the word 'gods' is used, it is the Hebrew word elohim. The word simply means "mighty ones," with connotations of ruler-ship. You can tell that it is applied to God when the plural noun (-im suffixes in Hebrew signal plurality, to my layman's knowledge) is given a singular verb. In this passage, those two uses have plural verbs, identifying the 'elohim' as lesser 'mighty ones,' i.e. not God. The two uses of God in the psalm also use the word elohim, but use a singular verb, which identifies it as referring to the Trinity. The Most High uses the term Elyon, another name for God.

When Jesus called the Jews in the Temple "gods," He was identifying them as the elohim in this psalm. Those who are wicked...who oppress the poor and needy...who, though they are mighty, will die like any other man. The Psalmist is petitioning God to judge them.

Jesus was insulting their pride. By calling them "gods," He was actually being derogatory and implying that they were wicked oppressors doomed for destruction.


What subtleness! No matter how many times you return to a part of Scripture, you can always learn something new about it. Hopefully this little detour has offered you a new perspective on this verse. I, for one, can't read this passage any more without imagining Jesus with a smirk on his face, being cheeky, egging on His hecklers by insulting their intelligence and their pride, without compromising His claims of divinity.

If we want to follow in His footsteps, we must be careful that we do not mock out of sinful motivations. That's an extra consideration we have that a perfect Being need not worry about. But if you have made sure that your heart is in the right place, that you are not in sin, that you have prayed up and that your relationship with God is healthy -- by all means, sharpen thy tongue in the name and service of the Lord.

God is, among other things, our role model. Let us imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

~ Rak Chazak

The Simplest Scriptural Case for a Young Earth

Exodus 20:8-11
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

This is one of two prooftexts I would use to prove that the days of Genesis 1 are 24-hour days. Here it clearly states that the length of the days that God created are the same length of the days of our week. 

"That's why," said Ken Ham in this video of a speech he gave entitled The Key to Reclaiming the Culture, "we have a seven-million-year week."

Said as obvious sarcasm. Since our week is not millions of years long, but seven times 24 hours, then that is how long Creation Week also was. To believe otherwise is to assert that Exodus 20 -- you know, the part where Moses gets the 10 Commandments -- is not inspired Scripture, and can't be relied upon to be true.

Beliefs have consequences, you know.

That's really the only prooftext you need. But there is another one that I find poignant as well:

Genesis 1:14
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 

If "day" means "billions of years," or rather "an undefined long period of time," then what on earth do "seasons" and "years" mean? These are longer than days. Are we supposed to postulate that there are two types of 'undefined long periods of time,' one which is longer than the other, but neither one of a certain duration? This is silliness.

Consequently, verse 14 proves that the days in the rest of the passage must refer to calendar days, since otherwise it would be a meaningless passage.

These passages should be enough to convince anyone who holds to Biblical inerrancy. If they reject the conclusion that Genesis 1 is describing a one-week period of time of the same length that our week is, Sunday to Sunday, then they must abandon their belief in Biblical inerrancy. It's always interesting to see which way people go when confronted with such a decision. It is my hope that they would be more willing to change their mind to believe God's word than to reinterpret God's word to make it fit with man's word.

Perhaps this has convinced you, Scripturally, but you're uncertain/worried about the scientific arguments--whether what the Bible says is borne out by the facts. Do not worry. I assure you that they do. Here are a few good links to get started investigating the issue further, if you want to.



~ Rak Chazak

Friday, April 12, 2013

What's Wrong With America, in Miniature

What's wrong with America?

Not, you might think, its rationalization of immorality. No, if people did wrong things and acknowledged that they were wrong, that would be one thing. When you are so morally depraved that your conscience doesn't even flinch at evil, to the point that you happily mock and make jokes about serious things like murder and exploitation of the young and of innocents, then you are more than just misguided. Your cup of iniquity runneth over.

(click on image to enlarge)

This is an image from a discussion thread at my university, where one student had posted about the trial of Kermit Gosnell. He is accused of killing babies that were born alive at his abortion clinic. [To my knowledge] Not a single televised media source has reported on this issue to this date, although the Alternative Media, both conservative and liberal, has been reporting on the issue.




~ Rak Chazak

A Rant About Earbuds

Minor nuisances for an outgoing introvert.

I'm outgoing. When I travel from Point A to Point B I talk to people I meet along the way. Occasionally, I'll have a conversation with someone before they turn and take an earbud out of their ear and say "huh?" At that point, since they hadn't heard anything I said, I usually just say it doesn't matter, and walk on. I already wasted my breath. Why say the same thing twice?

I never understood why people feel the need to listen to music when they're walking from one place to another. I have a theory that it's less because they like music and more because they don't want to deal with other people. Because when I listen to music, and I enjoy a song, I want to listen from the beginning to the end. I can't just start in the middle, or stop listening halfway. That ruins the song. Rather than have that, I don't listen to music when I'm out and about at all. Music is something I enjoy when I'm unrestricted (can listen to songs in their entirety without interruption) and am in a quiet place where I can play music out of my laptop speakers (which then don't bother anyone else).

If people listen to music wherever they go and enjoy it, then it must be an obsession to have to listen to it all the time. The alternative conclusion: If they, like me, can't enjoy music when it's broken up, then to listen to it nevertheless must be an attempt to ignore people.

I'm having trouble thinking of any possible alternatives. I don't think there are any. Either you enjoy listening or you don't. Consequently, you're either obsessive about listening to music all the time, or you really don't like people and want to tune out the world around you.


It's not always easy to tell when someone is walking around with earbuds. Interacting with them as if they can hear you, then, and finding out they couldn't, is frustrating. Socializing is as much for the purpose of enriching the other person's day as it is your own. So in many cases, you've tried to "brighten someone's day," but they stopped you from doing it. Imagine if you give someone a compliment, but they don't hear it. Most people enjoy compliments, but they robbed themselves of the opportunity to be given one. People might not think about it this way, but intentions aside, I think that earbud-wearers often self-sabotage, because their perceptions of other people, and their self-esteem also, are skewed by the fact that they block out verbal communication, causing them to miss out on the good along with the bad.

I wish people wouldn't live in their own little worlds when they're out in public. They stand to miss so much. We all have our own private worlds, but mixing the two -- bringing the public into your privacy, or trying to bring your feeling of privacy with you into public -- sells ourselves short. It prevents us from being able to enjoy the full experience of either one or the other.

Does it annoy you when others are wearing earbuds, preventing you from chatting with them?

~ Rak Chazak

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Atheist Fallacy of Imputing Motives on Actors Motivated by Religious Ideology

Sounds like a pretty good dissertation title, dunnit? Yeah. Well, this article is going to be short by comparison.

I'm a biology major, but because I need to round out my degree with 45 "upper-level" (that is, in the 300 and 400 range) courses in order to graduate, I've chosen to take Dynamics of the Arab-Israeli Conflict because I'd rather have something interesting than something guaranteed to be easy. As it is, it is one of my more enjoyable classes, when it comes to the workload.

In class today, I briefly spoke with another student on the topic of the final paper. The professor wants each of us to choose a situation in recent history where there has been an ongoing rivalry between a sovereign state and a terrorist state or pseudo-state entity -- examples include Al Qaeda, the IRA, Pakistan-India, North Korea-USA, Hezbollah, Hamas, the PLO, etc, but not terrorist groups that are too amorphous to easily finger, such as the Muslim Brotherhood or the Weather Underground.

We have to write a paper on our selected rivalry and address, among other questions, whether the defensive state has successfully employed a deterrence method against terrorism by the other group, by making the latter "learn from their mistakes" and decide not to challenge the sovereign state again in the same way.

The other student I spoke to made a comment, in passing, that Hamas "isn't learning," that is, learning to stop challenging Israel lest it get 'punished' again and again. I challenged his assertion by saying that the assumption that every terrorist organization actually cares about self-preservation or other selfish things like power, money, influence, etc, is fundamentally flawed. In my view, Hamas is ideologically motivated by the political-religious system of Islam, and that this ideology supersedes what Western, humanist mindsets would consider "rational self interest."

The other student disagreed, responding that we can't assume that the other group is irrational. But he misunderstood me. I didn't mean that Hamas was irrational. Hamas is very rational, if its goals are indeed the destruction of the State of Israel at all costs, as its charter declares. If Hamas is just using religion as a means to an end, and doesn't actually care about ideology, then none of what it's doing makes any sense. If it wanted to exact concessions out of Israel, it wouldn't sabotage the latter's attempts to bargain with it by initiating new hostilities whenever possible. But if it is truly driven by not much more than an insane bloodlust for Jews, then its relentless animosity is perfectly well explained.

My peer wasn't having it. He was insistent that political organizations like these are not truly ideological, but only pretend to be religious. They, like atheist totalitarians of years past, merely use religious rhetoric as a means to an end, to justify its acts or drum up support among the masses. But I believe this is a severe mistake on his part. He, as an atheist, is unaware of his own biases. Not recognizing the insidious arrogance of his own view, he is projecting his own philosophy on others. Because all religion is man-made for the purpose of controlling people, surely then that must be the only use that Islamic terrorists have for religion as well. His inability to recognize that other people are not like him is unfortunate. It must also be recognized that the prevailing philosophies taught in American public education is one of the root causes of this lack of critical thinking ability.

Contrary to the misconception of my fellow student, religion plays a much larger role than just a means to an end, in many cases. For many people, it is not a means, but the end in itself. So failing to see that as even a possibility is a tremendous weakness in the atheist's analysis, and it hinders him from correctly interpreting world events. Even if the atheist is right and all religion is false, his hubris numbs him to being able to understand that others who take religion very seriously simply can't compromise on their ideological positions, even if it might seem more rational in that it would offer them more power, money, influence, or even personal safety.

The atheist fallacy is the subtle assumption that all other people in the world are really atheists at heart. It isn't explicitly spoken, but it shows itself when the atheist can't fathom how religious convictions can trump selfishness--because he foolishly sees the former as an outgrowth of the latter.

That is why foreign policies built on an atheist framework -- the West's, in general -- will never adequately understand the Middle East, and will never correctly predict the consequences of present and future meddling. In more than one way, then, for a proper foreign policy to develop, religion is the answer.

~ Rak Chazak

Springtime Heatwave in the Mid-Atlantic

Oh, wow!

It feels like summer. I might be picky about the weather. My default temperature, which is good for all weather (rain or sunshine), all clothes (long pants, sweaters, or shorts and tshirts), all activities (standing still, walking, and running) and being in or outdoors (because the heating/AC isn't too drastic of a change) is 76 degrees. At that temperature, you can be comfortable in all of the situations described in the parentheses. However, with the temperature in the mid-to-upper 80s, moving around gets uncomfortable. I start to sweat just by virtue of walking under the sun, and this irritates me. So it's rather ironic that at approximately 70 degrees, there exists a mirror plane, and when the temperature is below, rain and wind is something I avoid, and sunshine something I bask in, but when it is above, I flee from the sun, and relish wind and rain for its refreshing qualities. 

It just goes to show you, things which can be seen as good in one context can be seen as bad in another -- or shall I say, that which gives life has the capacity to bring death? Rain is good for crops, but too much causes flooding. A balmy breeze is cooling, but a tornado is a force of destruction. Sun keeps you from freezing, but too much can burn you. I think there's a comparison to be made with theology, here. Not that too much of God can be bad for you. But that if you are not prepared to encounter Him in all His glory, rather than being refreshed, you may be destroyed.

Look at the sun -- it is a source of light, but it is also a fire, and fire can burn and destroy. I think it's intriguing that God refers to Himself in both ways in Scripture:
Deuteronomy 4:24 says "the Lord is a consuming fire," with specific reference to His jealousy for us, and anger over idols. 

In John 8:12, Jesus says "I am the light of the world." So by Him we can see and not be in darkness.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says this, in reference to obedient and disobedient believers:

"11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire." 

So you see, if you've paid attention to the weather forecast, you won't be taken by surprise by extremes of weather. Similarly, if you've used your time on earth wisely to read the Bible and get reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, you need not fear the fire. You will only experience His light. But the Corinthians passage makes a further point -- if we only hear the forecast and do nothing to prepare, we will make it through, but "only as through fire." Let us be doers of the Word, and not hearers only (James 1:22).

When I notice the changing seasons, this verse comes to mind:
Genesis 8:22 -- While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
And I praise the Lord that that is true.

~ Rak Chazak

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pants Adjustment

Today I saw something I rarely see.

It was in the 80s today, temperature-wise. Today happened to mark the first day of the year when I actually felt uncomfortable, at times, due to the heat -- or more accurately, the sun bearing down on my head. Many people were wearing shorts; however, due to the unexpectedly abrupt increase in the warmth, a great many, myself included, still had on long pants. I did decide to wear a t-shirt, before I knew how warm it was outside. Lucky guess.

As I was walking on campus, I passed by a number of students who were taking advantage of the balmy conditions and were hanging around on the grass. In one small group, a girl was standing on the outside of it. Presumably thinking she was discrete, with no one nearby behind her to notice, she engaged in some pretty obvious pushing, pulling, tucking etc of her shorts from the back side.

It interested me, not out of any perverted interest, but because such "adjustment" is not something you see girls do often. They're far more discreet than guys, who will often jostle themselves in quite public places because frankly, fixing the discomfort takes precedence over being 'socially correct.'

It caused me to think of this image:

Which I think captures the cultural context -- because girls are so much...shall we say, "better behaved?" than guys, it's given many of us the impression that some bodily functions simply don't occur in that gender. When was the last time you ever caught a girl in the act of farting? (On rare occasion you might see one belch) But us guys even make jokes to the extent of intentionally farting on each other. Not that this is wrong, or anything. It simply reveals a different attitude towards bodily functions. By and large, guys think they're funny. Now, we know females have the same basic physical needs that we males do...at least in theory...and that's why it's a joke. It's also a joke because those who live in our society know exactly what it's referring to. The mystery of how women manage to cultivate an appearance, in the eyes of men, of being superior physical beings not afflicted with yucky stuff like farts and poop, which have the potential to be turn-offs.

For this reason, I viewed the girl I saw tugging on her pants in about the same way that a bird-watcher might react to an uncommon species of bird -- as a rarity that few people ever encounter. It made me chuckle.

~ Rak Chazak

Where Is the Intolerance?

I still remember the first time I was "cut off" by someone because they didn't tolerate my political or religious views (if you do it right, they're essentially one and the same).

I encountered a lot of information I'd never known before, in the Spring of 2010, and I was excited to share it -- surely others would want to know the truth as well! I was naive. I posted articles from Answers in Genesis and ICR that I found interesting. Many other web articles from obscure sites I don't remember, also. 

One time, I posted some quotes by Margaret Sanger that definitively proved her to be racist, on Facebook. A "friend" of mine immediately left a comment under the link, chiding me for not being open minded to the truth, and telling me "you are being unfriended. Do not approach me on campus."  Another time, I made a comment to the effect that I had just learned that a "drag show" was not a car racing competition, after all, and that I didn't like how a particular segment of the population would reappropriate words for their own use, defying their given definitions (by which I was referring to other words like "queer," "faggot," "gay," etc). This inspired another person to post "wow. Unfriended," under that post.

Shortly after that, I encountered online mobbing and did not feel that I could trust many of the people who had access to my private information via Facebook, so I slowly purged most of the people and eventually closed the account for about a year. Consequently, I wasn't publicly defriended by anyone else after that. If there were others who did it quietly, I never found out.

Today, I was having an extensive debate over email about feminism and gender roles with a young woman my age. I was surprised when she suddenly made this comment:

I see no point in continuing a discussion with someone who does not believe that I am capable of rational thought just because I am a woman, worthy of questioning him because I am a woman, or capable of debating him. In fact, we are not having a debate. You are simply attempting to instruct me so that you can feel more manly, and that thought frankly makes me want to vomit. If I want instruction from men, I have a wonderful father who can give me advise, and I have a number of male professors whom I respect very highly. If you feel that that you are being oppressed, I am sorry, but I assure you that you are not being systematically oppressed by women because you are a man. If some women don't like you, it's because of the way that you view them and the way that you imagine an ideal relationship with them would go. If gay people don't like you, it's because you think that their sexual orientation is a choice, that their sexual orientation is evil, that they deserve to be lonely for the rest of their lives or else that some heterosexual person deserves to spend the rest of their lives married to somebody who isn't attracted to them just so that your jerkass version of the Judeo-Christian God will be happy, that they do not deserve the same opportunities that you do, and that their sexual orientation makes them irrational and violent. So, you're not being oppressed, if oppressed you are really being at all, for your maleness or your sexual orientation. You are just pissing off people because of your ridiculous prejudices.
Nice unknowing you,

Of course, many of the statements she made in that diatribe are willful misunderstandings of what I had said to her. It is certainly more convenient to reject an imaginary version of something than to deal with a complicated reality that doesn't suit your expectations.

It made me think. I have never angrily cut contact with someone else because of their strong beliefs. On the contrary, it appears that those who angrily cut others out of their lives are those who are politically liberal and theologically unBiblical.

Alfonzo Rachel, a black conservative Christian commentator, made an observation in a Youtube video to the effect that "democrats tend to believe what makes them angry. I believe what I believe, and it doesn't make me angry," and that that serves as one additional confirmation of the correctness of his belief. I have to agree. It's not so much a logically impervious argument, but it's a good point to consider -- wouldn't the truth, on some level, be emotionally satisfying? If your belief system makes you angry, maybe it's not a good belief system.

Those who are not Christian tend to be the intolerant ones. The irony of conservatives and Christians being accused of bigotry and intolerance would be laughable if it weren't for the sad fact that the people who make these statements are either trying to excuse themselves, or severely deluded. It's only funny at first. Then the realization makes me sad. 

~ Rak Chazak