Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rough Sketch of What the World Would Look Like Without the Reformation

​German nobles would not have had as strong a uniting force which to rally around in order to throw off the yoke of the Papacy, so Germany would have remained Roman Catholic longer. England would not have become Protestant, so Spain would not have launched the Armada, so Spain would have remained the naval superpower of the 1500s-1700s, and Spanish Catholics, rather than English Puritans, would have colonized America. Consequently, there would have been no American Revolution, and thus, no great democratic experiment with a Constitutional Republic built on principles of religious liberty. America may today instead be a Roman Catholic monarchy, with the primary language being Spanish. The world would have fewer, if not NO democracies, and worldwide, women would still not have the right to vote, slaves would still be publicly owned in the West, and it's quite probable that the "Enlightenment" of atheism/humanism would not have taken place, so evolutionary theory would never have become a prominent belief. Consequently, even if we had television, cinema would be much more boring, without movies like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. Because Darwin is the single most important direct influence on Nazi Germany, the Holocaust would not have happened, neither would WWI or WWII, so the British would never have conquered Palestine and Israel would never have been given to the Jews. Jewish settlement would still have occurred, because that was organic, due to antisemitism. However, the likelihood that Israel would have been recognized as a country by the international community would be much lower. Nor is it likely that the state would have been a democracy if it were created in this alternate timeline.

The 'enlightenment' was, together with sects and heresies, one of those necessarily possible but unintended/unwanted consequences of the greater religious liberty Luther et al created by making faith much more individualistic by giving everyone access to the Bible.  Instead of facing secular politics as our biggest internal frustration, we'd still be seeing roman catholicism as the greatest threat to peace and liberty on earth. There would not have been an American Civil War because the Protestant abolitionist movement would never have been a big enough influence to elevate it to the level of national politics. Consequently, there would have been no civil rights movement. Ironically, racial tensions might be perceived to be less strenuous, if only because the disparity in treatment of the "races" would never have confronted the nation's conscience, because there would have been no one to advocate for the oppressed. Since technological innovation of the industrial/post-industrial era was almost entirely a product of American ingenuity, enabled by our political liberty and economic prosperity, in a Roman Catholic America, the inventions like the cotton gin, tractor etc which made the necessity of manual labor obsolete would not have been invented, so slavery would still be seen as a practical necessity with a strong economic incentive for maintaining.

Is your mind blown?

~ Rak Chazak

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Poem: Fountain

If you fill an empthy bottle, it is prone to overflow
It can hold no greater quantity than it was made to hold
But the ocean, though it's always full, is ever being filled
It cannot rise above itself, not even if it willed

If you turn a full glass over, it will drain until it's dry
but a fountain, ever spilling, loses nothing by and by
It will flow and pour continually, and never lose a drop
But the drinking glass, designed to bear, will flow until it stops

Is the ocean now deficient 'cause it cannot be increased?
Is it lesser than all other bodies: rivers, lakes and seas?
Or is the very nature of its greatness, to be sure
in that it is the source of ALL the water, and no more?

Is a fountain failing to be prudent with its store
if it always runneth over -- will it soon be there no more?
Is there something wrong about it if it doesn't keep a lid
on its oh so precious contents, and let it thus be hid?

If you think so, then, you have no clue, the purpose of a fountain
is not to stay immobile, like tranquil, distant mountains
The essence of its beauty is to always overflow
which could never be accomplished if the current were to slow

Fountains don't run dry, because the water that they spill
returns at once, and purposes the fountain to refill
Fountains fill and empty all at once in the same motion
So are they therefore any more deficient than the ocean?

God is always loving us and giving us Himself
Consider, then, the fountain, and let us now dispel
the myth that says that giving implies loss of what you give
God did not begin to die because He made us live
He doesn't grow more hateful as He showers us with love
More of Him on earth does not make less of Him above

Everything is from Him, and it ultimately does
return, because it's for Him, too, and that's including us
We cannot hope to weaken Him, or strengthen Him, at that --
He's perfectly self-sufficient, and that's the simple fact.

Inspiration for this poem:
"[God’s pleasure] is a pleasure in diffusing and communicating to, than in receiving from, the creature. Surely, it is no argument of indigence in God that he is inclined to communicate of his infinite fullness. It is no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain, that it is inclined to overflow."
~ Jonathan Edwards
~ Rak Chazak

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Random post, AWPATT-style: Prince Hans's Frozen Heart

So I've been bouncing around Youtube commenting on people's analyses of Frozen and Tangled. I recently watched Frozen for the first time, two weeks ago, and then rewatched Tangled. I am very inspired to write a lengthy Christian analysis of the themes, and will endeavor to do that after finals are done (c. May 20).

But for now, I wrote something I thought was worth sharing, and am going to copy-paste it here.

This is on the subject of the Frozen plot twist where the 'nice guy' prince turns out to be a heartless, manipulative jerk. Some people have cried "feminism!" As a Christian man, I disagree and am thrilled to pieces that they made a pivotal plot point about warning girls against trusting a guy whom you barely know, just because he seems nice and you have feelings for him.

So, someone on a comment thread under such a video had said that the plot twist was foreshadowed in Hans's behavior earlier. You're blind if you didn't get suspicious when he proposed marriage on a whim, but here's where my ears perked up for the first time:
As a genuine 'good guy,' myself, the alarm went off when Hans said "I love crazy!" No. Flat out, no. No sane guy actually thinks that. Either he underestimates what 'crazy' is, and is naive, or in denial, OR if he actually gravitates toward legit 'crazy,' then he's self-destructive, or worse, a chauvinist with a broken ability to relate to women, where he feels like if he can 'conquer' them, that he's a strong man. Guys don't like 'crazy' because they genuinely like 'crazy.' They like fighting it, defeating it, destroying it. A guy who says "I like [a genuinely negative quality about you]," be afraid. Because it means he doesn't respect you enough to be honest with you and be a positive influence in your life to be there for you and help you overcome your problems. If he relishes in your problems, it's because it makes him feel better about himself, and more secure, to think that you're inferior to him, or maybe that you can't do better than him because no one else would want you. That's why guys go for "broken" girls. They're insecure, and think that if they persuade the girls to overlook their flaws, that they'll develop an emotional co-dependency and never leave him, no matter how bad he behaves. A true good guy will not praise negative character qualities, but he won't treat you like you have no worth or value because of them, either. A good guy acknowledges both the good and the bad, and doesn't try to present himself as a perfect guy who never conflicts with your expectations. A good guy does not encourage destructive habits, but offers himself as a friend to you, to help you become a better person, if you want to do that by trusting him. And a good guy will never rush you into a relationship. I don't want to risk rambling, so I'll stop there. And I hope that's good advice for all the young women out there to take into consideration. Please listen to me. Just like how you know things that we men can't understand intuitively, THIS is something any honest, thinking man knows and can confirm to you, but that maybe you can't understand intuitively. Trust me on this. Guys who say they 'love crazy,' or something similar to that, are guys to be very very wary of. Take care!
~ Rak Chazak

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 Primary

This has to be quick.

Point 1: I must vote.

Romans 13 says "be subject to the governing authorities." Well, not only does that mean being a responsible citizen, and civically engaged, but it means that because America is a constitutional democratic republic, every one of us IS the government, inasmuch as we vote to elect our representatives who rule on our behalf. So we have an ethical obligation to vote to promote godliness and reject evil.

1. I cannot vote the lesser of two evils. If it's Donald Trump v Hillary Clinton in November, I can't vote for either one of them by arguing that it's worse if 'the other one' gets in. It's unacceptable if either one wins, and I will not positively endorse either one. If you had to choose between Satan and the Antichrist, would you vote for either of them? No, you would refuse on principle and deny the "either-or" choice you've been faced with. It doesn't matter that they're not the same person, they're functionally the same thing and you can't vote for that.

2. I can't not vote, per the above Romans 13 discussion. Delegates are apportioned based on how many people live in the districts where people vote. That means that the delegate count goes to the candidates as if everyone voted, meaning that if you don't vote, you're letting everyone who does vote, vote on your behalf. You delegate your responsibility to the people who aren't too apathetic to vote. If they choose evil, that means you chose evil. You let them represent you without speaking your dissent.

3. The only conclusion then is that if it's a choice between two godless visions for America, then I must either write in a candidate, or - if that's impossible where I happen to live - literally write in to my representatives, announcing my dissent.

This is not about changing the future or influencing the election. It's great if you can. But this is about standing up for righteousness. A vote for righteousness, and against evil, is never wasted. Are we trying to glorify God, or worrying about whether we can feel important/like winners?

Thankfully, there is a choice. This election, I'm happy to see that there is at least one candidate running that doesn't make me cringe over his position on any policy that I know of. I won't go into every little detail of why, here, but that candidate is Ted Cruz.

Here are the main, non-policy-related reasons for my endorsement:

1. He might actually be a Christian. He doesn't have to be, to be a good candidate. And a true believer may not be a great leader. My understanding is that Ronald Reagan was a believer, but he wasn't altogether savvy in managing people in his administration. Cruz is a politician in a good way, in that sense. But to the point: his priorities are God first, and everything else second, which is a sight to see when nearly every politician in the country seems to be political for the sake of being political (also known as "establishment" politics).

2. What most encourages me in this regard is twofold. He can a) actually give credit to his opponents, without acting like the campaign is a zero-sum game that means he has to put everyone else down, in order to win. This is shown in his C-SPAN video calling Mitch McConnell a liar, where he gives credit to Bernie Sanders for opposing crony capitalism, and credits Marco Rubio for his defense of Israel. Second, he b) has self control. Compare how he reacts to being personally attacked, to how Donald Trump reacts to ... well, anything. One of the main words I can think of to describe the difference between the two, is that one lacks self control, and the other is self controlled. Christians who are evaluating someone else's profession of faith should take both of these two points under consideration. They, especially the latter, demonstrate spiritual fruit. And even if they don't prove that Ted Cruz is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and calm with a spiritual calm, they definitely make him stand out as a candidate. Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who doesn't feel compelled to lie or ignore the accomplishments of his opponents lest it conflict with his narrative? Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who doesn't lash out when attacked, but keeps his cool and doesn't let his enemies see all the cards he's holding?

3. His track record is consistent in one key regard: he holds the policy positions he does based on what the Constitution and the Law allows him. Why is he for deporting illegal immigrants? Because federal law requires it. It's not that he necessarily thinks that's the best solution to the issue moving forward, but he, unlike Obama, Trump and Hillary, recognizes that you can't just take whatever position on an issue you want, regardless of what the law says. If a candidate opposes deporting illegal immigrants, at present, then that candidate is advocating for violating federal law as President. In a Constitutional Republic, what we should do, is to change the law. Then go about being lenient with regards to who to deport. Otherwise you're lawless. And the candidate who disregards the law can't be trusted because you can't know what they're going to do -- the law is no indication.

That's why Cruz shines. Immigration isn't even a huge issue for me personally - I live in the Mid-Atlantic, and my career will not be one that cheap labor competes with, so I'm not being directly hurt. But I am so impressed by Cruz's submission to the law, that this alone makes him the best possible candidate in decades. You can actually trust him, because he will be limited by the law. He SELF-limits. This is another sign he's possibly a true believer. Obama selectively chooses when to disregard the law. Cruz would not. This is one of the biggest points of frustration that people have with Obama. And we have a chance to elect a candidate that will actually be beholden to the law and the will of the people, not to an agenda that he will pursue relentlessly at the cost of weakening the foundations of government.

This will suffice for now. I wanted to post to have something on the record.

~ Rak Chazak

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Proud to Be An American" - rewritten

What would the words to the tune of this classic song be, if it were written after America entered a time of persecution? Or the inevitable road thereto?

If tomorrow all I see as wrong
was turned instead to right
and my countrymen, in darkness trapped,
would finally see the light
I'd thank the Lord above that He preserved me to this day
'Cause the Cross still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.

Yea, I vowed to be an American

when at least I once was free*
But I'll still forgive the men who lied
to take that right from me
I refuse to stand up next to you and pretend it's still the same
though there ain't no doubt, I love this land
God save the USA!

From the traitors in the SCOTUS
to the shills inside D.C.
which mock the pains of you lot.
They seethe, conspire, deceive.
From newsstands lined with who's who's
to the online blog charade
there's lies in every American's heart
and it's why we ought to pray

That the proud should flee from America
and return to humility.
Let us not forget the God who died
to save my soul from me.
And I'll gladly stand up (du du dum) next to you, at the firing squad some day
so there ain't no doubt, I'm not a man
who puts country above Faith!

How about it?

~ Rak Chazak

* - reference to a famous Reagan speech.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free"

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Text quote repost

My friend sends me quotes from what she's reading from time to time. I have hardly any opportunity to make posts, but retyping pithy texts is something I can get away with with my schedule.

"Polygamy is, and ever must be, fatal to female dignity and happiness: this, or at any rate concubinage, was practiced, no doubt under mistaken views, by the patriarchs; not that it was ever positively sanctioned by God, for from the beginning He made one woman for man, and by the providential and remarkable fact of the general equality of the sexes as to numbers, He still proclaims in unmistakable language the law of monogamy, but to use an expression of the apostle, He winked at those things: He did not regard it as innocent or convenient, yet He did not say much about it, or punish it, but left it to punish itself, which it most certainly did."

John Angell James, Female Piety

~Rak Chazak