Showing posts from December, 2019
What does it mean that Jesus is King? Kanye is saying it. It was trending on twitter.

Interestingly, this phrase, 'Jesus is king' is a great summary of the whole point of the gospels. The center of his teaching does not appear to be a statement on how to get to heaven or to avoid hell (although these concepts are present). The central teaching of the four gospels is not about moral living (although, again, the concepts are present). The central message is the Kingdom of God. This is the central theme of every sermon Jesus preached. The Sermon on the Mount starts with a long discussion on who would "inherit the Kingdom of Heaven." John the Baptist in foretelling the coming of Jesus speaks of the "kingdom of God being upon you." Almost every parable Jesus tells speaks of the kingdom of God (or Heaven).

Many have missed this theme by (wrongly) assuming that the "Kingdom of God" is just a synonym for "heaven." But the biblical defi…

How to defend tyrants by using anecdotes

Donald Trump is not a tyrant. I know a lot of people were worried he would become one if he got power. So far, no mass murders. No martial law. No arresting of critics. I need to preface what I write with this because today I would like to talk about real tyrants. People who have murdered large numbers. Stalin. Mao. Pol Pot. Genghis Khan.

Genghis Khan may not have naturally come to your mind because our academic institutions over the past 20 years or so have been doing their best revisionist history job on him. Here are the almost undisputed facts:

Genghis killed at least 40 million innocent people. By innocent, I don't mean that in the midst of a justly started or provoke war he killed a bunch of soldiers. I mean that he want to various cities and villages that had never even heard of him or his people, surrounded the city, demanded surrender, and then, if no surrender happened (and sometimes even if it did) he smash the city with overwhelming force and technology, then he would …

Book Review: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Making of the Modern World

If someone wrote a book about Hitler and the Nazi's that barely mentioned the holocaust, downplayed and minimized the violence and abuse, and then generally focused on the brilliance of Hitler, we would all be horrified. We would all assume there was something terrible about the author.

Well, Genghis Khan was, if anything, worse than Hitler. Khan was responsible for over 40 million deaths and approximately 11% of the world's population! If a city refused to surrender to him, he would bring residents outside the city in groups of 100 and slaughter them systematically. He also had a rape production line where his men would search for beautiful virgins, perfume them and dress them up, then take them into Genghis where he would have his way with them one after another. Hardcore History host Dan Carlin read first hand accounts of people approaching areas where the Khans had recently conquered and the smell of corpses being overwhelming for miles away. Those they did not murder, th…

Podcast: No one cares about diversity or the impeachment

This week's podcast is about things no one cares about. Like the impeachment stuff and the diversity of the democratic field.

Will Robots Steal All Our Jobs? Why Andrew Yang is All Wrong About AI

Andrew Yang's whole platform this election season is that technology (and AI specifically) is going to fundamentally transform our society, take manufacturing jobs, eventually take office jobs, and leave many people lost and hopeless. In an interview with Quartz, Yang said the following:

People don’t think if their local mall closes that it’s the result of robots and AI. But the fact is, that mall is closed because of Amazon soaking up $20 billion in commerce every year. And you better believe that Amazon is investing billions of dollars in robots, automation, and AI to have a package on your doorstep the next day.

His words echo the words of others including Barack Obama who explained the slow recovery of the economy during his tenure by saying this, "When you go to a bank you use the ATM, you don't go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you use a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate."

And this argument is not new. It goes all the way back to the Ludd…

Remember... real life

I remember being 10 and camping with a few friends. One of their parents owned a few acres and we got sleeping bags, a tent, and a few supplies and went back into the fields. We went down to the river and hunted for squirrels (catching none), frogs (none) and firewood (some). As it got dark, we built a fire, roasted marshmallows and smashed them between the graham crackers and chocolate filled our bellies with sugar as we silently watched the wood we had collected crackle and smoke.

Looking at the fire, I realized that life was magical. Filled with wonders. Filled with adventure. 

There is something about being in nature that allows someone to know there is something more than us. Something about the stars, the night, the fresh air, and the quiet that points to God.

Today, I like everyone else has some sort of electronic device at hand almost 24 hours a day. There are no quiet moments. Waiting for marshmallows to cook? Why not check the score? Check Twitter? Text a friend? Play some …

Only Idiots Tear Down a Fence Without Knowing Why It Was Erected

In 2015, I worked in an office with a man who stubbornly refused to upgrade his smart phone. He was using a Blackberry and the rest of the office was using iPhones. We all made fun of him. He was a bit older and we attributed it to his age. Why would someone use such an old phone? But the iPhone only came out in 2007 and was not regularly used by any business due to its cost intentionally. Our company had only allowed it to be purchased starting in 2011. That means that he was clinging to a phone that was four year old technology. 
I have always taken this as a good illustration for our culture’s lust for the recent. We love that which is new. We despise that which is old. One critique of Christianity put forth by Richard Dawkins and other angry atheists is that the bible is a document that is thousands of years old and written by goat herders. This critique may be over the top and ridiculous but it certainly has the ring of truth to it in much of today’s society.
One thing that I love…

Do You Need Religion to Be Moral?

"Are you saying, that I need God to be moral?"

This is a typical question in response to any sort of claim that Western values are based on Christian morals.

My answer to the question is 'yes' and 'no.'

Let's start with the no. If we all agree on what is moral and we all praise morality and scorn immorality, then anyone can do it. Let's take an almost universally accepted moral: Racism is bad. While, as a Christian, I certainly would agree that mocking, excluding, hating, etc someone on the basis of race is bad, this hardly sets me apart from my atheist neighbor. We all agree. Further, as a society, there is almost universal scorn for racism. Other similar shared morals are: giving to the poor, education, sick, etc.  In such situations, it is hard to find any meaningful difference between the devout church goer and the hardened Richard-Dawkins-loving atheist. Both tend to act 'moral' with or without God.

So, for these, yes an atheist does not…

Podscast: Why Patriarchy is not really a thing

Check out this week's podcast. We are talking about the call to 'smash the patriarchy' and whether that makes sense or not.

Wikipedia Smart

Have you ever noticed when reading the news about a topic you know well - one you are an expert on - how often the news seems misinformed and confused? I used to work in the automotive industry and when a big story would come about about some recall or quality issue that I had inside information on, I noticed that the reporters were so clueless. They were trying I am sure but to become an expert on something cannot be done in a day.

Which brings up another issue: Wikipedia. I cannot tell you how many times I have had conversations with people online about topics that I am very well read on and have them respond in dismissive and condescending ways to the points I am making. They suddenly start citing facts that I was not familiar with and start giving details on (for example) slavery in England during the 9th century. I studied medieval English history in college (as a minor track), have read broadly on English history, and have taken a particular interest in the history of slavery g…

The Myth of the Patriarchy

Imagine a world in which this was true:

- Women died earlier than men
- Women had less parental rights in a divorce
- Women were drafted and sent to war while men could stay safe at home with the kids
- Women suffered more work related accidents
- Women suffered more from suicide and substance abuse
- Women were expected to go down and fight a burglar that had broken into the house
- Women were expected to be the last ones to leave a sinking ship
- Women were expected to make most of the money around the house
- Women had no say on whether a pregnancy could be terminated but a man had absolute and final say
- Women were the most common butt of jokes in commercials
- Women were expected to ask men to dances/dates/marriage and men simply had to say yes or no

I could go on but I think you get the point. Can you imagine the outrage? The howls and screams?

But you probably already guessed that all of those things are true for men. Men have a tough road in this life. But somehow we never c…