20 April 2017

Uncommon Commentary #533: Orca-strated Propagandizing

Killer whales at SeaWorld never impressed me as being unhappy.  If someone were miserable in confinement and had no way to escape it, he would go on a hunger strike or find some way to commit suicide; he would not perform for his captors, as those animals do.  Trying to end the bullying of children has become a trendy cause, but what about the bullying of organizations like SeaWorld by "animal rights" fanatics?

31 March 2017

Uncommon Commentary #532: This UC Is No Joke, and So I'm Not Posting it Tomorrow

We're accustomed to thinking of patriotism as a virtue, but, really, the world would be a better place if there were no patriots.  Adverse effects of nationalist feeling include:
⦁ Motivation for belligerency.  Most wars have been fought for the sake of national aggrandizement. (Don't misunderstand me: It nearly always speaks well of a volunteer soldier that he is willing to die for his countrymen.  It would speak far better of him, though, if he were willing to die for his fellow man no matter where that fellow man lives.)
⦁ Bigotry and xenophobia toward actual foreigners and toward persons perceived as foreign.  The existence in history of the Ku Klux Klan, National Socialists ("Nazis"), and a legion of similar groups provides abundant evidence of this.
⦁ Politicization of international athletic competitions.  Why should we root against someone from Botswana or Cambodia or Surinam, just because he's not "American" or whatever?  Why should a Russian judge pressure a French one into awarding an Olympic gold medal to the Russian entry rather than to more-deserving Canadians?
⦁ Chauvinism and chauvinistic delusions.  One of the multitude of instances occurs in a 1914 book by German physicist Philipp Lenard, who therein accused all British scientists of having plagiarized the work of German scientists!
(The above does not mean, of course, that all patriots are warmongers, perpetrators of hate crimes, chauvinists, &c.; but there certainly would be far less evil of these sorts if people would stop taking their earthly nationalities so damned seriously.)
Most insidiously, national ideologies can cause us to believe things that are incompatible with, or even antithetical to, the faith that we profess.  The secular conceits of countries where Christians compose the majority often are contradicted by Christian belief; certainly this is true in the land of my earthly sojourn, the USA, despite its reputation among well-meaning wishful-thinkers for having been "founded on Christian principles" by those Deists and Freemasons whom we call the Founding Fathers. (The central theme of US ideology is "fighting for your rights", which is the opposite of the Christian virtue meekness.  If you want a more specific example: try to reconcile the Declaration of Independence's assertion that sovereignty resides in the People, who therefore have a right to resist a government that endangers the People's liberty, with Romans 13:1-2, which tells us that authority to rule comes from God and that anyone who resists the ruler resists what God has established, making himself liable to damnation!) Because of what I call the "God-and-country attitude", viz., the tendency of someone who is patriotic to also be religious and of someone who is religious to also be patriotic, Christians don't realize that nationalism is a form of worldliness, and, as such, is something that they ought to try to avoid feeling.  (Said attitude may be a subconscious cultural relic or legacy from the days when, prior to the rise of supra-national faiths like Buddhism and Christianity, religion was very closely identified with nationality; even YHWH, who now has billions of worshipers all over the globe, originally was regarded merely as the tutelary deity of the Hebrews.)  Where the beliefs of our country conflict with those of our religion, we must always choose the latter.

23 February 2017

Uncommon Commentary #531: Anti-Religious Fanaticism

I hope that I never lose my faith; if I do, though, I hope that I remain respectful of spiritual beliefs, that I recognize the natural need for the supernatural.  The last thing that I want to become is one of those obnoxious militant atheists, who evidently will settle for nothing less than a total ban on public religious expression.

13 February 2017

Uncommon Commentary #530

Tendency to be judgmental (for which word, in most of its appearances of in this u.c., "intolerant" can be substituted) is a problem today, as it has been throughout history, but it is important to understand which behavior qualifies as "judgmental" and which does not.  Distinguishing between right and wrong is not being judgmental.  Reproaching for sin someone who has committed what Scripture calls a sin is not being judgmental; rather, it is relating a judgment that has been made by our divine judge, God.  The worst way to be actually judgmental, but one that is becoming increasingly common, is to behave judgmentally toward those that you call judgmental!

20 January 2017

Uncommon Commentary #529: UC #525 Follow-Up

I'm not a "Never Trumper", and certainly not one of the "Not My President" radical rabble--I regard the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency as being more comical than outrageous--, but I must say that the optimism that many "conservatives" (see the list of domanisms, below) are expressing about a Trump presidency is positively surreal, and demonstrates that hope springs eternal.
This doesn't mean that there's no reason to think that Trump's tenure will be an improvement over that of Emperor Nerobama. (How could any change from his misrule not be an improvement?) His Cabinet selections are largely astute, although I would not confirm Rex Tillerson, who, like Trump, is a businessman with no foreign-policy experience, to be Secretary of State. (choice that deserves comment is that of Rick Perry to supervise the Department of Energy.  Perry is a good man, but why should a Trump administration even include a Secretary of Energy?  Early in this decade, it was fairly widely recognized in the GOP that, if Washington's spending is ever to be brought under any degree of control, entire departments of the US government must be eliminated; the prime favorite for such elimination was the Department of Energy, and, if I recall correctly, one of those contestants for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination who said that he would abolish said department was Gov. Perry.  It seems that the law of physics is right: Energy can never be destroyed.)  Lawrence Kudlow will make an excellent economic advisor, though only if Trump, whose ego seems to be similar in size to Obama's, actually takes his advice. (I can't believe that Kudlow approves of Trump's potentially catastrophic opposition to free trade; protectionism is what caused the Great Depression.)
"America", however, does not need to be made "great" again, contrary to Trump's campaign slogan; it needs to be made worthy of blessing by God.  Elevating to our highest office a man who has been divorced twice (and whose present "wife" has posed in the nude for photographs), who publicly uses obscenities, who verbally assaults anyone who can be considered an obstacle to the achievement of his goals, who shares the outgoing chief-executive's support of same-sex marriage, who tells as many lies as does any career politician, whose attitude toward the opposite sex is almost as bad as Bill Clinton's, and who supported Dunghillary only four years before his first presidential bid, is no way to do that.

04 January 2017

Miscellaneous Musing #88

The only sounding of "Israel" that makes any sense in English is IZ-ray-el.  Unhappily, the name has long been sung as IZ-rye-el, and this cause of vexation seems to be gaining currency in speech as well.  (This mispronunciation presumably is the result of the fact that "Israel" has been transmitted to us through the classical tongues Greek and Latin, in the latter of which "a" and "e" together represented the sound that we use for the pronoun "I".)  I suggest that you start practicing the proper pronunciation now, because one thing that you don't want to do is rile me!

20 December 2016

Uncommon Commentary #528: The Cross Versus the Cross

(That is, the instrument of our salvation versus those whom it apparently angers.)
Does the mistreatment of Christians and of Christianity by so many in today's Western World truly qualify as persecution?  Obviously, this cultural assault is not the equal of what occurs in places where Islamists simply imprison or behead whoever professes Christianity.  Western countries have laws that prohibit the doing of such things, and so our antichrists must be more cunning; rather than lop off someone's head, they accuse him of intolerance toward others, especially homosexuals, and try to do him whatever personal or professional damage they can do thereby.  Defamation of Christianity and of its followers and values is, therefore, being wielded like a weapon--there's an opening here for a pun on "mass destruction"--, and indeed is persecution.  (It's not that Christians cannot, or ought not to, tolerate any criticism of their religion; respectful objections by unbelievers may have value in keeping the faithful from complacency.  Even the current ostracism, slander, and other tactics in the West may prove useful as training and preparation, if what seems to be the Time of Tribulation spreads to here from those parts of the globe where it has already commenced.)