Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Eight Hundred Pound Gorillas

We haven't had any of those big apes for a while, so here are a few more of 'em:

If you truly want to help someone, you ask how you may do so.
Here's the best way to tell whether people volunteering to help you really want to be of help, or are simply hoping to take advantage of you under the guise of helping. Do they ASK how they can be of assistance, or do they simply TELL you how they're going to do it?

We have our own ideas as to how we want to "help" the Iraqis. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference to very many of us whether they WANT the sort of help we're giving them, or whether we might better help them in other ways. When we refuse to give them the option of telling us how we can help them, we are merely PUSHING THEM AROUND -- and trying to hoodwink them and everybody else into believing we are helping them.

We're so indifferent to the will of the Iraqi people that we don't even bother to ask them how they want us to help them. This makes it more than obvious that when we claim we want to "give" them freedom and democracy, we are full of shit.

I have just inherited a pretty sizeable house. And let me tell you, there are a lot of things that need to be done around here. A friend of mine volunteered to help me. Or at least, I THOUGHT she was a friend.

It should have aroused my suspicion when she didn't ask me what sort of help I needed. She simply took it upon herself to determine that the first (and apparently the only) thing that needed doing was that my dad's bedroom closet had to be cleaned out. While she and her ladyfriend were in the process of "helping" with this chore, they managed to clean out every piece of clothing that fit them and relieve me of it. Merry Christmas, ladies! They made off with enough goodies for the entire decade of Christmases to come.

I have learned to regard more skeptically people's offers to help me. Of course I always do appreciate real help, but most of those whose help really IS helpful are the folks who actually bother to ask me how they can be of help. It works that way not only in relationships between individual people, but also in those involving entire nations. Human nature is human nature.

If you have no right to do it, you have no right to send somebody else to do it.
If I were to fly over to Iraq and shoot dead some random civilian, what would become of me? Well, I would be arrested and jailed -- and rightfully so. When an army goes over there and slaughters tens of thousands of civilians, what do we say about them? We tell ourselves that they are waging a legitimate war to defend the United States.

Excuse me, but what is the difference, morally, between those two examples?

If you hire a hit-man to rub somebody out, and the job comes off and he (and you) are caught, does the law do much to distinguish the part you played in the crime and his role in it? Of course not, because regardless of whether you pulled the trigger or paid him to, morally the principle is exactly the same.

It's exactly the same when civilians send an army overseas to do their murdering for them.

Anything that it would be immoral for you yourself to do, it is equally immoral for you to get somebody else to do in your place. I shudder to think of the future of this nation. We have the blood of innocents on our hands. We are under the Judgment of God.

So what do our moral loudmouths and busybodies do? Crusade against same-sex marriage and the Pill! La-deeeez and Gentlemen! Which shell is the pea under now?

The combined efforts of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson, "Dr." Laura and all the rest of those frauds couldn't lead this nation out of a paper bag.

Jesus gets misquoted in lots of different places, but the Bible isn't one of them.
The latest fad, for self-proclaimed "progressive" Christians, is a book called Misquoting Jesus.
I have little use, anymore, for the so-called "Christian Left" because most of what they do and say is so transparently reactionary. The Religious Right pisses them off, and they are dedicated to pissing off the Religious Right. It never ceases to amaze me how uncritically they will accept anything that seems to do that.

The biggest problem I have with Christian Lefties, however, is that they are, for the most part, so pitifully ill-informed about their own faith. Now, lots of people fail to understand lots of different things; there are plenty I fail to grasp, myself. The difference is that if I'm not sure I understand a particular belief, I at least take the trouble of asking somebody who DOES believe it precisely what they believe, and why. I have heard too many nitwit claims from ultraliberal Christians about what traditonal Christians believe to take seriously, anymore, very much of what they say.

I do make it a point to read many of the books that enthuse these people, though I must say that the effect they have on me is usually the exact opposite of the influence they wield over their fans. I generally come away from them more certain of the soundness of my faith than ever before. Every time I get through reading, for example, the claim of some gasbag professor from Harvard that the doctrine of the Atonement must be tossed out so people don't think God is a "child abuser," I send up another prayer to thank God for what Jesus has done for me.

God sent Jesus to us, determined to go the distance -- whatever distance we required of Him -- to show God's love for us. It wasn't God's idea for us to nail His Son to a Cross; it was ours. We are the ones who must choose where we stand -- whether at the foot of that Cross, where we can be washed in our Savior's blood, or with the mob who mocked and jeered at Him as He suffered.

There are, indeed, those who misquote Jesus, and they have chosen to stand amid the mockers. The odd thing about those who twist Christ's words is that most of them are conservative Christians. The liberals may get some pretty barmy notions about the traditional doctrines of the faith, but they seem to pay a great deal better attention to Jesus's actual words.

A while back, conservative Christians had a lot of fun with something called The Jesus Seminar. Get out your multi-colored markers, and highlight everything Jesus really "couldn't" have said! (Was it pink that was the "maybe," and yellow the "no way?") I never paid much attention to it, because without actually calling Jesus in and asking Him which quotes attributed to Him were really His and which ones weren't, it was an exercise in total silliness.

Liberal scholars have proven that sometime early on, scribes COULD have altered the quotes attributed in the Bible to Jesus. What people neglect to realize is that there may be a world of difference between COULD and DID. These scribes considered themselves to be performing a sacred duty. They believed that they were quoting the very words of God. Why on earth would they have deliberately altered so much as a letter of it?

Now, you Right-Wing Christians, I have a question for you. You know how nutty the liberals get when they take out their colored hi-liters and start playing games with those words in red. So how can you criticize them for not taking Jesus at His word when so many of you ignore almost everything He says?

You KNOW nobody misquoted Him. So what's YOUR excuse?


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