Sunday, November 11, 2012

Modern America: What Will Clean Our Muddy Waters?

Needless to say, I was saddened over the elections.  I wrote this on the very day of the election, before the votes came in:

Mom and I have a Britta water pitcher.  We put water in the top, and it gets filtered as it drips down so that the water we drink is pure and clean and free of contaminants.
     I only wish it would work this way with people.  The water in America – and let’s face it, in the rest of the world – is muddy, and I’m not talking about H2O!
     I was going to talk in here about my respect for the military, who fight against a foreign enemy, and cops, who fight against a domestic enemy, and firefighters, and doctors, and I was even toying with the idea of writing my thoughts about prison, as this is where a friend of my sister’s and her husband is right now, and I sometimes wonder what life must be like for him.  I am not the type of person that could handle any of those professions or situations.  But it gets me thinking about all the different shades and hues that exist in today’s society, and in all places, and very little of it helps to clear things up.  It’s all just so much more mud in the water.  Because in America, land of the free, everybody is entitled to their rights and their opinions, and everybody has them.  But do they help clean the water, or do they just make it even muddier?
     As I write this, in an election year, on the very day people will be voting for the next President of the United States, the political fighting is occurring fast and furious, and it’s no coincidence I chose to use those specific words “fast and furious” (see the article linked here).  There are certainly shady dealings and outright atrocities surrounding Obama and his cabinet before and during his term in office.  Benghazianyone?  Yet still people will vote for him.  They bring up Romney’s record of fighting for big business, and they may even have a point.  There’s a certain amount of corruption in all government, isn't there?  But is it just more mud in the water?  Who really would be a better leader for this country?  When I ask that question, only Romney’s name is the answer.
     Everybody has an opinion about what would be good and right for this country.  It is our job to examine everything and make a determination about what will clean the “water” or just make it dirtier.  And it doesn’t help that there is good and bad everywhere in everything.  If I pointed to the military or the cops, I could point out the good that exists there.  But others could point out the evil that resides there as well, and what’s more, they would be right.  I couldn’t refute it.  Like Mel Gibson, and Ricky Martin, and Walt Disney, and John Rich, and, well, everybody, there is both good and bad - in everything!  Sometimes you have to look at the ideal instead of the man, or the profession, or the country.
     And then what I choose to believe, what everybody chooses to believe, becomes just more noise to the political conversation.  There will be those who oppose my beliefs, and who have different ideas.  That’s part of what America is all about.  Yet is America becoming something we don’t recognize anymore?  Are we holding onto ideas and ideals that are changing America into a land we’re not familiar with; something it was never intended to be, or to become?  You see, America is now a place where your job is taken away and given to somebody in a foreign land because they can do it cheaper.  Or it is a place where your job can be taken away and given to somebody here, who came here illegally from a foreign land, and he doesn’t have to prove he is legal.  In fact, you have to pay for him to live here!
     America is a land where women can “get rid” of the “thing” inside them, and it’s okay, because we can call it a “health issue” or a “woman’s choice” or a “private decision” or even “termination of a fetus” rather than what it really is, which is the taking of an innocent life.  Oh, they will disguise it, and shroud it in murky waters.  They will bring up the medical emergencies, the few cases of rape and incest, or the myriad cases of child abuse and divorce that would seem to imply it would be better for these children if they were never born.  And once again, they have a point.  These are all things that must be taken into consideration.  But they are also all being used to excuse the death of blameless babies.  The water seems very murky in the national debate, but it is clear from my viewpoint!  The death of innocent babies is simply wrong, and cannot be justified by bringing up the problems that exist with abuse and adoption.
     Planned Parenthood is given too much respect, even from those within the Christian community.  It should be shut down pronto.  At the very least, it should not be government sponsored!  There is nothing that exists there that doesn’t also exist in other places, and a man or woman of God should not support it for the few things it manages to do that may be helpful.  Do you get it?  Satan works the same way, and we end up making exceptions and excuses because, gosh darn it, they are just so NEEDED for these other medical services they offer.  And so it will be supported by millions of Christians, and babies will continue to die, and those who stick up for the life of these babies will be ridiculed, even by those who should know better!
     Abortion is just one example, and God knows I’m not perfect.  Like everyone else, I make allowances where I perhaps shouldn’t make them.  And this path is not an easy one.  It should be traveled very carefully.
     More than anything else, I believe in God, and by that I mean Jesus, and by that I mean the Christian Jesus, who was and is a part of God, and therefore, God.  I put my trust in that, and in the Bible.  Yet, being a land of the free, people are allowed to believe whatever they want to believe, making me and my belief just one small voice in the grimy ocean of this nation.  My religion and my philosophy help to make things clear for me, but others, who believe very differently from me, could make the same case for their own religions or philosophies.  Mine is really no more certain than anyone else’s, and can be attacked in countless ways; and, of course, it has been, over and over and over again.  According to the bible, this is the way God Himself set it up, because He wanted believers, not a bunch of people who couldn’t refute Him or His existence.  He wanted people who made the choice for Him.  If He was irrefutable, then there would be no choice (though even if He were irrefutable, I still think people like Bill Maher and Sam Harris would continue to deny Him).
     Most of this nation may disagree with me, and even within the Christian community, there is division of thought.  Not only is there division documented in Hank Hanegraaff’s Counterfeit Revival, but it is seen in all the denominations and offshoots of Christianity, some of them bordering on cults - or being actual cults.  In many ways, there are as many beliefs in Christianity or religion as there are people on the earth.  Some of the things I do – I own the first season of Medium on DVD and think it’s one of the best written TV shows of the last decade – are not going to be embraced by other Christians, and some of the things they do – such as supporting Planned Parenthood – are detestable to me.  We’re all different.  But every man has to start somewhere, and have some sort of core values that they hold dear.  Mine has been for Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Savior for well over a decade now.  Before that, I was still a Christian, but not one who thought too deeply about matters of faith, and the Bible was that Holy Book that sat on a shelf, and Jesus was the Son of God, but I knew almost nothing else about Him, nor the controversy surrounding Him regarding the proof of His divinity.  I’m different now.  Now I know, and I am thoroughly embroiled in the arguments for and against Jesus and my religion and how it came about.  And I know, from all of this, that this nation, by and large, is not a friend to Jesus.  Oh, much of it is, among Christian communities, but as with the military and the police, there are bad influences and weak people here too.  It’s just one more thing to make the waters cloudy. 
     With all of this – everybody having the right to their own opinion – it makes it all the more difficult to find truth, and more than anything else, a person’s core values should rest on truth.  Truth becomes relative, and you’ll hear people say things like “The way I see truth is…”  That’s not really truth.  By the same token, how can we really know truth?  How can we know things for certain?  How do we know we are real flesh and blood, and that this planet and universe exist only as we can experience them with our senses?  How do we know that we can absolutely trust our senses?  These are things philosophers from the past dealt with, such as René Descartes and Immanuel Kant.  The way I look at it, how do we know we aren’t merely projections in a Holodeck like on Star Trek?  Can you prove to me we aren’t? 
     One truth I am discovering in all of this is that an attempt to be open-minded and fair to everyone, and allow everyone their opinion and their say, can wind up really making your head spin, just like that little girl from The Exorcist who was possessed by the devil, and once again, it’s not just a coincidence I used that particular allusion.
     And here, belief becomes all the more important.  I have the worldview I have because I am a Christian.  You have the worldview you have because of what you choose to believe, and believe in.  None of it is certain.  Yet one of the main reasons I follow the belief that I do choose to follow is out of a search for knowledge and wisdom.  Others can make the same claim, of course, but many of them don’t hold up in the light of day, and a person must judge what works and what doesn’t.  For instance, I have a friend who got a job as a waitress in a strip club, and she defended her decision.  It’s her life, and I’m sure a lot of people would come to her defense, and stand against me for having the old fashioned opinion I have regarding this “business”.  I think it’s sinful.  I’m sure there are some good people there, just as I’m sure there are good and bad people everywhere, but when taken as a whole, I think the sex and pornography business are a blight on this society.  I think they are not defendable, and I call into question the morals of anyone who would defend it.
     You can have your right to believe whatever you want to believe and to live any way you want to live, until this nation becomes a cesspool of sin and vice.  But if you have your right, that means I also have my rights, to believe that some things are wrong and sinful, or that the things some people hold dear are going a long way towards ruining this country.
     In conclusion, I believe that what this country really needs, if I can use the allusion to muddy water I started with, and more than anything else, including freedom, is a Britta water filter!  I don’t think we’ll get that with Obama.  In fact, in my view, we can only really get that with God.

Many men will drink the rain and turn and thank the clouds
Many men will hear You speak, they will never turn around

But I will not forget You are my God, my King / With a thankful heart I bring my offering
And my sacrifice is not what You can give / But what I alone can give to You

A grateful heart I give / A thankful prayer I pray / A wild dance I dance before You
A loud song I sing / A huge bell I ring / A life of praise I live before You

Many men will pour their gold and serve a thing that shines
Many men will read Your words, they will never change their minds

But I will not forget You are my God, my King / With a thankful heart I bring my offering
And my sacrifice is not what You can give / But what I alone can give to You

A grateful heart I give / A thankful prayer I pray / A wild dance I dance before You
A loud song I sing / A huge bell I ring / A life of praise I live before You…

I will not forget You…

            “I Will Not Forget You”
                 - The Praise Band, Wow Worship Orange

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