Friday, April 28, 2006

Addicted to Oil??

With all the "pain at the pump" these days,
the price of gasoline in this country is on everybody's mind;
Oil has blown past $75 per barrel, and with the instability in
Iran and Venezuela, and the war in Iraq dragging on and on,
it doesn't look as if prices are going to drop any time soon...

Amidst all the rhetoric over this situation comes an interesting
sound byte from George W. Bush himself: He says Americans
are "addicted to Oil", and that that "addiction" has to stop,
because the "security of the American people" and "our way
of life" are at risk, blah blah blah...

I have a real problem with Bush's phrasing of the issue
in this way, for 2 reasons:

1. The Bush family has made a FORTUNE from the
Oil industry (COPY and PASTE these links into your Browser)...

... and some people have speculated that there may in fact
be some very suspicious, under-the-table connections
going on between the Bush family and powerful Middle East
oil barons...

... but if Americans are "addicted to Oil", then doesn't the
fact that the Bush family has profited from that "addiction"
make the Bushes something along the lines of "Dealers"
or "Pushers"??

It's just a tad hypocritical to amass wealth by helping to create
a dependency on a certain substance and then to turn around
and tell your Customers to get over their "addiction" to it...

2. Americans are NOT "addicted" to OIL; they're addicted
to FREEDOM, to personal INDEPENDENCE... I sat at a
stop light the other day and counted all the cars going by
(large and small cars) that had only one person -- the driver,
of course -- in them... I quickly got to well over a hundred
before I stopped counting...

The fact is, the only REAL option for going where and when
and how we choose is the automobile (imagine going to
Sam's Club, or Home Depot, or out to a nice dinner,
on a bicycle); the only REAL option for automobiles
(and by "real" I mean mass-produced enough to be relatively
inexpensive) is the gas-powered engine; and the only
REAL system of distribution (to get a Fuel option
to cars that need it) is the current Gasoline infrastructure...

So in order to live our lives as Freely and as Independently
as we want/need to, gas-powered cars are the only CHOICE
we all have! If America is "addicted" to Oil, it's because
the CAR COMPANIES are not providing Americans with an
affordable, practical ALTERNATIVE... Don't BLAME American
drivers for oil consumption when no viable alternative exists...

A trashed environment, the deaths of thousands of soldiers,
strained relations with countries to the East and South of us,
spiraling gas prices... all so that a relatively few companies
and those connected to them can enjoy tremendous fortunes...

It's a shame.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Mind-Brain Problem

A central point of the Scientific Materialism view
is that the Brain and the Mind are one and the same,
that the Mind is merely the emergent result of the
physical processes going on inside the Brain...

In the "reality" conversation between Morpheus and
Neo, in the first Matrix movie, Morpheus sums up
this view by telling Neo that what we can see or feel
or touch -- what we tend to call "Real" -- is merely
electrical signals being interpreted by our Brains...

"Interpreted..." by whom? The ACT of Interpretation
seems to indicate intention and purposefulness, things
typically associated with a Mind; but the things that
a Mind DOES cannot BE the Mind itself... Thoughts don't
"think" themselves, and eletrical connections in the
Brain don't "interpret" themselves... Something ELSE
must be doing the interpreting... So according to
Morpheus' statement, the Brain is doing one thing
(carrying on these electrical connections) and
something ELSE, the Mind, must be "interpreting" them,
assigning to them Meaning and Value and Context...

The reality of this "something else" seems
inescapable and immediate. Those who say that the
Mind vanishes when the Brain dies have absolutely
no proof that this is the case, and are assuming, a priori,
that the Brain is a necessary condition for the Mind;
it is just as possible that the Mind is "released" when
the Brain is dead, and indeed, many people have reported
what are called "Near Death Experiences" in which
their Minds have indeed seemed to be disconnected from
their clinically dead Brains...

The Scientific Materialist will staunchly refuse to
accept these cases, however, choosing instead to defer
to the "mysteries" of Mind that we "still do not
understand", which, of course, sounds much more like
a FAITH statement than a scientific conclusion;
and his refusal to even consider the possibility of a Mind
which may exist beyond the Brain just may well be a
non-scientific mixture of Fear and Rebellion...

But the real trouble with saying that the Mind and the
Brain are the same, and that the Mind vanishes when
the Brain dies, is that this position reduces all
Human Beings to mere animals; the only "reality" is

We may speculate about the SOURCE of the Perception,
but NOTHING can be said to be "real" beyond the
machinery that is my Brain; not Truth, not Beauty,
not Love, not Justice, not even YOU.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Christianity is Different

The celebration of Easter by Christians around the world
affords us the opportunity to consider, once again, why
Christianity is different from every other "religion"
known to the human race:

Basically, religions fall into two broad categories:
Those that are MAN-centered and those that are GOD-centered.
Like other major religions, Christianity, of course, falls
into the latter; but even in that category, Christianity
is extremely unique:

1. Christianity maintains that the chief end of Man is to
"glorify God and enjoy Him forever" (so say the ancient Creeds)...

2. Christianity asserts that Man has chosen his own will
over the will of God, and in so doing, has separated himself
from the God who made Man...

3. Christianity revolves around the Incarnation, God
invading Time and Space, debasing Himself by taking on
the form of a Man -- Jesus -- in order to clearly manifest
Himself to the human race...

4. ...Indeed, the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth,
according to the records, traveled throughout the region
claiming -- in explicit terms and to the disgust and outrage of
the religious establishment of His time -- to literally
BE God, and history records numerous miracles (i.e., a
stunning command over Nature, including Death) to prove it...

5. "The Dying God", in Jesus, was the first and only instance
known to Man where MYTH became FACT (instead of the other
way around)...

6. In allowing Himself to be killed, Jesus spurned any notions
of a political agenda and instead made it clear that His mission
was to be the sacrificial Lamb of God, taking away the Guilt
of Sin, once and for all...

7. Witnesses tell of the miraculous, bodily resurrection
of Jesus, and (some months later) His incredible Ascension
up into the sky and out of sight...

Every other religion, world view, and philosophy known to
Man wants to convince you either that Man must do something
to "earn" favor with God, OR, scrapping that altogether,
emphasizes "enlightenment" or "balance" or "Nirvana",
renaming Evil as "negative energy" and even going so far
as to say YOU (we ALL) are "god"...

Believe what you like, and take the profound RISK that
you may, in the end, be horribly mistaken; but what you
CANNOT do is maintain that Christianity is simply one
among MANY world religions.

It is, quite simply, in a category all by itself.

So I ask you, on this Easter, where is YOUR God?
Mine left behind a strip of grave clothing, an empty hole
in a Jerusalem hillside, and a charge to believers
to go make Disciples...