Meme Attack!

I decided I need an outlet to collect and respond to idiotic memes. Here goes.

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It’s not a health choice, it’s a baby. How can so many people be so anatomically ignorant? It’s not your uterus. It’s not some phantom organ that appears just before a baby is born. That crying baby that comes out was inside. Inside, then outside, same baby.

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I put these two together because I think the problem isn’t really extremism but an extreme desire to kill nonmuslims. Going to extremes can be important. Some might call me an extreme christian because I seek to live my life in obedience to God.

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So I listen to a lot of these people. They don’t hate. Not at all. They are genuinely passionate about what they believe. They also want to make money. I do too. I won’t fault them for that. These days it’s popular to disdain running a business. It shouldn’t be. It creates jobs. These people, however, are commentators. That’s it. Rush isn’t the voice of Christian values nor would he seek to proclaim himself to be.

And some fun ones.

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Treason is a president making friends with Iran and Cuba.

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If It Starts with a B, it’s Probably Bad

So that job of yours? Not good. Know why? Big business. Big business is bad. It’s easy to remember because they all start with B. So does my name, but that’s not important right now. Focus on money. Money is bad because all the big businesses have it. If they didn’t have it, it might be good. But I doubt it. What about the poor little businesses? Nope, they don’t have it. Government taxes away all of theirs but let’s big bad businesses have money because government is in bed with big business. It’s a big bad money bed and it’s downright selfish … and lumpy.

So now that we have that understood lets talk about the poor. The poor are getting poorer. They’re getting so poor because big business goes into their houses and literally snatches away money from their billfolds and kicks their dogs in the behonkous for good measure. Literally. It’s happening like reverse Santa Clause. Soon they will have to give their houses to bratty little big business babies and live in boxes. We can’t have this.

So what are we going to do about it? We are going to take away money from big business. All of it. We are going to make them live in boxes because they deserve it and are evil. Then we are going to give their money to … the government. But the good government. Not the bad government sleeping around with big business. The good to go government that doesn’t want you to live in a box. So the good government is going to create offices that will give amazing things to poor people without jobs. They won’t have job jobs or be able to get them because the good government is taking away money from the bad businesses and creating all those offices to take care the poor people.

Actually, let’s just get rid of businesses all together. Yeah. Once they don’t have any money they will have to close anyway. The. Good government can just keep all the money and give all the people everything they need. Work? Nah. Not really. I mean good government might give you stuff to do for all the free stuff they are giving you, but that’s only fair and you don’t mind because you’re good people.

So go ahead and quit your job now. It will feel good. Just do it, then just wait. Those bad businesses will be a thing of the past in no time and you’ll be well on your way to just sitting around getting free stuff while we laugh at big business living in boxes. Now that’s funny!

An Answer to Everything

It might not be a good one in your estimation, but have you noticed there’s an answer to every single argument known to mankind? It’s true that most of them come from people who just like to argue, but the bottom line is, if you really want to counter an argument, you’re probably going to be able to come up with something substantive enough to create doubt. If not, there’s always character assassination.

So why try to argue? I’m sure I could come up with a few good arguments for and against arguing, but for now I just want to explain my reasons for the defense of my Faith. Faith does need a defense, contrary to the popular belief that faith is some ethereal vague hope that all will turn out right. No, I refuse to put my faith in vague insubstantial notions of human goodness or supernatural care taking. I have put my faith in a substance, because faith is the substance of things I know will come to pass or know to be true.

The most important of these things is my faith in the Creator of the universe. As a man of this earth, I seek answers. I assume we all do. I assume it is part of being human. I have sought answers in my adult life, and I have found that all the answers point me to the Creator who I came to know when I was only five years old. The child-like understanding, in this case, did not lead me astray, because it was cultivated by a brilliant and attentive God. What I sensed early on was a then undeniable understanding that there was a Creator to this world and that He loved me. Since that time I have come to know him much like I have come to know others in my life. Experiences through talking to Him and reading His words. I’ve also experienced His obvious imprint in creation.

That being said, I am not so much a fool to think that will not sound foolish to most. The fact is, there are countless arguments of dismissal toward my Faith. Those come from those who have not found or refuse to find or are blinded to the substance of my Faith. Let’s consider the popular story of Sir Isaac Newton being hit on the head with an apple and discovering the law of gravity. Supposing this were true, we might expect that Newton shared this insight with others. Some might argue “Well, that was your experience, not mine. I’ve never had an apple hit me on the head so I don’t believe in Gravity.” There are two points here. 1. A personal powerful experience with gravity lends it greater relevance and awareness. 2. The gravity exists whether there is a greater or lesser awareness of it.

I will not pretend my experience with God didn’t happen so I can fit in with the cool kids any less than we would expect Newton to shut up about gravity if he had been ridiculed. On the contrary, my experience encourages me to share excitedly the work the God of Creation has accomplished in my life and how that has spurred my understanding beyond myself to a bigger, fuller, organized picture of all of life. This does not bring about pride or conceit for me any more than Newton could be prideful that gravity exists. It exists for everyone the same. Knowing God doesn’t make me better, it simply opens my eyes to the world around me in significant ways.

That’s why I share what I know. Because what He has opened my eyes to is significant. It is the most significant thing you can know and it determines everything. So argue your points. Pick out my flaws. I’m sure there are many. But know that I am going to speak and defend and share concerning the insurmountable greatness of my God and what He has shown me.

Picking Cherries and Drinking the Koolaid

When is the last time you read something in the blogosphere that was fair and balanced? I asked myself this question recently as I began to evaluate the comments to an assortment of articles. You won’t get far before finding someone say “He was obviously cherry picking the facts” or “She grossly misunderstood or mischaracterized the data” or “He accomplished nothing more than knocking down his own straw man arguments.”

Now, normally when I see these types of criticisms, I assume the reader is actually a little threatened by what is being said and therefore breaks out the “lets just defame this author’s ability to make reasonable arguments.” But the more I thought about it, the more I tried to recall the last time I read a piece that truly sought to lay out the pros and cons of a hypothesis. Most don’t even bother with more than an ironic meme and a few scathing sentences.

It almost seems as though *gasp* there is no science to our thoughts at all. But why should there be when intimidation and shaming work so well? I mean, aren’t all those memes changing your mind about things?

“You know, that silly kitten sweating under the sweltering heat of global warming and quoting from an ex lawyer is really making me second guess my stance on climate change. Why, that sarcastic and demeaning comment about Sarah Palin really makes me wonder if I should be a democrat so I can associate myself with cooler people like Hollywood actors.”

Sorry, but it isn’t quite working, meme factory. I’m not quite sure of your objectivity, Salon.com. I need more bias. I need more subtle slander and editorialized edicts.

So go ahead and pick your cherries. Throw them at your straw men as they scratch their heads over the countless interpretations of the latest poll. And most of all, if someone comes along presenting cold hard facts, dismiss them outright based on your judgment of their poor character and motives.

In closing, here are a few more good ones to use.

1. He’s just a racist, pure and simple.
2. Just another dummy with fuzzy logic.
3. This from the guy who (fill in the blank with hypocritical quote).
4. Left/Right wing nut job.
5. Anyone who thinks the way she does should be shot!

How to Resolve an Argument with Stupid Phrases

“I believe everyone should be free to pursue their dreams.”

“What you do behind closed doors is your own business.”

“People can believe whatever they want so long as they keep it to themselves.”

These are the types of comments I often see when an argument between two views isn’t reaching any mutual agreement. They are useful phrases because they sound very magnanimous, very P.C., very gracious. But they are also very stupid.

Consider a couple of my very own controversial issues. Let’s start with abortion. I’ll skip all the arguments up to the final pseudo-resolution. Drum roll please. “The fact is we can’t know for certain when consciousness starts so let’s default on I will do what I want and you do what you want.” Well! That was easy. We went through a torturous three days of comment posting for that? So from now on this is going to be my starting point. Because the end is just the beginning. For instance, if there’s something that can’t be known for certain for all mankind (not much truly comes to mind in this category. Gravity? A few other natural laws?) then don’t we usually try to err on the conservative side? If we aren’t quite sure when life begins, but we know that once it does it has rights, shouldn’t we eliminate the risk of murder as best we can?

How about evolution? I’ve often found it amusing that the same people who believe in survival of the fittest and natural selection also believe in basic human rights. What place does any kind of rights or morality have in the evolutionists worldview? In the natural world we have predators and prey, sometimes that prey being an animal’s own offspring. I find it odd that human beings are not counted as a part of nature at all, but some antagonizing outside force.

Finally, Christianity. I can’t hold to the truths taught in God’s Word without sharing those truths. You say I can practice my religious beliefs so long as I don’t try to get others to practice them. But what if my “religion” happens to include the mandate to go into all the world, making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of my God? Then keeping my religion to myself becomes nothing worth keeping because it’s wings have been clipped.

The list could go on. The point is, if you hold to a belief so strongly that you will argue it tooth and nail to the end of time, at least know where that belief will logically take you at the end of time. I implore you to start your arguments here. Don’t waste time with the talking points. Get to the logical conclusions. At the very least get the stupid out of the way and start with an honest version of the post modernist catch phrases. “Well, we all should have the individual freedom to think and do whatever we want … So long as it fits with my paradigm of what I think people should think and do.”

Belief is like a spark. If it’s ignited well it will spread. What we learn for ourselves is meant to be expressed to others … as sounding boards, as devil’s advocates, as knowledge seekers. Don’t be afraid to want others to know what you know. Don’t be a hermit with your beliefs. Know them to the core and then let them grow fruit for others.

Confessions of a Bug Hater

Originally, this appeared in the Tartan, Radford University’s newspaper, around 2001, then in my own online magazine, Root & Branch, in 2003. Now, for posterity, I present to you, direct and uncut, the following:

When I was a child I was what you might call warped in the head. Some of the things I did make me look back, shake my head, and wonder in amazement. One of these was inflicting cruel and unusual, tortuous deaths on insects. I was the beetle’s bane, the ant’s antagonist, and other evil things that start with the same letter as other insects. My ominous, shadowy figure made antennae quiver and pupae shiver in their fat little rolls of whiteness. The scariest horror stories bugs could tell to their babies were full of descriptions of my pitiless, glistening eye and ingenious weapons of death. Yes, the ways of my youth brought me little friendship with the insect world. I left a trail in my wake of legless granddaddy longlegs, scorched bumblebees, hobbling and silenced crickets, smeared fireflies, and impaled praying mantises struck down in mid-plea. Spiders grew fat with my offerings. I maintained a respect for the arachnid family somehow, and would ritually offer them the fatness of my gleaning as a token of intertribal friendship. There was rarely a day when the webs outside my house were not heavy with fresh meat. There were always, of course, a few spiders of the more humane sub-types who would form councils against my extremist ways. Many a Wolf Spider would have sold his soul to the Black Widow herself if she would do her worst to me. However, she and her Brown Recluse henchmen were far from appalled from my ways, finding a point of commonality in our morbidity. I was, then, for the most part free to do my worst, not giving a second thought to the havoc I wreaked.

There was one, however, who became my antagonist during those early years of my life. I now would like to thank her for her efforts. My cousin, Jessica, was the typical scrawny, wild-haired mountain girl with stormy rain in her eyes. She was the nymph of the Appalachians and the trees knew her by name. The soil recognized her barefoot steps as she flitted across, off to some wonderful adventure. I now see in her many traits that I have developed over the years. At the time, I only thought of her as a bully who would knock me onto the ground if I even so much as looked at a bug the wrong way. At least she never took a magnifying glass to my stomach and bored a hole through to my internal organs until they smoked and bubbled. That would have been my just end, for that is what I would do to any carpenter bee who desired to make his home in my breezeway. This is the past that haunts me.

At this time in my life I would like to finally apologize for the insensitivity I had to insect-kind. I only hope that my efforts now will be able to make up, in some way, for my horrible history. Today I make a proposal. It has come to the attention of many people that with regard to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness there are those among us getting the raw end of the deal. These are our friends the bugs: the ladybugs, stickbugs, flies, gnats, cicadas, and especially ants. It is my feeling, riddled with guilt at my own life of apathy toward these smaller members of our planet, that insects need an advocate group among humans. Since we have not yet developed the ability to communicate to our small companions, I feel the need to speak for them the things that we know they are thinking and communicating among themselves in their own tiny languages. I believe it is not enough to be supportive of insects. We need an active group, strong and with the backing of our legislatures, to encourage awareness of bug rights. With this in mind I have created the Proponents for the Smaller Ones Among Us Rights Foundational Group Association, Inc. (PSOAURFGA for short). In anticipation of the abundance of members who will be attaching themselves to this foundational association (based on up-to-date research polls which show that 100% of people surveyed do not promote the killing of ladybugs) and the abundance of those who still need to be educated on the rights of bugs (based on another study indicating that 100% of those polled did not feel sorry when they accidentally drown an insect in the shower) I have come up with a suggested list of goals for our first year. The PSOAURFGA, Inc. goals for 2004 are as follows:
1. Incorporate “Bug Education” in our school system, including classes such as “Bugs are People Too” “The Needs of Bugs” and “Alternate Bug Lifestyles” with themes starting in Kindergarten such as “It’s okay for a mommy bug to eat a daddy bug and all the little baby bugs. Really, it is.”
2. Stop cultural eating of bug larvae (including boycotting tribes of Zimbabwe and surrounding areas).
3. Let mosquitoes suck blood whenever they feel the need to replenish themselves and promoting “Safe Sucks” ads and sterilized mosquito nose prophylactics.
4. Arrest Benjamin Shelor for torturing bugs as a youth (to be suspended upon trial).
5. Ban or at least regulate the public use of fly swatters. Fly swatters and fly paper should be within regulatory limits of type and caliber, and should only be used in defense by trained bug professionals working for a new government agency entitled Internal Insect Affairs.

Please join with me in the fight against insectophobes and bugots, and toward the education of all humans concerning insect rights. I know that together we can combat the failures of our past and build a world where insect and human can walk hand-in-feeler in a brave new alliance.

I’d Like to Give the World Economic Equality

At times Facebook becomes my muse. Especially overly simplified memes and quotes used to prove to the Facebook community that all could be perfectly beautiful in the world if we really wanted it to. One such quote envisioned a world where the global standard of living could be significantly improved if we simply used our money for good instead of war. “It is highly feasible” the quote stated. The post, of course, received the obligatory likes from well meaning Facebookians and I am sure included the usual “I’m fed up with selfish evil people, I wish they would all die!” type non sequitur comments. And that’s where it ends. Changing the world one “like” and one hashtag at a time.

I think deep down we all know this stuff is crap, but we can’t come across as uncaring, right? We have to maintain our indignant stance of incorruptible albeit baseless ideology. The fact is that highly feasible is a lot different than doable. I’m reminded of the commercial song “I’d like to give the world a coke.” Coca-cola actually has gone to great lengths to put coke machines in lots of places around the world (I’ve even seen one on top of an obscure mountain in Papua New Guinea) and yet millions are tragically without experiencing the classic taste of Coke classic.

I’ve been to places that can’t be reached except by a very small plane or a helicopter, and only under the best weather conditions. There are people groups separated by vast deserts and jungles. So if the affluent Coca-cola can’t even give the world a coke due to extremely complex logistical conditions … and if Amazon can’t get everybody their Christmas presents in time … and if the United Nations since its origin never accomplished ANYthing, how nightmarishly complex would it be to bring about global economic equality?

But maybe that’s not the point. Maybe the point is “now that I’ve set a utopian standard of unachievable glory, now I can target others as the reason the world isn’t as it should be. You know, those friends who didn’t click “like.” The warmongers. The nazis. The republicans. If I can just hate and guilt those people into oblivion then maybe just MAYBE all logic and reason can finally be set aside forever.