Saturday, December 31, 2005

Dealing With Evil

Last night was interesting. The blood was certainly pumping.

My Italian relatives, my family, and my uncle and aunt from New York all went out to eat. During the meal, (and I was at the kiddy table, so I had nothing to do with this), my dad and my Italian uncle started talking about the war in Iraq. They are both against the war. When we left the restaraunt, they were still talking about the war. I did not actually witness any of this. (By the way, I am in New York state right now). Then, in the parking lot, a couple guys who heard the conversation, started cussing out my dad and my uncle expressing their views about Iraq: "We just need to f-ing kill them all!"

Now, I didn't see or hear any of this, but in the ride home in the van, my Italian uncle and aunt were talking about a mile and minute in Italian at each other. They were really pissed off.

The thing is this: My Italian relatives are already brainwashed. They already hate Bush, and they actually think that the way to deal with terrorism (at least in Iraq) is to not do anything. They think that our actions in Iraq is fueling terrorism, not dettering terrorism. They think that the attacks in Spain and the attacks in London are "punishment" by the terrorists for being involved in Iraq. They fear, and predict, that Italy will be hit right before the next election. And they blame America for it, because we have apparently pissed off the terrorists and have created terrorists.

I think that my description of their views is accurate, based on the discussion we had last night. But it might not be. Liberals contradict themselves so much that I have a hard time understanding what they are saying sometimes.

But the point is, this experience caused them to cement themselves in EVEN MORE. They said, "What?! So, if you are against the war in America, people think that you are a communist, and you might be verbally assaulted?" We spent a good deal of time last night trying (unsuccessfully, I think) to let them know that the views of the two people in the parking lot are not the views of most Americans.

Now, my Uncle John (american uncle) is conservative and for the war in Iraq. Furthermore, he thinks (and I agree) that the US should give Iran and Syria six months to demonstrate that they do not in any way support or harbor terrorism. We think they need to be given an ultimatum. And, if Iran and Syria don't satisfy our demands, then we should go to war and take out those despotic regimes, and establish new governments that respect human life and basic fundamental rights.

But what strikes me as interesting and disconcerting is the mindset of Europeans (and the left in America) versus the mindset of the "religious right."

On September 11th, 2001, as I saw the twin towers come down on national television, I was infuriated with a holy fury. My response: We need to aggressively take these people out. I'll be praying for their salvations, because their lives in this world are quickly coming to an end. This is about protecting the innocent and doing justice. Evil must be confronted and defeated.

On March 11th a few years ago, Spain got attacked right before the election. When I saw their response, I was incredulous. They were waving peace signs and expressing their desire to be pacifist. "Violence begets violence." The attacks actually caused the election to swing - in favor of leaders who would seek to appease the terrorists! I was thinking, "What's wrong with these people?!" They just don't understand the nature of terrorism.

You would think that these people would learn from history. Appeasing evil makes evil people more bold! Appeasement does not work. The language these people understand is force.

Just look at Europe in the late 1930's. Hitler came to power and took over Czeckoslovakia. Chamberlain's response: Go have a meeting with Hitler and ask him to play nice. Then come home saying, "Peace in our time!" Sleep peacefully Great Britain. Everything is ok. Churchill, on the other hand, spoke up and spoke out decarling that Hitler needed to be confronted and stopped. He was mocked and ridiculed. He was also right.

Had Hitler been confronted early and decisively, millions of lives would have been saved. But, people had their heads stuck in the sand, and they actually believed that the way to deal with Hitler was to negotiate and have meetings and do basically nothing.

In the US, we are divided. About half of us think the war in Iraq is the right thing to do, and half of us don't. In Europe, virtually all think that the war in Iraq is crazy, and that Bush is evil. Why the difference?

I think it is interesting to note that Europe is essentially a post-Christian society. Very few people in Europe believe that the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. Very few people read the Bible on a regular basis. They deny moral absolutes. They are "progressive" and basically leftists. They think that we need to appease the terrorists (although my Italian relatives denied that when I said that).

Why do I think so differently? I think it is due to my faith. First of all, I recognize evil as evil - absolutely. Secondly, I say it needs to be confronted. As we dedicate ourselves to doing justly and confronting evil, I am convinced that God Almighty has our back.

I perceive this to be the difference between America and Europe. The Bible-believing, Bible-practicing church is alive and well in America. Europe is in desperate need of missionaries. Europe would do well to read the Bible and to put their faith and trust in Christ, and to stand up and fight for justice.

10 Comments:

Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

Dan,

Interesting, the Iraq thing is hard to figure out. I am not against the US in Iraq, I think that maybe if all the west was one it would have been better. It is a hard thing to understand, I think the US right has a number of good points. I personally don't know really. You make a mistake when you say the left thinks there are no morals or they are relative. The left believes in strong morals as everyone does and should. They differ on some fine points, like welfare , taxes, etc. Actually the left is very strong on "social justice" as the workers and poor must have more than the rich. But as usual this is politics. The "philosophical" debate on what morals are based on is very different from what the left actually does. Sweden's or Denmark's laws are as rigorous as anyones, don't kill, don't rob. etc. Just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean you have no morals. That is incorrect and not fair.

Sorry for my sister, but I really understand why the US is mad at Iraq and often think like that guy that they should shoot them all. Of course it is just an impulse, and no one really wants that but I get mad because they were all nice and quite in Iraq when the dictator was there and now when they are free they bomb their own people.

12:30 PM  
Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

The catholic chruch and the pope were against the war. Many "Evangelical christians" in Canada, Australia and England were agaiinst the war. On the other hand many right wing political parties in Europe which have nothing at all to do with religion were completely for the war for purely "secular" reasons. Slice and dice it as you may it is pure politics Dan and you are a pure politician who uses religion to decorate his views.

7:01 AM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

There are a lot of good reasons for the US to overthrow the dictatorship of Iraq. But one of the things that gives me pause about the US in Iraq is the apparent ineptitude about getting in there.

Suppose you invest all your money with a land developer. The developer digs an well and finds oil-- so you rejoice, because digging a well to find oil seems to be a smart thing to do. But suppose you found out that your developer had decided to dig the well not because he was looking for oil, but because he had a hot tip that there was hidden leprauchan gold buried there. No amount of discussion could restore faith in the developer and force you to continue investing with him.

The US gov't was looking for non-existent nuclear weapons. Now that we're there, the justification that Hussein was a bad dude hardly can restore my faith in a system that could mess up so badly.

Now people have to decide whether the mistake was the simple incompetence or the deliberate deception of the american people in order to start a war. I tend to believe the former, but many people believe the latter.

M

11:13 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Joe,

I may be a politician, but I am first and foremost committed to Christ. My political views come out of my devotion to Christ as best as I can discern that which is wise. It is not the other way around. It is not as if I were a committed Republican or Democrat and then twisted the Scriptures to make them say what I want them to say.

You say, "You make a mistake when you say the left thinks there are no morals or they are relative. The left believes in strong morals as everyone does and should."

I can't figure you out Joe. Do you believe in absolutes or don't you? Sometimes, in your writing, it seems that you don't believe in absolutes. But then, other times, it looks like you do.

On the left's commitment to "social justice":

It is true that modern liberals led the fight against racism back in the 60's. For this, they should be commended. But now the left has become heretically religious. They promote "tolerance" and "multiculturalism" which sound good, but in actuality they are promoting a very narrow political agenda that is immoral and anti-Christian. For example: The left is "pro-choice." In other words, the left denies that the unborn child is a human being with the same rights as anyone else. Some leftists might admit that the unborn child is a human being, but that they have fewer rights. In view of the Holocaust that is being promoted by the left in the US, it is abhorrent to consider the left the party of "social justice."

As for economics: I speak as one who is poor. (I am, after all, a Christian school teacher). I took a HUGE cut in pay and benefits when I left my government job to teach. As a "poor" person, I say that the policies of the left that are designed to redistribute the wealth are grossly unjust. The government's job is not to give out handouts. This leads to socialism and communism. It is the job of the church to give to the poor. The government's job is to make laws that are just and enforce laws that are just.

Consider this: With every right, there comes an obligation. For example, since people have the right to life, laws are made outlawing murder. In the classical liberal view of individual rights (which is not the modern liberal view), rights imply negative obligations. If you have the right to own property, everyone else has the obligation not to steal from you. However, no one is obliged to give you what you need, want, or desire. Your needs are not a right in the classical liberal view.

As soon as you say that need is a right, then you have socialism. Now, people have all kinds of postive obligations. In other words, if poor people have the right to food stamps, then those who are not poor have an obligation to pay for those food stamps. But the Bible says that if a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat.

The reason why I am against socialism is because socialism discourages individual responsibility. People embrace this entitlement mentality, and embrace the idea that the world owes them something. This is unhealthy. As a poor person, I say that poor people who promote socialism really have theft in their hearts. Rich people often get rich because they work very hard. Poor people tend to be poor because they are poor in their minds. They think they are victims. This goes for me as well. If I stay poor, it will be do to choices that I make (or fail to make).

Now, I am not advocating capitalism. Capitalism has its own evils. Socialism doesn't work because people are selfish. If they don't have to work, in general, they won't. Therefore, socialist nations tend to become depressed economically. On the other hand, capitalism leads to monopolies which can be very oppressive to the common man. Monopolies happen because people are selfish.

So, whichever way you slice it, a system won't work in the end, because people are selfish. Thus, we need Jesus.

If everyone works to serve the Lord with all their heart, and seeks to be generous with each other, then it wouldn't matter if the system is socialist or capitalist. Everyone would be working, making use of their God-given talents to better society. Everyone would be giving generously. Everyone would prosper. Therefore, the gospel is the answer to everything in life - including our economic problems.

Now, to be a capitalist and to not personally give to the poor, is wicked. But the government does not exist to give out handouts.

See my comments under Concerning Camden.

All this to say: The left does not champion "social justice." But neither does the capitalistic right. But there are hard-working and generous people in the land, who labor for social justice. There are millions of Christians who give 10% (or more) of their income to charity (even capitalist right-wing Republicans do this).

Social justice is big on God's heart. It is a big reason why I decided to become a teacher. The Bible commands justice. It is interesting, as you look at church history, to see that when the gospel took root in pagan lands, justice was done. For example, the ancient Romans used to practice infanticide. Unwanted babies would be left outside and exposed to die. Christians abhorred this practice, spoke out against it, and took action to help the situation. That is only one example of history of Christians contending for social justice. There are millions of other examples.

8:46 PM  
Blogger MarcoConley said...

Why not believe? because there's only one thing worse than not believing, and that's being fooled again, and again, and again. Having people promise you it's all going to work out, when it's not. Having people promise they're going to help you, when really, they're just going to sabatoge your life. Having people promise to make it all better, when they're just going to make it all worse.

believeing people when they say they'll out to help-- and they're out to help aright, just not you. People wanting to listen, when they don't want to listen, they want to talk.

The only thing thing than not believing is... believing and finding out you've been duped, again and again and again and again. After a while, you don't even hate the other people any more, you just hate youself for being such an idiot that you'd fall for the tricks again and again. after a while, you throw the books in the trash, because even if it's depressing, no more tricks. Even if it's upsetting, no more lies.

It's like charlie brown kicking the football. He tries to kick it, but lucy pulls it out away from him at the last second, and he misses it and falls on his ass and hurts himself. And he it agains and again and again and again. Like sisyphus.

In a word of lies, what can you cling to but your own wisdom that unconditional love is a lie. People don't want others to be happy, they want others to leave them alone. People are playing a giant video game with other people as pawns. And if think the board would be more fun if two pawns were on a different spot in the board, decide to make them be there. fuck the pawns-- they should be where you decide is best for them.

12:46 AM  
Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

Dan, since abortion is equal to killing, do you think these women deserve capital punishment along with their husbands and doctors ? would you pass laws that strict in your "theocracy" ? another simple question, are avant-garde artists sinners ? should they be punished or forbidden to expose their art ? Try to answer as simple as possible yes/no.

Marco, don't believe the religious lies, else you become another lost soul like Dan. Dan, free your mind, the universe is much richer than religion.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Marco,

I hear you. If Christianity is a lie, then we Christians are a bunch of pitiful fools.

I would say be very cautious about who you trust. When it comes to people, be extremely careful.

But I would say that if you live your whole life without loving anyone or trusting anyone, then you have lost out on some of the richness that you can have in life. There is a risk taken when you love others and when you trust others. Certainly, we all need to love one another. But you can love people without trusting them.

But when you find a few people who have shown you that they are loyal and trustworthy, it would be a pity to miss out on the intimacy and the companionship that comes when you trust them.

I would point you back to the Lord, liar, lunatic argument. What do you do with Jesus Christ? Was he a liar? Was he a lunatic? If not, then the only other option is that He is the Lord. And if he is Lord, then it stands to reason that what he said is true.

And He knew what it was like to be betrayed. He knows you and loves you better than you know and love yourself. He is good.

Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

People will let you down. God will never let you down, as long as you trust in Him. I am praying for you.

Joe,

I don't know what avant-garde artists are. I do know that all people are sinners. I think that we have been created by God to do good works for God's glory, and that we should make use of our talents to glorify the Lord. I love beautiful paintings - especially of scenes of nature. God's creation is beautiful.

It is interesting that you brought up art. We went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art the other day. It was impressive. Of course, much of the European Art were paintings and sculptures of all kinds of biblical scenes. It was neat.

I had very little use for the modern art section of the museum. My dad made a joke looking at one of the modern art paintings. He said, "I don't really like modern art, but I think it is wrong that some kids apparently defaced these pictures with all these scribbles." Beauty can be complicated, but it is also an absolute. Not that beauty is "digital" (beautiful or not beautiful). The beauty of art is more "analog" if you will. Nevertheless, there are pieces of art that are beautiful, and then there are those that are crap and don't rightfully deserve to be called "art" (aka most of modern art)

On punishment for abortion: If the laws change in this country (as well they might), I would be against the death penalty for all who have had an abortion while abortion was legal; however, I would be in favor of the death penalty for all who commit abortion after the laws change. Abortion is murder.

Joe, your contempt for Christ is interesting ... and wicked. I suggest your read the books of Ecclesiastes and Romans. Life without God is totally meaningless and depraved. According the Scriptures all who are outside of Christ are dead in their sins, depraved in their thinking, and without significant meaning. But God in His grace makes people alive and forgiven, wise and spiritually (and sometimes materially) rich. You say, "Free your mind." Joe, I am so free. It is for freedom that Christ has set me free. I am loved, confident, full of faith, rich in friends, and full of a certain measure of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. I don't boast in myself. I boast in the Lord. By God's grace, I have been blessed with a wonderful, believing wife who loves me and who I love. It is a joy for me to live my life for God. I have a peace that passes all understanding, and joy unspeakable. I am forgiven, cleansed, and fully alive! And I am loving every moment of it.

You have to come to Christ by faith and die to yourself and your desires. And then, you will know what freedom is.

Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Peace and love to all.

7:46 AM  
Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

http://www.bidstrup.com/virus.htm

4:27 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Joe,

I glanced through that website. Very interesting. If I get time, I will read it in full later. But I did get the basic idea.

There is no doubt in my mind that psychology is a subset of theology. For example, Romans 1 says that wicked men are given over to a "depraved mind" due to their stubborn resistance to the truth of the gospel. They are "given over" to their thought patterns.

What is interesting about this is that modern scientific research has shown that when young people, whose minds are not fully developed, view pornography, their mind produces a certain kind of chemical - as if the body produces its own "drug" and when the youngster view porn, the drug is released into the bloodstream. The kid gets his "fix." While I am no expert at this field, I have heard that there are very real chemical and phsychological and psychiatric effects on the brain as a result of this. A certain part of the brain experiences atrophy.

However, the child who remains pure in thought and engages in positve social relationships with other young people develop that part of the brain.

This is just one example. If I were a psychologist or a psychiatrist, I would be very interested in comparing the psychological and psychiatric effects of certain behaviors on the development and health of the brain. Furthermore, I'd be curious to investigate how this might relate to the passage in Romans 1.

You suggest that Christianity is a "virus." But maybe your patterns of thinking are a result of the "Enlightenment virus." Perhaps Christianity is the cure.

I enjoy debating with you Joe. I think it is great that you are willing to engage with me in these discussions. Many people can't handle discussing important matters with people who might disagree with them. That is really too bad.

Still praying for you.

6:38 PM  
Blogger elvisfromeurope said...

Dan, does your religion forbid all and any kind of birth control (pill , condom etc.) or are some methods acceptable ? Just curious to see how strict evangelical christians are on this matter.

5:58 AM  

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