Category Archives: Evil

The Music Of The Ainur

This is my favorite literary passage, both for it’s own merits and for the truths it tells regarding our great God.

As I’ve been neglecting I, Pandora of late, I hope you enjoy this passage as much as I do.

The setup: Iluvatar, God, has created the Ainur (angels) and taught them music. Iluvatar has gathered them all to reveal a new and mighty song for them to accompany and build upon. Tension builds as Melko the devious weaves his own counter melodies, not in harmony with Iluvatar’s greater themes but for his own glory. The following is from the Book of Lost Tales, volume 1. It is the earliest of the forms of this great tale which may also be found in more well-read form in the Silmarillion.

Then said Iluvatar: “Mighty are the Ainur, and glorious, and among them is Melko the most powerful in knowledge; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Iluvatar, those things that ye have sung and played, lo! I have caused to be – not in the musics that ye make in the heavenly regions, as a joy to me and a play unto yourselves, alone, but rather to have shape and reality even as have ye Ainur, whom I have made to share in the reality of Iluvatar myself. Maybe I shall love these things that come of my song even as I love the Ainur who are of my thought, and maybe more. Thou Melko shalt see that no theme can be played save it come in the end of Iluvatar’s self, nor can any alter the music in Iluvatar’s despite. He that attempts this finds himself in the end but aiding me in devising a thing of still greater grandeur and more complex wonder: – for lo! through Melko have terror as fire, and sorrow like dark waters, wrath like thunder, and evil as far from my light as the depths of the uttermost dark places, come into the design that I laid before you. Through him has pain and misery been made in the clash of overwhelming musics; and with confusion of sound have cruelty, and ravening, and darkness, loathly mire and all putrescence of thought or thing, foul mists and violent flame, cold without mercy, been born, and death without hope. Yet is this through him and not by him; and he shall see, and ye all likewise, and even shall those beings, who must now dwell among his evil and endure through Melko misery and sorrow, terror and wickedness, declare in the end that it redoundeth only to my greater glory, and doth but make the theme more worth the hearing, Life more worth the living, and the World so much more the wonderful and marvellous, that of all the deeds of Iluvatar it shall be called his mightiest and his loveliest.”

Mighty is the terror to the terrible that his strutting and strong words may come to naught and vanity. Mightier still is the terror to the terrible that all their vanity may be turned against them, working from the greater glory of one greater than them. The despots and tyrants of this world fear their life being meaningless, and the fear even more that their work will have been for another.

And yet that is the way it is. And of all the tyrants, Satan, the most vicious and terrible and vain and haughty and the one who will most assuredly come to naught and that without remedy. And all his vicious and terrible and vain and haughty works will come only to the greater glory of the one true God to whom is all glory and all honor, and all worship forever.

Don’t you just love Tolkien?

Why Conservative, Christian?

Is America a Christian Nation?

Among those brothers and sisters who claim the name of Christ as their redeemer and Lord there are as many social ideas and political persuasions as there are sequins on a glam rockers vest. Or more.

Anybody who thinks all professed Christians believe a certain way about nearly any subject, even many subjects central to the faith, is misinformed or worse. They may be correct in believe that professing Christians ought to believe certain ways, but they are sadly mistaken if they think they actually do.

Especially in recent years, as traditionally more professedly secular ideologies have come to recognize the power and persuasion of faith-based arguments, no one political party or social movement or cultural idea can claim to be leading most Christians in it’s way.

However, there are many social ideas and political ideologies that Christians ought to agree on, and at least basically agree on their importance in the grand scheme of ideas.

First, we must agree that all aspects of life are related. That words mean things, that ideas have consequences, that actions are the outward manifestations of inward ideas, though they can be easily controlled and manipulated to give a wrong impression, positive or negative. We must agree that out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. We must agree that what one does in private is the truer measure of who they are than what they claim in public. We must accept that dishonesty in one part of a life will mean that person cannot be trusted in other ways either. This doesn’t mean we only accept perfection. It means, more than anything else, that we only trust God for those things that are rightfully His to do.

Second we must agree that there are standards of right and wrong, and they are not situationally or culturally defined. When Jesus said He was the only way to the Father, He wasn’t leaving options open. If you don’t believe Jesus is the only way, you’re very welcome to call yourself anything you please, except a Christian. We use labels to mean things and allow useful and necessary classification in order to function as a normal, healthy society. Co-opting a label that has meant one thing for centuries to mean something completely different is to no ones benefit except the deceiver. And referencing to point 1, such deception in more indicative of your own heart issues than any intolerance true Christians may or may not hold.

The same goes for other truths that are defined in human nature and through the Word of God. Killing of innocents is always unjust and immoral. It doesn’t matter if you’re all in a life raft and starving and the weak ones wouldn’t survive anyways. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to live with the consequences of your actions. It doesn’t even matter if the choice was taken from you and forced upon you by evil people doing evil actions. Taking a life never expunges the memories or heals the wounds. It only adds to the pain and grief and lays actual and real and deserved blame on yourself. Abortion is murder. There is no argument that can change that plain and simple and very obvious fact. And to subscribe to and support any ideology that holds otherwise is to accept a huge burden of responsibility for the ugly truth that is our societies acceptance of this hideous and unconscionable act.

Third, we must agree that in order for God to justly judge the actions and intentions of each and every person, each and every person must be allowed the maximum use of their own abilities to do with as they please. Acting according to conviction or spite, or duplicity or compassion, or cynicism or malice or justice or pleasure, it is each and every one of our prerogative what we shall do with our own resources, got by our own hand, multiplied by our own skill, maximized by our own discipline. If the government or any other group takes from the able to distribute to the needy, they are removing that able person’s ability to show their own character and quality to God and man. And they are, more often than not, removing a powerful motivator for the needy to raise themselves up through honest and accountable charity and use of those resources they do have. A system of mutual dependency removes the onus of responsibility both from those who have and those who need.

I subscribe to conservative social and political beliefs not because I want America to return to its roots as a Christian nation. I don’t hold to my standards and ideas because I hope to create a wondrous theocracy here in the United States of America. Useful theocracies perished with the coming of Christ. At that point the theocracy moved to the heart of each and every man and woman and child. The responsibility is no longer with the nation but with the individual how they will go and who they will serve. The nation bears responsibility for maintaining an atmosphere most conducive to individual expression of their own faith, preventing such beliefs from infringing on others beliefs, and punishing where such infringment occurs. The individual bears the responsibility for using what freedom they have to serve whom they will in what manner they deem best.

The philosophies and ideas our Founding Fathers used to build such a nation were predominantly those derived from the Christian worldview. Because God does not want automatons but people who have freely and willingly chosen Him, He give to us complete choice and builds a framework, a worldview that is most conducive to such freedom while accounting for the human predilection for sin. It is the Christian government that is most conducive to all religions coexisting as peaceably as they may.

I am not Christian because I am conservative. No, political ideas can only at best be results of deeper things. I am a conservative because I am Christian. To be Christian is a deeper thing.

Death Of FUD: Swine Flu Not So Bad

The Swine Flu Virus
The Swine Flu Virus

The internet is a great enemy of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), and there have been many things this year about which there is great FUD.

FUD is the friend of people who would abuse their power, because there is nothing quite like a good catastrophe to rationalize sweeping change. People who live in FUD are enablers and empower the abuses of those who lead by them.

One of the great fears this year is Swine Flu. It was the end of civilization, the plague that would wreak havoc on our society and it’s systems.

There was breathless analysis of how our society would plug the gaping holes left by the multitudes of sick and dead from this beastly flu.

And now we’re quite sure it’s not really all that bad.

When the fall/winter wave of H1N1 swine flu is over, it will have been no more severe than an average flu season, predict Harvard researcher Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, and colleagues from the U.K. Medical Research Council and the CDC. (from WebMD)

Why were we afraid?

Sure, H1N1, the “swine flu”, tends to affect people traditionally considered low risk for such illnesses. But it’s fatality rate wasn’t anything worrisome once it came down to it.

We were afraid because we didn’t have all the information, and the information we did have told us we ought to be afraid. The media and faux-news outlets so many of us go to for information had bought into the hysteria and spread it as only they can.

WebMD goes on:

Even so, the new numbers are cause for relief if not for celebration. Before the 2009 H1N1 swine flu came along, planners were preparing for a pandemic with a case/fatality ratio of 0.1% — that is, for one death in every 1,000 symptomatic infections.

The Lipsitch team now calculates that the H1N1 swine flu has a case/fatality ratio no higher than 0.048% — and maybe seven to nine times lower, depending on the methods used for calculation.

They are careful to note, though, that should any number of various circumstances occur, the fatality rate will shoot skyward and civilization will be, once again, toast.

The Lipsitch team has reason to want as much FUD surrounding this subject as possible. If the situation is dire and they can convince those who control the purse strings their research is integral to the salvation of humanity, they get more money.

Once the numbers could no longer be inflated, they had to retain their credibility and so gave this nice update. But see how throughout the story they always match the good news with a “but” to keep us ever aware of the necessity for remaining ready for panic.

I’m glad that, even if the swine flu begins to fulfill all the awful claims made of it, I still don’t have to fear.

Because while the internet is a great enemy of FUD, God’s faithfulness is the greatest enemy of FUD. Trust in God does not defeat FUD by simply informing us of the truth of the matter. If that were the case then in times of truly realized terror, Christians would have just as much reason to be terrified as anyone else.

Trust in God defeats FUD because we who trust in Him know there is only so much that can be taken away from us. This world and all it contains can only harm our bodies, these mortal coils. And if the worst were to occur and we were to lose our lives, we would be alive, truly, in heaven with God.

If you believe this, there is truly nothing that can shake us or cause us to fear.

Speak Softly…

angry-main_Full

Consistent discipline works for both recalcitrant children and rogue nations.

With children, letting them know their options and the consequences of their choices and allowing them to choose and accept their consequences is the bedrock of discipline.

Growing up, all of us children knew that for standard disobedience, the punishment was three swats from the Red bud rod. For lying, it was “triples” or 9 swats.

Some infractions had stronger or different punishments: when I tried burning the house down by inserting foreign objects into our old furnace, Dad grounded me for 6 months (I think I was out after 3 months on good behavior). For throwing nuts and dirt over my friend’s neighbors fence into their pool, we had to go to their front door and apologize. When I yelled at mom ( a few times), dad “tanned my hide” until he felt I’d learned that wasn’t an approved method of communication.

But the consistency was that we knew when we did something, there were expected and consistent consequences.

Now what if my parents were elected every 4 years, and they could only get 2 terms consecutively?

That wouldn’t work for child-rearing, obviously. But it is the best bet for a Republican form of government.

And yet, many of the weaknesses that make a constantly changing head of state such a bad idea for a family continue into the structure of the Presidency of the United States.

Right now, there is a nuclear-armed North Korea threatening severe retaliation to any attempts to curtail their missile-rattling. They are publicly stating their intention of shooting a missile towards Hawaii. None of their current arsenal will reach that far, but it’s no light thing to shoot a missile in the direction of the United States of America.

It’s my country.

The organization which likes to think it is the supreme chancellor of the entire world has already laid out sanctions against North Korea explicitly stating that country is not allowed to export any weapons or weapons materials.

North Korea has their number: now shipping to Myanmar/Burma is a shipload of weapons origination from North Korea.

So the cheeky brat has toed the line. It’s the recalcitrant child acting up and testing how far he can push against the rules.

The UN is in high dander over this and is threatening… wait for it… more sanctions! Yea, that’ll stop ’em.

The United States of America is not the mother of the world, nor the father. We’re the big brother. We’re not responsible for controlling the internal workings of other nations, but as the largest and most moral (I did not say perfect, I said “most moral”) we bear a responsibility to the rest of the world that is not shared by any other nation right now.

In the Reagan and Bush days, our President would be standing tall and calling the leadership of North Korea on the carpet for the systematic denial of basic human rights even to their own citizens. Shame would be called upon the leadership of that nation for it’s repression of dissent backward, anti-liberty policies. And for it’s missile-rattling, North Korea would be facing an insurmountable and effectively devastating result to it’s brutish and bullying behavior.

In the Obama era we sit, and wait. And send a single ship to babysit the weapons-carrying vessel as it plies the waters heading towards the despotic dictatorship destroying Burma/Myanmar.

We aren’t allowed to board or hinder the vessel in any way.

We can ask them to stop.

Perhaps these people just feel they are misunderstood by the rest of the world. And if we just ask them how they’re feeling they’ll open up to us.

A word of advice, completely free: Don’t let psychologists run the police department and don’t let them run foreign policy.

“How do you feel” is not a valid question in foreign policy. Particularly when the one you’re asking is holding the trigger on a nuclear device and when his history shows mental instability on the part of the entire government.

You hold up a bigger hammer that he has and you let him know that if he takes one more step, you’ll whack him.

And when he takes that step?

Whack him.

As an expectant father, I’m none too interested in raising my child in a new round of fall0ut shelters and nuclear attack drills.

MADD is not peace. MADD is fear. (Nothing against Mothers Against Drunk Driving).

I don’t live in fear.

I choose to live in peace brought about by the appropriate and effective use of threat and fact of force.

President Obama apparently plans to achieve peace through the shrinking violet method.

Something the American populace needs to understand, and quickly, is that every election is a foreign-policy election.

The less our government does internally to America, the better off we’ll be. The more our government is involved in protecting American interests off-shore, the better off we’ll be.

And because, right now, we’re still the most moral nation in the world. It can be generally said that when America operates in it’s own best interest, the world benefits from it.

Not that we are so full of ourselves that we believe goods things for us are good things for all.

But a strong United States of America means petty tyrants the world over will know they can trust the actions and will of America will be continually against their petty tyranny. And that if they attempt to export either their pettiness or their tyranny, we’ll be there with a big stick, a mop, and a bucket to beat them into submission again and clean up their mess.

A strong United States would be calling steadily and constantly for freedom of the election in Iran, and working actively in support of the open and democratic process in that nation. And the world would safer.

A strong United States would be responding to North Korea’s insane and idoitic ambitions as it would to a petulant and rebellious child. We would state the consequences of their continued stupidity, and if they continued, we would give them the consequences they were promised. And the world would be safer.

It’s not really a difficult or complex idea, from this side. Which is probably why the hyper intelligent President Obama, who, along with his leadership team insist on seeing everything in so many shades of grey it would make a color blind person swear they could differentiate green and blue.

But unless there is a consistent, strong, and swift exercise of our own (and all others on this globe’s) rights to life and liberty ensured through the appropriate show and use of force, there will be consequences…

For us.

Tiller Murder

Without equivocation I condemn the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Murder is murder, and one murder never justifies another.

We live in a land of law and justice. No man is above the law or a law to themselves, when such a personal law conflicts with the law of the land.

The only way a person can lose their life legitimately and legally at the hand of man is when that person has been found guilty of some crime worthy of the death penalty by the justice system of that land. In America this means being found guilty by a jury of their peers of certain specific crimes.

In the small way I am aware of Dr. Tiller, I find his career to be revolting and disgusting in the highest sense. I find it difficult to even consider the occupation with which he has spent his life: killing innocent, unborn children late in their term.

If he did not repent, prior to his death, of this heinous sin, God has perfect justice ready for him. But it is not mine to mete out to him.

I grieve for Dr. Tiller in that it is very likely did not accept the salvation of the Lord. Eternal punishment is a fearful thing that I cannot wish on any person, ever. It is not mine to wish.

As a Christian, I take both comfort and warning from God’s claim to perfect justice:  “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay’ says the Lord.”

Comfort because I know God will do a much better job of justice than any human court ever could. He judges the innermost thoughts and wishes, the heart and the mind. Things a human judge could never see clearly to judge on.

And yet warning, because God reserving, without qualification, all vengeance to Himself leaves none for me. Not even the vengeance of thought or hope.

I should not feel giddy or happy that God may indeed be judging an evil man for his sin. Instead, there is anguish that Satan succeeded in destroying another life entrhalled in deception and pride. Another life is doomed forever to torment and there isn’t another chance to rescue this soul from the depredations of sin and score another victory against the prince of darkness and his failing, faltering, now conquered kingdom.

Dr. Tiller was a sinner, as am I.

And his murderer ought to be brought to justice, as should the murderer of any other sinner.

To the pro-life people: We are against death. It’s the morally superior position and all those who dispute this argue against sense and reason.

When pro-abortion people state that our general position for the death penalty makes our argument false, they only reveal the moral bankruptcy of their own feeble stand.

We are for the life of the innocent and the protection of that life through the rare but possible, lawfully imposed death of the guilty at the hands of the law and the government.

They are for the death of the innocent, damage and destruction of their mothers, freedom from responsibility of the fathers, and protection of those who would kill other innocents.

There really isn’t much comparison.

If we’re tempted to support, in any way, the murder of Dr. Tiller. No matter how we may despise the sin he dug himself so deeply into, we succumb to lawlessness and anarchy. Which leads, without exception, to the death of innocents.