FLASHBACK: Starbucks Uses Racist To Teach Anti-Racism?

This will be a longer post dealing with Common, the rapper. It is a redux of Larry Elder discussing Common being invited to the White House in May of 2011, and he [Common] was also a long-time member at Reverend Wrights racist church… so I will have a reminder of that church and whom it affiliated closely with.

FIRST, however, the reason for this transfer from my Vimeo account to my YouTube about Common. I was reminded of this because Starbucks has included Common in its anti-racism curriculum at Starbucks. FORTUNE has a short video worth watching about the training.

Flashback One

(ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION) Larry tackles race, violence, and the black community. Rapper “Common” has some very leery lyrics, so Larry attacks em head-on as only the Sage can.

Flashback Two

(ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION) Larry Elder adeptly deals with the Democratic double standard regarding who they lauds and who they condemn.

Common supports deeply a racist cop-killer that fled to Cuba. If you are not familiar with her, here are a few links to stories recapping her and commons support for her.

Don’t forget about Angela Davis either…

Dennis Prager goes through an excellent Wall Street Journal opinion piece (http://tinyurl.com/h4n4vlv) detailing the people in attendance to honor Angela Davis at Brooklyn’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Museum. It sickens me that the left accepts radical murderers but at the slightest blip on a conservative “radar screen, fingers start pointing. Dennis Prager is right, you can never be “too left.”

I used a bit of Fox’s story, the whole video is excellent and a must see:

  • Retired Detective Reacts to Fox News Confrontation With Convicted Cop Killer Kathy Boudin (FOX)

Also see The Daily Beasts article, here: How 1960s Radicals Ended Up Teaching Your Kids

BUT REMEMBER, Common went to the same church as our President. Here is a recent upload to my FACEBOOK PAGE (for this site) that I will reproduce here:


Analogy vs. Real Life


This is based on a conversation I had during Bush’s presidency… I merely updated the analogy with Trump for an example for today’s youth. To date (through hundreds of conversations on the matter) no one has shown me an example of Trump’s racism like I show of Obama’s ties. Not guilt by association, but guilt by proxy.

TRUMP ANAOLOGY

…I will use Trump in my analogy. Let us say for twenty years Trump attended a church that twice prominently displayed David Dukes likeness on the cover of their church’s magazine which reaches 20,000 homes, and a third time alongside Barry Mills (the co-founder of the Aryan Brotherhood). Even inviting David Duke to the pulpit to receive a “lifetime achievement award.” Even selling sermons by David Duke in the church’s book store. Authors of sermons sold in Trump’s church’s bookstore teach in accordance with Christian Identity’s view that Jews and blacks are offspring of Satan and Eve via a sexual encounter in the Garden of Eden. In the church’s bookstore, the entire time Trump attended, books like Mein Kampf (Hitler) and My Awakening (David Duke), and other blatantly racist books were sold. Even members of the Aryan Brotherhood felt comfortable enough to sit in the pews at times… being that the pastor of Trump’s church was once a reverend for the group.

…if Trump had gone to a church like that I would walk arm-n-arm with my Democratic comrades in making sure he would never be President. Wouldn’t this be expected of me?

OBAMA REALITY

Obama’s pastor not only was a minister in The Nation of Islam, an anti-Semitic/racist group, but the church’s book store sells sermons by Louise Farrakhan, who teaches that the white man was created on the Island of Cyprus by a mad scientist, Yakub. (Mr. Farrakhan also believes he was taken up on a UFO to meet God, and was told he was a little messiah, take note also that he was directly involved in the deaths of police officers as well.) Louise Farrakhan was featured twice on the church’s magazine which reach 20,000[plus] homes in the Chicago area. Even placing on the cover with Louise Farrakhan a third time the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad likewise taught that the white man was created by Yakub 6,600 years ago. Walter, Louise Farrakhan teaches that the Jews in Israel do not belong there, and that the true Jews are the black people. Louise Farrakhan was invited into Obama’s church, to the pulpit and given a “lifetime achievement award.” In fact, the New Black Panthers and members of the Nation of Islam often times sat in the pews for sermons by Rev. Wright, whom Obama called a mentor. Not to mention Obama’s wife pictured with racist, anti-Semetic, UFO cult members.

So I expect you, [insert Leftist name], to join arm-and-arm with me on finding out why the media, and Democrats who are so concerned about racism let such a man into office, when, if the tables were turned, I wouldn’t want in office.

PHOTO EVIDENCE

FOUR BOOKS I purchased through Obama’s church’s, Trinity United Church of Christ, book store (the Akiba Bookstore):

  • A Black Theology of Liberation;
  • Black Theology & Black Power;
  • Is God A White Racist? A Preamble to Black Theology;
  • The Black Christ
    This last book I actually enjoyed. Obviously there was some misguided application in this book, but unlike the others, it’s bigotry was not overstated and the history was pretty good.

Here is a sampling from one book sold in the book store during Obama’s tenure there (from James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation):

“The goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods” (p.62)

“White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality” (p.64)

“But this does not mean that religion is irrelevant altogether; it only means that religion unrelated to black liberation is irrelevant.” (p.58-59)

In contrast to this racist view of God, black theology proclaims God’s blackness. Those who want to know who God is and what God is doing must know who black persons are and what they are doing. ” (p.65)

Here is a comparison just in case you are missing the point:

“The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew”

— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

For More, See:

A utilitarian TOWNHALL update:

Starbucks Baristas Reflect On The Company’s Anti-Cop Propaganda Disguised As ‘Anti-Bias Training’

…According to the woman, Baristas were given a 68-page guide where they were asked to respond to writing prompts with various scenarios. 

“It felt like we were off task the entire time because we didn’t reflect on the situation itself,” the woman said, referring to the incident involving Robinson and Nelson. “The training materials focused a lot on police brutality, which had nothing to do with the incident that happened.”

Another attendee, a 27-year-old Latino man, pseudonym Jamie, said the executives leading the session came close to talking about the incident only when attendees asked about it.

For some participants, the most upsetting aspect of the training was the focus on police brutality. Here’s what the Philadelphia Magazine reported:

“The videos of cops knocking people down and fighting people were really disturbing,” Tina explained. “I told them I didn’t like the video and they told me they understood and that I was open to give my opinion.” What does watching videos about police brutality have to do with the situation that happened, Tina said she kept asking herself. “They went too deep into it and missed the point all at the same time.”

“At one point,” said Jamie, “a girl at my table actually had to get up and leave because video after video they showed black people being assaulted by police or black people being verbally assaulted and white people being racially biased toward people of color. It offended her. She left after that.”

On top of it, employees of color felt uncomfortable by the videos they were forced to watch.

“By the end of it I was very exhausted. These are conversations I don’t ever have at work,” Jaime Prater, a biracial shift supervisor at a Starbucks in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. told the Wall Street Journal. “I don’t think Starbucks realized how uncomfortable it would be for people of color to have to watch these videos and talk about this. But sometimes we need to be uncomfortable.”

TWO BLONDES, ONE CUP ~ Start A Starbuck’s `Trend` With Me

While standing in line at Starbucks, I have heard people order a “tall blonde.” I want a tall blonde! What guy doesn’t… blonde’s have more fun… its proven!

What is a Starbuck’s “blonde”? It is a milder, less roasted coffee, actually their Veranda, and I think it is their best… mainly because it isn’t over-roasted. So Maybe a Grande can be a blonde with legs?

Funny.

But a tall is a small… I only go big — I want legs on my blonde — and  I WANT some cute slang to use when ordering my preferred drink.

SO!

I started asking for “Two Blondes, One Cup” when I order. I (or you) would then have to explain to the perplexed barista that it is a “Venti Blonde with Room.”

IF ENOUGH PEOPLE DO THIS, as workers change location and you tell friends about it… soon it will be the norm… and you will have participated in changing the Starbuck’s culture just a tad.

From Lifehacker:

Most coffee shops have at least a few unlisted drinks for patrons in the know. “For some shops, there are unwritten drinks, based on popular drinks some customers may ask for,” Dominy says. Most established baristas can make off-the-list fare, he says, though managers prefer they stick to the menu. So what’s popular in the unposted coffee drink arena? The Dirty Chai, a chai latte with a shot of espresso. Another is the Espresso Panna Cotta (listed on the Starbucks website, though not in stores), an espresso topped with whipped cream, he says. And if you’re after a megadose of caffeine, order the Red Eye or Black Eye, a drip coffee plus one or two shots of espresso, respectively. At Starbucks, says Duong, one of the most popular off-menu orders is coffee served through a French press.

A “Purple-Eye” has three shots of expresso. There is a battle for the secret menu… some say it doesn’t exist, other in the Starbuck’s org want to squash it for reasons of complication in ordering it with baristas who do not know what it is. But the old school baristas KNOW:

Here are some more examples via Urban Daddy:

Shhhhhhhh... Secret Menu

Green Eye / Purple Eye (depending on what part of the country you are in) / JFK (for the 3 shots to the head which killed him) / Shot in the Dark

Whatever you call this drink it is a whopping three shots of espresso in a regular Starbucks coffee.  Be carefull with this one!  Do not drink at night unless you want to be up all night, shaking, in caffeine withdrawal.

Poor Man’s Latte

An Iced Americano with no water and half ice, then head over to the condiments station, fill the rest up with half and half cream (certainly not the 18% coffee cream) and viola, you have a Breve Latte at less than you would pay for the actual drink. 

Poor Man’s Chai Latte

Order a Chai Tea Misto with extra foam, two tea bags, and half cinnamon-half vanilla syrup. This is essentially the same drink but at half the cost.  

Chocolate Dalmatian – also know as a Michael Jackson:

A White Chocolate Mocha with java chips and chocolate chips sprinkled in.

Cafe au Lait

Order the Misto without foam for a classic French coffee drink.

French pressed coffee

You can choose any coffee they sell by the bag and have it served in a French press. For coffee snobs, this is one of the best way to appreciate all of the flavors of the coffee you chose – it takes about 5 minutes for this to be done and don’t be surprised if you get a dirty look if you are doing this during their morning rush.

Chocolate Cream Frapuccino

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.  Chocolate syrup and chocolate flavoring in this frozen blended coffee.

Cake Batter Frappuccino

Originally, this drink contained vanilla and almond syrup added to a Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino. However, since the almond syrup is largely no longer available, some recommend that you try subbing in hazelnut syrup and white mocha for a similar flavour.

Raspberry Cheesecake

Order a White Chocolate Mocha and have them add a few pumps of raspberry  – if you use your Starbucks card to pay, you get one free pump of any flavour. 

The Nutella

Cafe Misto with pumps of chocolate and hazelnut and a caramel drizzle.

…read more…

A Starbucks Encounter with Michael Berryman

I love to go to Starbucks, grab a cup of coffee, and read/study my favorite topics in book form. Once and a while I will bump into people well known in pop-culture. Michael Berryman was recently one of those people. Of course, he is best known to me from an 80’s classic, Weird Science. But he has been in many others, as his bio shows, another being a favorite of mine, The One Who Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Mistaking him for an officer that served in the SCV that looks — believe it or not — very similar, my mistake was quickly corrected and small chit-chat began. Michael is an amiable enough guy and I had planned on letting him go on his way after he very nicely allowed a photo to be taken. However, during this small talk that was very general, Michael mentioned news, and then interjected into his own point that one shouldn’t watch Fox News because it is not news, far from fair and balanced, he said.

Well, this is where the brakes on the rest of my plans happened. Wanting to engage the level of this man’s reasoning towards truth vs. merely spewing bumper-sticker thinking as fact [ad hoc] became the goal for the rest of my scheduled reading time. (This led to a 40-minute conversation.) After Michael drove deeper into the political abyss of commentary common from the Left, I slowed the conversation down a bit by mentioning he had touched on many topics in just a few sentences. …(con’t)…

(A tactic seemingly used by those who wish to just be “right.” They obfuscate the issue by interjecting many topics and points in the hope — apparently — of showing the person listening they have a handle on this topic. Granted, many do not realize they are doing this… they have just never had anyone around them that disagree with them. They live in sound rooms surrounded by only those who think like them.)

Before continuing with the encounter, due to the length of the post I feel the nee to update it with a “contents” section as well as headings. This will make it easier for the “topical” reader to find a response to a challenge he or she is interested in. So the following contents are based on responding to comments made during conversation:Me and Con CLEAR

Enjoy the conversation, I did.

1. Fox News Is Biased

…(from con’t)… I mentioned to Michael that “just a short while back he mentioned something that needed revisiting to exemplify a correlation between what many people say is true in general conversation compared to what is actually the case.” So bringing him back to the Fox News statement I asked if three reasons could be offered as to why maybe his statement might be wrong.

The first reason I gave was that “during the 2010 election Fox News had NPR, The Baltimore Sun, The Times, U.S. News and World Report, and Politico, all said [in some form or fashion] the coverage by Fox was the best in breadth (most in-depth guests) and most fair in their political stance (equal number of liberal/conservative guests, interviews and opinions). Whereas they all bemoaned MSNBC for their far-left commentary and CNN for their lack of depth.”

The second reason given was that “according to a Pew Research poll, and separately a university poll, found that between the party splits of Democrat, Republican, and Independents, there is about an equal mix of viewers of Fox. Whereas — in Contradistinction to MSNBC and CNN — there is a much larger demographic of Democrats versus Republicans that watch those channels.” Pointing out that more Democrats watch Fox than watch CNN or MSNBC (and that stat may even be combined[?]) segwayed nicely to exemplify that “if someone is saying that Fox news is not News or unfair, they may be out of the mainstream… since the stats show a much more balanced viewing audience.” This fair mix of people from differing political views is what has made Fox (posted in March of this year) the most-watched news channel in total viewers for both Total Day and Primetime for the 110th straight month.

Before making my third reason known, Michael interjected and started to again make multiple points which included anecdotal stories which surely he thought would prove his position. But they were just non-sequitur stories from his past… emotionally laden. Interjecting politely I steered him back to the topic and to my third point, which was Fox’s reporting on the 2008 election. “Fox News offered a fair mix of positive/negative stories on Obama and McCain when they reported on the two candidates than MSNBC or CNN.” Continuing I mentioned “that George Mason University’s (during the conversation I merely mentioned “a university,” here I am including the actual studies or some referring links) non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs concurred as well as another media watch org, The Project for Excellence in Journalism.” Not letting up I pointed out that maybe, just maybe what he was saying did not fit with the facts. This is a hard thing to admit — pride gets in the way.

2. I Like Ron Paul

Then came more anecdotal tales, many of which were personal references to his meeting famous people or his mother meeting famous people. All stories that only he has access to, nothing offered by Michael could be taken and used by another party to make an informed decision from these facts that lay outside him and myself — like the information given in the Fox News discussion. He asked me if I liked Ron Paul. Reservedly I responded that Ron Paul had some positions I liked, others I did not. He responded to this by merely stating that he liked him. A short while later in his ramblings he intimated that he hated Ronald Reagan. Which brought us back to his previous statement about Ron Paul. “Mentioning that I hear a lot of people from the left say they like Ron Paul without actually knowing what Ron Paul stands for,” continuing, “Much like Reagan, Ron Paul would like to shut down many Federal Departments, like the Dept. of Education, of Agriculture, the EPA, and the like.” Granted, I already knew this is something Michael would not agree with, and he didn’t. My implicit point had been made, there was a disconnect between something said (in this case the liking of a particular candidate) and said facts easily known (in this case, many of Ron Paul’s positions). Of course the conversation steered towards drugs, most conversations about Ron Paul do. I mentioned I was for the legalization of marijuana if there  were someway, much like with alcohol, for law enforcement to tell if someone is under the influence of the drug. But Ron Paul would legalize (or at the least stop Federal enforcement of) heroine, speed, and the like. Later in the conversation Michael challenged my libertarian side by asking derisively if I would want to get rid of the national parks. I said no, but I pointed out that Ron Paul would… another thing he wasn’t aware of in regards to Ron Paul.

3. Reagan Caused the Homeless Problem

Mentioning Reagan again as being one of the most evil men in his life time caused me to inquire why he thought this. He started to intimate why, but then stopped himself and asked if I knew what he was going to reference. I did. “Are you going to mention the insane asylums,” I said.  Knowing this is a popular mantra of the Left in regards to Reagan which proved correct. He asked me what i thought of this situation to which I responded that the movement to release these “mentally ill” persons was not Reagan’s alone, that the Democratic Left was very much involved. Michael merely dismissed this position out of hand, almost laughing as he did. (An aside should be noted. The left thinks this event happened nation wide, however, this happened when Reagan was governor of California.) An interesting conversation on Snopes forums can help the reader, as well as myself, gain information so a well informed response to an emotional position. You can trust me when I say Michael was very animated in expressing his disgust of Reagan. Here are some of the conversations from the older Snopes forum:

Snopes started the conversation off:

(Snopes Posted) For over three decades I’ve been hearing people say “those crazy people are out here walking the streets in California because Ronald Reagan removed them from State institutions.” Ronald Reagan was last California Governor in 1972. AS I recall, it’s the legislature that passes laws and then the Governor signs the law. Did that happen with the California ‘crazy people?’

Since 1972 there have been several times when the governor, the state senate and the state legislature were all controlled by the Democratic Party. Why didn’t they change the law and house the ‘crazy people?’ It’s very likely if the ‘crazy people’ were de-institutionalized during the Reagan governorship that the legislature was controlled by the Democratic Party. What’s the truth and what’s the lie? Who introduced this bill, if there ever was one that de-institutionalized ‘crazy people’, how did the vote go down, and what was Reagan’s role?

Following are some thoughtful responses:

Advocatus Diaboli posted:

I think I can successfully field this one. My father has worked for Agnews Developmental Center going on 4 decades. Having retired twice and begged to come back each time working first as a Nursing Coordinator and later on Health and Safety officer. I also have worked there in the offices as part of the youth work program.

Quite simply mental health and developmental professionals want the State/ State of California out of the business of caring for “crazy people” So acting on there recommendations that’s what the government gave them. Overall it’s probably better in most cases. A great number of these people are not “crazy” they are developmentally disabled a crucial distinction in my opinion.

I know of one girl whom I was very fond of and who loved it when I visited her that was placed in a community home and was better for it. She was not “out on the street” and some institutions still operate at some capacity for those who can not be placed, and hopefully they always will.

Politics has little to do with this at all.

G.I. Joe posted:

My wife worked for the chief of the psychiatric department at the Brentwood VA in California during the early 80s. From the mid-70s to mid-80s there was a strong ‘patients rights’ movement generated by the mental health advocate community. Although there were many facets to this movement, one of the primary elements was a re-examination of the criteria for institutionalizing patients.

The point of contention revolved around interpretations of what it meant for a patient to be able to ‘take care of himself.’ Prior to this the interpretation was rather strict; if a patient could not earn an income and provide shelter and food for himself (and if there were no family members able to care for him), then he would normally be institutionalized.

Beginning in the late 70s, the advocacy groups began to demand a lower standard. As long as a patient could merely wash and dress himself, and could perform the mechanical tasks of shoveling food into his mouth, then every effort was made to force the institutions to release them. My wife’s boss spent many months both in court and testifying before the state assembly trying to stop this lowering of standards. Unsuccessfully.

Predictably, most of the newly discharged patients were unable to take care of themselves in any meaningful sense of the word, and became the homeless people on the street. It’s no coincidence that the decline in California’s mental health institution population closely matched the sharp increase of homeless (in California, at least) during the same period. In fact, for about two years, my wife literally was on a first name basis with every homeless person we ran across in the Westwood/Santa Monica area. They were all former patients who had been ‘sprung’ from the VA by well meaning advocate groups who then simply walked away and left these guys hanging.

Reagan was not involved in this movement, nor was he a symptom or symbolic of it. Quite the contrary. The people who ‘liberated’ the inmates tended to be on the opposite end of the political spectrum. In fact, it was the ACLU who provided legal representation to force the VA to release these patients.

G.I. Joe responded to a previous comment:

Originally posted by Jason Threadslayer:
Also, since the 1960s and 1970s, it is generally illegal to forcibly treat the mentally ill.

Yeah, there are many provisions intended to protect both the patients and the doctors, but it makes the system very complicated. For instance, in order to involuntarily medicate an institutionalized psychiatric patient it requires a ‘Riese Hearing’ (in California), which is administrated by the court system. The patient gets a deputy public defender to represent him and the whole nine yards. So . . . it is not unusual that a patient has been institutionalized against his will as a result of a court order, but at the same time he can win court authority to refuse treatment (at least treatment via psychotropic medication).

It’s a complicated issue and determining right and wrong and what is best for the patient is not at all easy.

“Life is complicated. So you have to look out for the less complicated things.” ~ from some of the last words of a young man’s grandfather [thank you for sharing his final thoughts].

So we see that this issue, as encapsulated by the Left, is wrong. It is a straw-man, in other words, they define their proposition as a historical fact (wrongly), and then tear it down. The only problem is that they present an unhistorical case and feel like they are justified in their hatred for Reagan by making a fool out of themselves. The ACLU was the main catalyst behind fighting for the rights of these people to be free, even the freedom to live in alleyways and eat from trash cans. Anything but a conservative or Republican institution, they were one of the main thrusts behind both California and later a nationwide release of patients.  They [the ACLU], have long held that involuntary institutionalization of an unwilling person, even if mentally or physically incapable, is the worst of two evils. Not to mention that many times since the 1970’s Democrats have controlled both houses and the governorship of California, the questions has been raised, why didn’t the Democrats re-institutionalize these people?

A question I suspect is entwined in the complexity of how these people were actually released, versus merely a politician waving his or her wand. in other words the Democrats hands were just as tied (actually more-so) as the Republicans hands because the genesis of the movement for patient rights was not political. Not to mention that this myth serves Democrats and Liberals well… they wouldn’t want to change this “silver bullet,” or what they wrongly presume is one.

4. Sarah Palin Kills…. Wolves

Before entering the odd conspiratorial and religious parts of the conversation, we should end the political aspect of this portion of the conversation with his hatred for Sarah Palin. The reason for this disdain, he said, is because he is an environmentalist and that “she shot 17 wolves.” Included in his reasoning was her policy on the matter of Alaska offering a bounty to cull the wolf population. His vitriol is very similar to this:

The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to he taken and plundered… Sarah Pal in does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill forty caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air… If the polar bears don’t move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected, then consider” Palin’s support for oil drilling. “I think of teeth when I think of drills,” the author continued. “I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain.” (Taken from The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star)

Again, Michael’s animated hatred was present when he talked of her, similar to when speaking of Reagan. Part of this is that the hunters were payed $150 bounty on the wolves. Partially true. For instance, this is implicitly referenced in a Slate article on the topic:

Back in the 1950s, Alaska paid government employees and bounty hunters to take out thousands of wolves, but today’s aerial wolf killers are unpaid. (They can make some money by selling the wolf pelts.) Palin tried last year to have the state pay $150 for every wolf killed, but the state superior court shot that down as an illegal use of bounty payments, which were outlawed in that state in 1984.

Take note also that the cost of helicopter hunting of wolves is very expensive, so this form of hunting (shooting from the chopper) was/is rare. Hunters typically drive in and-or hike to the hunting area. Some can afford to be helicoptered into and dropped off in an area. But the story of mass wolf shootings by helicopter is just a myth. Also note that I couldn’t find anywhere a number given for Sarah Palin hunting of wolves. In fact, if she did kill a wolf in a hunting trip, I cannot even find that. That being said, the Lefts opening up of Sarah Palin’s emails backfired in every account, even this wolf myth. The left like to say she “championed aerial hunting,” however, this is not the case. For instance, here is one email on the above topic from Sarah Palin… Stuff:

The governor told her fish and game commissioner in blunt terms that she opposed using state helicopters to hunt wolves and preferred paying private hunters.

“We have to act quickly on this as predators are acting quickly and rural families face ridiculous situation of being forced to import more beef instead of feeding their families our healthy staple of Alaskan game. Nonsense. Unacceptable – and not on my watch,” she said.

Her source of information? “Todd interviewed buddies who live out there… Some confirmation that state intervention isn’t first choice w/the locals,” Palin said.”We need to incentivize here,” including providing money for trappers.

Again, the narrative received from Michael just did not stand up to the facts.

5. New World Order

Alright, let’s switch gears a bit and enter into Michael’s views on the New World Order (NWO) conspiracies, black helicopters (yes, he believes one was getting ready to come grab him, as you will see), and religion. In our previous conversation about reasons for disliking Ron Paul it was mentioned by myself that Ron Paul had some conspiratorial views, like the New World Order. He retorted that the NWO is a fact, and he knows a server at the Bilderbergers compound, therefore, he [Michael] knows the truth… end of story. Sharing with him a bit about my previously held beliefs and my affinity to such theories even going as far as involving myself with the John Birch Society in the mid to late 90’s. Continuing, I explained three “events” that caused me to question these beliefs and spurred me to really investigate these claims, references, and quotes so often used with these theories.

My eventual shift in thinking were spurred by an article in the New American article (the magazine of the John Birch Society) blaming the Oklahoma bombing on the U.S. Government; the failure of predictions made about Y2K from many I listened to; and listening to radio talk show host Michael Medved’s “Conspiracy Show” where for one day each month he takes calls only from those who believe in conspiracies. These three things caused me to compare and contrast the positions previously accepted as fact. After a couple of years of wrestling with position after position, I eventually gave up my thinking on the NWO and embraced true history.

6. Black Helicopters and FEMA Gulags

This talk led to Michael positing that gulags exist in America. How did he prove this to me? By an anecdotal story of course. He told me a story where he called some representatives/senators about why it is important to control the border. He says he talked to someone from Diane Feinstein’s office. After a fruitless conversation with someone from her office he said he ended the conversation with a retort that he didn’t mean, but that nonetheless caused a call from a local Sheriff to where he lived within minutes of ending his call with Diane Feinstein’s office. Being that this Sheriff was a fellow Freemason (more on this later), he told Michael to hold on after hearing his explanation. When this Sheriff got back on the line with him he said the pick up was called off. Michael said he inquired with his fellow Mason what he meant, to which he was told that a black helicopter was dispatched from Langley to come get him and take him to a gulag, but was now called off. Granted portions of this story may be true, like when the person from Feinstein’s office called him a racist for wanting to control the border, but I think he added much to it. This happens with many a person, they tell a story and twist the truth here and there, however, with some this form of embellishment becomes habitual. I could see that Michael lived a life unchecked by truth (John 8:32). That being said, he was merely offering unproved, personal information as an anecdote to jump into the larger point that gulags exist. He didn’t offer any information that anyone outside his head could take and use to make a choice with. It was all emotive.

The following topic I did not deal at the time, so I will here in the hoped Michael reads this at some point.

A lot of this thinking revolves around crazy conspiracy stories pushed by people like Alex Jones in regards to FEMA Camps/gulags, coffin liners, and black helicopters. Popular Mechanics (PM) has a great article debunking this conspiracy story. And the video to the right is Glenn Beck talking about the debunking PM gave this theory. Likewise, there is a good short video debunking the supposed coffins that are part of this theory as well. What interested me was that he was a Freemason. In fact, in the photo of him and I you can see a pin of the Masonic symbol just over my left shoulder (click to enlarge). At one point during our conspiracy discussion he rejected the claim that the Masons are part of any conspiracy for “world domination.” Mind you he was just telling me that the Bilderbergers, the Council of Foreign Relations, and the like are out for world domination. “What justification do you have to make this distinction,” I asked. He moved on to other subjects.

Freemasonry is said to be a modern evolution of the Illuminati, and so, would be an older extension of this conspiracy thesis. His rejection of one aspect of the same conspiracy theory and acceptance of another portion of it, then, must be based on emotional reasons: he is a member of one and not of the other.

We did talk about religion[s], which led to a sub-extension of the conspiracy portion of the discussion. I explained to him that Freemasonry is really a modern form of gnosticism, I intimated — not too well — this post on the matter, which I have wanted to import here to RPT — why not now, at least in part:

7. What “is” Freemasonry?

(Original Post) Below is a scan from page 567 of my copy of Morals and Dogma. What you have here is an example of Gnostic thinking on spirit-material dualism; Freemasons are merely modern day Gnostics. Roles are reversed in comparison to how historic Christianity has viewed them since its inception. I will explain, but first look at page 567 (click on it to enlarge):

So let’s get into the meat of the matter. Gnostic thinking is a combination of Judaism, Platonism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity. (By-the-by, the below is much to do with a professor’s input I had, Dr. Wayne House.)

Judaism – early Gnostics followed the thinking of Marcian, and Marcian taught that the God of the Old Testament was a demiurge. A demiurge would be what we would typically call the “devil.” Since anything 100% spirit is “good,” anything material is “bad.” So the God of the Old Testament created the world, which is material, and so this God is the Gnostic’s mortal enemy (pun intended). So Judaic thought and Judaism’s God is what Gnostics are “fighting” against. This is Judaism’s contribution.

Platonism – plutonic thought is basically the codifying of Hindu thinking into Grecian thought. He taught that innate ideas (that is: existing in one from birth; inborn; native) were the ideas the mind beheld in the world of pure Forms before birth. This world, then, is but a shadow of reality… pure spirit. This is Platonic contribution to Gnostic thinking.

An aside here for clarity of thought. Platonic thinking shares a point in common with Gnostic thinking, so you could be a Platonist and not a Gnostic. You couldn’t be, however, a Gnostic without being a Platonist. This is important because many “scholars” get this concept mixed up when describing the points of contact between Gnostic thinking and Christianity. Okay, on we go.

Zoroastrianism – Zoroastic thought has contributed what is called ethical dualism. It has said that there is a battle between good and evil, light and dark. Its addition to this is that anything material in nature is evil, and anything spiritual is good.

Christianity – Christian theology provided a “vehicle” in which to express the above. It is then, the “vehicle of expression” for Gnostics. Jesus becomes the way in which they Gnostics explain the working of impersonal deity in human existence and the offering of salvation through secret knowledge, or, Gnosis. Gnosis means knowledge of spiritual matters; mystical knowledge.

Gnostic’s, then, only have a complete “system of thought” when they combine all four of these major aspects into their thinking. If their thinking were to lack any one of these, they would cease to be Gnostic. The combining of the major aspects of these four lines thought, then, make up the Gnostic “worldview.” What do Gnostics believe then? I will explain a bit more in this crude drawing taken during notes from a class at seminary. one should note as well that “Eon” should be spelled “Aeon.”:

Much like Eastern philosophy, there is an impersonal spirit which is 100% spirit. Brahma as it is referred to in Hindu thought. Out of this impersonal force emanated “Eons.” These Eons were 99.9% spirit and .01% material, to put it layman terms. (Also, the percentages are not to explain exactly what Gnostic’s believe, I am just using these numbers as examples to get the analogy across.) These less impersonal, or more corrupted Eons, created other Eons who themselves were more deficient in their spirit/matter balance. Until finally you have very “diluted” beings. One diluted being — referred to as a “Demiurge,” what we would sometimes call the “Devil” — created our world. He also created smaller more diluted beings called “Archons.” These archons would be what we view as demons; Gnostics would say Paul referred to them in Ephesians 6:12 when he said:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Jesus comes into the picture as an Aeon who has a higher percentage of spirit left and sneaks past the demiurge and the archons and enters our world. He is “born,” not physically, but is an ethereal image of mankind (hard to explain) to point the way to a saving knowledge that is secret or hidden.

Freemasons are the most modern day representation of Gnostics; they have symbols that as you climb to higher degrees become clearer in their real meaning and are explained more-so as you climb this “knowledge ladder.” Secret handshakes, elaborate rituals and secrecy until finally at the 33rd-degree you are presented with a true understanding (a Gnostic one) of reality and “God.”

From three separate Mason’s saying each part of the name of God, “Ja-bul-on,” to the meaning of the dot or “G” in the square and compass symbol. All these serve as layers for the initiates to come to realize that this material world is evil.

The Gnostics and hence, Masons, believe that there is a war going on with the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. As this thinking has progressed throughout history it has adopted other philosophies and has become more and more convoluted in its history and thinking. The New Age, much of your occultism, cults, and even Christianity (Trinity Broadcasting Network for instance) has been influenced by this thinking in one way or another. From Madam Blavatsky and her influence on Germany’s occultism that led to the Aryan philosophy of Hitler to Benny Hinn’s healing crusades.

All sorts of writers, especially conspiratorial writers, have had a plethora of facts to misuse and misrepresent and to twist to their own agendas. Their agenda have resulted in many people believing that “secret societies” control both parties and were behind the Twin Towers so they could implement a world government. This view that combines, “sun” worship from the ancient Egyptians to the Illuninati, from the Knights Templars and Rosicrucians, to today’s Skull and Bones and Council on Foreign Relations ~ is defunct mainly due to the lack of understanding gnosis and the philosophy that has driven it.

(Read More)

8. “Religion” Defined

He did ask me to define “religion,” not being able to recall a decent definition then, I do so here:

Webster’s New World Dictionary defines religion as “a specific system of belief, worship, often involving a code of ethics.” Faith is defined as “unquestioning belief… complete trust or confidence… loyalty.”

Funk and Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary has this to say about religion, “The beliefs, attitudes, emotions, behavior, etc., constituting man’s relationship with the powers and principles of the universe.” On the matter of faith it says, “Confidence in or dependence on a person, statement, or thing as trustworthy… Belief without need of certain proof.”

Atheism, Taoism, and other non-god beliefs, like Buddhism, fit into this definition. I explained my relational position with God was more personal than the cut n’ paste definition.

9. Priests Molesting Kids

Of course during the conversation Michael brought up all the deaths associated with Catholicism, and the molestations associated with the Catholic church. I responded quite well in conversation on this topic. First let me speak to the portion we discussed on molestation/rape.

Using his logic, dentistry, counseling, teaching, and the like are evil. They drive the person to do such acts. The N.E.A. (National Teachers Association) and school district/union even ship the guilty party from district to district, much like the priest. Does that mean education is evil? He thought religion was evil with this example. Having dealt with this in the past — this would be a perfect place to re-post a response to this charge:

(From a cataloged discussion)

Sean, no one was lost at the Burlington Coat Factory (where the COMMUNITY CENTER, not “mosque” will be based). If we are to follow your logic, I guess no Catholic churches should be located within a few blocks of daycare centers, no? Anyway, I am a New Yorker and I also realize polls can be made to indicate almost anything. Most of the people I know think it is more important to hold up sacred tenants of our constitution than to cave in to very misguided xenophobia. There have been a LOT of people bussed in to protest and the anti-Islamic rhetoric is very damaging. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/25/cab_stabbing_update/index.html

Thanks Nora for hopping into this conversation. This can be an emotional topic, so know that even though I cannot see your facial expressions, hear concern, humor, or consternation in your tone — I afford you the best of intentions. I do wish to, however, point out some mistakes in your thinking. I may take a post or two to do so as I respect where you are coming from… so bear with me. FIRST POINT, there will be a mosque in the community center. In fact, it will be the top two floors and be tall enough to view the site of the Twin-Towers. That’s number one.

NUMBER TWO, I wish to discuss this issue of molestation by priests that you intimated about.

School counselors, dentists, Buddhist monks, foster parents, and the like — all have abused children. Men who are pedophiles look for positions of AUTHORITY OVER [*not yelling, emphasizing*] children that afford MOMENTS OF PRIVACY with these same children. Dentists do not violate children or women in the name of dentistry. Buddhists monks do not sodomize children in the name of Siddhartha. School counselors in the name of psychology, foster parents in the name of Dr. Spock, etc, … you get the point.  Likewise, priests do not violate children in the name of Christ.

In other words, would Columbia University have to stop teaching about education because the N.E.A. shuffles around rapists and child predators? The argument is a non-sequitur designed merely to stir up feelings of animosity and then direct them towards an entirely different subject. There tends to be a blurring of subject/object distinction on the professional left. Here is a short list of what I alluded to above:


A woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a monk at a Theravada Buddhist temple in Chicago holds her 11-year-old daughter, who was conceived, according to her mother, during the assaults. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune / July 24, 2011)


1) Religious News Online reports from an original India Times article, another source that cites this is Child Rights Sri Lanka:

Two Buddhist monks and eight other men were arrested on Wednesday, accused of sexually abusing 11 children orphaned by the island’s 19-year civil war, an official said.

Investigations revealed that the children, aged between nine and 13, had been sexually abused over a period of time at an orphanage where the men worked, said Prof. Harendra de Silva, head of the National Child Protection Authority….

2) Washington County Sheriff’s Office Media Information reported the following:

Mr. Tripp was arrested for sexually abusing a former 15-year-old foster care child.

The investigation started when the Oregon Department of Human Services was contacted by a school counselor who learned that there may be sexual abuse involving a student and Mr. Tripp. DHS workers then contacted Sheriff’s Detectives who took over the investigation.

Detectives learned that Mr. Tripp has been a foster parent since 1995 and has had at least 90 children placed in his home during that time. Sheriff’s Detectives are concerned that there may be more victims who have not yet reported sexual contact involving Mr. Tripp….

3) A therapist who worked at Booker T. Washington Middle School in Baltimore was arrested in Catonsville and charged with molesting a 13-year-old boy, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

Robert J. Stoever, 54, of the 1500 block of Park Ave. was arrested Sunday night after a county police officer saw him and the boy in a car in a parking lot at Edmondson Avenue and Academy Road, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a police spokesman.

Stoever was charged with a second-degree sex offense and perverted practice, according to court documents. He was sent to the Baltimore County Detention Center, Hill said….

4) A Bronx dentist was arrested yesterday on charges that he twice raped a 16-year-old patient whom he had placed under anesthesia during an office visit on Thursday, police said.

The girl, a patient of the dentist for several years, was hired for a summer job as his receptionist on Thursday, and had an appointment with him for treatment that afternoon, said Lieut. Hazel Stewart, commander of the Bronx Special Victims Squad.

[….]

“She went in and she changed into a little uniform that he gave to her, and he gave her some files to work on,” the lieutenant said. “Then he said that it was time to take a look at her teeth.”

At that point, Lieutenant Stewart said, “he used some type of anesthesia on her and he allegedly raped her.”

The young woman told officers that she was never fully anesthetized, Lieutenant Stewart said, but that “the effects of the anesthesia were strong enough to render her helpless to such a degree that he was able to rape her again.”

These folks that commit these crimes are atheists, Christians, Buddhists (which are epistemologically speaking, atheists), and every other ideology and from every stripe of life and culture in the world. Thus, the argument is as strong as this:

There have been many cases of dentists molesting and raping children, therefore, dentists cannot take moral positions on secular society.

The conclusion just doesn’t follow the premise.

There have been many cases of priests molesting and raping children, therefore, the Pope (insert Catholic here) cannot take moral positions on secular society.

In the case of religious comparisons, you would have to isolate the founders and their lives in order to properly judge a belief, not the followers. I would engender the reader to consider well this quote by Robert Hume:

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strong-minded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshipped, even with multitudinous idols.

All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances.

Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.

Also see: “Love”

10. What About the Crusades?

[See my new post on the Crusades]

Michael’s bad thinking just isn’t him, it is a large portion of society that base important positions on emotion (they want to believe it), on hearsay (hear it from somebody), or bias, or: all of the above! Michael is merely living out societal ignorance. I can’t blame him, but I was surprised at how many of these mantras and myths he could back into a few short sentences. The other issue we talked about was violence done in the name of the Church. I intimated that according to the World Book Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica that the total historically known deaths from the Crusades (all 7), was about 40,000. It may have been horrible and wrong I told him, but the Christ doesn’t teach this. In contradistinction, when Nietzsche prophesied that the death of God would produce a bloody 20th century, he was right. Non-God movements in the 20th century alone killed over 166-million people. I continued the discussion using two books for examples: Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, and, A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion. I contrasted religious views of violence and those of evolutionary standards. The Church had a reference point to return to, the non-religious person as well has a point to return to. I explained to Michael that Hitler in Mein Kampf explained this “point” well:

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy (New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942), pp. 161-162.

“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel.”

Adolf Hitler, A sign of his quote hangs on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23.

In fact, current day biologist, Richard Dawkins agrees:

“What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.” (Stated during an interview with Larry Taunton, “Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist,” by Faith Magazine, Issue Number 18, December 2007)

If evolution is true in its natural philosophical sense, then the highest moral plain (if you can call it that) would be survival of the fittest. At some point in our evolutionary past it may have been necessary for the stronger male species to forcibly dominate the weaker female species in order for our “kind” to survive. Rape is said to not be a pathology but an evolutionary adaptation – a strategy for maximizing reproductive success (The Natural History of Rape, p.p., 71, 163; referenced on page 7 of my chapter on natural law and homosexuality.)  At some point in our evolutionary future it may become again the only way for our species to survive (since without the theistic God rape is only currently taboo, socially speaking). This was the only time I became animated, and I did so knowingly to try and drive my point home, and the point is simple:

The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainty. Something wrong? Dismally wrong. A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law.

In other words, if one rejects Christianity for the violence it has committed against its principles, how much more should you reject non-faith for living up to its?

11. Was There a Reason for the Crusades?

Of course even this response doesn’t explain the reasoning behind why the Church went to battle to begin with. The Crusades were a mandatory action, and since the church was the only real organization in that day to see the threat and to sound the alarm bells, the net good caused by the Church’s actions — even if wrong decisions and actions took place during this conflict — is commendable. For instance, I critiqued geneticist Francis Collins position (in his book) on religion and evil for a college paper, which a portion of is below:

…Not to mention that just saying the Crusades were wrong is almost juvenile. Robert Spencer talks a bit about the lead up to Christendom finally responding — rightly at first, woefully latter.

The Third Crusade (1188-1192). This crusade was proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII in the wake of Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Crusader forces of Hattin in 1187. This venture failed to retake Jerusalem, but it did strengthen Outremer, the crusader state that stretched along the coast of the Levant.[1]

The almost Political Correct myth is that the crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world.[2] I can see with quoting Tillich and Bonhoeffer, although worthy men to quote, they are typically favorites of the religious left. Robert Schuller and Desmond Tutu on the back of the cover of Collins first edition are also dead give a ways. So PC thought is entrenched in Collins general outlook on religion and life. Continuing:

The conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood as the beginning of centuries of Muslim aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution. A few examples: Early in the eighth century, sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorium were crucified; around the same time, the Muslim governor of Caesarea seized a group of pilgrims from Iconium and had them all executed as spies – except for a small number who converted to Islam; and Muslims demanded money from pilgrims, threatening to ransack the Church of the Resurrection if they didn’t pay. Later in the eighth century, a Muslim ruler banned displays of the cross in Jerusalem. He also increased the anti-religious tax (jizya) that Christians had to pay and forbade Christians to engage in religious instruction to others, even their own children.

Brutal subordinations and violence became the rules of the day for Christians in the Holy Land. In 772, the caliph al-Mansur ordered the hands of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be stamped with a distinctive symbol. Conversions to Christianity were dealt with particularly harshly. In 789, Muslims beheaded a monk who had converted from Islam and plundered the Bethlehem monastery of Saint Theodosius, killing many more monks. Other monasteries in the region suffered the same fate. Early in the ninth century, the persecutions grew so severe that large numbers of Christians fled to Constantinople and other Christians cities. More persecutions in 923 saw additional churches destroyed, and in 937, Muslims went on a Palm Sunday rampage in Jerusalem, plundering and destroying the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection.[3]

One person (my pastor) said to paint a picture of the crusaders in a single year in history is like showing photos and video of Hitler hugging children and receiving flowers from them and then showing photos and video of the Allies attacking the German army. It completely forgets what Hitler and Germany had done prior.


[1] Robert Spencer, The Politically Correct Guide to Islam and the Crusades (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2005), 147-148.
[2]
Ibid., 122.
[3]
Ibid., 122-123.

12. Conclusion

One can see that the narrative that Mr. Berryman was speaking from is even flawed from its foundation. The liberal thinks the “big, bad corporate church” went over and started slaughtering people minding their own business. Nope. So the net good that came out of those actions is why Michael is not forced to his knees five times a day. I bet you Mr. Berryman would be floored to realize that only 2,000 or so people were killed directly because of the Spanish Inquisition! This is not an anecdotal story, but referenced in one of the leading historians of Spain and the Inquisition’s book, The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision.

We talked about other issues and I can respond to them as well, but these are the main topics I touched on with him and expanded a bit here for the reader to use as examples of some responses to the many straw man statements we often hear. If Michael contacts me after the “beating” he took above, this means he is a man’s man. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and admit that maybe, just maybe, there is room to learn — and life offers opportunities in the people we meet to do so. Michael met one such opportunity. I would ask that if Michael read this that he consider reading my book. It answers some other issues he mentioned. For instance when I mentioned the Bible, he said “which Bible, there are many.” Or when I presented a few positive aspects of the Christian worldview verses the non-believers. All that can be found in my book: Worldviews: A Click Away from Binary Collisions (Religio-Political Apologetics) The whole encounter was congenial for the most part. We left on good terms and I would be more than happy to sit down with him and have a beer.

Conversation from Starbucks

A quick post from my time at Starbucks this morning. A fine gentlemen made mention that Jesus wasn’t written of outside the Gospels. Here is a short post from a previous post from my old blog, take note that many of these issues are dealt with as well in my chapter from my book entitled Gnostic Feminism: Empowered to Fail. Enjoy:

Some of the reasons that the gospels are accepted as trustworthy eyewitness accounts are as follows:

  • The changed demeanor of the apostles from cowardly to bold witnesses to the resurrection after meeting the resurrected Jesus;
  • The fact that they died horrible deaths, showing that they really saw the resurrected Jesus, as they had nothing to gain by doing so and everything to lose;
  • The early dates of the gospels, thus not allowing time for a myth to start;
  • The early church was Jewish and was based primarily in the immediate vicinity of the death of Jesus. All the Roman government or local officials needed was a body (or confession) to stop the insane claims of His followers;
  • The fact that the early church fathers lived at the same time as these 500 [+] witnesses who saw the resurrected Christ and his ascension (believers: Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Papius, Polycarp, Quadratus.) (Non-believers [some were contemporaries]: Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Emperor Trajan, Talmudic writings [A.D. 70-200], Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion, the Gospel of Truth, the Acts of Pontius Pilate.)

Even if we did not have the New Testament or Christian writings, we would be able to conclude from such non-Christian writings as Josephus, the Talmud, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger that: 1) Jesus was a Jewish teacher; 2) many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; 3) he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; 4) he was crucified under Pontius Pilot in the reign of Tiberius; 5) despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by A.D. 64; 6) all kinds of people from the cities and countryside – men and women, slave and free – worshipped him as God by the beginning of the second century (100 A.D.) (Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, by Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland [general editors], pp. 221-222)

  • Every turn of the archaeologists spade confirms the Bible more and more – the New Testament alone has over twenty-five thousand archaeological sites alone. Persons, places, and things have been shown to be accurate in these documents… adding top the validity of their testimony as historical documents.
  • The first witness’ to find Jesus rose were women. Women’s testimony on any issue was not admissible during this time in history and culture. If the apostles were to fabricate a story and want it to be taken as true, the last thing they would have done were use women as the bearers of this truth.

All these and other evidences prove that the New Testament is a reliable history of actual events… and the only reason to reject them is a commitment to a presupposed bias, such as philosophical naturalism.

Conversation Series: Cantankerous Old Atheist @ Starbucks

I was at Starbucks and overheard a conversation (more like a monologue) between an elderly gentlemen, 55[+], and a kid about 19-years old. The 19-year old was sitting in Starbucks reading his Bible when an older man sat next to him and almost “strategically” started conversation with him. As I eavesdropped after hearing key words that sparked the historian & philosophy guy in me (WWI, WWII, Germany, creation, evolution, Bible, God, Christopher Hitchens, and the like). What finally drew me into the conversation after listening to it for about 10-minutes off to one side while I was studying on the other-side (multi-tasking) was when the old guy, whom I had already realized was an atheist making a “coffee career” out of shaking 19-year olds faith, said:

  • “I don’t know how anybody today can believe in the Bible.”

At this point I asked if I could join the conversation, the answer was an emphatic “yes” from the youngster. After some feeling each other out in conversation… for instance, he liked Christopher Hitchens work on atheism but not on the stance against Islamo-Fascism, I liked Hitchens on his war stance but not on his atheism. I probed a bit to see if this “scientific” (his words) gentlemen looked at any other issue but his own, so I asked since he enjoys Christopher Hitchens so, I wondered if he listened to any of the debats he had with persons on the topic of his atheism? The answer was “No.” I asked if he had read any defense of the Judeo-Christian faith since he so vehemently opposed it – to the point of railroading youngsters in a coffee shop, the answer, “No” of course. I am sorry, but I make it a point to know and understand someone else’s position before I assail it. This “straw-man” approach will come up later.

I knew he had views on Germany, Christianity, and the like… so I had prepared some integrations of it in what I knew would be discussed. After a rough start on my part I fell into my groove. The old-cantankerous-atheist mentioned that he is a firm believer in separation of Church and State. I asked him where that phrase was found, he responded with that “it didn’t matter where it was, what do I think.” Anyone who knows me knows that this is an invitation I love to hear – like a vampire waiting to be invited into the house. (I should add an asside here: after I quoted a few thinkers on the subject he gruffed that this is why he doesn’t like talking to people like me. Because, he said, I talk of what others say and this makes me look like an idiot! This will come up later.)

I responded with that the Declaration smacks of religious philosophy, the Constitution was written with Natural Law in mind, Natural Law from the Judeo-Christian standpoint, and that I was religious and I vote, so there isn’t separation of church and state! There just isn’t a Federal Church. I challenged him to look into what many signers of the Bill of Rights (and the author of the First Amendment) and the Constitution did after that fateful meeting in Philadelphia and the signing of the Declaration later wrote in regards to their state constitutions. This was after he said the Founders were not religious at all and held contempt for religion. (I want to make an aside here, when people like this guy say “religion,” what he really means is Christianity.)

I merely challenged him to read the original state constitutions of the thirteen colonies and then say what he said (I didn’t inform him what those state constitutions said, but I will here for the reader):

On the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they underwent an immediate transformation. The day before, each of them had been a British citizen, living in a British colony, with thirteen crown-appointed British state governments. However, when they signed that document and separated from Greta Britain, they lost all of their State governments.

Consequently, they returned home from Philadelphia to their own States and began to create new State constitutions. Samuel Adams and John Adams helped write the Massachusetts constitution; Benjamin Rush and James Wilson helped write Pennsylvania’s constitution; George Read and Thomas McKean helped write Delaware’s constitution; the same is true in other States as well. The Supreme Court in Church of Holy Trinity v. United States (1892) pointed to these State constitutions as precedents to demonstrate the Founders’ intent.

Notice, for example, what Thomas McKean and George Read placed in the Delaware constitution:

“Every person, who shall be chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall… make and subscribe the following declaration, to wit: ‘I do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, one God, blessed forever more, and I acknowledge the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.’”

Take note of some other State constitutions. The Pennsylvania constitution authored by Benjamin Rush and James Wilson declared:

“And each member [of the legislature], before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following declaration, viz: ‘I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the Universe, the rewarded of the good and the punisher of the wicked, and I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’”

The Massachusetts constitution, authored by Samuel Adams – the Father of the American Revolution – and John Adams, stated:

“All persons elected must make and subscribe the following declaration, viz. ‘I do declare that I believe the Christian religion and have firm persuasions of its truth.’”

North Carolina’s constitution required that:

“No person, who shall deny the being of God, or the truth of the [Christian] religion, or the Divine authority either of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office, or place of trust or profit in the civil department, within this State.”

You had to apply God’s principles to public service, otherwise you were not allowed to be a part of the civil government. In 1892, the Supreme Court (Church of Holy Trinity v. United States) pointed out that of the forty-four States that were then in the Union, each had some type of God-centered declaration in its constitution. Not just any God, or a general God, say a “higher power,” but thee Christian God as understood in the Judeo-Christian principles and Scriptures. This same Supreme Court was driven to explain the following:

“This is a religious people. This is historically true. From the discovery of this continent to the present hour, there is a single voice making this affirmation…. These are not individual sayings, declarations of private persons: they are organic utterances; they speak the voice of the entire people…. These and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

From a larger blog I did on the subject: Separation of Church and State

Usually my main point by showing this is that in the least there is a disconnect with what the authors of the Bill of Rights thought was the separation of church and state versus say, silver haired atheist guy sitting in Starbucks. But in his case my point is also that the founders didn’t abhor religious ideology nor philosophy (see another blog on this topic: Who Did the Founders Quote Most?).

The old-man spoke of there not being absolute truth (a self-defeating statement), and if there were… who’s truth would it be, he challenged. I asked the young Christian kid if his laptop was on-line, so I pulled up a quote and read it aloud to the old-man after introducing the fact that Fascism never “lived” in Germany but only in Italy. In fact, Mussolini had a master’s degree in philosophy and even wrote a book in regards to some of his philosophy. In this book Mussolini defined what fascism is, he said:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999) by Peter Kreeft, 18.

Taken from: Mussolini Defines Fascism

I pointed out that his view on truth fits better with Mussolini’s vision rather than the Christian’s vision.

Right around this junction is when he got a little miffed and threw out the most common objection I come across, one that is almost childlike in its emoting factor. You see, people rarely ever really think about what they say, nor do they follow what they say to their logical conclusion. He said he “Doesn’t like religion because it has killed more people than any other ideology.” I interjected that another way of putting this statement is that he “rejects the Christian faith and chooses his non-belief because of all the death Christianity has caused.” He didn’t object.

I responded.

You are wrong. And if I may show you how, if you take, for example, the 7 Crusades, the 3 Inquisitions, and the Salem Witch Trials, and ad all the people killed in the name of religion during those endeavors, the World Book Encyclopedia puts the number at a high of about 100,000 people killed. Since he is an atheist, I am sure he knows what the “father of the ‘God-is-dead’ movement” said on this matter? Nietzsche said that because God has died that the Twentieth-Century was going to be the bloodiest in mankind’s history. This nineteenth-century “prophet” was right. Just in the twentieth-century alone, non-God/secular movements have killed over 100,000,000 people. Some say 166,000,000 or so (see figure 1.2).

My point here is two-fold. If you want to throw around numbers in some kind of blame game, lets do it, because the deaths caused by people who misuse their position in no way deals with whether or not that position is true or false. Secondly, if one rejects religious philosophy because of the deaths it has caused, how much more must one reject non-faith — realizing that non-faith has killed more people in 100-years than all religions did in the 1900-years preceding it.


He then mentioned that Christianity was acting against their stated goals in killing people. I agreed! Only in the Bible do you have an example of a person who lived a life that the Christian can use as a reference point to re-align himself morally to. I mentioned that a major museum had to cancel a speech by Nobel Prize winning co-founder of the Double-Helix in DNA (one of the most important scientific discoveries ever) Dr. Watson. Why? I asked him, he didn’t know. I told him that it was canceled because Dr. Watson believes the Black people have evolved from a separate branch on our evolutionary tree and are less intelligent/evolved than the Caucasian races.

I continued. This is what Hitler wrote about in Mein Kampf, that using Darwin’s thesis about the survival of the fittest and our evolutionary past, it is logical to rid (in this rat race evolutionists’ call “survival of the fittest”) the planet of such lesser animals or to view other people with such racist tendencies. Racist thinking is endemic to the theory of evolution. It is a logical outworking of it. In Christianity we have Acts saying we all came from one-man, we are all from “one-blood.” We sing, “Red, Yellow, Black and White, we are all precious in His sight!” We have a focus point to re-align ourselves with (the Bible) that the atheist doesn’t. We have an example in the life of Christ that evolution does not provide; evolution is in fact “red in tooth and claw.” Or as the quote I was referencing from Mein Kampf:

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

(Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy [New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942], pp. 161-162.) From a blog I did on the matter: Evolution’s Systematic Racism

The conversation wagged on for a bit more. I defended theistic thought at times – not wanting to inundate this angry man with “Biblical thinking” as much as I wanted to challenge his foundational thinking on certain topics. Hitchens came up again as did the Iraq war. So the old-man switched gears and quoted the commandment about “Thou shall not kill.” The young Christian kid quickly showed him that the Bible actually reads “Thou shall not murder.” Which was the crux of the reason he brought it up – his misunderstanding of it, applied.

He asked, with this commandment wrongly understood in mind, if I condoned the killing in Iraq. I simply responded that he was first arguing for a secular, non-religious government, and now he was trying to put religion into government actions. Which was he arguing for? That aside, I said he was committing a fallacy in his understanding about the Ten Commandments and the cultural, historical, theological context that they should be studied. I mentioned he should read some Dennis Prager writings on the Ten Commandments so he can better understand the Hebrew thinking behind such Scripture before he builds a “straw-man,” a false premise, and then attack something (the false premise) that no Christian or Jewish person believes… outside of his mind that is.

I mentioned that I have read Hitchens’ book God is Not Great, and almost every other atheist/naturalistic epitome written from ancient Greece up to the present, has he (I asked again) read any one good defense of the Christian Faith? Like, Unshakeable Foundations by Norman Geisler? He responded that he didn’t have the time nor will to read such stuff. (In other words, he was a closed minded bigot who went around arguing his point of view to the exclusion of all other points of view.)

I said “such thinking on your part would… well… make me think you were an idiot.” And on that note I left for work.

  • “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.” (Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist. Ignatius Press; 1999, by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.)

My son boogied next door to the Starbuck’s where where he was getting a footlong sub-sandwich from Subway… you know those 16-year-olds will eat you out of house and home. Me, I had to have a “cup-o-joe.” As I was waiting for my venti java-chip frappachino with two add shots and caramel drizzled on the inside of the cup (yes, I am trying to beat the rapture), I noticed a guy reading a book. Being the bibliophile I am – (and Masters College being so close… brothers in the Lord and all that) – I accosted the guy and asked what he was reading. I was somewhat surprised to see he was reading the Urantia book. So my mind did a switch from a planned friendly conversation with a fellow seminary student to that of evangelism.

For those who do not know what the Urantia book is, I suggest a few stops online, as well as reading my intro to the new age:

The year 1989 saw an end to the URANTIA Brotherhood and a beginning for the Fifth Epochal Fellowship. In a letter dated 9 November 1989 all members of the Brotherhood were notified that a shake-up at headquarters had taken place and things, including the name, had changed. While the group has a new name, its doctrines and purposes remain as they were “originally established,” (p. 3).

Of all the cultic systems in all the world, none is more intricate than that of URANTIA! This organization has Orders of Trinity Beings, Supreme Beings, Ascending Beings, Sons of God, Universe Power Directors, Michael class (a very important group) and nearly ad infinitum. Within each Order there may be anywhere from a few thousand to many million beings (The URANTIA Book, pp. 330-344). Various sections of this 2,097 page book were sent to earth by the “Orvonton administrators” (p. 354), and the “…Nebadon commission of twelve acting under the direction of Mantutia Melchizedek,” (p. 1319).

The doctrines are nearly as hard to understand as the source from whence they came. As with many groups which do not appreciate the thought of Jesus being the Only Begotten Son of God, URANTIA has an interesting solution to this problem. They teach, prior to His Earthly life, Jesus’ real name was Michael of Nebadon. They state, “Our Creator Son (another Order of beings) is the personification of the 611,121st original concept of infinite identity of simultaneous origin in the Universal Father and the Eternal Son.”The Michael of Nebadon is the `only-begotten Son’ personalizing this 611,121st universal concept of divinity and infinity,” (Ibid, p.366; parenthesis added). In other words, Jesus (Michael) is the Son of the Son of God and the Father in the sense that when these two beings had a simultaneous original thought for the 611,121st time, Jesus (Michael) was begotten.

The Brotherhood does have a similarity to other groups in that they teach, “There dwells within you a fragment of the Universal Father, and you are thus directly related to the divine Father and all the Sons of God,” (Ibid, p. 448). However, unlike many other cults which teach they are the only true church, the URANTIA teach, “We believe in every church and in all forms of worship,” (URANTIA Brotherhood Bulletin, Vol. 6, No. 1, p. 4). With this attitude in mind, and in their own peculiar way, they hope to unite “…all world religions and all world religionists,” (Bulletin, Supplement, p. 1).

Now that you are caught up, I will continue. I sat beside the guy and mentioned that the Urantia book was an interesting read. He asked if I had read it, I mentioned that I had read large swaths of it. Naturally he asked what I thought of it, I said my feelings were mixed. I then asked him if he believed in reincarnation of the soul, he eventually answered yes.

This is important, almost any new age religion or Eastern religion adherent you meet you can break their religious view down into the lowest possible denominator, which in this case is pantheism. Almost all pantheists believe in reincarnation, here in the West they would believe in classical reincarnation: souls that revisit the earth and are punished according to their built up karma. You do not have to worry about side issue, you can have one line of attack for hundreds of religious views, and it will work.

I made mention of the Killing Fields and the fact that during the mass slaughter of people in Cambodia, people were fleeing (these people being Buddhists) into neighboring Buddhist nations. This influx of people created refugee camps. You would think that fellow Buddhists would be concerned about their own, but they were not. Because the Buddha taught that you are your own island, and you must work out your own karma. So these fellow Buddhists viewed these refugees plight through the lens of Eastern ideology. In other words, these people were starving and being killed and dying because of something they did in a previous life. It took many Christian organizations to come in and feed, clothe, and provide shelter to these Buddhists.

I then mentioned that this is why the holy men in India can walk by those who are maimed, starving, uneducated, and the like, and walk right by them. Why? Because they are in that predicament because of some built up karma. This is why it takes a Mother Theresa to literally adopt the city of Calcutta. As he was ingesting this, I continued my challenge:

I mentioned that the Urantia book was a message given to the author by an alien civilization through the means of automatic writing (where the author allows a spirit or some being to write through them while they are in an altered state of consciousness). I politely engaged him in conversation, challenging him at one point with this:

“The Urantia book was given through automatic writing, so too was The Book of Laws by Alistair Crowley (Alistair saying a spirit at the Great Pyramid gave this writing to him), as well as some of the writings of Carl Jung. However, even though these books/messages were given by ‘spiritual’ means as a way to properly view reality, they contradict each other… how do you delineate what is true, in other words, do you have a way to judge which of these books/messages is true and which are false.”

He was caught off guard I am sure because this is a poignant question that 1) has never been asked of him, 2) gets him to think internally about whether he has ever questioned his own thinking on the acceptance of such an occult text, and 3), how does he judge truth. This is the answer I got:

“There have been studies where people are hooked up to machines and when presented with truth they somehow know it to be true, likewise, I just know the Urantia book to be true.”

This answer is similar to those adherents of Scientology and also the “burning in the bosom” that Mormons experience. It is just that, experience, which are subjective at best. I then asked the gentlemen if he bases truth on his feelings, to which he responded positively to. I didn’t press the issue as I had already challenged his thinking on other issues (I used some examples from a paper I did – I attached it if you are curious), but I could have continued with this line of thinking by comparing Hitler’s feelings on truth as compared to those of Mother Theresa.

I hope this short brush with this guy will help you formulate a response to a self-refuting worldview, here I will post the end of a paper I did for my world religions class, enjoy (references have been removed for ease of publishing):

APPENDIX

~ Adapted from an online debate many years ago ~

The law of cause and effect to which on the “spiritual” plain is called Karma. One writer says of the law:

Karma simply means that there remains naught after each personality but the causes produced by it. No “personality” – a mere bunch of material atoms and of indistinctual mental characteristics – can of course continue as such, in the world of pure Spirit.

The fundamental idea behind karma is that of action followed by reaction. The Bhagavad-Gita, one of the best-known Hindu scriptures, defines it quite simply as “the name given to the creative force that brings beings into existence” (8:3). Thus, it may be viewed as the fundamental creative action that is perpetuated in each individual soul.

Practically, karma is somewhat like Isaac Newton’s law: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Mark Albrecht continues:

It could be pictured as a set of moral scales; all the bad deeds piled up on one side must be balanced by good deeds on the other.

Yet it is more complicated than that. Perhaps the best way of picturing karma and its relationship to rebirth (reincarnation) is something like this: Each person is a sort of electronic sensor or microphone with a wire hooked up to a great computer in the heavens; the computer is ‘God’ Each thought, motive and act, as well as all the things that happen to us, are relayed back to the computer and filed away. Upon death the data bank in the computer is activated, and the ‘readout’ of our next life or lives, is cranked out and handed to us. If our negative karma (deeds, thoughts, motives, circumstances, and so on) outweighs our positive karmic pattern, we are assigned a more miserable existence in the next round, and vice versa. We have nothing to say about it. There is no mercy, forgiveness or court of appeals.

Earlier Albrecht made the point that:

Hinduism and Buddhism teach that humans can only achieve final liberation from the round of rebirths by this doctrine. Only through the pitfalls and travails of the human condition can a soul earn sufficient merit to warrant its release or liberation (Sanskrit: moksha or samadhi). Thus, a soul must evolve through various life forms to the human state, the evolutionary plateau where moral lessons are learned through multitudes of reincarnations.

If you are born into a family that is well off, and you have a good family relationship, then you are being rewarded for some good work[s] from a previous life. If you are born into a famine-ridden area, destitute, or mentally or physically incapable of caring for yourself, then you are in retribution for the “cause and effect” law of karma. This is the reason that there is no firm “right or wrong” in this life according to Eastern thought. All people who are treated unfairly or unjustly — like slaves were in America, racial wars, famine and disease in undeveloped nations — are merely reaping what they sowed in a previous incarnation. In addition, to interfere with this process — outlaw slavery, end racial strife, feed and heal the hungry and sick — is to interfere with a person’s karma, which is strictly forbidden in the eastern philosophies! (Alternatively, doing so has no intrinsic value – e.g., no real positive moral benefit.)

It is laughable that some defend this doctrine tooth and nail. However, if really believed, they would come to realize there is no real good or evil! The Inquisitions, the Mumbai terror killings at the hands of Muslims, as examples, were merely the outgrowth of the victim’s previous lives. Therefore, when those here defend karmic destiny in other posts speak of the horrible atrocities committed by “religion,” they are not consistently living out their philosophy of life and death, which are illusory. The innocent victims of the Inquisitions, terror attacks, tsunamis, or Crusades then are merely being “paid back” for something they themselves did in a previous life. It is the actions said persons did prior that creates much of the evil upon them now. So in the future when people who are believers in reincarnation say that Christianity isn’t what it purports to be because of the evil it has committed in the past, I will remind them that evil is merely an illusion (Maya – Hinduism; Sunyata – Buddhism) to be overcome, as karmic reincarnation demands.