Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Personal Opinion

Some things in life are a matter of personal opinion, at least in free societies. This is where I believe  "faith claims" belong. "Faith claims" are a matter of choice, not a matter of determination. One's "cultural heritage" is a matter of determination, but free societies allow for development beyond "cultural determination" which is found within one's family of origin.

The Church, though, survives on "cultural determination", because of their belief in "God". A particular view must be affirmed for there to be "social cohesion" within a particular denomination. Such are Church doctrines which prescribe differences of understanding "faith". 

I do not believe that anyone has the right to usurp a person's personal values by force, or emotional blackmail. That is my personal opinion and my right as an American citizen.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Human Development"

Humans develop within communities or contexts, which can affect how the future is understood or experienced by a particular individual. Humans in American society are free to associate with a particular community for specified reasons once they become of age. Even "family" is a chosen value in our society, as family is formed by consent and not by force or determination.

Because humans are dependent on the community of "family", when they are young, it is important that family meet the child's needs. Children will develop regardless of "family dynamics", but what they will learn from their experiences in family will not "die" easily, as family is the first teacher of "what is to be expected" from the world. Trust that one's basic needs will be met is pivotal in a child's sense of security. And security is the basis of expectation or hope for the child. Children learn many "lessons" from their parents, and most of these are not "formal" lessons.

Good parenting seeks to not only attend to the physical needs of the child, but the emotional needs of the child. A good parent does super-impose their preferred interests upon the child, if the child shows an interest in other things. The "good parent" is attuned to "listen" and watch for signs of the child's innate gifts and give the child opportunities to develop and associate with those with similar interests.

Teachers are also important in human development, as teachers give the child basic foundations to function within society. And as the child grows toward adulthood, more and more specification of personal interests are developed, unless these interests have been stunted by "fundamentalist parenting".

I find that "faith" is something one outgrows, as one becomes a self responsible adult. Adults in our society are not to be dependent, but independently secure about what they value, and where they want to put forth their efforts in society. Doesn't independence and self responsibility bring about societal flourishing?

Unfortunately, those that want to control others do so with promises of security. And those that for one reason or another feel "lost" usually respond to such appeals to human emotion, but at a great cost. The costs is the fundamental right to choose life, liberty and one's own pursuit of happiness (property).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where Are You on the Spectrum of "Faith"?

Human development seems to follow a certain path intellectually, morally, and as to faith. And I have come up with what I think are ways that I can easily grasp or categorize people as to their views and commitments about "faith".

The categories I have been considering are:

1) Secular Protestant Faith- This is a "secular faith", as faith is only a symbol of something else, that is important to the person themselves, but does not have to be. This kind of faith is an atheistic faith, but could choose to attend church as a social organization for community service and personal associations. Government is self government within any kind of government, though a Constitutional Republic would be considered the best environment to develop this faith intellectually, as it allows for free thought and free expression apart from "faith communities" and it allows for mutual contractual social arrangements.

2.) Secular Catholic Faith- This faith is a faith that believes in the institution of the Church as complimentary to the institution of Government. Church has a function within society, as to human development. Human Development grows best within communities and grows within broader and broader spectrum of the world (family, church, school, local community, state concerns).

3.) Natural Protestant Faith- A belief that the natural world grants inalienable rights to individuals via a benevolent "power". Men have the right and power to create society/government and investigate and create within the natural world. This is the faith of the Declaration of Independence and the Founding Fathers. Agnosticism or Deism describes this faith.

4.) Natural Catholic Faith- A belief in a Benevolent God that has created a Moral Order that is established apart from human creation. Humans have a duty to establish the moral order of government so that man can develop in the right environment. Family is the epitome of the natural order, while government is "God's authority on earth".

5.) Supernatural Protestant Faith- Faith is individualized such that one can have personal faith/relationship with "a personal God" (the supernatural realm). God consciousness is sought through prayer, meditation and communion. Faith precedes and supersedes community, as proof of true and growing faith.

6.) Supernatural Catholic Faith- A belief that God inhabits the community of the Church, has established Church as the only one and true community and true faith will leave earthly communities as proof of "true faith". This is the faith of monks and nuns or priests and the consecrated (Ana baptists).

Each kind of "faith" is acceptable in our society, but unfortunately, such ways of understanding faith, "God", the Church and Government leads to conflict.

People that have the later 3 kinds of faith tend toward exclusivity because of their dependence on supernaturalism and community. Whereas, people that identify with one of the first 3 categories have an easier time finding their place, as they tend to choose their commitment to faith, more than the others.

(My thinking has been influenced by William Perry's Intellectual Development; James Fowler's Faith Development; and Thomas Kohlburg's Moral Development}

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hollywood As a Means to an End

Hollywood has tremedous power in our society! Hollywood can make an impact upon society by its messages. What messages should Hollywood make?

"Hope Springs", "The Hunger Games", "The Matrix" and many others have had significance for society for "educational purposes". These can bring discussion and "enlightenment" to those sitting in the theatre. Hollywood is a means. But, only if the people sitting in the theatres are prone to think deeper than the story.

"Hope Springs" and New Meaning

On our anniversary, my husband and I decided to go to the movies to watch the new Meryl Streep movie, "Hope Springs". We think Meryl Streep is a great actress, and thought this would be a good choice for entertainment. But, instead of entertainment, I found myself wondering what meaning I could find in the movie.

The movie is about a couple who had "lost touch" with each other, as they had been married for 31 years. Their basic problem, it seemed, was their lack of communication or intimacy. Intimacy was much more than the physical act of sex, or the legal aspect of marriage. Intimacy was the communication style of the couple, which had broken down.

They sought a marriage counselor only after much "dispute" and it seemed that the marriage counselor's advice brought up many 'conflicts' within the relationship, which needed to be resolved before the marriage could "go on".

The counselor sought to bring to the forefront the question about their basic attraction to one another, what their fantasies were and encouraging the couple to compromise and cooperate with each other in meeting those desires.

All of the counselors advice made me think of "sex" within the broader context of our society, in general. America has had her conflict over what will define marriage, but is marriage a traditional/religious value, or a social construct that benefits the parties involved?

How can human relationships and natural human desires exist within a healthy context that maintains "order", while not denying the natural needs and desires of the humans involved? Does shame enter into the questions that this movie brought to the forefront? Marital difficulties, separation and divorce, masturbation, oral sex, human desire and natural needs in the context of religious framing when social structures and society itself has changed in light of "scripture and tradition"?

Humans get married at later ages than in "biblical times", leaving the question of natural human desires on the physical and emotional/social planes. Students need to finish college or find what they want to do with their lives before taking on responsiblities of a spouse and family... Are natural human desires to be accomadated by marrying earlier, self determination (however conscience allows), and is it a "shame" to allow for same sex unions? What is the best for society and human flourishing? Does tradition enlighten, or inhibit? When is inhibition and enlightenment considered a good thing? Does society exists for the individual or does the individual exists for society? That question has been a quandary....

"Hope Springs" made me think of our society and what makes for a good marriage, and and a good society. It cannot be less than mutually satisfying relationship, if marriage is to have a real meaning and impact. And both the husband and wife in "Hope Springs" illustrated what that meant for them individually. The wife had come to the "end of the highway", because she found herself more lonely married than she would be unmarried. The husband had abandoned his wife many years prior, yet would not admit it to himself for his own reasons. Marriage is about companionship, as much as sex, or a legal contract. And it makes for "stranger bedfellows" if marriage is about anything less.....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Falling and Confiscation of Liberty

To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. – Thomas Jefferson

The individual mandate is forcing individuals into commerce, or using money in ways that they might not choose. It certainly is forcing the Catholic Church to fund birth control, even though their beliefs do not sanction such behavior.

I'm not interested in this post primiarily about birth control, Obamacare, or beliefs per se. I am only interested in how our government has become one that doesn't support and value liberty, as it did in our Founder's Day. Why is this?

The rage today is "systems think", though our Founders were setting up a system of government, they did not want the system to over-ride individual liberty, thus the Bill of Rights. Government was to limit itself with proper checks and balances.

Today, government wants to intrude into our pocketbooks to create safety nets for those that haven't taken advantage of the opportunities that are before them in this nation. These are those that know how to use the system to their advantage and some of them do so without conscience. Criminal minds can easily use systems, because the system is so reliable. People in systems thinking are labelled to fulfill a role in the system that ends up determining and controlling human beings because of "outcomes". This is what the Founders understood as tyranny, because government or another had not right to interfere with the right to "own my own life". Owning one's own life or self-government was what liberty was about!.

The Constitution was what protected the citizen, but, without those in power honoring Constitutional protections and upholding "the rule of law", we have an undermining of our nation-state and citizen's rights for a "higher end" of "human rights". What is wrong with human rights? Human rights is a "collective identification". And collectivism labels to systemize and control, or determine, or experiment. These are not the values that our Founders had, as to government.

Collective identifications undermine individual intiative, incentive and outcomes, because people are labelled by race/ethnicity, gender, or religious affliation. When individuals are labelled, there is a depersonalization that makes for an undercutting of individual rights according to our Constitutional protections. "Humankind" has rights above and beyond specific individuals, society has a right over and above individuals and government has a right over and above individuals. This was known as tyranny by our Founding Fathers.

I am concerned about where we are headed because elites in the Academy have bought into "collective" or "group thinking", because humans are social beings, like any other animal. The question I have is do animals have the reasoning capacity that man does? Doesn't that make man different? If so, is man to be treated as "just another animal"?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Have Nothing to Say, But I Must Say It

America is known to be the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave". We love liberty and we value industry. Therefore, we prosper because individuals can find their place in our society and choose how they will be productive citizens. Some who love power and use that power to "lord it over" were limited in their power by our "Bill of Rights". The fight for "freedom of speech", even when it is not "politically correct" is a fight for the brave, who value our liberty too much to see it lost. "Political correctness" is about power and the "right" value according to politics.

Some people love to control other's lives, these like to propagandize what is the "politically correct" position. While granted it is necessary to create boundaries for children, is control really what is best for personal growth and development. as well as affirming 'liberty"? Some think there is no other way to "make sure" things work out the "right way". What is the "right way"? Outcomes? or Moral or Ethical values? Who is to determine what is "right"?

Utility is "making sure" that the right people are in the right place. This is organizational structuring. But, utility controls, as to means. The "right people" must be in the "right place" for outcomes to be guarunteed. But, is this the moral value of American ideals and the ethical value of liberty and choice for individuals? I don't think so.

Control is anathema to American ideals of life and liberty. Control is about power and the use of the law. And such power is not about "equality before the law", but, is about slavery and servitude. These are not American values, as we do not believe it is moral or ethical to undermine liberty of choice and rights before the law.

So, I have nothing to say to those that want to be "politically correct" and use power over granting liberty. I have nothing to say, but I must say it, to those that will listen. Unfortunately, my life is not "politically correct", so I have no right to "free speech". Is this the moral value, we want to promote? I think those that are on "both sides of the aisle" are promoting visions of America that do not lead to liberty, but enslavement of different kinds.