Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Love the Quote by Heinlein

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. -- Robert A. Heinlein

I love this quote because those that love to control others think they are leaders, but what they are really doing is not leadership, but tyranny. Leadership is about winning the right to lead, not manipulating others with dishonesty or power plays.

I love this quote because those that have ideals and define them for others, do a disservice to others, because they do not allow others the right to think and understand what they would choose to believe and what they value and why.

The later type are critical thinkers. They do not take things on face value, therefore, they would ask questions, and investigate to understand another without making assumptions, presumptions and demands based on their understanding of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

The idealist would think that the real leader would be those who are so focused on the goal that they see clearly what the "end" is. These understand their vision from pig-headed stubornness, if they are not careful. Whenever something is clear to us, we also need to be aware that others may not see or understand things the same way. This way, communication is valued and negotiation can be closer to reality. And then the vision so clearly seen can be adjusted to take into account all of the "team".

Hearing Voices Is Not Rational

"Hearing God's voice" is a major emphasis in revelational faith. These people believe that God is really alive and speaks to the "chosen". Others believe that God's revelation is totally revealed in the written text of "Scripture". These believe that "God speaks" to "His chosen" through "His Word".

Recently, a radio program that "preaches" the latter, has become of concern to my husband. He has listened to this program on and off for years. But, lately, this "Bible-believing" Christian has become convinced that he knows the date of Christ's return, May 21st, 2011!

Why has this become of concern? First, this person's ministry was the "dot and tittle" of the written "Word", but has now become a "rhema Word". What changed this person and how did he become so convinced that he would suggest that those who don't adhere to the May 21st date are not "saved"?!? Has this person become deluded? demented? What caused the change and how does he "know" what he "knows"?

This is why revelational religious claims are not dependable ways of "doing business" in the "real world", where rationality is needed, so that "contracts" can be negotiated and the terms met. Contracts, whether social, or business are based on laws that define the terms and conditions of such relationships. This is why personal words, such as "love" is not the way to term such "real world" problems.

"Hearing voices" is how spiritual leaders many times lead those that have belief in such ways of 'knowing". These do not accept the naturalistic way of understanding such voices, and this is dangerous, as it leads to emphatic demands and fearful reactions about "God's will", which limits others in their understandings. And it damages diversity, and creates religious wars.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Political Is the Real

Tonight Glenn Beck discussed "restoring" America.  But, unlike some of his past programs, I disagreed as to how this is to come about. His was a vision of spiritual renewal, and commitment from citizens to re-align themselves.

While I do agree no one should try to control another in a free society, the only one they really have control over is themself, I do not agree that spiritualizing "self-governance", is imperative. Why would I say this?

Augustine was the one who transformed the Christian vision to the "other world".  His "vision" was the world of the transcendent God, who prepared the "City of God". And this "world" was to give hope to those who'd been disappointed when Rome was destroyed. Hopefully, this will not be the case for America. And today, man himself is the point of question, as evolution has trumped special creation. The focus today is on "man", not God.

Many have tried to implement Marxist "class envy and warfare" into our public discourse, which has done nothing other than divide our nation over envious feelings about material gain. The purpose, I imagine is the "redistribution of wealth" so poverty is addressed. The issue of poverty is not what America has been about. America has understood herself as a land of opportunity and prosperity. A land where people could find their own "way of life".  America's "hope" has been political freedom. But, now, our political freedom has brought about division not just over how money should be "handled" (by the individual or the government), but also how we should treat our enemies.

Those that have an idealistic view of man affirm "love", as the Christian/humanist mandate. Love is not the practical terminology or actual requirement of political action. Love is a personal term, while other terms such as duty, or responsibility fit more appropriately in the political realm.

The question that divides again is over what is our responsibility or duty as American citizens? Is our responsibility for the whole world, or is it for our nation? And then, is our responsibility over those in poverty, addictions, criminal behavior, or what? All of us cannot be concerned and focused on the same issues if our country and how the world's needs are to be met. This is why how one understands and commits is dependent on what one values most and why.

 Is our responsibility for our nation, or for our families? or both? It has often been said that the nation is only as strong as its families. And this is true, I believe. Other matters that concern our nation are matters that will always divide our nation, even, "Christian" citizens. Is the political or real world policies not more important, than the transcendent? I believe so. Nothing impacts the child more than their family of origin, and this arena has also become politicized. It is no longer the parent who must raise their child, but the State. ( And yet, I know that there are those parents who will not do right by the child, in regards to giving the child the best opportunity to succeed. Should the State intervene? And how?)

I am weary of faith, culture, and politics, as I think it has been a useful tool in the hands of the empowered at the disadvantage/discrimination of the "Christian". Values have been defined for the "Christian" by others, so that these will fit their mold, opinion or value. So, being "human" is a more important value for/to me, than "being a Christian", as being 'human" recognizes that I have common needs, desires, and opinions, as any other person.  Being a Christian, only means that there are others that define your life by their own standards and demand obedience to what they find is "ultimate".

I find the "ultimate" in our American culture, where individual liberty is valued and protected.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Again, I Love This Quote....

I had posted this on my blog in April of this year, but in light of recent "politics", I thought I would re-post it.

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort. -- Robert A. Heinlein

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When Liberty Should Be Limited

Liberty is limited by law in free societies, as law defines and determines what is illegal or criminal behavior. But, what "Should" be limited?

Government should be limited according to our Founding Fathers. Governments intrude upon individual liberties. Therefore, governments should limit by law, what should be protected.  Government should protect indivdiual values to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life is to be protected. Property is to be protected. And privacy is to be protected. Whenever these protections are ignored or devalued, then we devalue individuality.

Murder, theft, and privacy are crimes against individuality. The individual has a right to own his own life in Western society. And this is why so many seek to come to our shores. We value opportunity for the individual.

Free Speech, an Absolute?

I just heard a different slant on why the pastor in Florida is going to burn the Koran on September 11th. He thinks this will underwrite his Constitutional right to "free speech".

The radio commentator also said that he was to do this to show his right in the face of decency, tolerance, sensitivity to religious plurality, etc. He uses the same argument that is being used to defend the Mosque being built in NYC.

Recently, there has been a urgent outcry against such an action due to the probable "costs" of American lives. The value of "making a statement" or "taking a stand on freedom of speech" is at odds to the possible reactions of radical Muslims.

While I may not agree that this action is politically sensitive, which value is more important? And more patriotic? Is it the value of individual life, or the value of individual liberty? Freedom of speech, or fear of retribution? Freedom of individual expression, or political correctness?  Some would believe that life is always of ultimate value, but then at what costs? Our military has been known to be upholding the value of liberty, as this is an ultimate American value.

 Political correctness, means that someone has decided what another should "stand for", and what their expression is allowed to express. This is what has hindered scientific understanding in the past. The Church was at odds to what scientists discovered. Should we continue to discriminate against "free thinkers"?

(post-script) I do believe there are boundaries to liberty, and these must be weighed by a wider context of values....

Neither Nature or Nurture, or Universals

The individual should not be determined by Church or State, nor should the individual be determined by nature or nuruture....

Although we live in contexts which do limit us, and all individuals have distinct natural giftings, these cannot be determined in any specific outcome in free societies. There are various "outcomes" in which the individual may use their certain giftings.

Those that want to prescribe a universal value are determinists and will use power to undermine liberty. And these do so with impunity of conscience because their value is absolute, or ultimate. Aren't there various ways of understanding universals?

Children are impacted by their family or origin, but the "impact" does not have to be permanant. All humans have the capactity to enlarge their understandings, or to re-orient themselves to healthier ways of viewing the world or themselves.

Just as we are impacted by our familial envirounments, we are impacted by our physical environment. But, to say that humans are only submissive, compliant "outcomes" of such, is short of true. Humans are resposive to their environments, but aren't prescribed as to how or what they will respond to.

The human mind is a mystery in some sense. Though we respond to stimuli, do we always take the same actions? If the human brain were only a computor then it could be assumed that humans are little more than robots to various stimuli. Don't humans all have various ways of processing information and putting that information together? Isn't finishing a dissertation adding a "new dimension" of understanding and knowledge to the human race? How, then does new information come about, if humans all process their information in the same way?