by Ben Huot
1.2 For More Information
For more books and information, visit me on the web at https://benjamin-newton.com/
Feel free to send me e-mail regarding the books and website at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org I even enjoy constructive criticism
1.3 Cover Graphic
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This introduction to my research and advocacy writings is an anthology of my best essays on schizophrenia, theology, church history, prophecy, common sense, philosophy, and the Holy Spirit.
by Ben Huot
2.1 Research and Advocacy Topics
So I have taken my interest in helping the weak and poor in the areas of:
military advice (increasing awareness of practical risks and rewards of enlisting, explanations of military's reasons for extreme and politically divisive policies, and how to do well no matter who is running your command and get along with service members of any background) - psychology book collection
coping with Schizophrenia advice (what it feels like to have Schizophrenia, understanding the limitations your mental illness causes, how to succeed despite your limitations, and the most important factors in being happy and fulfilled, while staying as independent as possible) - psychology book collection
practical and common sense advice, to avoid pain, by accepting personal responsibility, for your choices and standing up, for what you know is right - practical advice book collection
self help advice, for both highly sensitive workaholics and the lazy procrastinator - self help book collection
get a long term spiritual perspective, on world history, current politics, and your life, so that you may find peace, in this life, and joy, for eternity - theology book collection, ideology book collection
disaster survival and worst case scenario advice (emergency preparedness and future trends/possibilities) - bibliography plus book collection
budget consumer technology advice (and the people/emotional factor) to save you both time, money, and your creations - technology book collections
recommended humanities books and multimedia (iTunes playlists: music, audiobooks, e-books, apps) for further study, so that you can both verify what I said and also come up with your own unique ideas - bibliography plus book collection
recommended Bible verses - Bible quotes book collection
2.2 Approach and Motivations
The deeper aspects of this guidance are philosophical, based on:
my unique combination of Christian Existentialism and Philosophical Taoism - introductions book collection, self help book collection, theology book collection
my unique understanding of Asian literature, philosophy, religion, history, psychology, ethics, discipline (during Asian Golden Age, European Middle Ages, and Pre-Colonial Africa) - ideology book collection, self help book collection
my unique combination of fiscally liberal and socially conservative political views - ideology book collection, practical advice book collection
I am very holistic, so I see all of these topics as fundamentally interrelated and interdependent.
2.3 Research and Experience
What makes me unique are the combination of my situation, my beliefs, my disability, and my abilities. It is true that I am both intelligent and creative, but the more unusual and important ability is my stubbornness. Many people think that being stubborn is a defect, but it is what has kept me from ever giving up on my dreams, no matter what anyone says, and despite the obstacles in my way and my lack of resources.
I also have served in the US Army and am permanently and officially disabled (with a full veteran's pension) with the mental illness called Paranoid Schizophrenia. My only income is my veteran's disability, which nothing is required of me for, to get it and I make no money off my website, or anything related to anything I write about. - psychology book collection
Many of the abilities I have are rare or virtually non-existent in most people with mental illnesses less severe than mine. I also live in a forgotten, safe, and beautiful corner of America. I have written many books based on my 14 years of study in the humanities, yet I still don't have any accredited degree past high school. - theology book collection, ideology book collection
I also understand how to build websites quite well as I have been designing my website since before Google existed in any form. I have also have an appreciation for the technical side of design like: compatibility, accessibility, efficiency, and marketing. My websites are always usable without my thinking about that, because I have trouble navigating most of the web, so I like designs simpler than almost anyone. - technology book collections, website browsing help
If you have an Apple iPad 1, iPhone 4, or iPod Touch 4 (2010) or with iOS 4 or higher, then you should be able to see my main website fine. For those who bought from other vendors, I have made a mobile/simplified site for you. Unfortunately and ironically Google devices have a much less powerful web browser than Apple ones. And yes my website looks great in Internet Explorer 6 (comes with Windows XP) and higher or any of the recent versions of most major web browsers on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, and higher), Mac OS X (10.4 and higher with latest free Apple updates), and Linux (or other X-Windows based). - website browsing help, apple device help
General Focus of Work
by Ben Huot
3.1 My Ultimate Goal
If I leave you with just one thing, this is it: you should never follow someone else. I don't mean that you shouldn't follow laws, but you should not follow any person's ideology, especially not mine. Everyone knows what is true and what is right and wrong. The best you can do is follow your conscience.
Take a creative approach to your problems. Realize the reality of the things you cannot change and change the things you can. The biggest source of our problems is that we seem to be unable to draw connections and have a lack of imagination. Einstein once said that creativity is more important than intelligence.
I do not want any followers, just as Kierkegaard and Nietzsche both felt. I would be happiest, if you formed your religious and philosophical beliefs, by your own experience and research. I do believe the opinions that I wrote and am not ashamed of having strong opinions and risking being wrong. I want you to have passion for doing what you believe is right. You cannot go wrong by following your heart.
If I was able to change anything about my life, I would try to enjoy life more and not be so serious. Make sure you don't spend all your life thinking: take time to relax and meet new people. It is important to have balance in life and to listen to the advice of other people who care about you. The only way you grow is from learning from forming relationships and taking risks to improve your life. Other people can see things you cannot, so benefit from their experience and differing points of view.
3.2 Think for Yourself
It is unusual, for a Christian, to have his greatest goal, for people, to simply think, for themselves. Most thinkers want others, to follow their ideology. I have realized fairly early on, that this is a dangerous path. One of the biggest reasons to go this route is that many people get the message wrong. Islam owes much, to misunderstandings, about Christianity, in the time, of the early Church.
Neither Kierkegaard, nor Nietzsche wanted followers. It was true, that Kierkegaard was a committed Christian and Nietzsche a committed atheist/pagan (at least in terms of philosophy). But both wanted people to really stand up, for what they believed and only wanted them, to follow their beliefs, if they truly believed, in them.
Nietzsche's sister was a NAZI sympathizer and so actually re-wrote some of Nietzsche's work and claimed he was for white supremacy, which is ridiculous, for anyone, who read any of his work, because the men from the north, that he admired were the Inuits and he had contempt for the Germans, even though he was one himself. He actually liked the Old Testament and hated the New Testament. He would have fought, with all his being, people going out, to war, for some ridiculous ideology, like that, of the NAZIs - that was one, of the things, he criticized Christians, for doing.
His concept of strength was strength in conviction and would never have promoted strength, to be used, to quell free thinking. The weakness he hated was people being slaves, to a leader. It is funny how Nietzsche actually seems to link together the ideas of modernism and Christianity and it must have been a bizarre leader, that would promote that combination. Of course, you could argue, that much of the mainstream church is still beating that same drum.
But, another problem with trying, to get a following, is that, for me, I don't want to gamble, on how my ideas might manifest themselves, in different people, even if they do understand them and correctly follow them, because if I can find serious faults and thinking errors, in some of the greatest thinkers, of all time, so why would I be able to escape the same fate? I also think that there is too little diversity, of opinion, in America. Both major political parties have assumed many things, that should be questioned. Those unquestioned assumptions are what I think needs to change.
I think that trying to bring about any kind of human social movement is bound to fail, because it is not just our leaders, who are corrupt, to the core, the evil is even greater, within each, of us. I, also, have no desire, to be a leader, nor do I desire, to have power, over anyone else. I really believe, that God is proactively drawing people, to Himself and anyone who truly seeks Him will find Him. What I truly want for everyone is complete freedom from suffering and eternal life with Jesus Christ.
But, that can only happen, once a person decides, to find the truth, for themselves. With God, you have, to start, with honesty, and we all are in different places and, even, as Christians, our journeys will take us, to many different places and some people are honestly mad, at God, many because, of suffering. You can only be who you are and commit yourself, to do the best you can, with what you currently know. You have to believe, that you will find the correct way, eventually, if there truly is a really wonderful all-powerful God, like Jesus Christ.
Most of all God is fair with everyone and will never require you, to do something you know is wrong and will always give you the strength, to do what you believe is right. It does not matter, if you call yourself a Christian or not - early believers called themselves followers of the Way, but I truly believe, that the Christian God is the best God I could imagine. But you don't need to decide all this right now.
Just take each day and learn all you can and you will find faith, in your own way. Furthermore, I don't expect anyone, to be convinced, by any arguments, I have come up with - when have you ever changed someone's mind, on anything? You can only believe based on what you know and what you have experienced - it cannot be real faith until your understanding is real. And it cannot be real faith, if you just choose to follow something, because someone else told you so, no matter how much you might think of this person.
3.3 Details of My Methods
When you read a history book or a self help book, you will likely get more from it by taking notes than by just reading. My books are all based around the same concepts to the point that they are all philosophically consistent - my unique combination of Philosophical Taoism and Christian Existentialism. With philosophy, the point is not to memorize but to think. My books are easily read as they are written using simple and plain English, but they take a long time to read, because they force you to think.
The beauty of this style is that you really learn how to think in a certain way, so that you can figure out what I would say about other things I have not written about. But my ultimate goal for my readers is for you to make your own decisions and choose your own values, so that you will not be fooled by anyone. Don't even trust me. You have to live your life and deal with the consequences of your actions, so you very well must make up your own mind about religion and politics.
You will realize that my writings are concise like an encyclopedia, but they are also creative and poetic in organization, so that certain themes are repeated in different articles. I see all the major topics I write about as interrelated. Other important considerations that help define what I right include Biblically sound theology, dealing with the way things really are now, specific actions to take, and a positive response/advice. I have struggled with depression for a long time and I find it very depressing and useless to bring up problems without giving solutions. What I write about is serious, but I hope it will inspire more than it will scare you.
Mental Health Issues
by Ben Huot
4.1 Schizophrenia Primer
One of the biggest struggles, for getting help, for the mentally ill, in general, and specifically those with Schizophrenia is all about the medicine. Contrary, to alternative medicine practitioners, Schizophrenia cannot be effectively treated by any herb, diet, vitamin, counseling, and is not caused by how you are raised, how smart you are, by chemical exposure, or by disease. Schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder, it is not a mood disorder, nor is it contagious. Schizophrenia is caused by a stressful event, most commonly military service, to people with a genetic tendency, for the disease. Schizophrenia usually comes in the 20s for men and in the 30s for women. It is the most serious condition, that does not kill you.
It is not fully known exactly how Schizophrenia causes the symptoms it does. There are two types of symptoms that Schizophrenia causes. The first are called positive symptoms and the second negative symptoms. The positive symptoms are not sought after, but just mean an additional problem, rather than the negative problems, which are mostly due to lack of something. The medicine treats the first part very well, and many times the second type of symptoms cause the most damage, to the persons life.
The positive symptoms include the stereotypical things associated with Schizophrenia, including hearing voices (seeing hallucinations is very rare), and have delusions and paranoia. Surprisingly, not all forms of Schizophrenia have paranoia. Paranoia is a kind of delusion associated with someone coming after you. The negative symptoms include things like depression, inappropriate facial expressions, showing a lack of emotion, lack of motivation, facial movements/drooling, and often obsessive compulsive and anxiety disorders, which all cause isolation, in most causes.
Getting on the medicine is hard, because you have to admit you have a problem, but, at the same time, your mind is telling you, that the things your doctor and friends are telling you are delusions, are real and are actual events. This is made harder, by how we see people, with delusions, on TV and the movies, where they never doubt their sanity and they always find out that they were right and the situation was what was non-sensical. Another problem, with taking the medicine, is that it is thought, in America, that we solve our problems ourselves and, especially, being a man means that you don't depend, upon others.
Furthermore, many people in the entertainment and media industries are constantly promoting alternative medicine and portraying legal medication as not effective and counter productive, including many workers in the mental health establishment. There are also many side effects of the medication, that include rapid weight gain, extreme tiredness, and facial ticks, besides other ones, that are common, with most medicines, like diarrhea or headaches. Americans also seem, to want, to provide, for themselves, especially men and so feel bad about taking government assistance, like medicine. It is common for many people in America with most medicines, to stop taking them, when they don't feel the symptoms anymore.
One of the first causes of isolation come from relatives not being able to accept their relative is disabled and things the person with Schizophrenia ends up being deluded about makes their family victims. Further isolation can be caused by a fear of being around other people, either due to anxiety or paranoia. One of the best ways of explaining what Schizophrenia is like is to say, that it feels like everything is amplified, not just feelings, but things, like food taste, light, heat, noise, number of people around, and time. One of the things, that makes your life more difficult, with Schizophrenia, that you don't hear very often, is that it kills your sense of time and your biological clock - I cannot tell if fifteen minutes went by, or an hour, without looking, at a clock.
Schizophrenia causes thinking problems, in that a person cannot distinguish, between fantasy and reality - this, along with my religious views, has encouraged me to avoid studying mythology. A person with Schizophrenia is often very literal and cannot understand abstract concepts, which creates many problems in society, because much of language and social interaction involves abstract concepts.
People with Schizophrenia often express themselves in religious, obsessive compulsive, and symbolic terms. By symbolism, I mean that a person, with Schizophrenia, will find simple events, in their lives, like a car passing by, to be signs, of great significance. Because of this amplification, of some religious concepts, many people, in the mental health establishment actively discourage religion, for people with mental illnesses.
Although it is true, that you can only deal, with the positive symptoms of Schizophrenia, with medicine, many of the the negative symptoms can be helped, by things like counseling, support groups, community led activities and even religion, within some of the more mainstream groups. Some people think that having Schizophrenia is a sign, that you have spiritual abilities, and that Schizophrenia is a existential and religious crisis, that will resolve itself naturally.
This may be true for many people, but this is not something someone, who really has Schizophrenia, deals with - Schizophrenia is a disability and gives no special abilities. Schizophrenia is a chemical imbalance, in the brain, and is not related to anything spiritual. It also is unrelated to intelligence, nor does it change your personality. Schizophrenia affects 1% of the population, in any culture, and so it is not specific, to any particular ethnic group. Schizophrenia is considered the hardest mental illness, to deal with, by far, and Paranoid Schizophrenia is the hardest, to deal with, form of Schizophrenia.
Most people, with Schizophrenia, live with some amount of assistance and most end up going back, to a psychiatric facility, many times, throughout their lives. Those, on government assistance, are actually housed, in the county jail. Schizophrenia lasts your whole life and never becomes any easier, to deal with. The mentally ill generally are forced, into a psychiatric facilities, by committing a minor crime, like shoplifting or vandalism, but are no more likely, to commit violent crimes, than anyone else.
One of the things, that complicates people living, with Schizophrenia, is the decision, to let people with mental illness live independently, without spending any money, on programs, to support them. Most people, with Schizophrenia, in the United States, are on government assistance, which is handled, by the Social Security Administration, which is only livable, if you basically use free government services, for most your major expenses, like: healthcare, housing, food, and entertainment.
These services continue, to be cut, by my state, almost every year. There are also too many people, in the area, for the amount of space, they have, for new applicants, so you often have to wait, many years, for this. Another problem is that it is very hard, for people with Schizophrenia, to fill our forms, and they are often homeless, so they end up not being eligible, for the programs. I also fear that changes to Social Security will affect their income, much as federal cutbacks have affects the income of disabled veterans like, myself.
Schizophrenia has been treatable, since the 1950s, when it was discovered, that a sedative was effective treatment. Viktor Frankl was the first doctor, to treat psychosis, with a sedative. While this was affective, with some of the symptoms, it caused even worse weight gain, tiredness, and drooling. The 90s were a significant time, for mental illness, as many of the newer, less sedating drugs, were discovered then. Being on newer medications makes these symptoms less intense, but they are more expensive and they are not always affective, on every patient.
My first anti-psychotic caused me, to gain 80 pounds, in 4 months and I could actually sleep all day long and all night and often had, to pry my eyes open, to stay awake. A newer drug, I got, started on, a year later, made me less tired and I didn't increase anymore, in weight. The reason, for these side effects, is simple: a sedative makes you go to sleep and so the older drugs were less able, to target the brain, without affecting the digestive system and other systems, in the body. You become hungry, because the nerves, in your stomach, are deadened, so you never feel full, no matter how much you eat. This is why people can only be diagnosed and that medication can only be prescribed, by a psychiatrist, rather than a psychologist, because a psychiatrist has a doctorate in psychology, as well as a medical doctorate, but a psychologist can have anywhere between a one year certificate and a doctorate in psychology, but no medical degree.
4.2 Success with Mental Illness
Most people who have Schizophrenia fall into 3 groups: 1/3 of people with Schizophrenia stare at the wall all day, 1/3 live their lives in various levels of assisted living, and the final 1/3 live mostly independently. We call this last group high functioning and I am at the very extreme of this category. So, no, my situation is not typical.
In fact, the last time I visited my latest psychiatrist, from the VA, he questioned whether or not I fit so neatly into the Paranoid Schizophrenia label, even though that is what my symptom show, because I am doing unbelievably well, for having this mental illness. He said that people with Paranoid Schizophrenia go back to the hospital, after they are diagnosed, because they have relapses (which I have had none) and don't achieve results, like self-publishing books. Philosophy, along with other types of abstract thought, are considered not possible to be understood, by people with Schizophrenia.
On the other hand, what I have done becomes more possible, if you are able to be in a situation where: you are very intelligent and creative, highly motivated, you keep taking your medicine, your medicine is effective (especially with the newer medicines - ones developed after 1990), you get on government services right away, you have good family support, and you have not taken drugs, abused alcohol, or committed crimes (anytime in your life). The most important thing you can do is to take your medicine, as it is prescribed. If you cannot do that, than the other things are not going to matter.
One of the side effects of the disease is that it is almost impossible, to work full time or in stressful job, so family support and government and community run services are necessary, to be able to afford, to live inside, off the streets. One of the most important things your family can do for you is to fill out the required paperwork, for you to get the various government and community run services, that are necessary to live in a good situation, with Schizophrenia. If you do not want to be locked up, the best way to insure this won't happen is to not commit crimes.
There is no cure for Schizophrenia and the medicines never take away all the symptoms. For the remaining problems, behavioral strategies are often the best, as well as controlling your inputs (TV, Internet, book usage). Religion can be an important part of these kind of strategies. You can also benefit from counseling. But remember that these are all secondary treatments, to be done, in addition to taking the medicine. There is no way to treat Schizophrenia with any kind of traditional medicine and we will likely be able to travel through time and to other earth like planets, before we can find a cure, for Schizophrenia.
The biggest side effects of the medicines, used to treat people with Schizophrenia, are lack of energy and weight gain. These are some of the hardest things to deal with, as a person with Schizophrenia. The lack of energy makes it hard, to get out and do things and the weight gain makes everything harder and increases the chances of: heart disease, diabetes, and other related health problems.
4.3 Psychiatrist vs. Consumer
There is a common misconception, in America, that being part, of some group, means you are an expert, on this, beyond someone, who has actually studied it. I this vein, many people would consider me an expert on Schizophrenia, because I have the disease. Although this does give me a unique perspective, that is worth documenting, without studying medicine and psychology, to the doctoral level, I do not have the background, to consider myself an expert, in Schizophrenia.
I can only give the perspective, of a consumer, of the psychiatric services. So, the information I give you is correct, from one patient's point of view. I can give you a better idea, of what it feels like, to have Schizophrenia, but I cannot give you advice, on diagnosing someone, on what medicine to take, or even a comprehensive coverage, of all the possible symptoms.
The difference between what I say about Schizophrenia and what a psychiatrist does is that my understanding is based on real world experiences, while the doctors knowledge is based, on theory and that little bits his patients were able, to verbalize. What I say is not contradictory to what the psychiatrist says, but simply a second opinion directly based on experience, rather than formal training. Neither one give you a complete picture, by itself.
My experience is not a typical one, for a person with Schizophrenia, because I am in the very highest level of functioning, as I basically live an independent life. I have always stayed, on my medicine and never took any illegal drugs, so I can give an account, for what possibilities this opens up, for a person with this disease. Much of my insights are based on things I have learned, over 11-1/2 years, on how, to make my life, as good, as possible, despite my diagnosis.
One of the most important things I have done is to document my attempts, to overcome the various disabling conditions, that came with this disease. Very few people with Schizophrenia can even read, let alone write and they also have a lot of trouble splining their situation, whereas I seem to be able to stay rational enough to do. This ability, to stay rational, I think is more of a side effect, of tenacity and grace (from God), than any particular strength, of mind.
One of the things, that a psychiatrist cannot provide, for you, is knowledge about how disabling, each of the symptoms are and how exactly a real person with Schizophrenia deals with them. Another insight I have is the degree of pain, caused by the various symptoms, as well as my strategy, for minimizing them. I can make the disease come alive, with emotion and put a real face, on the disease, in a way that you will never see, in a book, or hear from an expert. One of the best things I can offer are answers, to the existential questions, surrounding Schizophrenia.
I can also offer myself, as a case study, but one that you can ask questions to. I am not a textbook case - I am a real person, and learning about me offers a way, to see the places, that the disease manifests itself, not just in my mind or in my body, but in my daily life, my experiences, my beliefs, my health, and my attitudes. I can provide insights not, in how, to medicate someone, but how to deal, with the parts, of the illness, that the medicine doesn't provide relief of.
Furthermore, I can provide hope, for those, who suffer, from the disease. I have learned, that intelligence and even mental stability are over-rated, and although many of the symptoms are painful, the most important things, in life, can still be experienced. The most important thing, in dealing with life and especially Schizophrenia, is tenacity plus faith (in God). Never give up. Most things worth pursuing, in life, are difficult, but they are mostly possible, if you put the effort, into them.
I can relate, with others with Schizophrenia, on how simple things in life cause great challenges, for me. I can explain what it is like dealing with people and the world around me, while having the disease. I can explain how others see me and how I see them. I can tell what really works, from all the things, that the doctors tell me.
I can tell you what symptoms are likely to result, from taking certain medicines, which is often different, from what they tell you. I can tell you what to expect, from the mental health establishment and how you can stay, out of the hospital. I can relate with how hard it is, to believe something is true and, at the same time, know it is just an illusion. I can give useful advice, on how to relate with religion, in a helpful way.
One of the really misunderstood things about Schizophrenia involves religion. There are many aspect of religion, that play into many of the worst symptoms, like: rituals, the supernatural, cults, and charismatic leaders. Religion, at its best, offers much more than this - religion offers: community support, gives hope no matter what the situation, it gives the member something to focus on, it gives members community service, it can be a place to feel safe, and self discipline in prayer and other daily religious activities. All of this improve the spirits, of someone with Schizophrenia, while also giving their life meaning.
As far, as being rational, most major world religions have quite a lot of elaborate theology, which provides a rational explanation, for most aspects of their dogma. The other major aspect usually involve an infinite God or reality, that, by its very nature, appears irrational to us, of our cognitive limitations, even though it is likely very rational, if we had the minds to understand it. This supernatural part is the least understood aspect of religion and in response, to not being able to understand these kinds, of abstract concepts, a person with Schizophrenia might devolve, into an obsessive-compulsive behavior, in response.
4.4 Being Too Literal
One of the things, that has continued to perplex me, throughout my life, is the explanation of why I am so different, than everyone else. Part of it, I now know, is due to my mental illness, service in the military, and level of intelligence. But those factors are not enough, to explain my perspective, on the world. One of the ways, in which I am different, than most other people is that I know things, that no one else seems to understand, and things everyone seems to understand, I have immense difficulty in wrapping my minds around.
One of the things, that my parents keep on repeating, is that I am very literal. I just recently have realized what they meant by this. I know my parents would have explained it, if I had asked, but I just didn't think to and they thought I knew what they meant. This literal interpretation, of everything, has had more impact on my relationships, than any other factor has. It is hard, to explain, what being literal is, but I think it is related to my binary view of the world. This is similar to what people often differentiate different views of ethics being either black and white or shades of grey. But I am using this analogy, in terms of broader thinking, than just ethics.
I think this comes, from my aversion, to thinking of myself, as being arrogant. I like to make things simple enough, so they can be understood, by the average person. I really despise elitism. I am on the side of the poor, the discriminated against, and the powerless. This is probably because I thought of myself, as being under the same situation, at one time. None one was there to help me, so I want to be there to help others, so they don't have to go through it alone, too.
Because of this combination, of both wanting to be intellectual and being a man of the people, at the same time, I ended up, with a bizarre combination of: precise, thorough, rigid, consistent, logical, simplistic, and extreme patterns of thinking. I have tried, to find a way, to be smart and still be populist and see others, in the same way. This combination is probably rare, except for: revolutionaries, prophets, serial killers, and cult leaders. I think I will end up better, because of my willingness to follow rules and my aversion to physical pain and isolation.
When people asked me to do something with them, after I had first met them, in a number of cases, it didn't work out for me, so they didn't ask again. I took the invitation literally, but they meant to show an interest in me, so that when they didn't ask me again, it wasn't because they didn't like me - it was because they thought I had rejected them.
Just like I feel pressured into doing things, so that when I run into someone and they ask what I am doing, that I have things to share. I then get so busy trying to do things, that I end up not seeing them again. But, I realize now, that they didn't expect me, to do anything, and I actually was doing way more, than they were anyway.
When I talk to someone about something academic and they don't tell me, that they don't understand, I think that they do understand, but they likely feel the need, to hide their lack of understanding, because they think I will take it as a sign of weakness in them. I think many people I run into think I am elitist or have high expectations of everyone, because of my degree of motivation to learn.
This inability, to see things symbolically, is something, that most people do not have a problem with, so many times people might have thought because I was so smart, but appeared unable, to grasp the most basic things, they thought of me as an idiot savant (someone who is very good at one thing, but can do little else). The other things that people used to explain this was to think I was crazy or messing with them.
4.5 Personality Change
When my mom describes learning, about my illness, and how to deal with it, she describes it, as getting, to know an entirely different person. She said, that I was, in a sense, the same person, but I was so different, that she needed, to approach our relationship, from this angle. When I wrote my biography collection (now the first part of Complete Psychological Topics), I just focused, on the events, from the military and afterwards.
The military experience has had the most effect, on me, compared to every other experience, even becoming mentally ill. My doctor said that he thought I became mentally ill, during Basic Training, maybe during the gas chamber (NuclearBiologicalChemical (Weapons Survival) Training). The simplest way, to describe it, is that I became much more serious, in my worldview. When I went to Basic Training, my previous life seemed so irrelevant, that it just faded, into what seemed, like a dream.
It has been said, that everything you learn in Basic Training could be done, in a community college, like atmosphere. The reason why Drill Sergeants yell, at you, is to stress you out, which is how they try to simulate the unique stress you encounter, when serving, in combat. The entire skill set you learn during Basic Training is called combat survival and technically prepares everyone, and qualifies them, to be an infantry (front line foot) soldier, regardless of speciality. There are 3 things you need, to do, to complete Basic Training are: going through a gas chamber with tear gas, throwing a live grenade, and qualifying with a rifle (Basic Rifle Marksmanship).
The reasons I think, that I ended up getting Schizophrenia are a combination of 3 things: the genetic predisposition to the disease, the Army experience, and that I am a very sensitive and emotional person. The big change seamed to also bring about a personality shift (more precisely, a change, in temperament). There are four basic temperaments, which come, from what was developed, by Jung, but originally came, from the Baghavad Gita.
I was previously, in high school, and before what is called a Sanguine temperament. This is a very social and energetic personality type, that enjoys being around other people, can easily make new friends, is talkative, and is often romantic. One of the bad things, about this type, is they can be intense and not serious enough. This is a very enjoyable personality type, compared, to probably all, of the entire set.
I was involved in 12 extracurricular activities, at one time, during high school - I became an Eagle Scout, took part in 3 different sports, started my own club, and I took a full course load, that colleges recommend, every year, plus no study halls. After I was on the Cheerleading Team, my junior year, I became very popular. I missed the maximum number of days, in each class, that you could, without having to repeat the courses, but they were all excused absences, for class school activities. I never got bullied, in high school.
At that time, I wanted to be more Melancholy, but I would say, now, that this is the most unpleasant personality type, to have, mainly due, to the tendency, for depression. A melancholy personality type is a thinking person, shy, they tend to be over concerned about the welfare of others, they are often creative, can be obsessed about world suffering, are perfectionists, and are very practical and self-reliant. This type of personality can be seen, to fit me, by those familiar, with my writing.
The Army changed my focus, from being overconfident and outspoken, to being much more careful and thoughtful about the choices I make. I remember, that I realized, later on, that I had taken a number of big risks, in joining the military, and that I have been very careful, to avoid, any kind of risk, later on. After joining the military, I became even more religious and spiritual things were much more real, to me, than before. I remember going to church, almost every Sunday, often at totally different churches, and about this time found a Charismatic church and was baptized, with the Holy Spirit.
Another thing, that might have only made sense, after that experience, is what I learned, from reading a book, by a Christian author - that whenever you have a high, you have an equally low low and so, to reduce your depression, try to avoid doing things, that bring you up, that much. This is the reason why drugs do not work and cause serious depression - you cannot be up all the time. The body must even itself out, by design.
I planned, on becoming a billionaire, and using my money, to secure a place, for Christians, to be safe, during the tribulation, before the Armageddon. Later, in college, as I became more and more mentally ill, I did poorly, in business classes, and finally switched to Journalism. I had known, for some time, that I could write well, but this time I found that I was good, at philosophy, and bad, at languages. My first introduction, to philosophy, was in a year long junior level Chinese Literature class.
In college, I didn't study, that much, but slept, as much, as possible, because I had a condition, with my eyes, that I developed, while being, in the military. This is often referred to, as pink eye, but it was caused, by allergies and was not contagious. I had it, for about 3 years. It was very painful and I only got a little relief, from the latest medicine. I was also very sensitive, to chemicals, as cleaners made my eyes hurt, even more. It finally went away, when I got on my first anti-psychotic, after being diagnosed, with Paranoid Schizophrenia. I still earn 10%, of my veterans disability pension, for that condition.
Historical and Prophetic Issues
by Ben Huot
5.1 My Historical Perspective
The arguments that my books are responding too are based on what I learned in college. I began to see Christianity, at its heart as very multicultural, inclusive, and liberal politically, at the same time that I was indoctrinated in class, that white Christian men were the source of all the problems, in the world. I also continued to see on the news, that the common perception is that Europe is some how more advanced than America and is more peaceful, that the Muslims in the Middle East have somehow been the targets of persecution by the US and Europe, and that American foreign policy is the biggest evil force in the world.
So my arguments come out of this framework and although I believe in not even attempting to be objective, I reform my opinions over time, as I learn about new things in history. Much of the books I have written are correcting historical prejudices and, when I find counter evidence, I present this as well, as I do not believe that I need to make anything up, to support my arguments. This is how my works become more complicated and the answers not so simple.
Most of what I have heard about history comes to this: that when one group was powerful, they took over another group and then this other group then retaliates, against the other group, when they get into power, often centuries later. Sadly, but understandably, most history unfolds, as a big cycle of revenge, and everyone tries to be as powerful, as they can, at any given time. History is determined by luck, technological edge, strategy, and economic decisions.
Since I have combined a fiscal liberal politics, with a Biblical worldview, which I ironically see as highly complimentary, I have really turned the arguments on their head. In the process, I may insult those who are both conservative Christians and liberal Atheists/Pagans in America, but my ideas are not just meant to stimulate thinking, but are the ones I truly believe. I can only write what I am inspired, to write, based, on what I really believe.
So some of the many things, that transformed my views, over time, were that Christianity was primarily Asian and African and Europe historically and only accepted Christianity, much later, because they believed a more powerful God could help them win wars and they did do, at a much alter date, then commonly thought (The Scandinavians are thought of as very peaceful, but they tortured Christians, in England, to force them to become pagans, for centuries, late into the Medieval period). Germany and Poland have both gotten bad raps. The historical Germans were not really the ones behind NAZI Germany and Germany was successful in many fields long before World War 2.
Poland was one of the major powers of Europe, controlling almost 1/3 of the land area, at times, not afraid of Germany or Russia, until the 19th century, and became weak, because they had a progressive democracy, with civil rights and peaceful coexistence, of diverse ethnic and religious elements. I was recently surprised, that the big reason why the Europeans took over such large colonies, and the British became the dominate group, happened more out of chance and speed of advancement, than out of just technology. They basically snuck up upon most of Asia, out of nowhere.
One of the reason why I have such a different view of history is that I have been concentrating, on the period before the ascent of the European colonial powers. Most peoples's view of the world comes from an obsession over 19th century Europe, and so the Western Europeans and America look like the big bad guys and everyone else looks like victims. But it has been common, amongst much of history, for a series of different groups to dominate and victimize different groups of people, who caused them political problems. If you look back, a few centuries before, Islam almost took over Europe, a second time. One of the things, that is very hard to find is what Africa was like, before the Portuguese came, but Asian history (before the 19th century) is quite well documented.
5.2 American Naivety
Americans are very naive, to how the world works. I read on a blog recently, where a high school kid thought, that instead of devoting billions of dollars, to Department of Defense information warfare, that we should refrain from doing anything, that makes others outside the US mad at us. I have a response that may surprise many: the reason why we are hated is because we are the dominant world power and the world will hate us, until some other country wields the same amount of influence, that we do. We will know, when we are no longer the major world power, because people will hate the next superpower, more than they hate us. Much of the world hated the French and the English, but most don't anymore, because they are no longer world powers.
There are two things, that Americans really don't understand about the world: how things work politically internationally and how other countries respond differently to our intervention, than we would to theirs. They both are due to our ignorance of world history. In America, we seem to think that none of the major world problems existed prior to World War 2 and that we caused all of them. In America, we have a long history of not getting involved worldwide and were content, to ignore most world politics, until World War 2. I think that this is due directly to the American psychological response, to national threats. We are willing to leave others alone, until they directly attack us.
The CIA was designed, for the main purpose, of preventing another Pearl Harbor, from happening, during the Cold War. The Homeland Security Department was set up to deal with attacks, from within America, that were not military threats, but rather psychological threats (like Terrorism). America generally waits, until the last minute, to solve a problem, over reacts, and then ignores any problems again, until the last minute. We are not proactive. It seems that the things we do to win wars often trigger later conflicts. Our support for the Soviet Union during World War 2 made that country a world power, that we fought several major regional wars against (sometimes via allies) in East Asia and the Middle East. The final straw that broke the Soviet Union was the war in Afghanistan, which we trained and armed the same Taliban, that we fight today.
These wars, that we started getting involved in, starting with World War 2, all were happening, in a larger historical context, well beyond World War 1, or even this millennium. Much of this history involves the struggle between 2 religions, that look very different, but in fact are very similar. One of the big problems, that started, in the early Church, was the development of complex doctrines, like the Trinity, by the application of Greek philosophy and the struggle for the survival of Christianity, under many different empires. Most people today think of Islam, as a direct opposite of Christianity. What most Christians, in the US, don't realize is that early Church was far from united, either politically or by doctrine. Many groups of people ended up following what they thought was the one true God, when they were, in fact, being led astray by a heresy, while others were called heretics, but were, in fact, doctrinally correct.
All these variants, of the one true faith, were also entangled, into the politics, of their region. We here a lot about the success, of the Latin speaking Church of Western Europe (France, England, and Italy), now called the Catholic Church. What we haven't heard of is the other 5 major regional centers, of Christianity. Eastern Europe (Greece, Turkey, Balkans, Russia) was dominated by the Greek speaking Church we now call the Eastern Orthodox Church, Africa was dominated by regional Churches in Egypt (who spoke Coptic, the direct descendant of the Egyptian hieroglyphics) and Ethiopia. The other major centers were the Syriac speaking churches (the rural Assyrian regional dialect of what Jesus and the Apostles spoke) in Asia (Syria/Lebanon and Iraq/Iran).
There were many heresies, of the one true God, in the region, at first, including: the Gnostics, the Aryans, the Manicheans, the Zoroastrians (the ancient religion of Iran, before Christianity or Islam), the Jews (Pharisees), and the Muslims. The Arian and the Gnostic heresies quickly lost power, but the other 4 hung around, for a considerable amount of time, with only Judaism and Islam still here today. The success of Islam had a lot to do with politics and timing. Many people in America are aware of Islam, as a religious force, that affects politics, but don't realize that the politics is an important part, of the formation, of the religion of Islam. Basically, Islam united the Arabic speaking tribal people (like the Afghans or the Scots), who came from what is now called Saudi Arabia, which contains the Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina.
One of the reason why the Koran contains many of the same characters as the Bible, but with different theology comes from the Prophet Mohammed hearing many Biblical stories, that were not part of the Bible, and were works of fiction or heresy, that spread amongst the local population. Other reasons include there not being a Bible translated into Arabic by this time and the obsession of the early Church, with confusing technically worded theology, that didn't appeal to the masses. The political situation, that allowed the Arabic people, to take over what we now call the Middle East was a combination of many wars, between the Persian and Byzantine Empires, as well as the persecution, based on obscure theological positions and political rivalry, of major Christian regions, made both the regional powers weak and the local population supportive, of an invasion, from Saudi Arabia.
Islam was, at first, considered a religion, of the Arabic people, and the local Christians (who were the direct descendants of the original inhabitants) were treated better, under Islam, than they were under rival Christian sects. In many ways, both in practice and in spirit, Muslims, in the Middle East practice their religion, that both looks very similar, to how the original Christians practiced their religion and also is more philosophically related, to Christianity, than the synchronization of Greek philosophy and paganism, with Christianity, in the Church, outside of the Ethiopian and Persian Churches.
In America, the only history we study, outside our own, is Medieval English and French history, so we often think of Europe, as being strongly Christian. The reality is that, although the Roman Empire converted to Christianity early on, most of the Germanic tribes like the English and the Vikings took a very long time, to convert and the kings only converted, because they believed, that the Christian God was more powerful, than their pagan gods, so that, as a result, of conversion, they would win more wars. The Church was also the only thing, that held Western Europe together, politically. We don't hear much about the persecution, of Christians, at this time in history, because we only learn about Latin speaking Christianity and then Protestantism.
The reality is that Christians were persecuted, under Zoroastrian and Muslim rule, much, in the same way, as the Jewish people were persecuted, in Medieval Europe and at the same time, in history. We hear over and over again about how evil the Crusades were, but we never talk about the Muslim conquests, of the Christian Middle East, North Africa, and Spain, as well as the later invasion of a Muslim empire, into Eastern Europe, from the Renaissance, up until World War 1. We also hear about how evil it is, that the Israelis control the 3rd most holy site, to Muslims in Jerusalem (which sits in the exact location. that the Jewish Temple sat, making it the number 1 holy site. for Jewish people) but we do not hear about Muslim control of the Christian Holy sites of Bethleham, Nazareth, and the Hagia Sophia (The Vatican of the Eastern Orthodox Church, that was turned into a Mosque). We also heard about the evil ethnic cleansing, of Muslims, in Bosnia, but not about the ethnic cleansing of Christians, by Muslims, that were the reason, for the Muslims, being in Bosnia, in the first place, or the ethnic cleaning, of the Syriac Christians, in the Middle East, for hundreds of years, under Tamerlane and the Ottoman Empires.
We here a lot about the rise, of Islamic fundamentalism, in the world today, but the Muslim world has fought the Christian world, so long (even as Europe and America are no longer Christian nations), that the same battle has been going on, for over a thousand years. Even this recent wave, of fundamentalism, is over 100 years old. The difference is, that Europe, even all together, is barely a world power, and Saudi Arabia is one, of the richest countries, in the world, due to our addiction to oil. It is likely, that only a small sum goes, to fund terrorism, but that is still a lot of money, mostly due to alms (like the Christian tithe) given to the major charities, in the Middle East (to help the Palestinian cause, which is mainly done by terrorism). Iran directly and publicly funds terrorism.
The best thing American and European women can do, to help women in the Middle East is to be much less aggressive politically and much more modest in dress, and less promiscuous. The more women gain power, over men, in America in Europe, the longer it will be, before women, in the Middle East are treated decently. Just like the extremism, of Bush brought in what many consider the much more liberal Obama, so the increase in concessions made to women in America, makes things worse, for women in the Middle East.
5.3 A Third Option
It is interesting that in the great debate between the Imperialist (Conservatives) and the Marxists (Liberals) is what they have in common: the pursuit of money, addiction, and pleasure. There seems to be an assumption in modern conversation about justice and equality that the only metric that matters is money.
That is the big reason I say that we need to re-examine our philosophical basis for a better world, because, as of the Berlin Wall and the Economic Depression started in 2008, that both capitalism and communism have both failed to deliver lasting peace and stability. Instead of talking nothing about nothing but money, we need to focus on the spiritual things, to really solve our fundamental problems. Our major problem is not just sin, in general, but specifically selfishness.
In our modern debate, we rightly criticize Europe, but it is not really about a certain empire, or a certain time in history - there were many abuses before the British took over (even the British were far behind the other European colonists). And yes the United States is making many of the same mistakes, I think mostly out of ignorance, but the real struggle goes back to the very creation of people, by the Christian God.
Our knowledge of history seems to go little beyond the European world of the 19th century, which then gives us a false dichotomy - the real struggle is not East vs. West, but North vs. South. The question will finally come and the distinctions crystal clear: do you follow your Creator, or do you devote your life to advancing yourself? If you try to make a lot of money and then donate it to charity, it won't change anything, because the root of the problem is spiritual, and only spiritual things can affect other spiritual things.
How to Affect Spiritual Things Humans cannot do spiritual things: they can only ask other spiritual forces - the first is the Creator, the Christian God, who will improve your joy and peace in life, and the others will only lead to sorrow and destruction. We are seeing more and more that the pursuit of selfishness is very similar to that of the Pagan/New Age philosophy. Humans are much the same spiritually and have the same spiritual problems that those of ancient cultures and the answers are the same, as well.
We once thought that we were bringing the Gospel to the Third World, but now the Gospel is coming from the Third World to us. More people are Christians today than ever before and a much larger percent of the population as well. The only places where Christianity is not spreading is where you are put to death for converting to Christianity. Then there is the US and Europe, where Europe can claim they are ahead of us, which have rejected God.
Going to the mission field for Americans means going down the street. We are plenty corrupt. In my town, we are legalizing pot and letting out prisoners, because we are too cheap, to fund our basic services. The other day a guy asked for my phone and actually criticized me for not letting him get me drawn into some sort of scam. Why does someone think that everyone else owes them money? I didn't create his problem and the money would likely continue his descent into the gutter.
There are so many people who I see on government assistance, who have iPhones and I cannot even afford one. It is like a gambler saying, if you just give me money, this one more time now, I won't need you anymore. Not only is this generation lacking basic survival skills, but people who are much older, who were taught to know better, are also devolving, to below where they were 20 years ago. If our society continues down this path, we may break up into stone age villages, due to lack of caring, rather than due to a lack of resources.
The only thing people want is lower taxes and more jobs, but they want easy, high paying jobs, and hate education and manners. And some of the worst things in history have been justified by being good for the economy. I think it would be better to divide America into two, but neither one would be going the moral route.
It seems that Science is moving to join itself with the New Age movement. It is more than time for Christians to criticize Science, as they seem to be unable to stay outside of theology. There was a special on TV about a Scientist, who wanted to prove a soul exits, by weighing it and another guy thinks if he puts together enough circuits, to recreate a brain, that it will be able to make choices, without a soul. It would be justice, in many senses, if we did create robots, God decided to put souls in them, and then they might decide we are more trouble, then we are worth. Our toys may just decide that people are the enemy of true progress. Maybe the robots will be the future Christians.
If we are to learn from the wisdom of India, China, and Africa, it is that our starting place for this moral change is what we see in the mirror. Our world seems to be emulating the wrong philosophy. What we must seek is the foolishness of God that is greater than man's wisdom and a stumbling block to those expecting magic to solve their problems - neither Science (human wisdom) nor miracles (New Age/Pagan) will solve our problems.
We need to change the world by the choices we make and start this process with repentance and acceptance of the leadership of Christ in our personal lives. It isn't about what your career is about - it is about your private life.
Many people have a hard time accepting this route, partly because it is contrary to what we learn in school. Making it is about becoming famous and or rich. People think they need to travel to other countries to understand and help the world. The truth is all the really important information is in books already in modern English that are getting easier and cheaper to get than ever before.
As far as what you do with this - there is not a highly visually based explanation. Faith is about believing in something that you cannot see (at least not directly with your eyes) but it is also not a feeling - it is a choice. It is also an all or nothing choice - you cannot stand on the fence. Once you understand, you are responsible for what you know.
Most of living a life of faith successfully is directly opposed, to what you do, to be successfully, in the world. The least important factors, in spiritual things, are wealth, career, and intelligence. The most powerful tools you have in the spiritual world, from a Christian point of view are: the moral choices you make, praying (especially that God's will be done), reading the Bible, and finding other believers.
Most morality is based on what you don't do rather than what you do. What God wants to change is who we are, not what we do. We need to start the revolution within ourselves. It is the part of your life that no one else sees that is the most important. It is reflected in how you treat others rejected by society, especially animals. God will change your mind and you will see the results in what changes others notice about you.
5.4 The Apocalypse
Many of the most prominent and influential Christian leaders have thought that we are very close to the End of Times and the Apocalypse. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that there is a certain number of years between the major events in biblical history and the year 2000 timeframe gives the same amount of time between Christ's death and His return. Another reason is that technologies are available now, that would allow people to be able to destroy, on the scale described in Biblical prophecy about the End of Times. The third major reason is the return of Jewish people to Israel and the establishment of a Jewish nation, which was prophesied to happen before Christ's return. The fourth major reason is that we are getting close to bringing the gospel to all the nations on the earth. The fifth reason is because of all the wars going on in the Middle East, where Armageddon is supposed to happen.
This belief in the eminent return of Christ has had profound impact on the focus of Christian' efforts. Because so many Christians believe God is coming back so soon, they are not going to invest time in bringing social justice and the relief of suffering to the masses. But this generation is no more likely to be the End of Times than any other time in history. Biblical scholars have all been wrong in their predictions of the End of Times and this is because that Biblical prophecy is very cryptic about when this will happen, just like how people were surprised about the first coming of Jesus.
Many people think that the devil is planning the apocalypse and we are waiting for him to decide what time, but this is not biblical. God is in control of history and the Apocalypse and the reason why Word War II,Napoleon's empire, or the Cold War did not end up being Armageddon is because God said no, even though the devil wanted it to happen then. In fact, the cryptic nature of the prophecy about the Apocalypse was designed not only to keep Christians on their toes and motivate them to do what is right and spread the gospel, but it was also designed so that the angels, including the fallen ones, could not predict the time either. We continue to try to put our preconceptions about reality on God, and we do not see His plans, because we are too focused on worldly endeavors, like politics and business.
Jesus could come back today or even a hundred thousand years in the future. In fact, when it happens we will likely not even see it, until the end of the first half of the seven year Tribulation. Also, from God's perspective, a day is the same as a thousand years, so the time could be very different than we have guessed, from the prophecy in the book of Daniel. We don't even know whether or not Christians will be in the world during the Tribulation or how to reconcile the battle of Armageddon, which is the last battle, with the battle that seems to follow it, called Gog and Magog.
There is no reason to worry when we know so little about it. God has always been with us and provided us a way to cope with everything, that we have had to deal with, and He will do the same in this situation. The fact is God intervenes supernaturals almost constantly, so we do not need to fear any situation. We should focus on improving our own lives and stop worrying about things we have no control over.
God cares about humans, even though we have done nothing to deserve it, and we are in control of our destiny. We can make choices that make our lives better or worse. We were born into different situations, which we have no control over, but worrying doesn't solve anything. We need to accept the things we cannot change and change the things we can. Besides, what would knowing about the future now help you to deal with it? If there was someway to prepare for it, don't you think God would give us that information. We often cause more worry from fear beforehand than we suffer from the situation we fear.
5.5 Misunderstandings of Prophecy
Let me start by saying I don't believe that I, or anyone else even has a basic grasp of prophecy, in the Bible, but I wish to have the Church expand the possibilities, so that they are not so set on something, that they are not able to accept what will happen, when it will happen, and how it will happen.
The first misunderstanding we have about prophecy is that we think we know about certain lengths of time, or orders that things happen in. This could be very misleading. God is not limited by any number of dimensions of time, so that things all happen, at one for God, and God can and does do things, that defy our conception of time.
Not only can God move between the past and future, at will, (more like he is already there); He can act at multiple times, in history, simultaneously; He can change the motions of our planet and solar system, move us to another planet or moon, so that our measures of time could radically change; God could have the same events happen, at parallel times, in history, simultaneously; and in God's estimation of time a day is, as a thousand years. This all means that you cannot hold any of the sequences, or time periods, as absolutes, in prophecy.
One of the really interesting things about prophecy is that it appears to deal with all the countries in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, to Persia and Ethiopia, but never directly mentions the current major global powers, some of which existed at that time, as well like China orIndia or even the regions of what are now Russia, Northern Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
When you look at the prophet Daniel's prophecy, about the major ancient world empires, who declined and were taken over by another, which expanded in size, as eachone fell, one of the things, that they all have in common, throughout succeeding history, is that they correspond,to the major divisions, of the historical Church - Rome, Greece, Persia, Babylon, Assyria, and Jerusalem. These people groups were all cursed, but all accepted the Gospel, as soon as it was possible, to be part of God's covenant, including the 10 tribes, in captivity, and the faithful tribes, of Israel, rejected Jesus and persecuted early Christians.
Another thing to understand is that these symbolic references to different animals based creatures could be something not understood until now or even alter in history, like: corporate logos, software companies, or program icons. And another possibility is that these things already happened throughout history, over a very long period of time, and could refer to historical events, that American and Western European scholars were not aware of, or grasped the importance of like: the fall, of the equivalent, of the "Vatican City," of the Eastern Orthodox Christians, to the Ottoman Turks and the Hagia Sophia church (most sacred site for Christians in the East) being disgraced and defiled, by being turned into a mosque; the fighting off of the Ottoman Empire, from invading Christian Europe,just before the Turks made it to Vienna, Austria; the final fall of the Ottoman Empire after Word War I; or the Communist Revolution in Russia, which got rid of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow was often called the third Rome, the second being Constantinople).
Our typical understanding of how God coming back is that it would occur, in some world war, or collapse of the world economy, but early Christians were sure God would come back, after the fall of Rome, and God didn't. Many thought, after all the terrible things Hitler did, like the concentration camps that he was the Antichrist, butGod still didn't return. The only thing we are sure of, in scripture, is that when God comes back we will all know it and it will be as great a surprise, as the first coming of Jesus Christ.
One possibility is that God may just come, without any warning, at all, when we are at peace, think that civilization is, moral as the time, and everything is settled down and even idyllic. Another possibility, that we often don't think of is that the future fighting, if there is any major battle, as Jesus comes back, it could either be: a space battle like star wars; it could be on another planet; our planet could have a major re-alignment, in the solar system, or a major change in geography, like an ice age or a major continental re-alignment; we could have traveled back in time millions of years; and/or our energy supplies could be so depleted, that we literally use swords,to fight and have so little metal left, that we need to turn the swords into plowshares, in order to feed ourselves.
Remember, Bible prophecy is designed, so that no one will ever know about the events, until after they happen and no one can interfere, with God's plans. Even the angels, and especially God's enemies cannot decode when, where, or how Jesus second coming happens. The only thing I am sure of is that any pagan/new age prediction of the end of the world will be wrong and any other announced day will be wrong, as well. Also, bringing about a crisis in history, like World War II, will not force God, to come, at any other time and manner, than of His choosing.
Core Religious Issues
by Ben Huot
6.1 Turning the Tables
When many Christians read my writing, red flags pop up, because I use the same arguments, that non-Christians use against Christians. This is not your imagination - this is true. What I have found is all the major arguments used against Christians actually apply to non-believers, more so. I have proved that Christianity is more holistic, environmental, multicultural, liberal, progressive, pro-labor, and pro-animal rights. My target group is moral liberals, who find the Bible to be very inspiring and worthy of reading and the Christian God the logical and ideal God to worship, that they have always dreamed of, but never want to go to a Church, or any other "organized religion" (even Bible studies), due to bad experiences.
In America, Christianity is holding its own, but not growing (and the part that is is becoming more and more Spanish speaking). The conservative belief system is well represented, but there is little in place, for those who hold a liberal belief system. Yes, there are many other conservatives, who do not believe, but some groups of people are both easier to recruit and some also more strategic, than others.
The main reason why a large percentage, of the moral liberal population, of America, is turned off, by Christianity, is that they are indoctrinated, in public universities and in recently written books, in the humanities and social sciences, with the idea that white Christian males caused all the problems, in the world and Christians only evangelize, to help support "Western" imperialism and the subjugation, of people, in third world countries.
As I see little need, to convert already faithful Christians, who are well served and supported, by their communities, I have focused on another demographic. This demographic is willing to embrace similar doctrines, as Evangelicals, but are repelled by their politics, social group, cultural leanings, their means of worship, their organization, their social priorities, and almost anything else, that is not strictly basic theology. This population segment may not be very big, and I do not have the resources, to reach many people, but even if I help make just one person's life better, it would all be worth it.
Another important thing, to note, is that I see myself, as part of this demographic, as well. I also have grown up in a public school through high school, served enlisted in the regular US Army, and have attended a public university (in a university town). Where I live is the home town of many people, who would be more interested, in my perspective, on Christianity, than they would of most established churches, especially the Evangelical church.
There is also a very strong New Age movement emphasis, in town, and many people think it is cool, for someone, to practice Witchcraft (Wicca). We also have a number of Buddhist religious centers in town, spanning most of the major sects. I have also seen more and more people around town, who are likely Muslim and or from the Middle East or South Asia, due to dress and language. We have also been a major center for students coming from East Asia, for a long time.
Another argument, that comes up, is that liberal Christians should go to a mainline Protestant denomination, like the: United Methodists, Church of Christ/Disciples of Christ, Society of Friends (Quaker), or Anglican Church (Church of England). The problems with this idea are: they are still organized the same way, they have unacceptable theology, they do not take a firm enough stand against the New Age movement, and the other important factor is that there is little passion great enough, to push hard, to find new believers. The Catholic church is another perspective, but it is has some unacceptable theology, like the veneration of the saints (which opens the door to Paganism/New Age influences), I am not happy with its history (morally), it is again an (very rigidly) organized religion, and finally it has become so dominantly Spanish language based, that I don't feel I fit in.
One of the things, that keeps people, from many Churches, is the attitude, of the leading members. If you go to a Church, by yourself, you get shocked looks and people mainly ignore you. Many of those in the Church have large families, so that they have no time for anyone else. And many Churches are not very interested in finding new members and are especially unwilling, to make any changes, to accommodate non-theological differences, like: worship style, time of service, letting people know far enough ahead of time of events, a ministry for singles, dis-emphasizing politics, and having opportunities for new members, to help, with Church ministries. Finally, many older members of Churches will give very ungodly ascetic advice, that sounds good, to people, without a very good grasp of scripture, and will drive them, to feel they need, to choose, between being Christian and being happy.
6.2 Reason for Philosophy
Philosophy is about asking questions about things we think we already know the answers to. If you really want to change the world, you have to first change the way you think. Our problems are so severe that we need to make a fundamental change. To make this change, we must change our views about the world. Philosophy questions everything, and requires you to give evidence to support everything, so that as you study it more and more, you tend to become more and more skeptical as well as being more and more rational.
The last 500 years has seen the ascent of science, as the fundamental and unchallenged way to think. For science to be effective, it requires people to believe that what they see and hear is more important, than what they feel and what they believe. Most people now accept facts, as the primary support for understanding our world, but it was not always so. Many people think that science has always existed and is unbiased, objective, and inclusive.
There is no logical reason to think scientifically. The system only makes sense, when you accept certain assumptions: in essence, it is a cyclical argument. You have to accept, that facts are fundamental truths, by faith. This view of the world is recent and unique to Europe. The reason Europe surpassed Asia, at the time and the reason why they are falling now, and Asia is rising again is that instead of really developing themselves spiritually and culturally Europe took a short cut and just pursued a couple of technologies, that made them powerful militarily.
India was one of the most spiritually and culturally developed region in the world, but it was never a world power politically, as throughout most of history it was dominated, by other regional powers. In Indian philosophy, the most important things are those that are unseen and unheard and belief and feelings are more important than facts. A person can be rational as anyone else and still see the spiritual world as the primary world. The support for these spiritual things can be things like sacred scripture, ritual, tradition, intuition, personal experiences, and faith.
The key to our salvation is to move the clock backward, to the way the world was, before the year 1500, when Asia dominated the world. Once we accept that the world is fundamentally spiritual and our problems are based on our pursuit of pleasure, at the expense of others, we know that the solution must be spiritual as well. Prayer is the most effective way to fix our world. The reason why we need spiritual solutions is that spiritual things can only be effected by other spiritual forces.
It is ironic that you seldom see American and European Christian churches challenge the supremacy of the scientific worldview, and that is why the church appears so weak in this part of the world. The only way to convince people of the importance of religion is to first accept that the world is primarily spiritual. Christians in America are often afraid and uncomfortable about talking about spiritual things. There are two types of spiritual things: supernatural forces and ethics. The only thing that Christians need to understand about the supernatural is the primary importance of prayer. Prayer is the best way to enable God's work in the world.
In America, we talk about freedom, when we really mean we want freedom from being moral and following rules to fit in with others. We say freedom and mean belonging. God takes an extreme view on human freedom. He values our human freedom, to have primary control over the world, by taking a very hands off approach. The way we can green light God's intervention in the world is to pray. The reason why we need not be afraid of the supernatural is that God puts very tight limits, on what things are allowed, to be done, by who, in the spiritual world. Also, the easiest to convert groups of people have traditionally been animists/shamans (pagan/new age).
6.3 Zen and Philosophy
Zen is faith, plus grace. Zen is our connection, to God and our relationship, with God. Zen is the Holy Spirit. Zen is the stuff everything is made of, including spiritual and physical things. Zen is your subconscious and where dreams exist. Zen is the process, not the outcome.
Zen is the eternal moment. Zen is not limited by time. Zen is what gives us the strength, to finish what we must, when we have no energy left. Zen is your will and comes from your spirit. Zen is sentience; it is what makes animals and people self aware.
When Christians hear qi described they immediately think of New Age ideas. The Chinese ideas and also Buddhism in general are philosophy, not religion. In fact, what is now called Taoism was formed by taking the philosophy of the I Ching and removing the religious aspects. What exactly Taoism originally came from, its is by definition a philosophy and not a religion.
What this means is that while, as Christians, we can only worship the Christian God and stay in the faith of Christ and the Christian religion exclusively, there are many acceptable philosophies, that Christians can use, as tools, to both understand Biblical theology and use for things the Bible doesn't talk about, or is as clear as mud about. I know that it often scares Christians, to question the basics of our society, but having faith in God, should leave us as skeptics, of the world, and its approach, to the itself and us.
Use philosophy, to pull the supremacy of Science and the physical world, from our minds and hearts, and let it inspire you, to find all your dreams fulfilled, in your faith, with Jesus Christ. Many Christians think of skepticism as a way to distance yourself, from the authority of Scripture, but, as no one is actually skeptical about everything, as Christians we can and should be skeptical, about anything the Bible is not clear about.
The best way, to keep our focus on Christ and His plan for us is to remove all the other influences, in our lives, vying for our attention, and desiring, to take the place, of Christ. This is best done with a healthy mix of both rationalism and skepticism, which are both built up, by the study of philosophy. Many Christians fear anything, that challenges their faith, but if you truly believe, you will find your answers in Scripture and you will actually end up having greater faith, than before.
Almost everything we are confronted with, in our vision, hearing, and whatnot is there to distract us, from God and to target our subconscious, so that by just living in this world, we are having everything we believe challenged. I always think of how little the world both understands, or even can imagine what Christians are like and believe, as we often see people who claim to be Christians, on TV do things like say-onces, wedgie boards, or paranormal investigations. Many advertisers think that referring to mother nature or Science, in the place of God, is somehow neutral, in the minds of Christians.
Since you cannot escape having your faith challenged, embrace it and so be a better example for unbelievers and fellow Christians alike. To ever successfully challenge the beliefs of another person, you first must both understand your own beliefs and give proof for them, but also understand what the other person believes, as well. Just remember, that being trained in argument should not give you the impression, that people are convinced, by argument.
When was the last time you changed someone else's beliefs on anything? The way, to challenge someone else's beliefs is through similar life experiences and through repetition. But you don't need to worry about messing this up, as God is the one, Who brings people to Himself. All you have to do is make an effort and show you care. God will take care of the rest.
And do not get discouraged, if you never help convert anyone, because it usually takes many years and many different people witnessing, to someone before they convert. If someone does convert, after you profess your faith to them, you should really be thanking God first and then all the other believers, who were faithful and productive in their interaction, with the new convert.
6.4 Truth vs. Facts
The two major themes, in most Asian religion and philosophy, are suffering and uncertainty. I have talked a lot about suffering, but less about uncertainty. According to my parents, during their generation, people told the truth and the media could be relied on, to be accurate and fair. During my generation, I have found that the educational system and the media basically report what the big corporations want them to. This is one of the big reasons, for the decline, of traditional media: if you aren't going to hear accurate and fair news, you might as well just get the news source, that reflects your beliefs.
This brings us, to another big assumption, of our age: that facts are more important, than truth. Even the church has largely given up, on truth, by itself and resorted to trying, to prove Christianity, by fact. If you study Indian philosophy and religion you will see non-Christian support, for truth not needing, to have a factual basis. There are no real reasons, for believing the physical world, as being primary world and being skeptical, of everything supernatural. We just assume that because we don't question it, as it is socially unacceptable.
Some of the other supports, for beliefs include: scripture, tradition, personality/nature of God, divine commands, contract with God, grace of God (free gift), religious law, history and prophecy, human morality and nature, your personality and family history, human relationships, natural order, animal behavior, verbal testimony, sensitivity to spiritual things, mystical experience, dreams and visions, intuition, life experience, argument, paradoxical relationships, inference, comparison, analogy, skepticism, and direct perception of physical senses.
Several of the things, that I constantly find myself, in opposition to, are the philosophical basis, for our entire modern civilization. The opposition, to anything spiritual, the unreasonable aversion and fear of death, and life at all costs, and complete rejection, of anything not supported, by Science, and reducible, to numbers, or statistics. There is so little tolerance, for anyone basing their decisions, on anything, that comes from spiritual insights, or points of view. Other assumptions, include that bigger, better, faster technologies will solve all our problems and the systemic dismantlement, of all government services regulations, laws, and the erosion of basic morality, with the focus on the educational system.
This is where Existentialism comes in. Many people think of Existentialism, as Nihilism, because Nietzsche was a proponent of both. But the first Existentialist, Kierkegaard, believed that Existentialism required a great deal of moral responsibility. Existentialism simply mean human being - it is what defines the unique qualities, that make us human - in other word, sentience. Many people mistake Existentialism, with moral relativism, but the reason why Kierkegaard says we should not claim objectivity, comes out of a respect, for God.
There is an objective moral standard, but claiming to be objective is like claiming to be perfect, because only God can be perfect. He talks a lot about paradox - how our relationship with God is based on a seemingly absurd, although true idea, that Jesus was both God and man, at the same time. Faith is based on the paradoxical way, that we understand God, and so moral reasoning does not require rational analysis, but choosing to obey Him is an exercise, of the will.
Kierkegaard promotes free thinking, not out of rebellion, against God, but rather, in hope, for true faith, as he believes, that if your faith is not real, then it does not guarantee your salvation. Kierkegaard wanted reforms, in the way we practice Christianity, so that we were motivated, not out of trying, to fit in or legalistically following Gods commands, but really seeing God, as the Lover of our souls. He wanted people to love Christ, like Mary Magdalene and in the way we love our families and close friends - that we would do anything, for God, with their life's focus entirely, upon Him.
The problem, with reducing life, to facts is that it takes out all the passion and responsibility, that makes life worth living. Not only are we spiritually dead, as a nation - we are emotionally and intellectually dead, as well. Without being directed, by God, we descend into depravity. We will continue this downward spiral, until our young people reach out, to God, and understand their desperate need, for Him. They will pursue truth, no matter how we try, to hide it, from them and steer them away from it. Just as young people reject their parents advice and authority, as they become adults, they will eventually seek a relationship, with God and find that this is the only way, to really live.
6.5 Paradoxical Message: Saving Faith = Free Thought
I know that I appear to have two contradicting opinions, namely: that I believe that Christianity is the best religion and want people to have the peace and joy that comes from that and, at the same time, I want people, to follow their hearts and make their own choices, independently of what I believe. I have a lot of faith in Christ and believe that I do not need, to put any pressure on anyone, to accept Him as their Savior. God very much believes in our own freedom and would rather we spend eternity in Hell, than be forced to obey Him and enjoy everlasting life with Him, if we don't want to.
Throughout the centuries, people were forced to convert to various religions, in order to avoid death, but as John Locke said, in his Letter Concerning Toleration, as the reason for toleration, is that becoming a Christian must be done as an exercise of free will, so that people can only be granted everlasting life through God's grace, if they believe of their own free will and are not manipulated or fooled into believing by any means - even by argument or by trying to please others. God actually holds Himself back, because He wants us to be in control of our future and so praying and living a life of submission to Him is the most effective way to change the world. Even one or two people worldwide make a huge difference spiritually, which is the key way, to effectively solve our major world problems.
Not only does God want salvation to be given, to those who choose to accept the gift of grace, without any pressure, so God wants us to approach theology the same way. The Bible was deliberately written as, to be obvious on certain theological points, in some areas, like that Jesus was fully man and eternally is God and that there is only one God who created the world and is all powerful, and in other areas like in the end of times prophecy and in issues involving free will and predestination, God wants us to accept Biblical theology that we don't understand and cannot explain, in a way that humans can comprehend, by faith alone.
God also wants us to realize that it is ok to have different opinions about theology in the Church. If God wanted us to all have the same opinions on all of theology, then He would have made Biblical doctrine absolutely clear on every point. The same spirit which allows differences in opinions is also a humble spirit that is in emulation, of Christ's submission, to death on the cross. God hates arrogance more than anything else. Instead of arguing about issues we will never comprehend let alone resolve, we should focus on following all parts of the Bible, which we do understand and in which we fail to follow.
Practical Religious Issues
by Ben Huot
7.1 What is it like Living with Faith?
The first thing to understand is what faith means. Faith means believing, in something, that you cannot directly perceive, through the senses, like seeing or hearing. This takes out anything learned from Science. Faith is also not the same as reason. Reason can explain the world only so far - we need faith to understand it fully (as the primary word is spiritual, not physical, and God is beyond even that). Make no mistake, God is perfectly rational and we would see it that way, if we were also infinite, but we are not. The the point of faith and mysticism is that we acknowledge that we are not the most powerful, intelligent, or moral beings in reality.
People can have faith, in anything - even absurd things. But faith only brings something helpful to us, by being in something real. If God didn't exist and we believed he did, we would be fools. The place we start with faith is with feeling sorry for and stopping sinning and believe in the Gospel - literally, that God raised Jesus from the dead. It is written in the beginning of 1st Corinthians that Christianity is equally hard for those who come from an academic and philosophical view of the world and those who see the spiritual world as ultimate reality, because God shows us with what seems absurd to our understanding of either world, that God became a man and died, and that this God is the supreme reality.
When we think of those in power, in this world, we think of arrogance, corruption, and dishonesty. It is the same with those who engage the spiritual world without God, but God is not only all powerful, but He is perfectly good and even humble enough, to be born a human baby, and then to be very cruelly killed, while being mocked, by His own chosen people. When we see weakness, we see this as a negative and have a hard time understanding how something weak can actually be very powerful.
Ultimately, God had to be all powerful also had to be perfectly good, or else things would not stay together. Not only does God not look down on us, who have committed high treason, with his enemy, by disobeying the one rule, that made it possible, for us to be both free moral agents and still have no suffering. People often ask why din't God create the world, so that we could both be free to choose, between good and evil and at the same time, to not let evil exist.
That was exactly the situation God created for us, originally, by allowing us to choose, but not letting us know what evil was, and all we had to do was stay away, from learning about that. Intuitively, I know that the Christian God is real. It only makes sense, by experiencing a very little amount of the world that their was one, good, all-powerful Creator, that made it and governs it, but it is still hard for me to believe, that God is so humble and patient with us, when suffering and sin are entirely our own fault, because we could not even follow one simple rule. God is obviously truly just, but how then can He choose to be so merciful?
This absurd situation about weakness is only part of who God is and relates directly to his relationship with us as it is the Jesus Christ aspect of God that embodies this trait to the most extreme situations. Having ultimate power does not take away from the reality that He experiences our weakness and has mercy on us. Being kind does not take away from His power or His purity. His estimation of our value is a true mystery, and, since God is perfectly rational, He must be able, to bring something good, out of us, in the end.
The definition of theology is the study of God and that is what the Bible and all creation are about. Not only are we not the center of even our own solar system, we are a small part of reality, and still will be even when we have glorified bodies in Heaven. There is so much more, than even the spiritual world - there is more to God, than anything we can ever learn or experience, because God is literally bigger, more complex, more interesting, and has more depth, than can be contained, within all of reality. When you reach the edge and out reach power of the spiritual world, you are crossing into God Himself.
But, on our side of our relationship with God, things are very different. We feel pain, at the most trivial wounds and are afraid, of the least little things. One of the things that we start to feel right away, with God is how small and insignificant we are and we are in awe of God, not just for his power, but because of His mercy. We learn through our lives how terrible sin is and when we think to challenge God with the question of why we suffer, we cannot escape the knowledge that all suffering comes from our own personal sin (rebellion against God). We are true cowards when compared to even the worst of Christ's disciples.
When we start out with God, we constantly pray, for what we want, as if God is some divine genie, and realize later that we need, to pray all the time, just to make it through the day, when we see how frail we are and how big, even the physical world is. It was said by a former Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz) soldier, that when we enter combat, many people think that they will rise to the occasion, but he knows that you will sink down, to the lowest level, of your training. We often think, once we know more about who God is, and after years of experience, we will find it harder, to sin and lose faith, but we can never rise, beyond the frailty, of our flesh, and our original choice to sin.
So, on God's side things must look very foolish, in our world. People hurt other people immeasurably, for what will be nothing more than the paving stones in Heaven. Even though we live very shortly, people spend all that they have and all the strength they have, to live another year, and they neglect the most important decision, of all eternity. If you are truly a Christian, you have got to be truly humble, at the very least. What have you done, that puts you in the same place, as one of the early Christians, or Christians currently, living their whole lives, in the third world.
But, although it shows great weakness, to ask for help, God is truly there in a crisis and then you even can feel Him, much more strongly. When I found out what I put myself into, when I joined the Army, I was terrified, for months on end. Even after I left, I feared terrorist attacks (and this was years before 9/11). I also was in crisis, when I had my first paranoid episode, when I landed in the psychiatric ward of a private hospital. Those were times, when I thought I was in Hell, literally, but I felt very close to God, at all those times.
The things that really wear you down are the day in and day out things. The things that scare me most are things that can last for years on end, even if they are much less severe. Depression is scarier and more painful than paranoia, but having both, at the same time is worse, than most people can imagine. As I go longer on my medicine, I kind of wake up more and more, and things that I suffered through, that I could not at the time even verbalize, I have learned how to protect myself from, over a long period of time.
The most disabling part about Schizophrenia is not the not knowing what is real, or having people believe you, but rather the way is makes it almost impossible to hold down a job, or keep a relationship. Most people have a hard time understanding how painful my mental illness is, because I am high functioning enough, to be able to hide the uglier parts of my mind, out of fear for losing more freedom. Schizophrenia combined with Christianity can make you totally lose touch with reality, but the medicine helps a lot.
7.2 Bible on Social Issues
Traditionally, Christians, all over the world, have advocated for equal and just treatment of all people. The Bible is in agreement with these aims. Most of the time, a political or social route is followed. This is where the Bible disagrees. Remember, Jesus said the He can heal the body, but He can do even greater: forgive sins. Being Christians does not mean giving up our liberal values - and most other religions have a similar moral code. But the Biblical way is a spiritual route, rather than a human route.
The reason for this is very practical. The spiritual world is the primary world and so can affect the physical world, but not the other way around. The Bible says that sin is the source of human suffering and faith the route to joy. This is very counter-intuitive, because everything human we see around us works, by the powerful victimizing the weak. The spiritual world doesn't work this way - God allows humans a lot of room, to govern the physical world, as He is a true believer in real human freedom, but the spiritual forces are prevented, from gaining the same power, over people.
The human route always brings death and destruction. We can see this, in our own lives. It does not matter, so much, what laws are past. People do evil, anyway, and often get away with it. This is because all governments are corrupt, like businesses, and so they allow these things, to happen. A common human argument is that the end justifies the means. Many evil things have been done, throughput history, for good reasons. Slavery was said to help the economy.
This corruption we find, in any large organization, is the manifestation of individual people's desire for money, power, and pleasure, at the expense of someone else. Many of the Bibles's commands are rejected, by society, for a variety of reasons, many because they don't see as hurting anyone else. But this is not how the spiritual world works. While we need a whole army, to take down a ruthless dictator, like Adolf Hitler, one believer praying and living a moral life has much more significance, spiritually.
Many people hold God responsible, for the fate of our world, and its corruption, that causes human suffering, but things were set up, by God, to work very differently. The reason why He came to this earth as Jesus Christ and was fully human was that He realized, that our fundamental problems are our own individual choices and we have become incapable, of totally avoiding corruption. God did the entire thing for us.
These spiritual laws don't make human sense, but God is seen by us as series of a paradoxes. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are as much one God as our body, soul, and brain are all part of one human. God the Father is not a ruthless dictator, as many non-Christians will tell you. All parts of God are merciful and the Old Testament and New Testament God is one in the same.
The part that modern believers and non-believers alike have a hard time understanding is that all parts of God are approachable by us, but the personal relationship with God is akin to a benevolent Father or Judge - He is not your drinking buddy. God is also a perfectly just God and cannot just let evil happen, without consequences, but He was so loving, that He took the punishment on Himself. As God is eternal, it is likely He constantly feels the pain, of his death on the cross.
This is one of the things, that Christians need to learn, from Muslims: that God is their superior and must be obeyed, even when we don't want, to follow His lead. Islam is, in many ways, a much harder religion to live under, and not just for women. Christianity, once, was very similar, in many ways, but a lot of modern Protestant dominations seem to portray God, as a close friend, that owes them something. Many people think that our corrupt actions don't matter, as believers, but this is not only disrespectful and inappropriate, but it is also a way, to give suffering a way, into your life.
Another thing that is hard for present day believers and non-believers alike is understanding, that we need to pray for God, to release His power into the world, even though He is all powerful and has no need for our help, to have the strength to intervene. Even though God is all powerful, He is a rational and just God and follows certain rules, inherent to His nature and personality. An analogy is that most animals can tell, if a human will be kind to them, and this person would never hurt and animal, for any reason, not because they are morally superior, but that it is just not in their nature. So God has chosen to hold back His power, until we request it, because He wants us to have control over our world. It is simply God's choice to work this way.
7.3 Why Pray for God's Will?
As we live, in a age of uncertainty, we often have to make decision, without having enough information, to choose the right path. We often see ourselves, as ordinary citizens, as responsible for making decisions, on how to the government should be run. We also are faced, with complex and difficult issues, in giving to charities and deciding where to volunteer. Many people just give up, as the feel they have no power, to really effect change and others get so motivated, but without any common sense, that they actually get enough power, to make changes, but their changes only make things worse.
Many people have tried other approaches, throughout history. The British and American empires tried to improve the world through military, economic and political power and now everyone hates us and none of the problems are solved. The Russians tried a similar approach, but with different aims and their entire society collapsed. China is trying a hybrid approach, but is almost split into two, with most citizens literate, but barely surviving.
The American president Jimmy Carter had some great ideas, like starting programs for alternative energy, but he weakened America greatly, because he was too trusting, of his enemies. The United Nations was a grand idea, but has no real power, to affect change and is too corrupt, to actually get the money, to the people, that need it. The labor unions helped stop many abusive practices, that came about, because of the industrial revolution, but have decided, that, instead, of going, into new industries, to help bring them up, to reasonable standards, they keep on pushing, for so much, that they jeopardize their public support.
The Catholic church has immense global power economically, politically, and socially and has used it in standing against communism and secularism, providing some of the best medical and educational services in the world, is one of the biggest non-profit groups to help those in need worldwide, and keep to the fundamentals of Christianity. On the other hand, they forced the exclusive use, of a extinct language, no one understood, for most their history; much of South America is worshipping Christ in name alone (really practicing the original animism); their behavior was so unBiblical, that an entire major branch, of the Church, was formed, in opposition to them; they persecuted believers, who withstood immense persecution, because they were part of a different regional Church (with almost identical beliefs and considered, to be an equal, when they were first formed).
Confucianism brought reform into official government policy, but the Chinese Emperors were often brutal. Muhammed joined the Arab tribes into an politically, militarily, and economically successful civilization, but effectively wiped out the indigenous groups, in the Middle East, and had little interest, in preserving the great ancient history, of the region. Buddhism brought about great reforms, in Indian society, including philosophy and government and was critical, to the documentation, of the history, of the region, but has faded as it becomes less and less relevant, to its heartlands and has only gained a small portion, of those, in Europe and America.
The source of these dilemmas is that we are trying, to solve spiritual problems, intellectually, economically, politically, and socially. We are not going to find a perfect world and we cannot change things all by ourselves, no matter what approach we try. We need to focus, on the source of the problems, by praying for God's help. And, if we pray for God's will, to be done, we don't even need a plan. The problems are within all of us and are the result of the choices we make everyday. Only by requesting God's involvement, in our world and in our lives will anything ever really change.
7.4 Lessons from Asian and African Christianity
The Bible mentions numerous rituals for Christians, like: weekly worship service, the Lord's prayer, baptism, dedication, confirmation, devotions, repentance, speaking in tongues, communion, fasting, Easter, Christmas, Pentecost. One of the major differences between an Evangelical and most Churches throughout history is the lack of ritual in the Evangelical world. Some rituals almost all Churches agree upon, but the major Churches throughout history do additional things, like: veneration of the Bible, use real wine in communion, incense, wear colorful robes, have ritual objects like crosses and goblets in precious metals and adorned with precious jewels, have remnants of the saints in the church itself, have richly decorated churches with scenes from the Bible painted or put in glass, have confession booths, and have holy water.
Although these things are not directly required Biblically, they help make the services, like celebrations and help Church members to remember that the Church, the services, and the clergy should be respected and not taken lightly. They also serve a similar role ,as multimedia often does, in modern learning environments, which is to better immerse the layperson, into the experience of the service, so that they remember it better and bond with it, so that it becomes more a part of life, than just a meeting. A church service should go above and beyond just being a meeting place and people are more, than just intellectual persons, and worship God, in many more ways, than what the pure academic study of theology alone allows. 5.21.2 Tradition
Evangelical churches are usually proud to say they believe in nothing but the Bible, but the problem with that is that every other sect claims this as well. Through experience, most Churches, throughout history, have developed not only rituals, but also theology (statements of faith), that help explain Bible passages, that are difficult, to understand, which keeps the interpretation consistent, from the Apostles, up until the present time. Keeping the same interpretation of theology throughout history means being Orthodox.
Many Christians believe that early Christians had a better idea of what Jesus said, because many were much closer culturally and in time and space. Just as we often take the word of an Apostle, like Paul, on how to interpret the Old Testament law, prophecy, and doctrine, so it makes sense to keep with the secondary writings of prominent Christian theologians and Church leaders, from the past. Another reason for this classical training, learned from Church history, is that false prophets and corrupted doctrine often repeat themselves, later in history, closely enough, so that if we know how the early Church dealt with a similar situation, we can be confident, that we are keeping our doctrine and decisions Orthodox. Some of these ideas I think are problematic, especially a lot of the theology and emphasis on the saints, which has led to a mere renaming of gods, in some well known cultures and confuses many people, coming from new age/pagan religions.
We often see in Evangelical churches a fear of the supernatural, which comes from lack of understanding. God puts severe restrictions, on what can be done by spiritual forces, to a much greater extent, than he does with the human world. There is no reason to be afraid of faith healing, casting out of evil spirits, and being generally aware of the importance and the primacy of the spiritual world. The important thing to do is to keep, from introducing non-Biblical methods, and make sure any ritual performed is described, as correct in the Bible. Most the Christian rituals seem kind of lackluster, like the Lord's prayer or baptism, but there is real significance and power, in these simple acts.
You should never need to do any ritual, to contact Christ. One of the things, that really concerns me is the similarity between who the major historical Churches consider saints and the pagan gods they have succeeded. You should never pray to or worship anything but God. Never do any rituals, from any other religion or any other book. Every spirit from God will keep you from worshiping it. If you are not sure it is of God, then it is not. Although God protects us from these supernatural forces, make sure you always say in the name of Jesus Christ or start with Jesus Christ and then follow with "rebukes thee" or "sends thee away". Never talk to any spirit, in your own name.
When Jesus was preaching the Gospel, he also healed sick people and gave to the poor. A Church that does not contribute, to the welfare, of those rejected by society, is not following Scripture and is empty of any ability, to change the community. You are not responsible, for healing or providing food, to every single person, who asks for help. Many people will ask for money, that do not need it, and often it can actually do harm. Many people are poor, for different reasons. Often times the lack of money comes, from the lack of understanding, how to manage money and prioritizing, and the other big reason for lack of money is due to addiction (to alcohol, drugs, prescription medication, sex, gambling, eating, shopping, gaming, Internet or most any other addiction).
There is no need to duplicate efforts and most strategies and institutions don't require any fancy reorganization nor do they need to change methods. Most of them work well, but need more help. This is a good way, to reach out to other denominations, religions, non-profits, government agencies, businesses, and anyone else legitimately wanting to help.
There seems to be a real desire, to go overseas, to help as missionaries, but most of the poor places, in the world, already have a strong Church presence and the biggest reason, for not going to Church is that it is claimed to be a method of European imperialism. More Americans coming over and trying to help has as many downsides as upsides. The logical place, to go, to spread the Church is, in America or in Europe. Which means you can help just as much, just where you are.
The reason why the situation is so bad, in Africa, is because whenever a new person gets elected president, they promise to fix up the country and bring an end, to all the corruption and persecution, while rebuilding the economy, to help the average joe. When they get into power, they spend all the money on building palaces for themselves, partying, and buying weapons, to keep themselves in power. When food or medical supplies are brought in, then the dictators come out and take them, before the poor people can get them, or else the dictators threaten the poor people's lives, if they take the supplies. Then the dictator sells the food and medicine, to make money for himself.
Just like the US military knows, you cannot rebuild a place, until you have security, on the ground. The only way for that to happen would be, to send in US troops, but our contractors already are very corrupt, we cannot afford it, and it would be labelled as Western Imperialism. That brings up another group to send aid to: US soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen. Many enlisted, even with college degrees have a wife and children and are on food stamps and many come back with severe injuries.
Mediation means different things, in different belief systems. In Buddhism, meditation means thinking about nothing, in silence and ignoring everything around you, in order to strengthen your mind. In Christianity, meditation means thinking about a Bible passage. The Buddhist concept of meditation is called "contemplative prayer" in Christianity.
Contemplative prayer is good for Christians, because it gets them alone, with God, without distractions. Our lives are more filled with things, to see and hear, as time goes on. We get information overload. The biggest reasons why people are unwilling to practice Christianity is either that they lack discipline or that they are too distracted, by modern technology. Contemplative prayer allows us to hear what God wants us to hear and helps us build discipline, to focus on what he says, during our busy days.
Mediation can also strengthen the mind's defenses against addictive behavior or inability to concentrate (ADHD). Meditation is used in many religions, but it works, as Christian and Biblical practice, as well. There are other types of meditation, that can help with these things, too. Yoga and Tai Chi are popular ways to meditate, but I find Yoga too tied to Hindu religion (actually it is the basic part of it, but that is not the form practiced, as exercise) and I find Tai Chi to be too complex and I can't learn it fast enough.
There is a lesser known meditation (using the same principles as Tai Chi) called Qi Gong. If you have done Tai Chi, or another martial art (Tai Chi was originally designed, for sword fighting), you know this as the warmup Chi exercises. I would be careful of any mediation now, because things are often mixed together, so that you might think you are doing relaxation or meditation, when you are being introduced to New Age/Pagan practices. Guided meditation is also known as hypnosis and should be avoided entirely, at all costs.
Qi Gong uses the Chinese principle of Qi and it is more physical than mental, but this is not the energy of the New Age movement. Qi is the fundamental component of all matter and energy, and as far as I can tell, it is the Holy Spirit.
Another aspect of the Asian and African Christianity is that the way it is practiced it is very similar, no matter which of the traditional and historic Churches you belong too. There is much more similarity between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox than between most Protestant denominations. We often hear that the Evangelical churches are the closest to the early Church, but this is not true. The earliest Churches have the same liturgy they started back in the first century, hundreds of years before the Roman Empire made Christianity the official religion.
These earliest churches are called the Oriental Orthodox churches and, as the Gospel was presented to the Jewish people first, it was taken to the Persian empire first, as they had the largest community of Jewish people, to Egypt, which had many Jewish communities as well, and even to part of India, where there was a community of Jewish people, who came there hundreds of years, before that. In the Persian Empire, the Church was much more successful amongst the Jewish population, than in the Roman Empire.
If you see an Oriental Orthodox church, in the Middle East, due to the architecture, traditional dress, and sound of the language, you might would think that it was a mosque (Islamic Cultural Center). But other than the visual part and the language (which was either very close to the one spoken by Jesus, or the exact one, depending on whether you are in Egypt, or Syria) Catholics and Orthodox Christians would find it very familiar.
7.5 The Church and Education
The Church in its various flavors has traditionally been at the forefront of education: the Renaissance and the Cyrillic family of Slavic languages were started by Eastern Orthodox monks, the golden age of the Islamic world was started by Jacobite and Nestorian Christians, and the Catholic church helped preserve and advance the written works of the pagan and Christian worlds for centuries. When Protestant Christians went overseas as missionaries, they translated the Bible into the native language of the local people and even created written languages, if there was none to start with, and founded some of the best educational systems, in the countries they had missions and they are still alive today.
The rise of the Evangelical branch of Christianity seems to not place the same emphasis on education. Some of the major reasons may be that: a lot of the academic world is trying to push the idea that white Christian males caused all the world's problems, many Christians in the academic community are trying to push a Christianity that is not Biblical in its theology, academia constantly argues against all of the miracles in the Bible by trying to explain them scientifically, and academia seems to have accepted Darwinian evolution, life being formed by chance, and an old Earth theory as a gospel truth.
But my belief is that we should only oppose things that are wrong morally or contrary to the Bible, so I think the push for Christians should be to do what is right, instead of just doing the opposite of the unbelievers. Just because many pagans are trying to help the environment doesn't mean that Christians shouldn't do so as well. Just because atheists dominate Science doesn't mean that we should give up on creationism. Just because many in academia have argued against imperialism and colonialism doesn't mean that Christians cannot embrace this idea as well, but explain how it is rationalism and a lack of spiritual values that caused this problem to get exponentially worse.
Christians need to bring Biblical values back into the educational system and fight for the future of our culture. Christians should not be afraid to challenge secular beliefs, just because they are popular and assumed to be true by the majority. Christians need to show how academia's beliefs in things that contradict the Bible are not the result of letting the evidence lead to the truth, but rather that much of academia just assumes things to be true, because they don't have the moral fiber, to stand up for the truth. Christians should not be afraid to have an opinion or to use Scripture to support their views, in the non-Christian world.
Christians need not fear that they will be rejected or lose funding, because God will back them up. Christians need to realize that the future of education of young people is a spiritual battle and when they find opposition to realize that there are spiritual forces behind this. The best thing Christians can do is keep the right attitude before God, pray for God's will to be done, live as moral a life as possible, and keep reading Scripture for answers to our problems. The only thing Christians should be afraid of as being able to defeat them is their own addiction to sin and unwillingness to submit their lives to God. The real battle is in our minds and our greatest enemy is our carnal self.
Practical and Common Sense Issues
by Ben Huot
It seems like most people like to put everything to the last minute and the last dollar. Not having extra money and extra time to do something or buy something is asking for trouble. It almost always takes people 4 times as long to finish something than they thought. There is always something unexpected, that you need to allow extra money for. Car repairs can cost thousands very easily and medical bills can easily be in the tens of thousands.
Never rely on anyone else, to do something, or to be on time for anything. Always have backups of your back-ups, for your important computer files, as backups and the originals can easily fail. Everything fails and you will fail yourself.
Redundancy is needed in every walk of life and in every aspect of your life. The one thing I believe in with my whole heart other than the Bible is Murphy's Law. Everything that can go wrong will. Just plan on everything, that could, by any possibility, not work, always assume it will not work and plan ahead accordingly.
Of course you cannot plan out everything and not everything is so important. But anything you value must have an alternate plan. Plan for not having power, running water, or sewer, for at least 72 hours, in the worst time possible. Always be prepared for the weather to change. Carry extra money in cash, to get yourself home, no matter where you are. Do not depend on battery power or credit cards. Always have at least several months of salary saved. Make sure you can get to the money, even if your home is destroyed.
Don't invest any money, you cannot lose, in anything less reliable than US government bonds or in the bank, earning interest. Never put any money in the stock market that you cannot afford to lose. Most investments are risky to the point of being educated gambling and like gambling in Los Vegas, you can lose everything you have. Do not depend on anything you do not have in cash. Real estate has lost considerable value periodically. Never buy on credit, if you do not have the money, on hand, in the bank, already.
Plan on your house being destroyed by: flood, earthquake, volcano, or civil unrest. Live in a safe neighborhood and in a city, that is not big enough, to be targeted by terrorists. Have alternate locations, where you can travel to, on foot, where you can live, in the case of natural or man made disasters. Store valuable information, in other locations, than just your house. Keep a list of important phone numbers and addresses.
Always keep water on hand, in enough quantity, to last for, at least 72 hours. Have a sanitary way to dispose of your human waste, without modern plumbing and sewage, on hand, in your house. Keep some sort of self defense on you, most importantly, to keep dogs off you. The best way to deal with animals is pepper spray or even better, do not be in their way. Never feed a wild animal, block its exit, or bother its children.
Do not expect the government to help you out, when you are in a bad situation. Even during natural disasters, the government is their to contain you, rather than help you. If a disaster happens that affects your town, expect people to come to the door, asking for your valuables, with no badges or uniforms, who have firearms, loaded and ready to shoot.
When you learn multiplication and division, you are getting good at addition and subtraction; when you are learn algebra, you get good as multiplication and division; when you learn calculus, you get good at algebra. In the military, you always train to a higher standard than what is necessary in your job. If you need to run a 5km, learn to run a 10km. If your boss tells you to arrive a 9, get there by no later than 8:30.
The only way to be on time is to arrive early. The only way to pass a test is to practice beyond what you are tested on. Always do more than necessary. Always go above and beyond and you will always accomplish what you set out to do.
8.2 No Perfect Solution
There is no perfect solution to any problems. Everything has its upsides and its downsides. You can't have your cake and eat it too. There are no silver bullets. To get something worthwhile you have to pay for it and not buy something else with the same money. If you don't want to save for something before you buy it, then you will be in debt and you will pay many times the amount you would have before, long after what you have used up what you bought. There is no way around it.
In computers it is often said that you only get 2 of the following 3: cheap price, easy set up, and works. In software you can have any 2 of the following 3: efficiency, cross-platform, and easy to create.
The problems we have with the economy that have faced almost every government throughout history is that either the government, the leader, and/or the people want to get something without having to save for it and then they want to either get out of paying for it, delay paying for it, and then they try to avoid the inherent risk of doing this. The easy way to solve the problem with credit is to not use credit and instead of taking on a huge risk by borrowing money for a given venture, you save up your money before hand to buy whatever you want to.
This is the way with every issue including politics: people don't want to have to pay taxes, but they want all kinds of government services. Businesses and non-profits want to use someone else's money to borrow, but then they don't want any outside group that they borrow the money from to exert any influence. People want to win a war fast and cheaply, but they don't want to have to volunteer to fight in it, make sacrifices to support those who have volunteered, and they don't want the ones they are fighting to not like them or their country. Businesses want to be able to use up limited resources and leave their waste without cleaning it up and not have to pay the cost of this permanent damage.
Just understand now that no one can give you anything for free, even if they want to. You must fight for everything you have got. You won't win the lottery, but you probably will get cancer. You may work hard, but you probably won't become famous, wealthy, or powerful. You will probably not make any more money than your parents did. You will not find the perfect job, wife, or have perfect children. Things do not just fall in your lap for free. Bad things will happen to you but good things will only come to the few, the lucky, those who know the right people, and will fade away fast.
To be free of this, accept reality and focus on helping others and secure your place for eternity. The only thing you know for sure will happen is where you will go after you die. You will have to give up everything for it, but it will be not be enough, so God will give it to you for free, as He has already paid the price. You can either have a brief time with lots of money or everlasting life. Choose now. You cannot have both. Either way it is not free.
8.3 Being Realistic
When people are young, they all think they will be famous and that they will be able to solve all the world's problems, all by themselves. I used to want to be famous, so that I could help solve world problems.
The thing is that when most people become famous, they are only famous for a short period of time, which is often not at the end of their life. This sets up a situation, where you are going to experience a low of the same magnitude of your high. That is the same reason why drugs cause depression and destroy people. Another thing about fame is having a lot of money. But wealthy people have the same problems everyone else does. In fact, for people making over $50,000 a year, an increase in wealth does not improve the person's life.
I think we also have unrealistic expectations of others, that we have relationships with. One of the big reasons for divorces among young people is that they expect too much of their spouse. You have to be happy alone, before you can be happy married. Everyone has habits that will make you angry and they will fail you when you need them most. The only one who will unconditionally love you and consistently be there for you, when you need them, is God. The closest thing we can find in physical form is an animal.
I used to be upset and feel myself to be a failure, because I have a hard time finding friends. But I am not the only one. In fact, this is quite common. It is ironic that, in a world filled with ways to communicate instantly and continually, with almost anyone for almost no money, we actually feel more lonely than ever before. The Internet, as many have found out, is a bad way to meet people.
The biggest problem with meeting people first online is that people lie, when they can get away with it. The idea of sharing intimate ideas with someone, before you meet them, is not a good way to start a relationship. I want to see the person first, so that I can find out basic things about them, like whether they are a woman or a man, instead of investing all sorts of time and emotions in someone, who could be making up everything and you have no way of being sure it is not a scam or a stalker.
I also have more problems forming relationships than other people, as I have trouble getting to things that start at a certain time repeat in a schedule. I get tired very easily and I have a lot of anxiety about how I will get along with other people that I don't know. I feel bad that I don't know more people, but when I see people in public, who work at the places I buy food from, or I see on the bus, I would rather be alone than be around these people. My sister said the other day that it would be really easy for her to find a bunch of really annoying friends, but that the hard part is finding people who are worth getting to know.
I would like to marry someone in their twenties, but I think it is unrealistic to expect someone of that age, to have the maturity, to stay in the same marriage, for the rest of their lives. Most women over 30 are single today. I think most people marry young and then get divorced, before they start to even get to know who they are and what they want out of life. In the past, people were more mature at a much younger age, but today people seem to mature, at later an later dates, as time goes on. Most religions consider this time in history to be one of the most immoral and corrupt.
I think it is also unrealistic of us to think that we can continue to consume more and more resources and to not pay back our debts, while continuing to increase them. The earth is a finite place. There is only so much water, so much energy, and so much room. The way of the future will be to downsize our lives and have simpler and more basic ambitions. We can change the world, in our homes and in our lives, and we need to narrow our focus on this area, and not worry about the decisions everyone else makes.
I think one of the problems with the liberal counterculture media and even the mainstream conservative media is that they are too negative. All we hear all day is the problems. Maybe reporters should stop brining up problems, without giving possible solutions for them. I think one of the reason why the alternative media is so negative is that they expect the common person to give up something for the greater good. And then they are unwilling to work with religious groups, which are the vehicle, for many of the positive developments, in the world today.
At this point, most people are so overwhelmed by our problems and are so busy just trying to keep their jobs, that they get discouraged very easily. If you knew how your life would be 10 years from now, would you really want to know? I think it is unrealistic to expect that we will never get sick again or be depressed or in pain, but knowing about it before then is just unbearable. We need to spend less time worrying and more time enjoying what we do have.
Most people will not live past 80 and this has been the case throughout history. And the reason for this is that life is only manageable, for a certain number of years. We are not designed to sustain ourselves, beyond this period of time, in the world, the way it is now. And trying to extend your life does not increase your happiness. Many people now worry about dying, because of heart disease or cancer. Maybe it is ok that we finally die of something. Maybe dying of a heart attack is not the worst way to die. Maybe this is actually progress.
Many scientists now think that we would be healthier and live longer by eating a near starvation diet and work out intensely. Most people have lived this way, throughout most of history, and the people that could afford to not do this, didn't follow that route. Being overweight was once the sign of healthiness and wealth. We also worry about getting fresh air and getting a certain amount of sunlight. We want to travel and vacation outside and in a warm climate.
There is a reason why people decided to live in a controlled setting, in houses, and in living in the same place. Living a life out in the elements and living off the land is very difficult and the land can only support so many people. Civilizations were able to start when people settled down together and started living off agriculture, instead of hunting and gathering. The populations increased and the first cities started, because they could finally produce enough food, to sustain a large population.
What people don't often see, about these supposedly ideal tropical islands, is that most people who live on them want to live on the mainland. In the tropics, the bugs are bigger, more aggressive, and more poisonous. Most people, if they lived in somewhere outside of carefully maintained hotels, in these tropical climates, in the third world, would realize that living in a temperate climate, in the US is actually one of the best climates to live in. The most rapidly growing cities are ones, where they are big enough to have things to do like concerts and plays, but small enough, to avoid major inner city problems.
8.4 Everything is Useful
As it says in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything and every skill and every person has a place of value.
Some of the personality characteristics, that are considered to be negative, have a positive side and vice versa. The same people, who make good leaders and can be depended on, for their strength of character can also have problems with anger and have control issues. People who are moody and perfectionists often have surprising abilities like passion, perseverance, and commitment to a project. People who always make jokes and are silly can be very encouraging and optimistic, in situations, where others would break down.
Some of the things that are valued the least are sometimes the most necessary and useful, depending on the situation. A manager may not have what is considered practical skills, when it comes to building something, but they will prove to be useful, when you need to organize people and solve relationship problems. A computer programmer may not seem important in a survival situation, when electronics break down, but they might be able to use these skills, to solve engineering problems. An engineer may look down on a machinist, but they may need to work together, to complete the building of a machine.
The most important jobs in society are farmer, sanitation worker, truck driver, and the people who maintain the power lines and the pipes that bring us water and electricity. The first thing that needs to be cut in a difficult situation is often the person at the top, rather than the workers. We may not need many people with farming knowledge right now, but if our technology fails, we need to know how to make a plow.
Many people may feel that the police are a waste of money, or that they don't need hospitals, because of their good health. But even when things you don't use yourself stop working, the systems around you, that you do depend on, cease to function properly, when even an unrelated service is interrupted. Just like people who use computers don't need to worry about the technical details, when things break down, you need someone who does have this knowledge. People often want to save money, by not buying insurance, but then are surprised that the police usually don't recover stolen items. People rarely value janitors, until there is a sewage leak and things need to be sanitized.
This is the situation we are in now, where businesses and government decide to cut non-essential services, when the economy goes bad. But the problem is that most government services are necessary and are often preventative measures, that are only visibly necessary, when they are stopped. And they are often more expensive and may take considerable time to restart them. Just like when you are on certain psychological medicines and then you feel better and stop taking them, by the time you then realize what they were doing for you, it makes it that much harder, to restore yourself to your previous state.
What makes our are society so easy to break down is that people are just doing enough, to keep things going, when everything works fine, so that money is saved and the system is as efficient as it can be. The problem with pursuing efficiency is that your infrastructure becomes brittle, when it does not have fallback support and extra insulation, to protect from those unusual times, when society needs more than is expected or something else fails. When I was in the military, many things were starting to be done by computers, which had previously been done manually, and I remember many of the NCOs were concerned about relying on computers, because everybody know that computer break, when they are needed most.
When building and maintaining infrastructure and basic government services, we need to plan and expect things to fail and develop solutions, that need to be maintained, for when things inevitably fail. Just because it is unlikely that most cities other than New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles will be attacked by a terrorist, the severity of the possible damage makes it worthwhile to plan, for this possibility, in every major city.
There are many things that can be done, to prepare us, for things, that are very rare, like asteroid impacts, super volcanoes, or natural disasters, in areas where they were not expected, but they require a tremendous investment, which only pays itself off, when you end up not having to spend as much money, to rebuild after the disasters. New York city doesn't get hurricanes very often, but when it does the glass used in most skyscrapers cannot withstand even minor hurricane winds, and so this would cause enormous loss of life, injuries, and damage, if people are unwilling to invest the money, to replace them with stronger glass.
Just like the news reporters focus on cars chases and fires, because they look exciting on film, so society seems to want to focus on spending money on exciting things and often decides to pass on the necessary, but unglamorous things. This is one of the reasons why it is good to have survival supplies in place, before disaster strikes. Even in areas that are hurricane prone, most people wait until the last minute to buy supplies and the stores empty in a matter of hours of everything.
We always see on movies about the elite military and government agencies, that are tasked with preventing catastrophic events, like nuclear wars, that they wait until the very last second, to prevent the disaster. If the Department of Defense really did everything at the very last possible moment, it would continue to run into times, where they had a delay and we would be living in a post apocalypse world tomorrow.
Everything is necessary, at a time, when you don't think you will need it. Always prepare for the unforeseen events, that are going to happen, at any time. The time to prepare, for living without an income, or outside help and without basic services, like modern plumbing and electricity is now. If you wait until it happens, it will already be too late. There is a reason why the kids you called nerds, in high school you call boss, later on in life. Responsibility and preparation pay off.
8.5 Usefulness of Crises
I have spent about a year preparing, for surviving the end of the world, as we know it, caused by anything, from natural disasters, to the end of cheap oil. I wasn't happy, with the online communities, because people are so mean online, so I looked up about local Peak Oil advocates and I came across an interesting development and controversy. What had happened is that the local advocates brought this scenario, to the community government and after the case was presented, it was decided, that, instead of spending money, to become more self-sufficient energy wise, the budget was spent on improving the infrastructure, for increased car usage.
This decision seemed to anger and frustrate those, who spent so much time and energy, to present their case, but I was not surprised. The things is that most people today consider not having electricity and modern plumbing is the same as being in the stone age and would likely just give up and wait to die, instead of working hard, to survive, in a more difficult situation. The problem is, when people are confronted with the possibility of a disaster, they quickly jump from apathy to despair.
I think the big reason for this is that people who have grown up in the situation, that we are in now, have basically adopted the idea, that a successful society is one that: keeps on getting more and more advanced technologically, has fewer and fewer rules, and requires less and less effort, to keep it going. Since they have adopted this worldview, it is hard for them to think about the possibility, of losing this, and still surviving, in a rational manner. The only thing that seems to scare this last few generations is having to do an honest day's work.
This may seem discouraging, but this situation has happened before and people will survive. I know it sounds cruel, but the fewer Americans who survive, the better it is, for those left. People will learn the value of hard work, but it is going to have to take a big shock, to get their attention. Unfortunately, Americans seem to jump from crisis to crisis, but have a hard time staying focused on the same thing, when there is no longer and imminent threat.
Why We have seen this happen with Homeland Security. The federal government spent tremendous amounts of time and money making sure, that we would never allow another tragedy like 9/11 to happen again and then, less than ten years later, we have the same problem, except the disaster was prevented, due to some fast thinking and brave airplane passengers. We also seem to gravitate between huge economic growth and huge depressions, which we could prevent with some simple oversight, but when no one is watching and the economy is going strong, we get rid of these important rules. We need to learn why things were set up the way they were before we start changing them.
We also had a similar situation with joining the different intelligence and law enforcement agencies under the Homeland Security umbrella. The problem was that these agencies had been organized properly beforehand. We purposely separated the CIA and the FBI, even though it is inconvenient, in order to keep from these agencies from getting too powerful and end up like the SS or the KGB. The other agencies were under different heads for equally legitimate reasons. Immigration does more than deal with terrorism. It also allows people to become citizens and the Coast Guard does more than just fight terrorism. They help in case of natural disasters and the help fight the war on drugs. And similar reasons explain why all the other agencies were arranged the way they were before we formed a Homeland Security cabinet position.
One of the thing, that really differentiates post World War II America, from before, is that we have no frontier. We need to find a way, to start things over again, as a society, as well as have a way, for people, to start over, as individuals. A big enough disaster may just give us the opportunity, to reorganize the way society operates, into a more healthy way of life. The worst thing that could happen is that we never do get hit by a big disaster and we continue on this same path. Without a major disaster, we will learn to work harder and appreciate the opportunities we have, but it will happen much more slowly.
Instead of trying to appeal to a person's rational awareness of the world, we need to realize, that people are lead, by their emotions, most of the time. Instead of fighting this, we need to just accept this. We need to stop debating and understand the psychology of the citizens we are working with. This is the big reason why the government will never admit that we are low on oil, because that will cause the very disaster people are fearing.
The government needs to do some things, without telling the people, and needs to avoid going through a public governmental process. Hard decisions need to be made and it does not matter so much what is decided, except that something must be decided and worked toward. The military understands this very well. Most people are not emotionally able, to make their own decisions, or to run their own government. The average person will never have the education or the inclination, to make hard decisions. The big reason why the government is so indecisive is because the average citizen is indecisive. We seem to jump hack and forward, between opposite approaches, to our problems. We are almost evenly divided, between 2 opposing camps, so we give those, who have the most trouble making decisions, the power, to determine our leadership and our future.
8.6 Finding Your Approach
It is true, that people tend to be unwilling to change and unwilling to listen to rational arguments and, as individuals, we have little power, to changes the way things are, on a grand scale. But this does not mean that we need to give up. Just like in a job, who you know is more important than what you know. Also, when you want something right, you need to do it yourself. The reality is you can get a lot of people to do small things, if you appeal to their emotions, but the most important and the bulk of the work must be done by you and maybe a few others.
The most important factors, in determining your ability, to influence the future, is to never give up, work much harder than everyone else and to be creative. There are some things that you could do that would be very valuable, but they take a lot of money to do. Avoid these things. One of the big things we can now do, with minimal funding necessary, is to advertise and distribute information online.
Before you do this, make sure you are not violating any laws, because there is a very good chance that you will get caught, sooner rather than later. The big laws you need to worry about, beyond the obvious ones about not scamming people, making things up about people that are not true, distributing drugs, or other similar things are copyright, privacy, patent, and trademark laws. Copyright problems are the most common.
The easy way, to avoid running into a violation of someone's copyright, is to understand that everything is copyrighted automatically, as soon as it is created, and that you should ask people's permission, before using anything, that you have not created yourself. Copyrights cover everything, that is a creative work (in the broadest sense), so copyrights can include software, any kind of media like books, pictures, music, and the like. Patents cover a specific implementation of an idea and the patent laws, that you are most likely to run into, are about software and file format patents.
Copyright laws are in some way very logical and in other ways make little sense. You cannot copyright a short phrase, lists, fonts, or designs. You do not need to register, pay money, or to put copyright notices on your work, to protect your work with a copyright. Copyright laws only extend back a short amount of time. Book copyrights only go back to the 1920s, so anything done before then is not copyrighted, but modern translations (done after 1920) of earlier works are still copyrighted. You need to understand every license, that you have, before you use any piece of software. There are a few major categories of licenses, for programs and they can vary widely, but the main concepts are very similar.
The first one is a proprietary program, like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. Both these programs are considered to be licensed to you and you need to pay, for each copy that you use. One copy means being on one computer at a time. Sometimes, you are allowed to have it on both a laptop and a desktop, but you can't use them at the same time. Many companies, governments, and non-profits often buy a license, for a certain number of users. Many people steal these programs and you probably won't be caught, but if you use them for business and they find out, you can get big fines. The way they find out is that one of the people working for you reports you and gets a big cash reward in exchange.
The software companies, who design these programs, often offer better deals, for those who work in education, usually just students and teachers, and for individuals that are not producing anything, that they will make money for. Legally, it would be better to outright pirate (steal) the software, than to use an academic license, for something you are going to sell. The educational licenses are getting stricter and stricter. Some companies monitor whether you are still in school and how many classes you are taking and can revoke your license remotely.
Some people do not like these kinds of restrictions on software, so they use what is called open source software. This basically means, that you can use the software and distribute it all you want, but if a programmer changes the source code and distributes the modified program, then they need to give away their source code as well. Not all open source licenses require this though. Another advantage of open source software is that it survives, even if the company producing it goes out of business, or decides to stop developing it. Open source programs generally use free and open file formats, so you can usually take your work into other programs, to edit or view.
Some other major categories of software include shareware and freeware. Freeware is free, but with the condition that you cannot distribute it, without getting permission. Shareware usually means that a program has a certain time limit or is limited, in what you can do with it, until you buy the program. Other names for shareware include demo ware, donation ware, trial ware and other similar terms.
There are different types of licenses, for media, than for software, which includes every kind of writing, graphics, designs, audio, video, and multimedia. The same concepts apply as before with software. Ask someone's permission, before you use something, that someone else created. No matter what license is given, any rights to the media not specifically granted are retained by the copyright holder and you never get the copyright, unless you get permission stating exactly that. There are also things called moral rights, which means that if you use the images in a way that make someone look bad, then you have to get the rights to these as well. Some of the restrictions on copyrights, when you don't have moral rights, include using the media for things like pornography, racism, or promoting drug use.
One of the rules, that is unique, to media, are privacy laws. It is illegal, to use someone's image without their consent, unless you recorded the person in photo or video, in a public place. So, before you use anyone's image, be sure to get them to sign a written permission. Also, I recommend not using pictures of children or women of any age. I just avoid people entirely. More and more things are copyrighted, like the insides of buildings and museum art. The main principle to remember is, if it is not a public space, get permission, before you use the images, or video.
Many designers keep a number of design elements like fonts, illustrations, photos, video clips, and sound effects, for later projects. The most popular licenses are called royalty free, meaning that once you pay for it, you do not need to pay again, no matter how many copies you distribute. You need to check the exact license, because there are often different fees, for different usages like web, TV, or print. There are also restrictions, to try to keep you from selling these same media collections to others. Generally, most clipart, stock photos and fonts are royalty free.
There is a new license system, that has come out, in the last 10 years and is mainly used on the Internet. Creative Commons licenses include 4 main parts and most any combination of those. The 4 things, that can be allowed by the creator, without permission, are commercial use, free modification, free distribution, and no credit. So any Creative Commons license can allow or disallow any number of these things. So for instance, I license my books, to allow people to distribute them for free and use them for commercial use, but do not allow modification, and they have to give me credit. I license most of my photos, to allow people to modify them, as long as they give me credit and they allow anyone else, to modify their modification, of my original work.
Public Domain licenses allow you to do anything, with the media in question, without even needing to give credit, or having any others restrictions. After copyrights expire, which currently happens for books 75 years after the authors death, or 90 years after it was written, which ever comes first, they became public domain. This is the main reason why theaters love to do Shakespeare (because there are no royalties, that need to be paid). One of the things, that people think is public domain, that is not is the traditional happy birthday song.
Patent laws usually only affect those publishing media, by having to pay royalties, to use certain patented computer concepts. Some of these are file formats that include MP3, if you use it on a large scale, and recently MP4 video, for any use. I know this sounds terrible and it makes little sense, but because there are so many patents in video compression, that many think it is not possible, to come up with a video compression, that is good enough, to be practical and not violate someone's patent. Some people have recently tried to sue people for using JPEGs, accessing any files over any network, web browser plugins and equally stupid patents. The big way, to get a lot of money, for not doing anything, is to file a patent, for an obvious and trivial idea, and then wait ten years, for everyone to adopt it, mainly doing so because it appeared to not violate any patents, and then sue a rich company, for violating your patent. This is not how patents were intended to work.
When you start a new company, you can get in trouble, if you use the same name, as another company, in the same industry, especially if the name is not a generic and obvious name. For instance, if you start an office company and you call it Apple, you have no problem, but if you start a software business and call it Apple, you will get into trouble. Logos are not industry specific, so if you make a logo, for any business, that looks like a bite out of an apple, expect Apple, to force you, to change your logo.
by Ben Huot
9.1 Philosophical Methods
I draw from philosophies and other belief systems from which I am emotionally inspired and I base my arguments not on formal logic or facts, but rather a combination of the following: Biblical Scripture, church tradition, personality/nature of God, divine commands, contracts with God, grace of God (free gift), religious law, history and prophecy (in the Bible and elsewhere), human morality and nature, my personality and family history, human relationships, natural order, animal behavior, verbal testimony, my sensitivity to spiritual things, my mystical experiences, my dreams and visions, my intuition, my life experience, argument, paradoxical relationships, inference, comparison, analogy, skepticism, and direct perception of my physical senses.
My most commonly used support for my beliefs are:
my sensitivity to spiritual things
personality/nature of God
history and prophecy
my personality and family history
my life experiences
introductions book collection
9.1.1 From Kierkegaard (Christian Existentialism)
Existence/Sentience Defined by Human/Animal Will and Choices we Make
Human Weakness/Repentance from Sin brings us closer to God
With Individuality/Free Thinking comes Responsibility (stand up for what is right not just what is different, genuine faith is never popular)
Human Subjectivity vs. Divine Objectivity
No Systematic or Rational Explanation for Animals, People, and God
Paradox/Mystical understanding of God, Faith, and the Bible
9.1.2 From Chuang Tzu (Philosophical Taoism)
Focus on Long Life/Avoiding Suffering
Accepting no Reliable/Concrete Understanding of/Foundation for Reality (Skepticism)
Radical Equality of all Human and Animal Life (Compassion)
Rejection of Leadership of/Responsibility for others (Humility)
Values Natural World and Ancient Pre-Civilization (People Created Good)
Acceptance of Change and Lack of Control as Inevitable
9.2 Cultural Aesthetics
9.2.1 Value Difficulty, Time Spent, and Desirability of Work (I can't or don't want to do it)
Metalwork and Wood Carvings
Writing Music, Singing, or Playing Instruments
Realistic Drawings and Paintings
Computer Programing and Fixing
Military Jobs: Infantry and Flying
Firefighter, Police Officers, and Prison Guards
Sanitation Work, Cleaning, and Working with Toxic Chemicals
Any Kind of Leadership, especially Middle Management
9.2.2 Makes Me Happy
Simple Lyrics, Catchy Beat
Coming up with New Ideas and Learning New Things from Reading
Creating Artwork or Writing
Learning New Design Techniques and New Software or New Version Releases
Watching Science Fiction, Fantasy, Military, and Intelligence based Movies and TV Shows
9.2.3 Relaxes Me
Farm Animals and Stuffed Toys
Rich Earth Tone Colors and Eastern Orthodox Icons
Christian Music (Top 40) and Music from High School (90s era)
Reading the Bible and Technology News and Comments
Doing Technical Design Work, Converting Between Different File Formats, and Updating My Website
Situational Comedies, Comedy Movies, and 3D Animation Movies
The Source of Joy for Christians: The Holy Spirit
by Ben Huot
10.1 John 6:25-71
And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
10.2 John 10
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.
10.3 John 14
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.
10.4 John 15
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
10.5 John 16
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
10.6 John 17
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
by Ben Huot
Although joy as a Christian comes from the Holy Spirit, who also gets the credit, the Christian has to work at it by
choosing to take personal responsibility to improve their situation
stay physically healthy by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and doing moderate exercise
treating any chemical imbalance with psychiatric medicine and treating any other disease with the appropriate treatments
seeking Christian and Professional Secular counseling, as well as, help from respected role models, when needing advice or breaking free of addictions
making sure they read the Bible, and expose themselves, to other positive and moral media, friends, and situations
taking time to do something they enjoy each day
getting out to get sunlight, fresh air, and human contact each day
following God's commandments and following secular laws, to stay out of trouble
doing service for others and being thankful for their situation, to change our focus from their problems to others
continually pray to God for help, guidance, and protection and praise and thank God for what He has done
When it comes to spiritual or moral advice, going to the Bible is great, but the Bible was never meant, to be the only book people should use (exclusively), when looking for help, in other areas, like: working with computers, practicing medicine, practicing counseling, politics, studying history, serving in the military, and most other specialized disciplines and technical applications. A person is composed of many different parts, just like God has the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. When any of these aspects of us are not in balance, then the others aspects will suffer, as well. Much of what we suffer from now is directly related to stress, so I would focus on this, as your main obstacle, to a balanced life.
Books by Topic
by Ben Huot
12.1 Book Divisions Terminology
Terminology, for book compilations, are, as follows: each collection includes 2-4 books, each series includes about 3 collections, and a set breaks up longer series, into multiple shorter ones. The Main series includes my book collections organized chronologically, rather than topically, which I write first. Each book collection, in the Topical and Reference series, consists of content, from the Main series, including only the topic, or topics, specified, in the book collection title.
After writing each Main series book collection, I collect the material, on a particular topic, from multiple book collections, and add it to the Topical or Reference series, as its own book collection. As more is written, I add, to each, of that specific Topical or Reference series, as I write about, that particular topic, after each additional Main series book collection is written. The Topical and Reference series do not necessarily include all the Main series, on a particular topic, if the book is starting, to get too long.
I have written, what I call, my main series Set 1 and Set 2, that are each a collection of my books, basically, in chronological order, in, what I call, a poetic organization, with different themes repeated. Later, and in addition, I have arranged most of this material, by the following topics:
12.2 Book Topics
psychology (including Schizophrenia and the military)
political and religious views (with an emphasis on Asian history)
a collection of my favorite Bible verses quoted in the main series
self improvement (opposite advice for slackers and for highly sensitive people)
theology (combining mystical and rational arguments and explanations)
practical advice (manners and my experiences with an emphasis on worst case scenario and empathy)
technology from a social science perspective
technical advice and instructions
a book that combines my bibliography with disaster survival ideas