Can’t we all just get along?

Can’t we all just get along during the presidential elections?

The following is a political conversation between me and a republican friend. It started with me asking who he was voting for in the presidential election. He responded that it depended on who their running mate would be. So I inquired, “If Hillary teams up with the right one, then you’ll vote for her, right? “Hell no!” was his emphatic response. This led into the following text messages:

Me: And remember, I still love you, even though you’re a republican. You can’t help it, bro. Lol

‘Inferiors may Disagree’ (his chosen alias):

So you’re admitting you’ve dumbed down to the ‘dumbacrat’ level?

Me: 🙂 if I did that, then you’d disown me. I’m messing with you just like I would any democrat. I actually choose not to choose. I don’t get involved in the squabbles of this physical world.

‘Inferiors may Disagree’:

I wouldn’t disown you, but I would ask myself ‘why, I ever thought Mike was intelligent?! Where do I go from here, now that I’ve let myself down by associating with an unintelligent being?’

Me: I forgot to thank you for that compliment yesterday about me being smart. Thanks.

Now image how peaceful your life would be were you to let loose of just a few opinions? I’ll give you an example, but remember, I could just as easily give examples of democrats as well. Anyway, this is why I choose not to get involved. Like I once was, and most republicans are, you’re probably under the misguided opinion that this is a Christian nation. This is because it perfectly aligns to their beliefs; it’s what we want to believe. What we want to believe far outweighs all other notions, truth or otherwise.

And I’m sure, you get upset when democrats claim this country wasn’t founded on the principles of Christianity. One day I decided to do my own investigation, and I no longer believe as I once did; I understand the intent of the Founding Fathers. They, being fed-up with religious domination over government in the ‘old world’, established our great nation with absolutely no connection to any religion. Allowing our government to govern people based on the ‘rights of man’ through the dictates of reason, without superstition, while still maintaining the liberty for all men to worship as they pleased. I believe it’s obvious the Founding Fathers believed in God, so I don’t side with democrats either – particularly when they adamantly want to remove all references to the Divine. If I choose a side I – which I usually don’t – it’s always based on any truth which I’ve discovered through my own research – it’s never based on anything presented by the skewed media.

‘Inferiors may Disagree’:

Yeah, I’m aware, but I choose to side with the lesser of both evils.

Me: God bless you bro. That, in and of itself, is the crux of all conflicts of every age. The distinction of good vs evil – ever since the garden. Don’t you think there are good democrats, who sincerely make their decisions based on the same ‘logical reasons’ as you? It’s unfortunate that ever since Jefferson and Adams competed for the presidency, this ‘us vs them’ mentality has prevailed. They were just as ugly about it, two hundred years ago, as we are today . The papers actually quoted preachers exclaiming, “A vote for Jefferson is a vote for the Devil.” How is that any different from the fundamentalist who’ve called Obama the antichrist for seven years?

‘Inferiors may Disagree’:

Oh, I know, but I’m speaking of the lesser of both evils in regards to benefits to me and my family.

Me:

Oh, so the real root of the problem is selfishness. Everyone’s only interested in their own agendas and protecting their own interests. 🙂 I know you’re not selfish, but, I still think there’s much truth to that. I know smart democrats who call you ignorant, just like you were implying about me; but I think it’s time to stop entrenching ourselves against one another and start working together.

My dad was so funny, through the entire eight year term of Bush he used to preach – especially when someone criticized his boy, G.W. – “There shouldn’t be any democrats or republicans; we’re all Americans. And everyone should support our president, regardless of his affiliation. But boy, did he became indignant when I reminded him of his self-righteous proclamations once Obama got into office. He said, “Bull shit, I don’t have to support that no good son of bitch!” He refused to adhere to the standards which he himself expected democrats to live up to.

‘Inferiors may Disagree’:

Sounds like your dad was a great man! Democrats only do good if you’re into socialism, the welfare system, abortion, open boarders, political correctness, etc., and they’re against our military, defending our nation – basically all the things which are in the best interest of this country.

Me: I love you, bro. Can have your permission to post this conversation on my website? And if so how do you wish to be labeled anonymous, fanatical republican nut-job, or by name?

‘Inferiors may Disagree’:

Go for it, but label me as ‘Inferiors may Disagree’. [END]

If we could all learn to express our opinions and concerns without the added insults and biased positions, we might be able to work together to build a brighter future for our children. Until that time we continue to stand on one side of the fence or the other and hurl insults and anathemas at one another while making little to no progress. It’s the ego which keeps us spinning in circles in the same spot.

Michael Blakeslee ‘Never accept any limitations in an unlimited Universe.’

Have you hugged your homeless dude today?

Have you hugged your homeless dude today?Something I never imagined I’d ever experience in my life; but yesterday I found myself hugging a dirty, smelly homeless dude named Mike. He said my little expression of kindness made up for the rudeness of several other mean people.

What really amazed me about him was his love and forgiveness for those rude people. He said, “I know they don’t really mean it; they just don’t know how to handle me. So it’s easier to get angry about my presence than treat me humanely. But I know later they feel sorry about the way they treated me. And I feel sorry for them.”homeless pastor

I thought here’s Mr. “spiritual guru” learning Universal Truths from a homeless guy, isn’t that great? If you pay attention, you’ll discover God uses any and every opportunity to teach us something. Someone once said, “The Universe will toss you off a cliff, if it thought you’d wake up on your way down.”

I actually wondered if this guy might be one of those undercover angels, you know the ones placed here to test our spiritual resolve. The entire conversation had a rather deep impact on me; I thought about it all day. Although his display of gratitude contradicts what I’m about to say, I believe my encounter with Mike had a much grander impact on the future of my life than it did on his.

He read my shirt and said, “Oh, Flying J, I just love that place. Dale The manager there was very nice to me when I needed a shower. I hadn’t showered in four months, and I needed one really bad. A driver offered me one of his, but I wasn’t able to use it right away. Dale was so kind; he signed the receipt, and said I could use it anytime later. He was so wonderful to me, just like you’ve been to me today, Mike. I’m gonna pray for you, just like I’ve been praying for Dale.”

This is the point where he got real emotional and stretched out his arms towards me. I had a split second to decide, am I going to shun this man who may be an undercover angel, or am I going to – right in front of all these passing customers – reciprocate, and hug him back. Well, I’m proud to say I chose the latter, and I didn’t feel like anyone thought less of me for it either.

You know, I believe the Beatles were right when they said, “All you need is love.” Mike didn’t need my condemnation or my condescending judgments. He’s well aware of the mistakes which have led him to where he’s at now. I’m sure he’s had to listen to that inner voice of damnation for decades. I often think there’s a reason many of them would prefer beer over food – anything for a little peace from that barrage of self-condemnation. What he needed was the same thing we all need, for someone to simply extol a little human kindness. To quote Nick Nolte from the movie, ‘The Peaceful Warrior’: “The ones who are the toughest to love are the ones who need it the most.”

Michael Blakeslee, Never accept limitations in an unlimited Universe.

P.S. If you click on the picture it take you to a FB link of a pastor who dressed like a homeless man to see how his congregation would react to his presence in their church. It’s quite shocking.

The Crisis with ISIS and the Terror in the Mirror

The Crisis with ISIS and the Terror in the Mirror
I watched a documentary relating the conditions within Raqa since the hostile takeover of ISIS. I was surprised to realize that not everyone was in agreement with the acts of their oppressors. The man being interviewed was so despondent and fearful that he requested a voice alteration and a fictitious name. To my amazement, it revealed an entire community of innocent people living in fear and anxiety – no different than any neighborhood in America that might have been conquered by a terrorist regime. These are the people we forget as we clump them all together as one fanatical unit.

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This frightened man described his indignation towards this uninvited religious terrorist regime. He openly discussed the significant impact their presence has brought upon his community: issues like the price of food going up 300%, children being exposed to public executions, and longing for the day when he could again walk down the street without fearfully looking over his shoulder. He also mentioned the minor implications as well, like how disgruntled he was for being forced to grow the religiously mandated beard. ???????????????????????????????????????

 

The camera crew interviewed shop owners who were implicitly informed that certain woman’s clothing could no longer be displayed in their stores, but had to be kept in the storage areas; and anyone who bought those particular outfits was prohibited from wearing them in public.

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They showed some explosive footage of ISIS demolishing a mosque. It struck me as odd that a Muslim group would destroy a Muslim edifice – that is until the narrator explained that it was constructed by a divergent Muslim faction. “Oh, if it was built by those dissenters, than it’s nothing more than a slaughterhouse for pigs. Blow it up for Allah!”

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Another disparaging aspect of this unfortunate crisis is that ISIS is constantly proselyting their innocent children. They advise these naive children that they’re their brothers, and give them the impression that they’re the heroes of the world – fighting the bad guys. Their ultimate goal is to supply fresh recruits for their religious, militant faction; but they’re just as happy creating spies, as well. They offer money to any child with information against anyone speaking ill of their organization.

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As I witnessed an ISIS execution taking place in the street, the question struck me: “Who does this remind you of: ‘the Spanish Inquisition’? The more I considered it, the more it rang true. Consider it, if you know anything about that disparaging period of our history. The church of the Dark Ages not only dictated dress codes and demeanor, it eventually overpowered and usurped the authority of most European kings. Talk about I.S. (a religious Islamic state), three hundred years ago, our civilization had a C.C. (not just a state, but a religious Christian Continent).

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Ask yourself why Napoleon asked the pope to be present at his crowning ceremony, but wouldn’t allow him to preside over it – as was customary? Right in front of the pope, Napoleon crowned himself as if to say, “I don’t need your sanctioning approval.” Because, for the pope to crown the king or emperor, at that time, signified the power thereby was granted through the authority of the church. This little symbolic act gave supremacy to the church over the temporal throne. And should the church decide to, they had the divine right to revoke that authority.

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The church even waged war against their own countrymen for dissenting from conventional religious views. The church of Medieval times would accept no other interpretation of their religion; hence, they had no apprehension destroying a church built by a dissenting sect. The Christian chant of the church at that time was: “to kill an infidel is not murder, but the pathway to heaven.” This related to Muslims, Jews, and any Christian with divergent views.

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As John Draper reported, “With such savage eagerness did [The Spanish Inquisition] carry out its object of protecting the interests of religion that between 1481 and 1808, it had punished 340,000 persons, and of these, nearly thirty-two thousand had been burnt.1” These were not outsiders, these were fellow countrymen and women.

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Thousands were publicly executed for disagreeing with the supreme power of the church. Innocent people burned alive at the stake with the same compassion as today’s ISIS executioners. And many of these poor souls were the result of a Spanish Inquisition informant. But they didn’t do it for the money; no, they did it for absolution of their sins, and even sometimes just out of pure selfish motives, like jealousy.

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Once someone rolled-over on you, you were abducted from your family and placed in a dungeon for months, or even years. Your family would be left destitute, as the church refused to aid the devil’s offspring. You weren’t allowed to know what you were being accused of, or even who accused you. The Spanish Inquisition would just continually torture you until you finally admitted to anything which would bring about an end to the anguish they were inflicting upon you. But this only led to the next step in the judicial process: public execution. Can you start to see why our Founding Fathers laid provisions against such practices in our Bill of Rights? I guarantee you this despondent history was weighing heavily on their minds as they crafted our Constitution, as well as, the Bill of Rights.

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http://www.dreamstime.com/-image3328672The only difference between the I.S. of Raqa and the S.I. of Europe – besides the use of machineguns – is really just a few meager centuries. The Spanish Inquisition didn’t have modern weapons of warfare; and they didn’t have video recorders to document their cruelties. But had such things been available, they would’ve utilized them for the same reason ISIS uses them today: to impart the kind of fear which promotes adherence. And just like ISIS, the Spanish Inquisition believed God had sanctioned them to execute these cruelties on His creation and they would’ve also enjoyed documenting it as well. Just like many of the Nazis cruel human experiments were filmed.

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I’m not making light of the atrocities taking place on that side of the world, they are horrific and shameful; and I’m not saying we shouldn’t get involved. I’m saying, we should remember where we came from. These people are simply three hundred years behind us on the Evolutionary scale. You know, if we’re honest with ourselves, we would admit that we too have a long ways to go in our social development. If history repeats itself, and it usually does, there exists the possibility that somewhere around the year 2076 some non-conforming, intellectual Muslims will unite together and initiate a new country with its own constitution based on the principles of Democracy. They will rise up and overthrow the tyranny of these oppressive fanatics just like our ancestors.

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This is just something for us to reflect on, instead of mindlessly chanting the ol’ cliché, “All they understand is violence; so bomb them back to the stone ages.” Where would we be if some culture more advanced than our own had decided to destroy us before the birth of Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Paine, and all the other great Founding Fathers? Imagine where we’d be if, during that long, dark period of the Spanish Inquisition, some alien race, superior to our own, had decided to turn Europe into a ‘parking lot’. America wouldn’t exist if some civilization, grander than our own, had taken the primitive approach of solving everything through violence and blowing Medieval Europe off the map.

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So what is the answer? I don’t know. But I know it resides on a higher plane than primitive, simplistic, imprudent violence. A friend of mine, Steve, came up with the best solution I’ve heard so far:

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“Do not bomb the hell out of them. Contain them until the innocent people get tired of this oppression and rise up and overthrow this terrorism – just like the American Revolution of two hundred years ago. We would set up boats and anti-aircraft all around the area and not allow anyone out until the issue was resolved internally. Certainly, we would be humanitarians and allow aid, food, and medical supplies through the barricade, but no one comes out until the violence has ended.”

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As I said, it’s the best answer I’ve heard yet; however, I’m not sure it covers all the issues. For example: I don’t think it’s very humanitarian of us to sit on the sidelines like ‘Hunger Games’ watching innocent people die, while waiting for the outcome. I think as the more advanced and ‘civilized’ culture we have a moral obligation to God and humanity itself to make an attempt to save the innocent victims. What if the revolutionists fail? What then? Do we resort back to the old ‘bomb the hell out of ’em decree’?

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I’m not pretending to have all the answers; it’s a precarious situation to say the least. But we should keep an open mind and an optimistic view of the future. We should be on the look out for victims – like this unnamed, innocent man – who desire to get out from underneath the terrorist regime, and who only desire to live in peace. We cannot call ourselves the more civilized and better culture if we’re OK with killing innocent people along with their perpetrators like collateral damage. In all the years of senseless violence, the ends have never justified the means.

 

Michael Blakeslee: Never accept limitations in an unlimited Universe.

 

Footnotes:
1. ‘History of the Conflict between Religion and Science’ by John William Draper pg. 207

Bloody Footprints in the Snow

Honoring the unsung
heroes of
The American Revolution

 

            My son was reading “Magic Tree House… American Revolution” (by Mary Pope Osborne/Natalie Pope Boyce) to me, when he abruptly asked, “Why are you crying, dad?” “Because,” I replied, “I suddenly realize how much those American soldiers sacrificed for our freedom.” And then I thought to myself: “I’m grateful to the authors for keeping a children’s book authentic and not omitting disturbing images, like shoeless soldiers marching in the snow.”

The crossing of the Delaware, historians say, was a pivotal moment in the Revolutionary war. By the end of 1776, the war efforts hadn’t been as successful as the patriots had hoped. They’d lost two strategic forts, indispensable supplies, and their footing in New York was slipping. Furthermore, the enlistment terms of many were expiring soon, and it appeared doubtful that very many of those soldiers would re-enlist. Without a positive, significant turn of events, the war would surely fizzle out by spring; and this was Washington’s no-holds-bar attempt at changing the course of history.

Crossing the Delaware was a battle against a tumultuous storm. Heavy winds, snow, and freezing rain made it an insurmountable obstacle. I wouldn’t have wanted to drive in it, let alone cross an icy river with frozen hands in soaking wet clothes. By this time, desertions had become quite common; and if ever there was a time to tuck tail and run, it was that night. It’s Christmas and you’re spending it with gloomy soldiers instead of your loving family.

It wasn’t until after midnight when all the troops and equipment made their way across; and with no sleep, these soldiers – some of them shoeless – trudged through the snow for almost four hours. Try and imaging what might’ve gone through your head during that trek. “This isn’t going to work. We’ve lost so many other battles, what makes Washington think this one will be any different? It’s Christmas, I’m soaking wet, shoeless, and freezing my butt off. Why couldn’t this wait until after the holidays? Things weren’t so bad under King George, were they?”

Washington was leading a disheartened, ragtag army with little hope of success; but before they started this strenuous task, he showed true genius by reciting “The American Crisis” to them – A stirring piece by Thomas Paine, which arrived – hot off the presses – just in time to encourage the troops to stay the course. I’d like to reproduce the introduction from this brilliant classic:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

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Washington is primarily glorified for the Revolution – and I don’t mean to undermine his contributions in any way. But I believe he’d agree when I say, we should also commemorate those who sacrificed the most. It was a brilliant plan, but it would’ve come to nothing without bloody footprints in the snow. And I say, God bless those men who did what I couldn’t do by carrying on in the face of overwhelming odds.

It’s wonderful that we take advantage of our liberties today; but we should never forget the hardships endured by our ancestors who secured these freedoms for us – many of whom died long before seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. So I encourage us to stop from time to time, and remember those soldiers who left bloody footprints in the snow.

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Now I’d like to explore the events set in motion by those bloody footprints. First of all: questioning a “divinely sanctioned” monarch was unheard of at the time and took great courage. To question the king back then meant certain death; and in an era today, when David Limbaugh can write a book entitled, “The Great Destroyer: Barack Obama’s war on the Republic”, and live to collect royalties, well I guess we really should honor those bloody footprints. They sacrificed everything to resist a tyrant who would’ve hanged Limbaugh for much less insolence than this title. Those footprints were distinguished by an air of defiance against despotism. People had had enough of it in Europe. Why do you suppose these daring souls left all familiarities, crossed an uncertain ocean, and braved an uncharted new world? They were sick and tired of the old ways established for millennia in Europe.

Furthermore, why did they call it a “New World?” Today if we talked about a new world, we’d assume a new planet had been discovered. But 500 years ago we found a new world right here on Earth, on the other side of the world from tyrants and religious superstition.

This novel insolence not only worried the king, but it also alarmed the clergy as well. They were still nursing the wounds of the Reformation. Since the king’s rule was sanctioned by the church, the church, of course, would say: To question the authority of the king is to question the sovereignty of the church, and to question the church is to question God Almighty. we the people

The next wrong in a long line of things to be righted was Slavery. It wasn’t long after the Revolution that people began wondering how we could call ourselves a free nation while millions of our fellow humans were in shackles. Several anti-slavery parties sprung up, and the conflict to abolish slavery commenced.

Two battles intertwined themselves with the Abolition movement: 1) not only were the slave-holders enraged against it, but the church of the south was united with them as well. They asserted that Jehovah endorsed slavery in his sacred scriptures. And 2) the second battle raging was primarily promoted by the church, regarding women speaking in public. In a time when women were the property of men and expected to keep their mouths shut, these brave women were publicly sharing their first hand knowledge of how their fathers had abused and raped their female slaves.

The newspapers and clergy vehemently attacked these women at every occasion, calling them infidels and atheists, with degrading statements like: “A woman preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all.” Ladies, next time you feel coerced into repressing your God given rights, try honoring those women who endured great hardships so you could be recognized as equals and not as property.

One of the most influential heroines of this epoch was Lucretia Mott. Her motto should be inscribed upon the altars of every church, mosque, and synagogue: “Truth for authority and not authority for truth.” I love her!

After a long, turbulent clash, including a violent Civil War, both dreams were eventually realized. Although it took about a century for the idea to sink in, these new concepts had rooted themselves in the American psyche. Even the church resisted both notions; But the direction mankind was headed in could not be restrained – women were eventually recognized as equally created by God.

The slaves were initially freed with the Emancipation Proclamation, but like women, it was another century before their Constitutional rights were completely established. And what was the position of most churches during the initial battles of the 1800’s, and the finalization of both repressions in the 1960’s and 70’s? Yes, Martin Luther King’s church, of course, was supporting the Civil Rights Movement, but what stance did the ‘whites only church’ take on the issue? I think the answer to this was made plain in 1995, when the Southern Baptist church formally apologized for their support of slavery and segregation.

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Can you appreciate that Lincoln held the second, if not the most difficult term in our presidential history? There was a tremendous amount of polar opposites clashing together with Lincoln at the center. I believe a most candid account of these epic battles can be found in the beginning of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Lincoln explains the precarious gray area he traversed in making the ‘Emancipation Proclamation’. It’s a riveting scene – within the first thirty minutes – where he reveals how, from one angle, it appeared proper, yet an argument could be made from another that he’d trampled the rights of each individual, southern state.

Lincoln frequently had good Christians expressing their concerns to him. One assuring him that God endorsed slavery, while the other asserting it sin. This is what Lincoln was referring to when he said, “I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will.” And at another time when he said, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces.”

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The last great movement of this spirit of Human Rights came along in the 1960’s. That’s when we saw a marvelous revolution against orthodoxy and conventional programming. Not only was this when African-Americans renewed their struggle for their God-given rights, but long-haired white people were rebelling against long held traditional values as well. We’re all familiar with the pandemonium of this era, but I’d like to focus on the crux of this revolution. It was nothing more than asserting the right to be different, and encouraging love and peace towards all mankind. What’s wrong with that?

At a time when America was in a ‘Leave it to Beaver’ construct, they wanted to break the shackles of conformity. People were pretty much cookie-cut and molded into culturally accepted positions of society. The daughter was conditioned to be the stay-at-home mom who got a wrap on the cheek if she didn’t comply with her husband’s demands. The son was groomed to be a hard-working man who never cried, who hated communism, and never questioned authority.leaveit_to_beaver1

Things were drifting back to pre-revolutionary conditions. If you don’t believe it, watch some of the shows and commercials from that era. Anything from vacuum cleaners to Mr. Clean helping out in the kitchen were always aimed at the stay-at-home mom for example. And examine any ad directed at a man today, and you’ll most likely see a half naked big-breasted woman. I know Fry’s is campaigning women when I see the attractive, but not extraordinary, lady in the common, red house dress. I know this primarily because there is no cleavage to be seen.

Some more recent rights to be considered before we close: Worker’s rights, Children’s rights, and animal rights organizations, to name a few.

And finally: Very soon we’ll see the long-awaited finalization of equal rights for the gay community as well. I’m perplexed that two hundred years after the Revolution, and we’re still finding human rights that need to be addressed. It’s kind of a great time in history to be alive. I honestly believe gay rights will be remembered as the final stage of established human rights. And gay people should, as much as the rest of us, show appreciation to those nameless soldiers who left bloody footprints in the snow.

Let us always honor those who paid the heaviest burden to secure our wonderful freedoms. And let us also keep in mind that, at nearly every step, over the last two-millennia, the church has piously stood in staunch opposition to the advancements of society – from the Abolition of slavery and Women’s Liberation to gay rights.

Michael Blakeslee

 

Did Jesus really say love your enemies?

Did He mean it, or was it just another cliché religious people spew out? He also said why do you call me lord, but do not the things I have commanded you? (Luke 6:46) I believe it’s indicative of His intent for us to practice what He preached.

If Jesus really said, “Love your enemies,” why do I find posts by people who call him Lord, Lord to the effect of “All Muslims must die!”? Or the loving signs the Westboro Baptists hold up in their pickets, depicting God as a hater of His creation.

Aside from the fact that we are offering ‘evil for evil’ and disobeying Jesus’ direct orders, we are also incorporating several innocent people into our hate, people whose only crime was being born into a particular belief structure which differs from our own. They know nothing beyond the narrow, bigoted beliefs programmed into their brains by parents, priests, and politicians.

I’d like to ask that you consider: What was Jesus referring to when he said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” It’s pretty simple; it’s the finale to ‘The Beatitudes’ – arguably one of the greatest discourses ever delivered. Although I quoted it from Luke, for our exploration of ‘The Beatitudes,’ I’d like to direct your attention to the more comprehensive version found in the gospel of Mathew.

So what did Jesus say before capping it off with, ‘Don’t bother calling me Lord unless you’re willing to do as I say’? Did He say, “You must believe I am the son of God?” Did He say, “You must be washed in my blood?” What He said, prior to this proclamation, can be studied in Matthew’s chapters 5-7; and I implore you to do so. I’m only going to hit a few important topics, which need careful consideration:

5:3) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (The absence of ego, pride, and arrogance – attitudes not found in heaven)

5:5) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (I know as Christians, we’re not interested in inheriting the earth, but it is our inheritance if we are meek. Do you suppose being meek means hating and killing people who are different from us?)

5:7) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Would you like to obtain mercy for your mistakes? It’s simple: Be merciful to others. Many times you see Jesus using this ‘give and it shall be given to you’ concept.)

5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (How shall we be entitled to see God – by the work of Calvary’s cross? Jesus says if your heart is pure, you will see God.)

5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God. (Several people asked Jesus ‘what must I do to be saved?’ and His response was never ‘simple faith’ but to do something. What must we do to be called the children of God? Be a peacemaker. Are we promoting peace and acting like children of God, or are we perpetuating hate and violence?)

5:38-42) You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. (There is no provision made for killing our enemies.) Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (‘Give to the one who asks’ makes no provision for “well, I know he’s only going to blow it on booze!”)

5:43-48) You have heard that it was said, (I love when Jesus says this. He may not have come to abolish the law, but He sure did a lot of upgrading.) ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (How can you become a Son of the Heavenly Father? By loving your enemies and praying for those who abuse you, that’s how. Again, neither a word about faith nor the blood atoning sacrifice.) If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Our righteousness must exceed the pagans as well as the Pharisees.)

In 7:9-14 Jesus teaches us how to pray, and I would like to focus on the last part of this prayer:

Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against us… For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (So, how do we obtain God’s forgiveness, by being washed in the blood? By forgiving others! And why will God withhold His forgiveness, because we have rejected His Son? Because we have not forgiven others! Jesus goes into great detail regarding this concept in Matt 18:21-35; ending it with, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”)

7:1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Again this concept of what goes around comes around, or better yet; what you put out there you will receive back – ‘Give, and it shall be given to you’ works for the negative as well as the positive.)

5:21-23) Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (And He just spelled out the ‘will of God’ for us in ‘The Beatitudes.’)

Paul said, “We are saved by grace, and not by works,” yet it appears as though Jesus may be contradicting Paul. Everything in ‘The Beatitudes’ seems to indicate a need for our participation.

Yes, I know how difficult it is to love someone who hates you; however, it is commanded of us; and you cannot circumvent a flood by pouring more water on it. We cannot overcome the hate in this world by offering it more hate. We must strive to find ways of acting like the peacemakers Jesus expected the children of God to be.

So we can offer all the opposing views we like, but the bottom line is this: We must ask ourselves two fundamental questions. Do we, or do we not, believe Jesus said these things, and if we do, then how can we work these virtues into our lives? I recommend we pray God give us the strength to be truly Christ like.

If we are supposed to love our enemies, why have we killed so many Muslims, ‘heretics,’ atheists, various ‘dissenting believers,’ scientists, and ‘witches’?

I feel I must end with an attempt to describe the beauty and joy that come from forgiveness. As Jesus said, “As you give you will receive. Forgive and be forgiven.” Isn’t that all we really want? You may say all we want is love; however, without forgiveness, we are incapable of experiencing love. First, we must experience the forgiveness for the things which hold our mind in bondage to guilt. It is this guilt, which repels love as we cry out, “I’m not worthy!”

And all that is required to experience this forgiveness is to offer it. It’s as simple as that. As you learn to hold yourself in a state of constant forgiveness, you’ll discover a new world awaits you. One of the first things you’ll find is an easiness of mind; a lessening of the burden of anger, hate, and stress, which our souls pay a heavy tax to shoulder. You’ll also discover people respond in like manner. No, not always, but you’ll find more people willing to hold the door for you – agreeable people yielding out of politeness to you – and most importantly, a general willingness to forgive you.

As a professional driver, I can attest that as I forgive motorist for cutting me off and whatnot, I find when I make a mistake and cut someone else off, by misjudging their distance or speed, they simply go around me; I hear no honking of horns, nor do I see any fingers out the window. The world truly is as we create it.

It is not my intention to neither trample the Cross nor profane the blood of Jesus. By all means continue in your belief and worship of these things. However, I do intend to stress my conviction that we may engulf ourselves in as much of His blood as we desire, but we may find it to no avail, if we do not practice the art of forgiveness as Jesus taught in the first three Gospels. And we stand the chance of hearing “Depart from Me; I never knew you” if we stubbornly refuse.

I will end with a quote from ‘A Course in Miracles,’ lesson 122 Forgiveness offers everything I want:

“What could you want forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that never can be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset? All this forgiveness offers you, and more.”

Michael Blakeslee

 

Why has Jesus delayed His return so long?

For those of you wondering why Jesus has delayed His coming for over 2,000 years, Pastor Ray Hagins has some insightful clues:

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These excerpts taken from his sermon, ‘There will be no rapture’ which can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FiLq5UWNIuA#

Pastor Hagins starts off by saying, The Bible says, “There will be no rapture, and Jesus is not coming back.” Our primary response would be, “Show me where it says that.” We shall get into that after we address 3 core questions.

Pastor Hagins then asks three key questions:

Is it possible that Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be established on Earth within His generation?

Is it possible that Jesus thought that the end of the world was eminent because of a fulfillment of prophecy? Not 2,000 years later but right then in His time.

Is it possible that what Christians teach about what is yet to come has already happened? This is important because if it’s already happened; then what are we waiting for?

On careful examination of the words of Jesus in the Gospels, it seems to me, Jesus sincerely held the belief and taught that He was the long looked for Messiah and He was going to usher in the Kingdom of God within His own generation.

Luke 21:31-32 “Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is nigh.” What things? The things previously mentioned and we’ll get into that. What does nigh mean? It means near or now not 2,000 years from now.

“I tell you the truth, [or, rest assured] this generation [what generation? He is talking about his generation; not the generation of 2012. Don’t look at it from the perspective of the reader but from the perspective of the speaker.] this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Those people listening would not die until what he said happened.

Matt 24:34-35 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” In other words, you can take this to the bank.

Matt 24:3 “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Then what does Jesus tell them? And keep in mind who was He talking to? The disciples, He wasn’t talking to us.

Matt 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [Who is ‘you’? the disciples, not us. He was saying, ‘James, Peter, Andrew, I don’t want you guys to be deceived.’ And what was He concerned about for His disciples?] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Many preachers like to say that in the end, people are going to come to you and say, they are the Christ. That is not what that scripture says! Have there been many people in history who have claimed to be the Christ?

It doesn’t say many will come in my name claiming to be Christ. What it says is many will come in my name, or as my representatives, saying that I am Christ and shall do what? Deceive many. It clearly states that people are going to come along teaching that Jesus is Christ and deceive a lot of people. Why would He have to be concerned about 12 men, who’ve followed Him 3 years, being deceived by somebody claiming to be Him? Why would I have to stand here and say to you, “Take heed because someone’s going to come along claiming to be Ray Hagins?” it’s ridiculous; Jesus was not saying someone is pretending to be me. Now the primary question here is: Are people teaching that Jesus is the Christ? Yes.

Matt 24:21 “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” ‘Ever shall be’ negates the entire point; however, based on what Jesus is saying, we must assume He is talking about the great tribulation. Now this next section is talking about the rapture.

Matt 24:29-31 It says after the tribulation then the rapture comes; contrary to what most of us have been taught, that we will be taken up before the troubles begin. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

I Cor 15:51-52 “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This use of ‘we’ in this verse indicates that Paul also believed Jesus was coming back in his own time.

Matt 24:34 “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things are fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” You people I am talking to right now, shall not die until all this happens. This means that if the Bible is in fact true, then it means everything you’re looking forward to happening in the future has already happened. It means that He has already come back in the clouds, the trumpet already blew, and the angels have already gathered up His elect from the four winds of the Earth.

Now let’s look at how John the Baptist fulfilled the end time’s prophecy:

Mark 1:14-15 “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The time is now, everything we’ve been waiting for is now, it is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is eminent. Why are we waiting for it to happen later?

We need to understand who John the Baptist was. Jesus believed and taught that John the Baptist was Elijah. The Muslims believe that the prophet Elijah who was to come was Elijah Muhammad.

Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi prophesied the coming of Elijah as a sign that the end is here. Elijah had died 700 years earlier. Jesus told his disciples that John the Baptist was Elijah.

Matt 17: 10-13 “And his disciples asked him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they wished. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist.”

Matt 11:11-15 “Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now [this ‘now’ means the days of Jesus not our days.] the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, [if you will listen to what I’m saying] this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” So John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi of Elijah’s return and that is the sign that the end is here.

Mark 9:1 “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” Who was Jesus talking to? Not those of us 2,000 years later. There are some of you standing here right now who shall not die till you see Me coming in the clouds. I ask this question again: Is it possible Jesus expected His Messianic Kingdom to be set up within His own generation? Yes, He did. There is nothing that would lead us to believe that He thought He was coming back some 2,000 years later.

Mark 13:32-37 “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” This is a serious mind game; one which has stopped young people from going to college; one which has caused this industrial revolution to rape and poison our planet because it breeds a nonchalant attitude that it doesn’t matter what we do if Jesus is going to make a new Heaven and Earth soon anyway.

Matt 10:5-6 “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” This was a message not meant for the Europeans.

And what did Jesus say later in verse 23, “When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.” You better hurry up and get going, because before you have gone over the cities of Israel, I will be back. Jesus has already come back or He is not coming back at all. Do you imagine that His disciples are still out there proselyting from one Israeli town to the next?

Mark 10:35- 37 He was so adamant about His impending eminent return that two of His disciples asked to be seated next to Him in His coming Kingdom. “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” This is also interesting because in another Gospel He already promised all 12 of them that they would sit upon thrones. Matt 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

And the final question is: What are you going to do with this information.

Will God really destroy the wisdom of man?

I posted a comment to someone on Amazon and received this comment from a person who refers to himself as the ‘Voice of truth’:

“Look Michael, or should I say ET?? Do you also believe in UFOs and there’s a strong possibility that you idolize Stephen Hawking as well…Allowing your intelligence to lead you in matters of faith and/or spirituality is mistake number one. “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”(Cor.1:1-19)
Bottom line, be real careful about who or what you place stock in, it’s your eternity that you are taking chances with.”

I’m not relaying my original post here, because I failed to make the correlation between my first comment and his unsolicited response. However, I do want to share my response to this post which he has failed to comment on yet.

So can you give me a rough idea of when God is going to – as the scripture indicates – “destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate?” Incidentally, did you know we’ve been living in the ‘end times’ for two thousand years? – A third of our existence. Any ways: I know the church tried to fulfill this prophecy by killing as many intelligent men as they could during the Dark Ages, any man who claimed the Earth was round and not the center of the universe. (Hmmm, I wonder why they called the era which the church dominated “the Dark Ages”)

Even after Magellan physically proved the Earth was indeed round; the church still resisted the Truth of it for another five years. Truth is truth my friend, whether you discover it by your heart or your brain. Science fought hard to bring us indoor plumbing and other means of sanitation in order to help eradicate the black plague, even though the church insisted it was the wrath of God. Now we’re building space stations and creating the big bang on an infantile scale proving the existence of the God particle, which is holding this entire thing together; so exactly when will God stop the evolution of intelligence? You make it appear as though God is against wisdom; if you do a search of the word, you’ll find it 222 times in the Bible. Knowledge shows up 169 times.

First of all, if you go look up that scripture (Isaiah 29:14), you’ll find Paul doing what so many modern people like to do: dramatizing and overemphasizing the point. It’s not a global prophecy; it’s a very specific prophecy directed at a certain city.  And Paul, what it actually says is “Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”

Go read I Kings chapter 3 entitled “Solomon’s prayer for wisdom” sometime.

How about Luke’s 1:17 prophecy of how John the Baptist shall make the people ready for the Lord: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Why did James 1:5 say “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraided not; and it shall be given him.”

Here is the beauty of an infallible ancient text: We can contradict each other all day long. In rebuttal to your scripture, I could quote, Luke 2:40 in reference to Jesus as a child: “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”

Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”

When is God going to destroy the wisdom of Jesus as Paul has either misquoted or has been misinterpreted at some point over the last two thousand years?

And Here’s some more fun we could have: You might say Heli was the name of Jesus’ grandpa (Luke 3:23), but I would say his name was Jacob (Matt 1:16). Before you dismiss this as a simple misprint, run a name by name Bible study comparison between these two gospels. You’ll discover one list is mysteriously longer than the other, and aside from David and Joseph, there is only one other name who matches between the two.

You may say, “Big deal!” You’re right it is a very big deal. The anonymous writers of these two gospels were well aware how vital it was to trace the heritage of Jesus back to King David in order to substantiate the Messiah claim. And both did a great job of validating this important prophecy; however, since they both contradict each other, you have to wonder, which is inspired of God and, which came from His nemesis.

And if one were proven to be uninspired, would we remove it from the canon? Would they shorten it to a three-way  gospel or would they want to continue in the tradition of the early fathers who believed they had to narrow the eight gospels down to 4 on account of the four corners of the Earth, hence adding one back from the apocrypha writings?

Alternatively, with the new-found wisdom of science proving the Earth has no corners; would they narrow it down to one gospel? I think we all know which one that would be. The only one which speaks of ‘being born again’; the only one containing the one phrase, “I am the only way to the Father” – the only one where Jesus continually contradicts the other three gospels by saying believing in Him is the only way to salvation; when in the others, Jesus tells people “go sin no more, sell all you have and give to the poor, pick up your cross and follow me” as well as other requirements placed on the believer, which many today would call ‘works’.

You see; we believe there was a tree of some kind of knowledge, and the releasing of this knowledge into the world was a very bad thing. Hence, knowledge=sin=bad=going to hell. However, the interesting thing is this: The clergy, the monarchs and the politicians who have all profited from keeping us shackled to this archaic superstition have never stopped seeking knowledge and wisdom; they just don’t want us finding for it. Because on the day we do, they shall surely die. Why do you suppose the church fought so ardently to oppose translating the scriptures into the common language?

So perhaps now you can begin to understand why the clergy have pushed for unwavering and unquestioning faith for two thousand years. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of those ancient supposed religions of the devil:

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you, yourself test and judge to be true… Buddha

Was America founded by religious fundamentalists or those escaping religious fanaticism?

Thomas Jefferson said, “Educate and inform the mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

 

In answering this query, I would like to employ an old, yet highly significant topic as the cornerstone of my debate – a subject few of us give much consideration to; and yet, it effects us daily:  our Constitutional Bill of Rights. Just ten little important principles which entail so much of the wonderful freedoms we take for granted today; and many of us can’t even recite them from memory. I’m just as guilty.

What makes this integral element of American history so profound is not only the freedoms it ensures; but principally how novel a concept such as a truly ‘free country’ was at the time. Unfortunately, the Bill of Rights is primarily utilized by criminals – especially those visiting from outside the country. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more, than to see people enter this country, refuse to learn the language, refuse to adopt the customs, yet when it comes time for an unfortunate run-in with the law, suddenly they become as proficient at our criminal protection laws as they are at committing crimes.

First, I intend to draw your attention upon some critical concepts from history, like the antics of the Spanish Inquisition, which I believe was a major contributor inspiring our Constitution and the addition of the Bill of Rights. I would also like to consider the question: “What kind of men would flee domestic life in Europe, sail across an uncertain ocean in leaky boats, to rough it out in an unknown world?” (Today it would almost translate to a human colony on Mars.) After laying this groundwork, I’ll list each Bill, along with some brief personal commentary. I’ll conclude with several quotes from the founding fathers, which explicitly answer the question, in my opinion, quite candidly.

What would cause the founding fathers to consider it necessary to guarantee the establishment of these inalienable rights? There must’ve been something more disturbing than ‘Taxation without representation’ – some monumental proceedings, which provoked the fathers to introduce these profound, yet very novel concepts of public protection. In fact, most people were quite happy under the reign of England, even the taxation issue didn’t seem to be too disturbing to people. It took a great deal of propaganda to sway the people towards a revolution. (Look into the writings of Samuel Adams)

First of all: Do we truly understand what it means to be born with rights of which we cannot be alienated from? Merriam Webster defines inalienable as: incapable of being alienated, surrendered, or transferred. Hell, you can’t even give them away, they are as much a part of you as your very soul; and bestowed upon you simply as your birthright, recognized only in few other countries besides American now. Today, it’s difficult for many of us in this country to even consider people born without these freedoms. And yet, a mere two hundred years ago, when the world was filled with rampaging tyrants, it was a relatively unheard of concept. Yet a small number of men held a vision of a free nation.

I believe in order to understand the mentality of the founding fathers, we need to reflect on the era leading up to ‘The Great European Exodus’; a span of several centuries leading up to the yearning of a repressed people desperate enough to do anything to abandon everything familiar to them and start a new life anywhere but there. You think you’ve got it bad? You don’t have to study history long before you’ll discover a healthy appreciation for today’s lifestyles. So when the word got out that the church was wrong in propagating a ‘flat Earth’ many of the disgruntled people made great haste finding an escape route to a better way of life. What were they fleeing from?

During this time, Europe was left in shambles from the black plague, which took a quarter of a million lives – a third of the continent’s population. The church was frantically thwarting the advancements of science; such as, apposing the use of anesthesia during child birth – as it robbed women of the curse, God in His mercy had bestowed upon them in Genesis. The Spanish Inquisition, in their mercy, who killed or imprisoned thousands upon thousands of unfortunate souls; they even dug up two thousand corpses and burned them as well.

The Ottomans were zealously attempting to make Europe a Muslim continent. The Protestants (or protesters) finally began the long overdue dismantling of world domination by the Catholic Christians, with the indirect help of the Ottomans – a sort of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. It appears the Protestants preferred not being persecuted by the Muslims to being hunted by the Catholics. In fact, had it not been for the invasion of Hungary by the Muslims in 1526 – a time when the Reformation was still in the infantile stages – the Catholics might have had enough free time to eliminate the rebellious uprising.

You non-Catholic Christians might want to shake the hand of a Muslim; for without them, Catholicism might have abolished the Reformation movement, leaving the western world with only one Christian religion. However, I would also like to add, few of these Reformers could find any common ground amongst themselves either. The Reformers started killing each other in bloody battles as well, even dabbling in the art of stake burning a bit – Calvin caused Servetus to be roasted to death over a slow fire. Why? Because hey, that’s exactly what God expects when others disagree with our superior point of view.

In Europe, the papacy had an engrossing power that was even above temporal governments. The papacy used an amazing institution to control the masses, which implemented the humanitarian tools of fear – intimidation – spies – torture – seizure of property – imprisonment – and murder. The name of this holy institution: ‘The Spanish Inquisition.’

We have little understanding today just how ‘Nazi-like’ cruel this order was to other human beings. Nor do we grasp the incredible number of people slain in the name of keeping the peace of God in Europe. Between pestilence and righteous murdering, it’s lucky anyone survived at all. “With such savage alacrity did [the Spanish Inquisition] carry out its object of protecting the interests of religion, that between 1481 and 1808, it had punished three hundred and forty thousand persons, and of these nearly thirty-two thousand had been burnt.” J. W. Draper.

The Spanish Inquisition utilized the most honorable and holiest of means of extracting information from their prey; for example: a woman married to a suspected heretic comes to confession. The clergy, ever so piously, informs her, God is unable to grant her forgiveness at this time. In order to obtain it, she must return with some incriminating evidence against her husband. (You were unaware God was in the business of extortion, eh?) Well, usually her first report isn’t sufficient to appease absolution from God, so she is instructed – before God can grant her forgiveness – she must return with some juicier info. Can you imagine how many spouses may have lied on one another, as an apparently innocent means of dissolving their marriages?

Once the Inquisition got their hands on you, you were usually never heard from again unless you were honored as the star in the next stake burning; then the whole town came to witness this horrific and gruesome debauchery of our pious institution. It was a community entertaining event. (And you thought the violence depicted on TV was making our kids desensitized; imagine what it took to arouse interest in a child of the ‘Dark ages.’ “A pillory, is that all you got? Aw, that’s a doddle; last week alone, I witnessed fourteen stake burnings, three be-headings, and twenty-six decaying bodies in the street!”)

You would usually be dragged to another country, and you might spend several months in a cold dark dungeon before you even discovered what you’d been charged with. Then you will stand alone before the holy judges – never knowing who your accusers were – no witnesses – no lawyer – no one testifying on your behalf – just you at the mercy of these pious men.

These blameless judges would use verbal assaults to coerce you into a confession. If that didn’t work, they would torture you into bearing witness against yourself. Many innocent ‘heretics’ confessed to whatever folly they’d been accused of just to end the torment and suffering. Sometimes these gracious tormentors would give the body repose for a few months, only to start the torture afresh once the body was healthy enough to endure a few more rounds. If they allowed you to live, you might be so excessively fined, it alone would be the ruin of you and/or your family. Many an unfortunate mother with children was left destitute as the clergy took possession of their land and property on account of the husband being found guilty of heresy. What a great time to be alive.

This constant repressing and barbarity of the church to keep all the good little boys and girls in check was really pushing the people into a frenzied state of rebellion. They flat out had had enough. If you think, atheism is in full battle array against the church, it’s my opinion, this is nothing in comparison to the disdain, the Reformers and the intellectual held against the church during the ‘Dark Ages.’

I hate to even imagine what the world would be like today, had it not been for those heroic ‘heretics.’ We, Christians have the Reformers to thank for our ability to worship Christ in our own unique style; and we ought to remember; it was also the Protestants who removed the barriers blocking the advancement of science – science, which put an end to the Black Plague. It was their research, which led to the advancements in medicine, helping us live longer, healthier lives – science has done more good for this planet than any other field – so we need to remember that the next time we feel inclined to criticize their research.

Let us consider a little deeper the battle raging between religion and science of that era; and the incredible suppression constantly applied to science by the church – the countless men who were imprisoned and murdered for their belief in the globular form of the Earth. Yes, incredulous, I know, but true nonetheless. These great intellectual pioneers – who incidentally happened to be RIGHT – were ridiculed, labeled as heretics, imprisoned, or even murdered. This, in my opinion, is exactly why science blossomed in America; a place where they had the freedom to work without hiding or lying about their research. And the primary reason, I believe, so many great scientists lunged at an opportunity to come to a country where they could pursue their research unencumbered by the meddling of a self-righteous institution.

I believe without the Reformation in Europe and the independent spirit which ignited the birth of America, we would be hundreds of years behind, rather than hundreds of years ahead of our time. It’s my firmest belief: If not for the revolt of the Protestants we’d still be living in the ‘Dark Ages.’  Literally, without electricity had those brave ‘heretics’ not had the courage to stand against the tyranny of the church. Read John W Draper’s insightful book entitled ‘History of the Conflict between Religion and Science’ for a detailed account – it’s a free download.

Can you appreciate the immense fear and acute apprehension running rampant during this dark time? Never knowing who is going to throw you under the bus – get mad and make some preposterous allegation against you – or the clergy lying on you out of greediness for your possessions. I believe there’s a commandment or two for this, oh yeah: thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, and thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s stuff.

What many of us fail to realize is that our forefathers had damn good reason for risking life and limb to cross an uncertain ocean for a fresh start in a hostile uncharted world. They put it all on the line just to flee from kings and mostly the out-of-control, overbearing, power hungry church. They had innumerable legitimate reasons – based on a thousand years of tyranny – for establishing a government built upon the principles of ‘Separation of Church and State’ and the rights of all men. Our government has remained this way since day one, 1776; however, believe it or not, most European countries were still battling to get out from underneath the oppression of church dominance even into the latter part of the 19th century.

Now, bearing all this in mind; our review of ‘The Bill of Rights’:

  1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is, by far, my favorite of all our protections. Obviously, the protection of free religion was established to put an end to the righteous bloodshed over the centuries by conflicting religious bigots. The freedom of speech and particularly the freedom of the press – to the point of not even allowing the abridging of material – is a total stripping of the church’s power, which was in absolute despair when the printing press was invented. They knew; prior to this, it was a simple process to suppress any opinions, which differed from theirs. However, the printing press meant mass marketing. Once a book containing ‘heresies’ was printed and distributed, they would never be able to gather all the copies from around the continent for burning.

The church found a means of restricting the power of the press by implementing a parliament of clergy, which scrutinized all writings prior to printing, looking for anything that might contradict their established opinions. This simplified most of the early author and book burning parties. Thank God for this bill, as it brought this practice to a standstill.

It’s interesting to note: “The first printed work to be so treated was actually the Gospel. On two occasions, Tyndale’s New Testament in English was burnt before Old St. Paul’s. But in pausing to reflect that the book which met with this fiery fate, and whose author ultimately met with the same, is now sold in England by the millions, one can only stand aghast at the irony of the fearful contrast, which so widely separated the laborer from his triumph. But perhaps we can scarcely wonder that our ancestors, after centuries of mental blindness, should have tried to burn the light they were unable to bear, causing it thereby only to shine the brighter.”… James Anson Farrer ‘Books condemned to be burnt’ 1892

2. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. – I’m sure there’ve been many exhausted hours paid out to lawyers in painstakingly searching for loopholes around this one.

3. No Soldier shall, in times of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law. – This was a direct result of what the king of England was practicing; it’s hard to conspire against the king when you live with his soldiers.

4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – I believe this was instituted just as much in regard to the practices of the church as it was for the tyranny of kings. There may be a greater amount of despicable stories of clergy acting in this imprudent way than all the kings of Europe combined.

5. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be witness against himself, (I presume this leaves out the implementing of torture to force someone into confession) nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation. – I have written a sufficient amount in regard to the church’s practice of the opposite in these affairs.

6. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed… and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. – Again, I have already written a complete chapter in regard to the church of Medieval times practicing the very opposite in these matters.

7. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right to trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law. – Possibly instituted to limit the church from re-investigating any issue that has already been tried in a court of law.

8. Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. – As was a common practice imposed by the Spanish Inquisition upon supposed ‘heretics’ after release, or even after life imprisonment or a death sentence.

9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others by the people. – No one, not even the church can use these rights as a means of oppressing others.

10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. – Making provisions for the people to be involved in affairs.

I’m of the steadfast opinion; these precious rights were implemented as a direct means of abolishing the ghastly and despicable antics of the church once and for all. God bless all the great men who painstakingly labored over these issues until at last they devised such a magnificent governing set of rules for this great country.

These profound and well educated men, who formed our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, were well aware of the chaos we were escaping from, and wanted to establish a solid means of circumventing it from our future. I’m also fairly certain, the Salem witch trials, from less than a century earlier, was another sound reminder of how easily this dormant behavior lying under a superficial appearance of piety, could sprout back up at anytime, anyplace. The only ingredients needed to foster such ludicrous behavior is: one part fear and superstition – one part chosen of God, superior, separated, and called to kill in His name – and a whole lot of ignorance among the masses, which seems to have always been in great supply.

According to Max Farrand’s book ‘The fathers of the constitution; a chronicle of the establishment of the union’ “When independence was declared, Congress recommended to all the States that they should adopt governments of their own… Each state adopted a written constitution.” One profound excerpt found within these constitutions goes as follows: “Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscious, and reason.” Now I ask you: would a devout fundamentalist ever make such a permissive proclamation? I think not, especially based on thousands of years of global religious history; they most certainly would not. Fundamentalists are always reminding us just how jealous and intolerant their God is, and how we mustn’t deviate from the explicit mandates outlined in the Bible, Quran, or other ancient manuscript. So again I say no, a thousand times no; these founding fathers of our country were not religious fundamentalists at all.

Here are some provocative and interesting quotes from our founder fathers:

  • George Washington said, “The United States is in no sense founded upon Christian Doctrine” http://www.skeptictank.org/files/atheist/foundr0g.htm
  • Thomas Paine said “Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” http://www.skeptictank.org/files/atheist/foundr0g.htm
  • James Madison said, “During almost fifteen centuries the legal establishment known as Christianity has been on trial, and what have been the fruits, more or less, in all places?  These are the fruits: pride, indolence, ignorance, and arrogance in the clergy.” http://www.skeptictank.org/files/atheist/foundr0g.htm
  • John Adams said, “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.” – “The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian religion.” – “The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity” – and yet he also said things like “There is no such thing as human wisdom; all is the providence of God” and “I cannot conceive such a Being could make such a Species as the human, merely to live and die on this earth” http://thinkexist.com/quotes/john_adams/
  • Thomas Jefferson said, “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites” – “The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves…these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.” – “[The apostle] Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.” – and “The common law existed while the Anglo-Saxons were yet pagans, at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ pronounced or knew that such a character existed.” http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/thomas_jefferson.htm
  •                In 1825, when Thomas Jefferson was hiring faculty for the University of Virginia, John Adams wrote to him with some controversial advice. It read, “Do not hire any European professors. If you hire a European professor, they are liable to believe in Christianity, and that is a very dangerous doctrine that we should stay far away from.”

Visit the site, http://jeffersonbible.tripod.com/index.htm for a complete overview of Jefferson’s opinions as well as the Bible that he pieced together from Greek, Latin, French, and English extracts which he cut and pasted together.

  • Benjamin Franklin said “Here is my Creed: I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped. That the most acceptable Service we can render to him, is doing Good to his other Children…. I think the System of Morals [devised by Jesus] and his Religion as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting Changes, and I have with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his Divinity.” http://www.beliefnet.com/resourcelib/docs/44/Letter_from_Benjamin_Franklin_to_Ezra_Stiles_1.html

Judging by the disdainful tone of these remarks, I’m inclined to believe the founding fathers would concur with my deduction. I’m not saying these prominent men were atheists – as some might like us to believe – they were good, moral, godly men who probably called themselves Christians, but most importantly – in my opinion – they ardently sought and desired to see a new era in this world – an era of explicit tolerance for all faiths. Maybe these great men were the founders of what many fundamentalists call the ‘Emergent Theologian Movement’, where a person is free to incorporate doctrines from unlimited sources into his or her personal faith.

I think most people would our founding fathers were indeed Freemasons. Freemasonry is an organization where the only stipulation of membership by the initiates,(at least of a religious aspect) is a simple belief in God. No specific religion, creed, or dogmatic view required, just a simple belief in God – sounds quite reminiscent of the phrase quoted earlier from the State Constitutions

Suffice it to say: No, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and America were not designed by religious fundamentalists, but by well respected, educated men, who were determined to prevent the history of religious bigotry and intolerance from ever prevailing again – at least not in this country. These were men who even long before the ‘Civil War’ had the foresight to implement regulations prohibiting slavery on all newly formed territories in the west. These great men had incredible perception into the future. In fact, when they first convened for the creation of the Constitution, they so recognized the significance of the task at hand, it prompted Madison to say, “Now to decide forever the fate of Republic government.” And Governor Morris to declare, “The whole human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention.”

Michael Blakeslee

“That might be some of the best reading I have enjoyed in a while…  It’s an honest perception without actually bashing organized religion. Great history lesson too.” …Heath Roy Chapman

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Tired of Dogmatic Intolerance

Recently, a friend sent me a link (at the bottom) to ‘Biblical Meditation’; and I thought, awesome, finally someone was talking about meditation from a scriptural perspective – especially since it’s mentioned so frequently therein. However, I was very disappointed to discover the author bashing Eastern traditions. Why couldn’t he just say what he had to say without attacking someone else’s beliefs?

But OK, now he’s said it, let’s get on with it; however, no, the author couldn’t stop blaspheming Eastern traditions – in fact, he attributes Eastern meditation to the work of the devil on four occasions. You already proved meditation is scriptural, so why the extra attack on Eastern philosophy? Evidently, you must still expect to find some members of your faith bucking your novel concept, so you go the extra mile to reassure your readers it’s not the devil’s meditation from those evil Eastern philosophies. What scripture is it again where Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and condemn every faith that differs from your own”?

If your simple-minded belief structure requires you to have an antagonist – which is no different from any Hollywood movie – in order for you to feel coerced into being good little boys and girls so Santa Claus brings you more presents, so be it; however, you needn’t project your primitive superstitions on a culture that was established over a millennium before your own.

Mr. J. Hampton Keathley, you obviously don’t know much about Eastern meditation. that’s OK, since you’ve probably never studied it; however, don’t you think it wise to do some research before you make such outlandish statements. I’m sure your answer would be, “It didn’t come from my faith, which is of the only true God; hence it must come from the devil!”

This is nothing less than the ignorant mentality of the Spanish Inquisition – which cost thousands of good people their lives – passed down as a legacy from your predecessors. I’m certain your response to this would be, “Oh; that’s the Catholic Church; I’m a narrow-minded bigot of another Christian faction!” Well, funny how much you all think alike my friend, but regardless of what you may think those are your religious ancestors.

I believe religious intolerance is just as potent today as it ever was, the only difference: The church is no longer more powerful than the government. In fact, I believe the Constitution and the principle of ‘separation of church and state’ is the core blockade preventing religious bigots from burning innocent victims at the stake again. I firmly believe there are still radical fanatics who would, if they could. It’s only been a decade since Christian Serbs established rape camps for Muslim women, and when they had Muslim men bite the testicles off of other Muslims in an attempt to commit religious genocide. Why, because I’m sure that’s what Jesus would’ve wanted, right?

When normal secure people are in possession of the best car – government – or what have you, they don’t feel the need to bad mouth someone else’s stuff just to make theirs appear superior – it simply just is. You don’t see Mathew McConaughey talking down other actors of lesser quality – there’s no need for it; it merely reveals one’s ignorance and insecurities. If you want to believe your unique branch of Christianity is the only real religion having God’s approval, then go right ahead; but please don’t do it at the expense of other’s beliefs and long standing traditions.

It’s been 2000 years since Jesus tried to teach us how to love and forgive one another, including our enemies, not withstanding, “He who is without sin may cast the first stone.” How long before we start practicing these primary principles? If you want to proselyte other faiths, that’s fine; however, please do so without belittling them. Have you ever wondered why Christianity is on the decline? It’s time to put an end to religious intolerance once and for all.

Having been born again and having studied Eastern meditation, I feel compelled to end this with some constructive information: If you practice your Biblical meditation, and only that, you will do yourself a world of good – I promise you. However, know this: Among many of the several versions of meditation found in the East, they also teach, focusing on one good moral quality – like focusing your mind on peace.  It will teach you how to master the 10,000 screaming voices in your head, which is a major culprit hindering us from hearing the voice of God. Try it sometime.

If their meditation is from the devil then where does yours come from? Especially when you consider; Christianity traces its roots to the East. Jesus wasn’t born in Mississippi, you know.

As far as other meditations, which focus on ‘clearing your mind entirely’ being a dangerous practice, opening your mind to the wiles of the devil: First of all, it’s merely an advanced stage of the meditation we’ve already been discussing – you should try it also. And, most importantly, if you – who were created in the image of God – are in possession of such a weak mind that simply clearing it will create an open invitation for the devil to move in, may I suggest you toss it out! Because that kind of concept is as ludicrous as saying, “I have to keep my garage full of junk in order to prevent my neighbors from parking in it.”

Thank you for doing a much-needed  piece on Biblical meditation; it is an exceptional piece which is very informative. However, please remove the derogatory remarks on Eastern philosophies, such as:

“In Scripture it does not mean to sit and ponder infinity or to empty the mind so some force can fill it by repeating some chant or mantra. Such is dangerous and opens the mind to demonic attack. Just as meditating in a vacuum or to empty the mind as it is done in eastern religions is dangerous and may open the mind to demonic attack”

Michael Blakeslee “Never accept limitations in an unlimited Universe”

http://bible.org/article/biblical-meditation

Drew Gerald I think his criticism was very well articulated, open-minded, mature, non-dualistic, valid, and well-deserved. I think more people should voice such opinions in a peaceful and humane way.