Category Archives: New Testament

The price of freedom is Eternal Vigilance

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Eternal Vigilance is 5 years old. 🙂

According to the meaning of numbers in the Bible, the number 5 symbolises God’s grace, goodness and favour toward mankind.

The name of this blog is from a speech by John Philpot Curran, given in Dublin in 1790.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance

said Curran. The shorter form of the original quote is variously attributed to the likes of Wendell Phillips and Thomas Jefferson, but no one really knows who first came up with the exact phrase. Here it is in the Virginia Free Press and Farmers’ Repository, May 2, 1833.

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Sadly, the sentinels on the watch-tower slumbered long ago. We’re still not free, we never have been, and likely never will be. Eternal vigilance is a big ask.

Just as well we’re not commies and we never had a first five-year plan!

So what’s the good news?

One issue close to the hearts of libertarians in general and at least two Eternal Vigilance bloggers is cannabis law reform. I’d like to take this opportunity to review the dramatic progress made towards sane, sensible and just cannabis laws in the last 5 years. Not here in New Zealand (not yet), but in the original land of the free, the United States of America.

That’s 4 states plus the District of Columbia since 5 years ago, 46 more states to go. And an unprecedented number of states will vote on marijuana this fall.

But it’s not all good news.

For example, in Colorado, fatalities and injuries on the road attributed to DUI dropped after legalisation but are trending up again. And, although arrests are down, the racial disparity in marijuana-related arrests hasn’t changed.

These things have occurred. And it is a true adage that, “what has happened once, may happen again.”

“When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (NIV)

I wonder and worry about what frightful bureaucracies may supplant cannabis prohibition in New Zealand once it is finally driven out.

A life cut short by Police

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My day got off to a bad start when I fetched today’s Dominion Post from the end of my mum’s driveway and read the headline. (See above. You can click the image to read the whole thing.) Three blatant lies in large print is excessive even for the Dominion Post.

A life cut short by P

FALSE. A life cut short by an unconfirmed number of police bullets.

Shot gunman had private education and good business – but lost it all to addiction

FALSE. He wasn’t a gunman. According to his girlfriend, who was present, he was unarmed. And, while he may (or may not) have lost the family business to an illegal drug habit, he lost his life to the War on Drugs.

Shooting unavoidable, say police

FALSE. There was no need for the police to break into a private residence unannounced and shoot a man dead just as he was about to sit down to have dinner with his girlfriend.

But Marshall’s girlfriend, who was there at the time of the shooting, insisted he wasn’t armed.

Kendall Eadie lived with him at the mechanic workshop.

She said the pair had just been about to have dinner when police stormed into the residence and immediately fired three shots at Marshall.

“The police executed a warrant on my place and murdered my boyfriend,” she said.

Three vicious falsehoods, and then my day got worse. While my mum read the paper, I went online to read the article. I searched for the headline, “A life cut short by P” to find it. But this is all that Google returned.

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Two links to a review of a biography of Edgar Allan Poe. When I did find the online version on Fairfax Media’s stuff website, the main headline now read

Hamilton police shooting victim Nick Marshall sank into addiction

and I became agitated. So much so that my long-suffering mother, who is well accustomed to her visiting son’s political rants, had to tell me to calm down. This before I’d had my morning meth or even a cup of coffee. 🙁

Why was I agitated? Because I realised immediately that readers of the print version, who (on average) are an older demographic who vote more, would not read the more truthful headline presented to readers of the online version, who (on average) are a younger demographic who vote less. The demonisation of methamphetamine continues apace deviously as the police ramp up their ongoing persecution of drug addicts (essentially all of whom are addicts due to unresolved psychological trauma—yes, drug addiction is a mental illness) this time by way of an extrajudicial killing. FTP and the MSM they rode in on!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, loud and clear. LEGALISE P. Or, at the very least, medicalise it. Make methamphetamine available on prescription. This is not in any way, shape or form a radical or irresponsible proposal. It’s simple common sense and compassion. It’s a no-brainer, and if it seems otherwise to you it’s because, sadly, you’ve been brainwashed. Actually, let’s be frank. If you think methamphetamine is inherently dangerous (Jim Anderton once called it “pure evil”) then you’ve been duped. Methamphetamine is safe enough to prescribe to children.

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Desoxyn is a central nervous system stimulant prescription medicine. It is used for the treatment of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Desoxyn may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in patients with ADHD.

Please realise that methamphetamine is only a methyl group (“meth”) different from amphetamine. Chemically speaking, methamphetamine and amphetamine are closely related, and in terms of subjective effects, even veteran speed freaks find it difficult to tell the two apart. Please know that amphetamine and its chemical cousin methylphenidate are routinely prescribed in New Zealand for the treatment of children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Meta-analyses and systematic reviews of magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that long-term treatment with ADHD stimulants (specifically, amphetamine and methylphenidate) decreases abnormalities in brain structure and function found in subjects with ADHD. Moreover, reviews of clinical stimulant research have established the safety and effectiveness of the long-term use of ADHD stimulants for individuals with ADHD.

Pretty much all the (wildly overstated) harm associated with methamphetamine use is due to improper dosage (yes, you can have too much of a good thing), improper route of administration (don’t snort it or smoke it), and (mainly) its illegality. What are the odds that the late Nick Marshall had undiagnosed ADHD and his methamphetamine use was as much self-medication as addiction? Suppose that he’d been able to see his doctor and get a prescription for P. Fully funded by Pharmac, he’d burn through $10 a month instead of frittering away the multi-million dollar family fortune in a few short years. (If, indeed, that’s what he did. I shouldn’t be making such an assumption. People with ADHD make notoriously bad business managers.) With the help of his doctor, he could reduce his methamphetamine use and wean himself onto the perhaps more forgiving amphetamine or the even more innocuous drug methylphenidate. And today Nick Marshall would still be alive and successfully managing Marshall Transmissions.

In conclusion, the War on Drugs is the Holocaust of our times, the editors at the Dominion Post are propagandist scumbags, and the blue-uniformed thugs are murderous Sturmabteilung.

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

Tomorrow’s dreams

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The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (NIV)

Life is what happens … while you’re busy making other plans.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (ESV)

Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines?

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (NIV)

Make a new plan, Stan! … Just get yourself free.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)

Leave the sorrow and heartache before it takes you away from your mind. When sadness fills your days, it’s time to turn away. And then tomorrow’s dreams become reality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztn1G8WCkII

Pay toll. Do not use bridge.

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I get a couple of local rags, the weekly Kapi-Mana News and the monthly Whitby Newsbrief. Yesterday they both arrived together.

The Kapi-Mana News told me that some 20,000 motorists per year are legally obliged to pay a road toll for driving on Whitford Brown Avenue.

The Whitby Newsbrief told me that NZTA has a “commitment to the local community” that they will “demolish the existing Paremata Bridge and remove the clearways through Mana in conjunction with the opening of Transmission Gully motorway, and following appropriate public process,” according to a Paremata Residents Association Inc. report.

Without government, who will demolish the road bridges?!

This is crazy stuff. Notwithstanding that NZTA isn’t actually committed to the bridge demolition, it’s only committed to considering it as a serious option! Read the full Whitby Newsbrief article here.

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Now let’s cut to the chase. What really needs to be demolished immediately is the speed camera installation on Whitford Brown Avenue.

Whitford Brown speed camera NZ’s busiest

The Whitford Brown Ave speed camera is the country’s busiest, having clocked up more than $1 million in fines in nine months last year.

Figures released by New Zealand Police show that in the first nine months of 2015, 15,273 infringement notices were given to motorists caught travelling faster than 54kmh. That put $1,139,490 into the Government coffers.

The second most lucrative camera in New Zealand was the one in Ngaruanga Gorge. It collected $1,070,000 from 14,200 notices.

After complaints from residents, Kapi-Mana News last February asked police for the number of fines resulting from the Whitford Brown camera, and the highest speed clocked along the road, but we were refused that information.

We were told that “due to a technical recording error, [police] could not provide information relating to specific cameras”.

Also, releasing data on speeds risked “glorifying such behaviour and could promote copycat behaviour… thereby creating a public safety risk”, even though incidents of speeding was regularly in the media”.

The police have now chosen to release the information.

I.e., the police lied initially about being unable to provide the information. But I digress.

I’m a safer than average driver. (I collect 1 speeding ticket per 7 years on the road on average.)

I seldom drive Whitford Brown Avenue but I’ve been pinged once. Whereas, I often drive the Ngauranga Gorge and I’ve never been pinged once.

YMMV but, arguably, the speed camera in the gorge has less to do with extorting revenue from the citizenry and more to do with road safety. Whereas, arguably, the speed camera on Whitford Brown Avenue has next to nothing to do with road safety and everything to do with replenishing the troughers’ coffers by means of an arbitrary road tax.

The speed camera on Whitford Brown Avenue must go.

I fantasise about how to wreck the wretched thing as a service to the community.

A hacksaw at the base would surely fell it, but I might be seen sawing and also I’d risk electrocution.

Some explosives wrapped around the base and detonated remotely would see it go out with a bang, but I’d risk the loss of life and limb if I were to dabble in recipes from the Anarchist Cookbook.

A large truck would come off best in any collision with the installation, even at the legal speed limit of 50 kph. If stolen (from the government), it could be abandoned for a quick getaway. So this would be my preferred option.

Lord, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil!

(See also Bridge jumping fun.)

The Bible. What is it good for?

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As is his wont, my King James Bible believing Dispensationalist libertarian Christian co-blogger Tim tagged me in his post (of the above image) on Facebook. 🙂

Be sure to get your doctrine from the Bible, not the traditions of man! (Colossians 2:8)

I really do appreciate the pro-tip. It’s just that there’s a whole lotta problems with this instruction. At least one of which renders Tim’s advice utterly useless!

One problem is that the cited verse, Colossians 2:8, does not even mention the Bible.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (KJV)

See! What this verse is really saying is be sure to get your doctrine from Christ, not the traditions of man! I agree! But let’s be clear. There’s no mention at all of the Bible in this verse. And I’ve made it quite clear in previous blog posts what my view is. It is that Jesus is inerrant, but the Bible isn’t. The Word of God is inerrant. His scribes, not so much. Yes, that’s right. I basically equate the Bible with “the traditions of man”. I don’t equate the Bible with Christ. The Bible as we know it hasn’t even been around a couple of thousand years yet. Whereas

In [the] beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (DARBY)

Believe it or not, another problem is that the KJV mistranslates this particular verse. And don’t believe it or do, so does the NIV. But of course! 😉

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces[a] of this world rather than on Christ. (NIV)

Which is why I always have recourse to Young’s Literal Translation for times like this when it matters exactly what the Bible says.

See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ (YLT)

It’s clear that “spoiled” is a KJV mistranslation of “spoil”. Yet at least the NIV has the good grace to provide a footnote (see above) to the effect that it has construed “the basic principles” (rudiments) as “the elemental spiritual forces” of this world.

But here’s the fatal flaw with Tim’s advice—be sure to get your doctrine from the Bible, not the traditions of man!—which renders it useless. Which Bible?

Tim’s telling me to be sure to get my doctrine from the Bible, but which one? As we all know, Christians (e.g., Protestants vs. Catholics and Orthodox Christians) can’t even agree on which books belong in the Bible, let alone which translations of the canonical books are themselves canonical.

Which Bible? Tim will, of course, answer the Authorized King James Version of 1611. Which is a fair answer to a fair question. But if I accept this answer, one thing’s for sure. I’m now getting my doctrine from the traditions of man, and from the traditions of one man in particular, viz., my co-blogger Tim Wikiriwhi! And not necessarily from either the true Bible (if, indeed, there even is such a thing) or Christ.

It comes down to this. When all is said and done, we must decide—each of us individually must decide—in what and/or in whom to trust.

I trust in Jesus, the Son of God, whom I know from the first-hand accounts of his ministry by the original gospel authors, from his work in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ, from his work in my own life, and from personal encounter.

I trust in the deliverances of my own God-given moral compass when (not often, just occasionally) they conflict with what’s in the Bible.

So the Bible. What’s it good for?

Why, it’s profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, of course! 🙂

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The Word of God is inerrant. His scribes, not so much.


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Jesus is inerrant, but the Bible isn’t.

Anyone who’s spent any time in serious study of the Bible (or even someone who’s only delved into it intermittently) will have discovered, for themselves, apparent contradictions, of which there are very, very many.

Just for example, Ezekiel 33:11 (and Ezekiel 18:32) and Psalm 37:13 seem rather at odds.

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (NIV)

but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (NIV)

How should a Christian respond to such apparent contradictions? It’s not easy maintaining contradictions. Maintaining a contradiction is surely the very essence of cognitive dissonance, and cognitive dissonance is something we all naturally seek to minimise.

Of particular concern are the apparent contradictions in Bible verses about salvation. Is justification through good works or by faith alone? Enquiring minds want to know.

The inerrantist response is to hold that the Bible is inerrant. On the premiss (due to Douglas Stauffer) that

God will preserve His word, and not allow it to pass away.

And then try to explain away the apparent contradictions. All of them. One attempt to do this (with particular emphasis on what the Bible says about salvation) is the doctrine of Dispensationalism due to John Nelson Darby.

Now, I can see that the above premiss has merit and that Dispensationalism is, in some sense, a reasonable response to the apparent contradictions in the Bible.

But doesn’t God operate according to the KISS principle?

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)

Dispensationalism is complicated. Doesn’t God’s fundamental message have to be intelligible to little children and simpletons? Because Dispensationalism isn’t.

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The errantist response is to hold that the Bible is not inerrant. To concede that it’s full of contradictions, some of which cannot be adequately explained away. But that, nonetheless

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (KJV)

and that Jesus’s fundamental message remains intact, which it does.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

My reason for writing this post is my concern that those who hold that the Bible is inerrant are fooling themselves. In a bad way. Notwithstanding that Douglas Stauffer (already quoted above) tells us that

Satan has reveled in creating doubt concerning the authority of the words of God.

the simple fact is that there is doubt concerning the authority of scripture as it has been handed down to us. Not to acknowledge and to express doubt such as this is to deceive oneself and maybe others too. It’s my considered opinion that those who persist in maintaining that the Bible is inerrant are involved in more convolutions and contortions than David Bain trying to explain his movements on the morning of 20 June 1994, more turns than a sluggard on his bed, more preposterous suspensions of disbelief than an atheist proclaiming that this blog post is an anticipated result of the Big Bang. They’re playing the exegetical version of Twister—the game that ties you up in knots.

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Salt is a four-letter word

[WARNING: This blog post contains lots of very strong language and is practically guaranteed to give offence to weak-minded prudes. Please proceed at your own risk.]

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The use–mention distinction is a foundational concept of (Western analytic) philosophy. To fail to recognise the distinction is, at best, to invite disaster.

The following true statements illustrate the distinction.

(1) Salt is an ionic compound, viz., sodium chloride (NaCl).
(2) ‘Salt’ is a four-letter word.

The first sentence is a statement about the substance called “salt”—it uses the word ‘salt’ to refer to that substance. The second is a statement about the word ‘salt’—it mentions the word without using it to refer to anything other than itself.

‘Salt’ is a four-letter word. Salt is not a four-letter word. And neither salt nor ‘salt’ is a four-letter word in the usual idiomatic (and only incidentally numeric) sense of the term. It’s perfectly polite and indeed good table manners to ask someone please to the pass the salt!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMkNsMMvrqk

In this post I want to say a few words about four-letter words (e.g., ‘fuck‘ and ‘shit‘) and their cognates (e.g. ‘fucking shit‘) and briefly discuss whether (and in what contexts) Christians ought or ought not to be using such vulgarities and profanities.

And it struck me that the perfect way to make the main point I want to make is to recycle the metaphor that Jesus uses in Matthew 5:13 right after the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says to his followers

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (NIV)

George Carlin aptly refers to the words I’m talking about as “just words which we’ve decided not to use all the time.” And “that’s about the only thing you can say about them for sure.” Carlin’s bang on the money! Because, if we used the words all the time, they’d lose their “saltiness”! They’d no longer be effective cuss words and they’d no longer be good for anything more than just plain old communication. Which would be a dingleberry of a disappointment.

(Or would it? If we no longer had an inventory of “reserved” words with which to insult others effectively, we’d have to relearn the art of the insult. And our prose would begin to be colourful like Bill Shakespeare‘s or Martin Luther‘s prose is colourful. And actually that would be fucking awesome!)

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Is probably the one blog post of mine I regularly link to. It explains how (according to me, but I’m not wrong) words acquire their meanings. The meaning of a word (any word) is determined by the conventions that govern its use. And those conventions can and do vary between different communities of language users. Amongst the kind of people I usually hang out with, the words ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ are used fairly indiscriminately. They’ve pretty much lost their saltiness in those contexts. (But I use those words extremely judiciously, if at all, if I’m having dinner with, say, my mum or any of her older friends.) Whereas both I and my peers still tend to hold back on using the terms ‘cunt’ and ‘motherfucker’. Those two words remain mostly reserved for when we need convenient terms to refer to truly despicable people, such as Peter Dunne.

But here’s the interesting thing. In the circles in which I usually move, the words ‘cunt’ and ‘motherfucker’ can cease to be insults at all simply by prefixing them with the words ‘good’ and ‘formidable’ respectively. To call someone a good cunt is to pay them a genuine compliment. And it is a mark of utmost respect to call someone a formidable motherfucker. Mohammed Ali was a formidable motherfucker. Vladimir Putin is a formidable motherfucker. Good or evil, you don’t want to cross such people! Not unless it’s from a safe distance, anyway. (I.e., well outside of Russia in the latter case.)

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips. (ESV)

Here’s a picture taken Wednesday evening of me (on the right) and a couple of good cunts. 🙂 🙂

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Now to the question, ought Christians to be using the sort of language I’ve been using here? The answer is simple common sense, really. It depends on the context and the occasion and the company. None of the cuss words above is at all appropriate during a church service, for example. (But you may say “piss” if you’re reading from the KJV.) Such terms should be used sparingly, if at all, in polite company. Because they’re impolite. But in impolite company (such as on my Facebook page) they’re not impolite. Here’s what the Apostle Paul says

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (NIV)

It’s contextual, you see. Don’t go calling someone a good cunt if it’s “out of place” to do so. But do go calling them that if it’s “helpful for building them up according to their needs.”

I’ll finish by noting that there’s a big tension between being a good cunt and being a formidable motherfucker. If you succeed at being both simultaneously then you’re practically a saint.

I came not to bring peace, but a sword

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This is #4 in a series of posts on heavy metal and hard rock musicians who weren’t Christians when they started out on their careers but who made the choice to give their lives over to Jesus later down the tracks. (My co-blogger Tim’s already posted about Brian Welch of Korn, the legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper and Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Metallica fame.)

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Featured musician #4 is Blackie Lawless. He’s the vocalist, rhythm guitarist (formerly bassist) and main songwriter for, and the last remaining original member of, the heavy metal band W.A.S.P. He’s also white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant.

In an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Lawless talks about his Christian faith and about religion and the heavy metal and hard rock genre.

You’re talking about a genre that, in general, is obsessed with the idea of God and/or the devil. Jazz, pop, there is no other genre that is absolutely obsessed with it as this genre is.

The Bible tells us, ‘The truth has been placed in the hearts of all men.’ In other words, people know what the truth is. What I see is people in the search of the truth. They’re all on a journey, the people that are attracted to this genre are people who are really a lot more in tune with it than they think they are.

I’m speaking from a direction where I know what I’m talking about. I was in the church until I was in my late teens, and when I left and came to California, I went as far away as you could possibly go. I ended up studying the occult for three years. I understand what they’re looking for — they’re looking for the same thing I’m looking for. I’m at a point now where I’m bilingual: I can speak their language. They can’t necessarily speak my language, but I can understand where they’re coming from.

When we say ‘religion,’ we kind of use that as a general term, and when people have the resistance that they have to it, they have every reason to feel that way. That’s part of what drove me away — the indoctrination of men that I received; it’s man’s indoctrination. Now, from my perspective, my faith is based on Jesus Christ and the Bible — nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t want to hear anybody telling me their ideas or their interpretations or interjections of what they’ve put into the Bible, like telling me I can’t eat meat on Friday, or I got to go and worship somebody’s old dead bones somewhere. That’s not in my Bible. There’s a lot of it. Every organized religion has it, every organized faith has it. That’s not where I’m coming from.

When I left the church and then I studied the occult, I walked around for 20 years and thought I was mad at God. I realized after 20 years I was not mad at God, I was mad at man for that indoctrination I received. For me I had to settle this issue once and for all, because I am not going to walk around with this anxiety of what’s going to happen to me and where I’m going. I got to know the truth. I got the Bible and I started reading and I thought I was going to disprove this thing once and for all.

Everyone says the Bible is written by men, but the Bible says it was men who were directly inspired by God. But I didn’t believe it for a minute. So I start reading and I start discovering and you have 66 books written by 40 different authors spread over three different continents, in three different languages, over a 2,000-year period. Most of the authors did not know each other, had no knowledge of each other, but yet I see consistently that they’re not just answering each other’s questions, they’re finishing each other’s sentences. It was mind-boggling, the deeper I got into it, and one day it hit me like a shot. I’m reading the living word of a living God. After that, I was just scratching the surface. Then, when you get even deeper into it, it’s beyond comprehension.

I cannot say it strongly enough. It is beyond impossible that it could’ve been written by men. I’m a writer, and even the writers that I know that I admire, I look at how we write, I know what our limitations are, and, like I said, it’s so far beyond our comprehension.

(Apart from the bit where he’s a rock star) I have much in common with Blackie Lawless. 🙂

I share his view that all too often “when people have the resistance that they have to [religion], they have every reason to feel that way.” Lawless says that he was driven away from Jesus by “the indoctrination of men” that he received in his youth. I can tell a similar story about the off-putting beliefs and behaviour of proselytisers in my own past. As can others I know. A friend on Facebook says

I stopped going to church in my late teens after being exposed to too much conservative fundamentalist theology. If this was Christianity, I didn’t want to know about it.

It took me 20 years to find my way back.

[T]he sad reality [is] that sometimes people who claim to speak for God make a very bad impression on people and it can turn them right off.

This has happened to many people. Myself included.

I found my way back. But many don’t.

[T]he same attitudes and behaviours that drove me away are still driving other people away. And this is no good for them. And no good for the Church, which is the Body of the Christ in the world.

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More about me and Blackie another day maybe. 🙂

Meanwhile, here’s the opening track from W.A.S.P.’s new album Golgotha.

This one!!!

We are at war with the ruling class

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

We are at war with the ruling class.

We want freedom and prosperity. They want power.

We have empathy. They have psychopathy.

In evolutionary game theoretic terms, it’s a Hawk-Dove game. And Western statist democracy is an evolutionarily stable strategy.

There is only one way to progress to a freer, more prosperous society. And that is to upset the Nash equilibrium. Who’s with me?

Keep calm and carry on

Suppose I’m trying to live a Christian life.

Jesus is the Word, and the Word clearly says that the most important rules in life are to love God and to love others.

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Then one of [the Pharisees], which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)

I’m an abject sinner. Nonetheless, I do try to do what’s right. In fact, I’ve mostly always tried to do what’s right. Even before I turned to Christ. You see, I have an inbuilt moral compass. A God-given moral compass. God is the font of morality.

Just as we all have an inbuilt knowledge of God, so, too, we all have an inbuilt moral compass. What is a moral compass, exactly? The term ‘moral compass’ is shorthand for a set of moral sentiments, certain basic moral beliefs and the ability to engage in moral deliberation. And empathy. Hence the Golden Rule.

Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them. (ESV)

Your moral compasss is kind of like a speedometer in a car. If you’re trying to keep to the speed limit (as, of course, you should) then respect what your speedometer tells you.

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We’re all supposed to have a God-given moral compass, one that points due moral north. Just in case it’s a bit broken and wavery, our parents are supposed to teach us right from wrong.

Not all parents are perfect, however. As a result of imperfect parenting, sometimes our children turn out to be gluttonous, stubborn, rebellious drunkards, who curse us.

Sometimes our children even commit heinous crimes and end up in jail.

I was in prison and you came to me. (ESV)

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them. (ESV)

As parents, we stand by our children. We love them, no matter what. At least, that’s what most parents do or would do and it’s what my moral compass tells me is how parents should treat their prodigal offspring. (I’m lucky in that my own children are model citizens. 🙂 )

But certain passages in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch) tell an entirely different story.

For anyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood is upon him. (ESV)

If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (ESV)

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Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (ESV)

I wish that others wouldn’t batter me with rubble.

I was once a stubborn and rebellious son who didn’t obey the voice of his father. Had I been stoned to death with stones by all the men of the city I wouldn’t be writing this here today. Luckily all that happened was an interview with my school headmaster. Hang all the Law and the Prophets!

When my moral compass and the Torah collide, I follow Jesus.