THE NATO PROPHECY? [plus- New Things for a New Year- this year WILL BE A YEAR OF CHANGE FOR YOU!- and some Socrates at the end.]
Last week in the video I noted [Don’t know why to be honest- just ‘came up’] That Russia has a reason to fear NATO- and the U.S. pushed Putin to the edge by our trying to get Ukraine into NATO.
I even said that NATO- in reality- is Russia’s number one threat [because NATO has become a sort of puppet/excuse for the U.S. to invade countries- under the guise of NATO- the media do not report it- but when you see any Western action in countries we invade- the media makes it sound like there is a ‘NATO coalition’ doing it- 99% of the time- it is us].
So- after the post/video- I noticed my blog got a lot of hits from Russia-
This week Russia released a new military doctrine- and for the first time- ever- they declared NATO as their number one threat.
Now- obviously it wasn’t because I posted it- first.
But I’m sure they were working on this paper for a while- and maybe they wondered how some Christian blogger ‘figured’ it out before they released it- who knows- I just found it interesting.
I also mentioned how I think we are closer to a ‘real’ war- than ever before- the threat being China and Russia- not the other hot spots- I even said you never know if Putin would use Nuke’s.
In the release of their new Doctrine- Russia did indeed say [changed policy] that they lowered their standard for the use of Nuclear weapons- very interesting indeed.
Ok- this week I hope to shoot the video by Bob Hall Pier- off the Gulf of Mexico.
I started the year - coming back from one of my New Jersey trips- at this spot.
I held one of our first meetings at this spot- committing to God that I would finally do some home groups- this year- which I did.
It was sort of a Vow I felt I needed to keep- and did keep it.
So- as we start the new year- I wanted to simply encourage my on-line friends to seek God for what he would have you to do in this New Year.
Often times we have lots of goals in life- financial- family- etc.
Those of you who have followed my site for a while see that Christ calls us to ‘higher’ things-
I’m not saying these other things don’t matter- but I’m saying that they should not take precedence over the Kingdom of God.
Jesus tells us if we want to be followers of him- we must take up our cross daily- die to our own desires- and seek first the Kingdom.
In scripture- he often challenged rich people to ‘sell it all- give it to the poor- come- follow me- you will have true riches’.
For some of you- it might mean leaving a former lifestyle- yes- actually ‘decreasing’ your wealth potential- for ‘greater wealth’.
The bible says Moses forsook the ‘riches of Egypt’ for a better calling. Hebrews 11:24 by faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
For others- it might be time to leave former sins in the past- Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
Romans 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Romans 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Romans 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
Romans 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Romans 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Romans 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Romans 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Romans 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This year I spoke openly about the sins of the flesh- many Christians struggle- for a lifetime- with stuff.
Some have made a sort of ‘agreement’ with these things- trusting that God will forgive them [of course he will] but then accepting the reality that they will never be free from these things.
That’s not God’s desire for you- he wants you to walk away from that stuff- and be free from bondage.
As we start the new year- I believe our country is heading for trouble- I talked about some of these things in the videos this year- and I don’t mean to alarm people.
But the bible clearly teaches us that everything that can be shaken- will.
25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh . For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised , saying , Yet once more I shake not the earth only,but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken , as of things that are made , that those things which cannot be shaken may remain . 28Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Many American Christians – I fear- have been lulled into a state of false security- they trust too much in the ‘systems’ of the world-
When these systems are shaken to the core- if they are not prepared- they too will be ‘shaken to the core’.
John the Apostle wrote ‘come out of Babylon- so you won’t be partakers of the judgments that are coming upon her’.
1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying ,Babylon the great is fallen , is fallen , and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying , Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Babylon is not just one country- in my view- but can refer to any world system that believers have too much of a stake in- regardless of where you live.
[Side note- today I’m at Half Price books, they also have a little coffee area with Wi-Fi
For many years the bookstores were a favorite spot for me- I have been an avid reader/book buyer- and have tried to read university level stuff- as opposed to the Pop Culture Christian stuff.
The level you read at- will affect all you do- so- over the years I got rid of a few personal shelves of books- and invested a lot in good stuff- I also ‘ravished’ my public library for many years.
But- the last few years I haven’t read anything new- I have a few unfinished books at the house [Philosophy- etc.] yet- they sit.
So- before I sat down to work- I perused the shelves here at Half Price books [old habits die hard].
I saw one by Gorge Wiegel- a Catholic author I’m familiar with- I read the pre-face- looked good [in the old days I would normally leave the store with a pile of books- this would be one].
Of course I saw the very popular ‘End Times’ stuff- down the road we will get into this- and trust me- this book would not have been in my bag on the way out.
I looked at a few more- and just browsing thru the shelves- you could see the state of American Evangelicalism- and how problematic it [we?] is-
Ok- just wanted to add this note].
This is not in keeping with the actual post for the week [die to your old life- yes- you can overcome sin- and in the end- you must].
But I have been reading thru the book of revelation ‘on the side’ [meaning- I have a regular- daily schedule of reading thru the bible in a consistent way- so when the years go by- yes- I have read every page/book- this is a habit I started many years ago- and as simple as it sounds- it will ground you. Many good Christians get sidetracked because they do not read/see the bible in context [talked about this a bit in last week’s post]- so- daily bible reading- and prayer- are the foundation. Now- I mentioned above that the last few years I have not read [other books] like I did in the past. Warning! Don’t take that to mean ‘all you need is the bible’-
‘John- the bible is the best book out there!’
I agree- but the Church has a 2 thousand year heritage- and I advise reading the great minds that have come from the church- as well as other fields.
The bible tells us to be ‘children’ in faith- meaning we approach God with a teachable spirit- but it also says ‘in understanding be men’.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
So- just wanted to clarify- I did my homework over the years- that’s why I can take a year- or 2- off [from the deep reading] but I already did the work.]
And down the road I will teach the book of Revelation- but so much of it deals with the faith journey we are on right now-
Many of the symbols are referring to God’s wrath on sin- and how all humanity is in a process of God purging sin from us.
The Great Winepress of the wrath of God- a type of judgment [present and future] that purges us.
The New City [the church] that no one can enter who lives in active sin [thus- repent].
Those who overcome the Beast and his image- they are ‘marked’ on their foreheads- or on their hands- until the process is finished of God redeeming [fully] the purchased possession [us].
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.- Ephesians
Sin- is also called iniquity- which means sinful lifestyles leave a ‘mark’ on our minds- and actions.
Jesus ‘slays’ the Beast- his great victory removes the Mark of the Beast- from us!
I could go on- at the end of the book we see ALL THINGS NEW- And a promise that those who overcome [yes- you can stop living in active sin] will sit with Christ on his throne- as he sits with the Father.
If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin , because he is born of God.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.- John the Apostle.
The book is really about the great victory of Jesus- and how we too can enter into that victory- in the end- we must.
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying , Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? [many feel no one can really ‘war’ with this beast- and those in active sin do indeed ‘worship’ the beast- many feel they can’t function- unless they engage in addictive habits- they ‘love’ it]
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak , and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed .
And that no man might buy or sell , save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
And the third angel followed them, saying with aloud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name
[note in these verses- the wrath of God is both a present- and future reality- so when we read in the Revelation about the wrath of God- it’s not only future judgment [Hell] but also a present judgment that comes on those who are in sin- [ For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,- Paul the Apostle].
And the first went , and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast,
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel ? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast
These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
And the beast was taken , and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image , neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Now- I do not ‘spiritualize’ everything in the book of Revelation- and over time I might teach the various views on the book [historic- future- a mix of both- etc.]
But what I want you to see in this post is the primary ‘enemy’ that Christ wars against- is Satan’s tactic to deceive man- thru sin- and the way sin effects the mind.
I read a book on addiction a few years ago [read a few] – and one of them was quite interesting.
It was a book on addiction recovery- from those who left AA.
The new program they started [and have good results] was based solely on recognizing the ‘addictive voice’.
Over time- thru many personal stories- they learned that sin/addiction starts in the mind- many testified to the fact that before they sinned- they actually found themselves ‘mouthing’ words like ‘I can’t believe I’m going to do this’
They taught- at that point- reject [rebuke] the voice.
[ that the image of the beast should both speak ,]
Many spoke about images of sin in their ‘mind’s eye’- Jesus warned against sin- saying ‘if your eye is evil- your whole body will be full of darkness’.
As you read these references I posted from revelation- you see an aspect of this
‘Those who worship the beast- and his image’ ‘those MARKED in their minds/hands’.
At the end of the book we read of those who overcame the beast- they ‘stood on a sea of glass- mingled with fire’.
Those who come up out of the waters of baptism [our identification with Christ] ‘stand on a sea’ in a sense-
Yet- it was fire too- I taught this year on the Baptism of Fire
So- the great victory over the beast and his image- is thru the work of the Cross- Jesus- thru his Word- kills this beast.
We are then raised to walk in newness of life- and have authority in the kingdom with him [sit on the throne too- this is actually not the teaching for the week- but I just wanted to give you a flavor of what’s to come].
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame , and am set down with my Father in his throne.
[1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved 😉 6 And hath raised us up together , and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians- Note ‘the spirit that now works IN THE CHILDREN of disobedience’- the primary spiritual warfare takes place inside people- Jesus ‘wars’ against the sinful nature of man- the ‘spirit’ working in sinful/lost man].
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them [Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? Corinthians]: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image , neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame , and am set down with my Father in his throne.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away ; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband [This is us- THE CHURCH- THE BRIDE]. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying , Behold , the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow,nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away [Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away ; behold , all things are become new. Corinthians] . 5 And he that sat upon the throne said , Behold , I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write : for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable , and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers,and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:which is the second death.
Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
Ephesians 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Ephesians 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Ephesians 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Galatians 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Galatians 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
Galatians 2:19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
I pulled this next section up from my Philosophy teaching I did last year- figured the quote ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ would fit with this post- as we begin the new year  it’s good for us to take a look at where we are at- and seek God for changes that need to be made- remember what I taught on ‘Christian recovery from addiction’? Any habit that you stop- for about 30 days- begins a change in the mind- and once you make the first 30 days- have faith that the rest of the year will be ‘new’- this applies to any thing- not just substance abuse [as a side note- on Jan 3- I made 2 years without a single drink- or Zanax- or any meds at all- I add this because I have many friends who count their clean date from the last time they drank- but abuse all types of meds- so- a true clean date- in my mind- is being free from all substances- and sexual sin- which many in recovery do not even recognize as sin/bondage]
Socrates was born around 469-470 BCE.
He is famous for introducing a way of learning that engaged the students in a dialogue- the question would be put on the table- and thru rigorous debate- you would come to an understanding thru the process of questioning.
This is referred to as the Socratic Method.
Socrates came on the scene during the famous Spartan wars.
The other day I watched the movie 300- which depicts the battle between the city state of Athens against the city/state of Sparta.
As you know- the Athenians suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Spartans.
The Spartans were outmanned by the Athenians- but their motto was ‘come back with your shields- or on them’.
They were a true warrior nation- trained to fight from their youth- and this defeat sent the people of Athens into a time of disillusionment.
They questioned the power of their gods- and a sort of malaise fell over Athens after the defeat.
This was when Socrates entered the fray- when the people had many questions about life.
He was called the Gadfly of Athens- a title that would also be given to the 19th century Danish father of existentialism- Soren Kierkegaard.
They were called Gadfly’s- because they were like flies that would pester you- and elicit a response.
The leadership of Athens saw Socrates as one that was stirring up the youth of his day- and creating discontent among the populace.
He rejected the many god’s of the day- but did have a belief in a single deity- he- like the Christians 4 centuries later- would be accused of atheism- because of his rejection of multiple god’s.
He was sentenced to death in 399 BCE- and his form of execution was drinking Hemlock.
His most famous student- Plato- spoke with him before his death.
Many were surprised at how willingly Socrates faced his demise- and this willingness had a great impact on those who witnessed it.
Socrates never wrote anything- but most of what we do know about him comes from the writing of others- most notably from Plato’s Dialogues.
Plato wrote down what Socrates taught- In his writings we see Socrates engaging in this method with various people- thus the name of Plato’s works- Dialogues.
There is a debate about how much of what was written about him was actually true- Plato did add his own ideas into these debates- and the controversy about this is so strong that we actually have a name for it- the ‘Socratic Problem’.
During the time of the disillusionment of the Athenians- there were a group of philosophers known as the Sophists.
The word comes from Sophia- meaning wisdom.
Philosophy itself means The Love of Wisdom.
In our day the words Sophomore- Sophistry and Sophisticated are derived from this root word.
The Sophists were the original Pragmatists.
Pragmatism is a form of belief that says ‘do what works- regardless of the ethical implications’.
We will get to Pragmatism at the end of this whole series on Philosophy.
But for now- we see the division between what Socrates taught- and the Sophists.
Socrates did indeed teach a form of Ethics- which contrasted with the Sophists.
He said that the pursuit of virtue was better than the pursuit of wealth- much like the words of Jesus ‘what does it profit a man if he gain the world- and lose his soul’.
His most famous saying is ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’.
He emphasized the importance of mind over body- which inspired Plato’s philosophy of dividing reality into 2 separate realms- the world of senses and the world of ideas.
Socrates actually challenged the Democratic process- he believed it better for the wise men- the Philosopher Kings- to run the show.
Athens did have a form of Democracy at the time- and because of the rise of the Sophists- and the itinerant teachers- you had sort of an election process- much like in our day- where those who would attain office were those who spoke the best- and made the best public argument.
We elect judges and stuff in our day- and even presidents- not because they are the most capable- but because they ran the best campaign.
So- in a way I agree with Socrates- at times I think we need a better process of electing those to higher office- then the one we have now.
It’s important to note that even though we started this study with Thales- and in the study of Western philosophy it’s commonly understood to have started with Thales.
Yet- Socrates seems to be the Father of philosophy in many ways.
He probably has had the most influence in the field philosophy- and the 2 great philosophers that we’ll get to next come right out from the heels of Socrates [Plato and Aristotle].
Why is this important to note?
As we progress in this study- and get closer to the 19th/20th century philosophers- we will see a trend- away from the idea that there are actually any ethical values- moral virtues- or ‘right or wrong’.
These philosophers dabbled with the idea that values themselves are the cause of man’s problems [Freud].
So- keep in mind- one of the main streams of thought in the early stages of philosophy was that values were indeed the main thing- Socrates challenged the Sophists of his day- he said that moral virtue was very important- that to live life with the values of courage- honesty- self-denial- these were the things that made men good- noble.
The bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’ ‘those that seek the Lord understand all things’.
Christian tradition would agree with Socrates in many ways- Jesus showed us that the virtue of service to others- to love your fellow man- to honor God- that these were indeed the heart of the matter.
Socrates feared the loss of virtue in society- that if we simply lived for the present time- with no higher values [a form of hedonism] then the foundations of society will erode.
He also believed that it was good to question things- not to simply believe a thing for the sake of believing.
Over time- thru debate and the discourse of other people- he believed you would get to the truth.
The bible says ‘in the multitude of counselors there is safety’.
Yeah- as people have a conversation- as they dialogue- often times they themselves come up with the answer to the question.
The apostle Paul penned the letter to young Timothy- he said ‘preach the word- in doing this you will save yourself- and those that hear you’.
Yeah- when you engage- and even try and teach others- this will have an effect on you too- the actual act of engaging- of teaching- often brings more insight to the one doing the communicating- then the ones who hear.
Yeah- I like Socrates- he believed in what he taught- he drank the Hemlock- knowing full well that his life would pass- but he had belief- faith- that after death man would pass over into another realm- a much better one.
No- he was not ‘Christian’ in the traditional sense of the word- but he was about as close as you could get- for his time.
PLATO and WHAT VALUES DO WE DIE- OR KILL- FOR? – [some thoughts on the attack in France]
In the last post- I quoted from Hebrews ‘everything that can be shaken will- heaven- and earth’.
I talked about world systems being shaken- I had the post done about a week before I posted it-
The day I posted it we had more earthquakes- in Texas- than ever before- in a 24 hour period [the last I saw- 12] UPDATE- Just read about another mysterious earth ‘shake’- Today [1-10-15] the news reported some sort of sonic boom’s that have been rattling Norman Oklahoma- strange indeed- some said it ‘sounds like thunder’ Hmm?
‘And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps’: Rev
‘Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said an angel spake to him’. Gospel of John.
Some said it sounded like thunder- you could feel the ground shake- but it was not an earthquake- others said it was like dynamite going off.
The nation’s meteorologists DID NOT HAVE AN ANSWER for the booms- normally they do.
There are multiple things it could have been- but they have been ruled out- National weather meteorologist Matt Day said ‘we don’t know what it was- we just know what it was not’.
He ended ‘it’s a mystery to us as well’. [Behold , I shew you a mystery;- 1st Corinthians 15]
Remember the verse I posted ‘Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.’- In scripture the voice of God is at times referred to as Thunder- In these mysterious ‘booms’ the meteorologists ruled out all the normal explanations for the shaking- but they said it was something from the sky- not anything to do with the earth itself [like fracking].
The same day we had the attack on the cartoonist magazine building in France- our world was shaken that day- in more ways than one.
I heard the normal pundits debate- once again- the issue of free speech-
They played some old clips from President Obama- when he said he defended the right of these publishers to do what they do- but questioned their wisdom [ he was right- by the way].
Of course now he simply said these attackers were barbaric- they killed for a wrong value- to defend the honor of their religious beliefs.
Now- do I agree with the killers?
Of course not- but- what values are worth dying- or killing for?
We [the U.S.] do indeed have ‘values’ that if it came down to it- we will indeed ‘kill’ you for- and have.
So- let’s take a look.
When North Korea ‘supposedly’ hacked Sony [many experts in cyber warfare believe the U.S. was set up- that North Korea did not do it- but- we already responded, by shutting down their internet- and it might be too late to admit we were duped. So- instead of backing off- we hit them with more sanctions. It looks somewhat likely that we were wrong- yet- for many reasons [or- values] we went ahead with the sanctions].
But- this was considered a Free Speech issue- for the movie ‘The Interview’ to be released.
It depicted the leader of North Korea in an orgy scene- and other stuff- that go against the ‘values’ of North Koreans.
So- the cartoonists also believed portraying the prophet Muhammad- in some pretty bad ways- was a value issue.
Now- would we [U.S.] ever kill someone- because of what they said- wrote- or simply posted on-line?
Even if what they posted exposed actual crimes that the U.S. committed [Andrew Snowden] In the ‘old days’ if you released documents exposing crimes of our Govt.- you were praised as a Whistle Blower- not any more [The Pentagon Papers]
We will go after you- and if we think you violated our values [by exposing a crime- but if we think what you exposed hurt us- then we might charge you with a crime- that in the end would merit the death penalty- even if you did not kill anyone- Treason].
We will also kill you- if we feel your nation is developing in a way that would threaten our economic supremacy in the world.
Yes- our country has various criteria- that we use as a base line- before we would go to war with you- this is indeed one of them [One of our stated objectives is to never lose the oil developing regions of the world [Persian Gulf] in such a way that it would threaten our supply of oil from this region].
Another one of our ‘values’ is if we ever felt like Russia was re-organizing back into a confederacy [like the U.S.] then we would not permit that [this is called the Wolfowitz doctrine- developed under Paul Wolfowitz].
So- if we think your country is getting too strong [even if there are no actual threats] then we can’t allow that- we will kill you [that’s what war is- by the way].
So- there are many ‘values’ that we will kill you for- and some are not righteous [like if a person exposed our govt. lying].
Last- but in my mind- not least.
We will ‘kill you’ if we feel you threaten our values- our way of life.
One of them being the killing of fully developed unborn babies.
Huh? – Now your nuts John.
Listen carefully- when I posted about some Supreme Court rulings a few months back- I said it was tragic that we legalized the aborting of babies into the 3rd trimester.
If you simply saw the pictures of these babies- dead- dismembered- it would affect you.
Now- when our country fights- wars- and kills- we do so to defend the Constitution of the U.S.
These are ‘our values’.
Any ruling by our Supreme Court- that is ruled as a RIGHT [Woman’s right to privacy is the official language] is considered now a value of the American people- which in essence- is a freedom- that if need be- we would die- or KILL for.
So- as the media debates the barbaric killing of the cartoonists- and says they had the right- their values- to print stuff-
Yes- I am a free speech person- but don’t ever underestimate the values that we- in the Western world- also hold dear- the ones we will kill you for.
Why say this?
In scripture- one of the criterion for ruling- for a nation- kingdom- to last- is they must BE JUST.
Now- in the whole debate over values [this is actually a very long- intellectual debate that fits in with some of the Philosophy teaching I have been doing].
It is vital to understand that any nation that embraces ‘bad’ values- no longer holds the moral authority to mete out justice in other nations.
Some might question my mentioning of abortion- the reason this is important to mention- is because one of the highest values in scripture [which in the end- is indeed where most nations values come from- whether they realize it or not] is to not kill.
One of the other high values- mentioned by Jesus himself- was the protection/care of children [But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven].
So- when any nation [Kingdom] engages with any other nation- and does so based on ‘values’- they cannot effectively ‘win’ in the end- if some of their values are the ‘worst’.
This past year- when our nation was ‘outraged’ over various things [one being Russia’s involvement in Ukraine] it was interesting to see John Kerry and a few others use the base line ‘they are violating the Norms of global values’ [in so many words].
Our govt. said that when Russia supported the Rebels in Ukraine- they were hiding the fact that they were sending in troops- under the guise of ‘aid workers’.
Yet- as I saw the frustration of our leaders- sort of like ‘can’t you see Putin is lying!!’
We- at the exact same time- are doing the exact same thing.
We claim that we pull out troops from Afghanistan- Iraq- etc.
Yet- we say ‘but we are leaving behind advisors only- armed- and if in ‘danger’ will shoot’ [and lead- and well- act just like troops].
Now- these are the same ‘aid workers’ of the Russians- no difference here.
But Kerry and others were truly indignant that Putin was doing- what we do.
NOTE- In scripture- is ‘freedom of speech’ in this context [Portraying the leaders of other countries- or our country for that matter- in a very negative way- or denigrating Mohamed- or Jesus- or anyone] – a right? Actually no ‘Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers’ . Ephesians.
Yet- we in the Western world view it as a right- one- that like I said above- we defend ‘to the death’ [when we engage in any actual military action- that in essence- is killing for the defense of our constitutional rights]
Then in this context- ‘our values’ are not necessarily in line with biblical ones.
These past 15 years- the U.S. has engaged in multiple wars/military actions- that have taken many lives.
Many of these who were killed were what we call civilian casualties [women and children were in this category].
Recently we released a congressional investigation [a synopsis] on our use of ‘torture’ on those we detained in our war against terror.
We- justly- said some of the tactics we used were wrong.
Yet- the new tactic- is one in which we kill multiple women and children when we carry it out.
It’s the use of drones- unmanned planes- that target terrorists- when we target these people- we do have a high rate of killing others in the process. [UPADTE- Right before I posted this- I saw a news story that we killed about 50 civilians in a drone attack- at one time. At first- our govt. did not report it- then when asked multiple times by the media- we said we were looking into it. Note- when we lie like this- on a national level- about killing innocent people- it brings judgment on us as a nation].
So ‘this value’ we hold [don’t detain- and torture- terrorists] has been exchanged for the acceptance of ‘collateral damage’ [killing civilians].
In this most recent debate- we usually don’t examine these things.
I talked about Socrates last week- hope to get to Plato in this post-
But one of the most famous quotes that comes from Socrates is ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’.
I think he spoke well.
What then is the Christian view on taking life- in military action?
In short- in the New Testament we read that God gives the ability of human govt. [if just] to mete out justice in civil society.
[1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. Romans].
The Church early on developed what is referred to as a Just war theory- basic principles that we feel are acceptable to engage in war.
Principles of Just-War Theory
|1. Last Resort
A just war can only be waged after all peaceful options are considered. The use of force can only be used as a last resort.
2. Legitimate Authority
A just war is waged by a legitimate authority. A war cannot be waged by individuals or groups that do not constitute the legitimate government.
3. Just Cause
A just war needs to be in response to a wrong suffered. Self-defense against an attack always constitutes a just war; however, the war needs to be fought with the objective to correct the inflicted wound.
4. Probability of Success
In order for a war to be just, there must be a rational possibility of success. A nation cannot enter into a war with a hopeless cause
5. Right Intention
The primary objective of a just war is to re-establish peace. In particular, the peace after the war should exceed the peace that would have succeeded without the use of force. The aim of the use of force must be justice.
The violence in a just war must be proportional to the casualties suffered. The nations involved in the war must avoid disproportionate military action and only use the amount of force absolutely necessary.
7. Civilian Casualties
The use of force must distinguish between the militia and civilians. Innocent citizens must never be the target of war; soldiers should always avoid killing civilians. The deaths of civilians are only justified when they are unavoidable victims of a military attack on a strategic target.
While my ‘plan’ for this post was not to overload it with political stuff- yet- recent events dictate.
I could go on about how we destabilized Egypt- Libya- and other regions by our involvement-
In brief- why did we back the ouster of Hosni Mubarak a few years back?
The main reason was we backed the protestors- who did indeed have legitimate complaints- one of them being the security forces [the police] in Egypt were abusive [so we are in a position to judge this?]
So- we backed his ouster [made it happen if you read all the behind the scenes stuff that went on].
And Egypt elected Morsi [long story- won’t do it all].
Morsi was overthrown by a military coup- [against the U.S. stated ‘wishes’]
And now they have a new leader- but the courts and military run the show.
We now engage with these new leaders- who did much worse than Mubarak.
They slaughtered hundreds of protestors [see below] – and recently their courts let Mubarak go.
Ever since our involvement- the economy of Egypt has been on a downfall- one of the biggest sources of income used to be tourism- no more.
They are now holding a reporter- to face trial- for aiding ‘terrorists’- yet he was simply doing his job.
So- after all is said and done- we harmed that nation- because of ‘our values’-
Libya- Iraq- Afghanistan- the list goes on.
Afghanistan is now a huge producer of Opium/Heroin- it has skyrocketed off the roof since our involvement in their country
Libya is run by terrorist militias-
Iraq is a disaster [notes at bottom].
All of these actions- the people we killed- were based on OUR VALUES- In one way or another- so- when we get outraged over the senseless killing of the French Journalists-
Remember- we too kill for values- and if you read this post carefully- many of these values are just as bankrupt as the killers of the Cartoonists.
Ok- this is another section from the Philosophy teaching I did a year or 2 back- hope to mention it on the video for the week.
Plato was born in 427 BC- he was the most famous student of Socrates.
He is best known for his theory of Ideas/Forms.
He believed that the material world was an imperfect copy of the Idea world.
That is he believed that Ideas exist apart from the construct of the human mind- that they were the perfect forms of the things we see in the material realm.
He could also be referred to as a Realist- because he believed these Ideas actually existed [for real]. Where did he get this from?
As we study Philosophy- each one that comes down the line has been influenced in some way by those that preceded them.
There was a famous thinker- Pythagoras [his followers were the Pythagoreans] who taught a concept called the Transmigration of the Soul [a sort of Reincarnation].
They believed that the soul of man went thru various stages- and existed independently of the body.
In Greek thought the soul is immortal- it exists before the body.
In Christian teaching the Soul [mind- Spirit] comes into existence when God creates man [the bible says ‘and man BECAME a living soul’- referring to the creation of Adam].
The Greeks saw the soul as preexisting before the natural life.
In the mind of Plato- the body was a receptacle- in this life we recollect the knowledge that comes from the Idea world.
He ascribed Ontological status to ideas themselves.
In Philosophy there are 2 basic ways knowledge comes [we study this in Epistemology- an offshoot of Philosophy- which deals with how we know things].
A Priori knowledge is knowledge obtained independent of experience.
A Posteriori is knowledge obtained thru the senses- what we call Empirical evidence.
In Plato’s schema he believed that the knowledge that comes to us from the Formal world [ideas- forms] was A Priori knowledge- that the human mind recalls- and in the present material world- knowledge comes to us from the perfect idea world.
The Greeks believed that all matter was flawed- that the Body was an imperfect vessel- and after death we are released into the perfect world- and free from the material realm.
Christian Tradition does not hold to this view.
The Church teaches that the created world is good- not evil.
Among Christians there is some confusion about this- because the older versions of the bible [King James] seem to teach that matter [world, flesh] is evil.
Paul the apostle talks about no good thing being in The Flesh- he talks about the Carnal mind- the apostle John says ‘all that is in the World- the lust of the flesh- the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world’.
There are many references like this in the bible- but they are speaking about the sinful nature of man [the flesh] and not about the human body itself [For instance Paul says in Romans ‘present your BODIES as living sacrifices unto God- Holy and acceptable’ in Corinthians ‘your BODY is the temple of the Holy Spirit’- there are many references in scripture that speak of the Body as Holy.
When the bible says ‘satan is the god of this world’ it is not speaking of the earth- which God created- and calls GOOD- but it is speaking of the ‘world’ system- an age of wickedness.
So- at times Christians have confused this- and have held a sort of Dualistic view of matter- that is not the biblical view- but a Gnostic view- that all matter is evil.
Plato saw the unseen world of Ideas as the perfect- pure world.
He taught that in this life we obtain the knowledge of the pure- by reason of recollection- that these pure ideas come to us ‘are recalled’ in this life.
He is famous for founding the first Philosophical school- it was called The Academy- named after a man by the name of Academus.
The land was donated for the school- it was previously used as an Olive Grove- and in honor of the donation- Plato named the school after the donor.
This is why we use the phrase ‘The Groves of Academia’ today.
Plato was actually a nick name- he wrestled in Athens- in a sort of precursor to what would later become the Olympic games- and he was broad shouldered- that’s where his name comes from- Plato means broad shouldered.
So- to sum up- Plato believed that Forms [ideas] were eternal, the cause of all that is.
He believed we are born with innate ideas- these are not learned thru sense experience- but exist independently of the mind- and in this bodily life we retrieve [the body is a receptacle] these ideas.
Does the bible teach anything along these lines?
Christians believe that God himself is infinite- without beginning or end.
That wisdom- ideas- ‘forms’ of things do indeed exist- prior to our own life.
But these ideas are not without a Mind- God is Spirit- and he is everywhere [Omnipresent] he knows all things [Omniscient] – so- in a way- there are indeed ideas- forms- but they come from the ultimate Mind of God.
A good example would be the building of the Tabernacle- and later the Temple- under Moses and King David [his son Solomon actually built it].
God told Moses ‘see that you build it after the Pattern shown to thee in the mount’.
In the book of Hebrews we read that the earthly Tabernacle [Temple] was simply an image- a symbol- of heavenly realities.
That God himself had the ‘form’ in his mind- indeed- like Plato taught- the heavenly form is perfect- the earthly expression imperfect.
But these patterns- forms- ideas- are from the Mind of God- they are not Innate in the soul of man- nor does the soul of man exist before his birth.
In the past few months I have had several Christian friends tell me that they feel like they existed before this life- a type of reincarnation.
I explained to them that in the Christian faith we do not hold to this view.
But- the bible does tell us that God had a purpose for us- Predetermined- before the ‘foundation of the world’.
Meaning that yes- in the Mind of God- in a way- we did exist- but we did not have actual being [called Ontological status in the field of Philosophy] until we were created by God.
God’s purpose for us was already in the Mind of God before our birth.
The bible says that Christ is made unto us wisdom- we are not Receptacles in the sense that Plato taught.
But yes- in time God reveals to us this Hidden Wisdom- about his love and purpose for us.
And in this life we act out- we fulfil this eternal purpose.
Man [or woman] can never find true happiness- true meaning- until they tap into this purpose.
We were created by the hand of God- to bring glory and honor to him- and we in this life can never find true fulfilment- until we make it back to God.
1Chronicles 28:10 Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.
1Chronicles 28:11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
1Chronicles 28:12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
1Chronicles 28:19 All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.
Exodus 25:9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
Exodus 25:40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
Hebrews 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
Ecclesiastes 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Below are just a few articles on some of the things I mentioned above-
Why even mention these things?
There was a whole debate that went on- for many years- whether or not the Church should involve itself with ‘social justice’ issues.
Meaning- things that we see in society around us- that are unjust.
Prophets in the bible had 2 primary callings- they spoke truth to the people of God- to bring them to repentance-
And they spoke truth to those in power- they pointed out injustice in society.
Now- preaching the gospel is indeed part of this- the gospel means Good News.
I mentioned the Michael Morton case a few weeks ago- he was the man convicted of killing his wife- wrongfully.
After 25 years in prison- justice was done- they found the real killer and he was released.
The people that worked for his release- put in many man hours- did hard work- and eventually he got out.
Should those men have spent their time just preaching- or practicing their faith?
Actually- that is ‘practicing their faith’- the bible says Faith without works is dead.
God was in the work that his lawyers did- it was part ‘of the gospel’.
So- these few I mentioned in today’s post- are just some- but we are responsible to work for justice in society- to see just outcomes.
In one of my videos I showed a picture of a little Black girl in Africa- I send her 25 dollars a month.
No big thing- but there are Christians who see these types of things as not part of their faith.
I would encourage all of you- get involved in some way- pray- ask God what your specific calling might be in any one of these areas.
If you study the history of the freeing of the salves in our country- you might be surprised to see how the first Abolitionists were White men/women- who were dedicated to God. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Theodore Weld- William Lloyd Garrison- Lewis Tappan- these men were revivalists- much like the Revivals that spurred many in the Great Awakenings- but instead of seeing their mission as preaching- they were on fire for the immediate emancipation of the slaves- Almost like a Moses type calling to ‘let my people go’].
They were seeking God about their purpose in life- and when they found it- they went nonstop- at the risk of their lives- to carry it out.
These men were indeed doing the will of God- they had a calling from God- and they carried it out.
When Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day- the religious leaders accused him of violating the law- their understanding of what it meant to live out their faith.
They were only concerned with religious practice- not the value of the oppressed.
Jesus rebuked them- he said they would rescue their animals if they had to- on the Sabbath.
And all he was doing was freeing a man who was in bondage too-
He said they were overlooking a major part of their ‘religion’ which was compassion- and working towards the benefit of humanity.
These traits were indeed taught in their religion [Judaism] but they only saw ‘the faith’ as religious practice- and part of it was indeed ‘preaching’- they were legalists when it came to that aspect of the faith.
But Jesus showed them a better way- he showed them how to live the faith- not just preach it.
NOTES- I caught a clip from Fox News Sunday- they were interviewing the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff- Martin Dempsey.
He was asked about Russia- now- most of these guys do indeed speak the truth- they are not as ‘politically correct’ as your average politician.
He spoke honestly- said he recently called his counterpart in Russia-
And said something to the effect ‘we have been at this [job] for around 40 years- at a time when our countries were real adversaries- are we there again [point of war]’.
They cut the clip of his full response- but Dempsey spoke openly.
Russia presently believes that the U.S. is on a mission to overthrow their country [yes- I read some actual military strategists [I like to read] who are familiar with the Russian doctrine on war- and threats. He said they had around 7-10 criteria that they look at- in order to determine whether or not the U.S. is going to come against Russia.
He said all of those criteria were met- and that the Russians are indeed preparing for a real war with the U.S.]
I didn’t share that the other week- but just seeing Dempsey- on a Sunday morning news show- basically admitting it- showed me this is no small thing- Many truly believe that we are on the verge of a hot war with Russia.
Current Situation in Libya: Failing Democratic Experiment
Libya’s failing transition to democracy began in 2011, when a popular uprising aided byNATO’s intervention brought down four decades of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s dictatorship. In a short civil war that ended with Qaddafi’s killing in September 2011, local residents and army deserters formed armed militias which – backed by NATO’s air power – defeated the government forces. While initially hailed as liberators, the militias refused to disarm after the war and began openly to challenge the new transitional authorities.
State territory became divided into semi-autonomous regions controlled by hundreds of militias which now pose the biggest threat to the political process. Elections were held in July 2012 but the central government remains weak, and the state security apparatus is incapable of maintaining law and order. This has bolstered regional identities, and some politicians in the oil-rich eastern Libya are calling for self-rule that would keep oil profits from flowing to the capital Tripoli.
The government tried to ease tensions by recruiting former anti-Qaddafi rebels into the army and police. But this in effect outsourced basic security services to powerful militia commanders who remain largely unaccountable to any authority. Violence is endemic, including turf wars between rival militias, shadowy Islamist extremists trying to seize power on the local level, and various criminal networks taking advantage of the state’s weakness.
1. Latest Developments: US Arrests an Al Qaeda Suspect, Lawlessness Deteriorates
The chaotic situation in Libya hit a new low in October 2013 when gunmen associated with one of the state-sanctioned militias briefly detained Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, in a brazen act of defiance which showed just how little regard the militias had for the central government.
The incident came just shortly after the US forces snatched Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, a Libyan militant suspected of involvement in in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. It’s not clear whether Zeidan was detained in reaction to the US raid, but militias in Libya regularly harass government officials and interfere in the work of the parliament.
Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks at the 68th United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2013 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images
2. Who is the Government in Libya?
· General National Congress (GNC): Libya’s transitional parliament holds the legislative power, but has so far failed to make any progress toward adopting a new constitution for the post-Qaddafi Libya. The most powerful political group is the liberal National Forces Alliance, followed by the Justice and Construction Party, an Islamist party linked to Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood. However, most seats in parliament are held by independent candidates. This makes it difficult for any party to form a stable parliamentary majority.
· Prime Minister Ali Zeidan: Head of Libya’s first government with a popular mandate is a former diplomat who abandoned Qaddafi’s regime in the 1980s, and played a prominent role in the 2011 uprising. Zeidan is a respected human rights lawyer with liberal leanings, but he has proven largely powerless to counter the militias, which remain the de-facto rulers in much of the country.
Libyan rebel soldiers from Bengazi celebrate as they arrive on an ex-Libyan Army frigate on August 30, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
3. Libya’s Militias
· Regional Militias: Libya’s regular armed forces and police are outnumbered and outgunned by the tens of thousands of former anti-Qaddafi rebels. Most militias are organized on the regional basis, and they purport to defend the interests of their hometowns against the capital Tripoli. But they also have supporters inside the government, resulting in a very complex political situation.
· State-Sanctioned Militias: Large number of regional militias has been put on the state payroll, after formal efforts at disarmament failed. The biggest such structures include the Shield Forces, a coalition of militias integrated into the Defense Ministry, and the Supreme Security Committee which is under the Interior Ministry’s command. In practice, most of these armed groups remain loyal to their own commanders, and the state’s control over gunmen is tenuous at best.
· Militant Islamists: Some Islamist militias do not recognize the current political system, and are fighting to establish a fundamentalist Islamist state. Among the most notorious is the Ansar al-Sharia militia in Benghazi, believed to have played a role in September 2012 events that led to the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
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Middle East Issues Essentials
Afghanistan has been the greatest illicit opium producer in the entire world, ahead of Burma (Myanmar), the “Golden Triangle“, and Latin America since 1992, excluding the year 2001. Afghanistan is the main producer of opium in the “Golden Crescent“. Opium production in Afghanistan has been on the rise since U.S. occupation started in 2001. Based on UNODC data, there has been more opium poppy cultivation in each of the past four growing seasons (2004–2007) than in any one year during Taliban rule. Also, more land is now used for opium in Afghanistan than for coca cultivation in Latin America. In 2007, 92% of the non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates on the world market originated in Afghanistan. This amounts to an export value of about $4 billion, with a quarter being earned by opium farmers and the rest going to district officials, insurgents, warlords, and drug traffickers. In the seven years (1994–2000) prior to a Taliban opium ban, the Afghan farmers’ share of gross income from opium was divided among 200,000 families. In addition to opiates, Afghanistan is also the largest producer of cannabis (mostly as hashish) in the world. In 2004, a fatwa was issued by Muslim clerics claiming that opium production is contrary to the sharia law and any opium producers would face punishments in accordance with the sharia.
On 14 August 2013 Egyptian security forces raided two camps of protesters in Cairo: one at al-Nahda Square and a larger one atRabaa al-Adawiya Square. The two sites had been occupied by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who was removed from office by the military after mass street protests against him. The camps were raided after initiatives to end the six week sit-insfailed and as a result of the raids the camps were cleared out within hours. The raids were described by Human Rights Watch as the most serious incident of mass unlawful killings in modern Egyptian history. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 817 and likely well over 1,000 people were killed in Rabaa Square on August 14. According to the Egyptian Health Ministry, 638 people were killed on 14 August, of which 595 were civilians and 43 police officers, with at least 3,994 injured. the Muslim Brotherhood and National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy (NCSL) claimed that number of deaths from the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque sit-in alone at some 2,600. Violent retaliation followed in several cities across the country. The interim government declared a month-long state of emergency in response and curfews were instituted in many areas. The total casualty count made 14 August the deadliest day since the 2011 Egyptian revolution which toppled Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak. The clashes were widely denounced by several world leaders.
Living Under Drones
Much of the public debate about drone strikes in Pakistan has focused narrowly on whether strikes are ‘doing their job’—i.e., whether the majority of those killed are “militants.” That framing, however, fails to take account of the people on the ground who live with the daily presence of lethal drones in their skies and with the constant threat of drone strikes in their communities. Numerous other reports have highlighted the disastrous impacts of Taliban and other armed actor operations in Pakistan. Those impacts must also factor into the formulation of governance and military policy in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This report, however, aims to draw attention to a critical gap in understanding, specifically about life under drones and the socio-economic impacts of drone strikes on civilians in North Waziristan. Available evidence suggests that these impacts are significant, and challenges the prevailing US government and media narrative that portrays drones as pinpoint precision weapons with limited collateral impact. It is crucial that broader civilian impacts and the voices of those affected be given due weight in US debates about drones.
The most direct impacts of strikes, in addition to injuries and killings, include property damage, and often severe economic hardship and emotional trauma for injured victims and surviving family members. Importantly, those interviewed for this report also described how the presence of drones and capacity of the US to strike anywhere at any time led to constant and severe fear, anxiety, and stress, especially when taken together with the inability of those on the ground to ensure their own safety. Further, those interviewed stated that the fear of strikes undermines people’s sense of safety to such an extent that it has at times affected their willingness to engage in a wide variety of activities, including social gatherings, educational and economic opportunities, funerals, and that fear has also undermined general
community trust. In addition, the US practice of striking one area multiple times, and its record of killing first responders, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid to assist injured victims.
Voices from Below: Accounts of Three Drone Strikes
The most immediate consequence of drone strikes is, of course, death and injury to those targeted or near a strike. The missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several ways, including through incineration, shrapnel, and the release of powerful blast waves capable of crushing internal organs. Those who do survive drone strikes often suffer disfiguring burns and shrapnel wounds, limb amputations, as well as vision and hearing loss.
This section sets out firsthand narrative accounts of three specific drone strikes for which there is considerable evidence of significant civilian casualties. The narratives draw upon interviews, as well as corroborating evidence from other independent investigations, media accounts, and submissions to the United Nations, and courts in the UK and Pakistan.
The narratives provide detailed and stark accounts of the consequences such strikes have on those hit, those near, and their families.
March 17, 2011
On the morning of March 17, 2011, the US deployed a drone to fire at least two missiles into a large gathering near a bus depot in the town of Datta Khel, North Waziristan. To this day, US officials publicly insist that all those killed were insurgents. That position, however, is contradicted by a range of other sources, including the Pakistani military, an independent investigation by the Associated Press, interviews with attorneys, and the testimony of nine witnesses, survivors, and family members gathered for this report. This evidence suggests that at least 42 were killed, mostly civilians,  and another 14 injured.
According to those we interviewed, on March 17, some 40 individuals gathered in Datta Khel town center. They included important community figures and local elders, all of whom were there to attend a jirga—the principal social institution for decision-making and dispute resolution in FATA. The jirga on March 17 was convened to settle a dispute over a nearby chromite mine. All of the relevant stakeholders and local leaders were in attendance, including 35 government-appointed tribal leaders known as maliks, as well as government officials, and a number of khassadars (government employees administered at the local level by maliks who serve as a locally recruited auxiliary police force). Four men from a local Taliban group were also reportedly present, as their involvement was necessary to resolve the dispute effectively. Malik Daud Khan, a respected leader and decorated public servant, chaired the meeting.
The jirga had been convened in Datta Khel’s Nomada bus depot, an open space in the middle of town large enough to accommodate over 40 people as they sat in two large circles about 12 feet apart. Though drones were hovering daily over North Waziristan, those at this meeting said they felt “secure and insulated” from the threat of drones, because in their assessment at the time, “drones target terrorists or those working against the government.” This, in contrast, was a jirga, a government-sanctioned meeting, held to ensure “no problems occurred in [the] area and no-one would pose problems for the government.” According to a Pakistani military commander in North Waziristan, Brigadier Abdullah Dogar, the maliks had even taken care to alert the local military post of the planned jirga ten days beforehand.
At approximately 10:45 am, as the two groups were engaged in discussion, a missile fired from a US drone hovering above struck one of the circles of seated men. Ahmed Jan, who was sitting in one of two circles of roughly 20 men each, told our researchers that he remembered hearing the hissing sound the missiles made just seconds before they slammed into the center of his group. The force of the impact threw Jan’s body a significant distance, knocking him unconscious, and killing everyone else sitting in his circle. Several additional missiles were fired, at least one of which hit the second circle. In all, the missiles killed a total of at least 42 people. One of the survivors from the other circle, Mohammad Nazir
they had “the right parts of the body and the right person.”
The trauma of the strike was felt not only by those who witnessed its immediate aftermath, but also by the families left behind. Nearly all of those killed were the heads of large households, who used the government allowances they received through their positions as maliks and khassadars to support their households and fund small businesses. Malik Daud Khan, who led the jirga, was a government-appointed counselor for all of North Waziristan, serving as a political liaison between the Pakistani government and military and the other tribal leaders. He oversaw jirgas throughout the region, and used his allowance, “which was respectable for a decent family,” to support six sons and the sons of his brothers. Another malik, Ismail Khan, left behind a family of eight, of whom only two are males old enough to work. The khassadar Hajji Babat also left behind another household of eight; his son now struggles to support them.Because these men held government positions reserved for elders with “experience and years of wisdom,” their sons cannot take over their offices. The sons have little hope of finding employment that would provide a standard of living afforded by the allowance of a malik or a khassadar. Babat’s son, Khalil Khan, who spent over a decade working as a driver in the United Arab Emirates, told our research team that he often thinks of trying to go abroad again so that he
can earn money to support himself. “[But] if I go,” he worries, “what will happen to my family?” The Pakistani government offered to compensate the families with three lakhs (300,000 rupees, or approximately US $3,200) for each man killed, but most did not take the compensation. “[O]ur elders were worth much more than that. . . . [W]e had lost an entire community of elders.”
Some men who survived are now unable to work or earn the living they could before the strike. Ahmed Jan, a malik who used to supplement his allowance by working as a driver, woke up in a hospital in Peshawar after the strike and learned he needed five to six lakhs (approximately US $5,300 to US $6,350) worth of surgery to implant a rod in his leg and to stop the bleeding from his nose and face. Since then, he has lost most of his hearing and the use of one foot.Unable to operate a car, he now depends on his sons, who are also drivers, to support his household. Idris Farid, in addition to living with rods implanted in his leg, told us that the trauma of the strike has caused him to forget “the little bit of education that I [had] gotten when I was little,” and has left him terrified of loud noises “because I think it might be a drone.”
The precise number of people who died in the March 17, 2011 strike has never been determined, though nearly all available sources—including the survivors with whom our researchers spoke—put it at close to 40 or higher. An independent investigation by the Associated Press put the number at 42. Pakistani intelligence officials initially reported that 12 or 13 of the dead were Taliban militants, but the Associated Press investigation found that it was likely only four. Of those four, only one, Sherabat Khan, has ever been identified by name. TBIJ, in separate investigations, has so far obtained the names of 24 civilians killed who died in the strike.
You can read the rest of this article at Livingunderdrones.org- there are many studies online that go in depth- I just wanted to give you a taste.
One last note- the world is outraged because of what the 2 Muslim brothers did- in their attack on the cartoonists- it is considered a barbaric act- by a barbaric people.
The brothers ‘attacked’ in a sense- the true values of free speech that all peoples of the world value.
Many Muslims in France live in areas of extreme squalor- much like the minority communities in our country.
In France- if you- as a Muslim- SAY [no action- just speech] ‘I deny the Holocaust’- you go to prison- for one year.
Huh- you didn’t know that- did you?
So- the Cartoonists have the right to portray the Prophet Muhamad- in risqué scenes- kissing men- all sorts of things- because of Free Speech- but if you deny the holocaust [which I don’t- but in the U.S. – you have the right to say/believe- anything] – yet in France- you don’t have freedom of thought- or speech- if you’re a Muslim- see?
STORM CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON? 1-20- 2015
1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
Tonight [1-20-15] the President will give his state of the union message- I made the videos for this week yesterday [1-19] and will probably finish the post today.
I mention this because in this week’s teaching I talk a bit about what we are facing- in my view- this coming year.
And it’s not good.
Now- if I were to guess- the President [as most- all- do] will try and put the best face on the coming year.
I would guess that he might even say that the reason our economy is doing good [it is not] is because of all the energy production we are getting from the Fracking we are doing in the nation.
He might say because under his administration he has opened the door for all this new energy production to take place…
Fine- but try and watch my videos- I deal with this issue.
This is not a ‘prediction/prophecy’ in the normal sense of the word- but if I were to make my best ‘guess’ I would say this year [probably sooner] things will shake.
The rest of the world sees our debt [17 trillion] and the unfunded expenses that we have ‘promised’ to pay out [entitlement programs- 120 trillion] and they are seeing our nation as a bad risk [they are dumping our treasury bonds- and not ‘loaning’ us money any more].
The head of the IMF [International Monetary Fund] recently said the U.S. has to get ready to accept the reality that we can no longer be the world’s Default Currency [meaning the U.S. dollar can no longer be the money the world does business in- we are the default currency as of today].
In a nutshell this means we will not be able to keep printing money [like we have in the past] and keep running up our debt.
In short- the gravy train is coming to an end- whether we like it or not.
I discuss more on the videos- but this is the jist of it.
So- read the post- do some research on your own- prepare for some things.
In the scripture I pasted at the top- Jesus said it was important to see the signs of the times- not to panic- but to view things realistically.
God is our refuge- I am not a ‘survivalist’ I’m not storing gold bars in my safe [nor do I have gold bars- or a safe].
I’m not into that whole scene- but- I think we are going to see a big [huge?] market drop- and other things to follow.
Do I want this?
No- I have no personal investments in the market- but my firefighter retirement [like most others] does have money in the market.
So- all in all- I would say- be ready.
– At the bottom I posted a section from my philosophy teaching on Aristotle- the past 2 weeks I just wanted to hit briefly on some philosophy stuff I did over the years.
If I remember- I want to talk a bit about how this verse popped up the other day- it should be on the video.
Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
I think it’s good for people to have some background in more than one field of thought.
As we continue to cover the history of the Church- you will see how science- philosophy- Western Thought- all play a role in Christianity.
Most of the great thinkers and scientists were indeed believers- it was only later in time that many scientists did reject belief in God [percentage wise- more scientists are atheists than in any other field].
Now- there are reasons for this- that some of them don’t even realize [as time advanced many assumed that ‘true’ science could only embrace a naturalistic method- meaning the only things that can count as science- are physical things. I have covered this in the past- and many good men do not realize that they are violating their own standard when they argue for the Multiverse and other things- without realizing it they are using a Metaphysical argument in these debates- which in my mind is fine. But- if you approach science from a purely naturalistic view- then you can’t ‘switch’ over when it’s convenient. I taught all this over the years- on my Radio site if you listen to the programs I did years ago on Apologetics and Physics- you will see what I mean. Here’s an old show- http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7O
Here’s just a clip from a post I wrote a while back- probably not the best one [the ones I taught on the Multiverse explain it better]- but this will do for now-
Okay- instead- let’s do the other big news story- the so called God Particle.
Yeah- I heard/read a bunch of stories on the so called breakthrough discovery.
Now- I am not ‘anti science’.
I am not a person who believes the earth is only 6 thousand years old- or that kids rode on the backs of dinosaurs.
But- in the historic setting of apologetics- and the role that science has played in the debate- I must say there are lots of misconceptions floating around in the air.
Okay- a brief history of the scientific method and how it came to be.
The past year or so I covered lots of posts on philosophy and physics and world history in general.
We covered how during the middle of the last millennium [500years ago] the world began a break thru in many areas- and we often refer to this as the modern era.
Man- science- thought- all of the fields we see as part of the modern era- they began at around this point.
Science/philosophy and religion all played a big role in the debate.
One of the big boys was a man named David Hume- he was a thinker who questioned what we talked about the other day- the law of cause and effect.
This law simply says that every effect has a cause.
Hume challenged the popular idea that we can know causes.
He said we think we can know the cause of something- but in reality we can’t be sure.
The example Hume gave was the Pool table.
He said we see a person hit the q ball- the ball hits another ball and it goes into the pocket.
Hume said it might look like this a string of cause and effects- but we don’t know for sure.
Maybe there are other reasons why the balls are reacting like this.
Another famous example is the Rooster crowing- the guy couldn’t sleep in because the sun kept shinning in his window- so every morning right before the sun rose he heard the darn rooster crow.
So he shot the rooster.
Just because one act precedes another- this does not mean that is the cause.
Okay- we got it Hume.
But some began to doubt all possible knowledge- they said you can’t make any judgments at all- because we don’t know for sure what the real cause is.
Okay- this led another great thinker- Kant- to challenge Hume [the famous quote from Kant was ‘he woke up out of his dogmatic slumber’] and Kant said even though we can’t be 100 % sure- yet for any possibility for science to function- we do need to be able to have some type of way we can settle on knowledge- science does need to be able to say ‘okay- we have looked at this long enough- we think this is what’s causing this’.
Okay- this whole debate is called Epistemology- how we know stuff.
Now- the God particle.
As I listened to the various reports the last 2 days- I could tell right off the bat that there was some funny stuff going on.
The actual statements form the scientists are saying ‘well- we haven’t ACTUALLY seen the particle [also called Higgs Boson] but- we have detected enough other particles- so we think the Boson is more than likely there too’ or ‘it’s like looking in the distance- and you think you see someone- but maybe you’re looking at his twin instead’.
Okay- what kind of argument is this?
This is what we call a Metaphysical argument.
It’s an argument that is made- not because you actually detected the thing- but you have come to a conclusion based on the Scientific Method of Induction/Deduction.
You looked at- observed- and tested various things- and you now say ‘well- it must be there- because look at all the other stuff’. [layman’s terms].
Okay- is there anything wrong with this.
But- here’s the catch- many in the modern field of physics refute the argument for the existence of God because in the end it is a metaphysical one.
That is- the materialist scientist [one who says we only deal in facts that we can actually see\detect] uses metaphysical arguments all the time- he just does not realize he is doing this.
Remember the other day- I posted about the many contradictions good men make when mixing science with apologetics and the laws of argumentation [or logic].
They often do not realize they are contradicting themselves- or making out right nonsense statements- because they are scientists- not logicians.
So what we have in the Higgs Boson case- in the Dark Matter- Dark energy case- in the entire Multi Verse theory [many universes].
In all these theories- which now make up the majority of modern physics- they are all the same type of argument that the materialist scientist says are not good arguments- at least when it comes to the argument for the existence of God.
In a nutshell- if we agree to accept that a certain particle must exist- not because we have actually detected it- but because ‘well- it must be there- because if not- then how do we explain everything else’?
If these arguments are being used in all of the above scenarios- and trust me- they are.
Then we can’t exclude the Theist from the table- we can’t say ‘no- you silly Christian- you deal in things we DON’T SEE- we deal in things we do see.’
Actually- you don’t.
All of the above theories are conclusions based on how the other things around them respond.
The reason many think Dark Matter exists- is not because we have found it- we haven’t.
But because in order for the standard model- well- to stand- then Dark Matter simply ‘must be’.
Okay- this is the same type of argument the Theist [one who believes in God] uses.
If you want to exclude the believer from the table- on the grounds that he appeals to a ‘non detectable’ being.
Then we must ditch all of the above.
And it seems- Higgs Boson too.
NOTE- all scientists are not materialists- many are believers- and even many non-believers are not materialists. If you are a pure materialist scientist- one who says we cannot accept any other non-material arguments [things we don’t actually see/detect] then you also would not be able to accept any of the major theories of physics today- that is if you were consistent in your thinking.
Also why did the researchers at CERN release this as some great new finding?
The ‘discovery’ was made at the new 10 billion dollar Hadron Collider.
This is the world’s largest Atom smasher.
In order for the Europeans to justify the cost- they had to convince people that this was the best chance to actually discover this long elusive particle.
Now- Europe is in a near depression- as most of you know.
This underground ‘particle smashing tunnel’ [I think it’s right on the French Swiss border?] when first opened- had a bad day.
It leaked oil into the tunnel and it was shut down- and had to be repaired at the cost of millions of dollars.
Okay- all of these guys realize- if you do not justify the cost of this thing- in the midst of a European depression- then what are the odds that your gonna keep getting funded?
I don’t know if this was the main reason they came out with the statement now- but for them to have come out- and kinda have fudged on it- makes me wonder.
Born in Northern Greece- in 384 BC.
The most famous student of Plato- attended Plato’s Academy for around 20 years.
His main disagreement with Plato was on his theory of Forms.
Plato believed that the ‘idea’ world contained the forms of all things we see in the physical realm.
Aristotle taught that substance itself was the main thing- that the forms of what we see in the natural realm come from matter itself.
He spoke about Potentiality and Actuality- that is the material things have in ‘seed’ form the final product.
The acorn has the Potential of becoming a tree- the fetus has the Potential of becoming a man- etc.
The form is already embedded in the thing itself- it does not exist in the ‘idea’ world of Plato.
Aristotle loved and admired his teacher- yet Plato had somewhat of a disdain for his most famous student.
Plato passed over Aristotle to head up the Academy- twice.
As things go- Aristotle went and started his own school- called the Lyceum.
Aristotle did not just teach Philosophy- but Biology- Logic- Ethics- Rhetoric.
Some refer to him as the first real scientist.
His development of the laws of Logic- Cause and Effect- play a key role in the Scientific Method till this day.
Aristotle taught that the main way we gain knowledge is thru sense perception and experiment.
As we study the natural order of things themselves- we gain understanding from them.
What we refer to as the Empirical method- knowledge gained thru the observation and experimentation of things.
He referred to God as the Final Cause- not the First Cause.
He believed in God [some debate this- Aristotle himself called him God in his work on Metaphysics] and called him the Prime Mover.
As I said before- a big thing with the early thinkers was the origin of Motion- who started the ball rolling- so to speak.
Aristotle credited the source of all motion to an ‘un- moved Mover’.
He gave the attributes of God to his Mover- said he had no beginning- was not material- an eternal and imperishable substance.
So- why the Final Cause?
He said God attracts all things to himself- so in his mind- motion started by attraction- not by a ‘push’ so to speak.
This is interesting indeed- in modern physics we see that the universe is undergoing a continual expansion- heading somewhere- of course we believe this somewhere is God himself- the source of all things.
Isaac Newton agreed with Aristotle on this point- he referred to it in his 3rd law of Physics.
The medieval Muslim thinkers called him ‘The First Teacher’- and Kant [who we will get to later in this study] credits him with the bulk of what we know today as the Laws of Logic.
Aristotle taught that the main activity of God was thought.
The bible says that thru Wisdom and Understanding God made things [‘Wisdom builds the house- Understanding establishes it- and thru Knowledge it’s rooms are filled with all pleasant and precious riches- Wisdom is profitable to direct- the words of the wise are like nails fastened by the masters of assemblies- as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation’- various bible verses found in Proverbs- Ecclesiastes and Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth] – in a way Aristotle was right.
One of his key contributions was the Syllogism- you start with a Logical argument- you engage in Deductive reasoning- and come to a Conclusion.
A famous example would be ‘All men are mortal- Plato is a man- Plato is mortal’.
Aristotle did not believe that something comes from nothing- a phrase that will come up a lot as we progress in this study is ‘ex nihilo nihil fit’- meaning Nothing comes from Nothing.
He was also what we refer to as a Teleolologist- he believed that there was design and purpose in the created order of things.
He saw design in the universe- world.
Many today embrace an idea that there is no purpose or design- that the design we see in the material world is by accident- and furthermore some say all that we see- CAME FROM NOTHING.
I can’t stress enough that this is simply not possible- I don’t say this from the Christian view point alone- but from a scientific one.
Science deals with the observation and testing of things- we look into the material world and come to certain conclusions based on what we see- observe.
One of the most fundamental observations that science SEES- is what I quoted above- NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING.
That is- every effect has a cause.
This is important for our day- because many have capitulated to the view that all things CAME FROM CHANCE.
Not only is this statement illogical [chance is simply a word- this statement ascribes Ontological status to a word- which is impossible].
But it is scientifically not true.
Because science shows us that things do not ‘pop into existence’ without a cause- from nothing.
True science in no way contradicts belief in God- no- it backs it up.
Aristotle- as well as most of the great thinkers we shall cover- came to the conclusion that there had to be some immaterial thing [being] that was the cause of all other things.
Now- why did he argue for a PRIME MOVER?
Because he believed that the universe was eternal- if there ever came a time when science showed us that the universe had a beginning point- then the argument would be over.
The Theists [those that believe in God] would win.
Sure enough- in the 20th century that’s exactly what happened.
Today Physics teaches us that time- space- matter did indeed have a beginning point- what we refer to as the Big Bang Theory.
If the early thinkers had this knowledge- then the argument for a Prime Mover would be moot- because instead we would have a Prime Starter- see?
Aristotle is credited with writing the second greatest work on Ethics from the ancient period- called Ethics [the first one being Plato’s Republic].
He wrote on political theory- believed that Aristocracy [rule by the excellent] was the best form of government [sort of like Socrates Philosopher Kings].
Aristotle’s most famous student was Alexander the Great.
During Alexander’s conquests- he took a huge team of scientists with him- they collected all types of specimens from these conquests- and Alexander brought them back to Athens and they were used at the Lyceum for further study.
It has been said that this was the most expensive scientific enterprise up to the day of the modern space program.
He taught that the intellectual virtues can be taught directly- but the moral ones HAD TO BE LIVED FIRST.
The bible says ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom’.
Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
Proverbs 3:20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Unfinished study- will complete over time.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John.#