What is thinking? Thinking has something to do with producing thoughts and opinions. Multiple thoughts seem necessary to form an opinion. That is, relating different thoughts to each other — organizing them — seems necessary if we want to model the real world using our minds.

With that thought, consider the significance that attends that word, “opinion”. Thinking does not seem to always produce opinions that agree. We all claim to be in grounded in the real world, but we often form radically different opinions.

Recently, a couple of my posts engendered a considerable divergence of opinions.

In order to advocate school choice, Scatterwisdom incorporated thoughts from my two posts into one of his own, King Solomon, What is not a Religion? Here Scatterwisdom argued that in order in order prevent taxpayers from being forced to subsidize the education of children in what are clearly objectionable beliefs, we need a definitive legal statement that clearly states what is not a religious belief. Here is what Scatterwisdom proposed as a starting point.

Any entity may not be legally defined as a religion that condones, teaches, or requires a member to engage in any practices to kill or physically harm any living human being to comply with dogma or precept for a deity.

Any beliefs that do not concur with the above requirement will be considered political entities and not religious entities. (from here)

A commenter, tsalmon, apparently thought Scatterwisdom‘s post quite thought provoking. Tsalmon left a comment that reveals a worldview that I think is commonplace, but rarely so well expressed.


Here is my response on Rudy’s blog;


Perhaps religion is like Justice Potter Stewart’s statement about hard core pornography, that it is hard to define, but we know it when we see it.

The whole school debate thing, I find uninteresting. If the goal we agree on is that every American child should be afforded minimum education, then how we get there is of little importance to me. Education has changed dramatically and become far more egalitarian since the 18th Century. Given the increasingly rapid pace of change, one can only assume that education, like every other area of our lives, will continue to change in ways that we may control and in ways that are unpredictable. The only thing that is certain, absent some apocalypse, is that we are unilikely to go back to the family and community model of our 17th Century past. Have you considered the bigger picture? (continued here)

What kind picture does tsalmon paint? Here is my perception. Tsalmon thinks modern society, (The new world order?), has redefined the place of the individual. Instead of being dependent upon our families and connections in our local community, we are each independent individuals, and this independence is supported by a servant government and a consumer driven economy. Unfortunately, the new world order is rapidly advancing, and tsalmon thinks we in the USA are debating the wrong things. So more forward thinking nations, like China, may leave us behind.

What is the Christian worldview? Well, that depends upon which Christian we ask. The Bible tells us what God thinks, that He is the one we should love with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Unfortunately, even Christians are not as inclined as we ought be to read the Bible. So we don’t give much thought to God’s preferences, but we should.

Matthew 12:46-50 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers Send for Him

46 While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47 Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”

48 But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” 49 And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

In the Christian worldview, family does matter. We do have a special obligation to bring our relatives by blood to the cross of Jesus Christ. Still, it is only those who accept the salvation offered by Jesus that will spend eternity together. As Christians we are the children of God. Therefore, we are family for eternity. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way.

Galatians 3:26-29 New King James Version (NKJV)

Sons and Heirs

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Instead of turning to the state — to our government — to replace the support the extended family and our local communities once provided us, we need to look to our churches. We need to help each other prepare for eternity.

Consider that government is a secular institution, that corporations are secular institutions. Depending upon government and large corporations for support may satisfy our material needs, but secular institutions will not — cannot — meet our spiritual needs. In fact, because politicians and CEOs seek power and wealth, politicians and CEOs may jeopardize our immortal souls by demanding from us words and deeds God finds abhorrent.

As Tom Salmon observes in his post, TO WHOM DO WE BELONG?, we are already seeing evidence of spiritual problems.

Consider the contest between the state and the “church” in America. Has not our government taken over and secularized education? Doesn’t our mass media, in concert with government, ridicule religious belief with ever greater frequency, especially Christianity?

Why have politicians and media moguls combined to push religious belief into the shadows? Is it because they want to substitute their own influence for the influence that God has upon us? (from here)

Our society is growing increasingly decadent. Unless we the people work together through our churches to insist that our government and corporate leaders practice Christian values, life will slowly become cheap and no one will be free. Religious freedom, because sinners find the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, his death on the cross, offensive, will become a thing of the past. Therefore, if we want to make certain our children and grandchildren have an opportunity to read the Bible, we need to go to church, and we need to support our own church. We each need to work make our own church the centers of a community, a place where both Christians and the lost can turn for both spiritual and material support.


  1. Tsalmon

    You stated, “The future is already here. It’s not MY world view that you should worry about for your grandchildren – it’s the world as it is.”

    While I will acknowledge the events in your post resulted in changes, there are two factors you may want to consider that will never change.

    Wisdom and Love

    Tom’s concerns for his children and grandchildren are directed toward the center of the two things in “the world as is” in the past and the future regardless of all global changes.

    The centers are family and community.

    In other words, religious helps to bind families and communities with the best things in life that are meaningful in life, family and community, regardless of what happens all over the world in the past and future.

    In my opinion, just because “the world as is” is what it is, does not make it better, in both the past and the future without these elements, wisdom, love, family, and community, all the same essentials the Bible teaches us to revere in our short time on earth.

    If you consider King Solomon’s ancient verse to the reality of human history and these elements, there is nothing new under the sun, and never will be in regards to what is meaningful in life,

    Regards and good will blogging.

    1. “While I will acknowledge the events in your post resulted in changes, there are two factors you may want to consider that will never change.
      Wisdom and Love”

      You’ll get no argument from me on that. I believe (or perhaps a better way to put it is “I hope”) that love saves us in the end. Jesus died to give us that choice. However, a part of wisdom must be to see ourselves and our history objectively as it is.

  2. Remember, what I wrote is not my subjective opinion about the world or how, if I were to have my way, I would want it to be. The atomization and less durable nature of the extended, and now the nuclear, family has largely, objectively happened.

    A satellite view of human life on the planet sees a few million years, most of our history as a species, as hunter/gatherer groups united both within and between those groups by bonds of kinship. Then a series of of dramatic revolutions took place which have, for good and for bad, changed everything about humanity and our world:

    1. The agricultural revolution and the rise of the city state and then the empire.

    2. The rational and scientific revolution and the rise of democracy.

    3. The Industrial Revolution and the rise secular consumerist societies based upon the inexorable need for growth, and the rise of the modern state.

    4. The information revolution and the breakdown of empire in favor of increasing unification of economies and the dissolution of nationalism into the generic state.

    5. And lastly, we are on the verge of developments in gene splicing and editing, and AI that have the potential to alter the human species very rapidly into something completely different, perhaps unrecognizable compared to our hunter/gatherer ancestors.

    These revolutions are not separate and distinct, one ending while the next begins. They pile on top of each other, crash against each other and ultimately combine.

    Things are also changing at increasing speed. Homo sapient remained essentially unchanged for millions of years until the agricultural revolution. We were essentially farmer/herders for thousands of years with the same city states and then empires. The life of the average farmer or herder was the same grueling disease and famine plagued grind until the Industrial Revolution. In basically our parent’s life time they went from most Americans living on family farms to most people living in cities and manned space travel.

    Was the life of the peasant farmer better than the life of the average hunter gatherer? Was the Dickensian life of the late 19th Century industrial worker superior to the 15th Century surf? In some ways maybe, but in other ways, not so much. Could any one person or group of people have asked to get off this ride or have stopped it from happening?

    Maybe the best we can do is channel progress along natural groves that are more morally acceptable than others. But we can’t even do that if we don’t even objectively accept what has happened, is happening and will likely happen. We sure can’t go back any more than the 16th Century surf could reasonably go back to the forests and return to hunting and gathering. The future is already here.

    It’s not MY world view that you should worry about for your grand children – it’s the world as it is.

    1. “What kind picture does tsalmon paint? Here is my perception. Tsalmon thinks modern society, (The new world order?), has redefined the place of the individual. Instead of being dependent upon our families and connections in our local community, we are each independent individuals, and this independence is supported by a servant government and a consumer driven economy. Unfortunately, the new world order is rapidly advancing, and tsalmon thinks we in the USA are debating the wrong things. So more forward thinking nations, like China, may leave us behind.”


      That’s not even close to what I think at all. You know rather than just making stuff up about what I supposedly think, you could just ask me.

      Did you know that the genetically edited twins born in China were modified in order insert a gene that prevents a disease? Here is a link to an article on what happened:

      Do I think this scientist is “forward thinking”? What an asinine thing to accuse me of. I just pointed out that it happened, and that is it is likely to happen again. It is banned here for now (and for good reason), but if it cures or prevents disease, for how long? And how long will it be before it goes from “preventing diseases” to “improving” humans – making them smarter and stronger and scariest of them all, more mentally stable and less emotional?

      Once that pandora’s box is open, are we along for the ride? When in Alamogordo, NM we invented the first atom bomb, wasn’t the rest of the world along for the ride, whether the liked it or not, or whether they even thought about it?

      Please don’t consider the fact that I am pondering the problem objectively as the same thing as saying that I am in favor of this brave new world that Aldiss Huxley predicted. I actually agree with you far more than you care to ask.

      1. @tsalmon

        Was busy yesterday. Fortunately, Rudy stepped in. He gave you a great reply.

        There is a debate within Christian circles over what the end times will look like. Some think Christians will succeed in spreading the Gospel and bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. Then Jesus will come to rule. Others say Christians may spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, but the Kingdom of God will only come to the hearts of those who believe, that it will take the Second Coming to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth.

        Which theory is true? I don’t know. All I know is that God commanded us to spread the Gospel, that the God changes hearts using the Gospel massage.

        What is the truth behind those genetically edited twins born in China? This is kind of a side topic, but it illustrates a truth. We don’t have the capacity to predict the future. When we see a story about scientific research in the news, we should be skeptical. Few reporters know enough to understand how little scientific geniuses actually know. Further, people, even scientists, often make claims that latter no one can substantiate.

        DNA and RNA are highly complex, large biological molecules. When we try to alter such molecules, the results are largely unpredictable. That is the problem this CRISPR-Cas9 technology is supposedly designed to get around.

        Imagine the problem of altering a single, small molecule in a fertilized human cell. This article,, briefly describes (at a high level) the process of altering DNA. In spite of all the news hype and sales babble, this technology is guesswork. Using this technology on human beings is highly unethical. Anyone who would do that cannot be trusted.

        Does that mean that science and technology has not had and will not continue to have a major role in transforming our society? No. It just means we can only guess at the next big breakthrough. Who know what it will be or when it will happen?

        Meanwhile, we have to make a decision. How do we want to be transformed? We decide that, I think, by deciding who we want to put in charge of our transformation. We can try to transform ourselves, but we don’t seem to have the strength or know how. We can choose to put a great man, otherwise known as “The Dear Leader” in charge, but these men are just frauds. Or we can turn to God. That is, we can turn to the state for our salvation, or we can turn to our Lord, our Creator, through His Bible and His church. That last option, I think, is the only one that offers any hope.

        1. I agree with all of that. I particularly agree that the exact way things will change is somewhat unpredictable. However, taking that satellite view of the history of humans, we certainly can predict change that is more rapid and more drastic than we may be able to imagine.

          Should “Big Brother” (by which I assume you mean Big Government) be allowed to influence the direction of change? Given the current direction of history toward globalization (and absent some apocalypse that takes us back to the Stone Age), I think that greater internationalization of government may be inexorable at this point. Recent attempts to return to our feuding nationalist past, I think may just be blips on the radar of the future. This is not a prediction, just a recognition.

          Should big consumerism control change? Go to virtually any major city in the world right now and you won’t be able to swing a dead cat without hitting a Starbucks. We are all shopping in the same places buying the same stuff. I’m typing this response on my IPhone which is now ubiquitous. It is my communication device, my instant library, my calculator, my social media portal, my banking device and the controller for my air conditioning, lawn sprinkler, security system, solar power system and much, much more. I took it to a place to get the screen fixed the other day and had an almost physical need not to let it out of my sight. If you think we are not being influenced by big consumerism, then you’d have to be living in a cave.

          That said, I think that we can change the world at a grass roots level by changing who we are into a community of love. We can voluntarily give up our pathological illusions of individualism and open ourselves to the love that binds us through the God of love.

          I don’t think that that will necessarily stop big government and big consumerism, but it certainly may influence the direction these organizing forces are taking us.

          1. @tsalmon

            How do we protect each other’s lives, liberty, and right to pursue happiness? We protect each other’s right to make our own choices. We don’t use BIG government to force our own choices on others?

            What about BIG Consumerism? When we buy something, we make a choice. Others may imitate our choice, but they don’t have to.

            In a democratic capitalist society, what do “BIG” government and “BIG” consumerism require to “succeed”, that is, to grow out of all proportion to their usefulness? Crony capitalism. Why? There is a natural limit to the size of an organization. As the task of an organization grows more complex, that organization becomes more difficult to manage. As the size of an organization grows, that organization becomes more difficult to manage. Therefore, when politicians are willing to unethically grow governmen and businessmen are willing to unethically grow their corporations, they have to work together to compensate for growing bureaucratic inefficiencies. Big corporations seek advantages over their smaller competitors by buying off politicians for rules that favor their companies. Big government politicians seek advantages over their competitors by acquiring donations and favorable publicity from large private organizations that include corporations, unions, and NGO’s.

            Unions, and NGO’s? Crony capitalism alone does not seem to describe the way the Establishment, the ruling elites, seek power, but I suppose that is not what is important. What is important is that to protect our rights we have to keep government as small and as local as we can. In addition, we have to do whatever it takes to keep our political leaders from favoring some businesses, unions, and NGO’s at the expense of others.

          2. Tom,

            As far as quaint idealism goes, I have no real disagreement with any of that either. Unfortunately, there are not just a few vectors of force at work in the world so as to make even humanity’s most freely made choices predictable. Which is funny because your best argument that human genetic modification won’t happen is that it is too complex to afford predictable benefits. And you think that will stop someone somewhere from trying it in ways that will soon involuntarily change all of us in equally unpredictable ways?

            Who could have predicted either the power, the risks or the benefits of splitting the atom? Who would have known that we could get to the point of planetary destruction and self extinction? Who would have said that that threat would also force the longest most peaceful time period in human history? Was this world changing scientific breakthrough and expansion the result of big government, big consumerism, big union, crony capitalism, too much individual free choice or not enough individual free choice? I don’t claim to know, but If the past is so hard to categorize I doubt that the future easily confines itself to such simple deterministic formulation as the statement “if we just limit the size of government, all our problems will solved”.

            Such a formula disregards the utility that government provides to capitalistic consumerism and the raw power that capitalism provides to government. It disregards how consumerism is uniting the world and making it smaller. It also disregards the fact that just making the formalistic prediction and attempting to enact it changes the result.

            That said, I agree with limited government as a truism. It’s just exactly where to perfectly set the limits in every case that I don’t claim to know. Just saying that government only exists to do X not only ignores a whole alphabet that is already there and working, but it also fails to realize even the possibility of new letters that are going to be invented whether we like it or not.

          3. @tsalmon

            Quaint idealism versus unprincipled pragmatism?

            Stop and think about what you wrote.

            ? I don’t claim to know, but If the past is so hard to categorize I doubt that the future easily confines itself to such simple deterministic formulation as the statement “if we just limit the size of government, all our problems will solved”.

            The operative words are: “I don’t claim to know”. No one has said: “if we just limit the size of government, all our problems will solved”.

            If you don’t know, then what makes you think a bunch of busybodies know enough to elect anything other than a bunch of ambitious jackasses who will say anything to get elected?

            Every year Democrats insist upon making the government more and more important. Why? Whenever one of their grandiose plans don’t work (none ever do), they insist they need more power to make it work.

            It has gotten to the point where when the Democrats’ guy does not win Democrats start trying to engineer a coup. All this proves is that Democrats don’t know what they are doing, that putting these people in charge of a dogpound would be cruelty to animals.

            Do I think Republicans much better? No, and we should not want them running our lives either.

            We need to stop making the government so important. We need to keep the government small enough we don’t have to fear it or depend upon it for anything except for that which only government can do well.

            You claim to be in favor of love. Doesn’t love include leaving the rest of us in peace?

          4. “You claim to be in favor of love. Doesn’t love include leaving the rest of us in peace?”

            I’m not sure that it does Tom. If your child were addicted to drugs, would you just leave him in peace, or out of love would you try to impose some solution upon him, even if that solution turned out to be wrong?

            We are social beings Tom. We define our happiness and unhappiness, our flourishing and our declinin, in terms of each other. Do onto others as you would have done unto you does not always mean do nothing at all. Often even when we recognize someone’s individual rights, it’s because we recognize our own sins, see our own ignorance, or because we know that some epiphanies cannot be coerced. In other words, we let them be out of love, not self righteous indifference to their suffering.

            We don’t know everything and so we make mistakes, we run up against unintended consequences, and some problems seem intractable. Love does not mean doing things right or doing nothing at all. I personally would prefer a politician who ineffectively tries to solve problems of inequality and human suffering out of love than one who does nothing out of cynical indifference.

            I think that at some rational level you know that I’m right, and that is why your responses don’t ever deal with reality, but instead talk in the language of platitudes, hyperbole and extravagant cynicism about every politician being purely self serving.

          5. @tsalmon

            Look carefully at your starting point. When someone is on drugs, they are a menace both to themselves and to others. When someone is a child, they are entirely dependent. That is your excuse for big government? Seriously?

            You do better when you mention the Golden Rule. What you refuse to accept is that politicians buy votes with “charity”. That’s an immoral transaction.

            Charity is something we can do with our own time and money. When a government takes our time and money, we lose the opportunity to be charitable in proportion to what government takes. Whatever you might wish does not change that fact. Politics works the way it works, not the way we wish it would work.

            Do I speak in platitudes, hyperbole and extravagant cynicism about every politician being purely self serving? Well, after decades of observing the antics of politicians, if I do I think I can be excused for wondering why you don’t.

          6. My hypothesis of your fictional drug addicted son was meant to be about an adult. Your motivation to help would only be for self protection, not love? Absent a perceived threat, only indifference? Sure…

            There are more than a few things wrong with your favorite rationalizations:

            1. If government really were a purely a transactional matter, then taxpayers, voters and citizens should only be concerned with the quality and price of the service provided, not where it came from.

            2, The poor people who supposedly get your government charity vote in small numbers compared to the taxpayers (you and I for example) who pay for said charity. If they are buying my vote, then they are apparently paying me by giving the proceeds to someone else. To the extent that Republicans rarely make really rich taxpayers pay for anything they don’t want, perhaps your cynicism is merited.

            3. I think that your definition of “charity” is contradictory. How can national defense not be a charity but public roads and education supposedly are charity?

            I’m for limited government too. I just don’t see the only two choices as 1780 America or the totalitarian socialist state. The reality of the world Is a continuum with a range of options between the two, as well as possibilities that remain to be invented, but that definitely will need to be explored as economics and technology continues to rapidly change.

            America was a drastic experiment in government when it started. I think it’s inventors would expect us to continue modernize the model to keep up with reality.

          7. @tsalmon

            Fictional drug addicted son: We have the right to boss other people around? Why? That is what I was talking about. You never deal with that. You just use love as an excuse. Used that way “love” becomes a weapon.

            You like to bring up Ayn Rand. She saw first hand how communists “love” their victims. What do you think drove her to Atheism and a philosophy of righteous selfish individualism?

            When “we” as the state impose our will upon the individual, we have to have a justification, something more than the mere excuse that we love them.

            1. I have no idea what kind of point you are trying to make.

            2. Have you ever looked at the mess politicians of made of the tax code? Why do you think they do that? Because Democrats tax the rich? The idiots tax everything that moves, stands still, or exists only in the imagination. The reason the economy is booming is because Trump has gotten rid of so much of their crap. They exist to spend money, and they don’t help anyone, and Republicans are not much better.

            3. Have you ever tried looking up the definition of charity?

            When you were in the Navy, were you hunting subs so you could be charitable with torpedoes? Was the government giving you a paycheck out of charity? Were you serving the public because the public needs charity?

            We both love our country, but it is rich not needy.

            I’m for limited government too. I just don’t see the only two choices as 1780 America or the totalitarian socialist state.

            You can’t vote for the likes of Obama or Clinton and be for limited government. That’s nonsense!

            What you call platitudes I call principles. When a politician advocates what amounts to Socialism, I want to know just how far that politician is willing to go with that crap. When I see no sign of restraint — no principles that limit the power they would exercise, I want no part of them. They are dangerous because they recognize no limits on the power they want.

            America was a drastic experiment in government when it started. I think it’s inventors would expect us to continue modernize the model to keep up with reality.

            What made America a drastic experiment? No royal class. No king. No government with unlimited power.

            Washington renounced any attempt to make him a king. He abided by the Constitution. He served eight years, and then he went home. Would Obama have done that? H. Clinton? Do either of them respect the Constitution? Do you?

  3. Tom,

    Your post brings up the question of what is the main difference between a Church Community and a Political Community.

    The difference is sin.

    There are two Chicago Tribune Articles that support your thoughts that a Church is also a center for the community.

    Tsalmon’s comments reflect his thinking of the future and the articles support the changes taking place in America because of the wane of teaching and practicing religious beliefs. Will it result in a “storm” in our Nation is what I believe is the result happening now?

    The difference between a Church and a Political Entity as I described is based on the sin of the Fifth Commandment. Thou Shalt Not Kill.

    That is why there is both a “storm” of divisiveness in politics and religion along with a breakdown in the community in our Nation, in my opinion.

    The changes of both are the results being steeped in our American cultures and government as the result of not teaching our children to recognize sin.

    If interested, read the two articles and the comment “ We’re not in a storm. It was sin.” And my comments to Doug in another post that I used the word “steeped.”

    In other words, our Nation has become so steeped in other beliefs that many no longer can differentiate what is a sin.”


    Regards and good will blogging.

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