WHAT IS A BIGOT?

"All Is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert, evoking the invetiable decay of life and beauty toward death.
“All Is Vanity” by C. Allan Gilbert, evoking the inevitable decay of life and beauty toward death. (from here)

What inspired this post? As politely and sweetly as he could manage, a commenter called me a bigot (see here).

Am I a bigot? Yes. Everyone is a bigot. You. Your parents. Your brothers and sisters. Your friends and neighbors. Your countrymen. Everyone in the whole world. The only person who ever lived who was not a bigot was Jesus.

We all to some degree try to justify ourselves at the expense of someone else. If we can raise ourselves above another — if we can humble another — we think we must be better.  At least, that’s a very popular theory.

The Bible says we are each made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Even though we are puny, finite things, we should each be able see something divine — something we can love — in each other. But often we don’t.

Review human history. Read the newspapers. Consider the anger we sometime see simmering in each other. Remember the broken homes. Remember all the innocent children aborted, orphaned and forgotten, or just abandoned. Contemplate all the people who make you furious for no reason at all.

“I” am at the center of all “I” perceive. So it is we each tend to go through life thinking it must all be about us. Everything we do and all that is must be for our benefit. If we give something of ourselves to another then they owe us (whether they know it or not). That’s how the strong rationalize enslaving the weak. If the strong protect weak, then the weak must owe the strong something.  Thus, slavery began as a protection racket.

Yet I stray. What is a bigot? How is it we are all bigots? We each try to justify ourselves. I am a good person. I deserve good things. I deserve whatever good things other people have. I covet what others have that I don’t have.

We measure ourselves against each other, and we each want to be better than other people. We damn those who seem to have more. In the age of diversity, how is that done? We join in common cause with people who look like us, sound like us, dress like us, work like us, think like us,…., and sin like us. We organize with the people in our identity group, and we demand respect, our “rights” — and money.

Consider all the identity groups. There are trade associations demanding tariffs. There are unions demanding employer sanctions. There businesses too big to fail. There are racial, sexual, ethnic, and creedal groups demanding “affirmative action. There are groups preoccupied with sexual perversions demanding our affirmation. There are bureaucrats out to save the world demanding bigger salaries and greater powers.

Where does all this bigotry — this competition to make it all about ME lead?

James 4:1-6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Pride Promotes Strife

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

How we can test ourselves? How we determine whether we are motivated bigotry? There is a simple way that works most of the time. If we are willing to debate the rightness of our cause without personally attacking our opponent, that is a good sign. That doesn’t mean you cannot point out something your opponent is doing wrong. For example, if your opponent is willing to twist the Constitution into a pretzel, that has to be noted because it is relevant. We are not suppose to do that. Unfortunately, because we are bigots, we don’t want to hear our sins called sins.

What is the best way to avoid bigotry? What is the best way to test ourselves? Instead of trying to justify ourselves, we must believe on Jesus; we must put our faith in God.  We obey His commands.

John 15:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

It is not our job or our right to make our neighbors behave as we think they should behave.  We have the right and the responsibility to protect each other from the brutes and bullies among us. However, so long as so-called brutes and bullies do not abuse our family, friends and neighbors; we have no right to use government power to attack those brutes and bullies. That sort of behavior that just makes us a brute, a bully, and a bigot.

HERE IS WHAT TO EXPECT

Hillary Clinton announces her VP pick (from here)
Hillary Clinton announces her VP pick (from here)

By now I expect everyone who wants to know knows who Hillary Clinton picked to be her running mate. Nevertheless, I doubt most watched their speeches. If you are serious about politics, then you have to know the opposition.

My previous post (here) was about Socialism. The Democratic Party, the party of Thomas Jefferson, now advocates Socialism. What does that mean in practice? Democrats get elected by pitting us against each other.

Who is Tim Kaine? He is a glib, grinning hatemonger. He expertly demonizes his opposition. He pits those he thinks he can persuade to vote for him against those he knows will not.

What qualifications do Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine have to run anything? They don’t, but if they get elected they will give America a pay raise. With whose money? They will tax “the rich”, of course. Under the reign of Barack Obama, have you noticed how much poorer the rich are getting and how much richer the poor are getting?

In his “acceptance” speech yesterday, Kaine even had the nerve to throw in these lines.

FOR ME, THIS DRIVES HOME THE STAKES IN THE SELECTION . NEARLY 2 MILLION MEN AND WOMEN PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR THIS COUNTRY AS ACTIVE DUTY, AS RESERVISTS — THEY DESERVE A COMMANDER IN CHIEF WITH THE EXPERIENCE AND THE TEMPERAMENT TO LEAD. [APPLAUSE]WHAT DOES DONALD TRUMP SAY ABOUT THESE AMERICANS, THE 2 MILLIONS? HE CALLS THEM A DISASTER, AND JUST THIS WEEK, DONALD TRUMP SAID AS PRESIDENT, HE WOULD CONSIDER TURNING AMERICA’S BACK ON OUR DECADE-OLD COMMITMENT TO OUR ALLIES. AND ALL OF YOU REMEMBER MONTHS AGO WHEN HE SAID ABOUT US AND IT CALL THE, JOHN MCCAIN, THAT HE WAS NOT A HERO BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN CAPTURED AND WAS A PRISONER OF WAR, AND HE WANTS TO BE COMMANDER IN CHIEF? WAS SERVICE MEMBERS ARE OUT THERE ON THE FRONT LINES, — WITH SERVICE MEMBERS OUT THERE ON THE FRONTLINES, THIS IS AN OPEN INVITATION FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN TO JUST ROLL ON IN. EVEN A LOT OF REPUBLICANS SAY THAT IS TERRIBLE DANGEROUS. (from here)

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine just want to turn our military forces into yet another dependent constituency. If we are depending on Clinton to be our commander-in chief, God help us.

John McCain is not a war hero because he was captured. Being captured does not make war heroes. So why is McCain a war hero? What Trump apparently forgot is that even after being tortured McCain refused early release (from here). Nevertheless, McCain’s been playing this card for over 40 years, and Kaine’s just picking up the card hoping he can use Trump’s offhand remark to turn veterans against Trump. Kaine’s interest is identity politics, not actual issues. He almost certainly does not give a damn about the fighting effectiveness of our armed forces. And yes, I know he has a son. So why is Kaine rooting for Hillary Clinton, someone who puts Top Secret information on her own private email server? We spend ten’s of billions trying to protect our secrets, trying to keep our military and intelligence operations secret, and she just sticks stuff out there?

Does Donald Trump think our military forces are a disaster? Would he leave our allies in the lurch? No and no.

  • Kaine did not say why or when Trump called our military forces a disaster, but eight years under the command of Barack Obama have not been good for our military. That has been a disaster.
  • Trump’s idea of insisting our allies either pay us or pay for their own troops is hardly equivalent to leaving our allies in the lurch. In fact, coming from the VP pick of Hillary Clinton such an inference is hypocritical.

Before he makes his speech, watch Tim Kaine sitting behind Hillary as she introduces him. You will see a man who is ecstatic. Why? Why did Hillary pick Kaine? She needs a good attack dog. Kaine fits the bill, and he knows it.

OF COURSE IT WAS PLAGIARISM — NOT!

Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)
Mike Myers as Dr. Evil (from here)

It is more important to stand for something than it is stand against something. When we vote, we should try to vote for someone whose views on the purpose government are similar to our own. The problem is that what lots of politicians say is not what they do. So when we check out the candidates we have to worry about how much damage we think they will do. Therefore, we often have to vote for the lesser of evils.

Unfortunately, when we try vote for the lesser of evils, that does not much complicate the campaign strategy of the more evil candidates.  They and their supporters just respond by trying to convince us the other guy is even worst, or, supposedly even more despicable, dumb.

Hence, my last post, YOU CAN PLAGIARIZE TRITE EXPRESSIONS? REALLY? derided the accusations that Melania Trump had plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. Ironically, we had two commenters in the last post, novascout (here and here) and Tony (here) try to persuade us that “of course it was plagiarism”. Google now reports 1,730 results for that phrase, “of course it was plagiarism”.

Supposedly, the Trump’s have conceded the accuracy of the charge of plagiarism by identifying the culprit (see Trump campaign tries to move on from plagiarism controversy). However, the headline says what is going on. The Trump campaign regards the accusation as a distraction.

Why put the silliness to rest? Let’s look at this two ways. First, consider what the Democrats want to argue about.  Here are are the priceless lines “stolen” from Michelle Obama’s speech. Note that none of the lines in Melania Trump’s speech are actually identical to those in Michelle Obama’s (see Melania Trump Copied from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Convention Speech (Snopes.com)). Note also that what is in bold below was supposedly stolen.

  • Their integrity, compassion and intelligence reflect to this day on me and for my love of family and America. – Here Melania Trump talks about herself. Michelle Obama referred to her daughters. Seems like a strategic difference, but maybe Melania gave birth to herself.
  • From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life. That your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise. That you treat people with respect. – Does Michelle Obama have the original copyright on: you work hard for what you want in life, that your word is your bond, you do what you say, and that you treat people with respect. Platitudes can be copyrighted?
  • They thought and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generations to follow. – Two words in that sentence constitute plagiarism?
  • Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them. – In America we use to grow up with our elders constantly telling us that the only only limits to our achievements were our dreams and our willingness to work. Now we are offended when a legal immigrant tells us that? Because of plagiarism? Plagiarism of who? Michelle Obama? Consider the irony.

As I said, I don’t get it. What is there in any of the supposedly plagiarized portion of Melania Trump’s speech that she should have credited to Michelle Obama? If this is how Democrats want to portray Donald Trump as evil, I think it is about as funny as Dr. Evil.

So what does Trump want to move onto? That is, what are the Democrats trying to distract us from? Consider.

What we should be doing is looking at what the people who are running for political office have done? What is it that they have done that qualifies them to run for high office, to spend our money and exercise power over us, our families, our friends and our countrymen.

What does they news media want to talk about? Well, it has more to do with theater and entertainment than substance.

Soon the conventions will be over. Are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the most unpopular presidential candidates ever? Maybe. Is our country in a mess? Yes. Is the mess getting worse? Yes. Are we going to start looking into the records of the people we vote for? God help help if we don’t.

LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 2

fatter_disasterWe live in era when the world seems to be unraveling. Is it unraveling? If it is unraveling, why?

Here we continue with part 2 of LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? What is the subject?

How The Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State

What Is Idol Worship?

Word Origin and History for idoln. mid-13c.,

“image of a deity as an object of (pagan) worship,” from Old French idole “idol, graven image, pagan god,” from Late Latin idolum “image (mental or physical), form,” used in Church Latin for “false god,” from Greek eidolon “appearance, reflection in water or a mirror,” later “mental image, apparition, phantom,” also “material image, statue,” from eidos “form” (see -oid ). Figurative sense of “something idolized” is first recorded 1560s (in Middle English the figurative sense was “someone who is false or untrustworthy”). Meaning “a person so adored” is from 1590s. (from here)

When we idolize something, we put that person, place, or thing before our Creator. We foolishly put our faith in a person, place, or thing that is not worthy of such trust (Note again the origin of the word “idol”.). For the sake of what we can get from our idol, we sacrifice our self (in service) to our idol, and we risk our soul. We don’t “love” our idol, but it does consume us when we try use it to get what we want.

At gotquestions.org, here is how the author begins his post on the differences between ancient and modern idolatry.

Question: “What are some modern forms of idolatry?”

Answer: All the various forms of modern idolatry have one thing at their core: self. We no longer bow down to idols and images. Instead we worship at the altar of the god of self. This brand of modern idolatry takes various forms. (continued here)

The various forms he lists involve stuff (materialism), self (pride), state (mankind), and self-indulgence (various forms of gluttony).

How Does The Idolization of Love Corrupt The Church?

Most Christians have memorized at least one passage in the Bible. We call it The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), but it is really a model prayer. This prayer puts the focus on God and obedience to Him. When we recite it — and mean what we say — we humble ourselves and beg forgiveness for our sins. But this is not the way prideful men want to imagine God, and we have a wonderful capacity for self-delusion.  So it is that once we take our eyes off God, we focus upon what we want. In Grammar Lesson – ‘AS’ and ‘AND’, irtfyblog provides an example of how that works. Here is an excerpt.

So, knowing how a word is defined and used in a specific language, a reader can develop a better understanding of what the writer is trying to convey. Hence, the command:  “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

Since we know that ‘As’ is defined as a word used to compare and refer to the extent or degree of something, we can then see that the meaning of the command is really:  “Love your neighbor in comparison to or to the degree of which you love yourself.”

If God had said, “Love your neighbor AND love yourself,” that would have changed the meaning of the command entirely.

Since we very much like to love ourselves, so it is that many of us look for excuses to change the meaning of the Bible. When the folks at gotquestions.org addressed this question, “Why is idol worship such a powerful temptation?”, they considered this matter.

There is another form of idolatry prevalent today. Its growth is fostered by cultures that continue to drift away from sound biblical teaching, just as the apostle Paul warned us, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:3). In these pluralistic, liberal times, many cultures have, to a large degree, redefined God. We have forsaken the God revealed to us in Scripture and have recast Him to comply with our own inclinations and desires—a “kinder and gentler” god who is infinitely more tolerant than the One revealed in Scripture. One who is less demanding and less judgmental and who will tolerate many lifestyles without placing guilt on anyone’s shoulders. As this idolatry is propagated by churches around the world, many disillusioned congregants understandably believe they are worshipping the one, true God. However, these made-over gods are created by man, and to worship them is to worship idols. Worshipping a god of one’s own making, however, is particularly tempting for many whose habits and lifestyles and drives and desires are not in harmony with Scripture.

I call this form of idolatry the idolization of “love”.

How do our churches support the idolization of “love”? So that we can focus on the God of Love, we ignore much of scripture. We ignore Hell. We ignore the condemnation of sin. Fearing we deserve the same, we ignore the stories of Israel’s sins and suffering. We also ignore the sins and the suffering of Israel’s enemies, of Sodom and Gomorrah, of the peoples before Noah’s Flood, of Cain, and of Adam and Eve. Refusing to seriously consider the future, we set aside the coming Wrath of God in Revelation.

When was the last time your pastor warned of Hell and damnation? Does your pastor slyly step past the scary parts of the Bible? How many people do you know who read those parts? How many people do you know who have read the Bible?

Is there a Hell? Is there a punishment for sin? If not, then why did Jesus die upon that cross?

We have to study and revere the whole Word of God. Any church that refuses to do that will in time unravel.

Deuteronomy 12:29-32 New King James Version (NKJV)

Beware of False Gods

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

For the sake of what they imagine they could get from a demon god called Molech, the Canaanites and their Hebrew imitators burned their children alive.  For the sake of distorted notions of love, we abort hundreds of thousands of children every year.

How Does The Idolization of Love Corrupt The State?

Churches Don’t Provide Character Education

When churches begin preaching sloppy notions about love and ignore much of the Bible, the morals of a nation must suffer. Then the nation itself must suffer. Without a moral people, we cannot make a constitutional republic work. Neither the people nor their leaders will restrain themselves and abide by the law.

There is a certain irony in that. Consider all the rules, regulations and laws we suffer under now, and ignorance of the law is no excuse. In a highly technical society with potentially lethal hand-held power tools; big and even more dangerous cars, buses, and trunks; powerful chemicals; and so forth, we have to have lots of rules, regulations and laws. We cannot just point to a song and chant “What the world needs now is love, sweet love”. We have to understand that loving your neighbor means stopping at red lights. In fact, we have to teach our children and each other what real and sincere love looks like.

Yet too many Christian churches do not teach about the effort required to love. They should. Consider how Jesus summarized the Bible.

Matthew 22:36-40 New King James Version (NKJV)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Did Jesus say that this passage is all we need to know? Didn’t Jesus spend three years teaching His apostles. Did not even the Apostle Paul, a brilliant scholar, have to spend 2 – 3 years in the desert before he began his work as an apostle (Galatians 1:11-18). For similar reasons, each of us needs to study the whole Bible. Just as the apostles could not teach others how to be good Christians without the instruction of Jesus, we cannot properly live as good Christians without studying the Bible.

An Example Of The Problem

The Bible is a book of wisdom that tells us how we should try to live with each other. Government is an institution we created to keep us from destroying each other. Because we must empower government to control us, government is an institution we can either use properly or abuse.

Here is a very simple, straightforward example. The Bible gives us a personal responsibility to love and help each other. The Bible speaks of voluntary giving, not government-run charity. Yet we have let legions of politicians persuade us that they have the right to take money some people and give it to other people. These politicians give us excuses. “It is for the children.” “It is for the disabled.” “It is for the old.” And so forth.

What at bottom is the excuse for government-run charity — welfare? The politicians defend the welfare state as modern man’s means for loving his neighbor. In fact, what has happened is that the conniving politicians who run these schemes just create large voting constituencies dependent on government handouts.

Government cannot love us. Government welfare is not about love; it is about votes. The Bible does not make exceptions for government handouts. Even when we use the government to do it, when we take the property of another person, that is stealing.

Government Cannot Provide Character Education

Since the time we turned the education of our children over to politicians, each succeeding generation has had less and less familiarity with the Bible. What have the politicians put in its place? It is a vague thing we call Secularism.

Why would our leaders choose to do such a thing? Why would they set aside the Bible, which contains invaluable wisdom, for Secularism. Well, there is nothing new in this. In fact, when Americans chose to prevent the government from establishing a state religion, that was new. Unfortunately, we risk losing what they won.

In the 1830’s Americans started sending their children to schools run by their local governments. Those public schools, ostensibly for the sake of religious freedom, gradually begin separating the religious content out of the curriculum. When state governments and the Federal Government sought to stick their noses into the government-run education racket, Federal and state officials accelerated the process of separating out religious education content. Hence, when the Supreme Court ruled against school prayer, the judges merely finished a process that was almost complete.

Unfortunately, a secular education cannot and does not instill virtue into children.  Therefore, everyone expected parents and churches to somehow make up for this deficit, but relatively few parents and churches ever taught children what was needful. In fact, as some have observed, the way the public schools teach subjects like sex education (handing out condoms to teenagers.) and history (religion starts wars) is often at odds with what churches and parents want children to learn.

Conclusion

If we want to save our republic, we have to focus on a more serious problem. We each have to repair the damage to our souls. We must study the Bible.

2 Chronicles 34 tells the story of a revival in Judah. The priests had lost the Book of the Law in the temple.  When the priests finally began looking towards God again, they then were able to find His Word again (in the Temple where they lost it). The question for today is whether we can do the same.


Continued: A Review Of What Others Have To Say