Thursday, February 28, 2002
1. Do I have the right to clone myself? I would think so, since it's your body.,
2. Couldn't this lead to exploitation of Third World people, paying them five dollars for their genetics? Probably.
3. Could China decide that no one except the party bosses can have sex any more, and that the best people in China will all be cloned to form the perfect military, academia, and artistic world? Yes. They might do it, too. Or they could just clone their best trinket makers so they can take over the world.
4. If I clone myself, would I have to get permission from my clone in order to sell my genetics again? I haven't a clue.
5. Wouldn't this play hell with DNA matching of criminals? Um...probably.
6. Is there room for corruption, with people making clones pre-addicted to substances? It'll probably happen.
7. Might people be cloned without knowing it? Sure.
8. Could they sue? That depends. We'd have to tag all clones with their maker's identity. That sounds suspiciously like a Dr. Seuss plotline to me.
9. Who would raise these clones? Adoptive parents might in some cases, but there will probably be cases of abandonment.
10. Might these clones be deprived of rights and used for testing? Yes, but that's possible with anyone.
I'm personally not sure exactly where I stand on cloning. I don't think that its an abomination before God, and I can see legitimate uses for it. However, it would have to be very tightly regulated, with some safeguards outside the realm of politics built in. On the other hand, I wouldn't protest a ban on cloning humans, either.
Megan McArdle has made a tempting offer. Now, were I to donate $26 to her cause, I would be the proud recipient of something more valuable than gold. I could then offer to show the picture to anyone who donates $1 to me. I figure before long, the curious bloggers of the world will make me rich, or at least pay my college tuition.
Yes, I'll admit that I'm teasing her because I secretly like her (to steal a line from U Thant). Curses, was that out loud?
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
In the Opinions & Commentary section of Feb. 27, the piece “Despite new law, not every good citizen in commonwealth has to trust in God” is erroneous in several regards.
The first is the author’s assertion that notifying the court that the oath is unconscionable to them will automatically identify the person as an atheist and “not like you.” However, atheists are not alone in this. Many people of religious faith also decline the oath, in that they believe such an oath to by proscribed by God. Furthermore, your right to a fair trial is not abridged by this, as you are simply exercising a legal right. If the court were to unfairly discriminate against you, then you would have grounds to appeal the decision. Thus, you are protected.
The next grievance listed by the author is that he will have to pay for something that “proclaims a belief to which I do not adhere,” and implies that his rights are being violated. This is not the case. Many individuals have ideas different from those the government supports. One example would be the pacifist Quakers, whose tax money nonetheless goes to support the military. One reason we have legislative bodies is to decide where our tax dollars should go, since some necessary programs would surely go unfunded if every citizen was to allocate his own tax dollars.
Next, it is claimed that the Fourteenth Amendment causes states to have to obey the Bill of Rights. However, this only applies to laws which would “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Virginia House Bills 107, 108, and 161 do not fit this description, and thus fall under the Tenth Amendment’s statement that these laws are powers reserved to the state government.
It is stated that Jefferson favored a “wall of separation between Church and State.” However, in an 1809 letter to then-President Madison, Jefferson informs his successor that he has set aside a portion of the Northwest Territory for a religious school, and allocated funds for its development. This was met with no protest by Madison, the author of the Constitution. Furthermore, the same session of Congress that ratified the First Amendment also voted to hire chaplains for Congress. Thus, it is obvious that the majority of those who voted for the so-called separation of church and state did not intend to ban religion in public places, but to prevent one denomination from securing control.
“In God We Trust” was established as the national motto by an Act of Congress in 1956. In Aronow v. United States (1970), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that this phrase “is of patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious enterprise.” In 1994, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that “...we find that a reasonable observer, aware of the purpose, context, and history of the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ would not consider its use...to be an establishment of religion.” On appeal to the Supreme Court, the lower court’s decision was sustained as “consistent with the proposition that government may not communicate an endorsement of religious belief.”
It can be seen that at no time was this phrase considered to breach Jefferson’s “wall of separation.” Those who oppose these bills do not have history and the facts on their side.
UPDATE: They actually did end up printing it, though in slightly abridged format, and with each sentence as its own paragraph. C'est la vie.
Books I'd like to read in the near future: Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas; How the Scots Invented the Modern World by Arthur Herman; How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill; and Team First, Team Last by Mark Craver (a professor at GMU who was also my 11th grade English teacher).
Books I'd like to come out NOW: The seventh Dune book by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson, even though they're only the faintest shimmer of a shadow of Frank Herbert. Dang it, I think I'm addicted.
UPDATE: I hope people not from those three places will also come back. Sorry for the confusion.
Monday, February 25, 2002
I haven't read the responses of Kevin Holtsberry, Mark Byron, or Amy Welborn yet, so that this isn't unduly influenced by them. If there's some overlap, just remember that great minds think alike.
The topic was suggested by Kevin as a response to a Letters Never Sent post that is riddled with misconceptions, including quite a few that have since been taken down, but I'll address near the end of this. I'll take the questions one at a time. All quotes are from the New American Standard Bible.
Jesus said "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." Paul said "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." They appear to have different stances on the necessity of work. What's up?
Jesus' comment wasn't about the necessity of work. He was scolding those who cared about fashion, pointing out that even flowers, which do no work, are pleasant to look at. He was not saying that one shouldn't work. When he took his apostles from their jobs, it wasn't because work was unncessary, but because he had a more important task. As he said to the fishermen Simon and Andrew in Mark 1:17, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Paul's comment is a criticism of the lazy.
How come Paul avoids quoting Jesus, mentioning Jesus' parables, or even the Lord's Prayer?
Paul and Jesus were speaking to different audiences. Jesus was speaking exclusively to Jews in Roman Palestine, and thus spoke to them in familiar terms. Parables and midrash (the use of Scripture to justify) were Jewish techniques, and thus were most effective in that context. Paul, on the other hand, was speaking to Gentiles and Hellenized Jews, to whom diatribe (the raising and answering of questions in a monologue) and allegory were familiar. Furthermore, Paul wasn't present with Jesus at any time, and thus wouldn't have known the details of them. At such an early stage of Christianity, the canon had yet to be developed, and thus it was the concepts conveyed by Christ, rather than his actual words that were more important.
Didn't Paul introduce the concept of eating meat?"
Depending on what you mean, the answer is still "no." Paul certainly didn't introduce meat to the world, as evidenced by the fact that the Corinthians asked him if, as Christians, they should eat meat previously sacrificed to idols. Jesus didn't seem to have a problem eating meat, since in Matthew 14:17-20 and John 21:9-12 he provided fish for his disciples to eat. But, you say, many people don't consider fish to be meat! Well, then, it's time to check out the Old Testament. In Leviticus 11:2-3, God tells Moses and Aaron to "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat.'" It then goes on to list certain animals proscribed by the Law, but obviously allows for the eating of meat. Now, in Genesis 1:28, God says to Adam and Eve "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you." However, in Genesis 9:3, after the Great Flood, it is amended to "Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave green plant." Clearly, the eating of meat predates Jesus and Paul.
What about Paul's abysmal treatment of women, telling them to always do their husband's bidding?"
The idea of the wife being subservient to the husband was the way all societies at the time functioned. However, further reading of Pauline letters reveals passages such as Ephesians 5:28, "So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself." This was a very radical concept at a time when women were considered inferior, and not much better than simple property. Far from degrading women, Paul is one of the first recorded as saying that they deserved to be treated as humans.
How about Paul's acceptance of slavery? Jesus surely would never have approved of what the South did during early American history!
Firstly, the slavery of the time was very different from American slavery. A more accurate comparison would be with indentured servitude. Slaves were subjected for a period of seven years, and all slaves were to be freed during Jubilee years. A master could be punished by law for beating or killing his slaves without sufficient reason. Slaves could even own property and have their own slaves!Jacob essentially sold himself into slavery to Laban for Leah and again for Rachel, since he didn't have money to pay for them. Slavery was so established and so common in Jesus' time that there is not a single recorded comment by him on the subject. It was widely regarded that slavery was mutually beneficial, providing income for the master and a purpose and security for the slave. Now, for Paul to have condemned slavery as a whole would have been utterly without precedent in recorded history. In his letter to Philemon, he urges him to reconcile with his runaway slave Onesimus, and to free him. In other instances, he mentiones slaves and free in the same breath as saved by baptism and faith. Judging Paul by contemporary standards is very unfair, since it is partly due to his influence that we have such standards today.
Yeah, but Paul didn't even know Jesus, so how could he possibly know what was true Christian doctrine?
Not so. On his was to Damascus to persecute the Jews, Paul, known then as Saul of Tarsus, was blinded. During this time, Jesus appeared to him and told him that he was chosen to spread his message. Paul was a very unique man. He was of both Jewish and Roman descent, and was thus a citizen of Rome. He had lived in Greece growing up, and was thus intimately familiar with Hellenistic culture and styles of argumentation. Finally, he was a Pharisee, and knew the Jewish techniques of midrash and parable. If not for his Jewishness, he would never have been accepted by the other apostles. If not for his Greek upbringing, he wouldn't have been able to begin the conversion of the Gentiles, a task the original apostles didn't want. Lastly, due to his citizenship, he was able to have the right to trial in Rome, saving him from his Jewish persecuters once, and allowing him time to write several letters while in prison. Paul was the instrument that allowed Christianity to become more than simply Neo-Judaism.
Sunday, February 24, 2002
I came to the debate today armed with a pen, notebook, and a slight preference for Creationism. Part of this was probably from a dislike of the campus Freethinkers, who recently distributed lollipops that said "Smile, there is no god" on the stick. Both of the debaters were very good speakers, though they kept pronouncing each other's name differently seemingly every time they said it (completely understandable, by the way). However, at times they seemed to be on completely different pages, only answering questions posed to them in a very indirect manner. Nonetheless, it was very educational and enjoyable.
Dr. Guliuzza, speaking for Creationism, started by pointing out that evolutionary arguments aren't scientific, since they claim to be able to incorporate any data into their overall theory. He went on to say that no one has ever bred a creature through natural selection, and that evolutionists focus attention on their theories and provide scant details. He quoted from the National Academy of Science the definition that all science must be verifiable, and that evolutionary biology was not verifiable. He also pointed to evolutionary biologists' claims that some very similar animal features were of common origin, but that other, more complex features such as eyes of squid and humans are of completely separate origin.
Dr. Pigliucci, speaking for Evolutionism, began by giving two definitions of evolution. The first was that evolution is the change in gene frequencies, and the second being that it was descent with modification. He said that it is not a theory on the origin of life or the universe. He said that evolution was derived from population genetics, and has examples in molecular biology, organism morphology, physiology, development, and the fossil record. Evolution requires hereditable variation for selection to act according to Dr. Pigliucci, which lines up with his definition. Finally, he said that evolutionary biology was a scientific field that was not required to use the scientific method, and said that one reason most evolution papers don't provide much proof is that it would be too difficult for an ordinary person to understand.
In point-counterpoint, Dr. G asked for hard science and to be shown a mechanism for change. He stated that natural selection is random and provides an overall stabilizing effect on the population, citing a study on Galapagos finches (Darwin' finches) where beak size varied somewhat over time, but always remained roughly the same. Dr. P responded by stating that natural selection has nothing to do with complexity and asserted that fossils are exactly where science would expect them to be. He then provided the example of how whales are theorized to be descended from a hyena-like mammal, based on the similarity of certain structures, such as ankle bones. Dr. G said that the molecular and fossil evidence for the origin of whales disagreed, and went on to ask where Dr. P got whale ankle bones to compare. He stated that Darwin's theory of a "ladder of complexity" was wrong, and that there was survival of the luckiest, not the fittest, since there is no obvious reason why some lineages survived and others didn't. Dr. P said that selections are not predictive, and that selection increases the fitness of an organism, with variations occurring over time. Dr. G then pointed out that to assume an intelligent designer merely requires an absence of proof for evolution, while evolution requires proof, since it is more likely that order arose by conscious design than through chance. Dr. P then pointed out that no one knows anything for sure, to which Dr. G stated that his criticism of evolution wasn't that it had been proven false, but that it claimed to be unquestionable without proof.
Before the final question and answer period, closing remarks were made. Dr. Guliuzza mentioned that there were no details in the evolution literature. He went on to say that the fossil record doesn't show any evidence of evolution, with creatures appearing with no warning, remaining virtually unchanged for a long amount of time, and often disappearing abruptly. Mutations are damaging, he said, and that while a fox that chews off a leg caught in a trap is 25% less likely to be caught again in a similar trap, it could not be argued to be superior to a normal fox. In closing, he said that evolution has no scientific value. Dr. Pigliucci responded by stating that evolutionists naturally couldn't explain everything, that creationists exploit the intellectual honesty of evolutionists, and that creationism isn't real science.
Saturday, February 23, 2002
Respect Their Authoritah: The first three people to give me permalinks. They're really smart, too.
Awaiting Orders: I couldn't think of a good stereotypical remark, so I'll observe further.
Consie Christers: Conservative Christians, like me.
Fighting Gobblers: Fellow Hokies
People Who Haven't Mentioned Me: Ungrateful bastards.
Friday, February 22, 2002
Theological Foray #3: Homosexuality and Christianity.
I’m honored beyond words that Kevin Holtsberry considers me to be enough of a student of theology and the Bible to post a good opinion on homosexuality and Christianity. Go read his article before continuing this one.
I’ve always considered homosexuality to be bad. However, as a Christian, I know I am to “hate the sin, love the sinner,” and I try my best to do that. None of the gays I’ve ever met have been despicable people, though I’m sure there are some, as with any population. This doesn’t diminish the fact that they’re in the wrong, however.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul states:
”Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”(NASB)
In Romans 1:26-27, he says the following:
”For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men, and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error."(NRSV)
In context, it seems that Paul regards these as dispositions caused by bad influences. As such, they’re merely affectations, and can be changed through effort. However, there is some room for doubt as to this, so I’ll also address the possibility that it’s hard-wired into some people’s brains. If so, this doesn’t make it right. Only animals (in this case, creatures lower than man; “Are Men Animals?” may be tackled in a later Theological Foray) obey their instincts exclusively. To not give in to temptation is a virtue, to submit is a sin. I personally am always thirsty, and so I know it would be very easy for me to get drunk, despite my German and British genes. Knowing this, I don’t drink alcohol, since I’m not sure that I’m disciplined enough yet to handle it properly. Men may have the urge to simply abduct a woman, have your their with her, and then go in search of another, but that’s also clearly a bad thing. The Bible shows in Matthew 4:4-11 that even Jesus Christ himself experienced temptation. Thus, it is not the having the urge that is the sin, but acting on it.
Furthermore, these passages are from the New Testament in reference to both Jewish and Gentile Christians. While the Old Testament has a lot of fire and brimstone about the subject, it's often overlooked that the New Testament condemns it as well.
Having established that homosexuality is a sin, we must first determine what order of magnitude it is. While Jewish law compared it to murder, rape, and kidnapping, Paul lists it with things like lying and stealing. Thus, while it is of course a sin and to be avoided, it’s not enough to completely ostracize a person from society.
Why is it a sin? Men obviously do not have complementary parts (no, I will not go into detail). By doing something that obviously wasn’t intended, you’re disobeying the will of God, and thus are sinning. While men don’t have wings to fly, we do have brains to learn aerodynamics and hands to build airplanes.
Private organizations may exclude homosexuals, especially religious denominations. The Roman Catholic church refuses to ordain practicing homosexuals, a position fully understandable in that they refuse to ordain practicing heterosexuals as well. Just as a congregation would be upset by a drunken or womanizing priest, they would also reject a gay priest. In Judaism, you couldn’t be a priest if you merely had a physical deformity. In Christianity, you shouldn’t be one if you have an obvious vice. Ministers are the leaders of the congregation and an example to their followers, and so should be as exemplary as possible.
Speaking for the conservative and moderate Christians, we consider homosexuality to be a sin. To quote John Derbyshire, we find it “vaguely disgusting” for gays and “vaguely absurd” for lesbians. While we’d prefer that you not make it obvious in public, we respect your rights to free speech and free association. We’re perfectly willing to stay out of your bedrooms, so long as you keep it in the bedroom, preferably with the lights out and blinds drawn. We get upset when you come on to us. We get militant when you come on to our kids. We will oppose any efforts to give government support to something we believe to be sinful. We know that we don’t always get what we want, and we merely ask you to respect our sensibilities in a similar fashion to how you’re asking us to respect yours. We hope and pray that you’ll turn away from the practice, but ask only that you not involve us with it.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
I'm reasoning as I go, so I'm going to state my current beliefs now, and at the end I'll see if the conclusions to which I've arrived prove or disprove them (this sounds suspiciously like the scientific method, methinks). I believe in one God, the ultimate and first creator of everything. I definitely believe in adaptive evolution.
Evolution of species may be possible in the sense that one finch may lead to two different adaptations, one with large beaks for cracking large nuts, and one with small beaks for eating small seeds. To my mind, this is not the same as a whale being descended from a wolf-like creature (this is an actual theory, I didn't make it up). I understand that one of the defining features of a species is that it can only reproduce with members of that species. However, there are exceptions. Most obviously, donkeys and horses can mate and produce mules, despite being members of different species. On the other hand, there are humans that cannot mate with certain other humans but remain fertile overall. I suppose that a good counter to this might be to point out that enough small steps, and you go from large-beaked finch to, say, vulture. However, we're still not seeing differences that might realistically lead us to suppose that we're descended by chance from molluscs. In my General Zoology course, we were constantly finding examples (which the textbook seemed embarassed by) where two phyla had developed the same features from the same original anatomical structure, but after having diverged from a supposedly common ancestor. One image that sticks in my mind was of a mollusk that extended part of itself as a lure. This lure looked a lot like a fish, even down to a darkened patch for the eye. I'm sorry, but I don't see how random chance would give such a significant evolutionary boost to the ancestral mollusk which happened to have a lot of pigment there. When I think about it, though, the hard-core Random-Chancers have an unassailable position in the absence of concrete evidence in that they can point to an infinite number of possibilities. Given the nature of infinite randomness, horses could develop gills by tomorrow morning. While this infinite randomness can't really be disproven, it offers a cold and bleak future, where there is no purpose to life and where cause doesn't necessarily predate effect. According to science, however, something tested over and over and never disproven is generally considered to be true until proven otherwise (gravity, thermodynamism, being in DC causes sports teams to eventually suck). So far, effect has always followed cause. If this is true, then there must be some order in the universe. As it is generally considered true that the universe is in a state of increasing entropy (which the Random-Chancers would seem to have to support, unless cause doesn't really follow eff...nevermind), there must be something that is preserving this law (I don't think this is circular logic, since I'm using cause-and-effect to defend a law, even though it happens to be the law of cause and effect). Is it possible that this seeming order is just a temporary blip in an otherwise downward trend (like in Fellowship of the Ring, when one part of the collapsing stairs smashes into the other, allowing Aragorn and Frodo to pass)? I'm not sure that I have a good argument for that, but my gut reaction is to doubt it. I know that's not a sufficient answer, but it's what I've got for now. So if we decide that the universe isn't determined by random chance, then the only other solution is that there must have been something not random, meaning ultimately conscious, at least at the beginning.
Now, God is the ultimate source of everything. I'm not sure that he "meddles" with the intricacies of daily life, though. If this were so, why would God have delegated authority to others, either as angels who helped construct the world or political leaders? I think that the most likely scenario, supported by the Bible in many ways, is that God created the universe, laid down some rules, made the things in the universe, and then set them all into motion. If this were true, it would provide a good answer to the "why are we here?" question, in that the world would be a proving ground for those worthy of being with God. Furthermore, God could "tweak" the test as it goes on in order to get better results (for instance, most cars have some sort of idiosyncracy, but if you're driving it, it's been certified as acceptable to a higher authority). Under this, God could've started with certain templates and built off of them. Just as God used angels to create the world, there's no reason to doubt that God might use templates to create the things in the world (God uses himself as a template for man, according to Genesis). If you look at a fish, a dog, a bird, and a man in early stages of development, you'd have a hard time determining which is which, short of looking at the actual genes. Thus, God may have "tweaked" the monkey idea, which is part of the idea of "creative evolution," into something more suitable for his purposes. There are Biblical examples of this, as when God makes a covenant with Abraham, saying that his children will be God's people. What God has done is "tweaked" part of Abraham's lineage into what will become the Israelites.
Looking back, I believe I've supported my hypothesis, but I would love any feedback, comments, death threats (maybe not), or NATALIJA RADIC or MEGAN MCARDLE pictures you might have.
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Also, I'm considering calling them Theological Forays instead of Essays.
UPDATE: I haven't quite figured it out yet, so Comments is (are?) down until I can get it working. Feel free to email me, though, or use the temporary forum I've created.
Also (I'm saving a tree by posting more than one thing in an entry), I've been permalinked by the excellent Mark Byron. Read this man's stuff.
UPDATE: Both KickIdle and Live from the WTC have given me permalinks. Thanks, guys!
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic
Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic
Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic
Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic Natalija Radic
I don't have any naked pictures of her, and I'm fairly sure that she's not a teenage Asian lesbian.
Pauline letters are those known or generally believed to have been written directly by St. Paul. Deutero-Pauline letters are considered by most scholars to have been written in Paul's name by a follower of his, a common practice at the time. Pastoral letters are those letters claimed to be from Paul (whether they are or not) that are to specific individuals, rather than congregations.
Are we justified or forgiven?
Pauline letters (1 Thessalonians, Romans) say we are justified, Deutero-Pauline letters (Colossians, Ephesians) say that we are forgiven.
What's the difference?
Justification means that God extends grace to you, even though you're a sinner, knowing that sin is more powerful than you are. Forgiveness means that once your regret your sins and resolve not to commit them any more, God gives you a blank slate and you are considered innocent until you sin again. It's possible that Christians are justified until they repent, and forgiven afterwards.
So what does this mean?
Justification means that you do not resolve never to sin again, but that you accept it as part of your human nature. Forgiveness means doing your best to not sin, whether this is possible or not. Should you sin, though, you can repent and it's as if you didn't sin, unless you commit that sin again. Think of it as a suspended sentence. The idea that you need to be innocent like Christ when you die is likely the basis for the Catholic sacrament of Last Rites, as it would be a tragedy to sin just before you die and be condemned forever without a chance to repent.
Which is correct, then?
Paul tells us that everyone in Romans and Galatians that everyone is different. You follow the path that you honestly believe to be right. Personally, I think that forgiveness is the correct way, and that justification is a cop-out. However, all Catholic-derived (Roman Catholic, Orthodox Catholic, Protestant) churches teach this, and it's possible that I've never been exposed to a good argument otherwise.
So how do you plan to abstain from sin?
Patience, hope, and faith. Suffering breeds tolerance. Tolerance breeds patience. Patience breeds diligence. Diligence breeds faith. Through faith, anything is possible. Thus, every time you resist a carnal urge, you're strengthened (no pain, no gain!). Eventually, doing the right thing will just come naturally.
Yeah right. You're going to sin.
Probably. There's not a day that goes by where I don't break at least one of the Ten Commandments in thought, word, or deed. I'm sure I've broken them all in one of the above ways at some point. We all sin. The idea is to try your very best, knowing that God will ask nothing more of you than you're capable of.
So it's okay to sin, so long as you're trying to do better?
I think so. Sin is always to be regretted, but you mustn't dwell on the past. You can only change the future, and that's what you need to concentrate on. With God's help, anything is possible, so long as you're open to it.
UPDATE: I've just emailed him, humbly imploring that he refer to The Corner as a blog, just once. Jonah, if you're reading this (riiight...), hook us up. It's all we crave.
Monday, February 18, 2002
UPDATE: That last sentence was kind of corny.
BLEEDINGLY OBVIOUS UPDATE: I figured out how to post my picture. Apparently, Geocities and Angelfire won't allow pictures stored on their sites to be displayed elsewhere. Luckily, I had my handy-dandy Virginia Tech filebox to hook me up.
Many Christians, Jews, and Muslims don't approve of premarital sex because, well, God said not to do it. And for at least a few of us, God trumps what we want. And since Christians and Muslims are called to preach to others, it's only natural that we oppose premarital sex (or fornication, if you want to get Biblical) for others. As members of society, we have a perfect right to oppose spending tax dollars for any program we don't support.
Pragmatists, on the other hand, recognize that premarital sex is hurtful to society. It contributes to the spread of disease (there would be no AIDS epidemic in the US if everyone was monogamous), weakens the bonds of marriage, and often causes people to forsake marriage at all. By not giving out condoms, we hope to prevent people from having sex outside of marriage, in that they might be afraid of pregnancy or disease.
Now, he is right when he says that even if there was a 100% safe method of birth control, conservatives would oppose it. This does not make our argument that the current methods are imperfect any less valid. Venereal diseases would be non-existant if everyone was monogamous. There would be no bastardy. Not growing up in a two-parent household is obviously harmful to children, and by limiting sex to married couples, all children will have that kind of family (excluding parental death, of course). I have yet to hear a liberal or libertarian argument, other than "because we want to." If the Left has the right to ask the gov't to spend money on promoting their views, the Right obviously has an equal right to do the same.
Sunday, February 17, 2002
Saturday, February 16, 2002
Friday, February 15, 2002
Sunday, February 10, 2002
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Monday, February 04, 2002
UPDATE: Sergeant Stryker was kind enough to respond to my email asking him what he thought of all this. He says that "The metal isn't as important as the medal," but thinks that it would be a nice gesture to future recipients. That's a position I can fully support.
Okay, I think I was one of the very few people who didn't really like this year's Super Bowl. However, recognizing that most people did, I'll make the bashing fairly short and say what I thought was good about it. Unfortunately, the two best teams, the Rams and the Steelers, didn't bother to show up for the Super Bowl and AFC Conference Championship, respectively. Thus, the Patriots will be insufferable for a year, which I suppose is a step up from the Ravens being insufferable. The commentary was fairly weak (did anyone else notice that the yellow-pen stuff Madden is famous for was computerized?), and the gameplay for most of the first three quarters was lackluster. We didn't have the solid wall of great commercials like I'd hoped for, and were instead treated to ads for local car dealerships and Kroger. Several of my friends agreed that the Super Bowl should be the Redskins vs. Steelers every year, no matter what their records are. I thought the displaying of names for the people who died in the attacks was pretty tacky, and I was a little bit confused to notice that the flag used in the thing with former Presidents reading Lincoln's stuff had 48 stars, rather than the customary 50.
On the bright side, it didn't go into overtime. The Patriots had an outstanding defense, and if I'd gone with my normal custom of rooting for the underdog, I might've enjoyed it more. However, with the Redskins missing the playoffs, the Hokies losing the Gator Bowl, and having been at a losing Tech basketball game just a few hours earlier, I figured it would be okay just this once to go for the sure-shot and experience a win. I was impressed by their decision to be introduced as a team rather than individually, and yes, they were sort-of a Cinderella team. The patriotic ads were nice, and Mariah Carey didn't massacre the national anthem like many singers. A lot of people seem happy that a team called the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and I suppose I can't really argue with that, though Sgt. Stryker makes a good point. The beer ads were entertaining as ever, and my only criticism is that the best ad was shown first (the one for Miller Lite that was a take-off on BattleBots). Finally, I do give the Patriots credit for their "no, I think I'll just beat him now" attitude in the final minute and a half.
All-in-all, I would've preferred a Redskins-Steelers game, but I can't always have my way.
Friday, February 01, 2002
UPDATES: I don't weigh 600 pounds. Secondly, through my 1337 computer skillz, I figured out how to fix the post below that was broken. I'll be celebrating by going to bed.